Rope-a-Pope: Ben Seize takes the blows, does it his way

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Pope Benedict XVI issues a statement regretting that his remarks about Muslim violence have offended violent Muslims. The pontiff did not actually apologize for quoting an "erudite" Byzantine emperor from the Fourteenth Century. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood says the new statement is not good enough, demanding a "personal apology." (I also want a personal apology from the pope for failing to stay out of the news long enough to let me to forget he exists.)

Meanwhile, Muslims object to being called violent by rioting, burning flags and effigies, firebombing Catholic and Protestant churches, and making plenty of those Musselmen-foaming-at-the-mouth faces we've come to expect in these situations. In a related story, "War-Torn Middle East Seeks Solace In Religion."

This has been one of the great stupid news stories in recent memory. Everybody notes that the pope was quoting the Emperor Manuel II Paleologus—who like Benedict was something of a Gerald Ford figure—but nobody bothers to explain what that means, or in fact whether the pope agreed with the comments. To the extent I can understand anything this pope says, he's noncommital. The entire speech contains a ton of noodling in support of Ratzinger's theme of themes (Europe is Christian, goddammit). Here's the quote in context:

I was reminded of all this recently, when I read the edition by Professor Theodore Khoury (Münster) of part of the dialogue carried on—perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara—by the erudite Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both. It was presumably the emperor himself who set down this dialogue, during the siege of Constantinople between 1394 and 1402; and this would explain why his arguments are given in greater detail than those of his Persian interlocutor. The dialogue ranges widely over the structures of faith contained in the Bible and in the Qur'an, and deals especially with the image of God and of man, while necessarily returning repeatedly to the relationship between—as they were called—three "Laws" or "rules of life": the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an. It is not my intention to discuss this question in the present lecture; here I would like to discuss only one point—itself rather marginal to the dialogue as a whole—which, in the context of the issue of "faith and reason", I found interesting and which can serve as the starting-point for my reflections on this issue.

In the seventh conversation…edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: "There is no compulsion in religion". According to the experts, this is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat. But naturally the emperor also knew the instructions, developed later and recorded in the Qur'an, concerning holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood—and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats… To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…".

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature. The editor, Theodore Khoury, observes: For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality. Here Khoury quotes a work of the noted French Islamist R. Arnaldez, who points out that Ibn Hazn went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry.

The content is really unimportant. You can be sure none of the lunatics torching churches or burning the pope in effigy have any idea what he actually said. People who are more interested in this stuff than I am can debate whether Islam actually added anything to religion that wasn't already in Judaism and/or Christianity—beyond teetotaling, which is undoubtedly evil and inhuman.

The interesting point is the person the pope is quoting. Manuel, the penultimate Eastern emperor, isn't an obvious avatar for a hard line on Islam. He spent most of his career as a vassal of the Ottoman sultan, and the only time in his reign that he got a leg up it wasn't because of anything he did but because Tamerlane defeated the Ottoman army. Like everybody in the eastern church, he was as likely to view Catholics as Muslims as the main enemy. What makes him of interest to Benedict is that he had a pronounced Western Europe jones, toured the western capitals in search of an alliance during his reign, and conducted sporadic negotiations toward a reconciliation with the Latin church. That's of direct application to Ratzinger's vision of a re-Christianized Europe reclaiming its rightful place at the center of the geocentric universe.

This, and not some wishful thinking about the pope's joining up with President Bush for the war on terror, is the real story. Just a few years ago, the anti-idiotarians were ready to add Vatican City to the Axis of Evil because Garrulous Karolus the Koran Kisser didn't favor the invasion of Iraq. Now they're ready to believe the pope is up for a Last Crusade, but they're going to be disappointed. For Ratzinger, it's all about Europe and the dictatorship of relativism. He may not like Muslim Europe, but that's just the symptom. The disease is post-Christianity and the Theory of Relativity, and the way he believes they have weakened the Continent. It's only by chance that the pope's path has intersected with that of the late Oriana Fallaci, who late in life developed a sentimental attachment to Catholicism, but only as a stick to hit Muslims and, um, Mexicans.

Which brings me to the real point of this post: That celebrated Margaret Talbot profile of Fallaci contains one of the great unchecked facts of our time:

Images of soiling recur in the books: at one point in "The Rage and the Pride" she complains about Somali Muslims leaving "yellow streaks of urine that profaned the millenary marbles of the Baptistery" in Florence. "Good Heavens!" she writes. "They really take long shots, these sons of Allah! How could they succeed in hitting so well that target protected by a balcony and more than two yards distant from their urinary apparatus?" Six pages later, she describes urine streaks in the Piazza San Marco, in Venice, and wonders if Muslim men will one day "shit in the Sistine Chapel."

Is that just a fantasia of Fallaci's? Are Muslims really pissing in the baptismal fonts in Italian churches? If so, you can see why Da Holy Faddah is ready to start a ruckus.

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  1. Too Sad, Too Frightening

  2. I am gonna start this with a quote from Dr. T, made on the earlier pope thread…apologize to those who feel this post is redundent…

    “The best and worst thing that can be said about religion is that in attempting to comprehend things greater than ourselves we have found a mirror for the human race. Religion encompasses some of the best and worst things that people have ever done.”

    Some quotes from the bible and the Koran…
    See if you can determine which is which.

    “The prayer that man should make for good, he maketh for evil; for man is given to hasty deeds.”

    “There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins.”

    “You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion.”

    “Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.”

  3. Can all the world’s religionists – Muslim, Christian and Whatever – just please leave the rest of us alone if we agree to just sit in our basements and spin our Iron Maiden LPs backwards in peace? Please? Just pretend we don’t exist…

  4. People who are more interested in this stuff than I am can debate whether Islam actually added anything to religion that wasn’t already in Judaism and/or Christianity?beyond teetotaling, which is undoubtedly evil and inhuman.

    Islam embraced Aristotelean metaphysics with regards to the nature of God, which was pretty nifty for the time. Beyond that — dunno?

  5. People who are more interested in this stuff than I am can debate whether Islam actually added anything to religion that wasn’t already in Judaism and/or Christianity?beyond teetotaling, which is undoubtedly evil and inhuman.

    Islam embraced Aristotelean metaphysics with regard to the nature of God, which was pretty nifty for the time. Beyond that — dunno?

  6. As someone well versed in the art of apologising-when-not-in-the-wrong, I’d like to take this opportunity to translate the Pope’s expression of regret.

    I regret that some demagogues have taken the quotation out of context, have no idea really of what I was talking about, and have – for their own purposes – whipped some of their followers into a frenzy of delicious offendedness.

    I am sorry if I have not made this translation sufficiently simple for some of you to read with understanding.

  7. In Italy, there’s piss all over.

  8. The bible, chiefly in the old testament, contains descriptions of brutal violence done at god’s command, or with his approval. Though such passages can be (and have been) read as encouragement for violence in the here and now, this is not inevitable. The koran contains open ended calls to warfare “fight against those who do not believe in god and the last day and do not fobid what needs to be forbidden” is one. what’s more, the common (muslim) understanding of the koran holds that such violent statements take the place of older, more moderate statements like the one about compulsion mentioned in the article.
    so yah, islam did bring in something new. the first clear cut, large scale case of christianity being spread by the sword to outsiders (as opposed to surpression of internal minoritites) does not come until charlemagne’s conquest of the saxo’s in the late 8th century. it would remain rare untill the discovery of the america’s (even the crusades did not see any serious effort to convert muslims. much more effort was put in converting non-catholic christians into catholic’s) Within 2 years of muhammad’s death, islamic armies had invaded the (christian) roman empire and the (zoroastrian) persian one. within a 100 years, the muslim caliphate stretched from spain to pakistan and kyrgizstan. polytheists were forced to convert or die within this realm. christians, jews, and (sometimes) zoroastrians were not. usually. there were frequent exceptions. but even at the best of time they had to live under restrictive and humiliating conditions ands so often went ahead and converted anyways.

  9. This has been one of the great stupid news stories in recent memory.
    All stories regarding Muslims are inherently stupid because Muslims are ludicrous, pernicious buffoons.

  10. If we want to say that the violent expansion of Islam more than 1000 years ago should have some bearing on how we analyze actions by Muslims today, does anybody want to talk about the way that Catholicism was spread in Latin America?

    I’m perfectly content to denounce modern-day idiots without worrying about things that happened centuries ago.

  11. All stories regarding Muslims are inherently stupid because Muslims are ludicrous, pernicious buffoons.

    I went to a perfectly nice party last night hosted by Muslims. I didn’t meet any ludicrous, pernicious buffoons. I did meet some very nice, hospitable people with nice families. And I met a guy who just finished 4 years of service in the US Army.

  12. The problem, thoreau, is that the christian depredations in the americas and elsewhere were based on an interpretation of the bible that has been completely abandoned. there has been no such reinterpretation in islam, and such a reinterpretation is made less likely by the clear koranic commands in respect to jihad.

  13. i thought it was the irony that, after accusations of islam being inherently violent, muslims respond with ‘rage’ and ‘fury’. peeing isn’t violet though 😛

    it’s sacrilicious!

  14. The Qur’an and the Bible are no different from the H&R archive in cyberspace Cavanaugh has created: There is wisdom, eloquence, points to ponder, Catch 22’s, etc.
    There is also… you know… plus the server squirrels. Would the server squirrels be analogous to scribes?

  15. For the last time, I belong to a perfectly peaceful, civilized brotherhood of lizard worshipers. Now where’d my Molotov Cocktail go?

  16. the issue is not what “money quotes” one can selectively cull from the bible, the koran, the torah, hindu texts, buddhist texts or whatever.

    in ALL these religions one could find nifty little quotes justifying violence (and of course, violence IS sometimes justified, but i digress).

    the issue here is what adherents to these religions are DOING.

    it is not (with extremely rare exceptions) – christians, buddhists, jews, etc. that are calling for the spreading of their religion via violent means. it is only the islamists that riot over cartoons, that burn churches because somebody is quoted saying that are too violent (oh, the irony), that call for death to authors like salman rushdie (not to mention the pope) for daring to “insult their religion”, etc. etc. etc.

    the issue is actions. i recall one journalist hit it on the head when he said he has no problem with criticizing christianity and christians in the USA (a majority christian country) cause he knows he is safe to do so. however, he would NEVER ridicule islam. no artist has yet created a “piss koran”, for example.

    there is absolutely no moral or any other equivalence whatsoever. there is only one group of people that has engaged in mass murder, rioting, etc. when somebody DARES to criticize their oh so holy texts or prophet. and it is (imo) the greatest threat to western civilization, to freedom, and to basic human rights in the world right now.

    these same morons who are calling for “moderation”, and etc. from the pope are strangely silent when it comes to criticizing the muslim leaders who call for the frigging extermination of israel, etc.

    thoreau is one hundred percent correct. every time somebody makes a reasoned criticism, somebody brings up the inquisition or something in ANCIENT history. we live in the world of today. and TODAY, it is these islamist scum that are enemies of freedom. period.

    and for those who use this as an excuse to bash religion qua religion, let’s recall that the greatest slaughters and threats to freedom in the 20th century came from atheist regimes like stalin’s or mao’s.

    but NOW, the threat is these islamist scum.

  17. Whit-
    Islamism is a bigger threat to the “Islamic world” than it could ever hope to be to the “west”. Whatever that is. I just love these general “civilizations”.

  18. anony, i partially agree. iow, i think that islamism IS a hyooge threat to the islamic world. but not that this threat is bigger than it ever will be to the west.

    it will become a bigger and bigger threat to the west unless and until we start to really fight these scum, instead of backpedaling, apologizing for THEIR violent deeds, and facilitating their murderous ways.

    the latest absurdities is these euro countries that are actually allowing the imposition of sharia within their borders.

  19. Really my new twin anony? Legalized marijuana, prostitution and gay marriage a la Holland is Sharia? Then it sure sounds good to me.

    What about those topless beaches on the Mediterranean? Are they allowed in the Koran, too?

  20. BTW anony, if you are really cocnerned about a “European caliphate” you might want to read this to calm yourself down, and take a deep breath.

    http://rfmcdpei.livejournal.com/408410.html

  21. I am a pretty serious Christian. I’ve always been pretty committed to the peaceful, tolerant focus of the faith (among those fellow Christians committed to peace and tolerance that is).

    I’ve NEVER bought into the Fundamentalist Christian hysteria and hoopla. I’ve never liked or respected the Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson garbage. I couldn’t care less about eschatological, end o’ times smoke & mirrors and I’ve always been at least tolerant of – if not fully behind – most social justice issues embraced by more moderate Christians.

    But my faith and tolerance is being sorely tested of late by Islam. To the extent at which it has the potential to threaten my life, my family’s lives and my country’s security, I’ve pretty much had enough of their violent crap.

    I appreciate, Thoreau, where you are coming from. Thoreau, I truly respect you and very often agree with you but the flat reality is that your peacful, American-based Muslim friends – while to be admired, I’m sure – are not representative of the greater threat that a large block of Middle Eastern Muslims represent.

    Whether they inhabit the Middle East proper, European countries, Indonesian jungles or Central African war zones, the simple fact is that there are a lot of VERY violent Muslims ouside this country. Those who don’t engage in violence themselves range from those cowed by fear to those tolerant (and even supportive) of violent actions.

    Certainly some are engaged in struggles against very real oppression themselves. But more of them are simply involved in pathetic power struggles with other equally violent forms of Islam or age-old vendettas with other tribal/clans.

    The fact that the first resort is too often to violence says alot about what their aims (and our options) are.

    They have learned nothing from the successes of non-violence throughout the 20th century. They understand little to nothing of how to achieve true long-term political success and they want nothing of the freedoms which enable you and your Muslim friends to be so tolerant and embracing.

    The fact that many think it’s even possible to “spread faith by the sword” reflects an infantile understanding of both any kind of genuine faith and human nature. But hey, if any of what I’ve seen over the past few decades is any indicator, living under perpetual fear is the lens through which they view the world.

    In other words, as far as Islam is concerned, genuine faith has been replaced by it’s “Stockholm Sydrome” cousin.

    Your very enlightened assertion is certainly something we should always keep in mind. It’s most likely a very accurate view of Muslims here in the states. But the realities of a murderous, intolerant and extremely wide-spread version of Islam (along with a largely ignorant culture that supports it worldwide) is something you should keep in mind a well.

  22. The disease is post-Christianity and the Theory of Relativity, and the way he believes they have weakened the Continent.

    Tim, you should pray to St. Albert for forgiveness for insinuating that his theory had anything whatsoever to do with moral relativism. They have about as much in common as a power plant and a potted plant.

  23. I’m perfectly content to denounce modern-day idiots without worrying about things that happened centuries ago.

    That is the attitude we should indeed take, thoreau. And in reality, the Muslim empire quickly softened up its original convert-or-die meme, realizing that, given the Koranic prohibition on taxing fellow Muslims, forced conversions were bad for the cashflow.

  24. madpad,
    I don’t think you’ll ever be able to prove that religion A is more likely than religion B to be the cause of violence. There are other factors just as relevant as religion.
    I wish we could start a religion that would be guaranteed to be absolutely peaceful, and I keep talking about H&R being the Temple of the Vestals, but you have read enough of H&R to see that, even here (the best hope, in my opinion) there is still a long, long road ahead of us.

  25. Hmmm… Y’know, I’m not Catholic, but it seems to me that every time someone mentions Islam-founded violence someone brings up shit that Catholics did a long time ago or some razor-thin minority of doomsday cult Christians have gotten up to more recently (abortion clinic bombing or mass suicide).

    I’m the last guy to defend Catholicism, frankly, because I’m not Catholic. At most I could be considered a Deist.

    But it just doesn’t seem to be a legitimate criticism to bring up the wrongs some other religion has grown out of committing when discussing the wrongs another religion has not evolved past.

    In summation: Two wrongs don’t make a right, and pointing the finger at the history of other religions doesn’t make Islam any less violent today.

    The question isn’t “shouldn’t we also condemn the craziness of other religions who aren’t doing anything particularly violent or crazy anymore.” The question IS “how do we confront an intolerant and violent religion in a Western context of tolerance for all religion?”

    I’m not certain anyone has the answer, but we could start from the position that it’s a quid pro quo – our governments and religions will respect and tolerate your religions so long as your religion does so for our governments and religions.

  26. “They have learned nothing from the successes of non-violence throughout the 20th century.”

    This, like everything, depends on who you mean by “they.” There is certainly a history of non-violence as a tool for change in the Muslim world.

    See the Khudai Khidmatgar, for instance…

    “The British used to torture us, throw us into ponds in wintertime, shave our beards, but even then Badshah Khan told his followers not to lose patience. He said ‘there is an answer to violence, which is more violence. But nothing can conquer nonviolence. You cannot kill it. It keeps standing up. The British sent their horses and cars to run over us, but I took my shawl in my mouth to keep from screaming. We were human beings, but we should not cry or express in any way that we were injured or weak.” Musharraf Din (Baldauf).

    I firmly believe that it is a mistake to emphasize that Al Quaida et al are Islamic since it is then far too easy to include non-violent muslims in the criticism… these guys are murderous thugs… the fact that the claim to be Muslims is a secondary and not too important side issue.

    For every Muslim that has burned a paper pope or American flag, there is an intolerant American who has used violence against someone who just “looks Muslim,” yet we don’t tend to lump all Americans into a group with those idiots.

    (see http://www.hrw.org/reports/2002/usahate/usa1102-04.htm#P303_46974 for an out of date run down with many examples of anti-muslim violence in America)

  27. “but we could start from the position that it’s a quid pro quo – our governments and religions will respect and tolerate your religions so long as your religion does so for our governments and religions.”

    Aside from the fact that there isn’t a one religion anywhere, the idea that people or people of a religion must espouse tolerance to be tolerated is interesting etc., but it is also among the most unlibertarian ideas on Earth.

    We better start shuttering the churches that favor the drug war and oppose gay marriage or legalizing gay acts. We better close down Jewish organizations that favor a Jewish-only Judea and Samaria. We better force all communists to be on probation. We better stop the Nazis demonstrating in Skokie.

  28. The facilites of international religions/state religions, be they a church, mosque, synagogue, worship hall, etc, are safe houses for unpredictible forces of occupation. Similiar to military bases and embassies in foreign countries. They mix with and have eyes and ears in almost all communities of significance.

    The free world is somewhat limited to where it can place such facilities and are restricted on mixing with the populace. However, being a free world, we allow those not so free to place their facilities within our midst. Like an embassy they are a haven for intel gatherers. Intel for sundry reasons. Their safety (all) is the taboo of the separation of church and state. This can be a gift or curse.

  29. I am surprised nobody mentioned this photo yet:

    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/060917/ids_photos_wl/r2274019478.jpg

    You gotta love translations. (not that I could do a better job translating anything into any other language)

    I don’t know how to add links and I apologise in advance if my url is wrong.

  30. Has anyone else noticed the following from the first linked article:

    “In Jordan, the state-owned daily newspaper Al Rai said called the pope?s statements ‘shocking.’ It said the pope should apologize ‘so as to ease the fears of Muslims who sense they are becoming the target of an orchestrated campaign.’?

    This seems to get things exactly backwards. If there’s an “orchestrated campaign,” it seems to be coming from those who are calling in Rent-A-Mob to scream and threaten everyone who criticizes Islam. If anyone should feel fear, it’s those who are bold enough to say something critical about Muslims, thereby risking death-threats, ritual butchering, bombing, etc.

    “Ease the fears” of the demagogues and rioters? Their “fears” won’t be eased until all their opponents have been killed or silenced.

  31. For complex reasons, the more technologically advanced societies are the ones predominately christian. Technologically advanced societies engage in what Clarence Thomas called “high-tech lynchings,” smart bombs, and re-interpreting the Geneva Conventions. At the same time high tech societies look down their noses at low tech violence in languages other than English.

  32. “Spreading the faith by the sword” hasn’t completely died out in “Christendom”, though in some of its domains it has degenerated into just plain killing folks who worship differently, or driving them out of an area. “Ethnic cleansing” is frequently “religious cleansing.” That STFBTS declined as much as it did had more to do with exhaustion and disgust with the religious wars among various flavors of Christian in Europe, and religion’s replacement post-Enlightenment by nationalism and political ideology as the key spurs for conflict. As thoreau pointed out, during the age of colonialism, European states would sometimes countenance forced conversions of subject peoples, or place the official church of the colonial power in a privileged position compared to the faiths of the natives. Frex, Irish Catholic tenants had to pay tithes to the Church of Ireland, first directly, then through their rents, until the CofI’s disestablishment in 1869!

    As for atheism, the belief in “historical materialism” was every bit as much an act of faith as that in transubstantiation or salvation by faith alone. If Buddhism, which doesn’t require belief in a god, can be considered a religion, why not Marxism?

    Sometimes dar al-Islam has been more religiously tolerant than Christendom, other times “The West” has been better in this regard than the lands of the Prophet. [Compare Spain under the Moors to the Inquisition, frex.] What is infuriating is how few spokemen we hear in the media promulgating the more tolerant versions of Islam. I don’t know if they are just not out there, or if they are prudently keeping their heads down, fearing retribution from the nutbars. Yeah, there’s Dean Ahmad and a few others, but they don’t get much play, and even the good Dr. can’t bring himself to endorse the existence of Israel in any but the most reluctant terms.*

    Kevin

    *Note: I’m philosophically opposed to the establishment of any state on a religious basis, but if Israel is illegitimate because it is a “Jewish state” then any number of “Islamic states” and “Christian states” are equally so, including almost every other regime in the Middle East. A secular, multi-ethnic, multi-religious polity emerging from the League of Nations’ mandate of Palestine would have been the 8th Wonder of the Modern World.

  33. BG

    Look here for how to make a link

    try it and hit preview to see if it works. Should be a red underline link.

  34. Ruthless,

    All written things belong to a time and space. DC

  35. Ruthless, I’m aware of Chritianity’s past and it’s potential for future violence in the name of God. Indeed, some would argue that’s already occuring.

    But the issue here and now is extremist Islam and the comfort level for violence that exists in the Middle East.

    To MainstreamMan, the “they” in my post are exactly who I singled out. Murderous zealots out to kill and the culture always quick to react with violence that allows them to exist.

    To mathew hogan, tolerance is one thing. Killing everybody because you’re intolerant is another. And inciting violence because you’ve been accused of being violent…well, you see where I’m going with this, don’t you? Here, individuals are on occasion attacked or killed by individuals representing an intolerant view. In general, our society does not tolerate this. In the M.E., killing people out of intolerance is just another day.

    To kevrob, the tolerant expressions of Islam cannot thrive in the Middle East when more violent ones are dominant. And no tolerant Islamist is gonna change the Middle East from a college in Maryland.

  36. “the idea that people or people of a religion must espouse tolerance to be tolerated is interesting etc., but it is also among the most unlibertarian ideas on Earth.” – matthew hogan

    How is that unlibertarian? Libertarianism only works when people agree not to use violence or force to settle their differences – even if those differences are religious.

    There’s a difference between arguing that a religion that advocates violence to achieve its aims should expect to be treated in the same manner as those who conspire to commit acts of violence by the government and advocating “shuttering the churches that favor the drug war and oppose gay marriage or legalizing gay acts. We better close down Jewish organizations that favor a Jewish-only Judea and Samaria. We better force all communists to be on probation. We better stop the Nazis demonstrating in Skokie.”

    That’s just not a fair characterization of my point.

  37. peeing isn’t violet though

    I don’t know about that. Ever had a kidney stone?

  38. We Highly Protest Against Pop’s Hypocritical Against The Islam

    Hmmm. I see. Point taken, gentlemen, point taken. But if you could punctuate the thought by firing some AK-47s into the air, ululating, and bombing a church or two, it would really help drive the message home.

  39. “For every Muslim that has burned a paper pope or American flag, there is an intolerant American who has used violence against someone who just “looks Muslim,” yet we don’t tend to lump all Americans into a group with those idiots. ”

    BULL. not only moral equivalence, but “statistical equivalence” where none exists.

    do you have any statistics to back up your stupid, unfounded statement?

    we’ve had over 3,000 people within our borders killed by muslim fanatics in the last 5 years and many thousands of others people’s lives saved by thwarted attacks (see: port angeles et al)

    you have no statistical basis for your stupid claims. it’s just more equivalence rubbish.

  40. “I firmly believe that it is a mistake to emphasize that Al Quaida et al are Islamic since it is then far too easy to include non-violent muslims in the criticism… these guys are murderous thugs… the fact that the claim to be Muslims is a secondary and not too important side issue. ”

    more PC stupididy. dood. THEY emphasize that they are islamic. they JUSTIFY their actions on ACCOUNT of islam. they aren’t “peripherally muslim” the REASON for their actions (self-admitted) is based on their interpretation of islam.

    furthermore, they KILL people BECAUSE they are insulting islam.

    for pete’s sake.

    i don’t expect PC crap in Reason.

  41. i don’t expect PC crap in Reason.

    I’m left wondering when LGF took over H&R.

  42. Madpad.

    I am with you. I didn’t mean to imply that you were using an overly broad brush, but many do.

    Whit.
    DOOD, you’re not reading very carefully.

    It is not PC bullshit to say that we should address the problem by concentrating on those whose ACTIONS are of concern. I don’t care what people think. It is what they do that matters. Someone who is murderous and Muslim is not better or worse than someone who is murderous and christian. It is their actions that matter. When you lump those who act in murderous way because of their religion into the same group with those who do not act in a murderous way, you do a disservice to the majority in the group (the non-violent will ALWAYS be the majority).

    Those who are upset with the pope and protest verbally have done nothing wrong. Those that protest by burning a paper pope are within their rights (free speech). Those that commit acts of violence are thugs. There were similar reactions to 9/11 in the US whereby innocent Muslims were assaulted by idiots who couldn’t discriminate between murderous thugs and innocents (the numbers are in the hundreds each year, and have been since before 9/11, actually).

    Remember, individual Americans have KILLED Muslims BECAUSE they were Muslims. This does not mean we should condemn all Americans. Likewise, individual Muslims have killed BECAUSE someone is seen as insulting Islam. This does not mean we should condemn all Muslims. Lack of discrimination between combatants and non-combatants is counter-productive.

  43. I think the assumption that some make, generally in places other than H & R, that Islam as a religion is inherently more violent than Christianity is misplaced. At the moment, Islam has more adherents willing to engage in violence, but that doesn’t necessarily implicate the doctrines of the religion. I think the preferable tactic would be to find out why more Muslims are have the time and the inclination to burn paper popes and American flags instead of combing through 1,500 year-old documents to find something to justify that behavior. My own supposition is that some Muslim countries are in the very odd position of having large amounts of money in a way that avoided actually improving the lives of their citizens. Also, Muslim countries have had disturbing population booms in the last 30 years and therefore have a large population of people who really have nothing to do but notice how poor they are. Humans get very cranky when we think we’re losing status relative to less-deserving people, and that crankiness can be very useful to the evil-minded. Islam provided enough philosophical cover for a movement whose real purpose was to make the surplus population feel superior without actually threatening the governing class.

  44. matthew hogan:

    the idea that people or people of a religion must espouse tolerance to be tolerated is interesting etc., but it is also among the most unlibertarian ideas on Earth.

    seems to me it is almost the essence of libertarianism, unless you are using some odd meaning of “tolerate”. if by “tolerate” you mean “agree with” or “embrace”, then i guess you would be right.

    -cab

  45. Like a CT scan, the political statements, demonstrations and protest around the world show the breadth of the overridding Free World vs Islam issue. It would be interesting (for me) to see this plotted on a world map.

  46. mainstream man. you are missing the point and simultaneously playing the strawman game

    first of all, I am not saying we should condemn all muslims. spare me. it does not therefore follow that it is not IMPERATIVE to continue to refer to islamists AS islamist.

    THEY are using islam to justify their actions.

    it is 100% relevant. and it is pc stupidity to pretend that it doesn’t matter.

    “i want to kill you because you insult islam”

    they are ISLAMISTS

    for pete’s sake, they have FORCIBLY converted people they kidnap (see: centanni etc.)

    they have justified killing ALL who are NOT muslim

    they make it a crime to convert away from islam

    etc. etc.

    but it is not RELEVANT that they are islamists?

    bury your head in somebody else’s sandbox, dood. it aint gonna fly to anybody that employs reason.

    hth

  47. “I think the assumption that some make, generally in places other than H & R, that Islam as a religion is inherently more violent than Christianity is misplaced”

    oh, here we go again. no religion can even be violent or non-violent. it’s a theoretical construct.

    the issue is the FOLLOWERS of the religion. those who “breathe life” into it.

    face it. it’s the islamists that murder a nun cause the pope insulted their religion. that murder a documentary producer, that call for fatwah on salman rushdie, that call for fatwah on the pope, etc.

    this is not about THEORY. this is about PRACTICE.

    sure, jews, buddhists, christians, atheists, wiccans, etc. COULD be just as violently murderous as islamists

    but they AREN’T.

    and we are talking reality here, not possibility in alternate PC universes that make you feel good about your warm fuzzy lies.

  48. I’m with Karen. There are some dangerous movements out there that are cloaking themselves in religion. It’s a time-honored trick. Those who insist that these dangerous movements are the inevitable result of a particular religion shoot themselves in the foot by (1) granting the arguments that the bad guys are using as recruiting tools and (2) alienating genuine moderates.

    Would anybody here take Eric Rudolph at his word on matters of religion, and dig up ancient events to argue that his interpretation is the most accurate depiction of Christianity?

    There’s no denying that all sorts of awful things have been done in the name of just about every religion under the sun. But those who say that some religions inevitably lead to those things are at best dismissing (and hence alienating) the genuine moderates, and at worst tarring the genuine moderates with guilty by association.

    Why don’t the genuine moderates do something about these genuinely dangerous movements? Some of them are trying to do something. Why haven’t they been more successful? I dunno. Defeating radicals and ending the conditions that foster extremism is not an easy process even for the most devoted and moderate insiders. I might observe that parts of America have struggled from time to time with a violent radical group called the KKK. I might observe that violent militia groups still fluorish in the Andes mountains. I might observe that Northern Ireland has taken decades to curtail radicalism.

    Am I here to make excuses for radicals? HELL NO. What I am here to say is that it makes no sense at all to paint with too broad a brush. At best it’s inaccurate, at best it amounts to shooting yourself in the foot.

  49. MSM,

    I do not know of anyone that received a free pass that harmed a Muslim in any free society?

    We should not condem all Muslims but how do we separate out those that need condemning?

    I am also not sure about the practicle sense of condemn or denounce. Is there a point when casuistries are insufficient (among theorist)?

  50. calling islamists – islamists is NOT painting too broad a brush.

    nobody denies that they are a virulent, all too populous, SUBSET of all muslims

    duh

  51. “not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature”

    My reason tells me that there is no god. So is the pope then telling me that being an atheist is not contrary to God’s nature, that in fact it is the only way to not be contrary to God’s nature? Of course he would have some counter-argument that reason in fact warrants belief in God, but I still find this statement quite startling. I did not expect such a cheer for reason to be coming from the same quarter that denounces condoms. Too bad its only being applied to Islam, and not used with introspection. I’m sure if Mr. Benedict XVI took the lens of reason to his own establishment he would find quite glaring contradictions. (Virgin Birth anyone?)

  52. Whit,

    First, you need to read what I am asserting, then respond based on that. You assert that it is IMPERATIVE that we refer to violent terrorists that use Islam as an excuse as “Islamists”… I say the emphasis should be on their actions and that the earlier emphasis (calling them “terrorists”) is the more pragmatic approach. When you emphasize their religion you alienate potential allies, and create a false schism…We are not fighting Islam, we are fighting terrorists. If you turn this into a battle against Islam, you are picking the wrong fight as even moderates will defend their religion.

    As for statistical equivalence. I want you to do a study…count how many statements are made asking the pope to apologize for his words… then count how many anti-islamic posting show up on blogs around the world. These speech acts will be close in number, I would be willing to bet.

    Acts of violence are another matter.
    These will be much less prevalent.

    In 2004 in the US, something like 200 bias-based assaults on Muslims were reported to the FBI. So far in this mess, there have been a handful of vandalisms and one (potential, certainly not confirmed) report of a murder (the nun you referred to).

    Decide for yourself if it is the acts of violence or the speech that matters. Decide for yourself whether you should condemn those that ask for an apology, or those that throw a molotov.

  53. “We should not condem all Muslims but how do we separate out those that need condemning?”

    By condemning the actions and those that perpetrate them rather than some arbitrary group identity we might place on them (or they on themselves).

  54. The problem with the term Islamist is that it encompasses too many different positions to allow for accuracy in discussing both the real whackos and less extreme believers in that political position. As a comparison, we in the West have political parties that declare themselves to be Christian Democrats. Nobody would ever confuse them with, frex, Rushdoonian theonomists, or even Falwellian “Christain conservatives.” We see a spectrum of Christian believers who want their religious beliefs to inform politics, and have names for most of them. They aren’t all “rightists,” either, or we wouldn’t have the Catholic Worker movement, Protestant Social Gospel activists, etc.

    The attempt to narrow the opprobrium attached to Islamist has resulted in the awkward coinage, Islamo-fascist, the flaws of which has been discussed on this forum before. It doesn’t help much when, like Stalin allowing the icons to be trotted out when Hitler was threatening to take Moscow, a “secular” Arab nationalist like Saddam wrapped himself in the green banner when his regime was besieged.

    Kevin

  55. MainstreamMan, it’s always a difficult walk to tease out the negative aspects of something without being misunderstood.

    Reading your response to whit, I feel compelled to address his argument from another angle.

    You (and Karen and Thoreau) make the very understandable case that Al Qeada and their ilk are not representative of true Islam.

    But many of the folks in the Middle East are apologists for at least one violent faction or another. Whether it’s Hezbollah, Al Qeada, Hamas or The Taliban or some other violent group.

    As a rule, we westerners generally do not tolerate violence. In the Middle East violence is an ingrained part of the culture. I’m NOT saying everyone is violent. I AM saying violence is both more prevelant and more tolerated by large numbers of the population, if not the majority.

    Hands are still cut off thieves, girls are killed for family honor, families attack each other for long-irrelevant hatreds, people of the same faith but different interpretations kill each other regularly. Most people own guns. Due process is unheard of. The legal system is capricious, facts and evidence are often not considered and summary judgements are common.

    Al Qeada, Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, etc. are influential, tolerated, occassionally supported and – in the case of the last 3 – politically active forces in the region.

    By comparison, Eric Rudolph (to respond to the use of him as an example) is an anomally here. So reviled by even most fellow Christians – even ones who agree with his goal of stopping abortion – that he had to hide in the woods for years.

    No one is saying anything about painting Islam with a broad brush. Even within the Middle East, there are certainly tolerant areas and voices.

    But saying Islam is a non-violent religion is purely an academic point. And in asserting which groups don’t represent Isalm, where do you draw the line?

    The fatwah against Rushdie came from Iran, not some fringe group. Cat Stevens AKA Yusuf Islam said he would rat Rushdie out to Khomeini (So much for riding on the “Peace Train”). Violent expression of Islam are occuring all over the world – not just the Middle East.

    Islam may be a peaceful religion…but it’s got a lot of violent followers. Basically..
    – if they call themselves Muslims
    – are tolerated by Muslims
    – kill and die in the name of Islam
    – run countries and political or terrorist groups with the aim of spreading (read:Imposing) Islam…

    Well, then, I’m afraid they’re Muslims and they, unfortunately for nonviolent Muslims, represent Islam.

  56. MSM,

    Nothing personal, but the wide brush, all Muslims, all Islamist grouping stuff is stated here ad nauseam. Can we just all stipulate that fact?

    There are some very thoughtful people here. Could we try and find some realistic, non theoretical solutions to the problem? Can we even identify the problem? Maybe some think there is no problem?

    I say: There is a current clashing of ideals between the powers of Islam and key powers of the free world that could easily escalate and prove disasterous for mankind. All it would take is a shot heard round the world.

    The language rounds are being fired and heard now.
    Diplomacy is stretched thin. Not much anyone can offer. We all know what follows a failed diplomacy.

  57. “Seize?”

    “Sixteen” in most (all?) Romance languages.

  58. Here’s what I’m arguing against: I’m arguing against the notion that religious violence is an inescapable consequence of Islam. That notion will alienate those whose friendship and assistance we desperately need.

    Are there people engaging in violence because of their religion, or at least their interpretation of their religion? Absolutely. No denying it.

    But some here suggest that the problem is not simply their interpretation of Islam, but rather that anybody who professes to be a Muslim must inevitably become violent. That is blatantly false. Say what you will about illiberal passages in religious texts, say what you will about the past, but the reality is that most religious believers (of all faiths) do NOT engage in violence.

    To insist that those who do not share a violent interpretation of a religious text must nonetheless be placed in the same category is a violation of the first rule of war: Know your enemy. Defining the enemy too broadly, and alienating would-be allies, is the dumbest thing that you can do in a conflict.

    Condemn the violence, fight those who persist in it, and seek the aid of those who denounce it. Don’t insist that anybody who professes belief in the Koran is an enemy. Not only is it bigoted, it’s also a good way to lose this fight.

  59. I said: “the idea that people or people of a religion must espouse tolerance to be tolerated is interesting etc., but it is also among the most unlibertarian ideas on Earth.”

    Other replied: “. . .seems to me it is almost the essence of libertarianism, unless you are using some odd meaning of “tolerate”. if by “tolerate” you mean “agree with” or “embrace”, then i guess you would be right.”

    Umm …..no. If you are a libertarian, you believe in tolerating legally (not embracing or even liking) gay-hating evangelical mouth-foamers, black-hating Aryan Nations Christians, private-drug use persecuting mainstream conservative Christianity, freedom-hating Communist faithful, medicine-hating Scientologists, abortion-banning-seeking Catholics, infidel-hating Islamists, much less the apolitical broader mass of most of these groups.

    That is, I repeat, BASIC 101 libertarianism, as in you dont get in the door if you dont think so. Tolerance is not a earned privilege in this line of thought, and certainly not one surrealistically negotiated with literally non-existent entities like “Islam”.

  60. I suspect a better way to address the issue would be to ask, “Why is violence so quickly resorted to in some Muslim cultures?”.

    This kinda separates the issue from the religion, and accounts for cases where it’s more about tribal custom than Islam.

  61. Jon H-

    Good point. It’s not like there’s a shortage of guerrilla armies in non-Muslim parts of the developing world. And even the guerrilla armies in Muslim areas are frequently more nationalist than anything else.

  62. Most of Western civilization has adopted secular laws. Not so the Islamic, (Muslim), world. To the Muslim there is only one law: Sharia Law. An introduction to it can be found here, with the lead-in as shown below the weblink: (Notice this website is based in Belffast, Ireland, within the United Kingdom.)>>>>The word “Islam” is an Arabic word which means “submission to the will of God”. This word comes from the same root as the Arabic word “salam”, which means “peace”. As such, the religion of Islam teaches that in order to achieve true peace of mind and surety of heart, one must submit to God and live according to His Divinely revealed Law. The most important truth that God revealed to mankind is that there is nothing divine or worthy of being worshipped except for Almighty God, thus all human beings should submit to Him. The word “Muslim” means one who submits to the will of God, regardless of their race, nationality or ethnic background>>>>>

    So, according to Muslims, is it necessary that, in order for the Pope to qualify as an authority to cite anything Islamic, he should first convert to Islam? Apparently so.

    At the below site we find a practical example of Sharia law being administered.

    http://farmgal.wordpress.com/2006/05/03/sharia-law/

    >>>>>May 3rd, 2006 at 8:19 am

    Mogadishu, Somalia. A teenage Somali boy has stabbed to death his father?s killer in a public execution ordered by an Islamic court.

    Large crowds gathered at a Koranic school in Somalia?s capital, Mogadishu, to watch Mohamed Moallim, 16, stab Omar Hussein in the head and throat. Hussein had been convicted of killing the boy?s father, Sheikh Osman Moallim, after a row about Mohamed?s education. Islamic courts have brought a semblance of order to Mogadishu, imposing Sharia law after years of rule by warlords.

    Under Sharia law those who commit murder are punishable by death. Hussein was tied to a stake and had his head covered by a bag ahead of his execution. He shouted ?There is no God but Allah? as Mohamed Moallim stepped up to take his revenge.

    Speaking afterwards, the boy said he felt satisfied that Hussein was dead. ?I am happy now because I killed the man who killed my father,? he told the Reuters news agency.

    Radio HornAfrik said the execution marked the first time the local court in the Bermuda district of Mogadishu had handed down a death penalty. Residents in the nearby area have reported a drop in robberies, murder and general lawlessness since the court began its work.>>>>

    And it is ultimately based on the Muslim?s teaching that Sharia law is the only law. Perhaps a close reading of the “MYTHS AND REALITIES OF iSLAMIC LAW” on the following website will be enlightening.

    I suggest anyone truly interested save it and print it out for future reference. Maybe even pass it around to other interested persons.

    http://www.iol.ie/~afifi/Articles/law.htm

  63. The interesting point is the person the pope is quoting. Manuel, the penultimate Eastern emperor, isn’t an obvious avatar for a hard line on Islam. He spent most of his career as a vassal of the Ottoman sultan, and the only time in his reign that he got a leg up it wasn’t because of anything he did but because Tamerlane defeated the Ottoman army.

    Interesting why?

    There ought to be a jump the shark cliche for google erudition thrown in.

  64. It’s one thing to discuss these issues as we are doing here, but some posters seem to expect that we can somehow solve the Pope’s problem, or the diplomatic problems of the USA.
    To me, an anarchist, any organization, even a religious organization, is setting itself up for problems.
    I don’t like standing armies nor standing Popes nor standing mullahs.
    Our first step here is to ridicule any organization and then do our part to reach out person-to-person.

  65. Poor googling erudition, methinks.

    A quick check would show that Manuel II was the antepenultimate emperor (followed by his sons John VIII and Constantine XI).

  66. In general, all together now, “we” are to be judged according to our highest professed ideals and noblest rhetoric; “they” according to the worst actions of the worst among them, actions that can be traceable to the worst interpretation of their worst coherent sentiments and official rhetoric.

  67. matthew hogan nails it.

  68. Jon H/Thoreau, Good points.

    And:
    I suspect that Americans are quick to react to Muslim violence/reactions (no matter the reason) toward the West sooner than, say, the guerrilla armies Thoreau spoke of is, of course, 911(rational?). Iraq and Afghanistan has not and will not satify our revenge. I think OBL must be verifiably dead to calm our raised ire. After that??? But I think we will go there.

    Ruthless,

    Don’t think we could fix any leaders problems here. Because we can’t, I think it indicates the tough reality those leaders (and those surrounding them) face. There is no magical elixir poured into the heads of titled people.

    However, to think of such possiblities and ways seems a worthy endeavor.

  69. matthew hogan nails it? Sorry, I didn’t realize that Libertarian 101 means rejecting anything remotely resembling common sense.

    I don’t mind tolerating anyone’s SPEECH or religious BELIEF. Even if it’s anti-thetical to what I believe and to what the US is generally founded on. But does that mean that when the Aryan Nations leader stands up and urges his skinhead buddies to beat people to death that he won’t be held accountable for conspiracy to murder? I mean, isn’t that what Charles Manson is in prison for???

    Sure, in a John Wayne movie, when the bad guy runs out of bullets, the Duke will put his gun down and fight it out hand-to-hand. But that’s a freaking MOVIE, where there’s NO chance that the villain will kill the hero and then go on to kill a whole bunch of other innocent victims.

    Does that mean that I believe all Muslims are violent nuts? No. But there’s definitely a chunk of them who are – and that subset has proven itself to be capable of taking out 3,000 innocent civilians at a whack.

    I’d say that extending the benefit of U.S. citizenship to everyone all over the world is not feasible, and not very smart. Maybe I’m NOT a libertarian, but I’m certainly not willing to extend the benefits of U.S. citizenship to foreign terrorists.

  70. “Good point. It’s not like there’s a shortage of guerrilla armies in non-Muslim parts of the developing world. And even the guerrilla armies in Muslim areas are frequently more nationalist than anything else.”

    Also, i think, you have to address the use of violence by individuals to coerce the behavior of others to fit sectarian or idiosyncratic standards – honor killings, vigilante attacks on shops or theaters, etc. Or the use of violence by club-wielding government “morals police” as is seen in Saudi Arabia.

    It seems like, culturally, violence is often the expressive tool closest at hand. And it seems as if there’s a belief that if I am insulted or emotionally aggrieved, then I am justified in damaging your body or goods.

    I think *that* is the key. Where does *that* come from? And where does the societal tolerance for that come from?

    I’m not sure it comes from their religion. In a way it resembles the former tolerance of abuse and lynchings of blacks in the US (esp. the South). That certainly didn’t come from the Bible.

  71. rob-

    As I understood him, the “us” and “them” that Matthew Hogan referred to were, roughly speaking, the West and the Muslim world. Some people here seem to be suggesting that the entire Muslim world must be judged by the acts of the terrorists, while the West must be judged by its highest aspirations. Or at least they seem to think that all Muslims should be judged according to the actions of the terrorists.

    I have a friend who thinks that Chechen rebels, Uighur separatists in Xinjiang, and Al Qaeda are the exact same problem. I see 3 very distinct problems.

  72. Elmo writes: “Under Sharia law those who commit murder are punishable by death”

    In the Old Testament, kids who disobey their parents are punishable by death.

  73. “There is no magical elixir poured into the heads of titled people.

    However, to think of such possiblities and ways seems a worthy endeavor.”

    Don Coyote,
    It’s like a game of coaching a blindfolded person whether he’s getting “warmer” or “colder.”
    It’s fun, but, in real life, the blindfolded titled people don’t listen, much less, listen to us.
    All I want to keep advising them is:
    1. Sit the fuck down.
    2. Shut the fuck up.

  74. >>>>Matthew Hogan nails it>>>>

    Not quite, Thoreau

    I can’t imagine the Pope standing idly by while one of his Bishops, or Cardinals, or Priests, starts ranting “an eye for an eye” to their flocks. And I surely can’t think the local gendarmeries of the Western world would put up with it in practice.

    But I can find references to that very thing being practiced, and supported by Sharia Courts and Sharia Law enforcement, all over the Islamic world.

    So, WHERE are those “moderate” Muslims?

    Jon,

    I hope my reference to someone else’s words, (writing), is no more subject to censure than the Pope’s having recited something someone else wrote centuries ago.

  75. So, WHERE are those “moderate” Muslims?

    Living next door to me, actually.

  76. matthew hogan, you said at 5:46:

    Umm …..no. If you are a libertarian, you believe in tolerating legally (not embracing or even liking) gay-hating evangelical mouth-foamers, black-hating Aryan Nations Christians, private-drug use persecuting mainstream conservative Christianity, freedom-hating Communist faithful, medicine-hating Scientologists, abortion-banning-seeking Catholics, infidel-hating Islamists, much less the apolitical broader mass of most of these groups.

    i agree with tolerating legally all of the distasteful people you list above, IF they agree to tolerate legally those that they hate. if someone is not willing to legally tolerate others’ existence, i’m pretty sure i can still get in the clubhouse door even if i don’t turn the other cheek.

    my take on basic 101 libertarianism has always been: i get to do whatever i want as long as i don’t infringe on others’ right do the same. but i think i’m allowed to fight back if they infringe on my rights, or even if they infringe on the rights of others.

    i’m not really sure if we’re just arguing semantics, or if we actually disagree.

    FWIW, your 6:28 post i agree with 100%. not “agree with” agree with, but you know what i mean.

    -cab

  77. Mathew Hogan,

    Our forces (trigger pullers) in Iraq search towns and villages daily, in the company of Iraqi forces, to pluck out the dangerous radicals. This is extremely dangerous but necessary. They do this in the midst of Muslims/Islamist trying to carry on their daily lives. There is also much infastructure work being done by the military and contractors.

    There, the Iraqis are not lumped together and tagged as the enemy, all Muslims, Islamist. Those soldiers are representing our ideal society because they believe in it. It may not be truely ideal but comparatively to them, it is. They need to believe this. And yes, Bush and Rumsfeld are leading this islamofacist cause described above.

    Thus, it is also an unfair broad brush that paints America. A few posters and protesters does not America make.

  78. Now, Don Coyote DOES nail it.

    Likewise, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, and to a lesser degree in several other countries.

    But in NONE of them are the LEADERS in the Mosques getting any publicity for teaching those same policies of moderation.

    One has to wonder why.

    And their Islamic school books still teach that infidels are actually pigs, dogs and monkeys. In fact, Saudi Arabia only two weeks ago agreed to review their school texts with the “thought” of revamping those teachings.

  79. And their Islamic school books still teach that infidels are actually pigs, dogs and monkeys. In fact, Saudi Arabia only two weeks ago agreed to review their school texts with the “thought” of revamping those teachings.

    The Saudi monarchy is in a somewhat precarious position, and caters to religious extremists in order to maintain their hold on power. The parallels to the Republican party are eerie.

  80. And their Islamic school books still teach that infidels are actually pigs, dogs and monkeys. In fact, Saudi Arabia only two weeks ago agreed to review their school texts with the “thought” of revamping those teachings.

    The Saudi monarchy is in a somewhat precarious position, and caters to religious extremists in order to maintain their hold on power. The parallels to the Republican party are eerie.

  81. APL

    >>>>>>>The Saudi monarchy. . . . caters to religious extremists>>>>>>>>

    Which extremists, the radicals who are at war with the West, or the extremists who want to bring their civilization into the modern world?

    Isn’t there a difference?

  82. A “culture of honor” leading to violence is not unknown to those of us in the Anglosphere. David Hackett Fischer posits that feuding and dueling, behavior not unknown in American culture, can be traced to the folkways of the emigration from the border regions of Britain and Ireland. [ Albion’s Seed ] Then there’s the Code Duello. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_duello

    If you look hard enough, we can see remnants of this behavior in our country, in the present. One of the hallmarks of modernity is a reduction in this kind of thinking, but many in the Muslim world haven’t made that jump yet.

    Kevin

  83. “And their Islamic school books still teach that infidels are actually pigs, dogs and monkeys. In fact, Saudi Arabia only two weeks ago agreed to review their school texts with the “thought” of revamping those teachings.”

    The Saudis have long, *long* practiced a particularly extreme kind of Islam, Wahhabism, which they’ve been working hard to export.

    The Wahhabis have been busting on other Muslims for being insufficiently orthodox and pure for hundreds of years.

    So I wouldn’t exactly consider their textbooks to be emblematic of conditions across all Islamic cultures. Certainly, Wahhabism is the kind of Islamic practice that is most problematic, but it hasn’t been representative of all practice worldwide.

    (Though it has become more prevalent in recent decades due to Saudis spending lots of money to spread it. For instance, paying to set up mosques, with the requirement that the mosque have Wahhabi imams, etc. I recall stories from the Balkans, where the Saudis were “restoring” mosques damaged in war, but actually stripped the old ornamentation from the walls because the Wahhabis demand a more austere, ornament-free architecture.)

  84. kevrob writes: “If you look hard enough, we can see remnants of this behavior in our country, in the present. One of the hallmarks of modernity is a reduction in this kind of thinking, but many in the Muslim world haven’t made that jump yet.”

    It’s very gang/mafia-esque behavior.

  85. OK, so if the monarch or dictator of a Muslim country orders that the public schools teach a particular type of propaganda, it therefore follows that all Muslims believe that? Huh?

    Would you suggest that Russian textbooks during the Communist era could teach us anything about Orthodox Christianity? Or that we should draw any conclusions about atheism based on those textbooks?

    Do textbooks in the military dictatorship of Myanmar tell us anything useful about Buddhists?

    Isn’t it interesting that radical Islam is strongest in unfree countries? Do you guys think that maybe, just maybe, this has to do with something that isn’t inherent to the religion? Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with dictatorships?

  86. In Tonto’s eyes, the Lone Ranger was a Wahhabi.
    I could be wrong.

  87. Ruthless…that’s Kemo Sabe

  88. thoreau

    >>>>>OK, so if the monarch or dictator of a Muslim country orders that the public schools teach a particular type of propaganda, it therefore follows that all Muslims believe that? Huh?>>>>>

    First, I don’t recall anyone saying that.

    But, to make that very point, wasn’t it in Saudi Arabia that a pick-pocket just had his hand severed in a public square?

    Isn’t that sufficient to demonstrate the Monarch’s wishes regarding “his” religious beliefs are getting through to a fairly widespread segment of the Saudi population?

    Let’s hope one of two things happens. Either “his” teachings continue to be moderated, (revamping school texts is a start),or the entire world resorts to cutting off the hands of pick-pockets.

    Your choice.

  89. SR:

    (“Seize” is) “Sixteen” in most (all?) Romance languages.

    Thanks, SR.

  90. thoreau

    And BTW, the pick-pocket was a foreigner. If it’s okay in Saudi Arabia to chop off the hand of a pick-pocket, is there a chance that “we” might adopt just such a remedy for similar transgressions of “our” foreigners?

    I mean, you know. Fair is Fair.

  91. Elmo writes: “But, to make that very point, wasn’t it in Saudi Arabia that a pick-pocket just had his hand severed in a public square?”

    To be perfectly honest, though I think it excessive, I have no real problem with that. The rules are well-known, and the thief knew what would happen if he stole. Most important, it represents no threat to me.

    What I have a problem with, and what *is* a threat to me, is arbitrary violence by non-state actors or groups, using violence as a means of enforcing their own idiosyncratic rules against people over whom they have no legitimate authority.

    That covers everything from honor killings to the killing of Theo van Gogh to 9/11.

  92. Let’s hope one of two things happens. Either “his” teachings continue to be moderated, (revamping school texts is a start),or the entire world resorts to cutting off the hands of pick-pockets.

    Call me crazy, but I think there’s a middle ground in there somewhere.

  93. Jon H,
    One thing we hold in common with our “enemies” is that punishment/ and/or holding people “accountable”/ bringing them to “justice,” etc., somehow miraculously accomplishes something positive/ blessed by El Popo.

    Hit don’t.
    (Hey, we gotta start somewhere on the common ground thing.)

  94. Don’t worry, Wahhabi.

  95. i agree with tolerating legally all of the distasteful people you list above, IF. . . .

    No! Stop there. The IF is fatal.

    Even what comes after….

    “they agree to tolerate legally those that they hate.”

    No, they cannot harm the persons or rights of the persons they hate, but they get to hold ad advocate views of intolerance and even practice it on their own lawns, and on those consenting to be there.

  96. “and even practice it on their own lawns, and on those consenting to be there”

  97. what, pray tell, is the difference between “agree to tolerate legally those that they hate” and “cannot harm the persons or rights of the persons they hate”.

    either you’re making some distinction that’s going over my head, or you just like to argue. pick any consistent definition of “tolerate” you want (you seem to be using several different ones in the same sentence), but if someone doesn’t “tolerate” me (you pick: either approve of, or not kill, or not try to make illegal, or allow on their property, or really whatever you want it to mean), i don’t have to “tolerate” them, and i really can’t believe you’re suggesting otherwise.

    -cab

  98. So Tim, the Pope makes a statement, and the first response to it your report is that of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt?

    WTF? Why not Al Jazeera? Why not find some reports from “the man in the street?” The voice you choose to provide for how Muslims are responding to this is a gang of Islamist murderere – well thanks a lot. I’m sure a billion people who don’t make a habit of bombing things would be glad to know that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s response leads off.

  99. Jon H

    >>>>>What I have a problem with, and what *is* a threat to me, is arbitrary violence by non-state actors or groups, using violence as a means of enforcing their own idiosyncratic rules against people over whom they have no legitimate authority.<<br />
    Now, THERE is something we can agree on, in spades. And, IMHO, therein lies the genesis of the current Islamofascist problem: ?arbitrary violence by non-state actors or groups?. Though in this case those groups have thus far proven to have either direct backing of host states, or at the very least, their acquiescence, or both.

    i.e. Storming the American Embassy in Tehran in 1979 fit the “arbitrary violence by non-state actors or groups, using violence as a means of enforcing their own idiosyncratic rules against people over whom they have no legitimate authority.” to a T.

    And I have never known what their “real” goals were, other than to demonstrate that they could pull it off. Somebody settled for some guns, but I venture it was not the “students” that overran the Embassy.

    And then there’s the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, et al. each one of which was at one time exactly the kind of group you describe, and each one has now grown into a political power unto itself.

    Case in point; One of the leaders in the Tehran Embassy take-over is now President Ach-mennen-jihad. “He”, now being the head of a terroriest state, might not scare you, but he sure has my attention. Not just because he has told Iraq where to get off, but he’s followed that up by going now to Cuba and rubbing elbows with Hugo Chavez, Castro’s hierarchy, and several other “non” aligned Pan American countries, who are applauding banners in the streets proclaiming the US to be the Great Satan. Yeh, Non-Aligned.

    IMHO once more, to disregard the disparate “arbitrary violence by non-state actors or groups”, is to deja vu the thirties in Europe all over again. Hopefully it won?t any more Bali nightclubs, Spanish trains or 9/11’s to drive that point home.

    Thanks, H&R, for the platform.

  100. WTF, indeed. Here’s a attention grabber for you joe; “pope quotes esoteric text, moderate muslims don’t beef”. Oh, and Al Jazeera is currently running the same Muslim Brotherhood angle as their second headline.

  101. Does that mean that I believe all Muslims are violent nuts? No. But there’s definitely a chunk of them who are – and that subset has proven itself to be capable of taking out 3,000 innocent civilians at a whack.

    and

    Under Sharia law those who commit murder are punishable by death

    Sounds like the American government to me.

    Abroad, thousands and thousands of “innocent civilians” dead at the hand of American soldiers, uncountable billions of dollars of infrastructure destroyed, two failed states… If I were a man on the Muslim street, I might be forgiven for thinking that all democrats are “violent nuts”.

    At home, 37 States and the federal government have legalised ritual killing. At home, every single resident – however unwilling – is forced (ie, through income taxes or sales taxes) to give of his substance for this killing. Every American is an accomplice to ritual state killing.

    If I were a Muslim man on the street, I might be forgiven for thinking that all Americans are hypocrites.

    Bush and Rumsfeld are leading this islamofacist cause described above.

    I know that there’s a typing mistake in the above comment, but I can’t help thinking that… the remark is more perceptive than the poster thinks.

    For both the present administration and the terrorists, “the end justifies the means”. Both use violence, terror, and appeals to the fears of their constituents to achieve their ends.

    If I were a Muslim man in the street, I’d loathe both equally.

    the first rule of war: Know your enemy

    “I have seen the enemy, and he is us.”

  102. “Some people here seem to be suggesting that the entire Muslim world must be judged by the acts of the terrorists, while the West must be judged by its highest aspirations.”
    Thoreau

    And SOME people here seem to be reversing the argument…suggesting that the entire Christian world be judged by the actions of generations long past, and long since repudiated, and the actions of terrorists quite isolated and universally shunned…

    …while the Moslem world is judged by the sound-bite produced by some flac just after he leaves the White House Ramadan dinner (“Islam is the Religion of Peace”) – notwithstanding if the same creep preaches “Death to Jews!” next Friday.

    Hey thoreau!

  103. Andrew-

    I never suggested that we should tilt the unfair comparisons in the opposite direction.

    I freely admit that there are a hell of a lot of problems in the Muslim world right now. What I’m not prepared to do, however, is insist that all of these problems are inevitable results of Islam. That (1) way oversimplifies the problem, (2) grants legitimacy to the arguments made by violent thugs (who insist that theirs is the only true form of Islam), (3) runs the risk of uniting people who currently have little to do with each other (e.g. nationalist or separatist movements), (4) runs the risk of alienating people who would otherwise be on our side.

    One thing to keep in mind is that there are plenty of non-Muslim areas of the world with current or very recent violence and despotism. Latin America had (and still has, to some extent) considerable problems with guerrilla movements, dictators, etc. Spain and Portugal were dictatorships for a good part of the 20th century. Italy had a rather infamous dictator. The Phillipines were a dictatorship for a good chunk of the 20th century, and their democracy remains fragile. And then there’s Northern Ireland.

    Should we conclude that there’s something about Catholicism that makes despotism and guerrilla warfare inevitable? Or should somebody have concluded that a few decades ago? Of course not.

    Why not? First, there are good counter-examples. Second, a closer look shows that the problems facing those Catholic countries were all very distinct.

    Now look at the Muslim world, stretching from Indonesia to Morocco. That swath of the world includes monarchies, military dictatorships, theocracies, failed states, but also a few democracies of varying degrees of success. Overall, not the most promising story in the world. But looking closely shows that the types of problems facing these different places differ greatly.

    Of course, in most of those places you can find people who claim that they are killing in the name of religion. In some places they are home-grown fanatics. Some of them act in opposition to the state, others are funded by the state. (And a few, although officially enemies of the state, are not repressed as effectively as the more liberal opposition groups. Hmm…) But in other places they are outsiders, drawn to trouble like a magnet. Jihadis might be streaming into places like Bosnia, Chechnya, and perhaps Xinjiang, but the Bosnians, Chechens, and Uighurs aren’t terribly interested in creating a theocratic state.

    There are very real problems in the Muslim world. But if we conflate unrelated problems we’ll never solve them.

  104. “As I understood him, the ‘us’ and ‘them’ that Matthew Hogan referred to were, roughly speaking, the West and the Muslim world.”

    Funny, I got the feeling (and this was later reinforced by subsequent wacky posts) that matthew hogan thinks libertarianism means relinquishing the right to self-defense of one’s self and one’s country.

    “Some people here seem to be suggesting that the entire Muslim world must be judged by the acts of the terrorists, while the West must be judged by its highest aspirations. Or at least they seem to think that all Muslims should be judged according to the actions of the terrorists.” – thoreau

    Yeah, those people are idiots. We totally agree on this point. But to claim that you can’t be a libertarian and ALSO be willing to take down those who commit conspiracy to murder and inspire, aid and abet terrorists because in an ideal world libertarians believe everyone has the right freedom of expression is just bizarre.

    “I have a friend who thinks that Chechen rebels, Uighur separatists in Xinjiang, and Al Qaeda are the exact same problem. I see 3 very distinct problems.” – thoreau

    I think your friend is probably ALMOST right. The primary difference is that the Uighur separatists are a separatist movement that hasn’t attacked anyone outside of China and the Chechens are only attacking Russians. In both of those instances, it is an empire trying to maintain control of an area that historically and culturally is very different. (Think the ETA in Spanish/French Basque territory.)

    In the current “War on Terror” (certainly a misnomer if taken too broadly) scenario you’ve got international terrorist organizations attacking civilians outside their own countries. If they hadn’t attacked the U.S. I don’t think you’d see us in Afghanistan. (Iraq was probably inevitable, tho, based on the outcome of the first Gulf War.)

    War on Terror or whatever semantics you want to use, unless they attack the U.S. I don’t think you’ll ever see the U.S. invade Spain or Ireland to root out the IRA or the ETA, the Chechens or the Uighurs.

    There actually IS a difference between a separatist movement and international terrorists.

  105. rob-

    I pretty much agree with everything in your latest post, except that I interpreted matthew hogan in a very different way.

    Maybe instead of arguing over what he said we should wait for him to show up and clarify, one way or the other.

  106. When I sent Karen’s

    Islam, [has] provided enough philosophical cover for a movement whose real purpose was to make the surplus population feel superior without actually threatening the governing class.

    to an historian of my acquaintance, he replied:

    Sorry, was that Islam or Christianity?

  107. thoreau – You are, as ever, the rational voice of sanity. Sorry I flipped out a bit over matthew hogan’s post. There’s been a lot of arguing past one another on this thread, it seems.

    Also, I guess as long as there are people who are willing to designate themselves as the gatekeeper of their narrow definition of libertarianism, people like me will never make the cut – I’m just such a rebellious heretic! Heh…

  108. Now that the thread has run out of steam, one last thing I didn’t say up front because the post was already long:

    Am I the only one who thinks Benedict XVI is not a first-rate thinker? I’m not saying this to be anti-popish; I’m comparing him specifically to John Paul II, whom I didn’t like a whole lot either, but who was, I think, a much more fluid and fluent thinker than Ratzinger.

    The irony is the B16 came in with a wonderful reputation as an intellectual; supposedly he was the thinking man’s pope who made up for what he lacked in charisma and spiritualism (JPII’s obvious strong suits) with a thorough philosophical grounding and intellectual vigor.

    I really don’t think it’s worked out that way. John Paul was as well read as Benedict, and he was also a clearer and more persuasive intellectual. His books were easy to read, and wore their erudition lightly. His arguments were lucid and supported, no matter how much you disagreed with them. He was skillful at choosing his words in a way that showed familiarity with terms of art, as in the famous “more than an hypothesis” description of evolution.

    I always accepted the conventional wisdom that the great documents of John Paul’s papacy (among which I’d count the revised catechism, for its coherence and readability) were all quietly written by Ratzinger. But now that Ratzo’s in the spotlight, I think that version just had to be wrong.

    Look at the three paragraphs I quoted originally. There’s hardly anything there in the way of ideas. He cites Khoury approvingly, gives a little background, quotes Manuel, then quotes Khoury quoting another guy who in turn is quoting another guy. All in support of a central idea, about the difference between the Greek and Islamic ideas of God’s nature, that isn’t all that revolutionary. The rest of the speech isn’t much crisper, or crispier.

    This isn’t the first time I’ve read through a Ratzo text and been more impressed with the sources and citations than with what he’s done with them. I say Benedict’s reputation as an intellectual powerhouse is open to question.

  109. Sounds like maybe XVI was the primary researcher?

  110. Now that the thread has run out of steam

    Them’s fightin’ words. We demand an apology.

  111. The Pope said we have a violent religion? What a filthy, outrageous lie!! Let’s go burn down churches, throw rocks and burn him in effigy to show the world how peaceful we are.

    -a very short play by Lamar

  112. Sounds like maybe XVI was the primary researcher for JP2? The guy who came up with the compicated and unreadable version that JP2 smoothed into a readable text that average folks could follow?

    Just because you can run down obscure sources and make an academically impressive argument doesn’t mean you can sway the masses… Of course, if you’re preaching to the choir, LITERALLY, doesn’t that mean that they’re nearly on the same page to begin with?

    I mean, look at the stuff joe thinks are the most convincing arguments for his position. Then compare them with how convincing they actually are to someone who hasn’t already bought into his position.

    Kind of a “never the twain shall meet” between the guy doing the talking and the people doing the listening. Meanwhile, over at DU or Kos they’d take joe’s position as the starting point for REALLY “out there” statements.

    Even if you’re the Pope, making hard-to-follow arguments and mis-reading your audience is bound to make you a less-effective communicator/advocate.

  113. So, WHERE are those “moderate” Muslims?
    Living next door to me, actually.

    That’s a statistically meaningful sample to some people, I’m sure.

    So, if Muslims taken as a group aren’t the most ludicrous and pernicious buffoons on the face of the Earth at the current time, which (non-trivially-sized) group is?

    Others groups are quite probably more evil ‘n’ pernicious, but not nearly as buffoonish. Which other groups inspire endless nitpicking about who’s a real member and who isn’t? Which other groups have non-trivial numbers of their members participating in massive, and ludicrous and pointlessly violent, hissy fits because of some obscure cartoons or because of what some other religious nut said (or didn’t say) about them? Which other groups have non-trivial numbers of their members dancing in the streets because a big building in another country was knocked down, killing a lot of people they know nothing about and who had no interest in them, either positive or negative? Assinine intolerant religion, honor killings, race-based gang rapes, blowing up busses, burning cars, etc., etc., etc. – who else?

    So that’s my serious question: if Muslims aren’t the most pernicious and buffoonish group of people on Earth, who is?

  114. I think all the important points have been hit, but I noticed an that people were very willing to assume that violence is more acceptable in Muslim countries than in the West… I don’t think this is accurate.

    The first list I could find on google is here
    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita#rest

    This list hardly seems sorted by religion.
    I see Muslim nations at both the top and the bottom of the list. I see Western countries at both the top and the bottom of the list. I am confindent that a more extensive study of the issue would have the same results.

    The issue of state violence against its citizens is, of course, ignored in this type of list, but if the issue is how do societies react to the violence within their midst I think you would find those Arab nations at the bottom of this list have a very low tolerance (legally) for violent acts, and a very low violent crime rate. As has been pointed out, Sharia law is very harsh on those that commit violence.

    The violence of the extremists is not tolerated in most Muslims countries. The violence of guerilla movements is tolerated, usually, in accordance to the degree of perceived oppression they are fighting against (this is a message that both Israel & Russsia have not learned in their ongoing battles with guerilla groups). To confuse this with tolerance for violence in the culture is a big mistake.

  115. “if Muslims aren’t the most pernicious and buffoonish group of people on Earth, who is?”

    I’d put my vote in for the neo-con branch of the Republican party…but they are probably too small for your criteria…

    You’ve got some irony chops to post this on a H&R thread

    “Which other groups inspire endless nitpicking about who’s a real member and who isn’t?”

    as an example of bufoonery.

  116. Mainstream man wrote:

    “I’d put my vote in for the neo-con branch of the Republican party…but they are probably too small for your criteria…”

    Not only are they not too small, but they also:

    1. refrain from suicide-bombing buses filled with school children despite having received much more insulting and constant slander from their enemies (deserved or not)

    2. refrain from raping women who are insufficiently veiled (How can they resist? Didn’t you see what she was wearing?)

    3. refrain from stating that homosexuals should be killed in the worst way possible (As a gay man, I’m really touched by this one)

    4. refrain from enacting blasphemy laws

    5. allow women to drive

    6. don’t inspire rallies in which their faithful hold up signs saying “NeoCons will destroy Mecca” and “NeoConism will dominate” with the American flag flying over the Eiffel tower

    7. manage to let their daughters go lesbian without an honor killing

    8. shun clitoridectomies

    9. abhor dismemberment

    10. allow people to deconvert from Christianity without murdering them

    Need I go on? The NeoCons certainly suck and are a threat to liberty, but for you to equate them with devout Muslims (read: devout, not “True(TM)”, as such is wishful Western thinking) can only be attributed to militant ignorance or malice on your part.

  117. FleM,

    Darfur & Sudan are indeed tragedies on a scale that Americans have a hard time getting their heads around. I wonder what that has to do with my post.

    “The conflict that is taking place in the Darfur has multiple interwoven causes. While rooted in structural inequity between the center of the country around the Nile and the ‘peripheral’ areas such as Darfur, tensions were exacerbated in the last two decades of the twentieth century by a combination of environmental calamity, political opportunism and regional geopolitics. A point of particular confusion has been the characterization of the conflict as one between ‘Arab’ and ‘African’ populations, a dichotomy that one historian describes as “both true and false”. (for more see Prunier, G?rard, Darfur: The Ambiguous Genocide, Cornell University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-8014-4450-0).

    Spelling skill is a sign of moral virtue, while typing skill is a sign of character.

    Loundry…
    Thanks for the run down. You obviously take my comment WAY too seriously…

    I will refrain from references to large scale suffering that results from the misguided world view of the Republican Neocon when they get their hands on an efficient military. It is a political philosphy that believes in spreading its ideals through military means (maybe you prefer “Hard Wilsonians”)…and in that sense is very close to the political view of the hardline “Islamofacists.”

    “To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death…”.

  118. “This list hardly seems sorted by religion.”

    Dude, how can you even compare apples to oranges? It’s obviously not murder if you’re being stoned to death in accordance with sharia.

    Actually, you’d think murder would be lower in nations with sharia-influenced legal systems because the penalties are so severe – if the killing was not in accordance with sharia, anyway.

  119. Two other responses seem to have been lost.

    I think it is apples to apples.

    US law and Sharia law, for instance, both sanction violence and use violence as the method of punishment. Both the US and Saudi Arabia have executed in excess of 1000 individuals in the last 3 decades. This means that SA has a higher rate for using state sanctioned violence as a way of showing that it doesn’t tolerate violence (smaller country and all).

    If you add in all state sanctioned homicides, the list changes, but it still doesn’t become sorted by religion. Oranges to oranges, there is no evidence that I have seen that Muslim countries are more tolerant of violence than western countries.

    I am always open to evidence to convince me otherwise. Sharia law as practices certainly leads to many human rights violations, but there is nothing fundamentally against human rights in Sharia law.

    This is from the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights currently under consideration in 57 Muslim countries:

    I Right to Life

    a) Human life is sacred and inviolable and every effort shall be made to protect it. In particular no one shall be exposed to injury or death, except under the authority of the Law.

    b) Just as in life, so also after death, the sanctity of a person’s body shall be inviolable. It is the obligation of believers to see that a deceased person’s body is handled with due solemnity.

    II Right to Freedom

    a) Man is born free. No inroads shall be made on his right to liberty except under the authority and in due process of the Law.

    b) Every individual and every people has the inalienable right to freedom in all its forms? physical, cultural, economic and political ? and shall be entitled to struggle by all available means against any infringement or abrogation of this right; and every oppressed individual or people has a legitimate claim to the support of other individuals and/or peoples in such a struggle.

    III Right to Equality and Prohibition Against Impermissible Discrimination

    a) All persons are equal before the Law and are entitled to equal opportunities and protection of the Law.

    b) All persons shall be entitled to equal wage for equal work.

    c ) No person shall be denied the opportunity to work or be discriminated against in any manner or exposed to greater physical risk by reason of religious belief, colour, race, origin, sex or language.

    IV Right to Justice

    a) Every person has the right to be treated in accordance with the Law, and only in accordance with the Law.

    b) Every person has not only the right but also the obligation to protest against injustice; to recourse to remedies provided by the Law in respect of any unwarranted personal injury or loss; to self-defence against any charges that are preferred against him and to obtain fair adjudication before an independent judicial tribunal in any dispute with public authorities or any other person.

    c) It is the right and duty of every person to defend the rights of any other person and the community in general (Hisbah).

    d) No person shall be discriminated against while seeking to defend private and public rights.

    e) It is the right and duty of every Muslim to refuse to obey any command which is contrary to the Law, no matter by whom it may be issued.

    V Right to Fair Trial

    a) No person shall be adjudged guilty of an offence and made liable to punishment except after proof of his guilt before an independent judicial tribunal.

    b) No person shall be adjudged guilty except after a fair trial and after reasonable opportunity for defence has been provided to him.

    c) Punishment shall be awarded in accordance with the Law, in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and with due consideration of the circumstances under which it was committed.

    d) No act shall be considered a crime unless it is stipulated as such in the clear wording of the Law.

    e) Every individual is responsible for his actions. Responsibility for a crime cannot be vicariously extended to other members of his family or group, who are not otherwise directly or indirectly involved in the commission of the crime in question.

    VI Right to Protection Against Abuse of Power

    Every person has the right to protection against harassment by official agencies. He is not liable to account for himself except for making a defence to the charges made against him or where he is found in a situation wherein a question regarding suspicion of his involvement in a crime could be reasonably raised

    VII Right to Protection Against Torture

    No person shall be subjected to torture in mind or body, or degraded, or threatened with injury either to himself or to anyone related to or held dear by him, or forcibly made to confess to the commission of a crime, or forced to consent to an act which is injurious to his interests.

    VIII Right to Protection of Honour and Reputation

    Every person has the right to protect his honour and reputation against calumnies, groundless charges or deliberate attempts at defamation and blackmail.

    IX Right to Asylum

    a) Every persecuted or oppressed person has the right to seek refuge and asylum. This right is guaranteed to every human being irrespective of race, religion, colour and sex.

    b) Al Masjid Al Haram (the sacred house of Allah) in Mecca is a sanctuary for all Muslims.

    X Rights of Minorities

    a) The Qur’anic principle “There is no compulsion in religion” shall govern the religious rights of non-Muslim minorities.

    b) In a Muslim country religious minorities shall have the choice to be governed in respect of their civil and personal matters by Islamic Law, or by their own laws.

    XI Right and Obligation to Participate in the Conduct and Management of Public Affairs

    a) Subject to the Law, every individual in the community (Ummah) is entitled to assume public office.

    b) Process of free consultation (Shura) is the basis of the administrative relationship between the government and the people. People also have the right to choose and remove their rulers in accordance with this principle.

    XII Right to Freedom of Belief, Thought and Speech

    a) Every person has the right to express his thoughts and beliefs so long as he remains within the limits prescribed by the Law. No one, however, is entitled to disseminate falsehood or to circulate reports which may outrage public decency, or to indulge in slander, innuendo or to cast defamatory aspersions on other persons.

    b) Pursuit of knowledge and search after truth is not only a right but a duty of every Muslim.

    c) It is the right and duty of every Muslim to protest and strive (within the limits set out by the Law) against oppression even if it involves challenging the highest authority in the state.

    d) There shall be no bar on the dissemination of information provided it does not endanger the security of the society or the state and is confined within the limits imposed by the Law.

    e) No one shall hold in contempt or ridicule the religious beliefs of others or incite public hostility against them; respect for the religious feelings of others is obligatory on all Muslims.

    XIII Right to Freedom of Religion

    Every person has the right to freedom of conscience and worship in accordance with his religious beliefs.

    XIV Right to Free Association

    a) Every person is entitled to participate individually and collectively in the religious, social, cultural and political life of his community and to establish institutions and agencies meant to enjoin what is right (ma’roof) and to prevent what is wrong (munkar).

    b) Every person is entitled to strive for the establishment of institutions whereunder an enjoyment of these rights would be made possible. Collectively, the community is obliged to establish conditions so as to allow its members full development of their personalities.

    XV The Economic Order and the Rights Evolving Therefrom

    a) In their economic pursuits, all persons are entitled to the full benefits of nature and all its resources. These are blessings bestowed by God for the benefit of mankind as a whole.

    b) All human beings are entitled to earn their living according to the Law.

    c) Every person is entitled to own property individually or in association with others. State ownership of certain economic resources in the public interest is legitimate.

    d) The poor have the right to a prescribed share in the wealth of the rich, as fixed by Zakah, levied and collected in accordance with the Law.

    e) All means of production shall be utilised in the interest of the community (Ummah) as a whole, and may not be neglected or misused.

    f) In order to promote the development of a balanced economy and to protect society from exploitation, Islamic Law forbids monopolies, unreasonable restrictive trade practices, usury, the use of coercion in the making of contracts and the publication of misleading advertisements.

    g) All economic activities are permitted provided they are not detrimental to the interests of the community(Ummah) and do not violate Islamic laws and values.

    XVI Right to Protection of Property

    No property may be expropriated except in the public interest and on payment of fair and adequate compensation.

    XVII Status and Dignity of Workers

    Islam honours work and the worker and enjoins Muslims not only to treat the worker justly but also generously. He is not only to be paid his earned wages promptly, but is also entitled to adequate rest and leisure.

    XVIII Right to Social Security

    Every person has the right to food, shelter, clothing, education and medical care consistent with the resources of the community. This obligation of the community extends in particular to all individuals who cannot take care of themselves due to some temporary or permanent disability.

    XIX Right to Found a Family and Related Matters

    a) Every person is entitled to marry, to found a family and to bring up children in conformity with his religion, traditions and culture. Every spouse is entitled to such rights and privileges and carries such obligations as are stipulated by the Law.

    b) Each of the partners in a marriage is entitled to respect and consideration from the other.

    c) Every husband is obligated to maintain his wife and children according to his means.

    d) Every child has the right to be maintained and properly brought up by its parents, it being forbidden that children are made to work at an early age or that any burden is put on them which would arrest or harm their natural development.

    e) If parents are for some reason unable to discharge their obligations towards a child it becomes the responsibility of the community to fulfill these obligations at public expense.

    f) Every person is entitled to material support, as well as care and protection, from his family during his childhood, old age or incapacity. Parents are entitled to material support as well as care and protection from their children.

    g) Motherhood is entitled to special respect, care and assistance on the part of the family and the public organs of the community (Ummah).

    h) Within the family, men and women are to share in their obligations and responsibilities according to their sex, their natural endowments, talents and inclinations, bearing in mind their common responsibilities toward their progeny and their relatives.

    i) No person may be married against his or her will, or lose or suffer dimunition of legal personality on account of marriage.

    XX Rights of Married Women

    Every married woman is entitled to:

    a) live in the house in which her husband lives;

    b) receive the means necessary for maintaining a standard of living which is not inferior to that of her spouse, and, in the event of divorce, receive during the statutory period of waiting (iddah) means of maintenance commensurate with her husband’s resources, for herself as well as for the children she nurses or keeps, irrespective of her own financial status, earnings, or property that she may hold in her own rights;

    c) seek and obtain dissolution of marriage (Khul’a) in accordance with the terms of the Law. This right is in addition to her right to seek divorce through the courts.

    d) inherit from her husband, her parents, her children and other relatives according to the Law;

    e) strict confidentiality from her spouse, or ex-spouse if divorced, with regard to any information that he may have obtained about her, the disclosure of which could prove detrimental to her interests. A similar responsibility rests upon her in respect of her spouse or ex-spouse.

    XXI Right to Education

    a) Every person is entitled to receive education in accordance with his natural capabilities.

    b) Every person is entitled to a free choice of profession and career and to the opportunity for the full development of his natural endowments.

    XXII Right of Privacy

    Every person is entitled to the protection of his privacy.

    XXIII Right to Freedom of Movement and Residence

    a) In view of the fact that the World of Islam is veritably Ummah Islamia, every Muslim shall have the right to freely move in and out of any Muslim country.

    b) No one shall be forced to leave the country of his residence, or be arbitrarily deported therefrom without recourse to due process of Law.

    Explanatory Notes

    1 In the above formulation of Human Rights, unless the context provides otherwise:

    a) the term ‘person’ refers to both the male and female sexes.

    b) the term ‘Law’ denotes the Shari’ah, i.e. the totality of ordinances derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah and any other laws that are deduced from these two sources by methods considered valid in Islamic jurisprudence.

    2 Each one of the Human Rights enunciated in this declaration carries a corresponding duty.

    3 In the exercise and enjoyment of the rights referred to above every person shall be subject only to such limitations as are enjoined by the Law for the purpose of securing the due recognition of, and respect for, the rights and the freedom of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare of the Community (Ummah).

  120. MainstreamMan wrote:

    “Thanks for the run down. You obviously take my comment WAY too seriously…”

    I assume that people mean what they say and say what they mean unless there are some given clues toward sarcasm. Even then it’s hard to detect sarcasm on internet message boards. So, were you being sarcastic, or are you saying that you shouldn’t be taken seriously?

    MainstreamMan wrote:

    “[NeoConism] is a political philosphy that believes in spreading its ideals through military means …and in that sense is very close to the political view of the hardline ‘Islamofacists.'”

    I don’t use the term “Islamofascists”. I prefer the accurate term “mujahedin”. And the only similarity between the NeoCons and the mujahedeen is the use of force, and there are differences in the specifics of that similarity as well. I notice your continued attempts at “tu quoque” equivocation, which is an argument lifted directly from those used by the muhajedin. Do you need me to provide even more ways in which the NeoCons are different from the mujahedin? If the NeoCons earn an F, then the mujahedin earn an F—————————————-. Yes, they both suck, but they are only superficially comparable, as the mujahedin (who devoutly follow Islam) are the most despicable and worthy-of-death people in the world by far. I repeat: the fact that you equivocate the two can only be an act of militant ignorance or malice.

  121. That doesn’t fill me with a lot of hope.

    For example: Human life is sacred and inviolable and every effort shall be made to protect it. In particular no one shall be exposed to injury or death, except under the authority of the Law.

    This site gives some interesting perspective.

  122. Loundry,

    I would say “flip” is more accurate than sarcastic. You can decide for yourself whether to take me seriously or not.

    As for equivalence of Neocons to the muhajedin (I actually like that term better as well), I was only suggesting the equivalence to the degree it is appropriate. I am not acting as an apoligist for the muhajedin here (see above, I believe you need to judge individuals based on their actions not their beliefs). I am instead calling for a little self-reflection by those who posit that somehow Western culture is inherently superior to Muslim culture.

    If you feel the muhajedin are the most worthy of death of any humans on the face of the planet, you might want to consider why you think they are somehow worse than others whose acts are indistinguishable. Are the Muslim rebels in Chechnya morally inferior to the Russian army? There are plenty of thugs to go around, the muhajedin are just the flavor of the moment.

  123. “I think it is apples to apples.”

    So executions due to violation of religious edict are the same as execution under secular law in your world? Apparently, your answer is yes: “US law and Sharia law, for instance, both sanction violence and use violence as the method of punishment.”

    Yep, that’s where you lost credibility with me. The bit where you think stoning a woman to death for dress code violation is somehow equivalent to executing Timothy McVeigh.

    “Both the US and Saudi Arabia have executed in excess of 1000 individuals in the last 3 decades. This means that SA has a higher rate for using state sanctioned violence as a way of showing that it doesn’t tolerate violence (smaller country and all).”

    And this somehow refutes my point HOW? It doesn’t. It supports my point that what the U.S. would consider religious murder doesn’t appear in the stats you quote.

    “If you add in all state sanctioned homicides, the list changes, but it still doesn’t become sorted by religion.”

    Of course it doesn’t.

    “Oranges to oranges, there is no evidence that I have seen that Muslim countries are more tolerant of violence than western countries.”

    Nope. But clearly sharia law encourages violence. Overall violence may be somewhat equivalent (though I would guess there’s a lot per capita fluctuation unaccounted for) but the difference is that in those countries there is much unreported violence that is considered punishment for violations of sharia.

    “I am always open to evidence to convince me otherwise. Sharia law as practices certainly leads to many human rights violations, but there is nothing fundamentally against human rights in Sharia law.”

    Are you serious? You don’t think that sharia is fundamentally counter to the rights of women or to those who do not share a particularly strict interpretation of the faith?

    “This is from the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights currently under consideration in 57 Muslim countries”

    And it’s been adopted by how many of those countries? And how many do you think will follow it instead of considering “honor killings” to be lawful rather than murder? (See loophole pointed out by raymond, above.

  124. the only similarity between the NeoCons and the mujahedeen is the use of force

    I disagree. Both groups hold that the end justifies the means.

  125. Pope John Paul’s speechwriter was Archbishop Paolo Sardi.

    and

    “John Paul wrote very few of his speeches,” although he occasionally “changed a phrase here or there,” (NewsMax)

  126. MainstreamMan wrote:

    “You can decide for yourself whether to take me seriously or not.”

    I don’t require your permission to judge you, but it was you who had criticized me for taking you too seriously. What is that supposed to mean? That you don’t expect to be taken seriously and I’m stupid for doing so? If that is not the case, then from where does your criticism come?

    ModerateMan wrote:

    “I believe you need to judge individuals based on their actions not their beliefs.”

    As if I needed your guidance in whom to judge and based on what criteria, you pompous, supercilious feed bag for worms and germs. Since I am a gay man, and since the belief that homosexuals are worthy of the worst possible death is a MAINSTREAM Muslim belief, you better bet your ass that I’m going to judge them by their beliefs. It’s not just actions, but also beliefs, that can be evil. Or perhaps you think that a massive group of people believing that I am worthy of the most horrible death poses no threat to me whatsoever?

    MainstreamMan wrote:

    “I am instead calling for a little self-reflection by those who posit that somehow Western culture is inherently superior to Muslim culture.”

    Muslim culture is, outside of a few anomolous subcultures in the USA (such as Scientology), worse than Western culture. See also: worst possible death for gays. Which Muslim country should my family (my partner, my adopted son, and I) move to which would offer a Muslim culture that is superior to the Western culture (Bible belt, USA) in which I live? Please, be specific. Perhaps “moderate” Malaysia? Or how about “progressive” Indonesia?

    ModerateMan wrote:

    “Are the Muslim rebels in Chechnya morally inferior to the Russian army?”

    I am fully aware that there are plenty of atrocities to go around in that particular dispute. That said, if the chechnyan (sp?) mujahedin were to finish off the Russian army, do you expect that they’ll behave any differently from any other mujahid? The most horrible death penalty for gays is a mainstream Muslim belief! In the end, as horrible as the Russian army was, I hope they kill every mujahid they can find. Which group do you suppose poses a greater threat to me? Be honest.

  127. Loundry,

    I would say “flip” is more accurate than sarcastic. You can decide for yourself whether to take me seriously or not.

    As for equivalence of Neocons to the muhajedin (I actually like that term better as well), I was only suggesting the equivalence to the degree it is appropriate. I am not acting as an apoligist for the muhajedin here (see above, I believe you need to judge individuals based on their actions not their beliefs). I am instead calling for a little self-reflection by those who posit that somehow Western culture is inherently superior to Muslim culture.

    If you feel the muhajedin are the most worthy of death of any humans on the face of the planet, you might want to consider why you think they are somehow worse than others whose acts are indistinguishable. Are the Muslim rebels in Chechnya morally inferior to the Russian army? There are plenty of thugs to go around, the muhajedin are just the flavor of the moment.

  128. Loundry,

    “you pompous, supercilious feed bag for worms and germs.”

    Nice. I prefer “ugly bag of mostly water.”

    “It’s not just actions, but also beliefs, that can be evil. Or perhaps you think that a massive group of people believing that I am worthy of the most horrible death poses no threat to me whatsoever?”

    Not until that belief turns into action.

    Your words: the most despicable and worthy-of-death people in the world by far.

    How are your beliefs more worthy of respect than theirs? Should I warn your Islamic neighbors that you are a danger to them? Should I take preemptive action against you because you wish death upon a group of people? Or should legal sanctions be based upon your actions?

  129. Rob,

    Seems my response to you was lost.

    You should look into honor killings more carefully.
    There are not sanctioned by sharia law.

    “Honor killings are stereotypically seen as an exclusively Islamic phenomenon[citation needed]. There is no specific mention of honor killing in the Qur’an or Hadiths. An honor killing, in Islamic definitions, refers specifically to extra-legal punishment by the family against the woman, and is technically forbidden by the Sharia (Islamic law). …Interpretations of these rules vary. Some Arabs regard it as their right under both tradition and Sharia (by the process of urf), though this contradicts the views of many Islamic scholars (fuqaha). Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran has condemned the practice as “un-Islamic”, though punishment under Iranian law remains lenient. In certain (Sufi influenced) Muslim regions like Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, honor killings are little known, as also in parts of West Africa with majority-Muslim populations and many other Muslim countries. [22] According to Sheikh Atiyyah Saqr, former head of the al-Azhar University Fatwa Committee (one of the oldest and most prestigious in the Muslim world)…

    from Wiki

  130. “it was you who had criticized me for taking you too seriously. What is that supposed to mean? That you don’t expect to be taken seriously and I’m stupid for doing so?”

    When I comment on a statement as ridiculous as FLeMur’s, I don’t expect others to consider my comment very seriously, no. The scary thing is you seem to think FleM’s comment had merit.

  131. MainstreamMan wrote:

    “Not until that belief turns into action.”

    I guess we’re safe, since Muslims’ violent belief has NEVER turned into jihad action anywhere! In fact, Muslims have NEVER attacked gay people for being gay, especially not in Amsterdam. Silly of me to see jihad action when none exists in any country, especially not in Southern Thailand.

    MainstreamMan wrote:

    “How are your beliefs more worthy of respect than theirs?”

    Becuase mine come from self-defense, whereas theirs come from religious bigotry. If they didn’t believe that I was worthy of the most horrible death, then I would be content to live in peace with them. As soon as they drop their malevolence toward me, then I will trust and respect them. Not before.

    ModerateMan wrote:

    “Should I warn your Islamic neighbors that you are a danger to them?”

    No, you should tell them that I will never be a Muslim and that I will defend myself with deadly force if they attack me or my family. Furthermore, you should tell them that their religion is the worst, most evil religion on the planet. Furthermore, you should tell them that I will always resist jihad and da’wa. Last, you should tell them that if they do not start acting to reform Islam and remove jihad and the notions that kaffir should be subjugated or killed, then they do NOT deserve to live among peaceful people in the USA. If these Muslims that you love so dearly really are such “moderate” and “peaceful” people, then what are they doing to reform Islam into a peaceful religion?

    ModerateMan wrote:

    “Should I take preemptive action against you because you wish death upon a group of people?”

    Of course not. I’m not threatening you. I only wish to remove dangerous and murderous scum from my society.

    Why do you feel inspired to defend the mujahedin (who want to kill me in the worst way possible for being gay) but you do NOT feel inspired to defend me (who only wants to defend himself and his family)?

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