Mocking Islam

Good grief of course people are mocking Islam, if Islam leads to this kind of stupidity. They are pretty well mocking themselves. Bit of a shame they need to kill people to do it.

Bozos.

(Incidentally, did you know that Depictions of Muhammad are only mostly [*] forbidden (in those versions of Islam which do forbid it) because the “key concern is that the use of images can encourage idolatry”. Which means images that take the piss are fine).

[*] Updated: apologies for the inaccurate paraphrase of my source.

Comments

  1. #1 TheGoodLocust
    2012/09/13

    Perhaps the problem is that Islam isn’t mocked adequately enough. Have you seen the film? The writing, acting and production values are horrid beyond belief:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAiOEV0v2RM

    If the mocking was of better quality then perhaps the Muslim world would feel some shame about their religion and start keeping the kooks in check.

    That won’t happen as long as the first response to Muslim violence is to apologize for offending them.

  2. #2 blueshift
    2012/09/13

    “That won’t happen as long as the first response to Muslim violence is to apologize for offending them.”

    Let us know when that happens.

    Meanwhile there’s this: http://www.policymic.com/articles/14621/everyday-libyans-are-not-responsible-for-christopher-stevens-death-they-are-as-saddened-as-you-are

  3. #3 TheGoodLocust
    2012/09/13

    @Blueshift “Let us know when that happens.”

    According to Politico that would be “early last Thursday:”

    http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/09/white-house-disavows-cairo-apology-135247.html

    “Meanwhile there’s this”

    It is hard to say what the general Libyan sentiment is. The article shows a guy with a sign, talks about some social media posts and says counter protests are scheduled.

    It does not tell us what percentage of the population is extremist. A poll like this would be helpful to clarify:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340599/WikiLeaks-1-3-British-Muslim-students-killing-Islam-40-want-Sharia-law.html

    Admittedly, there are some problems with that poll as well like only sampling students and just because so many British muslim students are extremists doesn’t mean those in Libya are.

  4. #4 TheGoodLocust
    2012/09/13

    I meant Tuesday.

  5. #5 bluegrue
    2012/09/13

    I have to wonder how much of this is genuine protest and how much is due to ill informed masses being orchestrated into protests.

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2012/09/egyptian-outrage-peddler-who-sent-anti-islam-youtube-clip-viral/56826/

    So what do we have. A film trailer that may or may not have an entire film behind it. A director going by a pseudonym, whose self-proclaimed nationality as an Israeli is disputed. The actors thought they were doing a documentary about life in old Egypt. The offending texts were dubbed the original in post-production. The trailer lingered on youtube since July with barely anyone taking notice. An unknown person redubbed the entire trailer in Arabic. A popular “Glen-Beck-style” Islamist TV host picks up the video and whips the masses into a frency. Add to this the limited access to media and the high level of illiteracy that makes fact-checking for large portions of the populace impossible.

    Kindling these riots looks about as easy as lighting diesel fuel with a match.

  6. #6 anon
    2012/09/14

    Perhaps it is arrogant to assume that “American standards” must apply to all the countries of the globe—even europe has laws against hate speech….however—it is also stupid of Americans not to realize that in unstable countries with power vacuum—anything can be used for political purposes and the Prophet is certainly a powerful tool that can be used to rally support—-particularly anti-American support—this damages U.S. geopolitical strategic interests—not only in the middle east, but also in Asia where 60 % of the 1.5 billion Muslims live—-Other countries such as China are much smarter in their foreign policy and are making more of an effort than the U.S. towards Muslims. If the U.S. wants to survive in the global arena—its really going to have to be a lot smarter…….and much less arrogant…….

    [I don't think I'm assuming that Western standards apply to the non-West (or even to the bigots on our own church). This particular issue wasn't directly a matter of foreign policy - the US govt didn't make that film, which was only a pretext anyway. Would you want to live in a country, like China, where anyone making such a film would get stomped on? -W]

  7. #7 blueshift
    2012/09/14

    TGL, the embassy statement was prior to any violence.

  8. #8 TheGoodLocust
    2012/09/14

    @Blueshift “TGL, the embassy statement was prior to any violence.”

    If you want to consider hundreds of people breaking into our embassy, tearing down the flag and replacing it with an Islamist banner to be non-violent then you are welcome to it. If the security guards had tried to stop them they would’ve been beaten to death.

    We apologized and in the face of such diplomatic savvy the Muslims in Libya killed our ambassador and several others.

    Perhaps the Obama administration should try using a backbone instead of Twitter when it comes to diplomacy?

    @Bluegrue I had some similar thoughts on the situation as well. If that’s the case then hopefully it will be revealed with time.

    There is one flaw in your logic though and that is in ascribing nefarious motives through the use of a pseudonym. I know if I were to create a film critical of Islam then I’d be highly tempted not to use my real name considering the history of artists who’ve been killed for daring to be critical of their religion.

  9. #9 Robert Murphy
    2012/09/14

    If there had been a film with Mohammed shaking hands with Porky Pig the result would have been essentially the same. The filmmakers were assholes, but their assholery is incidental to the response. The fact that a z-grade *film* that nobody had seen supposedly inspired people to kill is what people should be focusing on. I honestly don’t give a flying F*** if someone is offended by what someone says; that’s the price pf living in our century. This isn’t the middle ages.

    [That's pretty well my viewpoint, though I'd attach a few qualifiers -W]

  10. #10 Greg Wellman
    2012/09/14

    TGL:
    1. Embassies don’t get approval from Washington for every little tweet.
    2. In expressing an idea open to considerable nuance, such as “Religiously inspired violence is wrong, but people who provoke it while hiding behind freedom of speech still piss us off” it is very easy to say something that, taken out of context, appears stupid or weak. My little one line statement there could be “improved” with all sorts of qualifications, clarifications, etc., and each one would only give more opportunity for someone eager to find fault with it or with me.

    So, you can either look at the larger context of the full flow of statements from State and from the embassy over several days, or you can act like a partisan hack and just find a way to call the President weak.

  11. #11 Greg Wellman
    2012/09/14

    As an aside, one of my favorite comics is http://www.jesusandmo.net/ so clearly I have no problem with well done mocking of religious belief.

    [Ah, thanks for reminding me of that, it provides the elusive pic that I wanted to illustrate this post -W]

  12. #12 Marco
    2012/09/14

    TGL, I repeat blueshift’s comment: that statement was *before* any violence. The protests in front of the embassy started about 2 hrs *after* the statement was posted.

    Re using one’s real name: fair enough, but would you also misrepresent so much more of your background?

  13. #13 Marco
    2012/09/14

    Robert: hear, hear!

  14. #14 Paul Kelly
    2012/09/14

    Blueshift is correct. The Cairo embassy first issued the statement when the protestors gathered outside. It was repeated after the breach. The timing is less important than the content. Following Romney’s criticism, both President Obama and Secretary of State disavowed the statement. Well they should.

    From the statement: “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”

    Baloney. America has a long tradition of ridiculing religion. Currently on Broadway, there’s a bawdy satire called The Book of Mormon. A national arts endowment grant enabled the Christ in a Jar of Piss exhibit. We celebrate dozens movies from Elmer Gantry to The Last Temptation of Christ to The Life of Brian.

  15. #15 author
    2012/09/14

    Thank you for using my comic to illustrate this post. I agree with your sentiments entirely.

    One thing – the image currently links back to the front page of J&M, and so it will change whenever a new comic goes up. Do you want that to happen? If not, you can use the permalink:
    http://www.jesusandmo.net/2012/09/12/stop2/

    [Oh, hello and welcome. I did semi-deliberately link back to the main page... but perhaps the permalink would be better. I'd change it.

    And thanks for the "Jesus and Mo" cartoons: funny and to the point -W]

  16. #16 PaulB
    2012/09/14

    The murders in Benghazi seem to have been planned in advance for 9/11, independent of the furore about the film trailer.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10437193

    [Thanks. That covers the murders bit, which is rather different. The mockery is directed at the deluded rentamob idiots who thought this was worth rioting over.

    There is some very weird stuff in that report:

    The gunmen fired into the air outside the consulate. Libyan security guarding the site pulled out because they were too few. "We thought there was no way for the protesters to storm the compound, which had fortified walls," he said. El-Sharef said Libyan security advised the Americans to evacuate at that point

    So... the Libyan security staff thought that the compound was safe "We thought there was no way for the protesters to storm the compound". So they pulled out. Pardon? -W]

  17. #17 Ian Kemmish
    2012/09/14

    To be fair about it, the Salafists have no more interest in Islam than the “rev” Terry Jones has in Christianity. Both of them just want to fight people who don’t look like them…. Gene Roddenberry had the right approach to people like that: put them in an arena.

    The encouraging sign is that Islamist politicians are also (pretty nearly) universally condemning the violence, thus at a stroke not only demolishing what Mr Jones presumably thinks are “arguments” but also demonstrating that they are much better human beings than he could ever hope to be.

  18. #18 Adam
    2012/09/14

    One reporter on BBC World Service, said that most of the rioters in Egypt were young males, and a lot were the “hard core football fans”. They possibly didn’t need asking twice.

    Re the attack on the consulate, it sounds like the Libyan security were outside the compound.

    Also, if the planned attack was to be done under cover of the protests, then it gives some motive for whipping them up – see bluegrue’s potted summary above.

  19. #19 Marco
    2012/09/14

    Ian, not sure about the “universally condemning” – there are a few who reacted a long complaint about the film, followed by “oh, but no violence, guys!”. Just look at the reaction of Karzai and Talabani.

  20. #20 Boris
    2012/09/14

    “if Islam leads to this kind of stupidity. They are pretty well mocking themselves.”

    Obviously that’s way too general. This is a third world problem (exacerbated by religion) not am Islam problem.

    The main problem with these movies and Mohammed cartoons is that they play right into the hands of religious extremists. Then again, that’s likely what the makers of this film wanted anyway.

  21. #21 blueshift
    2012/09/14

    @Paul Kelly,

    There are some distinctions that should be stated.

    -American citizens have every right to mock anyone and anything. I celebrate this fact.

    -The American government should not mock any religion.

    -The American gov’t generally shouldn’t “condemn” anyone’s expression of free speech. But an early morning tweet from an oversea’s embassy shouldn’t be taken as the official gov’t line.

  22. #22 bigcitylib
    bigcitylib.blogspot.com
    2012/09/14

    The film was obviously an attempt elicit this kind of response. That is what the film makers explicitly said they wanted, so as to effect the U.S. election. This has become a pretty common tactic among the far right, including the UK’s EDL. Bait Muslims to try and draw out an angry response, then say you were making a point about free speech. That part of course is nonsense. Several of the people involved in the film have already been traced to US hate groups, who are not known for tolerating any speech that does not agree with their own.

    What’s especially interesting is that nothing happened until the film’s producer paid to have it translated into Arabic, at which time it got into the hands of Al Qaeda types. The US far right helping out in order to get O out of the white house?

    Incidentally, your last sentence is false, or a bad joke if meant as a joke. It isn’t for example fine to portray Muhammed engaged in homosexual acts.

    [Not a joke, and I did quote my source. Re-reading my paraphrase I can see that "only" is dubious. What's your source for your version? -W]

  23. #23 bigcitylib
    bigcitylib.blogspot.com
    2012/09/14

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/12/ambassadors-killing-shines-light-on-muslim-sensitivities-around-prophet-mohammed/comment-page-78/

    Yes, it is the “only” that is dubious. But there is some historical and geographic variance in practice as well.

    [There is endless variation; part of their stupidity is thinking that any sane person will bother track their endless sects endless various opinions. Don't misunderstand me: I'm sorry for these poor folk who are so easily whipped up into a frenzy by this nonsense; its a shame that they can't see that the people they are most harming are themselves (well, apart from the people they slaughter, of course) -W]

  24. #24 Paul S
    2012/09/14

    Title suggestion: ‘Slamming Islam’ is more linguistically pleasing.

  25. #25 John Haigh
    2012/09/14

    @Robert Murphy “This isn’t the middle ages.”. Unfortunately for most of the worlds population, including much or the USA, this might as well be the middle ages, they haven’t learn’t anything since. We in the west are fortunate to be sheltered from the worst excesses of superstition, but even so the worlds biggest christian church still practises exorcism! “The world will never know peace until the last King is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”.

  26. #26 David B. Benson
    2012/09/14

    Good cartoon.

  27. #27 Dean
    2012/09/14

    Blueshift is correct. The Cairo embassy first issued the statement when the protestors gathered outside. It was repeated after the breach.

    Not true. After initial release it had been posted on the web, never reissued after the breach. That line came from one of the liars in the Romney campaign.

  28. #28 Paul Kelly
    2012/09/15

    Dean,

    After the breach the embassy said “This morning’s condemnation (issued before the protest began) still stands. As does our condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy.”

    I suppose we could argue whether that is a reiteration or a reaffirmation. Oh look, a squirrel.

  29. #29 MMM
    2012/09/15

    1) Violence is wrong. Anger over a stupid movie is not an appropriate reason to riot.
    2) Having said that: remember the Vancouver riot? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Vancouver_Stanley_Cup_riot.If _Canadians_ can riot over losing a _game_, are we really that surprised that underemployed young men in the Middle East, living in a rather more violent setting than we are, who have been bombarded with imagery of American drone bombings, invasions, etc. along with a lot of false propaganda, are a tinder-pile waiting for a spark?
    3) My understanding is that the initial embassy tweet was actually sent to Washington, who sent back a note saying “you know, this needs some work before getting posted”, but the embassy decided to post anyway. As Obama pointed out, however, deference is due to the people who are actually on the ground in danger in these circumstances, not those of us armchair quarterbacking from home. http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/09/12/inside_the_public_relations_disaster_at_the_cairo_embassy
    4) The movie, which I have not seen, was stupid and shouldn’t have been made, though I defend free-speech rights. Sadly, extremism feeds extremism… some idiot makes a movie to poke Muslims. Idiotic Muslims react to said movie, become violent. Violence is used to justify poor opinion of Muslims, movie becomes popular, more movies are made. Vicious cycle. The extremists on both sides benefit, the moderates on both sides lose out.

  30. #30 Russell
    2012/09/15

    “This isn’t the middle ages”

    Reallly ?

    Last time I looked it the calandar in Cairo said 1433.

  31. #31 deconvoluter
    2012/09/16

    This isn’t the middle ages.

    Yes but it is even warmer now. But seriously, you shouldn’t need to look so far back for a model of insane and intolerant politico-religious behaviour. Europe may not have fully recovered from this more recent example:

    by soldiers rather than a mob

  32. #32 I. Snarlalot
    2012/09/16

    Yeah, I’m getting tired of religious people. But I’m also getting tired of politically naive people. And I sure as hell can’t see applauding a film by religious nuts made for the purpose of inciting violence with other religious nuts.

    [I haven't seen *anyone* applaud the film, have you? -W]

    The middle east is a complicated place. If you want to comment on it in any meaningful way you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. (George W. Bush didn’t “do nuance” and look where that got us.) 

    BTW, check out Glenn Greenwald:

    “Conservatives, Democrats and the convenience of denouncing free speech”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/16/conservatives-democrats-free-speech-muslims

  33. #33 Steven Sullivan
    2012/09/16

    Notice that TGL hasn’t replied since he was corrected.

    Afraid to apologize for being wrong?

  34. #34 Steven Sullivan
    2012/09/16
  35. #35 Steven Sullivan
    2012/09/16

    And please note, the producer aka ‘Sam Basile’ told the Wall Street Journal, after the ruckus began, that he was an Israeli Jew, which is false on both counts — all signs point to him being an Egyptian Coptic Christian. So let us not be too forgiving of him, OK? Clearly he was trolling.

  36. #36 deconvoluter
    2012/09/16

    “Conservatives, Democrats and the convenience of denouncing free speech”

    There are some good points in that article. The trouble is that it appears to start with the axiom that free speech is a “good” for which any price is worth paying. Why? What if it comes into conflict with other “goods” which are also highly desirable? What if it were to lead to a major and stupid war?
    The main reason for giving free speech such a privileged position is that, as the article suggests, it would be hard to determine how to limit it. It might be even worse if agreement between the parties was used as a criterion.

    Sometimes free speech is associated with the idea of democracy, but the very reverse is often the case. If the voters meet in the town hall and discuss the candidates, a good chairman will limit free speech while allowing a wide variety of views. Outside the hall, free speech will not be limited but will be sold to the highest bidder. Since uncontrolled free speech includes the right to deceive, the winner is the side with the most money and the most efficient machine for deception.

    Perhaps one possible, but difficult, starting point would be to limit the right to deceive.

  37. #37 Vince Whirlwind
    2012/09/17

    “After the breach the embassy said “This morning’s condemnation (issued before the protest began) still stands. As does our condemnation of unjustified breach of the Embassy.””

    Clearly, the assertion that, the statement “was repeated” was a lie concocted by the Republicans. That is in no way a repetition.

  38. #38 Paul Kelly
    2012/09/17

    Vince,

    Supposing we could argue whether that is a reiteration or a reaffirmation wasn’t a suggestion that we should. Asserting that saying what we said before we would say again now is not a repetition of what was said is remarkably illogical.

    Again, it is the substance of the statement that Romney rightly criticized. The embassy, in an attempt to calm a gathering mob, called the movie an abuse of free speech. Again, baloney. In the United States, which the embassy officially represents, the movie is exactly a kind of expression the right of free speech protects. It is confirmed by our case and black letter law.

  39. #39 kai
    2012/09/17

    whirlpool, you adore democrats, this is disgusting partisan

    you express this in a way which let’s one think your are prone to racism, as with your irrational hatred of climate realists

    you should consult your therapist to help you out of your dilemma: in the one hand you are terribly afraid of sea level rise and hot air temperature 2m above ground, but on the other hand you triumphanty and happliy express you gratitude when nature shows some ice melting as with the arctic sea ice, which anyway already swims in the water. you and your climate church peers are truly poor creatures who suffer terribly from your psychological shortcomings. i don’t envy you for your sad life

    [Are you trolling, or just incompetent? -W]

  40. #40 kai
    2012/09/17

    billie, neither nor, you appear totally uncapable and / or unwilling to allow your thinking beyond your deliberately self-imposed boundaries in order to stay within your realm of reduced partisan truth which has nothing in common with truly scientific principles which you take by the throat

  41. #41 bluegrue
    2012/09/17

    It turns out that just making a disgusting film and uploading it is not enough, you need to work the news media, too.

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/phone-call-launched-video-riots-20120916-260gf.html

    I’m not convinced that this one Egyptian news article actually set it all off, but it does show that people were going to a lot of effort to make sure that the video got exposure.

  42. #42 Eli Rabett
    http://rabett.blogspot.com
    2012/09/17

    Well, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, free speech doesn’t give you the right to shout fire in a crowded theatre, but as l’affaire Lewandowsky shows, people are ready to act like idiots at the slightest provocation if they see something to be gained, and you mix religion into it, and the theatre burns.

    Which is why you can’t insult a Rabett even if you try

  43. #43 Ned
    2012/09/17

    Well, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, free speech doesn’t give you the right to shout fire in a crowded theatre

    … a metaphor that Holmes subsequently came to regret, as it continues to be cited approvingly by anyone and everyone who thinks that someone else’s exercise of free speech has gone too far.

    The case in question (Schenck v. United States), upheld Schenck’s conviction under the Espionage Act of 1917, for distributing pamphlets opposing the draft. It was effectively reversed in 1969 (Brandenburg v. Ohio).

    Is “distributing pamphlets opposed to the draft” analogous to falsely causing a stampede in a crowded theater? Holmes thought so in 1919.

    In my opinion that’s a very dangerous analogy.

    [I didn't know that. The theatre bit always sounded to me like immeadiate-urgency. I don't think the draft counted for that -W]

  44. #44 I. Snarlalot
    2012/09/17

    [I haven't seen *anyone* applaud the film, have you? -W]

    Just delineating my rhetorical space. Seemed fair given the rhetorical tone as I perceive it here, which is to say that at some level I agree with some of what you’re saying — just not all of it.

    I’ve certainly spent enough time over the years on political blogs and have heard many times over the same sentiments expressed as those in the film spewed forth in Gish galloping fountains of venom. As part of my struggle with anger management, I don’t do that anymore which is why I only snarl a lot these days.

    One thing I keep in mind when approaching the middle east and cultural sensitivities is the fact of war. War requires its participants to dehumanize “the other” in order to justify violence. There has long been a current in American society that has felt comfortable scapegoating Muslims as other minorities have been marked off limits. We need to de-escalate.

  45. #45 Ned
    2012/09/17

    [I didn't know that. The theatre bit always sounded to me like immeadiate-urgency. I don't think the draft counted for that -W]

    Actually, the ink was barely dry on Schenck vs United States before the government began using O.W. Holmes’s language to justify indicting others for their exercise of free speech.

    That same year, seven members of the Court upheld the convictions of pamphleteers who had opposed the US military intervention in the Russian civil war. The Court’s majority approvingly cited Holmes’s opinion in Schenck … but Holmes himself dissented. He’d heard the criticism of that opinion from prominent legal scholars and had apparently been convinced.

    Too late, though. Once a concept as simple and appealing as “your speech that I don’t care for is just like shouting fire in a crowded theater” has been unleashed on the world, there’s no way to call it back. It’s the nuclear proliferation of censorship.

  46. #46 Marco
    2012/09/17

    Snarlalot: de-escalate requires two sides, or the de-escalation is in danger of becoming appeasement. That doesn’t always work well, as one Neville Chamberlain found out.

    You will find that in the Middle East there is no shortness of dehumanisation of “the other” – especially if “the other” happens to be a jew, or a homosexual, or in some cases just “not muslim”. In this particular case one should not forget how coptic christians are viewed in Egypt. One may wonder when Egypt will start the de-escalation of its discrimination of the coptic christians.

  47. #47 I. Snarlalot
    2012/09/17

    Marco, Marco… already with the dog whistle?

    This is why I snarl. He references an implacable menace and  Neville Chamberlain invoking the four letter ‘N’ word without actually spelling it out. We’re left to fill in the blanks which within the context of this thread goes, “Muslims are___ therefore we must ____.”

    We know where this line of attack goes; down an infinite recursion and deep into the OT weeds until everyone goes home frustrated. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

    Not helpful Marco.

  48. #48 MMM
    2012/09/17

    Ah. There’s free speech, and then there is good speech.

    Acceptable limits on free speech can be found at http://www.freedomforum.org/packages/first/curricula/educationforfreedom/supportpages/l04-limitsfreedomspeech.htm. Eg, clear and present danger, libel, and some other limited areas.

    But just because speech is free, doesn’t mean it is good. Eg, the KKK marching in Skokie.

  49. #49 Marco
    2012/09/17

    Snarlalot, I’m actually asking not to give muslims special privileges, which is quite different from denying them equal privileges.

  50. #50 Vince Whirlwind
    2012/09/17

    Comparing Islam with the nazis very much understates the scale of the menace.

    Get a map of the world out and mark out all the countries where pluralism is in the process of being stamped out by muslims.

    From Morocco to New Guinea, only three countries have not yet been overrun by Islam, and in New Guinea the genocide is in full swing, in Burma there is massive unrest, and Thailand and the Philippines have to deal with a steady stream of islamic terrorism. Going down into Africa, the creeping tide of Islam extends from Kenya to Nigeria, with areas that have fallen under the control of muslims being steadily cleansed of churches and dissent.

    The lefties are very fond of criticising the supposed imperial ambitions of the USA and its western allies, and yet they are strangely silent about a violent and regressive politico-religious force which currently controls so much of the world.

  51. #51 I. Snarlalot
    2012/09/17

    And there we go, down the rabbit hole. Since this is a sort of a climate site and not a sociology or history site (or even a wingnut talk radio site), I’ll make a climatey  statement and suggest that regions of the world that are currently politically unstable will be pushed into failed statehood by climate change long before anybodys’ ideologies, straw men , or facile conspiratorial pronouncements  “solve” anything.

  52. #52 Marco
    2012/09/18

    Vince: I would be a “leftie” according to many.

    Snarlalot: The issue, in my opinion, is the appeasement towards a group of profoundly fascist people who happen to use islam as part of their weapons arsenal. By “de-escalating” through apologising and whatnot, *they* are strengthened. The common muslim sees how the West appeases those violent forces and thus finds itself in the dire straits of not knowing what to do about those fascists, since even the West is listening to them.

    I leave with a few interesting comments from the mayor of Rotterdam, the biggest city in the Netherlands, of which about 30% muslim. The following are a bit free quotes:
    “See the humor in it, take it with a pinch of salt”
    “Nobody has the right to not be insulted”
    “Muslims emigrated here to be relieved of the oppressive regimes that curtailed their freedom of speech, so they should learn to take some”.

    About forbidding the movie, as some countries are considering, he said, and I translate as direct as possible:
    “I find that a story of nothing. We stand for the freedom of speech. Today it’s this, tomorrow it’s another thing”.

    To put some fire on Vince’s anger: the mayor is from the social-democratic party in the Netherlands (PvdA).

    And to add further fun: that mayor is called Ahmed Aboutaleb, and he’s muslim…
    It reminds me of another Dutch muslim’s comment (an imam no less) during the Mohammed cartoon crisis, who stated that he considered the criminal behaviour of muslims called Mohammed a bigger insult than a few drawings. Now, *that’s* de-escalation without appeasement, making the idiots look like idiots rather than strengthening the idiots by giving in to them.

    [Agreed.

    BBC R4 broadcast an interview with a group of muslims here, who had gone up to an anti-film protest in London yesterday. The std "young, well-educated, not poor, so why are they doing it?" kind of group. Their answer was (first) that love for Mohammed was such a part of their religion that any insult to him had to be revenged, or not allowed to pass unchallenged, (second) that yes free speech was important but no this film shouldn't be allowed and the US should have done something and (third) we hate the US.

    The first point seems to me to fall into exactly the idolatory of Mo that no-images is supposed to prevent. They seemed totally unaware of this problem. The second was just special pleading. The third sort-of sounded like their core: they don't like the US/West (obviously they like the bit that provides them ipods and their mobile phones and their freedom of speech and so on) foreign policy. They were blind to the fact that these protests are going to harm their co-religionists in, say, Syria because the West is less likely to intervene.

    All in all, they were young men who haven't learnt how to compromise. They've talked themsleves into believing that their idolatory trumps all else -W]

  53. #53 I. Snarlalot
    2012/09/18

    Oh, bull.

    Marco argues for singling out Muslims for broad brush,  prejudicial denigration is ways he probably wouldn’t countenance for other groups, be they Jewish, black, Christian or whatever. He tries to pass this off by larding in  right wing in code terms out of context such as   ‘not giving special privileges’, ‘apologizing ‘, and ‘appeasement’.

    Most Muslims are just regular people trying to get on with their lives. I’ve known some who are total jerks, but I’ve known far more who I count among the kindest, gentlest people I’ve encountered anywhere.

    I suppose I should be surprised that in a science arena where people are well of aware of the Dunning-Kruger effect, that there should be so many willing to pass off political talking points and barroom bluster as expertise. Sadly I’m not. It’s too bad because there are many aspects of Islamic culture, diverse as it is, that are ripe for both serious criticism and admiration.

  54. #54 deconvoluter
    2012/09/18

    ..From Morocco to New Guinea……

    Possibly, although

    …From Stetin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent…

    also sounded great, and then helped to usher in a phase of interference, activism and violence with major crimes being committed on both sides of that curtain. Genocide for example, which occurred in Indonesia as well as Cambodia. It no longer sounds so great when apologists justify the former by saying , that it was during the ‘cold’ war.

  55. #55 Marco
    2012/09/19

    Snarlalto, where do I single out muslims? And where do I call for “prejudicial denigration”?

    All I do is to ask people to treat muslims the same way other groups have been treated. I recall a certain movie called “The Life of Brian”, or “The last Temptation of Christ”. Are you telling us those should be banned? Remember that both caused many christians to be quite upset, the latter even resulting in a terrorist attack on a cinema in France.

  56. #56 I. Snarlalot
    2012/09/19

    While Marco performs armchair analyses on  ‘common Muslims’ and so on and eventually works  his way around to reading my full comments in context (so that he can see what I believe his somewhat confused arguments imply), I’d like to point over to Juan Cole’s site.

    What may be of particular interest is this video:
    Calm Muslim Berates Violent Muslims for Defaming Islam and Being Suckers
    http://www.juancole.com/2012/09/calm-muslim-berates-violent-muslims-for-defaming-islam-and-being-suckers.html

    The guy speaks with an accent and quickly slips in and out of Arabic quotes, but if you listen carefully what he says is pretty good.

    BTW, Juan Cole, not perfect, but has a pretty good ear for nuance. We should all be so skilled.

  57. #57 Marco
    2012/09/19

    Snarlalot, if you had paid attention, you would have seen me quote two muslims who said some really, really sensible things. Thing is, by giving in to violence (you call it “de-escalation”) you are not strengthening those “calm muslims”.

    Having said that, this is your “calm muslim” Nouman Ali Khan, too:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQpyA8FTdAg
    Nice, isn’t it? Calling some characters on TV “filthier than animals”. Didn’t you mention something about de-humanisation earlier?

  58. #58 I. Snarlalot
    2012/09/19

    OK. Getting bored now. Yes, I read your post, and as I said, I think your argument is  confused, maybe deliberately. I base that partly on the way you misread what I wrote, and I refer here to the repeated use of stock code terms to create a straw man.

    I don’t agree with Khan about Hanna Montana, OTOH  he’s talking about fictional characters. I happen to think Family Guy is trash. So what. Sounds to me like maybe  you have another agenda here than just free speech, otherwise you wouldn’t be instantly seeking to bury  the good things he’s said by trashing him.

    Whatever, let’s wrap this up Marco, I’ve actually got a life and this is turning into a waste of time.

    [I think that's a good idea. One of you has to decide not to have the last word, or I have to decide I'm bored and disapprove more comments -W]
     

  59. #59 J Bowers
    2012/09/23

    TGL — “We apologized and in the face of such diplomatic savvy the Muslims in Libya killed our ambassador and several others.”

    Some Muslims, but the majority of Muslims have now kicked their arses for it. In fact, it looks as if they’ve done more than kick their arses. I think they’re sending the Bozos a message from Libya.

  60. #60 Vince Whirlwind
    2012/09/26

    Snarlalot, what one “calm” muslim says to a non-muslim audience as a PR exercise is a whole lot less relevant than what is being said by muslim leaders to those who are under their sway during and after every week’s Friday-night prayers in the world’s 20 million mosques.

    Because it’s in the mosques that the ideas that lead to this violence are being nurtured, shared, and indoctrinated.

    I imagine I will be impressed with your so-called “calm” muslim if I hear that his imams are preaching tolerance, respect for human rights, and non-violent protest before his flock.

    Because so far as I know, that is not Islam’s core message. Not at all. Not by a very long shot.

    [It was all going so well, until that last line. How do you tell what a diverse religion's "core" message is, other than "join us"? What is Christianity's "core" message? (Note: whatever you say it is, you'll then have to justify it from the behaviour of its adherents and leaders)-W]

  61. #61 J Bowers
    2012/10/02

    “Because it’s in the mosques that the ideas that lead to this violence are being nurtured”

    It’s probably a bit more grey than that. Sunstantial civilian casualties abroad act as tinder for Imams in madrasas, and insurgent recruiters in European universities, to light the flames of outrage. Bear in mind that it didn’t take much to persuade most of Britain to support a full-on military excursion to a barely known southern Atlantic island that the vast majority thought was off the coast of Scotland, and civilian casualties there were minimal.

  62. #62 J Bowers
    2012/10/02

    I’d actually suggest that one way of looking at these recruited muslim “terrorists and insurgents” is that they perhaps might identify themselves with George Orwell and Laurie Lee in the 1930s. Islam’s been partly politicised for a long time now, which did succeed in ending French colonialism in Algeria where the independence fighters were known as moudjahidine, and the fallen as martyrs, and the FLN banned alcohol and prostitution, despite the socialist roots of the resistance.

  63. #63 Vinny Burgoo
    2012/10/02

    J Bowers: ‘Bear in mind that it didn’t take much to persuade most of Britain to support a full-on military excursion to a barely known southern Atlantic island that the vast majority thought was off the coast of Scotland …’

    I was working in Saudi Arabia during the Falklands War. (Yes, I was helping to fuel global warming.) Every day, a team of censors at the airport went through every copy of every imported newspaper and removed (scissors) or obliterated (thick felt-tips) every article about the war. They could have just placed a temporary block on newspaper imports so it was nice of them to bother with such labour-intensive censorship but why the censorship in the first place? I’ve never understood that. I don’t think there’s a Wahhabi prohibition on the glorification of war. Perhaps it was a statement of neutrality. Or perhaps they didn’t want our passions to be inflamed.

    Right. Random anecdotage over. As you were.

  64. #64 J Bowers
    2012/10/03

    Vinny, you were putting food on the table when barely anybody was aware of AGW. Interesting and puzzling anecdote.

    An apt cartoon for the thread by Bill Day.

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