Danish cartoonists proven wrong!

Oh, yeah, but they screwed up. Probably the best known of the inflammatory anti-Islam Danish cartoons was the work of Kurt Westergaard, who drew the prophet Mohammed with a bomb for a turban. It was a very misleading portrayal of a Muslim, which was demonstrated lately when a Somali fanatic tried to break into his home and kill him while yelling "revenge!" and "blood!" …with a knife and an axe, not a bomb!

I'm sure Westergaard will be publishing an apology and retraction now. Or maybe he'll just have to admit his error and redraw Mohammed with more personal nasty weapons of death and destruction bristling from his turban.

The poor oppressed Muslim man was shot and received some minor wounds, and has been arrested. Westergaard is fine; for some mysterious reason, he had security alarms all over his house and a safe room where he and his 5 year old granddaughter, who has probably learned something from this encounter, could hide. All signs of a guilty conscience, no doubt.

(Danish source, and horrible google translation, if you're interested.)

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But but but PZ you weren't nasty enough about Teh Moooooslims (who are brown, probably not-American and don't love Teh Baby Jebus) therefore you are a gigantic whoopsie and a total coward. Predictable fatwah envy from the usual sources in 5...4...3...2...

Louis

I think that irony must be dead in the Islamic world (if it ever lived). To not be able to see that their reaction to the cartoon validates the cartoon's message just boggles the mind. Religion really does make people barking mad.

According to Crooks and Liars, there was this from one wire report: Denmark's Ritzau news agency said a dozen police vehicles were at the scene while sappers were sent in to look for a bomb that may have been laid.

>>> So maybe he did have a bomb. Perhaps it was just a giant game of Clue and someone else was bringing the pistol and the candlestick.

By Slaughter (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Gloom and fury as Pakistan attack toll nears 100 dead

Think the Danes have problems. Why do Moslems hate volleyball games? 100 dead.

And oh yeah. Allah loves you.

Kurt's quite fortunate that the would be assassin was not as competent as the "religious" kook that murdered Theo van Gogh.

He should consider getting a couple big dogs.

By dustycrickets (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm beginning to think that Islam is a religion of peace in much the same way that Christianity is a religion of love.

By Capital Dan (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

You have to love the 'logic' of fanatics. It goes thusly;

'Your cartoons mock a man who lived a millenium and a half ago who we believe was a prophet of our favoured flavour of Sky Daddy.

Such mockery is mean and hate filled and demonstrates how very bad infidels are.

Now, to prove this point and show how superior we are by trying to murder an old man in cold blood, failing and then attacking a police officer and getting shot for our trouble. This is, of course, just a further example of how oppressed we are - we cannot even murder a critic of our woo in peice! Police brutality! Police brutality I say!'

It is even more worrying that the Xian fundies aspire to a similer level of mindless, violent extremism within their own brand of woo. As Louis points out above, fatwah envy is enivitable at this point.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

My translation:

Shaken Jutland Post cartoonist: That was a close call.

Young attacker shouted "revenge" and "blood" as he tries to kill the cartoonist from the news paper "Jyllands-Posten".

Before the attack Kurt Westergaard felt pretty safe.

But Friday night a probably 27 year old somali man succeeded in breaking a window in a door at the private residence of the cartoonist near the city of Århus.

The attacker tehn went beserk with a hammer and an axe, trying to get to Kurt Westergaard.

The 74-year old Westergaard had fled into a so called "Panic Room" which was the bathroom.

"I retreated to the panic room as he entered the house. I knew I couldn't handle him, so I called the police", a visibly shaken Westergaard tells jp.dk.

Frightening

The events of the night are only now beginning to sink in.

What is especially disturbing to Westergaard is the fact that his just five years old grandchild had to watch the attack.

"My grandchild handled it well. He didn't hurt her", Westergaard repeats several times.

The attacker desperately tried to gain access to the panic room while yelling about "revenge" and "blood" in broken Danish, Westergaard adds.

"It was frightening, but the important thing is that I remembered to use the panic room. But it was close. It was real close. But we made it. That was good. Really good.", says Westergaard.

Will evaluate security.

The attacker was apparently shot and arrested by police officers, but Westergaard is unnaware of the details.

The police of East Jutland will later this evening disclose further details.

Right now Kurt Westergaard is just glad to have survived the attack. He spent friday night in a safe place and cannot say whether the attack will lead to increased security around him.

"It's too early. I have to talk to police intelligence and we'll see."

By Frederik Rosenkjær (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Send his arse to Somalia, he will have all the fun with axes.

best known of the inflammatory anti-Islam Danish cartoons was the work of Kurt Westergaard

Wasn't the most inflammatory of the cartoons the one's which were not actually printed? I.E. the ones the rabble rousing Imans added themselves to their portfolio when jet-setting to manufacture outrage, and which was allowed to pass most protester's notice due to our media's cowardice in not reprinting the ten actual cartoons?

Religious people are blind to their own hypocrisy for a simple reason: they have values but are unprincipled.

As an example, they can be against abortion, calling it state-sponsored murder, while they are for the state-sponsored murder that is the death penalty. To them, principles are merely a means to an end, themselves neutral in value. Whatever gets you what you want is good; whatever gets you what you don't want is bad, even if its the same mechanism. To the religious, there is no sense of turnabout-is-fair-play.

By Rose Colored Glasses (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

It must, at times, be really hard
To be cartoonist Westergaard.
To be a controversial Dane,
Targeted by religious insane.
Trying to live their normal life,
A normal man and normal wife,
But with a price put on his head—
A million bucks to see him dead.

His drawing was a mortal sin
(To those who need a thicker skin):
The Prophet (praise be unto him)
Portrayed in features rather grim,
With bomb in turban, fuse alight,
Offensive to a Muslim’s sight!
Since such an insult could not stand,
“The man must die.” the cold command.

Islam’s Qur’an, the central text,
Has poor cartoonists quite perplexed—
It calls for peace, or that’s the claim,
While breeding martyrs in its name.
But should one choose to illustrate
This problem, well, we know the fate:
The peaceful clerics draw a breath
And send the artist to his death.

Kurt Westergaard is still alive
His freedom, also, will survive—
He will not bow to terrorists
Although his name is on their lists;
He chooses still, by all accords,
To set his pen against their swords
To freely live, as best he can—
So, fuck Muhammad—Kurt’s the man!

http://digitalcuttlefish.blogspot.com/2010/01/danish-cartoonist-1-muham…

By Cuttlefish, OM (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

DAMN! cuttlefish, I stand in awe of your talent, and always look forward to to your posts.

By bullofthewoods (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Impressive! But -gaard is pronounced /gɔʔ/. "Core" isn't too far off as a rhyme. (Just for future reference, not that I hope it's needed.)

Frederik @ 8

Thanks for that translation.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Avenging Destroyer wanted to also use those same weapons of righteousness to 'circumsize' the little girl too.

By Thunderbird 5 (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Master Cuttlefish,

I'm a Swede, so I may be wrong about this, but maybe "Westergaard" should be rhymed with "Lord" rather than "hard"?

This is actually more logical than it sounds. You'll recall the standard creationist tactic regarding debates is to declare victory if no one bothers to wade through their stupidity. Muslims have simply taken this to its logical endpoint by attempting to preemptively murder everyone who would disagree with them, thereby allowing them to claim victory for all time.

Makes perfect sense and in no way resembles the panicked flailing of anachronistic barbarism.

Actually the dear mr Kurt LEFT his grandchild in the livingroom, while fleeing to his saferoom... Thankfully the the wacko didn't give a rats ass about the child, and left her alone, while trying to bust the door in.
When leaving, he wasn't shot before he tried to throw his axe at a policeman.

But there's a whole other problem in this whole debacle. While I support freedom of speech, and think that any belief, religious or otherwise, should be open to critizism, I actually think that Mr. Westergaard is a jerk, and his drawing was uncalled for.
The thing is that here in denmark freedom of speech has been hijacked by rightwing islamofobes, who don't really give a heck about freedom of speech, but just uses is as an excuse to flame muslims! And that was what was done with these, frankly, silly cartoons...

I think it would be better to send simple simon to somalia, and give him a fucking mirror.

No, they don't keep bombs in their turbans. Did they check his underwear?

As a side note, the original bomb-in-turban drawing is a pun on a danish expression: "an orange in your turban" is something good that has fallen into your lap without you working for it.

Which means it's more of an insult to the fanatics than to Muhammed - but that subtlety is lost on anyone not knowing the original expression. :)

uh, Snorre, that's kind of the point of free speech: everyone gets to play, even (especially) those whose with (allegedly) extreme opinions.

excellent post!!!

By kalibhakta (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Snorre, look up useful idiot and see if you recognize yourself. You should although you probably don't.

Snorre @20 [citation needed]

Put up or shut up. We know the attacker was shot only as he also attacked the police. What's the source or your assertion that the cartoonist neglected the child?
Oh. It's your personal animosity to him. Whodathunk?

And now his fellow brain damagees appalud the fucker.

(original for the arabic readers)

How will these guys ever get a grip..?

By ernieball (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Poor old Kurt Westergaard,
Blasphemed against their lord,
Had to go into flight,
At least get his name right,
That is the waard o th'laard!

@ kalibhakta
While that is true, we intelligent folk, still have the choice of who to hail, and who to silently laugh at, and then find somebody else to talk to. I think this is one of the latter examples.
To underline my point, of who has hijacked what, some of the local debate here in Denmark, has lately revolved around the uttering of Lars Hedegaard, president of "Trykkefrihedsselskabet" (Society for free printing), concerning how muslim men allegedly rape their own daughters. But funnily enough he, and the rest of his society, haven't had anything to say about the DOCUMENTED, SYSTEMATIC rape of choirboys in Ireland. Why? Lets see... Now this is just a quess, but maybe because most catholics are white!

eddie, it is actually true that his grand-daughter was left alone in the living room. Kurt Westergaard said so himself in a telephone interview shortly after the ordeal. However, since we have not been given full details of the incident, it would be premature to speculate about exactly how and why this happened. Right now it's simply a diversion perhaps intended to put Kurt Westergaard in a bad light.

Apologies for my #30. Line 5 could have done with a 'fucking'.

Also, in my ealier comment; #27, where d'you think 'put up or shut up' fits in with freedom of speech?
I'm asking the pharegulars as snorre, and indeed simon, seem to have been drive-by cowards.

@27: Small clarification:
You're not asking for a citation on the state of denmark, no? Because from what I understand of the place, he's completely correct on the political situation. Their Right Wing is as crazy as Merika's. "Freedom of Speech means I get to talk to you about Jesus without having to hear pesky things like you saying he didn't exist, or Allahu Akbar or anything else."

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

@#20
'While I support freedom of speech'
no you don't, because you then say:
'and think that any belief, religious or otherwise, should be open to critizism, I actually think that Mr. Westergaard is a jerk, and his drawing was uncalled for.'
Do you apply the same to depictions of Jesus with a finger in the air (for 1 eg.)?
Freedom of speech protects the right to offend; not the right to feel offended.

Thanks Danish, and apologies to snorre. I heard the incident reported on BBC radio on my way home last night and took what they said as true.

Most catholics are white...what rock have you been living under?

By Patricia Queen… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

@Danish
I have nothing but contempt for religious nutcases trying to swing axes at people who say stuff they don't like. But that doesn't mean I have to like Mr. Westergaard, does it?

And now his fellow brain damagees applaud the fucker.

original for the arabic readers)

(with working links this time..)

By ernieball (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

"'and think that any belief, religious or otherwise, should be open to critizism, I actually think that Mr. Westergaard is a jerk, and his drawing was uncalled for.'
Do you apply the same to depictions of Jesus with a finger in the air (for 1 eg.)?
Freedom of speech protects the right to offend; not the right to feel offended."

Freedom of Speech may give you the right to say "Arabic peoples are subhuman", as is so popular in Denmark, but it doesn't stop you from being an enormous jackass for doing so. That's the real thrust of insults to Islam *In Denmark*.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Oh, and yes. Any nutcase who would use violence on the Danish Racist Jackasses, or who would SUPPORT that violence, is still a nutcase.

That just doesn't change that the Danish Cartoonists were racist jackasses.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

@#40
So is PZ saying "Jews are subhuman" and "being an enormous jackass" by posting a picture of Jesus with a finger in the air? And WTH difference does it make if you publish in Denmark or USA?

@Danish
I have nothing but contempt for religious nutcases trying to swing axes at people who say stuff they don't like. But that doesn't mean I have to like Mr. Westergaard, does it?

@24:"can anyone translate the Arabic on his turban?"
It says (in Arabic) "lâ ilâha illallâh, Muḥammadun rasûlullâh," or in English, "There is no God but God [Allah]; Mohammed is the messenger of God." This statement is also called the shahada, and it is considered the fundamental statement of the Islamic faith.

"So is PZ saying "Jews are subhuman" and "being an enormous jackass" by posting a picture of Jesus with a finger in the air?"
No. PZ only intends to mock religious people by satirizing their golden calf. PZ probably only cares about Jews when they're being retarded, like when Israel blamed abortions on the lack of a new Messiah.

"And WTH difference does it make if you publish in Denmark or USA?"

Technically, it's not the location, it's the mentality of the speakers. Denmark's right wing (Of which the Jyllands-Posten is staunch defenders) is fucking insane.

http://snaphanen.dk/2009/12/17/lars-hedegaard-islam-is-an-army/ || I'm still looking for all the various quotes I've seen over the last two years, but this one has some of my favorites. Muslims are "Child molesters", "Liars", and "Preparing to kill us all". The most memorable was a politician praising the danish equivalent of skinheads in bike gangs for beating Muslim immigrants, because they're obviously criminals.

It's a little bit like the difference between when an atheist says "Islam is as unfounded in reality as Christianity" and the KKK says "Islam is a heathen religion founded and practiced by barbarians." One isn't attacking race through a proxy of religion, one is. Do you understand why that might raise my hackles? If you show me a muslim attacking white people through the proxy of Christianity, I'm going to get just as pissed.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

While one can argue that the cartoons in question may have been in bad taste or may even have been calculated to offend Muslims, this has no relation to the freedom of speech issue. As was pointed out upthread, there is no legal protection from being offended and certainly no legal right to respond to such offence by attempting to plant an axe in someone's face.

Methinks that the religious of whatever branch of 'Sociopaths 'R Us' need to grow a thicker skin and realise that shouting 'Praise Jebus' or 'Allah Akbar' does not automatically exclude them from the norms of society or the rule of law.

The rule is simple enough; trying to kill people you disagree with is generally frowned upon in polite society.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

@Rutee
Thanks, my point exactly. What I think most of you are missing here, is the context of the danish political climate, where insulting muslims as much as you can seems to be the new national sport.
Lots of liberal debaters here critizised with saying something along the lines of "While we support the freedom of speech, and wouldn't stop you from saying what you want, stop being such jerks! You knew this would happen, and did it just to make people angry".
The muslims in denmark had been kicked at enough already, and that episode just gave them something to show the world. The imams going around with extra cartoons, pouring gasoline on the fire, were just as big jerks. None of them did anything constructive for the debate.

@#45
So when right-wingers disparage the founder of one religion, they're 'racist', but when liberals disparage the founder of another religion its harmless 'satire'? Give me a break!

@#4
You win a golden squid if you can quote the Koranic verse that says: "Allah loves you".

Yeah. I don't think ANYONE should respond to the cartoons with violence, but it was a predictable response NOT because they're religious, but because they're an oppressed minority in their own country.

That's been my chief "I hate atheists" thing on this site, especially on this issue (Note: I also hate agnostics, Christians, Muslims, Jews, YECs, Hindus, Buddhists.. so don't take special offense). Yes, yes the violent response was wrong. But you can't excuse the Danish cartoonists based on what you know of Merika's political climate. Heck, you shouldn't have excused them even if they were Merikan, because our Religious Right does THE EXACT SAME FUCKING THING. Witness the response to teh underwear bomber. "RACIALLY PROFILE MUSLIMS" "...How?" Denmark's not Merika, and going out of your way to mock muslims is a vital plank in what I've been calling their right wing, but more appropriately is called the Nationalist Party.

@Snorre: Can you find the Søren Pind quote where he praised biker gangs for beating up Muslims?

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Today I have learned that Muslim is a race ("That just doesn't change that the Danish Cartoonists were racist jackasses") and that any Dane who says something bad about Islam is a "fucking insane" right-wing racist fascist.

Please remember that you may freely criticize any religion, but not Islam or certain people will start frothing at the mouth about how you are wrong, Wrong, WRONG to do so.

By felixthecat (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

"While we support the freedom of speech, and wouldn't stop you from saying what you want, stop being such jerks! You knew this would happen, and did it just to make people angry"

In other words;

'We support freedom of speech as long as you refrain from being mean. Despite our warnings, you have been mean and if some religious nutcase takes it into their woo-addled head to murder you in cold blood, well you knew that might happen. You did it just to make people angry, so you kind of deserve anything you get.'

Does Denmark have a problem with Islamaphobia? Yes. Does this in any way excuse responding to provokative cartoons with violence? No. It is unacceptable for the paramenters of freedom of speech in the nominally free world to be determined by the violent acts of religious fundamentalists. While the cartoons may have expressed bigotry, on the scale of socially harmful acts the cartoons barely register next to the subsequent bid to control the social discourse through the use of violence and religiously and politically motivated murder.

Would you apply the same apologetic to the actions of the murderer of Theo Van Gogh? After all, Van Gogh was involved in the creation of a documentary that highlighted the abysmal treatment of women in many Islamic cultures. This certainly offended many Muslims. It offended one enough to stab Van Gogh to death in the street.

If we once allow any religious group to define the boundaries of acceptable speech through violence we will be declaring open season on all free thought, both that that may legitimately be considered offensive and that which offends only the real crazies. This may not be the kind of terrorism that involves flying planes into skyscrapers, but it is terrorism all the same.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

@#48
Wiley, you're still missing the point. You have to see it within its context. And this is a context where the political leaders, for the last 10 years or so, have been playing "kick the muslim". This has never been about "freedom of speech", this is about "freedom to insult people with the wrong colour".

@37
Ok, ok, most IRISH catholics are white.

"So when right-wingers disparage the founder of one religion, they're 'racist', but when liberals disparage the founder of another religion its harmless 'satire'? Give me a break!"

When Denmark's Right Wingers do it, yes. I like your conflation, incidentally, of atheist and liberal. The Objectivists would complain quite loudly.

I will put it in starker terms, to free it from the context of Denmark (and possibly Merika's) political climate. If you attack Islam to provide you with a politically defensible method of saying "Fuck Sand Niggers", you are still a racist jackass, just one who can play the game. *THAT* is what the Jyllands-Poste did.

"Today I have learned that Muslim is a race ("That just doesn't change that the Danish Cartoonists were racist jackasses") and that any Dane who says something bad about Islam is a "fucking insane" right-wing racist fascist. "
Today, I learned that Atheists are no better then Creationists about intentionally misunderstanding people who say things they disagree with.

"Please remember that you may freely criticize any religion, but not Islam or certain people will start frothing at the mouth about how you are wrong, Wrong, WRONG to do so."
Really? Okay.

I don't give two shits for Islam. The only nice thing I can say about it is that they have a mandated graduated income tax specifically meant to help the poor in their holy book. The rest is something I don't like, and I think SHaria Law is as abominable as the rest of you undoubtedly do. I think their complementarian dodge on the rights of women is as abhorrent as the Christians' complementarian dodge. As far as I'm concerned, fundie muslims can go fuck themselves as hard as fundie christians, fundie jews, and fundie everything else.

But you know? I'm not using this as a thinly veiled, politically defensible attack on immigrants from islamic countries. And if you said the same thing, you're probably not either. But if you do mean it as a thinly veiled, politically defensible attack on immigrants from islamic countries, you're still a racist jackass.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

"Does Denmark have a problem with Islamaphobia? Yes. Does this in any way excuse responding to provokative cartoons with violence? No."

See, her'es the problem with the statements I read. In my head, I add on a third clause.

"Does the violence in any way excuse the Islamophobia? No."

The way I am being misrepresented seems to say that this third clause isn't being recognized by most folks at large. That makes me very angry, because the sheer jackassery of the white christians is, perhaps unintentionally, being written off just because some arabic muslims responded in a patently wrong way. Your wrongs are not automatically acceptable just because someone else was more wrong.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Wiley,
When a member of the community that is in the majority or in power mocks the culture of a minority of subjugated community, that may or may not be racist, but it certainly can be seen by the members of the minority as threatening.

Threats to the community tend to result in its isolation from the mainstream, which further decreases integration (as opposed to assimilation).

Polarization of communities is not conducive to a healthy society. OTOH, it is rather hard to see now desecration of a cracker or ridicule of some of the very absurd middle-age beliefs of Xtianity constitutes a significant threat to that community.

By a_ray_in_dilbe… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

@Rutee
Why o you have to keep saying what I mean, just better than me?
Couldn't you just do a drawing instead?

Wiley, you're still missing the point.

Wiley never gets the point. That requires a modicum of intelligence, which Wiley lacks. He can only parrot the godbot/liberturd agenda, and we have no hope of him actually having an original thought.

By Nerd of Redhead, OM (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

PZ probably only cares about Jews when they're being retarded, like when Israel blamed abortions on the lack of a new Messiah.

Please refrain from conflating the crazy of fringe individuals with state-endorsed crazy. The statements in Israel were strictly a case of the former.

Thank you.

By Forbidden Snowflake (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom @ 55;

'See, her'es the problem with the statements I read. In my head, I add on a third clause.

"Does the violence in any way excuse the Islamophobia? No."'

I do not think anyone here is trying to excuse Islamaphobia. People a rightly concerned that the response to the arguably racist cartoons was utterly disproportionate to the level of offence they may have given. This is the main issue most commenters are addressing on the thread. This is not to say that they approve of crude mischaracterisation of Islam or muslims, merely that they feel that elements of the fringe of the muslim community are altogether too quick to resort to violence in an attempt to control the expression of others.

As a parallel, I live in the UK. So does Nick Griffin (head of the BNP, a British far right party. Just think a slightly less extreme Klu Klux Klan and you are there). I find the effluvia that spews from that man's mouth to be a massive affront to my humanist values.

He is unambiguously a racist who may even represent a potential threat to the continuence of freedom in the UK. Inspite of all of this, I still have no right to try to kill him for his repugnant political and social beliefs. Freedom of speech is all or nothing. Either the freedom of speech of everyone is protected (unless they directly incite violence, which makes Griffin a debateable case) or the freedom of speech of noone is protected. There can be no half measures.

Lone Ranger-esque violent attempts to sift the wheat of those who may speak from the chaff of those who may not is never acceptable, no matter what a person says or, for that matter, draws.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

That's the thing about freedom of speech: It doesn't end when racist assholes express things you don't like. And the thing about cartoon parody: It doesn't become racist just because the cartoonist was an asshole.
Say what you like about the sentiment of the cartoons, or them as support or condemn them. Just don't give us no shit that the thing shouldn't have been said.

Oh, and the spanish and their american descendants are just as white as other european americans. US racism claims they're not, maybe because hitler spoke against the mediterranean races.

Rutee at #49 said:

"I don't think ANYONE should respond to the cartoons with violence, but it was a predictable response NOT because they're religious, but because they're an oppressed minority in their own country."

Given that the cartoons featured religious subject matter and that the violent response to the cartoons was explicitly motivated by the Hadith's prohibition on images of Muhammad, I can not imagine a hypothetical case of stimulus and response that could be more overtly religious than this one.

@Gregory
You're right, but still I ask the question I think was missed above: When these idiots use their freedom of speech for somethink stupid, should we then applaud them? Or silently laugh at them and find someone else to talk to?
I think the above mentioned newspaper did the former, when they should have done the latter...

Rutee, SHOD:

"Does the violence in any way excuse the Islamophobia? No."

You seem to be assuming that all criticism of islam is from islamophobic xians. Maybe this is the majority case in most places, but here on pharyngula it just isn't the case.

But alas, I thank you all for a nice debate. Now I will lay me down, and hope that the flying spaghetti monster watches over me! (Hmm... Is that a good or a bad thing?)

Forbidden Snowflake:

Please refrain from conflating the crazy of fringe individuals with state-endorsed crazy.

The trouble here is that the extreme nutcases, as in the ridiculous swine flu is not kosher incident, are at the heart of the israeli government. They make dubya out to be sensible and peace-loving.

Snorre @ 63;

I would contend that one can discuss the issues pertaining to freedom of speech that will necessarily be raised in a case like this without condoning the actual content of the media under question. While the cartoons are perhaps not worthy of praise, this does not place the issue of to what degree free speech is truly free in Denmark or the Western World at large outside the aegis of legitimate debate.

While we may laugh at the cartoonist, the attempted murder of that cartoonist because he had the temerity to criticise Islam (rightly or wrongly) is no laughing matter.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Should we applaud racism in the name of free speech? Of course not!

Was the drawing of Muhammad an act of racism? Of course not!

Your dislike of the right-wingers (which I mostly agree with) is completely blinding your judgment and is making you into cowardly defenders of anti-freedom forces.

Rutee at #49 said:

"I don't think ANYONE should respond to the cartoons with violence, but it was a predictable response NOT because they're religious, but because they're an oppressed minority in their own country."

Thanks Bryan, I forgot that bit. It may have helped us understand why some in the muslim, danish community were angry, but that wasn't where most of the rioting was. Are muslims an oppressed minority in muslim majority countries under muslim leadership? srsly!

Also, snorre:
"When these idiots use their freedom of speech for somethink stupid, should we then applaud them? Or silently laugh at them and find someone else to talk to?"

I think the answer is to use our freedom of speech to speak against it. You may get a verbal kicking on this blog, but verbal only.

Its funny how the riots and desire to kill the cartoonists did not appear until 6 months after they had been printed. In a low circulation rag. Long after they had been forgotten by any of the regular readers.

To say that violence was a predictable response from an oppressed minority to the printing of these cartoons is stretching the truth to breaking point in this instance. There was NO violent backlash to the cartoons, until someone decided to manufacture some.

@ Snorre (#31)--others have replied far better than I could about the need to separate motivation and content on the one hand from the right to free speech on the other. the only thing I might add is, despite my dumb typo earlier, I was trying to get across the idea that we not only should "tolerate" repugnant speech, but that we need it for our social and intellectual health.

plus, it's damned entertaining.

By kalibhakta (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

"You seem to be assuming that all criticism of islam is from islamophobic xians. Maybe this is the majority case in most places, but here on pharyngula it just isn't the case."
I actually agree, but the fact remains that as a rule there's excuse of the people who act

"Was the drawing of Muhammad an act of racism? Of course not!"
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/75/Jyllands-Posten-pg3-artic…

Some of these aren't bad, really (I think, anyway. That one with the kites is straight up impenetrable to me). The one with the bottom left is insulting the newspaper itself (It reads "The Jyllands-Posten is a racist rag"), the bottom one, well, it's sort of a backhanded compliment that muslims wouldn't flip out over a cartoon ("Relax guys, when you get down to it, it's just a drawing by some guy in Southern Jutland"). On the other hand, they still almost do, noting the bomb, sword, and gun by the guys holding it.

"I do not think anyone here is trying to excuse Islamaphobia. People a rightly concerned that the response to the arguably racist cartoons was utterly disproportionate to the level of offence they may have given. This is the main issue most commenters are addressing on the thread. This is not to say that they approve of crude mischaracterisation of Islam or muslims, merely that they feel that elements of the fringe of the muslim community are altogether too quick to resort to violence in an attempt to control the expression of others."
Yes, and I agree with /all/ of those concerns.

That's why mischaracterization of my point (Not accusing you, but look at say, Felixthecat or Wiley's responses to my posts), which is "Just because some jackass muslims behave violently doesn't excuse a jackass who wants to claim freedom fo speech", and the fact that HE GETS AWAY WITH THAT MISCHARACTERIZATION TO OTHERS, says.. well, something. I've heard it said on this blog that if Christians want to not be called crazy, they have to disavow their crazy counterparts, the YEC. That's a sentiment I agree with, but it's one that has to be held to other groups that have folks saying crazy or stupid things.

"Thanks Bryan, I forgot that bit. It may have helped us understand why some in the muslim, danish community were angry, but that wasn't where most of the rioting was. Are muslims an oppressed minority in muslim majority countries under muslim leadership? srsly!"
Yup, and the riots were stupid.

By the way, as long as we're talking about Denmark's vaunted support for freedom of speech? Laws have been passed that let them throw out 'any immigrant' who protests, in the sole eyes of the Denmark Police Force, without any sort of oversight, or to my recollection, definition of protest, and with no appeals process. Most immigrants in the country are muslims from the middle east (Which itself is a wide range of ethnic groups when one examines the issue seriously).

That's some dedication to freedom of speech right there! The issue was NEVER freedom of speech for the danish themselves, it was, much like the Religious Right of Merika, "I want to say bad things about other people without consequences, but don't you dare say bad things about US"

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Lots of talk about islamophobia here. I would remind everyone that a "Phobia" is an "IRRATIONAL" response to something.
I ask you all to read these two links about "The Religion of Peace"...They want to KILL you for saying NO or criticising their precious prophet. There is nothing irrational about criticising this cult of evil...its called self preservation.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wiltshire/8437658.stm
http://www.islam4uk.com/current-affairs/world-news/323-do-not-insult-th…
Further...name me ONE conflict in the world right now that does not have islam standing in blood knee deep at the centre of it.

"Further...name me ONE conflict in the world right now that does not have islam standing in blood knee deep at the centre of it. "

Northern Ireland Terrorist attacks.

Buddhist suppression in Sri Lanka.

China/Taiwan controversy.

Pretty much every fucking thing that happens in South America.

Kurds vs. Secular Turks

Scaremongering idiot.

Also, dammit, I forgot to go back in and add the other cartoons that were more or less openly racist to the list. Short version: Bomb-turban, arguably top right, middle two on the left. To be honest, most of the ones on the right are opaque to me, but they do seem legitimately inoffensive.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Mis-characterization is like the defense "it's taken out of context". Whatever, though.

Is the Danish situation about racism, really? Fear that the blondEs there will bear little Islamic babies? Or is there a concern about Islam itself, a concern certainly demonstrated as valid by the example of the Danish Imams traveling the world with their own cartoons stirring up riots just about everyplace they went to?

This nonsense of trying to squelch discussion by labeling the cartoons "racist", Danes with concerns about Islam as "racists" and "fascists", and by calling other commenters here "fucks" and "scaremongering idiots" and "racists" really doesn't make your arguments any more credible. Are you unable to defend your ideas without racebaiting, without insults, without a certain hysterical tone popping through your writing? Apparently not.

Please, if you can Rutee, tell us how any of the cartoons are actually racist, and how having valid concerns about the nature of Islam and its role in the West is racist and "Islamophobic".

By felixthecat (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

'The issue was NEVER freedom of speech for the danish themselves, it was, much like the Religious Right of Merika, "I want to say bad things about other people without consequences, but don't you dare say bad things about US"'

With respect Rutee, I must disagree with you. The fundamental issue is one of freedom of speech. While Denmark does undoubtably have some very unjust laws pertaining to its muslim minority and also has a problem with racism and a rabid Far Right that Nick Griffin would doubtless love to have around for tea parties, this does not alter the fact that whatever a person says, writes, draws or otherwise expresses, and however offensive that expression may be, it still does not justify the censorship of that expression. Especially not through the expedient of violence.

I would rephrase your hypothetical that some people on the Right in Denmark are saying the equivalent of;

"I want to say bad things about other people without consequences, but don't you dare say bad things about US"

and replace it with;

"I want to say bad things about other people without being murdered or suffering death threats for saying it. I may be a racist, intolerant jackass but I still have the right to my own opinions and the right to express them publically without fear of violence. If you take that right away from me, you weaken it for everyone else. That is what democracy and freedom (insert strains of 'The Star Spangled Banner' in the background for suitably nauseating patriotic effect) is all about."

Just because you find what someone says to be offensive, this does not automatically cancel out issues of free speech. It is hard to champion the right of free expression of people who you find sickening, but it is all the more important to do so less we create double standards and begin to accept the idea of second class citizens.

Voltaire may not actually have said it, but I still hold to the aphorism that;

'I may not agree with what you say, but I would defend unto the death your right to say it.'

If we tarnish that principle for any reason, then we drive a nail into the coffin of free speech, free thought and freedom in general. I think that is too high a price to pay to gag people that some of us find offensive.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rutee at #72:

"Yup, and the riots were stupid."

Is the "yup" in this comment intended to convey your agreement with the proposition that "Muslims [are] an oppressed minority in Muslim majority countries"? I'm not sure exactly what you were trying to say, although I agree that rioting in response to the publication of these cartoons was not intelligent. My earlier post and eddie's provide an effective refutation of your assertion that the violent response to the cartoons was a direct result of the perpetrators' oppression rather than the logical result of their religious beliefs. Beliefs matter, and a significant number of Muslims have beliefs that pose a real threat to civilization.

'Just because some jackass muslims behave violently doesn't excuse a jackass who wants to claim freedom fo speech", and the fact that HE GETS AWAY WITH THAT MISCHARACTERIZATION TO OTHERS, says.. well, something.'

The trouble with this position, Rutee, is that while you are obviously unhappy that this mischaracterisation has gone unanswered, you do not suggest what form an appropriate level of sanction might take.

We agree that violence is unacceptable, but if we impose a fine or prison term, does this not also amount to undue censorship? Does this not place far too much power into the hands of the State to determine who can say what and when and on which issues? Is it not true that such laws would be open to the most horrendous abuses and indeed would be fundamentally incompatible with a liberal democratic form of governance?

If we accept that the state is the worng tool for the job, then who else could wield such power without an equally damaging effect of democracy? It is hardly something to be entrusted to the private sector.

All we are left with is peaceable and legitimate criticism of the cartoons in the public forum. You are already doing that here. However, such criticism does not amount to a practical censure of the artist, nor does it prevent him from expressing similar opinions in the future. This is the (in my humble opinion, very modest) price we must pay if we wish to receive the benefits of a free society.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

The BBC reported on this story about eight times on this morning's news. Each time they made it clear that Westergaard had 'caused' the 'outrage' the cartoons led to and implied that he kind of deserved to be attacked. It was disgusting.

"The issue was NEVER freedom of speech for the danish themselves, it was, much like the Religious Right of Merika, "I want to say bad things about other people without consequences, but don't you dare say bad things about US"

Isn't that just a bold-faced assertion. I find it difficult to comprehend that people simply refuse to believe that the cartoons were a result of people being afraid of drawing cartoons of the muslim prophet.

Why does racism have to be a part of it?

To my knowledge Kurt Westergaard is not a racist in anyway. He strikes me as an asshole, but not as a racist. And I sincerily doubt he's going to apologise after this latest attack.

By Primateus (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Primateus @ 80;

'To my knowledge Kurt Westergaard is not a racist in anyway. He strikes me as an asshole, but not as a racist. And I sincerily doubt he's going to apologise after this latest attack.'

You make a good point, and I would go even further. Whether he is a racist or not, I would be disappointed if Kurt Westergaard did apologise after this attack since that would send the clear message that violence works as a means of controlling free expression in the West. That all you need is a few sharp implements, a chip on your shoulder the size of the average tree, and a family-sized bucket of crazy and you can effectively determine what can and cannot be discussed in supposedly free societies.

That is one message we should be very leery of sending.

Latsot @ 79;

You are right. It is both disgusting and deeply irresponsible behaviour that makes a mockery of the idea of journalistic objectivity. It is all the more disappointing that this spin on the story was probably motivated by craven fear. The BBC needs to grow a backbone, stat.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Thank you, Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom and Snorre, for not allowing this thread to fall completely into a pit of masturbatory self-righteousness and racism.

Elbowman @ 82;

'Thank you, Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom and Snorre, for not allowing this thread to fall completely into a pit of masturbatory self-righteousness and racism.'

That strikes me as a little strong. While some of the other commenters on this thread may have gone a little far, I think that the debate over to what degree freedom of speech is a factor in this issue is a valid one. I also think that it is possible to criticise extreme Islam without automatically falling into Islamaphobia. If you feel that I have expressed a racist or Islamaphobic position in any of my posts, please point it out to me so that I can either further explain my position or acknowledge my mistake.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

I guess Elbowman prefers the self-hating, political correctness from a bunch of cowardly apologists for religious oppression. There was no racism in this thread until his two friends side-tracked the debate with irrelevant Danish domestic politics.

It seems that Elbowman may have been a drive-by poster. How unfortunate. I was hoping that he was going to further elaborate on his earlier assertion.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Posted by: Gregory Greenwood | January 2, 2010 3:32 PM

While one can argue that the cartoons in question may have been in bad taste or may even have been calculated to offend Muslims, this has no relation to the freedom of speech issue. As was pointed out upthread, there is no legal protection from being offended

Except in Ireland.

By truthspeaker (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Truthspeaker @ 86;

Good point. 'Tis true that January 1st 2010 was a sad (and very embarrassing) day for Eire.

Here's hoping they don't try to lock up PZ when he goes there. Who knows how Cthulhu will react if his favoured prophet is thus ill treated. Cephalopod related pain would doubtless ensue. Won't someone think of the leprachauns! Err, wait a second. I'm sure that I got that fundie warcry wrong somehow...

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hi,

I made a cartoon of PZ and Sam harris giving the gods what I thought they deserved. PZ didn't like it. Said it was tasteless. If anybody wants to see it let me know, and I will email it to them, or tell me where I can post it.

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

I made a cartoon of PZ and Sam harris giving the gods what I thought they deserved. PZ didn't like it. Said it was tasteless. If anybody wants to see it let me know, and I will email it to them, or tell me where I can post it.

Said that where?

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

For those who are curious, wodenforce emailed me a cartoon that convinces me he's a troll. It was a picture of me and Sam Harris with machine guns herding a bunch of tearful gods into a concentration camp shower.

He sent me and Sam several copies of this thing. I wrote back and told him it was tasteless and antithetical to the goals of 'New Atheists'. He apparently didn't get the hint.

I sent him an email with the cartoon about 1.5 weeks ago. That was his response, which is fine with me. But if any others want to see it please let me know.

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

I sent him an email with the cartoon about 1.5 weeks ago. That was his response, which is fine with me. But if any others want to see it please let me know.

I see you're continuing your campaign of idiocy.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Crawl back under your rock, wodenforce.

It is just a cartoon. If you don't want to see it, then never mind. Not a problem.

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Fuck. Off.

It is just a cartoon. If you don't want to see it, then never mind. Not a problem.

And you're just an idiot. Not a problem.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Was that really necessary? Are you PZ's attack dogs?

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Was that really necessary? Are you PZ's attack dogs?

Was PZ's description of your cartoon accurate?

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

What do you attack first, ask questions later? Fuck you!

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

What do you attack first, ask questions later? Fuck you!

Was PZ's description of your cartoon accurate?

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

If you want to see it I will send it. It is only a fucking cartoon. It won't make your head explode!

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

If you want to see it I will send it. It is only a fucking cartoon. It won't make your head explode!

You're not really doing a good job of convincing me my comment was uncalled for.

Was PZ's description of your cartoon accurate?

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

It was a picture of me and Sam Harris with machine guns herding a bunch of tearful gods into a concentration camp shower.

Yeah, I really wish I hadn't read that. I think I have to leave this thread before I'm sick.

Are you PZ's attack dog?

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Are you PZ's attack dog?

No.

Was PZ's description of your cartoon accurate?

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Wodenforce;

Having read PZ's discription of your cartoon, I must admit that it sounds as if the peice is in rather bad taste. The Nazi Death Camps are not really a very good source of humourous satire. 6 million innocent dead people tend to cause jokes to fall a little flat.

Leaving aside the element of the cartoon that is offensive to the Jewish people, there is also the fact that your cartoon implies a connection between PZ and Sam Harris (and by extension the broader atheist community that they in part represent) and the Nazi party and the abhorant genocide that they perpetrated. Given that it is a long standing and particularly vile canard of the creationists and other hardline theists that Hitler was an atheist and that atheism inevitably leads to fascism, it is perhaps no surprise that you have encountered a less than warm reception here on Pharyngula.

You can surely see why your actions do give you the appearance of a particularly nasty troll even if your intent was innocent and your action genuinely misguided. This is emotive imagry dealing with a particularly cruel and bloody period of history afterall, and you appear to be treating it with inappropriate levity.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

SC OM,

You weren't really participating in this thread anyway. You and Chimp only swooped in to tell me to Fuck off. poor delicate stomach you must have.

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

You and Chimp only swooped in to tell me to Fuck off.

No I called you an idiot based off the cartoon and your previous comments here in other threads. At no point did i tell you to fuck off. You on the other hand said "Fuck you" to me. Get your facts straight.

So, tell me about the cartoon. Was PZ's description accurate?

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Listen

I am not going to discuss the contents of the cartoon. If you want to see it fine. If it is offensive, oh well. Lots of people find different things offensive. Some people find a cartoon of "god" shitting on the planet offensive. I don't. Fuck Mohammed, Jesus, Yaweh, and all the rest of them. It is a matter of taste.

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

woodenhead. It's not likely folk are just gonna hand you their email addresses. Put it on the web where everyone can see what a sad, dishonest troll you are.

Eddie,

How am I dishonest? I agree nobody wants to give out their email. Fair enough.

I don't know where to post it. Give me a suggestion.

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Listen
I am not going to discuss the contents of the cartoon. If you want to see it fine. If it is offensive, oh well. Lots of people find different things offensive. Some people find a cartoon of "god" shitting on the planet offensive. I don't. Fuck Mohammed, Jesus, Yaweh, and all the rest of them. It is a matter of taste.

So I'm just going to assume PZ was accurate.

In which case, you're an idiot. An idiot who has a very myopic understanding of the historical and cultural implications of creating a cartoon that uses "gas chambers" and a serious misunderstanding of what PZ and as far as I know Sam Harris and the "new atheists" stand for.

The offensiveness of the cartoon is one thing but the stupidity of the message is another.

Idiot.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

What is the point of calling me an Idiot? Why don't you just say you find it offensive for whatever reason. Why do you have to get personal and make insults. That is what I don't get.

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

What is the point of calling me an Idiot? Why don't you just say you find it offensive for whatever reason. Why do you have to get personal and make insults. That is what I don't get.

Did I hurt your feelings?

It's very simple, if you don't want to be called an idiot, don't do idiotic things. In this case creating an idiotic cartoon then sending it to PZ as if he would appreciate it.

If PZ's description is inaccurate I'm willing to retract my calling you an idiot in this case but reserve the right to call you an idiot for past comments here or future ones.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Wodenforce @ 113;

'Why don't you just say you find it offensive for whatever reason.'

With respect, Wodenforce, that is exactly what I did upthread and you have yet to reply or engage with me in any way.

I would be interested in hearing you expound your reasons for creating a cartoon that I imagine you must have realised would offend a great many people. Was there any particular message you were trying to send? Was this cartoon intended as a critique of the tendency of some New Atheists to be somewhat abrasive in their manner when dealing with issues of religion?

Could you explain why you thought that such traumatic imagery would be appropriate subject matter for a satirical illustration? Were you not concerned that such a cartoon may cause great offence to the victims of the war crimes of the Nazi's and their families? Do you not think that greater consideration of the impact of your choice of image would have been prudent?

If you are in truth not a troll, then the answers to these questions would be most illuminating.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

No, you didn't hurt my feelings Rev. I don't really give a rat's ass what you think. However, I notice how quickly things become ugly around here, or any blog, when someone does something to which "you" (not you personally) disagree. There is a way on blogs, people start to conform to an unstated ideology.

My previous comments weren't really that idiotic. At least no more idiotic than Raven's exxaggerates in just about every sentence. But it was mine that got the brunt of the attack. Stating that not all Fundie's were Dominionists, and that most Fundies don't want to destroy America, is not that stupid.

The cartoon was meant to mock gods, but also ourselves. It was offensive to everyone. xians, muslims, hindus, atheists. The cartoon expressed how some people may see the new atheist movement.

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

It was a very misleading portrayal of a Muslim ...

PZ, this is beneath you. Or should be. Your post attempts to equate all Muslims, by sole dint of their religion, with the actions of one homicidal, deranged person.

A bit unscientific.

Xenophobic as well.

By Douglas Watts (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

The cartoon expressed how some people may see the new atheist movement.

So you wanted to perpetuate a straw man view of so called New Atheists?
Wow, golly gee. Thanks for your exercise in insipidity, ya clueless git. The Dunning-Kruger effect in action.

I don't really give a rat's ass what you think.

Yeah, that's why you gave multiple posts telling people to fuck off and calling them attack dogs.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Douglas Watts: Wait for it....

wait for it......

You're concern has been noted.

Gregory,

Sorry not to engage with you, but I don't really feel I have to explain. Call it Art. Nobody asks an artist why he choses his subjects. It is how I felt at the time. If you don't like it fine. And I am sorry to Chimp and SC OM. Of course, you can call me an idiot, or stupid, or to Fuck Off or whatever.It was foolish of me to object.

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Wodenforce;

'The cartoon was meant to mock gods, but also ourselves. It was offensive to everyone. xians, muslims, hindus, atheists. The cartoon expressed how some people may see the new atheist movement.'

Thank you for the clarification. At least now I have a clearer idea of the message behind your, on the face of it, wilfully inflamatory choice of imagery.

All the same, I hope you can understand why PZ (and probably Sam Harris too, if he were to become aware of the cartoon) might object to being cast in such a role even if the intent was to critique stereotyping of 'New Atheists' (personally I do not favour that term. There really is nothing new about the atheism seen on Pharyngula. It is simply more outspoken these days.)

Also, I think that this image would be less offensive to muslims and hindus then it would to jewish people and atheists. Among xians, those who are holocaust deniers would probably also not be all that offended. It just occurs to me that there is not an across-the-board, even handed parity of offensiveness in the image. It was always going to bother atheists and jewish people more than anyone else.

Perhaps there are better ways of expressing your point that could not so easily be misinterpreted. The purpose of a political or social critique-based cartoon is to humourously communicate a certain political, social or philosophical idea. If most people who view the cartoon misinterpret its intent as meaning almost the diametric opposite of the message it is supposed to communicate, then a return to the drawing board may be in order. At least, that would be my advice, should you be so inclined as to take it.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

No, you didn't hurt my feelings Rev. I don't really give a rat's ass what you think. However, I notice how quickly things become ugly around here, or any blog, when someone does something to which "you" (not you personally) disagree. There is a way on blogs, people start to conform to an unstated ideology.

I haven't commented on your posts very often before, but this one I did because the cartoon(if PZ's description is accurate) was idiotic. The fact I don't agree with you comes along with the fact that the cartoon was idiotic. You create an offensive cartoon and you expect people to greet you with cheers of "Good job chap!".

Amazing.

The cartoon was meant to mock gods, but also ourselves. It was offensive to everyone. xians, muslims, hindus, atheists. The cartoon expressed how some people may see the new atheist movement.

And it was idiotic. Just because you have an opinion that you express in some weak ass cartoon does not mean I have to respect that opinion or give it the reverence you yourself place on it. It's a stupid concept executed poorly. And no I haven't seen the drawings, but they could be done by Mark Bagley and the point you are so impotently trying to make would still be idiotic.

And your dodging of requests and questions isn't doing anything to change my opinion.

Sometimes when someone calls you an idiot, you might just be one.

If you don't want to be called an idiot, don't act like one.

And that cartoon is fucking idiotic so take from that what you will.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Anyway, I enjoyed offending you folks. You are always making fun of other peoples gods, religions etc. You think it is funny. So do I. I really am an Atheist.

But you never care about how those other folks feel.

What happened to cultural pluralism? or relativism?

I doubt any of you would go to tribes in Africa or S. America, and start offending the people by making mockery of their gods or rituals. Or perhaps you would be like the Christians when colonizing the American West: Cut the Native' peoples hair, mock their gods, and force them to learn English. You don't seem that much different from them. No humility and absolutely sure of your own superiority

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Gregory,

Thank you for your comments. You are very kind. I am an idiot. I am a bit stupid too. My meds are messing with my head. take care

By wodenforce (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

damn - blew the freakin' punchline.

Wodenforce @ 124;

'But you never care about how those other folks feel.

What happened to cultural pluralism? or relativism?'

It is not our responsibility to avoid giving offence or hurting the feelings of others when debating the impact of religion on peoples lives. When the religious push manifestly unjust laws or engage in unambiguously bigoted and socially harmful activity then it is not only acceptable to mock their extremism; it is necessary.

'Pluralism' does not mean taking the beliefs of others and putting them outside the sphere of legitimate debate. 'Relativism' is a concept that can go only so far. There is no moral relativism that can justify covering up child abuse. At least, not in my mind.

'I doubt any of you would go to tribes in Africa or S. America, and start offending the people by making mockery of their gods or rituals. Or perhaps you would be like the Christians when colonizing the American West: Cut the Native' peoples hair, mock their gods, and force them to learn English. You don't seem that much different from them. No humility and absolutely sure of your own superiority'

It is possible to respect another person or culture's rights without automatically deferring to their superstitions. Criticism of someone's religion is hardly comparable to the root and branch supression of indiginous cultures undertaken as part of the colonial era with the charge lead by the missionaries. We are not advocating the use of force against any other social group for any reason. Certainly not as a means of prosyletising atheism. If the convictions of the theists are so very fragile that they cannot endure a little robust debate (and yes, even mockery) then that is not our problem. It is theirs.

We are not 'absolutely sure' of our 'superiority'. We are, however, entitled to our own beliefs and world view. The evidence for god or gods is not so much weak as entirely non-existent. In the absence of such evidence, we withold belief in deities. This is not arrogance or supercilliousness. It is simple rationality. If I were shown truly incontrovertible proof of godhead, I would happily change my mind. No such proof has ever been presented, and until it is I will remain an atheist, not out of a sense of misplaced superiority, but because it is the only position that accords with the evidence.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Since when are muslims all of the same ethnicity, enough to be able to confuse a religion with a race? There may be racists who use the entirely-justified hatred of islam to justify their racism, but this is getting it backwards.

It should be obvious that objecting to someone's barbaric behavior because of their religion is hardly the same thing as disliking their complexion! But it's a cheap trick used by the hopelessly politically-"correct" to inflame the issue beyond all sensibility, and in the process to interfere with any real solutions to this serious problem of muslim criminality.

When things get so bad because of this pathetic p.c. hand-wringing, drastic measures will be all that are left if saving our civilization is the goal. I suspect that mass deportations of all muslims may be necessary, regardless of their citizenship status. The only way to avoid this deportation back to their ancestral sandpiles (or festering, disease-ridden swamps if they happen to be from southeast asia - in either case, back to an essentially medieval society) might be for a candidate to commit some fatal blasphemy recorded on video, to be forwarded to the islamic country to which they will be immediately deported if they so much as throw a gum wrapper on the sidewalk!

I used to think that kicking the Moors out of Spain was a mean thing to do, however now that I've seen how bumfuck CRAZY so many of these fanatics actually are (while other muslims just stand by and do nothing), perhaps that had a lot to with saving Europe from something which could have been worse than the Inquisition.

Does that make me a radical?

PS: If Germany can outlaw nazism, why can't a country or countries outlaw islam? To me they are two peas in a pod, and equally inimical to both science and humanity.

@hznfrst

Getting quite tired of all the idiocy as well...

Makes me wonder, if it would just be better if we'd rid ourselves of them religious freaks Oo

Wodenforce @ 125;

You have, perhaps unintentionally, antagonised a number of commentators here on Pharyngula. I cannot speak for them, but I think you should bear in mind that most people do not come here to express personal animosity as some sort of hobby. This is not about you personally, so much as the positions you expound. If you are prepared to discuss why you believe what you believe, and back up your position with reasoned argument and the odd citation, then you may find the ensuing discussions very rewarding.

We are not all intellectual clones of one another you know. I have been known to disagree with my fellow Pharyngulites on many topics, the war in Afghanistan among them. There is a regular Libertarian commentator called Walton who has opinions very much at odds with most of the rest of us, but who still manages to take part in many threads with the minimum of approbrium sent in his direction.

From time to time, hasty word may be spoken. I myself was once accused or being a warmonger-in-training by a commentator called Knockgoats. While we disagreed in that instance, I still respect Knockgoats and his (or her) opinions.

What I am saying is, give Pharyngula a chance. Try not to overreact if you feel you are being hard done by, and come to any discussion with your game face on. If you do, you will find that some of the best discussions on the web are to be had right here in these hallowed (virtual) pages.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Gregory Middlename Greenwood! I am very disappointed with you!

'Just because some jackass muslims behave violently doesn't excuse a jackass who wants to claim freedom fo speech", and the fact that HE GETS AWAY WITH THAT MISCHARACTERIZATION TO OTHERS, says.. well, something.'

The trouble with this position, Rutee, is that while you are obviously unhappy that this mischaracterisation has gone unanswered, you do not suggest what form an appropriate level of sanction might take.

What are you going on about? There is no trouble with Rutee's position at all. No one is obligated to offer solutions every time they see a problem, and Rutee has given no indication of holding to a position other than liberalism with regard to free speech.

Your repeated invocation of free speech when no one here is known to be opposed to free speech is distracting at best, and this line of questioning:

We agree that violence is unacceptable, but if we impose a fine or prison term, does this not also amount to undue censorship? Does this not place far too much power into the hands of the State to determine who can say what and when and on which issues? Is it not true that such laws would be open to the most horrendous abuses and indeed would be fundamentally incompatible with a liberal democratic form of governance?

reminds me of nothing so much as "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."

The attacker is a shitbag. The victim is a shitbag. No one has suggested that Kurt Westergaard should be forcibly restrained by state violence from being a shitbag.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

they will be immediately deported if they so much as throw a gum wrapper on the sidewalk!

As ever, there's no problem that totalitarianism can't solve!

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

PS: If Germany can outlaw nazism, why can't a country or countries outlaw islam? To me they are two peas in a pod, and equally inimical to both science and humanity.
--

That's because you're an uneducated fool.

By Douglas Watts (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rev. Big Dumb Chimp (#144)

If PZ's description is inaccurate I'm willing to retract my calling you an idiot in this case but reserve the right to call you an idiot for past comments here or future ones.

I like how he tried accusing you of being PZ's attack dog but repeatedly missed the significance of you not taking PZ's word for it and asking several times whether the description was accurate.

~*~*~*~*~*~

wodenforce (#124)

What happened to cultural pluralism? or relativism?

I scrubbed that postmodern garbage out of my brain when I started to get into skepticism. It's useful for understanding why people think the way they do and nothing more. See, truth matters more than people's beliefs. And respecting people matters more than respecting their beliefs, especially if those beliefs are themselves inhumane, as so many are. If you really are going to champion cultural relativism and sensitivity, maybe you shouldn't be drawing cartoons that make light of the fate of concentration camp victims. Maybe you especially shouldn't whine about negative responses to that sort of crap, either.

Or perhaps you would be like the Christians when colonizing the American West: Cut the Native' peoples hair, mock their gods, and force them to learn English. You don't seem that much different from them.

You don't seem much different than the religious fundamentalists. Maybe it's the way you tear down your strawmen with such relish rather than attempting to take on any actual arguments and criticisms.

hznfrst;

Don't you feel that you are conflating extreme, fringe forms of radical Islam with the mainstream of that religion? It is a dangerous precedent to set when one starts outlawing faiths. You cannot institute a system of 'mind police' or 'make windows into men's souls' As Queen Elizabeth the First put it.

While Islam has serious problems with fanatics, I feel that it is hardly reasonable to compare the religion in all its myriad forms to Nazism. Nazism was a repugnant, totalising, genocidal ideology with no redeeming features. While I hold no candle for Islamic woo (or any other brand of woo), I do not think that it can be discribed accurately in such terms. Most muslims are not violent fundamentalists. They may live their lives according to a system of supernatural beliefs that strike the atheist, rationalist mind as odd but this does not somehow make them terrorist by default.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

PS: If Germany can outlaw nazism, why can't a country or countries outlaw islam?

Germany can outlaw Nazism because Germany doesn't have anything like the United States' First Amendment.

You want to live without free speech, I hope you stay the fuck out of my country.

To me they are two peas in a pod, and equally inimical to both science and humanity.

Certainly not equal. Nazism today is mostly associated with street gangs which require violence as a condition of membership. Some Muslims are being encouraged to commit violence, but not as a condition of membership in the ummah, and that's a minority of Muslims as opposed to a majority of Nazis.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Anyway, I enjoyed offending you folks. You are always making fun of other peoples gods, religions etc. You think it is funny. So do I. I really am an Atheist.

But you never care about how those other folks feel.

What happened to cultural pluralism? or relativism?

People choose their religion. If they can't stand criticism of it then that's their problem not mine. But my criticism is based on demonstrateable issues, not made up strawman versions of it. Your cartoon is baseless and classless.

I doubt any of you would go to tribes in Africa or S. America, and start offending the people by making mockery of their gods or rituals. Or perhaps you would be like the Christians when colonizing the American West: Cut the Native' peoples hair, mock their gods, and force them to learn English. You don't seem that much different from them. No humility and absolutely sure of your own superiority

I'm more than happy to point out any religion's lack of connection to reality. The difference here is that the African tribes are not using their religion to drive policy here where I live. Christians are. But in no way do I subscribe to any idea that we should be driving Christians, Muslims, Jews or anyone to gas chambers. People should be free to practice their religion as they choose until they start thinking that their choice is a mandate to tell me how I should be living my life.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

<>

Yea, but they make want to force you live according to their belief system when they emigrate to your country. I live in California where the Muslims are out of control. I've been thrown out of taxi for having a bottle of wine. I work with a Muslim women in chador who monitors how I dress. And I was yelled out by a Muslim man for holding hands with my girl friend. Granted, I never feared violence with any of these interactions, but what gall to move to someone else's country and impose your beliefs on them.

By jane segal (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

So, I guess a correction is in order:

no one here is known to be opposed to free speech

except hznfrst. Sorry about that.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

I like how he tried accusing you of being PZ's attack dog but repeatedly missed the significance of you not taking PZ's word for it and asking several times whether the description was accurate.

Yep funny how he missed that.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Yea, but they make want to force you live according to their belief system when they emigrate to your country.

Let's see what this "force" amounts to:

I live in California where the Muslims are out of control. I've been thrown out of taxi for having a bottle of wine.

A business set conditions of service, legally equivalent to "no shirt, no shoes, no service."

I work with a Muslim women in chador who monitors how I dress.

Nosy coworkers gossip and shove their opinions where they're not wanted.

And I was yelled out by a Muslim man for holding hands with my girl friend.

And gay men are assaulted by Christian men for holding hands with their boyfriends.

Sounds like another boring day in the good old U S of A.

There are real threats to our freedom here, real force and real authoritarian tendencies, but the fucking Muslims aren't the source of those threats.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Strange Gods Before Me, OM @ 132;

'Gregory Middlename Greenwood! I am very disappointed with you!'

Oh heck! I know I am in trouble now! (the middle name is John, for future reference).

'What are you going on about? There is no trouble with Rutee's position at all. No one is obligated to offer solutions every time they see a problem, and Rutee has given no indication of holding to a position other than liberalism with regard to free speech.

Your repeated invocation of free speech when no one here is known to be opposed to free speech is distracting at best'

Rutee was explaining her position. I know that she is not required to solve every problem she encounters, but she seemed to be suggesting that free speech in this instance was not the primary issue, and even that free speech could not be employed to justify language that she identified as racist. I disagreed on this point. She seemed to imply that she was unhappy that Westergaard was 'getting away' with his mischraracterization of Islam. I misinterpreted this as an expression of the idea that he should be somehow censured for that action. I was wrong on this point. Mea Culpa.

'...and this line of questioning...reminds me of nothing so much as "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."'

I am sorry if it came accross in that fashion. I was merely wondering aloud what type of sanction could be applied to someone whose public expression was considered unduly racist and inflamatory. I came to the conclusion that no action could be taken, by the State or any other body, without undermining democracy itself (the exception being if violence was incited). I did not mean to imply that Rutee herself was advocating the dismantling of the right to free expression. If I gave that impression, I apologise unreservedly. In my defence, it is 3.30am over here in Blighty, so I am not at my best.

Once again, sorry sir!

;)

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm vaguely pleased that someone else decided to divert the thread, because that let me enjoy the pleasures of an afternoon of TF2, and still respond to those who directly addressed me.

"I'm not sure exactly what you were trying to say, although I agree that rioting in response to the publication of these cartoons was not intelligent. My earlier post and eddie's provide an effective refutation of your assertion that the violent response to the cartoons was a direct result of the perpetrators' oppression rather than the logical result of their religious beliefs. Beliefs matter, and a significant number of Muslims have beliefs that pose a real threat to civilization."

Let me address something here: Even if the violent responses were straight from the immigrants the cartoons were intended to stir up, it would still be wrong. And yes, quite a few muslims are led astray by fundamentalist imams.

"Isn't that just a bold-faced assertion."
Did you read the part directly above that? The one that went over the stifling of protesters if they are, effectively, brown? 'cause, it's pretty important in that post. It was part one of the thought "They don't care about Free Speech". You can't say "I LOVE FREE SPEECH" and then turn around and say "FUCK YOU FREE SPEAKERS". Remember, I'm talking about the situation in DENMARK. I have complete faith that the people here are, by and large, not being remotely racist.

"I find it difficult to comprehend that people simply refuse to believe that the cartoons were a result of people being afraid of drawing cartoons of the muslim prophet.

Why does racism have to be a part of it?"
Because most of the Jyllands-Posten's readers and the submitted cartoons were done by racists. IS this rocket science? If you want to say "Fuck Sand Niggers" by insulting their religion as a proxy, you have done a horrificly racist act, even if you did it under a completely okay manner.

"The trouble with this position, Rutee, is that while you are obviously unhappy that this mischaracterisation has gone unanswered, you do not suggest what form an appropriate level of sanction might take."
I apologize, I think I confused my intent there because I end up responding to like 5 posts at once. I meant the mischaracterization of myself, as someone who is an apologist for Islam (Because you know, I fucking love the religion that demonizes women. It's just my god damn favorite one in the world, don'tchano). The appropriate sanction against an idealogue who does that shit is "Hey, that's not what s/he said".

The only sanctions I can think of on the cartoonist are the appropriate ones for an acknowledged public jackass; Ignoring them, by and large. I didn't call for sanctions on them, I was calling you out specifically for something this forum tends to accuse moderate, non-stupid christians of; Not trying to reign in the stupid of their idealogues.

"With respect Rutee, I must disagree with you. The fundamental issue is one of freedom of speech. While Denmark does undoubtably have some very unjust laws pertaining to its muslim minority and also has a problem with racism and a rabid Far Right that Nick Griffin would doubtless love to have around for tea parties, this does not alter the fact that whatever a person says, writes, draws or otherwise expresses, and however offensive that expression may be, it still does not justify the censorship of that expression. Especially not through the expedient of violence."

Oh various Gods.

Christ on a Fucking Stick, do you not fucking get it? They did the right thing for the wrong reasons. I'm discussing their wrong reasons. Stop fucking confusing their reasons for their own, and not paying one whit of attention to what I'm saying because you want to make things black and white.

There are two seperate issues at play here, from my point of view.

1: Denmark is fucking xenophobic, and its right wing has been playing on that. How this plays out with the predominantly muslim immigrants is a disgusting campaign of racism and nationalism that should make any onlooker cringe.
The correct response is to say "You people are fucking stupid. Racism is for people too dumb to look at science, and most of you who took part in or supported the Jyllands-Posten are horrible people for attempting to attack a race through the proxy of religion."

2: Some Danes said horrible things. These horrible things were responded to with threats and attempts of violence by a variety of morons who effectively took the bait and are immune to irony. They too missed that they're attempting to mock a race through religion, and are just doggone intent on proving the Danes half-right.
The correct response should be "You're fuckwits for letting a stupid-ass cartoon get under your skin, and you're double fuckwits if you think you can hurt someone over a dumbass cartoon. Leave the cartoonists to live in peace. Technically, heated debates and criticism count as peace, so if you h ave a problem, organize a boycott of the Jyllands-Posten or otherwise handle things peacefully, like every other decent human being."

Is it so god damn hard for you to accept that I consider every party who actually gets on the news to be in the moral wrong, Gregory?

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Yea, but they make want to force you live according to their belief system when they emigrate to your country. I live in California where the Muslims are out of control.

Well any religion that believes that their choice in a religion means they can tell everyone else how to live is a problem. Christians are just the most local problem that I personally see currently (I live in SC). Islam isn't excused by it's proximity, I just don't have to deal with it nearly as much, currently.

but what gall to move to someone else's country and impose your beliefs on them.

What gall to impose their beliefs on you period, whether they moved there or not. However none of the instances you state there are them actually imposing their beliefs on you.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Granted, I never feared violence with any of these interactions, but what gall to move to someone else's country and impose your beliefs on them.

Because all the American Indians in the U.S. were Christians who spoke English.

By Douglas Watts (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
Please learn how to blockquote.

BS

By Blind Squirrel (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rutee;

I managed to effortlessly get completely the wrong end of the stick on that one. Sorry about that. Just goes to show that I am really (very, very, indeed quite exceptionally) far from perfect.

If I caused offence to you, I apologise. It was not my intent to impugn your commitment to the ideal of free expression, or frustrate you with my (I like to think) uncharacteristic thick headedness.

Just one little point, if I may. I do not seek to make things 'black and white'. I am strictly a shades of grey kind of guy.

Am I forgiven? Or should I break out my emergency stock of truly embarrasing, Hugh Grant-esque grovelling? You know, the kind that only a British bloke who knows he has been a king-sized prat is capable of?

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Cartoon with Mohammed's hat as a bomb.

Cartoon with Martin Luther King's afro as a bomb.

Nah ... I don't see that stuff getting anyone a bit peeved.

I don't see that imagery insulting millions and millions of people.

I don't see that imagery as a blanket, stereotyped message of ignorant bigotry.

Just.Don't.See.It.

By Douglas Watts (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Offensive and discriminatory behaviour by the religulous isn't confined to Xtianity even in North America. Try being the blind person with a seeing eye dog who is refused service by taxidrivers because dogs are unclean - they don't care that it's against the law for them to refuse to accomodate service dogs, they try to use "religious freedom" to excuse this behaviour and take it to the Human Rights tribunals to defend this decision. There are American, Canadian and British cases of this - including one from Minneapolis. Pointing out that Islam is just as egregious an excuse as Xtianity for the harassment of those seen as "different" isn't Islamophobic, it's honest.

In the context of Danish politics, Westergaard's cartoon may have racist connotations. In the context of Pharyngula, this is about theists reacting to criticism of their beliefs with violence. I think it should be assumed we're equally scornful of intolerant theists of any skin color. On this blog, the freedom to criticize irrational belief must be defended at every opportunity, because otherwise the believers will come after us next.

As for being "an oppressed minority", well, all they have to do is STOP. BEING. IRRATIONAL.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

"Because all the American Indians in the U.S. were Christians who spoke English."

Because the past actions of one party excuse the recent actions of the other.

In the absence of a statement to the contrary, I am tentatively going to assume that I am forgiven.

'Night all.

*Sounds of running footsteps, followed by a car driving off at speed.*

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

"As for being "an oppressed minority", well, all they have to do is STOP. BEING. IRRATIONAL. "
Yeah, that'll change the color of their skin and make them be nativeborn residents. Your plans are right up there with Zhuge Liang's, buddy.

Or hell: Because Denmark's problems are with their IRRATIONALITY. That's why they call them "Liars", "Child molesters", and claim "They're preparing to kill us all". The problem is that the MUSLIMS are the irrational ones! *Rolleyes*.

"In the context of Pharyngula, this is about theists reacting to criticism of their beliefs with violence."

The thing that frosts my cookies here is that folks here act like the danish cartoonists and their supporters were valiant fighters, acting in the name of Free Speech (Which they then turned around and denied to their least favorite group). By all means, criticize jackass theists of all stripes, but don't celebrate other jackasses just because they too are criticizing jackass theists. Take a little time and make sure you're not doing what McCain did when he took Fred Phelps' endorsement with a smile.

"In the absence of a statement to the contrary, I am tentatively going to assume that I am forgiven."

Well, apparently not forgiving you summons Hugh Grant, so I'm not sure...

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

'Well, apparently not forgiving you summons Hugh Grant, so I'm not sure...'

As you command...

*paints summoning circle and associated arcane runes in tomato juice (I would never use ram's blood. It is cruel to animals. Besides, PETA would eat me for breafast if I did), and begins the ancient incantation to summon Hugh Grant from the hell dimension occupied by those who cheat on Liz Hurley with a prostitute*

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Ohh look! I jus invented a new meal! 'Breafast', anyone? Ideal before a hard day of celebrity-summoning.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

I am sorry if it came accross in that fashion. I was merely wondering aloud what type of sanction could be applied to someone whose public expression was considered unduly racist and inflamatory. I came to the conclusion that no action could be taken, by the State or any other body, without undermining democracy itself (the exception being if violence was incited).

Then I am reassured, Gregory. It was not apparent to me that that was you thinking aloud.

When you say "any other body," you don't mean that "Jyllands-Posten should not have printed those cartoons" would be problematic, do you?

she seemed to be suggesting that free speech in this instance was not the primary issue

I'll go ahead and suggest exactly that. Unless the government is actually proposing anti-speech measures, free speech is very rarely the primary issue in any discussion. It is much more often used as a distraction from the issues. See how it works:

"While I support freedom of speech, and think that any belief, religious or otherwise, should be open to critizism, I actually think that Mr. Westergaard is a jerk, and his drawing was uncalled for.

'While I support freedom of speech'
no you don't, because you then say:
'and think that any belief, religious or otherwise, should be open to critizism, I actually think that Mr. Westergaard is a jerk, and his drawing was uncalled for.'
Do you apply the same to depictions of Jesus with a finger in the air (for 1 eg.)?
Freedom of speech protects the right to offend; not the right to feel offended.

See how easy that was? Criticism of Westergaard is derailed by accusing Rutee of not really supporting freedom of speech.

And then we can have dozens of irrelevant discussions about who really supports freedom of speech, between a bunch of people who all really support freedom of speech (hznfrst excluded), instead of substantive discussions about anything.

Freedom of speech isn't the issue, unless it is actually at issue, on the chopping block.

and even that free speech could not be employed to justify language that she identified as racist.

I think you imagined that, my good man.

Possibly at the time you completely misconstrued Rutee's message here:

"While we support the freedom of speech, and wouldn't stop you from saying what you want, stop being such jerks! You knew this would happen, and did it just to make people angry"

In other words;

'We support freedom of speech as long as you refrain from being mean. Despite our warnings, you have been mean and if some religious nutcase takes it into their woo-addled head to murder you in cold blood, well you knew that might happen. You did it just to make people angry, so you kind of deserve anything you get.'

You had no basis to infer the latter from the former.

As an example, I support legal protection of white supremacists' freedom of speech, and wouldn't stop them from saying what they want, but they should stop being such jerks. They shouldn't have tried to march in Skokie. They knew that the city would try to stop them, they knew that the Jewish War Veterans would try to fight them in the streets, and they planned the march just to make people angry, as a display of power.

Does that mean I only support their freedom of speech as long as they are not mean? Or that it would be okay if they were beaten to death by the fists and boots of the JWV? No, and I use the Nazi Fucks v. Village of Skokie trial as an example of what is great about the USA.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Who says I'm against freedom of speech and some kind of totalitarian for wanting to actually *do* something about the muslim threat that shows no signs of going away?

Freedom of speech does *not* include incitement to violence, goddammit, and that's what these muslim fuckers in Britain did when they carried those signs calling to behead anyone who 'insults' (i.e. tells the truth about) islam.

I also don't think hiding behind religion is a legitimate excuse to cause harm to or exercise discrimination against others, as when the woman above told of being harassed by cab drivers - this certainly was an attempt to impose their fucked-up 'values' on her by force - to someone who isn't blinded by pollyannish accommodationism at least.

Discrimination against serious threats to the health and safety of a society's citizens, however, is not only rational but demanded by basic ethics. Here in the USA there are a lot of ignorant nutbars who are refusing to vaccinate their children against serious diseases because a few celebrities (including Bill Maher of all people) have some kind of gooey, newagey objection to it. Well, screw them and force the vaccinations anyway, because those kids are threats to the rest of us otherwise.

The love of woo still allows utter bullshit such as homeopathy to go unregulated, because it "does no harm" - unless you have a serious disease which can kill you if untreated by real medicine. Go ahead and let adults use it on themselves and good riddance to them, but when they force it on children and pets it is a *felony* and should be treated as such.

Should we allow muslim communities to continue abhorrent practices like female genital mutilation, wife-beating, and even 'honor' killings? Of course not, but so many multiculturalists don't seem to have a problem with these. Something is wrong in the state of Denmark when that is the case.

I doubt any of you would go to tribes in Africa or S. America, and start offending the people by making mockery of their gods or rituals.

No, of course not.

But if those African and Amerindian tribes tried to take over my country, destroy it, and set up a theocracy, I sure would. And do a lot more than just laugh at their silly rituals and crazy beliefs.

That is what the toxic xian death cults are doing to the USA. If they just sat under their rocks and did the god babble thing, no one would care. No one cares about the Amish even though they have no use for much of modern technology.

It isn't the beliefs that are the problem, it is their goal to impose them on the rest of us.

Polls show that the majority of the US population are sick and tired of the fundies. And that a lot of their kids are sick and tired of their parents religion.

Who says I'm against freedom of speech and some kind of totalitarian for wanting to actually *do* something about the muslim threat that shows no signs of going away?

You. You said you are against freedom of speech.

If Germany can outlaw nazism, why can't a country or countries outlaw islam?

Outlawing Islam is outlawing freedom of speech for Muslims.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Oops another surrender monkey and uber left douche bag to boot.

"But there's a whole other problem in this whole debacle. While I support freedom of speech, and think that any belief, religious or otherwise, should be open to critizism, I actually think that Mr. Westergaard is a jerk, and his drawing was uncalled for."

It was entirely appropriate. And I can't think of a better way of depicting/criticizing suicide bombings in the name of Allah.

Of course most Eurpeans figure that Israelis deserve it, but thats their shtick. Of course I don't think killing 100 people for watching a volleyball match in public should get blown to bits in Pakistan either.

Suicide bombing is just wrong and there are no sacred cows. But in Europe where multi-culturalism has run amok I'm not surprised by your comments.

"The thing is that here in denmark freedom of speech has been hijacked by rightwing islamofobes, who don't really give a heck about freedom of speech, but just uses is as an excuse to flame muslims! And that was what was done with these, frankly, silly cartoons..."

ROFL.

Any criticism of Islam renders one an islamophobe in europe and we all know that left wing nuts never use freedom of the press to inflame or press other peoples buttons. If Westergaards cartoon was uncalled for, so was PZ's cracker escapade.

Is the Dutch MP Geert Wilders an Islamophobe? Maybe. Maybe not. But Geert Wilders is to the left of Obama on virtually every social/civil issue there is.

You on the other hand are simply an addled brained, silly sot and obnoxious twit who thinks he's Allah's gift to the world.

I just love left wing twits (though not any more then their right wing crybaby counterparts) who complain about free speech when they don't agree with what is being spoken.

If you want to challenge Westergaard, then challenge him. But to challenge him by claiming an abuse of free speech is the last resort of intellectual cowards unable to form an coherent argument.

By Stuart Weinstein (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

I also don't think hiding behind religion is a legitimate excuse to cause harm to or exercise discrimination against others, as when the woman above told of being harassed by cab drivers

No one in this thread told of being harassed by cab drivers.

Someone said a cab driver refused to drive them somewhere. That is not harassment.

If I were a taxi driver and you tried to get in my taxi with an exceptionally stinky dog, I would not let you in, because it offends my olfactory sensibilities. Neither would I drive you to your destination if you were carrying political signs which were especially offensive to me. And I would pull over the car and kick you out if you started using homophobic, racist or sexist language in my taxi.

Why? Because it's my taxi, my rules. Hail another cab if you can. Not my problem. And you may think I have bad reasons for my rules, and you may even be correct, but it doesn't amount to harassment.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Liar Stuart Weinstein, please present evidence of anyone complaining about free speech.

Is the Dutch MP Geert Wilders an Islamophobe? Maybe. Maybe not. But Geert Wilders is to the left of Obama on virtually every social/civil issue there is.

Except that he advocates banning the Koran, eliminating the minimum wage, and shutting down immigration. I'm not sure he is to the left of Nick Griffin, let alone Barack Obama.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Should we allow muslim communities to continue abhorrent practices like female genital mutilation, wife-beating, and even 'honor' killings? Of course not, but so many multiculturalists don't seem to have a problem with these.

Citation needed, liar.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Come on, Rutee. I think you know that if theists renounce irrationality, most of us will welcome them whether they're nativeborn or not. Some commenters on this thread might not, but the rest of us aren't responsible for them

"By all means, criticize jackass theists of all stripes, but don't celebrate other jackasses just because they too are criticizing jackass theists."

In 1978, the ACLU lost members in droves when it defended the rights of some American Nazis who wanted to march through Skokie, IL — where many Holocaust survivors lived. At the time, ACLU Director Aryeh Neier, whose relatives died in concentration camps, commented: "Keeping a few Nazis off the streets of Skokie will serve Jews poorly if it means that the freedoms to speak, publish or assemble any place in the United States are thereby weakened."

Aryeh Neier wasn't celebrating Nazis then, and I'm not celebrating racism now. It isn't jackasses we should celebrate, but (per Justice Holmes), "the principle of free thought—not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate." Because there are theists who hate free thought, and would deny us the freedom not to believe if we let them.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Aryeh Neier wasn't celebrating Nazis then, and I'm not celebrating racism now.

Hey Mal Adapted, was Rutee talking about you? Or are you distracting from the fact that there are people here like wiley and felixthecat and Stuart Weinstein who are celebrating Westergaard and defending his racism?

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Whoops another douche bag heard from. jeezus I need to read here more often. So many twits so little time.

"Liar Stuart Weinstein, please present evidence of anyone complaining about free speech."

The silly sot I responded to was indeed complaining that Westergaard was abusing free speech, and that his cartoon was inappropriate. Read his remarks again ass-hat. He prefaced this by saying, I support free speech but.. LOL.

There is no such thing as *abusing free speech*. Am I abusing the fact that the air is free by taking really deep breaths even though I'm not winded, or that I just farted in your general direction? You have the right to ignore speech you don't like as well as fart smells. However, one can't complain about Westergaard and applaud PZ at the same time.

To sum up, to say you support *free speech... but* is bullshit. There are no buts. As soon as you make a *but* you are off on the slippery slope.

The way to combat speech you don't like is with better speech. The Mullahs in Denmark should write newspaper columns critizing it if they don't like it. Writing Fatwas bestowing murderers with 80 virgins is not how things are done in civilized society.

The idea that I can't make a political statement like the motoon which is clearly respected free speech cuz it might make some people mad is fucking crap.

Furthermore, Muslims have no cause to complain, considering the depictions of Jews, Xtians, Pagans in their media, but thats another story.

"
Is the Dutch MP Geert Wilders an Islamophobe? Maybe. Maybe not. But Geert Wilders is to the left of Obama on virtually every social/civil issue there is.

Except that he advocates banning the Koran, eliminating the minimum wage, and shutting down immigration."

"shutting down" or restricting? Do you have your facts right?

" I'm not sure he is to the left of Nick Griffin, let alone Barack Obama."

Wilder's makes it clear why he advocates banning the Koran, its that it contains a lot of *hate speech* and which violates Holland's hate speech laws. Or is hate speech OK cuz its in a Holy Book? Gilder's problem is with *hate speech laws* and other infringements on free speech. When Holland truly respects free speech, Wilders will stop whining about the Koran. If Holland really wants to enforce anti-hate speech measures, it should ban the Koran and the Bible as well. Wilders argues that the Bible doesn't call for violence against any extent peoples while he argues that the Koran calls for Jihad against non-Muslims. That may be slicing the baloney a little to thin. But for now I take him at his word.

Otherwise hate speech laws simply get enforced when its *convenient* or politically expedient. Which is why Holland is prosecuting Wilders now. It is nothing more than a political witch hunt, and if convicted he will be a politcal prisoner as his political party is doing pretty well. Are the Dutch now a bunch of goose-steeping shnatzies? I don't think so.

Wilders openly supports gay marriage, gays in the military and a number of other left wing causes, like curbing military spending, etc. that Obama will yak about but not touch in a million years. And I applaud his stance against political Islam. That doesn't mean I like everything that comes out of his mouth or everything he stands for. I'm not obligated to.

It should also be pointed out, that the demonstrations against the cartoon were originally fairly mild. It wasn't until months later that Mullahs whooped up a frenzy and sent people into the streets.

And should I really go on about how depictions of Jews in the European media make the *motoon* look like a walk in the park? You know like the Sweedish paper story about how the IDF stole organs from dead Palestinians?

The difference of cause is that the Jews don't throw a shit fit, issue fatwas and blow you up. If they ever did that, Europe would go up in smoke.

In the mean time you can go hose yourself and the camel you rode in on.

By Stuart Weinstein (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

"Hey Mal Adapted, was Rutee talking about you? Or are you distracting from the fact that there are people here like wiley and felixthecat and Stuart Weinstein who are celebrating Westergaard and defending his racism?"

Hey asshole, that cartoon was not racist. That is all I was defending. I have no idea whether Westergaard is a total asshole or not. It has no bearing on that Cartoon. If thats the worst he's done, you'll to have to do better to convince me that Westergaard is a bigot.

Sorry.

By Stuart Weinstein (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

As others have pointed out, I'm more than a little disturbed by this sort of flippant embrace of the anti-Muslim side of the Danish cartoon scandal.

At best, it shows an incredibly unfortunate ignorance of the larger issues involved, not to mention the deeply reactionary motivations of both sides. The politics of the European far right, not some basic hostility towards religion and irrational thinking generally, are what's involved here.

Making common cause with those kinds of forces isn't too far away from the shilling for American imperialism (the civilians we massacre in countries we have no right to be militarily occupying are "savage Muslims", after all!) we've seen from some self-proclaimed atheist authors. And that's certainly not something I consider either intellectually defensible or a tendency I want to see associated with atheism in the public consciousness.

Citation needed, liar.

Is it your claim that no prominent European officials believe that Sharia should not be ruled out in Europe?

Or that a German judge decided it was OK for some schmuck who just happened to be Muslim to beat his wife, because in his culture it was OK?
http://www.humanrights-geneva.info/German-judge-justifies-wife,1389

Tell you what. From now on do your own research. Its late and I've done enough ass-wiping of uber left saps today.

By Stuart Weinstein (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

The silly sot I responded to was indeed complaining that Westergaard was abusing free speech,

Bullshit.

and that his cartoon was inappropriate.

And it was.

Read his remarks again ass-hat. He prefaced this by saying, I support free speech but.. LOL.

Use your brain. One can support free speech but prefer that people not use their free speech to promote hate.

However, one can't complain about Westergaard and applaud PZ at the same time.

One can, because PZ was not defacing a cracker as an act of protest against immigrants.

To sum up, to say you support *free speech... but* is bullshit. There are no buts. As soon as you make a *but* you are off on the slippery slope.

Stupid. To take your claim seriously, one would have to stipulate that there is nothing wrong with any speech, ever. Nothing wrong with telling elderly people that they have to mortgage their houses and give all their money to preachers. Nothing wrong with telling gay teens that they are going to hell. Nothing wrong with advocating genocide. All of which are protected speech acts, but also morally objectionable speech acts which should not be promoted.

The way to combat speech you don't like is with better speech. The Mullahs in Denmark should write newspaper columns critizing it if they don't like it. Writing Fatwas bestowing murderers with 80 virgins is not how things are done in civilized society.

Writing such a fatwa is also a protected speech act, as well as morally objectionable and deplorable. And you just stumbled comically over your own incoherence.

The idea that I can't make a political statement like the motoon which is clearly respected free speech cuz it might make some people mad is fucking crap.

Suggesting that anyone here said you can't make such a statement is fucking crap, and demonstrates that you are a liar.

Furthermore, Muslims have no cause to complain, considering the depictions of Jews, Xtians, Pagans in their media, but thats another story.

Probably the only intelligent thing you've said so far. You should have limited yourself to that insight.

"shutting down" or restricting? Do you have your facts right?

Shutting down.

"1.) Immigratiestop
Omdat immigratie enorme problemen met zich meebrengt voor de Nederlandse samenleving (integratieproblemen, criminaliteit, een veel te hoog beroep op uitkeringen etc.) is het meer dan gerechtvaardigd om voor een periode van ten minste vijf jaar gezinsvorming- en hereniging voor niet- westerse allochtonen geheel te stoppen."

Wilder's makes it clear why he advocates banning the Koran, its that it contains a lot of *hate speech* and which violates Holland's hate speech laws.

Wrong. He has advocated the same in Florida, where "hate speech laws" are prohibited by the First Amendment.

He is opposed to Muslim religious freedom per se, not just in the context of Dutch law.

Wilders openly supports gay marriage, gays in the military and a number of other left wing causes, like curbing military spending, etc. that Obama will yak about but not touch in a million years.

Obama has already ordered the armed forces to prepare for the end of DADT, and those preparations are currently in progress. He's not moving as quickly as I'd like, but it's objectively false to claim that he's doing nothing.

The difference of cause is that the Jews don't throw a shit fit, issue fatwas and blow you up. If they ever did that, Europe would go up in smoke.

Fatwa envy.

In the mean time you can go hose yourself and the camel you rode in on.

Racist nut.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hey asshole, that cartoon was not racist. That is all I was defending.

The Jyllands-Posten supports the Partij voor de Vrijheid, which is a white nationalist organization. If Westergaard is in fact not a white nationalist, it would be unusual for him to want to be associated with the white nationalists who run the paper.

Again, in the context of Dutch politics, anti-Islam is almost always a front for white nationalism. Certainly it could be possible for a responsible journalist or cartoonist to make a clear distinction, but unless such a careful effort is made, then the act does nothing but support racism.

Citation needed, liar.

Is it your claim ...

My claim is that you are lying if you say that "so many multiculturalists don't seem to have a problem with female genital mutilation, wife-beating, and even 'honor' killings."

Your claims about Sharia lack important context, which would be clear if you elaborated on just what the fuck you think you mean by that.

Your claims about the German judge have nothing to do with "multiculturalism," but rely on one judge's interpretation of established German law which is already flawed in its own right, and the judge was removed from the case.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

"No one in this thread told of being harassed by cab drivers.

Someone said a cab driver refused to drive them somewhere. That is not harassment."

Lets consider something that really happened.

There was a case in Mnpls and many others elsewhere I'm sure, where a Muslim cabbie refused a person with a seeing eye-dog.

Do you defend that?

And how do you know the dogs were unclean or smelly?

Is there no end to the litany of excuses?

Sorry officer.. I didn't want to give a ride to that black man.. I didn't like his cologne.

By Stuart Weinstein (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

There was a case in Mnpls and many others elsewhere I'm sure, where a Muslim cabbie refused a person with a seeing eye-dog.

Do you defend that?

No, but that's got nothing to do with the whine about the wine.

And how do you know the dogs were unclean or smelly?

Wouldn't matter. The law is that assistance dogs can not be refused accommodation.

Sorry officer.. I didn't want to give a ride to that black man.. I didn't like his cologne.

Amusing that a racist like yourself would try to evoke sympathy by bringing up racism. What a very confused person you are.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

It's trivial to find instances of disabled people being refused service with their assistance dogs by non-Muslims. Happens all the time.

Can you provide evidence that you've ever complained about this, Stuart? Or do you only bring it up to bash Muslims?

I ask because it's a serious problem which needs to be addressed for what it is, a simple matter of human rights, which should not be used merely as a political football for promoting your racism.

So do you actually give a shit about disabled people's rights? Can you demonstrate that you've ever given a shit except in the context of bashing Muslims? If you can't, then this is just a proxy for your hatred, and you should stop using disabled people for your own goals.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

If you think Westergaard's picture was inappropriate, then I think you should hand back your Molly, strange-gods-before-me. You clearly aren't worthy.

By Peter Lund (Denmark) (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

The silly sot I responded to was indeed complaining that Westergaard was abusing free speech,

Bullshit.

He was asshat. Read it again.

and that his cartoon was inappropriate.

And it was.

Was not.

This is fun!

Read his remarks again ass-hat. He prefaced this by saying, I support free speech but.. LOL.

Use your brain. One can support free speech but prefer that people not use their free speech to promote hate.

Again, I don't consider that cartoon hateful. I consider it political speech.

However, one can't complain about Westergaard and applaud PZ at the same time.

One can, because PZ was not defacing a cracker as an act of protest against immigrants.

Oh gimme a fucking break.

In the eyes of conservative Xtians PZ was committing an atrocity. It is the hallmark of left wing stupidity that makes them feel they, and only they, get to tell others what to feel. Immigrants can't be protested? Since fucking when?

What else in your view can't be protested? Anything can be protested. Wilders and other *colorful* characters they are have tapped into the unease in Europe with respect to political Islam.

The Swiss didn't pass a referendum, as silly as it is, against building minarets, out of the thin air. To blame crap like that on european right wingers is silly.

To sum up, to say you support *free speech... but* is bullshit. There are no buts. As soon as you make a *but* you are off on the slippery slope.

Stupid. To take your claim seriously, one would have to stipulate that there is nothing wrong with any speech, ever.

" Nothing wrong with telling elderly people that they have to mortgage their houses and give all their money to preachers."

You should've raised the "yelling fire in a crowded movie theatre". At least that way you would look semi-intelligent.

As it is you can't seem to distinguish between between criminal activity and speech.

"Nothing wrong with telling gay teens that they are going to hell. Nothing wrong with advocating genocide. All of which are protected speech acts, but also morally objectionable speech acts which should not be promoted."

I don't promote it. It should however, be protected. I'm glad you mention that advocating genocide is bad. Cuz all those left wing idiots sure do come down on Imanutjob in Iran for that, don't they?

LMAO.

Notice the only examples you cite are those uttered by right wing screwballs. Why is that? Furthermore, this particular issue doesn't even come close to any slippery slope case. You'd be laughed out of court.

The way to combat speech you don't like is with better speech. The Mullahs in Denmark should write newspaper columns critizing it if they don't like it. Writing Fatwas bestowing murderers with 80 virgins is not how things are done in civilized society.

"Writing such a fatwa is also a protected speech act, as well as morally objectionable and deplorable."

It is morally objectionable. You cannot threaten to kill someone. If you are threatened you can get a restraining order against that person. If the threats continue, you can take them to civil court. If they violate the restraining order, you throw there ass in jail. At least in the US you can.

Did the motoon threaten to kill anyone?

And you just stumbled comically over your own incoherence.

Projection.

The idea that I can't make a political statement like the motoon which is clearly respected free speech cuz it might make some people mad is fucking crap.

Suggesting that anyone here said you can't make such a statement is fucking crap, and demonstrates that you are a liar.

Bull fucking shit. Is English not your first language?

Furthermore, Muslims have no cause to complain, considering the depictions of Jews, Xtians, Pagans in their media, but thats another story.

Probably the only intelligent thing you've said so far. You should have limited yourself to that insight.

LOL.

"shutting down" or restricting? Do you have your facts right?

Shutting down.

"1.) Immigratiestop
Omdat immigratie enorme problemen met zich meebrengt voor de Nederlandse samenleving (integratieproblemen, criminaliteit, een veel te hoog beroep op uitkeringen etc.) is het meer dan gerechtvaardigd om voor een periode van ten minste vijf jaar gezinsvorming- en hereniging voor niet- westerse allochtonen geheel te stoppen."

I'll ask a Dutch friend for a translation.

Wilder's makes it clear why he advocates banning the Koran, its that it contains a lot of *hate speech* and which violates Holland's hate speech laws.

Wrong. He has advocated the same in Florida, where "hate speech laws" are prohibited by the First Amendment.

There was nothing in that link where he urged Floridians to ban the Koran. I will check again.

He is opposed to Muslim religious freedom per se, not just in the context of Dutch law.

Wilders openly supports gay marriage, gays in the military and a number of other left wing causes, like curbing military spending, etc. that Obama will yak about but not touch in a million years.

Obama has already ordered the armed forces to prepare for the end of DADT,

Yeah. OK. Look, I like the guy, but his politics haven't come close to matching his rhetoric.

and those preparations are currently in progress. He's not moving as quickly as I'd like, but it's objectively false to claim that he's doing nothing.

The difference of cause is that the Jews don't throw a shit fit, issue fatwas and blow you up. If they ever did that, Europe would go up in smoke.

Fatwa envy.

I hope everybody notices the parts you have snipped out. As they do get to the heart of the matter and illustrate how situational these accusations are. Accusing Jews of blood libel as long as its done by a left wing Sweedish rag is OK. Depicting Allah with a bomb in a Turban in a right wing rag is not.

Got it.

In the mean time you can go hose yourself and the camel you rode in on.

Racist nut.

Ouch. I feel really bad now.

By Stuart Weinstein (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

I don't consider that cartoon hateful. I consider it political speech.

A cartoon can be political speech and hateful and hate speech.

The cartoon in question was all three, mostly the latter two.

It should never have been published. The newspaper editor should have told the artist, "Sorry, that's not going in tomorrow's paper. Try something else."

Let's look at this factually. The cartoon was, as PZ admits, a depiction of Mohammed, a real historic dood, with a bomb instead of a turban on his head.

Problem is there were no bombs when Mohammed was alive. He was not a "bomber" because he had no bombs. Only the Chinese had them.

So factual FAIL. Cartoon is wrong. Mohammed did not have bombs so he could not have one on top of his head.

So what else, possibly, could the cartoonist be referring to?

Hmm ...

By Douglas Watts (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

It's trivial to find instances of disabled people being refused service with their assistance dogs by non-Muslims. Happens all the time.

First of all, while I agree this women given the circumstances should have been accommodated, this situation is different than a cab. The driver can insist the dogs stays in the back seat and doesn't have to worry about it bothering other passengers. Which is not quite the same thing on a plane.

Second, it doesn't seem to me this was done on the basis of religious belief, or dislike of disabled persons, but more likely fear, however irrational given how well trained these pooches are, that the safety of other passengers might be compromised. Or maybe they were simply being total assholes, but if the women payed the fees to bring the pooch on board the latter doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Airlines should be in the business of doing business.

Can you provide evidence that you've ever complained about this, Stuart? Or do you only bring it up to bash Muslims?

First, I didn't bring it up . Somebody else did, and then you or someone else asked for documentation which I provided (I should be asleep now) I find refusal to provide a service that one is legally entitled too on the basis of personal religious belief especially odious. Like Pharmacists who refuse to provide pills to young women.

I don't feel really compelled to state this, but lets just cut the shit. I've done far more to help Muslims than you will ever know. And I've done it willingly, gladly, and without the slightest hesitation. I've made any number of trips to help these folks set up tsunami warning systems in their own countries. And I love them to death. But I'm an equal opportunity crap giver. Today its political Islam's and Sharia's turn. Tomorrow, who knows? What? I haven't criticized Xtian fundies? Jewish Zealots? obsessively militant Atheists? LOL. And if somebody tells me they won't provide a service I'm legally entitled too cuz it is an affront to their religion, I don't give a shit which religion, they had better start running. Not that I have a snowball's chance in hell of catching them.

What planet are you from and why do you act like your Quetzalcoatl's gift to the world? (I'm bashing Aztecs now)

Say what you want about the motoon. I thought it was a clever protest against the suicide bombings that were perpetrated in the name of Islam. That an apparently right wing rag in Europe was the only one with the guts to make the case so bluntly should shame the rest of us who believe in the ideals of a liberal society. Instead we have people here who slam the cartoon because it appeared in a right wing rag.

We should be slamming the so-called defenders of liberal society and free speech for not having the guts to do the same thing or something similarly biting in the more mainstream media.

I ask because it's a serious problem which needs to be addressed for what it is, a simple matter of human rights, which should not be used merely as a political football for promoting your racism.

Yawn. I agree. You did ask. And it was provided.

The claim was made that Muslim cab drivers have refused rides to folks with seeing eye dogs on the basis of their religious beliefs.

That claim is true. Pointing out that there are other jerks out there is neither news nor relevant nor makes refusal of service based on a religious belief less odious.

By Stuart Weinstein (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

If you think Westergaard's picture was inappropriate, then I think you should hand back your Molly, strange-gods-before-me. You clearly aren't worthy.

That's cute, Peter. I suggest you take up a recall vote.

Liar Stuart,

He was asshat. Read it again.

Quotes, idiot. Let's see exactly what you think you're talking about, so we can investigate how you managed to fuck this up so badly.

Again, I don't consider that cartoon hateful. I consider it political speech.

False dichotomy, as though those two categories are mutually exclusive. What a weak thinker you are, Stuart.

In the eyes of conservative Xtians PZ was committing an atrocity.

And so we had discussion of several thousand comments considering this claim. They didn't make a very convincing case.

It is the hallmark of left wing stupidity that makes them feel they, and only they, get to tell others what to feel.

Non sequitur.

Immigrants can't be protested? Since fucking when?

What else in your view can't be protested? Anything can be protested.

Non sequitur. And a very dishonest one, since I've made clear several times now that I support freedom of speech.

The point is that some protests are morally wrong, and so should not be done. You're free to protest against immigrants. I'm free to point out that you are a racist.

The Swiss didn't pass a referendum, as silly as it is, against building minarets, out of the thin air. To blame crap like that on european right wingers is silly.

I don't see anyone claiming that European right-wingers invented racism. They encourage it for their political benefit, which is immoral and should not be done.

" Nothing wrong with telling elderly people that they have to mortgage their houses and give all their money to preachers."

You should've raised the "yelling fire in a crowded movie theatre". At least that way you would look semi-intelligent.

As it is you can't seem to distinguish between between criminal activity and speech.

Are you not aware that it is perfectly legal to tell elderly people that they have to mortgage their houses and give all their money to preachers?

"Nothing wrong with telling gay teens that they are going to hell. Nothing wrong with advocating genocide. All of which are protected speech acts, but also morally objectionable speech acts which should not be promoted."

I don't promote it.

I didn't claim that you did. Are you having trouble following the conversation?

It should however, be protected. I'm glad you mention that advocating genocide is bad. Cuz all those left wing idiots sure do come down on Imanutjob in Iran for that, don't they?

It's been my experience that they do, yes.

The conference convened by the Iranian regime was as shameful as it was reactionary.

It managed to turn Teheran into a temporary Mecca for the jetsam and flotsam of Holocaust denial and outright neo-fascism. Such unlikely friends of the “Iranian revolution” as David Duke, a former “Imperial Wizard” of the Ku Klux Klan and self-described “white nationalist,” were provided a platform courtesy of the Iranian government to spew their anti-Semitic and racist filth.

The fact that the Nazi regime pursued its “final solution” by organizing and executing the slaughter of six million Jews, however, is documented by a vast amount of empirical data—both Nazi and Allied alike—as well as the living memory of its survivors. Its reality is not open to question.

The collection of intellectual charlatans and outright fascists who make up the so-called “Holocaust revisionist” movement utilize fabrications, lies and obstinate denial of voluminous evidence to spin their fantasies about the non-existence of the Holocaust or the supposed inflation of the numbers exterminated in the Nazi death camps.

All of this historical falsification has one central purpose: the political rehabilitation of fascism.

They didn't mention the millions of non-Jews who were also killed, but Ahmadinejad's interest in the Shoah is anti-Semitic, so in this context the exclusive focus on Jewish people makes sense.

Notice the only examples you cite are those uttered by right wing screwballs. Why is that?

I suppose because they dominate the political discourse where I live, so that's what springs to my mind.

Furthermore, this particular issue doesn't even come close to any slippery slope case. You'd be laughed out of court.

What in the fuck are you talking about? Court? Slippery slope? Seriously, Stuart, you stupid piece of racist shit, what are you thinking?

I brought up examples of morally objectionable statements which are and should be legally protected, precisely to demonstrate that it is coherent to say "I support free speech, but still some things should not be said."

Those are all examples of things that should not be said. Is it really so hard for you to understand this? These are examples of "I support free speech, but..."

They are not examples of anything that should be considered in court, and I thought this would be patently obvious to your halfwit self.

You cannot threaten to kill someone. If you are threatened you can get a restraining order against that person. If the threats continue, you can take them to civil court. If they violate the restraining order, you throw there ass in jail. At least in the US you can.

Yes, but merely writing "those who insult the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) should be put to death" does not constitute a legally actionable personal threat in the USA.

This is your incoherence. You made a complaint about fatwas in civilized society. I would agree with that complaint, but it makes no sense after you just said "to say you support *free speech... but* is bullshit. There are no buts."

Suggesting that anyone here said you can't make such a statement is fucking crap, and demonstrates that you are a liar.

Bull fucking shit. Is English not your first language?

Again, Stuart, you are lying. In case you are sincerely wondering, English is my first language. I have been wondering the same about you, because you have been reading intent and implications that simply are not there.

Go ahead and prove me wrong. Quote the comment that said you can not make a political statement which might make someone mad.

There was nothing in that link where he urged Floridians to ban the Koran. I will check again.

The ADL quotes him as saying, in Florida, "the right to religious freedom should not apply to this totalitarian ideology called Islam."

To specifically restrict Muslims' religious freedom would be a violation of our First Amendment. And we don't have "hate speech laws." So your claim that he is advocating the removal of Muslims' rights only as a response to Dutch hate speech laws, and only within the context of Dutch politics, is false.

I don't know whether he advocated banning the Koran in Florida. But he did say there that Muslims did not deserve religious freedom. That's opposition to Muslim religious freedom per se, not in a dubious Dutch context.

Yeah. OK. Look, I like the guy, but his politics haven't come close to matching his rhetoric.

Yeah. OK. But it doesn't support your claim that Wilders is further left than Obama. He is a white nationalist leader of an authoritarian law-and-order party who promotes economic policies designed to immiserate the working classes. Sorry, but that's too high a price to pay for my right to suck cocks in uniform.

I hope everybody notices the parts you have snipped out. As they do get to the heart of the matter and illustrate how situational these accusations are. Accusing Jews of blood libel as long as its done by a left wing Sweedish rag is OK.

That would be another of your lies. Of course blood libel is not acceptable. If you're worried that I'm insufficiently attuned to anti-Semitism, I'll offer that I do confront it when it pops up at Pharyngula.

And I have tried to educate young leftists, in order to nip the bud of anti-Semitism that can grow in a muddled criticism of Israel's government. I don't know if that assuages your worry, and I don't know if it's sufficient that it should, but I offer it because it really seems to be bothering you. And I'd rather you be bothered by your own indecency:

In the mean time you can go hose yourself and the camel you rode in on.

Racist nut.

Ouch. I feel really bad now.

It is disappointing that you feel it's okay to make racist jokes about me and my camel. It's much more disappointing that when you're confronted on your own racist behavior, you can't even see it as a problem.

Don't come back, Stuart. That shit isn't welcome here.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Poor PZ, he makes one ill-thought, Paki-bashing post (look up the phrase, it's from the 1970s) and half the neo-Nazis in the western hemisphere sniff it out and join in.

Here's a clue. Under U.S. law, taxis are public accommodations. If you feel you've been discriminated against in a taxi cab, file a complaint. It will be quickly resolved in your favor.

And yes, discrimination sucks when it goes the other way.

That's why, in the U.S., it is illegal.

By Douglas Watts (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

I don't consider that cartoon hateful. I consider it political speech.

A cartoon can be political speech and hateful and hate speech.

Let's look at this factually. The cartoon was, as PZ admits, a depiction of Mohammed, a real historic dood, with a bomb instead of a turban on his head.

And PZ presented Jesus, an historical figure giving people the finger.

Really. IS that the best you got?

By Stuart Weinstein (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Problem is there were no bombs when Mohammed was alive. He was not a "bomber" because he had no bombs. Only the Chinese had them.

So factual FAIL. Cartoon is wrong. Mohammed did not have bombs so he could not have one on top of his head.

Wow! Just wow! The real problem is that the cartoon doesn't accurately portray a 7th century Islamic mass-murderer using the weapon technology if his own time? So it's a problem that the caricature plays with the fact that Islamic warfare is now conducted with more modern weapons in the name of Muhammad?

I do indeed think that Muslims should feel very offended. They should feel offended that their so-called religion of peace is being used by mass-murdering terrorists fighting against freedom and democracy. But no, the real problem is a cartoon. And the useful idiots of the left concur with them because of their own innate hatred of the right.

My claim is that you are lying if you say that "so many multiculturalists don't seem to have a problem with female genital mutilation, wife-beating, and even 'honor' killings."

That wasn't my claim. It was over the top, but I understood what it was attempting to get at.

Your claims about Sharia lack important context, which would be clear if you elaborated on just what the fuck you think you mean by that.

Your claims about the German judge have nothing to do with "multiculturalism," but rely on one judge's interpretation of established German law which is already flawed in its own right, and the judge was removed from the case.

Does it ever stop? Now you are telling us why the Judge really ruled the way he did even though he already stated why he ruled the way he did.

Do you ever get tired of ever telling us what people really mean even though they say quite clearly why they said what they said?

Then there is the former Dutch Justice minister (or just a judge) who stated that the implementation of Sharia law in Holland shouldn't be excluded from consideration?

I await your reinterpretation of what he said. You seem to possess that uncanny mood translator ring that allows you tell us what people really said... even if its not what they really said.

By Stuart Weinstein (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

"It is disappointing that you feel it's okay to make racist jokes about me and my camel"

Really? I made a racist joke about you? Nice try. And thanks for playing.

I apologize to your camel. And I feel sorry that it has to lug your incredibly vapid ass all over town.

LMAO.

By Stuart Weinstein (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Second, it doesn't seem to me this was done on the basis of religious belief, or dislike of disabled persons, but more likely fear, however irrational given how well trained these pooches are, that the safety of other passengers might be compromised. Or maybe they were simply being total assholes, but if the women payed the fees to bring the pooch on board the latter doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

That's rather my point. You're complaining about it when Muslims do it. Do you complain when non-Muslims do it? Because the reasons of either party don't fucking matter. What matters, to the person who needs the dog, is the result. Are they discriminated against? Or is the dog accommodated?

If you're only interested in the details when Muslims do it, then you're useless to those people who need the dogs no matter whose religion is involved, and your political posturing upon the needs of disabled people -- for the purpose of hurting Muslims -- is offensive.

First, I didn't bring it up . Somebody else did, and then you or someone else asked for documentation which I provided

That's absolutely false, you fucking liar. Above, eandh99 brought it up, and no one questioned that. It's a legitimate criticism. It is of course being misused as a tool against Muslims, but it is a legitimate criticism of everyone who has a problem with assistance dogs.

Then you, for no reason, brought it up again. No one asked for documentation. You brought it up entirely on your own, for your own reasons, simply as a response to me when I told hznfrst that jane segal had not been "harassed" by cab drivers who didn't want to driver her around carrying a bottle of wine.

You brought it up, exclusively for the purpose of attacking Muslims.

It's a real problem, happening all over the place without regard for religion. It's not the political football you want it to be, so I suggest you put it down before you stumble again.

The claim was made that Muslim cab drivers have refused rides to folks with seeing eye dogs on the basis of their religious beliefs.

That claim is true. Pointing out that there are other jerks out there is neither news nor relevant nor makes refusal of service based on a religious belief less odious.

The claim may be true, but your narrow focus also demonstrates that your interest is exclusively in racism and xenophobia, and you have no genuine concern for the rights of disabled except insofar that you can use them as a weapon to attack foreigners.

I didn't say that those Muslims who object to assistance dogs aren't wrong. I said that you are a racist and a xenophobe who sees disabled people as mere tools.

Say what you want about the motoon. I thought it was a clever protest against the suicide bombings that were perpetrated in the name of Islam.

That's because you are stupid and you didn't bother to research Dutch politics. It wasn't a protest against suicide bombings, and most of the cartoons had nothing to do with suicide bombings.

It was a protest against non-white immigrants, full stop.

That an apparently right wing rag in Europe was the only one with the guts to make the case so bluntly should shame the rest of us who believe in the ideals of a liberal society.

A right wing rag is the only place where I'd expect to see a case against non-white immigrants made so bluntly.

However, putting that aside, you're still letting yourself be stupidly blinded by the calculated media spectacle. It's not like no one was criticizing suicide bombing, Stuart. Really. Are you really so damn stupid? You thought no one in the Netherlands criticized suicide bombing until this newspaper came along and printed some cartoons? Newspapers weren't discussing the issue of murder because of sensitivity to multiculturalism? Really. Have you been reading Michelle Malkin, you poor thing?

These cartoons weren't even cogent criticisms. They have less depth and imagination than a Jack Chick comic. It's embarrassing that you're impressed. There's something to be discussed in the violent response, but the cartoons themselves are lizard-brained appeals to fear of foreigners. It doesn't take any courage to point at a minority community and tell your neighbors to hate and fear them.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Stuart, put a "blockquote" tag around the stuff you quote, please. Example:

<blockquote>
...some stupid thing by strange gods before me...
</blockquote>

By Peter Lund (Denmark) (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

With respect to blockquotes.. Sorry I'm lazy.. will try to make sure form now on.

And I have tried to educate young leftists, in order to nip the bud of anti-Semitism that can grow in a muddled criticism of Israel's government.

Interesting. One wonders why does antisemitism becomes a problem for young leftists?

Thanks for explaining it. I feel so much better now.

With respect to the ADL's claims of what Wilders said in Florida, do you have a transcript?
Because that link presents statements made by him in a rather second hand manner, which is not the norm for the ADL.

By Stuart Weinstein (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Does it ever stop? Now you are telling us why the Judge really ruled the way he did even though he already stated why he ruled the way he did.

Idiot. She said exactly why she ruled the way she did, based on the German law:

The 26-year old woman, mother of two children, had filed a demand for protection to the court after having been brutally beaten on many occasions by her husband who criticized her western ways. Initially, the judge ordered the husband to leave the conjugal premises and forbade him to come any closer than 50 meters. When the young woman, in fear of her life, filed for a fast-track divorce, the same judge opposed it. According to the law, the court may grant divorce in cases of extreme brutality, rather than wait the usual one year period of reflection.

Explaining these extreme conditions did not exist, the judge said in January that her decision was based on the Islamic religion of the couple. “In this cultural context, it is not unusual that the man uses this type of discipline. The young woman, who was born in Germany, must have been aware of that when she married a man raised in Morocco.”

That's a problem with the German law in its own right. The law doesn't allow people to make up their own minds regarding divorce. It requires a judge to hear evidence and decide -- subjectively -- what constitutes "extreme brutality."

It's a stupid law, and it was a stupid ruling too, but the judge was removed from the case. So it doesn't stand as an example of "so many multiculturalists don't seem to have a problem with female genital mutilation, wife-beating, and even 'honor' killings," the claim that you picked up and decided to defend.

Then there is the former Dutch Justice minister (or just a judge) who stated that the implementation of Sharia law in Holland shouldn't be excluded from consideration?

Again, this assertion lacks important context that would demonstrate why you are so fucking stupid, if you would bother to explain why you think it's something to be deathly scared of.

The calls for Sharia mediation (not Sharia law enforcement) in Western democracies has been an attempt to get isolated Muslim communities more involved with the secular law enforcement.

It is perceived by state officials that there is currently a problem with Muslims not trusting secular judges to come to morally acceptable conclusions, and so instead avoiding secular law enforcement altogether, taking disputes into the Muslim citizens' own hands.

It has been proposed that if secular courts were to interface with Sharia mediation, more Muslims could trust the courts to come to acceptable conclusions, and fewer problems would be hidden from the state for fear of secular intervention. These proposals pertain to civil disputes. If something is a criminal offense for non-Muslims, it would still be a criminal offense for Muslims. There is no proposal for a two-track criminal justice system. The proposals concern interpersonal claims within the private civil law system.

There is potentially merit to the idea. There are also some obvious downsides, still readily apparent if you take off the bullshit-colored lenses that have you imagining legalized honor killings. It would be really interesting to have a conversation about this sometime, but nearly everyone who brings it up is too stupid for words, and I've never had an interesting conversation concerning Sharia yet. Maybe Walton will indulge me sometime. But you, Stuart, you're a fuckwit. It's a damn shame.

Really? I made a racist joke about you?

Stuart, "In the mean time you can go hose yourself and the camel you rode in on" is a racist comment. Perhaps your objection here is that it wasn't a joke, but it was unambiguously racist.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Anyway, there is potentially merit to the idea because it brings Sharia under the control of the state.

Just like tax exemption for churches in the USA brings those churches' political involvement under government regulation, making a secular space for Sharia allows the government to regulate what is currently an underground and unregulated practice.

There are parts of Sharia that are utterly unobjectionable. By separating "Good Sharia" from "Bad Sharia" and demarcating what a British Muslim may practice, the state may make a secular judgment on how to acceptably be both British and Muslim. Arguably this would be a benefit to the general community.

Obviously there are potential pitfalls. The transition must be deliberately practiced with the intent of influencing the future evolution of Sharia (which has never been a static code, and is evolving as we speak). Some well-meaning idiots might not understand this.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

From the geneva human rights site that I posted earlier. Do tell them that they are wrong.

"Decision based on religion

Explaining these extreme conditions did not exist, the judge said in January that her decision was based on the Islamic religion of the couple. “In this cultural context, it is not unusual that the man uses this type of discipline. The young woman, who was born in Germany, must have been aware of that when she married a man raised in Morocco.”

You're right and everybody else is wrong, right?

Holy Moses, could you be more in love with yourself?

What was the point of the Judge's statement quoted on this site? "The poor lass should have known that marrying a Muslim meant that she might occasionally get the ass beating of her life if she pissed him off".

Why bring any of that up at all, if it was simply a matter of the "conditions" not being extreme enough? The point the Judge was making, was that in the culture the womnan married into, her ass-beating was not considered "extreme". Holy mother-of-pearl!

Once again, all you have demonstrated is your penchant for reinterpreting other people's clear and unequivocal statements through your own ideological prism. You're an ass. Thanks for playing.

Lastly,

"Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner says the Shari'a could be introduced in the Netherlands, if voted in democratically. "For me it is clear: if two-thirds of the Dutch population should want to introduce the Sharia tomorrow, then the possibility should exist. It would be a disgrace to say: 'That is not allowed!'.""

He's not talking merely about mediation douche bag, and even if he were, do you have any fucking clue as to how badly women get screwed under Sharia style mediation?

You are utterly incapable of defending the ideals of liberalism.

That and you're a boor.

By Stuart Weinstein (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Interesting. One wonders why does antisemitism becomes a problem for young leftists?

Nearly the same reason anti-Arabism becomes a problem for young right-wingers.

There is, as ever, a war going on. Right-wingers' psychologies tend to identify with the people who are perceived to own the legitimate use of force. Leftists tend to identify with the people who are working for emancipation from what is perceived as illegitimate force.

By historical contingency, it happens that Israel is a sovereign state. By social convention, sovereign states are generally permitted the use of violence to enforce the rulers' wills.

So Israel gets to be seen as owning the legitimate use of force, and right-wingers identify with that. And Palestine gets to be seen as under the thumb of an authoritarian force that disenfranchises them, and leftists identify with that.

Of course the governments become conflated with their peoples, a satisfactory outcome for governments. And the opposition to those abstract entities can lazily become opposition to those peoples. If someone is uneducated enough to think that Zionism = Jews, then they may learn to hate Jews. And if they are uneducated enough to think that Hamas = Arabs, then they may learn to hate Arabs.

I'm sure you had a stupid and bigoted explanation that you'd like to share, though. Go on.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

You know who claims:

That's because you are stupid and you didn't bother to research Dutch politics. It wasn't a protest against suicide bombings, and most of the cartoons had nothing to do with suicide bombings.

<\blockquote>

Didn't realise Westergaard cared all that much about Dutch politics. And B I didn't say anything about the other cartoons, cuz I couldn't give a shit about them.

http://www.internationalfreepresssociety.org/2009/10/paul-belien-of-bru…

“My cartoon,” Mr. Westergaard said, “was an attempt to expose those fanatics who have justified a great number of bombings, murders and other atrocities with reference to the sayings of their prophet. If many Muslims thought that their religion did not condone such acts, they might have stood up and declared that the men of violence had misrepresented the true meaning of Islam. Very few of them did so.”

But go ahead. Please tell us what Westergaard really meant through your idiotological prism.

By Stuart Weinstein (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

From the geneva human rights site that I posted earlier. Do tell them that they are wrong.

"Decision based on religion

Explaining these extreme conditions did not exist ...

Damn, Stuart, why are you so stupid? I already quoted this to you. Look. Look at #189 and read it carefully. I quoted exactly what you think you are informing me of. Do you see it?

Do you understand it?

Why bring any of that up at all, if it was simply a matter of the "conditions" not being extreme enough? The point the Judge was making, was that in the culture the womnan married into, her ass-beating was not considered "extreme". Holy mother-of-pearl!

That's my fucking point, you imbecile.

Again, that's a problem with the German law in its own right. The law doesn't allow people to make up their own minds regarding divorce. It requires a judge to hear evidence and decide -- subjectively -- what constitutes "extreme brutality."

You are an exceedingly stupid person, Stuart. Answer this simple question: Do you or do you not understand how having legally requiring a judge's subjective interpretation of "extreme brutality" invites this problem?

Regardless of religion, this opens the door to all sorts of nonsense. A couple from a rural area within Germany may have different expectations regarding violence -- and a woman's place -- than a couple from an urban area. The law invites this kind of judgment. Islam is incidental to the question; it applies just as well to the cultural differences between liberal Protestants and conservative Catholics.

Since you are so stupid, though, I will explain the important part one more time for you:

It's a stupid law, and it was a stupid ruling too, but the judge was removed from the case. So it doesn't stand as an example of "so many multiculturalists don't seem to have a problem with female genital mutilation, wife-beating, and even 'honor' killings," the claim that you picked up and decided to defend.

Lastly,

"Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner says the Shari'a could be introduced in the Netherlands, if voted in democratically. "For me it is clear: if two-thirds of the Dutch population should want to introduce the Sharia tomorrow, then the possibility should exist. It would be a disgrace to say: 'That is not allowed!'.""

He's not talking merely about mediation douche bag,

Are you serious? If two thirds of the Dutch population want Sharia, then there will be fucking Sharia. The only question then will be how to limit Sharia so as to comply with the UN declaration of human rights, or whether to simply prepare for war instead. That's reality. The Dutch have nothing so powerful as our fucking First Amendment to even potentially, theoretically, act as a roadblock. The judge is correct. If the people vote for Sharia, then they will have Sharia.

and even if he were, do you have any fucking clue as to how badly women get screwed under Sharia style mediation?

Now I understand what your problem is. You don't understand that things can have both benefits and drawbacks.

Bringing what is currently an underground and unregulated practice into the control of the secular government may arguably be a good thing. The real questions in this case would be: are women getting screwed over worse now by unregulated Sharia than they would be by regulated Sharia? and how much can regulated Sharia be influenced and cherry-picked to promote gender equality while still attracting participation?

These would be interesting questions. You are so stupid, Stuart, that you simply scream and cry at the very suggestion that some decisions will always mean settling for the lesser evil. You aren't even capable of the discussion. Fine. By reflexively opposing a secular legal space for Sharia, you allow the underground Sharia courts. Now, that may in fact be the lesser evil, but it's a fucking shame that you're too stupid to even consider the alternatives. And it's a fucking shame that I can't get a serious discussion to actually explore the possibilities. I don't even know what the lesser evil would be, because only stupid people like you ever bring Sharia up. And you reflexively, by your irrational hatred of leftists, assume that I must necessarily want Sharia for us all. Moron. What a waste of time you are.

Seriously, you racist trash, get on your way.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

But go ahead. Please tell us what Westergaard really meant through your idiotological prism.

I imagine he meant what he said, and what he said was imbecilic. It's the same line of reasoning that asks people "Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies" and "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party of the United States" and "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

The question presupposes guilt, and if the questioner is ignored then that is supposed to affirm guilt.

"Look, I made a cartoon that insults Muslims, and if millions of them don't respond by telling me how they oppose violence, then they must be violent!"

It's shitty logic. There is the possibility that silence in fact equals assent. But there is also the possibility that a community which is ostracized by their neighbors will not be enthusiastic about going to those neighbors and offering little green cupcakes for a friendly chat over tea.

Did the interview ask him why he decided to publish in a white nationalist newspaper? Perhaps he is a white nationalist. Perhaps he is indifferent to white nationalism. Perhaps he sees white nationalists as political allies. Perhaps he is lazy and stupid and did not bother to notice that they were white nationalists. The last is the most generous of all possible interpretations. Should I give him that much?

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 02 Jan 2010 #permalink

Plenty of typos regarding the Dutch and Danish. I'll blame you, Stuart, since you brought up Geert Wilders. :) I hope the intent was obvious enough.

One more thing about abusing free speech. You've been doing it, Stuart. I don't mean abusing the right to freedom of speech; that's a nonsensical concept.

You've been abusing "free speech" as an idea.

A lot of people have a reflexive loyalty to "free speech." There are worse things to have a reflexive loyalty to. It's certainly preferable to having a reflexive animosity to "free speech."

But it is convenient for a sort of flag-waving aggressive idiocy. Just accuse someone else of having an insufficient loyalty to "free speech" and you can derail almost any conversation into a round denunciation of their devilry.

So we have you, as recently as #177, still screaming that Rutee has insinuated such an insufficient loyalty. Without a single statement calling for the slightest limitation on the right to free speech. Without a shred of evidence, you assert that Rutee is opposed to freedom for anyone who disagrees.

And you're asked for evidence several times, yet you provide no quotes. You merely insist that the very utterance of the word "but" indicates insufficient loyalty.

This is you abusing "free speech", Stuart. You are attempting to abuse the reader's (legitimate) emotional investment in the idea of "free speech". And you are hoping that the reader has such a reflexive loyalty that even the accusation of disloyalty will be enough to stir hatred.

Maybe this will be easier for you to understand, Stuart:

I disapprove of what you say, and I will defend to the death your right to say it, but you should still shut your stupid mouth.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

@195 strange gods before me, OM
The paper is not a white nationalist newspaper. It's the most widely circulated daily in Denmark. It's libertarian with a twist of cultural reaction.

Kurt Westergaard is a self-proclaimed 'cultural radical.' This is the official ideology of all Western journos at least since 1968.

The paper asked a bunch of cartoonists to submit drawings illustrating their view of the prophet in light of the problems with islam and freedom of speech, including the murder of van Gogh and Danish author Kaare Bluitgen's trouble with finding someone willing to illustrate his biography of Muhammed. The paper did not place further restrictions on the topic, which were left to the invitees.

The paper is not a white nationalist newspaper.

An assertion not supported by the following statements:

It's the most widely circulated daily in Denmark. It's libertarian with a twist of cultural reaction.

Those are not mutually exclusive categories. It may be a white nationalist paper and widely circulated. White nationalism and libertarianism get along easily.

Maybe I am wrong nevertheless, but these objections don't demonstrate it.

I see instead that the newspaper promotes Geert Wilders without substantive criticism: "he's so obviously correct about the goddamn Muslims; oh but if only he would praise our unique European history a bit more."

That's the sort of sharp critical reporting I expect from Stormfront.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

@#5: He should consider getting a couple big dogs.

No, he should consider getting a couple of pigs, not necessarily big ones. To earn his 72 virgins, any devout would-be attacker would have to forego low-tech attacks for something like air strikes, to avoid besmirching himself when he tries to smash a window, while standing ankle-deep in a pigsty and a hundred friendly (or bristly) squealers nuzzle his calves.
A theological question: If a djihadist who sacrifices himself (by sacrificing 1 or 100 unsuspecting infidels) on a suicide mission in a pig farm subsequently arrives at the gate of the Martyrs' After-Hours Paradise Club, but plastered with pig droppings and entrails, will the heavenly bouncers refuse admittance? Or will the self-sacrificing hero nevertheless be allowed to rest his befuddled head in the laps of the 72 club hostesses, even though they may wrinkle their pretty little noses?
Being aware that the next fatwa may be targeted at me: If would-be suicide jihadists were assured 1) that their remains will be scraped from the walls where they commit their act of religulous heroism and 2) then will be laid to rest with 3) the remains of squealers that volunteered, or not, to sacrifice their lives in an act of culinary heroism - would we see a decline in the number of applicants for the 72- virgins, all-inclusive, eternal pool-side holiday package?

By Joe the Plumber (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Am I an islamophobe? you better believe it, am I a xtianophobe? you betcha, in fact i'm a total religionophobe, with bells on! I care not a jot what the cartoonists politics are, the fact that some religious, stumpyfuck retards think they have the right to KILL ANYONE, (plus innocent bystanders in the case of the Pakistan bombing, AND many more such instances) merely because their oh so delicate sensitivities are offended by someone deigning to criticise, or point out how pathetic their beliefs are, makes me so.

By CunningLingus (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

strange gods before me, OM @ 190;

I hope I can say this without making a fool of myself or incurring anyone's ire. In your comment you mention that;

'Anyway, there is potentially merit to the idea because it brings Sharia under the control of the state.

Just like tax exemption for churches in the USA brings those churches' political involvement under government regulation, making a secular space for Sharia allows the government to regulate what is currently an underground and unregulated practice.'

I remmember that the Archbishop of Canterbury talked about the possible place of Sharia in UK law a few months ago. I was wondering what your outlook would be on the concern that bringing in any element of Sharia into British law might undermine the primacy of secular law. There are fears that if you create an arm of UK law based on Sharia, then you are creating religion-specific law with the same status as universally applicable secular law. This could undermine the principle that all subjects (or citizens) should be considered equal before the law.

There is also a question mark over whether it is the place of a secular government to enshrine a series of religious principles in State law, since this could be seen as the state effectively endorsing that religious tradition. Possibly even favouring that tradition over other faiths with equally valid claims to their own bespoke laws.

We already have problems with the iniquity inherent in having an official State religion. Would we simply be creating more troubles for our society by bringing yet more religion into politics? If every faith which desires its own laws gets its wish, this could potentially be detrimental to the essential certainty of any individual's position before the law and could easily lead to accusations of the creation of de facto second class citizens.

As you have said, there obviously would be potential pitfalls if such a project were to be undertaken. I suppose the question has to be whether those pitfalls would prove so severe as to render the entire process impractical.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Were you in the Marine Corps, Stuart Weinstein ?

By Thunderbird 5 (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

"The paper is not a white nationalist newspaper. It's the most widely circulated daily in Denmark. It's libertarian with a twist of cultural reaction."

Like hell it's not a white nationalist paper. It's the one that hired Søren Pind. There's a link earlier in the thread to his little screed that praised your biker gangs for beating the piss out of muslims because 'they're all criminals'.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

"I do indeed think that Muslims should feel very offended. They should feel offended that their so-called religion of peace is being used by mass-murdering terrorists fighting against freedom and democracy. But no, the real problem is a cartoon. And the useful idiots of the left concur with them because of their own innate hatred of the right."

THey are, stupid. Give most of them a fucking mic and ask. Of course, if you treat them like shit, they're going to have less bad things to say about terrorists, now aren't they?

That's like me complaining that liberal Christians aren't mad at Anti-Science YECs or leviticus-quoting haters. Get a fucking clue.

"If you think Westergaard's picture was inappropriate, then I think you should hand back your Molly, strange-gods-before-me. You clearly aren't worthy."

BOMB! IN TURBAN! OF HOLY PROPHET! In no galaxy is that remotely fucking appropriate! If it weren't in the Jyllands-Posten I could at least assume run of the mill stupidity, not racism, but it wasn't!

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

the fact that some religious, stumpyfuck retards think they have the right to KILL ANYONE, (plus innocent bystanders in the case of the Pakistan bombing, AND many more such instances) merely because their oh so delicate sensitivities are offended by someone deigning to criticise, or point out how pathetic their beliefs are, makes me so.

Do not forget that religion, especially of the islamic variety but not uniquely so, is but an excuse for people to be intolerant murdering fucks, this is not about sensitivities, it's about getting a free pass at raping,murdering,subdueing,oppressing via hiding behind some superstitious belief system.
I'm sure the guys can't believe their luck when they have their first erection in the mountains of Pakistan or Somalia or wherever, and realise they can just kill and rape any chick they want, and hide behind some religious bullshit.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Of course, if you treat them like shit, they're going to have less bad things to say about terrorists, now aren't they?

If they (and you) think that drawing a cartoon of Muhammad is equal to being "treated like shit", then they don't deserve a moment of our attention (and neither do you).

"If they (and you) think that drawing a cartoon of Muhammad is equal to being "treated like shit", then they don't deserve a moment of our attention (and neither do you)."

Well done. You've managed to confuse years of abuse (Both verbal and legal) and mistreatment with a single event. That takes talent and effort at misdirection, and I applaud you.

Homey don't play that.

The cartoons are nothing but a symptom, a single instance. That's why they didn't really bother the immigrants, at least not for a long time. They bothered muslims who were A: Dumb, and B: Not in Denmark. Instead, I refer to the sum and total of denmark's treatment of muslims, from various public figures, their general reception by a public who apparently supports the nationalist rhetoric. By violence (by whites) that is supported by public figures and not looked into by the police because they're just muslims. By people who's rights to even peacefully protest these inhumane and unfair actions have been curtailed.

If you treat people like shit, don't be surprised if they don't hate your enemies like you want them to. Frankly, I don't have any links to Denmark's muslims, so I /don't/ know how they feel on the matter. And even if they don't hate radical muslims who call for a jihad against the west, that doesn't make those radical muslims less disgusting objectively. But if you fuck people over, they're more likely to agree with your enemies. Stop fucking them over and within a generation you should see that shit go away.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

BOMB! IN TURBAN! OF HOLY PROPHET! In no galaxy is that remotely fucking appropriate!

Comment # 23 gives an explanation for an appropriate meaning of the cartoon.

-kuckucksblume

By https://www.go… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Actually, I knew that phrase. It was explained to me to service the top left cartoon, which effectively is calling out the Jyllands Posten and claiming it's getting free publicity.

I straight up don't see how you get from A (The phrase) to B (#23's reading of it).

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Well done. You've managed to confuse years of abuse (Both verbal and legal) and mistreatment with a single event.

It is in fact you who are confusing a single event with just about every other problem in the world, past and present, that you believe is caused by rich, white people.

Sorry dude, I don't share your desire to throw away the fundamental freedoms, that others before me have fought hard to achieve, in a pathetic attempt to repent for all the injustice in the world.

It is people like you who give the liberal left a bad name. It is people like you who are responsible for Denmark (and most other European countries) turning to the right because they are sick and tired of the constant apologies for irrational and cruel behavior committed by or supported by medieval culture warriors.

"It is in fact you who are confusing a single event with just about every other problem in the world, past and present, that you believe is caused by rich, white people."

...what? How does that follow from my post at all? Explain the logic underlying that conclusion.

"Sorry dude, I don't share your desire to throw away the fundamental freedoms, that others before me have fought hard to achieve, in a pathetic attempt to repent for all the injustice in the world."
He shoots, HE SCORES! I'm going to assume you haven't read most of my posts. IT's much kinder then assuming you're illiterate. Free Speech wasn't the issue. Even if you're behaving like a fuckwit, it is in fact still your right.

"It is people like you who give the liberal left a bad name. It is people like you who are responsible for Denmark (and most other European countries) turning to the right because they are sick and tired of the constant apologies for irrational and cruel behavior committed by or supported by medieval culture warriors."

Ladies and Gentlemen, feast your eyes! The man has scored a hat trick on straw men! THis is a marvelous occasion, he has managed to set 3 men of straw on fire! Clap, and celebrate his verbal prowess!

Really, buddy? I straight up said right there "Those fundamentalist muslims are still disgusting people." What mental hoops did you jump through to somehow equate that with apologizing? I told you how you can avoid giving them ammunition in your country. That's something totally under 'your' (The country's) control. You can treat your immigrants well and obviously put the lie to the fundie jackasses statements, or you can confirm them by abusing the immigrants.

Whatever you choose, those fundie jackasses are still jackasses, and anyone who supports them is still completely wrong, but you have the power to reduce the number of their supporters. Quit complaining to me about how horrible liberals are for pointing you can solve problems before they get to the crisis stage, and fucking solve 'em.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hey strange-gods-and-even-stranger-thoughts, stop equating criticism of islam with racism, will you please? It devalues the few legitimate points you sometimes accidentally make during your rants.

When I mentioned the cab driver's refusal to let a dog into his vehicle because of his religion, that was an example of illegal discrimination rather than outright harassment, yet you called it harassment. And it was an example of islamic bullshit this time, *because we are talking about islam here.* Don't think I don't criticize xtians or anyone else who commits the same sort of offense for the same reasons of religion: I think it was Stuart who gave the example of pharmacists who refuse to sell morning-after pills because of their twisted 'moral objections.'

As for racism, not living in Europe presently I am obviously more removed from the situation than those who do. It's certainly apparent that there are plenty of racists who are using islamic terrorism to attack muslims for the unrelated reason of their skin color, but this does not invalidate the criticism of islam for other reasons.

By the way, I admire Malcolm X for two reasons, first because he didn't hesitate to call our white power structure on its bullshit, and secondly because he did the same thing to the Black Muslims when he called them on their racism, for which he was assassinated. I don't admire him for becoming a muslim, but do understand it was a way out from under his xtian upbringing, the imposed religion of his oppressors. You could say that neither issue is entirely black or white.

Presently, however, islam has taken up its world-conquest shtick again, and we are damn fools if we let them get away with it. We in the West wrote our various constitutions which defend free speech and free exercise rights in more or less similar ways, and we can rewrite them if circumstances demand it. I don't take this as lightly as you seem to think: it is a very serious thing to have to restrict anyone's rights, but given the fact that islam is more than a religion - being also an aggressive political force with the stated intention of 'taking over' the West through any and all means, including as a fifth column of immigrants intending to breed themselves into a significant voting bloc - then we'd better start taking action now or cry in our (outlawed) beer later.

strange gods before me:

Aryeh Neier wasn't celebrating Nazis then, and I'm not celebrating racism now.

Hey Mal Adapted, was Rutee talking about you? Or are you distracting from the fact that there are people here like wiley and felixthecat and Stuart Weinstein who are celebrating Westergaard and defending his racism?

As far as I'm concerned, both you and the commenters you mentioned are distracting from the fact that a cartoonist is targeted for violence by theists because of a cartoon criticizing their beliefs.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom (#204)

BOMB! IN TURBAN! OF HOLY PROPHET! In no galaxy is that remotely fucking appropriate!

Why wouldn't it be appropriate?

While you make many decent points, this is not one of them. To find this inappropriate, you have to at least think that people's beliefs in the holiness of someone or something should be honored. There's a case to be made for the intentions behind the drawing and the publishing of the cartoons being inappropriate, but the contents of the cartoons have to be evaluated apart from the intentions behind them. If we avoid things like caricature of religious figures, even voluntarily in order not to offend believers, we will end up with very little that we can draw or write or say or do. So where do we draw the line?

I say we take the stance that, since they are not thinking, feeling, living organisms, ideas and beliefs cannot be offended and if people want to be offended for the sake of ideas and beliefs, that's their own foolish choice. People need to learn the difference between outrage and harm and respond appropriately, and that's what this post is really about. Many Muslims get outraged over the portrayal of their prophet because they believe, frequently without question, that graphic portrayals of Muhammad are evil. None of them are harmed by such portrayals, though. Perhaps some are harmed by the violent reactions of extremist nuts in reaction to the existence of such portrayals, but that's the result of those nuts thinking that suffering outrage gives them the right to do harm. Rather than being catered to, the nuts and their supporters should be wholeheartedly condemned for their sick philosophy while everyone retains the right to mock and question and ignore any and all religious beliefs.

"As far as I'm concerned, both you and the commenters you mentioned are distracting from the fact that a cartoonist is targeted for violence by theists because of a cartoon criticizing their beliefs."

Okay, and as far as I'm concerned PZ and the early posters were lionizing a complete jackass because he happens to criticize people you don't like, because of either ignorance or some sort of selective filter that causes you to ignore non-theistic Jackasses in favor of Theistic ones.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

It was a very misleading portrayal of a Muslim

Slight problem, P.Z.. These weren't pictures of a generic Muslim. In fact, none of the psychos deigned to use the excuse you cravenly dreamed up for them. They were quite clear - this was about blasphemy, pure and simple.

It's a little late to strike a pose now, given your abject folding when the cartoon madness was in full swing. You still don't have the guts to defy that bullying and post the cartoons, so spare me your faux courage.

Mal, don't know how long you've been here, but a friendly warning - the Islamosuckups always come out in full force on this blog. Case in point:

The cartoons are nothing but a symptom, a single instance. That's why they didn't really bother the immigrants, at least not for a long time.

It's really amazing how mcuh is wrong with this sstatement. The cartoons were critical of Mohammed, not of a group of people, and given the number of immigrants who are remarkably clear eyed about the depredations of Islam because they have, for example, escaped the Sudanese genocide, it would take moral imbecillity of himalayan proportions to suggest that hostility to Islam was nothing more than xenophobia.

Unfortunately, that's available.

And before some twerp even tries to suggest that criticism of Islam is racist because the majority of its practitioners aren't "white" (as thought that means anything) let me point out that the majority of Christians aren't either, and, indeed, that faith is a comfort to hundreds of millions of my African brothers and sisters, so you shouldn't criticise Christianity either by those standards.

But this is all secondary. The real reason is best said in verse:

The Pope's a total Nazi
What's the deal with all them Hindus?
Judaism ain't so bad
Except for all the Jews

Hey Buddha, would it kill you
To wear a frickin' shirt?
I can say most anything
Without fear of being hurt.

But let's not mention Islam
Let's play it safe instead.
It's awful hard to make religious jokes
When you no longer have a head.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

"Why wouldn't it be appropriate?"
Because it conflates all muslims with the violent assholes that hate the west?

"There's a case to be made for the intentions behind the drawing and the publishing of the cartoons being inappropriate, but the contents of the cartoons have to be evaluated apart from the intentions behind them."
....Whyyyyy? Are you familiar with things like Dog Whistles? That is, statements that sound innocuous but mean something completely different to the intended audience? A well known example is when the American Right Wing says "Rule of Law", what they MEAN is "Repeal Roe v. Wade". It seems foolish to divorce intent from literal meaning, as a rule. I'm sure it has a place, but not in political statements.

"If we avoid things like caricature of religious figures, even voluntarily in order not to offend believers, we will end up with very little that we can draw or write or say or do. So where do we draw the line"
Well, we could try drawing that line at 'Not stereotyping over a billion people.' I take relatively little issue with caricaturing mohammed or the religious beliefs of Islam, but I take serious offense at the rationale of the Jyllands-Posten cartoonists who did so.

Hell, you could mock Mohammed while simultaneously divorcing the violent assholes from the bulk of islam if you have a single clever bone in your body, and it seems like that's part of the entry requisites for being a cartoonist.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

"It's really amazing how mcuh is wrong with this sstatement. The cartoons were critical of Mohammed, not of a group of people, and given the number of immigrants who are remarkably clear eyed about the depredations of Islam because they have, for example, escaped the Sudanese genocide, it would take moral imbecillity of himalayan proportions to suggest that hostility to Islam was nothing more than xenophobia."

Quick question: How familiar are you with Denmark, specifically, and its politics, politicians, and institutions? I'm not talking about every fucking place on the planet, and I'm not talking about every guy who throws his two cents in about Islam. I'm talkinga bout a specific place with a political climate that actually does these things.

Good christ, with all the rightful complaining on this blog about the jackasses who quotemined the UEA, you'd THINK folks would read in-context before shooting off their mouths.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

And for the love of Pie and Truth, can I stop hearing my quotes in the context of apologists or Apologism?

Here, let me quote myself, because I just can't make a song and dance number along the lines of "Oh, Kyle's she's a great big bitch, she's the greatest bitch in the whole wide world" that accurately reflects my dislike of Islam.

Rutee @53
"I don't give two shits for Islam. The only nice thing I can say about it is that they have a mandated graduated income tax specifically meant to help the poor in their holy book. The rest is something I don't like, and I think SHaria Law is as abominable as the rest of you undoubtedly do. I think their complementarian dodge on the rights of women is as abhorrent as the Christians' complementarian dodge. As far as I'm concerned, fundie muslims can go fuck themselves as hard as fundie christians, fundie jews, and fundie everything else."

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

SGBM at #171:

Writing such a fatwa is also a protected speech act, as well as morally objectionable and deplorable.

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that writing a fatwa may be more than just "morally objectionable" (although it certainly is that). For example, hiring a hitman to kill someone who has offended you is not "protected speech" just because the contract is "in writing".

And, someone may need to explain block quotes to me again, because it didn't work...

I'm not entirely up on Fatwas, but I'm pretty sure they're just calling for the death of someone, rather then specifically contracting them.

I'm pretty sure a direct incitement to violence still counts as unprotected speech, but it won't be under the same laws that govern parties to a crime.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Snorre #20
Totally agree. While I'm 100% for freedom of speech, the simple fact is that the people who are currently blabbing about Free Speech in Denmark are the right wing nutbags who are using it as an excuse for trashing muslims and to defend outright lies.

Notice that freedom doesn't enter into it when they want to ban certain types of buildings.
http://politiken.dk/politik/article847221.ece

eddie #27
In response to your question:
http://politiken.dk/indland/article871565.ece

"While the man tried to get into the security room, Kurt Westergaard's grandchild sat in the living room."

Please don't jump top conclusions.

My point is, just because they say "free speech" a lot doesn't mean they're on our side.

Criticize the muslims, sure. Just don't think that all people fighting the muslims are good guys. Make no mistake, once they've dealt with the muslims, we're next.

Oh, that's not going to save you, Lukas. You're still an apologist for noting that the enemy of m y enemy is not my friend.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Well, we could try drawing that line at 'Not stereotyping over a billion people.' I take relatively little issue with caricaturing mohammed or the religious beliefs of Islam, but I take serious offense at the rationale of the Jyllands-Posten cartoonists who did so.

Yes, rationalize away, you dhimmi cow. Try to pretend to yourself that this isn't just an excuse for your own cowardice.

There are one million black slaves in the Muslim Arab world today. Two million Sudanese Christians died on the next to last genocide, and another four hundred thousand died while your lot watched on and did nothing. But, yeah, "not stereotyping" is the big priority.

Except that is isn't. This blog and its commentariat routinely make sweeping statements about 'the religious', i.e. five billion people. No problems stereotyping then.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Lukas, true, absolutely true. If you examine, for example, the BNP in Britain you do get a bit of the same kind of feeling that "The Siege: Enemy at the gates" evoked (basically: Nazis vs. Commies - who cares?).

However, unfortunately the converse is not the case. While everyone against the Jihad is not necessarily my friend, everyone in favour of being a dormat for the Jihad is definently my enemy.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

"Except that is isn't. This blog and its commentariat routinely make sweeping statements about 'the religious', i.e. five billion people. No problems stereotyping then. "

See, that's what happens when you stereotype a mere blog and its perhaps 1000 posters.

Protip: I have a problem with the stereotyping of the religious to begin with.

"There are one million black slaves in the Muslim Arab world today. Two million Sudanese Christians died on the next to last genocide, and another four hundred thousand died while your lot watched on and did nothing. But, yeah, "not stereotyping" is the big priority."

Yes. Yes they did die. Yes they are treated as subhuman. Sudan is a terrible place.

But I have no fucking idea how to fix it, because the problem is much deeper then simple religious differences, which to my understanding are merely the latest guise for longer lasting troubles in Africa. Denmark is ostensibly a modern country, so let's see their politicians and general political clime reflect that.

I can, and do, say the same about America, when it acts more like Merika.

And use of dhimmi to characterize someone you disagree with? You're obviously a fuckwit reaching out for every stray hair you can grab onto in some sort of brawl with islam. Is there a word for when people who oppose fundamentalists behave in the same way, but strictly in opposition to their hated faith?

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

For fuck's sake, Cimmourdain, you think I LIKE Islam.

In direct response to one of your posts, I quoted myself reciting my least favorite parts of it. Are you a fucking illiterate or not?

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

But I have no fucking idea how to fix it, because the problem is much deeper then simple religious differences, which to my understanding are merely the latest guise for longer lasting troubles in Africa.

What your understanding is like is something not fit to mention in mixed company. Yeah, the Sudanese genocides (plural) have nothing to do with Islam. And the Russian famines had nothing to do with Communism. And the Holocaust had nothing to do with Nazism.

Yeah, sure.

So let me get this right: you think it's acceptable to whinge about not knowing every nuance of the political slant of an obscure Danish newspaper, yet you proudly trumpet your ignorance of the events causing the murder of over two million people?

And people wonder why I hate parochial Western intellectuals so much. Never any ability to consider those beyond their shores as anything other than props for their psychodrama.

I'm reminded of Victor Klemperer's trenchant observation about what he'd do to the intellectuals of Germany, given full power.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

"What your understanding is like is something not fit to mention in mixed company. Yeah, the Sudanese genocides (plural) have nothing to do with Islam. And the Russian famines had nothing to do with Communism. And the Holocaust had nothing to do with Nazism."

I have lost interest in debating someone on the internet who can not read. Or for that matter, in meatspace either. I didn't say it had nothing to do with islam. I said the issue was deeper then Islam. If you can't discern a difference, your opinion is irrelevant to me.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom (#217)

Because it conflates all muslims with the violent assholes that hate the west?

Drawing Muhammad with a bomb in his turban does that? Really? Maybe for you, but your interpretation is apparently warped by knowing the political beliefs of the artist. Looking at the cartoon without such preconceptions, one might come to wholly different conclusions, and not necessarily inaccurate ones. To a disturbing degree, Islam is being defended with violence--the attack on the cartoonist being case in point!

....Whyyyyy? Are you familiar with things like Dog Whistles? That is, statements that sound innocuous but mean something completely different to the intended audience?

Why? Because we're not the intended audience and don't have to pretend we are. The cartoon itself has to be evaluated separately because the intentions of the artist don't come spelled out and attached to the drawing. Most people couldn't know the context it was created in, and, as was seen, most Muslims were offended on religious grounds rather than political ones.

So when you make statements about the image, you have to ask if the image itself, devoid of the context (as most people experienced it), is inappropriate or not. Or does the context of its creation imbue it with some malevolent force that would be absent if only it was drawn by a Left-winger for other reasons? I can guarantee you that many Muslims would be just as offended no matter why it was drawn. Maybe if you weren't constantly tripping over your solipsism, you'd notice the disconnect between your objection and theirs.

It seems foolish to divorce intent from literal meaning, as a rule.

There is no literal meaning. It's a cartoon. Such is the nature of art that even the artist can't control people's thoughts about his creation. And it's not foolish to divorce intent if what you really mean to demonize is that intent rather than the fruits of it, which can be taken alone.

Well, we could try drawing that line at 'Not stereotyping over a billion people.'

Who'll be the judge for whether cartoons like this really do that? And who enforces the line? You're being absurd. We're better off allowing the stereotyping and combating it with criticism rather than trying to avoid it, especially when it's this subjective.

I take relatively little issue with caricaturing mohammed or the religious beliefs of Islam, but I take serious offense at the rationale of the Jyllands-Posten cartoonists who did so.

Then prove it by sticking to criticism of the rationale and be more rational about the image in the cartoon.

(#219)

And for the love of Pie and Truth, can I stop hearing my quotes in the context of apologists or Apologism?

I'm sure you'd hear a lot less of that if you didn't go and blather things like: "BOMB! IN TURBAN! OF HOLY PROPHET! In no galaxy is that remotely fucking appropriate!" Now please either make a case for the image itself being inappropriate or take this statement back.

"The cartoon itself has to be evaluated separately because the intentions of the artist don't come spelled out and attached to the drawing. Most people couldn't know the context it was created in, and, as was seen, most Muslims were offended on religious grounds rather than political ones."

Your conclusion doesn't feel like the logical one following your premises. It reminds me of what I was told in English on analyzing works by authors; "If you don't know about the author, you can ignore their personal lives, but once you know about their personal lives, you can't claim that the writer is trying to say something you know for a fact they'd hate".

If you must know, I still don't see how you can avoid that conflation even without knowing one whit about Westergaard's politics. The image is too simple. It has only Mohammed, with the bomb in his turban. There is no nuance, and there's no acknowledgement of any internal divisions. Only their most holy prophet, carrying weaponry with a surly look on his face. Without any sort of context, I don't know how this image can be viewed as anything but "Islam is fundamentally violent." Why don't you try explaining that interpretation to me, please? It'd make my life a lot easier if I could at least see the basis your analysis rests on?

"So when you make statements about the image, you have to ask if the image itself, devoid of the context (as most people experienced it), is inappropriate or not."
Now to stop presupposing that context matters not.

Why does context stop mattering? You're saying "Well, we're not the intended audience", and that's true, but the message he's broadcasting is heinous. Do we stand aside when the Religious Right trumpets for "Support of the Rule of Law", "Traditional Values", and "Fiscal Conservatism", when we disagree strongly with the actual planks in the platform?

"There is no literal meaning. It's a cartoon. Such is the nature of art that even the artist can't control people's thoughts about his creation. And it's not foolish to divorce intent if what you really mean to demonize is that intent rather than the fruits of it, which can be taken alone."
Political Cartoons aren't really art. They're blunt force trauma messages delivered by way of pictures. They might be entertaining, but I don't think I'd say that their messages are particularly open to interpretation.

"Then prove it by sticking to criticism of the rationale and be more rational about the image in the cartoon."
Yeah, even without context it seems pretty bad to me.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

For fuck's sake, Cimmourdain, you think I LIKE Islam.

Oh no, my dear. That's not what I think of you.

You still don't get it. Whatever else is true of the true Muslim, the believer, the Shariah supporter, the jihadist, whatever else is true about them they still have the honour of having made a choice. Even an evil choice holds the basic respect of the accepting that responsibility. But it is the chronic excuser, the chronic compromiser who is invariably in the wrong, because nothing but evil can prosper in any compromise between good and evil.

That is what I think of you. A true-blue shariah and jihad supporter might still be redeemable, precisely because they have accepted that hard responsibility. Such a person can still choose again. Witness Ayaan Hirsi Ali. That is not what I think of you.

A perfect example is your cowardly defence of the horrors of the Sudan. Thanks, but I've heard this before. I've heard recalcitrants in Germany mention the underlying problems of the depression and the Jewish financiers who profited. I've heard plenty about how one had to consider the cases of Tsarist Russia and Imperial China - and all the rest of it.

Thanks, but no thanks.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

An illiterate AND a Godwin. That's impressive.

I like how he conflates investigation with excuse. It's fascinating. No, wait, it's just stupid.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Strange Gods shrieked"

Again, that's a problem with the German law in its own right. The law doesn't allow people to make up their own minds regarding divorce. It requires a judge to hear evidence and decide -- subjectively -- what constitutes "extreme brutality."

I haven't seen such idiotic mental gymnastics since the boyscouts.

The Judge made a decision based what constitutes *extreme* in Sharia cuz the married couple was Muslim, not Xtian. You can keep reinterpreting her statement all you want. It has nothing to do with weakness in German law, it has to do with the Judge deciding that the law should be different for Muslims.

In the US, if the two people can't come to an agreement, hello family court. What is your pill? Is that a weakness in US law? Courts decide whether or not a spouse was abused etc. all the time. It is not a weakness.

Do you have any evidence that suggests the husband was willing to grant a divorce under any circumstances? Do you have any evidence that this could have been an amicable divorce? If not your point is further irrelevant.

No wonder you approve of this. You prattle above that if Sharia was made legal it could be regulated and made beneficial. Hell, why stop there? Why not incorporate Halacha or any other body of religious based law into the *law*?

What are you smoking and where can I get some?

You advocate the destruction of secular liberalism. The Govt. now has to regulate religion. Are you kidding me? Just how effective do you imagine that will be? The Govt will determine which parts of Sharia are *beneficial* and which are not? This is very simple there is one law for everyone. Any Shria dictates that are enforced which violate the law shall be prosecuted. That is the appropriate extent of Govt. involvement in religion, in a secular liberal society.

Congratulations.

There can only be one law. In the US that is the law based on the Constitution. You cannot have one law for Muslims and another law for everyone else. That is crazy.

LAstly you have been pawned on your claims that the newspaper is *white nationalist* considering your left of Karl Marx, probably the NYT also qualifies.

Frankly I don't believe a damn thing you say because everything is filtered through the prism of your own far left ideology.

And when the ideals of secular liberalism need defending, the far left will be nowhere to be found. You've made that abundantly clear.

In the mean time, drop the phony outrage.

You suck at it.

And to whoever asked, no I was never in the Marines.

I have not had that honor.

I'm reminded of Victor Klemperer's trenchant observation about what he'd do to the intellectuals of Germany, given full power.

The first hit on "intellectuals" in I will bear witness: a diary of the Nazi years, 1942-1945, in Google books:

"The police had been hit by machine-gun fire, the Protector's car by a bomb. The newspaper had then published the names of the many who had been put in front of a firing squad with their families, almost without exception intellectuals, very many professors of the Technical University and doctors."

It looks like you are confusing Klemperer's description of the actions of the Nazis with his own words.

And I infer that you agree with the Nazis that intellectuals should be executed by firing squads?

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

But it is the chronic excuser, the chronic compromiser who is invariably in the wrong, because nothing but evil can prosper in any compromise between good and evil.

And you proudly choose the evil of guilt by association, and speak approvingly of the evil of mass-murder -- when it is performed on those that you don't like.

By Owlmirror (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

This is a little late, but I just wanted to point out what a horrible virus of a term "Islamophobia" is. If a criticism of Islam is actually a proxy for bashing Arabic or Persian immigrants, then a perfectly good term already exists for that sentiment: racism. If a criticism of Islam centers around the fact that it is a violent, misogynistic system of belief totally lacking in merit, then it should not be described by any epithet an atheist would be willingly endorse.

When I hear the term "Islamophobia" its never clear to me which case is being described, and I consider that a problem. Maybe everyone in the world except me is on the same page in using it to describe anti-middle eastern racism exclusively. Unfortunately, the context history I've seen for the word outside of this thread makes me doubt that.

Cimourdain @ 234;

'But it is the chronic excuser, the chronic compromiser who is invariably in the wrong, because nothing but evil can prosper in any compromise between good and evil.'

I think you are going too far here, Cimourdain. I myself managed to misunderstand Rutee's position upthread (sorry about that again, Rutee). What I established from this foolishness of mine was that Rutee was not attempting to justify the actions of the crazy Islamist fundamentalist who like to toss about death threats. She was also not attempting to draw any form of moral equivilency between creating an offensive cartoon and trying to murder someone with an axe.

She was saying that, while seeking to supress expression through violence is unconscionable, this does not change the fact that the political environment in Denmark into which these cartoons were introduced is mired in a poisonous atmosphere of virulent, Far Right xenophobia that has particularly fixated on Islam as an easy target. Not only extreme Islam, but Islam in general is being targeted by those who seek to conflate the fringe and the mainstrteam of that religion in order to further their political goals. Gert Wilders being a case in point.

Also, your statement about only evil flourishing in an environment of compramise reminds me of what I like to term the 'Bush Fallacy':- You are either with us or against us. There are more possible positions on the moral scale than a binary opposition of 'good' versus 'evil'. This is not Autobots Vs Decipticons, you know (oh my fictional sky fairy, I feel dirty even mentioning those horrible, horrible films *shudder*).

'I've heard recalcitrants in Germany mention the underlying problems of the depression and the Jewish financiers who profited'

Oh, your not going to wheel out the tired old 'your as bad as a Nazi apologist, you are!' Schtick, are you? That approach never serves to achieve anything other than undermining the integity of the argument it is deployed to support. Misplaced appeals to horrifying and highly emotive events from history that do not strictly bear any relevance to the issue in question do not a persuasive argument make. They are also needlessly offensive. Various other commentators and I have disagreed in the past, but I have always managed to debate them without being gratuitously offensive (ok, there may be one or two who got the sharper side of my tongue, but they really deserved it.)

I do not agree with everything that Rutee says, but she still makes a lot of very good points. I think that it would be more productive to engage her in debate on those substantive grounds, rather then rail against what you choose to discribe as her 'cowardice'.

It is, of course, your perogative to tell me to go and boil my head if you feel so inclined. Don't worry, I am used to such advice.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom (#233)

It reminds me of what I was told in English on analyzing works by authors; "If you don't know about the author, you can ignore their personal lives, but once you know about their personal lives, you can't claim that the writer is trying to say something you know for a fact they'd hate".

What the author or artist is trying to say might mean something particular, sure. What the work of art means to someone else is inherently separate. Certainly, one cannot say the artist means something he didn't if one knows otherwise. But, at the same time, one doesn't need to deny what it evokes in oneself simply because it contradicts the artist's intentions.

If you must know, I still don't see how you can avoid that conflation even without knowing one whit about Westergaard's politics.

Yes, that is part of the solipsism I'm talking about. You're irritatingly unaware of your biases, but seem not to hesitate to hold everyone else to them.

The image is too simple. It has only Mohammed, with the bomb in his turban. There is no nuance, and there's no acknowledgement of any internal divisions.

It's a caricature. It's supposed to be simple and generalized. But the interpretation doesn't have to be "this face symbolizes all of Islam." Also, if Djn in #23 is to be believed, there could be a large share of nuance intended in the cartoon, so you're perhaps not giving enough credit to Westergaard.

Only their most holy prophet, carrying weaponry with a surly look on his face. Without any sort of context, I don't know how this image can be viewed as anything but "Islam is fundamentally violent."

Well, that's a limitation you'll have to live with, I guess. Your lack of imagination and excessive literalism don't speak for me, though. And I'm not sure what's wrong with saying "Islam is fundamentally violent" when it's true. Mind you, that's a different message than "Muslims are fundamentally violent," which isn't true. If you believe one must mean the latter when claiming the former, that's another of your own ridiculous biases.

Why don't you try explaining that interpretation to me, please? It'd make my life a lot easier if I could at least see the basis your analysis rests on?

I see it as symbolic of how violence and martyrdom have become revered as much as Muhammad himself. And that people (including Muslims) are supposed to buy into the pretense that Islam is peacful just as we're supposed to honor the taboo against depicting Muhammad.

Now to stop presupposing that context matters not. Why does context stop mattering?

I thought I made this clear. The context is not visibly attached to the image. The rest of us (including Muslims) only see what's drawn, not why it was drawn. So if you're going to speak of the contents of the image being inappropriate, you have to restrict yourself to those contents and not rely on the offensiveness of the context.

You're saying "Well, we're not the intended audience", and that's true, but the message he's broadcasting is heinous.

But if I'm not the intended audience, I won't get his message. It's really quite simple. Even now that you've explained, I can agree his message is heinous without it changing what I see in his cartoon.

Do we stand aside when the Religious Right trumpets for "Support of the Rule of Law", "Traditional Values", and "Fiscal Conservatism", when we disagree strongly with the actual planks in the platform?

The analogous question would be, do we reject what is meant by the Religious Right in using those terms or do we also teach ourselves to find the terms themselves abhorrent?

Political Cartoons aren't really art. They're blunt force trauma messages delivered by way of pictures. They might be entertaining, but I don't think I'd say that their messages are particularly open to interpretation.

Oh, and that's so because you say, eh? What's the essential difference between political cartoons and something like Picasso's Guernica, then? Quite obviously, all of us here saying we didn't get the message Westergaard intended should be evidence that political cartoons aren't such simple vehicles, nor are they immune to interpretation.

Yeah, even without context it seems pretty bad to me.

Explain why we should find the image itself so very inappropriate. Or would you like to change your statement to say the image offends you, personally, and leave it at that?

I'd like to remind everybody that those 12 pictures were commissioned precisely as a reaction to Muslim attempts to reduce our freedom of speech.

Events have later made it clear that the perceived threat against that freedom was a very real threat.

As such, shouldn't every civilized person support those drawings and the people who made them?

As two bloggers put it, Westergaard has become our Rushdie.

By Peter Lund (Denmark) (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Sorry, that was unclear.

As two Danish bloggers recently put it, Westergaard has become our Rushdie.

They do blog at Jyllands-Posten but are mostly Socialdemocrat. And very sensible. The commentariat, however, are a mixed bag of left and right, apologists and phobics, united in their extremism and lack of sense.

By Peter Lund (Denmark) (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Gregory,

I remmember that the Archbishop of Canterbury talked about the possible place of Sharia in UK law a few months ago.

(The reference I'm looking at)

I was wondering what your outlook would be on the concern that bringing in any element of Sharia into British law might undermine the primacy of secular law. There are fears that if you create an arm of UK law based on Sharia, then you are creating religion-specific law with the same status as universally applicable secular law. This could undermine the principle that all subjects (or citizens) should be considered equal before the law.

I'm not sure I understand in detail what this concern entails. He said: "If any kind of plural jurisdiction is recognised, it would presumably have to be under the rubric that no 'supplementary' jurisdiction could have the power to deny access to the rights granted to other citizens or to punish its members for claiming those rights." And I said: "If something is a criminal offense for non-Muslims, it would still be a criminal offense for Muslims. ... The transition must be deliberately practiced with the intent of influencing the future evolution of Sharia."

The proposals involve a Sharia system which is under the jurisdiction of the secular system, not above it, and not independent of it. Ultimately the Supreme Court remains the court of last resort, not subject to any authority but the Constitutional laws and the Crown.

There is also a question mark over whether it is the place of a secular government to enshrine a series of religious principles in State law, since this could be seen as the state effectively endorsing that religious tradition. Possibly even favouring that tradition over other faiths with equally valid claims to their own bespoke laws.

Right. It is for that reason an entirely impossible suggestion in the United States, unless hznfrst's crowd succeeds in their desire to repeal the First Amendment.

Williams' suggestion involved not only Sharia, but all sorts of religious mediation courts; he specifically used Orthodox Jewish systems as a second example. The state already endorses the CoE, and so has no strong wall of separation to prevent the encroachment of other religions upon the government. Obviously disestablishment and constitutional separation is preferable to Sharia, but these options appear more difficult. So, failing that, reaching out to Britons of all faiths may be preferable to CoE monopoly.

If every faith which desires its own laws gets its wish, this could potentially be detrimental to the essential certainty of any individual's position before the law and could easily lead to accusations of the creation of de facto second class citizens.

What's the worst that could happen? (Well, I suppose a new Dark Age; you'd be beheaded, and I'd be beheaded at least two or three times.) Really, these aren't proposals for laws that will apply to anyone who doesn't assent to them. The choice to enter into Sharia mediation would require the consent of all parties, and these courts could not deprive anyone of their human rights.

New religious laws automatically covering everyone can already be passed at any time in the UK; it requires only the purchase of a sufficient number of MPs. You have no protection against this, save the potential for civil revolt.

I suppose the public's concerns about Sharia are rather a distraction from the real work that remains in establishing an absolutely secular government to replace the current kludge.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

"If you think Westergaard's picture was inappropriate, then I think you should hand back your Molly, strange-gods-before-me. You clearly aren't worthy."

BOMB! IN TURBAN! OF HOLY PROPHET! In no galaxy is that remotely fucking appropriate! If it weren't in the Jyllands-Posten I could at least assume run of the mill stupidity, not racism, but it wasn't!

It would be entirely appropriate if drawn and published in a Muslim nation. The practice of blasphemy, to rattle the clergy and free the people from the Fear of God, is a necessary part of human liberation.

(Although it's still a shitty cartoon, completely unfunny and without artistic merit. There's a case to be made that shitty art should never be encouraged. The "Stop! Stop! Vi er løbet tør for Jomfruer!" cartoon was at least funny.)

In Denmark, this wasn't blasphemy. It wasn't a challenge to the ruling powers. It wasn't even a tiny personal expression of humanity's fight against oppression. It was just race-baiting, a bully's torment of the minority by the establishment.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Thread summarized:

Those fundamentalist muslims are still disgusting people. ... I told you how you can avoid giving them ammunition in your country. That's something totally under 'your' (The country's) control. You can treat your immigrants well and obviously put the lie to the fundie jackasses statements, or you can confirm them by abusing the immigrants.

Whatever you choose, those fundie jackasses are still jackasses, and anyone who supports them is still completely wrong, but you have the power to reduce the number of their supporters. Quit complaining to me about how horrible liberals are for pointing you can solve problems before they get to the crisis stage, and fucking solve 'em.

Thanks, Rutee.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hey strange-gods-and-even-stranger-thoughts, stop equating criticism of islam with racism, will you please?

Hey hznfrst, you totalitarian nut, start reading what the fuck I actually said, will you please?

Again, in the context of Danish politics, anti-Islam is almost always a front for white nationalism. Certainly it could be possible for a responsible journalist or cartoonist to make a clear distinction, but unless such a careful effort is made, then the act does nothing but support racism.

That doesn't mean you can never criticize Islam without being racist. Look, I'll do it right now: the Koran is false. Woooo!

It does mean that when you live in a racist country where people throw insults about Arabs and camels, you have to be careful to explain to those racists that their racism is unacceptable while you criticize Islam, or else they will perceive you as being on their side as a fellow racist.

Kurt Westergaard didn't do this. Kurt Westergaard assented to supporting racism. Probably because Kurt Westergaard is a racist, but possibly because he is a mere fuckwit.

When I mentioned the cab driver's refusal to let a dog into his vehicle because of his religion,

You mentioned no such thing. You referred to the woman upthread, jane segal, who was refused service because she was carrying a bottle of wine. Maybe you meant to talk about the service dog, but you didn't do so.

that was an example of illegal discrimination rather than outright harassment, yet you called it harassment.

No, I didn't. Learn to read.

And it was an example of islamic bullshit this time, *because we are talking about islam here.* Don't think I don't criticize xtians or anyone else who commits the same sort of offense for the same reasons of religion

I'm quite sure that you don't criticize people who deny accommodation to service dogs for non-religious reasons, because you give no evidence that you ever have.

Instead you use disabled people as tools, as weapons against religious people. You demonstrate no interest in actually helping disabled people per se. Fair enough, nobody said that you have to have that interest. But to use them as tools is egregiously offensive. Just fuck off and leave them alone; don't abuse them for your own goals.

As for racism, not living in Europe presently I am obviously more removed from the situation than those who do. It's certainly apparent that there are plenty of racists who are using islamic terrorism to attack muslims for the unrelated reason of their skin color, but this does not invalidate the criticism of islam for other reasons.

It's like you're quoting me and imagining that you're lecturing me. Save your time and fuck off.

By the way, I admire Malcolm X

How nice for you. Do you want a cookie?

Presently, however, islam has taken up its world-conquest shtick again, and we are damn fools if we let them get away with it.

No, "Islam" has not done this, no more than "Judaism" is responsible for the violent imperialist expansion into Eretz Israel. Don't be so stupid.

We in the West wrote our various constitutions which defend free speech and free exercise rights in more or less similar ways, and we can rewrite them if circumstances demand it. I don't take this as lightly as you seem to think: it is a very serious thing to have to restrict anyone's rights, but given the fact that islam is more than a religion - being also an aggressive political force with the stated intention of 'taking over' the West through any and all means,

Listen, asshole. Here in my United States, we have a constitutional law that says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

That means it's legal to advocate revolution. It's legal for you to be a Nazi and preach white supremacy. It's legal for you to advocate a Nazi government, destroying every freedom that our soldiers fought for back in the 1700s, and every freedom that has been won in the courts since.

It doesn't matter if you advocate Nazism as a secular ideology, or as part of your religion like the World Church Of The Creator. It doesn't matter that the World Church Of The Creator is "more than a religion."

And I wouldn't have it any other way. You should be allowed to advocate fascist revolution. Our society probably isn't better for it, but the alternative, of curtailing your freedom of speech to advocate revolution, would be even worse.

But this necessarily means that Islamist-supremacism must also remain legal. If people are not free to advocate the very worst of Islamic theocracy, then America is not free. And I'm not willing to live in a society without such freedom. I won't let you win.

including as a fifth column of immigrants intending to breed themselves into a significant voting bloc

Paranoid racist nut.

You are a great example of what fear of Islam becomes: totalitarianism. The politics of fear can not preserve a free society worth living in. It can only lead to further encroachments upon personal liberties. More PATRIOT Acts, more surveillance cameras, more police state powers to harass the citizenry for fun and profit.

Stay out of my country, hznfrst, you traitorous shit.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink
Aryeh Neier wasn't celebrating Nazis then, and I'm not celebrating racism now.

Hey Mal Adapted, was Rutee talking about you? Or are you distracting from the fact that there are people here like wiley and felixthecat and Stuart Weinstein who are celebrating Westergaard and defending his racism?

As far as I'm concerned, both you and the commenters you mentioned are distracting from the fact that a cartoonist is targeted for violence by theists because of a cartoon criticizing their beliefs.

Then you should include yourself in that indictment, because you said nothing at all about him in #165. And if you're going to defend yourself by claiming that Skokie was tangentially related, I got there first at #157. You're as off-topic as anyone else here.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Cimourdain the homophobe and unrepentant liar said:

And before some twerp even tries to suggest that criticism of Islam is racist because the majority of its practitioners aren't "white" (as thought that means anything) let me point out that the majority of Christians aren't either, and, indeed, that faith is a comfort to hundreds of millions of my African brothers and sisters, so you shouldn't criticise Christianity either by those standards.

You are terminally stupid, so I don't expect you to understand this, but this will be for the benefit of the reader. When anti-Catholicism was rampant in the United States a hundred years ago, pushed by the Ku Klux Klan in response to immigration, it was racism. When anti-Catholicism comes up in a critique of the established US Catholic hierarchy's response to child abuse, it's usually not racism. And when it's used as a scare tactic concerning the religiosity of Latin Americans, it is racism.

See the pattern?

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Okay, and as far as I'm concerned PZ and the early posters were lionizing a complete jackass because he happens to criticize people you don't like, because of either ignorance or some sort of selective filter that causes you to ignore non-theistic Jackasses in favor of Theistic ones.

Ignorance. We regularly have criticism of non-theists here. We do have a handful of outright racists, most of whom have shown up in this thread. And we do have plenty of well-meaning but inexperienced people who can not recognize racism until their noses are rubbed in it, and then only barely.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

I think that irony must be dead in the Islamic world (if it ever lived). To not be able to see that their reaction to the cartoon validates the cartoon's message just boggles the mind.

Sure, because "the Islamic world" and one Somali are coextensive sets. (Of course it's not just one Somali, but the point still stands.)

Religious people are blind to their own hypocrisy for a simple reason: they have values but are unprincipled.

So why are non-religious people blind to theirs?

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Strange Gods writes:

You are terminally stupid, so I don't expect you to understand this, but this will be for the benefit of the reader. When anti-Catholicism was rampant in the United States a hundred years ago, pushed by the Ku Klux Klan in response to immigration, it was racism. When anti-Catholicism comes up in a critique of the established US Catholic hierarchy's response to child abuse, it's usually not racism. And when it's used as a scare tactic concerning the religiosity of Latin Americans, it is racism.
See the pattern?

<\blockquote>

This illustrates one of the main tools used by far left moonbats..

Pay attention for it...

The tool of *invidious comparison*

The KKK was worried that Catholics being *Papists* would attempt to make Catholic Dogma law of the and and elect the Pope President. However no Catholic of any stature has ever said they wanted such a thing, nor has any Pope ever expressed an interest in becoming a US President.

That was and still is stupid. However, as Ibrahim Hooper, spokesperson for CAIR ( a mainstream US Muslim Organization), has stated, he would like to see the Constitution replaced by Koranic Law. Although he is kind enough to say that such a goal should not be achieved by violence.

But go ahead, douche bag supreme, please interpret Hooper's remarks through your idiotological prism. I'm curious as to what you come up with.

Let's see now: Harpy is whining that, when you start making apologies and rationalizations for genocide, certain parallels inevitably rise.

strange is being full of shit as usual. So, being anti-Islamic because of the fourteen centuries of aggression and barbarism, the hundred million minimum who support the Jihad (it may well be two or three times that number if not more still), the relentless campaigns of genocide and aggression - being anti-Islamic because of that is, of course, racism. According to strange. And his level of thought.

Yes, in short, the islamosuckup brigade has mobilized in full.

Owlmirror, you may be aware that there were books before there was google books. And when you actually read the diaries, you would come across his descriptions of the compromises and rationalizations of the intellectuals. It ends with him stating, in so many words, that given supreme power over Germany that day, he would spare all the ordinary Germans, and even quite a bit of the party - but he'd hang every intellectual in the country and the professors three feet higher than the rest.

Gregory, to your reasonable questions:

Far Right xenophobia that has particularly fixated on Islam as an easy target.

Yes, it's the oddest thing, isn't it? This "Far Right Xenophobia" is always directed at Islam, which is an "easy target", despite the fact that criticizing Islam publically means living in protection for the rest of your life. But it's really weird isn't it, that it's always directed against one, specific religion, and that these "far right xenophobes" seem to include people who are immigrants themselves: Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an example. I know a few others personally, including Sudanese christians who fled the genocide (and don't count in the contemtible world-view of strange and harpy). In fact, it get's odder and odder - these "xenophobes" are just as worried about native converts to Islam, but are unworried about large scale immigration of Hindus, or Sikhs, or Christians, or Jews, or Buddhists, or Atheists....

Odd isn't it? It's almost as though there is something specifically dangerous about Islam.

Which brings me to this:

Not only extreme Islam, but Islam in general is being targeted by those who seek to conflate the fringe and the mainstrteam of that religion in order to further their political goals.

I defy you to draw any essential difference between "extreme Islam" and "Islam". Ibn Warraq put it beautifully "There are moderate Muslims, but Islam is not moderate". There is no "radical Islam". There is no "political Islam", "extreme Islam", "Islamofascism", or any of the other tripe. There is only Islam, period.

It's worth reading Ibn Warraq's brilliant essay "Islam, the Middle East, and Fascism", at this point.

Also, your statement about only evil flourishing in an environment of compramise reminds me of what I like to term the 'Bush Fallacy'

Oh dear. Am I supposed to curl up and wither because of that? Well here are a few other people that "sounds like". How about Malcolm X? "Extremism in pursuit of justice is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of good is no virtue". Edmund Burke? "All that is necessary for Evil to triumph..."? The aforementioned Klemperer? Churchill?

And so on.

Misplaced appeals to horrifying and highly emotive events from history that do not strictly bear any relevance to the issue in question do not a persuasive argument make. They are also needlessly offensive.

Gregory, I take your point about the overuse of the Nazi analogies - which is why I included similar apologia for Communism in my brief. But we are talking about Ruttee's apologetics for a genocidal doctrine here, and there are parallels that you can't get away from. Period.

Since we're on the subject of those parallels, another reason why some in Europe are less than happy with the large scale Muslim immigration is that the product of that immigration starts attacking kosher butchers and synagogues in Paris, or threatening a new Holocaust in London, or chanting "Hamas, Hamas/send the Jews/To the gas" in Amsterdam. Sorry, but if you can't see the parallel there, you never will.

Look, Gregory, you're obviously a reasonable man, but most of these nitwits I'm arguing with are anything but. You could direct your complaints about "offensiveness" to them, with equal merit.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hooper may have said that, but since you've established yourself as a racist liar, Stuart, you're going to have to provide quotes and sources.

Regardless, it would be his legal right to desire and advocate that by political means. And paranoia about a subset of Muslims would not justify the closing of borders to immigrants from non-Western countries, as Wilders and hznfrst propose.

We actually have a Christian theocracy party which has been elected to state-level office. That fact ought to be of greater concern to you than the alleged opinions of Hooper, who is not an elected politician.

Catholic bishops try to control US politics all the time. Raymond Burke says Ted Kennedy should not have received a Catholic funeral, and preached that John Kerry should have been denied communion because of his support for women's reproductive rights. This is an overt attempt to impose Vatican law upon the United States.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Stuart,

Oh, very nice. I hadn't spotted that one. Apparently it takes two of us to catch all of strange's foolishness.

Well done!

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

Homophobe Cimourdain,

So, being anti-Islamic because of the fourteen centuries of aggression and barbarism, the hundred million minimum who support the Jihad (it may well be two or three times that number if not more still), the relentless campaigns of genocide and aggression - being anti-Islamic because of that is, of course, racism. According to strange. And his level of thought.

You are of course lying again.

"Again, in the context of Danish politics, anti-Islam is almost always a front for white nationalism. Certainly it could be possible for a responsible journalist or cartoonist to make a clear distinction, but unless such a careful effort is made, then the act does nothing but support racism.

That doesn't mean you can never criticize Islam without being racist. Look, I'll do it right now: the Koran is false. Woooo!

It does mean that when you live in a racist country where people throw insults about Arabs and camels, you have to be careful to explain to those racists that their racism is unacceptable while you criticize Islam, or else they will perceive you as being on their side as a fellow racist."

Since this has been explained multiple times for you, Cimourdain, why do you persist in presenting your straw man instead?

Is it because you are not just anti-Islam, but also a racist who wants to hide your racism by pretending that your critics make no distinction between the two?

If you can convince others that your critics mistakenly portray all anti-Islamic statements as racist, then you can go on being a racist under a convenient cover of being merely anti-Islam.

That would be an apparently effective strategy for a racist to adopt. Are you that clever? I am also willing to accept the answer that you are just a dumbfuck who can't read.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that writing a fatwa may be more than just "morally objectionable" (although it certainly is that). For example, hiring a hitman to kill someone who has offended you is not "protected speech" just because the contract is "in writing".

Bryan, it largely depends on whether the fatwa names names. That's why I gave the example of "those who insult the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) should be put to death." That is a general enough statement that it would constitute protected speech, even though it is obviously calling for murder.

There is also an issue regarding temporal and physical proximity of violence to a speech act. White supremacists have been prosecuted for giving speeches saying "go kill some [black people]" when audience members attacked black people later that night. I vaguely recall that some of these prosecutions were successful, but I'm not certain about that. But the same words, written down and distributed fairly passively, would be much less likely to result in a successful prosecution.

And of course there are end-runs that bypass the matter of speech entirely.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 03 Jan 2010 #permalink

So let me get this right: you think it's acceptable to whinge about not knowing every nuance of the political slant of an obscure Danish newspaper, yet you proudly trumpet your ignorance of the events causing the murder of over two million people?

An obviously flawed comparison, Cimourdain, typical of your stupidity.

"Don't talk shit about Danish issues that you don't understand,"

is consistent with "I won't talk shit about Sudanese issues I don't understand."

It's acceptable for non-Danish people to be ignorant of the racism in Danish culture. It is not acceptable for people so ignorant to then go ahead and obliviously praise Danish racism. That is intellectually irresponsible.

It's also acceptable for non-Sudanese people to be ignorant of the causes of violence in Sudan. And it is acceptable for people so ignorant to refrain from recommending ignorant solutions to that violence. That is intellectually responsible.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

A. Noyd,

Why? Because we're not the intended audience and don't have to pretend we are. The cartoon itself has to be evaluated separately because the intentions of the artist don't come spelled out and attached to the drawing. Most people couldn't know the context it was created in, and, as was seen, most Muslims were offended on religious grounds rather than political ones.

This is fairly irrelevant. Yes, someone ignorant of the context may not understand what the cartoon means. Fine.

But that fact has very little to do with this discussion. As it is, the context has now been spelled out for everyone participating in this thread. And PZ is usually a pretty politically astute guy; it's reasonable to expect him to be aware of it by the time he publishes a blog post.

It doesn't matter what offends Muslims religiously. It does matter when racists, or the works of racists, are promoted uncritically.

Well, we could try drawing that line at 'Not stereotyping over a billion people.'

Who'll be the judge for whether cartoons like this really do that? And who enforces the line? You're being absurd. We're better off allowing the stereotyping and combating it with criticism rather than trying to avoid it, especially when it's this subjective.

Now you are being dishonest. You know that Rutee was not advocating an abridgment of free speech; that has been made clear multiple times now, and you deliberately chose to ignore it. Rutee was even specifically responding to your questions about individuals voluntarily drawing a line for their own behavior. Yet you deceitfully inserted your preferred interpretation of government censorship so as to have a straw man to attack.

Very disappointing.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

The Judge made a decision based what constitutes *extreme* in Sharia cuz the married couple was Muslim, not Xtian.

No shit, Stuart. How many times do I have to tell you this?

You can keep reinterpreting her statement all you want.

I haven't interpreted anything. I've told you what the judge said and what the German law is, you liar.

It has nothing to do with weakness in German law, it has to do with the Judge deciding that the law should be different for Muslims.

So the German law is not weak, according to Stuart. You therefore assent to the law as it stands. And as it stands, a spouse has to ask for a judge's permission to divorce, and the judge is allowed a subjective interpretation of whether there is "extreme brutality" involved. Individuals are not permitted to simply decide for themselves that they want a divorce and be done with it.

Spouses who are not being physically abused have to put up with the state paternalism of a "one year period of reflection." No matter emotional abuse. No matter personal hatred. No matter irreconcilable differences. No weakness in such law according to Stuart, but I guess that paternalistic famblyvalues bullshit comes with the territory of being a right-wing nut.

You used this case as an attack upon leftists, but you failed to note from your own source that the leftist Social Democratic Party said "[this ruling] is more serious than inflammatory preaching by a radical Imam. According to the rule of law, one has one law applicable to everyone."

So it doesn't work as the criticism of leftists that you wanted it to be. And a lone judge who was removed from the case doesn't work as the example of "so many multiculturalists" that you wanted it to be. And it turns out it doesn't work as the indictment of Islam or Sharia that you wanted it to be:

Not much has been made of the utter casualness with which this judge could make gross generalizations about Moroccans, the Quran and, implicitly, Islamic law. Apparently, she could make these factual conclusions without the assistance of any experts, whether anthropologists with some knowledge of Moroccan society or scholars of Islamic law, a large number of which reside in Germany. Decisions such as this in Germany confirm, sadly, the continuing relevance of [Edward Said]’s basic hypothesis: Power relations are constitutive of representation, and that Westerners – by virtue of their superior power – are able to “represent” the Other – in this case the Islamic/Arab other – and render it silent, unable to speak for itself.

The learned judge in this case – had she consulted any expert in Maliki law, the school of Islamic law that forms the basis of Moroccan family law – would have learned that according to Maliki doctrine going back to at least the 8th century of the common era, abuse constitutes grounds for a judicial divorce. Indeed, Maliki jurists went one step further and even recognized the right of the abused wife in this case to recover for her injuries from her abusive spouse.

This does not mean that Moroccan society has been successful in the aspirations set out in its legal system regarding spousal abuse. I am not aware of any jurisdiction in the world that has. Nevertheless, the failure of Moroccans to live up to their aspirations does not justify a judge indulging an assumption that spouse abuse is a Moroccan norm.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

No wonder you approve of this.

Racist Stuart, you suggest I approve of the judge's ruling?

Even after I specifically said "That's a problem with the German law in its own right. ... It's a stupid law, and it was a stupid ruling too."

Why did you think you could get away with that lie, you deceitful toad? My disapproval of the ruling was already made explicit for you. So why did you lie about it? You must think the readers are as stupid as yourself.

You prattle above that if Sharia was made legal it could be regulated and made beneficial. Hell, why stop there? Why not incorporate Halacha or any other body of religious based law into the *law*?

"Why not, why not" are legitimate questions. Gregory had the decency to take up a thoughtful discussion about them. You're still too stupid for words. After I already said "I don't even know what the lesser evil would be, because only stupid people like you ever bring Sharia up," you continue to lie and lie again by claiming that I'm necessarily and unequivocally pro-Sharia.

My major concern here regards violence against women. If integrating Sharia mediation with the secular judiciary will attract more participation by Western Muslims in the secular legal system, and if this brings more violence against women to the attention of the secular legal system, then I may be in favor of that. And I want to weigh other downsides against that potential benefit, to understand the net outcome. These are all empirical questions, and I don't have the answers for them yet, which is why I favor discussion. You, Stuart, reflexively reject the possibility of reducing violence against women; the very mention of Islam is too high a price to pay for even a discussion of women's lives potentially saved.

You advocate the destruction of secular liberalism. The Govt. now has to regulate religion.

The United Kingdom has only a pretense of secular liberalism to destroy. The fucking Church is the State. I advocate disestablishment, but failing that, outreach to Britons of other faiths may be better than nothing.

I advocate no such thing for the United States. An integration of Sharia mediation would be a violation of the Establishment Clause. And I like it that way. Why are you so stupid, Stuart?

Are you kidding me? Just how effective do you imagine that will be? The Govt will determine which parts of Sharia are *beneficial* and which are not?

I don't know how effective it might be. I hope Gregory will offer his opinion. I'm not interested in yours.

This is very simple there is one law for everyone. Any Shria dictates that are enforced which violate the law shall be prosecuted.

See, now you're being dishonest again. I already said "If something is a criminal offense for non-Muslims, it would still be a criminal offense for Muslims. There is no proposal for a two-track criminal justice system."

Why do you keep lying, Stuart? Why are you incapable of addressing what people actually say? Why do you keep trying to put words in people's mouths? Why do you only want to address straw men? And why are you so stupid?

LAstly you have been pawned on your claims that the newspaper is *white nationalist* considering your left of Karl Marx, probably the NYT also qualifies.

(Pawnshop?) Someone asserted that it was not a white nationalist newspaper. I gave a link demonstrating the fact that the newspaper uncritically promotes a white nationalist politician. The bulk of the evidence is on my side.

No, I would not characterize the modern New York Times as a white nationalist paper. I have my doubts about the New York Post.

Rosa Luxemburg and Emma Goldman were to the left of Karl Marx; it's not an insult.

Frankly I don't believe a damn thing you say because everything is filtered through the prism of your own far left ideology.

What's to believe? I've given very little opinion here, and I think I've cited all my facts. Let me know what you're having trouble understanding. The only thing I see that's not obviously established fact is my commentary at #192, and I'd be willing to discuss that in detail with citations if you would demonstrate a functional cortex worth the effort.

In the mean time, drop the phony outrage.

You suck at it.

I assume this is in regard to my complaint about your racist comment? I'm not really outraged about it, and I don't think I've claimed to be. I see so much racism on a daily basis that my emotional response has been rather dulled to it, I'm sorry to say.

Nevertheless, while I'm not seething angry about your racist comment, I am disappointed by it, and further so by your expressed indifference to your own racist behavior. That is a damn shame, and I'm sorry for your family that you bring such disgrace upon them. I'm sure they tried to raise you better.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

The United Kingdom has only a pretense of secular liberalism to destroy. The fucking Church is the State.

I don't think that's quite fair. The "established" status of the Church of England is a historical anachronism of which the average Briton is only vaguely aware. In terms of culture and day-to-day political life, the UK is far more secular than most regions of the US. Church attendance rates are low, and overt religiosity tends to be kept out of politics.

In practice, the Established Church has very little role in our constitutional structure. It is still true that the Queen is required (by the Act of Settlement 1701) to be in communion with the Church of England, and the heir to the throne is forbidden to marry a Catholic. However, there is no religious test for other public offices (and bear in mind that the Queen wields no day-to-day political power). There are also 26 Anglican bishops who sit in the House of Lords (though this is very likely to be eliminated in the near future), and the Prime Minister has a role in the appointment of Anglican bishops (though this is more-or-less nominal, as the names are recommended by a commission). Apart from that, the Anglican Church has no special political influence.

Strange Gods writes:

You are terminally stupid, so I don't expect you to understand this, but this will be for the benefit of the reader. When anti-Catholicism was rampant in the United States a hundred years ago, pushed by the Ku Klux Klan in response to immigration, it was racism. When anti-Catholicism comes up in a critique of the established US Catholic hierarchy's response to child abuse, it's usually not racism. And when it's used as a scare tactic concerning the religiosity of Latin Americans, it is racism.
See the pattern?

This illustrates one of the main tools used by far left moonbats..

Pay attention for it...

The tool of *invidious comparison*

The KKK was worried that Catholics being *Papists* would attempt to make Catholic Dogma law of the and and elect the Pope President. However no Catholic of any stature has ever said they wanted such a thing, nor has any Pope ever expressed an interest in becoming a US President.

That was and still is stupid...

I...

What?!

OK, it's still early in the day for me and I'm not at my sharpest, but WTF? As a way of explaining how opposition to Islam isn't necessarily racist but that under discussion here is, strange gods used comparative cases to illustrate the difference between a racist, anti-immigrant anti-Catholicism (that pushed by the KKK a century ago) and other forms of anti-Catholicism that are not racist.

Stuart's response was to counter this not with showing how his or the paper's anti-Islamic views are different from the KKK's and more like the contemporary response to the Catholic Church's crimes, but to claim...that the KKK wasn't racist? That their concern was merely about a (Catholic) theocracy? And that this was "stupid" because no Catholics - those of any "stature" - have been interested in theocracy?

***

The latest from Concordat Watch, interesting in that it deals with domestic violence:

http://www.concordatwatch.org/

Cimourdain @ 253;

... these "xenophobes" are just as worried about native converts to Islam, but are unworried about large scale immigration of Hindus, or Sikhs, or Christians, or Jews, or Buddhists, or Atheists....

Odd isn't it? It's almost as though there is something specifically dangerous about Islam.

It could be argued that the very idea that an entire sector of society can be identified as being 'specifically dangerous' is in itself a component of a common tactic of Far Right parties.

First you pick a religious, ethinic or otherwise easily distinguished group of people. Preferably this group should have pre-existing problems with a fringe movement of militants, the nastier the better. You then proceed to amplify the actual level of objective threat and, rather than acknowledge that the threat comes from the hardline elements, instead seek to claim that it is the community in its entirety that presents a danger.

The next step is to propogate the idea that the 'milksop' moderate political parties lack the backbone to deal with this (largely manufactured) threat. That only the 'strong' leadership of the radical rightwing is conceivably capable of stemming the tide. Only they will stand up for those 'fundamental, indigenous values' that the accomodating moderates are all to willing to sell out for thirty peices of (figurative) silver.

If this construct proves successful, then the more you can do to promote the idea that your target community consists of ogre-like subhumans, the greater the level of support you can generate amongst the credulous fearful. It is the definition of the politics of fear, and it works disturbingly well.

If I might risk straying into demi-Godwin territory myself, it could readily be argued that the repugnant, anti-semitic policies of the Nazis followed this same pattern. The Nazis sought a scapegoat community upon whom they could blame all the ills of post-World War 1 Germany, from the Weimar Republic to the (in the eyes of the Junkers and the German military) humiliating arms limitations and the crippling economic collapse.

At the time, Europe had a strong vein of anti-semitism running through its very core, and so the Jewish people were an obvious target. They tended to be involved in financial businesses, and some of them were comparatively wealthy. This factor, taken at time of economic collapse, bred jealousy and suspicions of some kind of (frankly ludicrous) conspiracy to orchestrate the straightened circumstances of the era for the benefit of Jewish 'Usurers'. The Nazi's preyed on these misplaced paranoias to secure their support base and aid their rise to power.

It can be debated to what degree the anti-semitic policies of the Nazi regime were motivated by a twisted, ideologically driven hatred rather than a cynical (indeed, monstrously evil) application of ingroup/outgroup psychology to politics.

The point I am trying to make, is that we must be careful to maintain the distinction between perceived threat and objective threat. Just because people have rightly identified a danger posed by militant Islam, does not mean that all their more ephemeral fears of mainstream Islam are automatically valid. Few things erode sound judgement faster than a surfiet of manufactured fear (except perhaps beautiful women. Or is that just me? - Its just me, isn't it? I am indeed a love-lorn fool.)

Yes, it's the oddest thing, isn't it? This "Far Right Xenophobia" is always directed at Islam, which is an "easy target", despite the fact that criticizing Islam publically means living in protection for the rest of your life.

I think you are misinterpreting what I mean by 'easy target'. I do not mean that criticising or demonising Islam is without real risk. As has been demonstrated in the Westergaard case, the danger is real. However, the very excessive and indefensible nature of the reaction of extremists is so abhorant to most people that it becomes that much easier to push the argument that; 'You just need to look at how crazy these fundamentalists are! This kind of mania doesn't just happen overnight. These monsters are only the most visible symptom. The malaise resides in the heart of mainstream Islam itself. It is a canker on our society that must be excised by any means necessary.' In this sense, it is the very extremism of the hardliners that makes Islam in general an easy target for those who seek to make political capital out of religious hatred.

I defy you to draw any essential difference between "extreme Islam" and "Islam". Ibn Warraq put it beautifully "There are moderate Muslims, but Islam is not moderate". There is no "radical Islam". There is no "political Islam", "extreme Islam", "Islamofascism", or any of the other tripe. There is only Islam, period.

I would say that the esemtial difference lies in the fact that militants like to put forward their ideolgy through the medium of suicide bombings, beheadings and general mayhem and murder. Moderates, on the other hand, do not seek to compel conversion through violence and will have no truck with terrorists. I would go so far as to submit that, all semantics aside, this is the distinction that truly matters.

Oh dear. Am I supposed to curl up and wither because of that? Well here are a few other people that "sounds like". How about Malcolm X? "Extremism in pursuit of justice is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of good is no virtue". Edmund Burke? "All that is necessary for Evil to triumph..."? The aforementioned Klemperer? Churchill?

I do not feel that curling up or withering is required. I was not trying to liken you to the (in my opinion) somewhat flawed former President Bush except in so far as to point out that it is often difficult to have any kind of productive dialogue if you choose to view the world through the prism of a binary position of good versus evil with no middle ground. It is possible for a person to earnestly disagree with you without automatically falling into the camp of the 'other side'.

The essense of all productive dialagoue is at least the preparedness to consider the possibility of reasonable compramise. On this world we are all humans, not angels and demons. Concepts of absolute good and evil can come accross as a little simplistic when employed to discribe real people or groups. While I personally view Al Qaeda as 90% proof evil, that does not mean that the concerns of the broader Islamic community can be thrown into the same pot.

Far be it from me to disagree with Malcom X, but I would contend that extremism is never productive in the pursuit of anything. Hold to your values by all means, but if the day comes when you cannot reassess what you believe in the light of the avialable facts, then you are in deep trouble indeed. 'Justice' (especially in the context of 'Truth, Justice and the American Way'), 'democracy' and 'freedom' can all also be used as justifications for extreme politics and the oppression of minorities identified as not being sufficiently committed to the social norms of the society to which they belong.

Moderation in pursuit of good may not be 'sexy', but it is often necessary. If you are too stiff necked to accept any compramise, then you often achieve nothing at all. That is, after all, the reason why such a thing as diplomacy exists. Sometimes you have to talk to nasty people to acheive a worthy end. The alternative would be what? Don't engage with people you don't like until the situation deteriorates to the point of open warfare? I do not think that more ill advised conflicts will help the global situation.

Also, I believe that the aformentioned Edmund Burke quote in its entirety is "All that is necessary for Evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." I do not think anyone here is advocating inaction in the face of a manifest extremist threat. Where we disagree is on the degree of the threat and its nature, specifically its true point of origin. Is it rooted in an extreme fringe or in mainstream Islam? If I may respond with a counter quote from Nietsche; "He who would fight monsters should beware, lest he himself become a monster."

I do not say this in any patronising way. I myself have fallen foul of the 'Bush Fallacy', especially in the immediate wake of repugnant terrorist outrages. It sometimes takes me a while to stop and think carefully of the full implications of that knee-jerk initial reaction. It is easy and even gratifying to find a scapegoat ready to hand after such horror, but it is a temptation I feel we must resist lest we end up no better than the fanatics we oppose.

Gregory, I take your point about the overuse of the Nazi analogies - which is why I included similar apologia for Communism in my brief. But we are talking about Ruttee's apologetics for a genocidal doctrine here, and there are parallels that you can't get away from. Period.

I do not think that Rutee was engaging in providing apologetics for the Sudenese genocides. I think she was simply trying to point out that, however repugnant these actions were, they should not be seen as a different class of offence purely because of the avowed religion of the perpetrators. I do not for one second believe that she endorses genocide or the violent supression of free speech.

Since we're on the subject of those parallels, another reason why some in Europe are less than happy with the large scale Muslim immigration is that the product of that immigration starts attacking kosher butchers and synagogues in Paris, or threatening a new Holocaust in London, or chanting "Hamas, Hamas/send the Jews/To the gas" in Amsterdam. Sorry, but if you can't see the parallel there, you never will.

While I most certainly can see the parallels between the nastier extremes of Islamic militancy and Nazism, I also see the parallel between mainstream Islam and the German people of that era. Just as not all Germans were responsible for the horrors of Nazism, not all Muslims are responsible for the horrors of Islamic extremism. This parallel is flawed in its own right, however, because Nazism was a State government that initially acheived its first taste of power democratically. Islamic extremism is a decentralised, global phenomenon that has no interest in securing any kind of democratic mandate. The extremists can and do act largely independently of the wishes of the bulk of the world's global Muslim community.

Look, Gregory, you're obviously a reasonable man...

Thak you. I like to think so.

...but most of these nitwits I'm arguing with are anything but. You could direct your complaints about "offensiveness" to them, with equal merit.

While some of my fellow contributors may have a tendency to be somewhat more direct in their language then I myself would choose to be, I am less concerned with the use of expletives and epithets impugning anothers intelligence, then I am with accusing somebody of being the equivilent of a Nazi apologist.

From my perspective, the latter is an order of magnitude more wounding to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the abominable atrocities committed by that group. For the record, I prefer expletive and insult-free debate. However, I would never presume to try to impose my preference upon others. It is their perogative to post how so ever they chose that is within the aegis of the rules for this site. This perogative, of course, also extends to yourself as well.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

I am 50/50 on blockquoting at the moment. My apologies for that. I will try harder in future.

Strange Gods @ 262

I don't know how effective it might be. I hope Gregory will offer his opinion.

Since I have been so nicely invited, I think that the Government regulation of which parts of Sharia might be considered beneficial, while doubtless highly problematic, would be of vital importance in any attempt to integrate elements of Sharia into UK law.

I think it might be do-able, but only if you could identify one, universally acceptable interpretation of Sharia for all the different forms of Islam in the UK. We do not want Intra-community tension between Shia and Sunni groups over this issue. You would also have to persuade groups like the Muslim Council of Britain that Sharia may be partitioned in this way. Assuming the assent of Muslim community leaders, it would also be important to establish from the off that these Sharia principles are being permitted to operate under the aegis of UK secular law, but in no way have parity of legal force with that law.

The only force Sharia would have in UK legislation would flow from the sovereign authority of the State as expressed through the democratically elected Parliament, not under any circumstances could any legal authority be derived from Allah. Or the Sugar Plum Fairy, for that matter. In the event of conflict, UK secular law always triumphs. Sharia can never be used to abridge the rights of any citizen for any reason. No questions, no argument. This last provision would likely be a sticking point, but if it is not accepted it would be a deal breaker.

There would also have to be provision to prevent what I hope I will not offend anyone by terming 'Sharia creep'. The integration of some elements of Sharia into UK law could never be used as a means of trying to import further elements of Sharia without consulting Parliament. Just because a limited adoption of Sharia had occurred, this could not be allowed to be viewed as a govenment endorsement of Sharia as a whole.

Even with all these measures, however, I think that Strange Gods has a better idea. Simply disestablish the Anglican Church and keep religion, and religious 'law', out of the UK legal system altogether. This is a neater and more elegant solution that avoids the pitfalls of allowing faith to infiltrate politics. It also pre-empts any accusation of the favouring of one faith over any other.

While disestablishment might not do anything to help the plight of Muslim women. I am not sure that adopting elements of Sharia would help either. The problem is not the law itself, it is the religious and social attitudes toward the putative 'proper place' of women in society within certain arms of Islam. So long as these tropes endure, reporting abuse will continue to be a rarity, even under a system that is sensitive to Sharia principles. It is the attitudes themsleves that must change, and I fear there is no quick or easy route that that goal.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

While disestablishment might not do anything to help the plight of Muslim women. I am not sure that adopting elements of Sharia would help either.

I haven't been following this closely.
But how on earth can you "be not sure" about whether adopting sharia law would help the plight of muslim women ? Please tell me this some british english way of saying "rubbish".

Sharia law is awesome if you are a heterosexual male without any physical disabilities, in every other situation it is most definetely not.
Oh dont tell me, there's been a racism debate right?
Intolerant and racist to tell muslims in the UK to stick to the law of the country they live in?
This whole debate makes me sick, we are meant to be living in a society with certain virtues and morals, so we should not be afraid to say to the muslim next door, if you want to rape your wife every 4 days or beat up that gay person, get fucked, and welcome to our justice system.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Gregory,

Will wonders never cease. A debate worth having here. That being so, I'll take this in reverse order.

I am with accusing somebody of being the equivilent of a Nazi apologist.

That may be because my charge is accurate, whereas strange's hysterical screeches of "racist!racist!" don't. Look, if I wanted to lower myself to their level, which would take a while, relativity-imposed limits on speed being what they are, I'd say that Harpy's line "that's just the way they are in Africa" is basically saying "oh, the wogs can't be civilized, why try". I could play that card, but I don't.

However, my actual charge is accurate. The murder of two million Sudanese Christians and Animists is an absolutely textbook case of Jihad, conforming to the entire corpus of classical writings on this subject. To try and explain that away is exactly on a par with Nazi and Communist apologia. It's unconscionable.

I'm African born-and-bred, and one thing you learn is the pig-ignorance of so many who pseudointellectuals. This matters, and if you want to see why it does, it's encapsulated in one word: "Rwanda".

The extremists can and do act largely independently of the wishes of the bulk of the world's global Muslim community.

That, unfortunately, is a debatable point. Thirty-six percent of Muslims in Britain believe murder for apostasy is legitimate. Do you care to imagine what those percentages are like elsewhere?

Yet there is a much more basic way of phrasing this: Yes, not all Muslims support the Jihad. There are those Muslims that support the Jihad and those who do nothing to stop it. Those are pretty much the major divisions.

The reason that the others don't do anything to stop it is simple: theologically, they don't have a leg to stand on. There is no way to make an Islamic case that respects all peoples, embraces freedom of the individual, freedom of thought, freedom of conscience - it just can't be done. It's been tried, time and again throughout the centuries, and it does not work.

Just as not all Germans were responsible for the horrors of Nazism

That's a false parallel. To be German was to have been born into a specific nation. It was entirely possible to be German and fiercely anti-Nazi (witness Heinrich Boell). But to be Muslim is to believe in specific ideological tenets.

Look, there were people who joined the Nazi party who were not vicious monsters, simply fed up with the mess Germany was in (again, read Klemperer on the subject). There were plenty of people who joined the Communist movements who were not abjectly wicked. But that doesn't change, one iota, the nature of those movements.

It's worth noting at this point that there is no Muslim majority nation where Infidels live free from harrassment or fear. None.

I do not for one second believe that she endorses genocide

I never said she did. I said she was trying to make excuses for Islam by denying that is what caused it. That is an excuse for a genocide-doctrine, plain and simple.

I would say that the esemtial difference lies in the fact that militants like to put forward their ideolgy through the medium of suicide bombings, beheadings and general mayhem and murder. Moderates, on the other hand, do not seek to compel conversion through violence and will have no truck with terrorists. I would go so far as to submit that, all semantics aside, this is the distinction that truly matters.

You're making, I'm afraid, a distinction which isn't really there. You see Jihad does not necessarily mean qital, combat, but also advances by hijra, immigration, and Da'wa, conversion. The likes of Ibrahim Hooper who want to reduce the US to a Shariah state are every bit as much Jihadists as Osama bin Laden.

Far be it from me to disagree with Malcom X, but I would contend that extremism is never productive in the pursuit of anything

I'm sorry, that's just wrong. I've read the autobiographies of Nelson Mandela and Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the great writings of the Enlightenment - none of these were moderates. They were extremists. And that is why they succeeded.

"He who would fight monsters should beware, lest he himself become a monster."

A fair point, but I submit what is most likely to cause the growth of homegrown monsters are attitudes like those of strange & Harpy. Look at the resurgence of neo-fascist movements in Europe. If these problems aren't discussed by respectable politicians, unrespectable ones will fill their places. I think this also addresses your other point about hardliners. I'm a hardliner myself, as are many of my friends, who are also immigrants. People from Africa and the Indian subcontinent are often far more aware of what Islam is than pampered Europeans.

If you want a concrete example of how bad this mess has gotten, consider the following detail: the BNP have recruited their first Sikh, immigrant councillor. Now think about that for a few seconds.

Why did this guy join up? Simple: he saw what the Muslims did to him and his people during the partition of the subcontinent.

This is not a problem that is going to go away just because of Harpy stamping her foot.

The point I am trying to make, is that we must be careful to maintain the distinction between perceived threat and objective threat. Just because people have rightly identified a danger posed by militant Islam, does not mean that all their more ephemeral fears of mainstream Islam are automatically valid.

Could you provide an example of an ephemeral fear of mainstream Islam? Here's my concern: the larger mass of less-observant Muslims are the cover in which the True Believers move. There is no sure way of telling the difference between a much sought after "moderate" and a True Believer.

Take that aforementioned statistic about 36% of British Muslims wanting death for apostasy. That means, statistically speaking, if you've been in Britain you have interacted with people whose views are every bit as anti-freedom, anti-liberty as the Nazis were. And not just small numbers of them.

That's my concern. Basically, where I draw the line is whether or not a given Muslim supports the Shariah. If they do, they are an enemy, period. The Shariah is a truly hideous system of law.

It could be argued that the very idea that an entire sector of society can be identified as being 'specifically dangerous' is in itself a component of a common tactic of Far Right parties.

Oh come on. By that standard, just about everyone is "far right". Take, say, Bill Maher - ever heard him talk about Republicans? I guess that makes him a far right person.

The big difference between anti-Jewish paranoia and Islamophobia is the following: the concerns about Islam are real. The most damning evidence against Islam are those precious eyewitness testimonies of those who have seen its workings and its predations close up. Start with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Brigitte Gabriel, and Ibn Warraq.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Hey Guys. If anybody is still following this, I just wantet to tell you that the latest news over here in Denmark is that the insane assailant is now saying that "he didn't want to actually KILL the cartoonist"... Well, why the axe then!?
But then again, that might explain why he left the niece alone.

strange gods before me (#260)

It doesn't matter what offends Muslims religiously. It does matter when racists, or the works of racists, are promoted uncritically.

Whether or not you can make an argument for Westergaard's work having been promoted here, uncritically or no, that has nothing to do with the point I was making about having to evaluate the contents of the cartoon itself separately when making statements only about those contents. I've quoted the statement I'm quibbling over more than once, so look upthread if you're confused.

Yet you deceitfully inserted your preferred interpretation of government censorship so as to have a straw man to attack.

The hell I have. You're the one making a strawman of my argument if you think that. Point to where I said anything about the government. I know Rutee's been talking about voluntary line drawing, but she (?) seems to want it taken beyond just her own behavior. Who, in this communal voluntary system, decides that cartoons like Westergaard's, regardless of the intent of the artist, really do stereotype a billion people? Who gets final say? She's seeing something in it that's just not there for other people. You, yourself, said this: "It would be entirely appropriate if drawn and published in a Muslim nation." So obviously, even under a voluntary system, some sort of judgment is called for.

I'm just asking for Rutee to make a case for her statement about the contents of the cartoon being inappropriate or retract the statement. Her other arguments about the political reasons for its publication and how we shouldn't support racially motivated hatred, etc. are fine. On the basis of those, I wouldn't display Westergaard's work without at least looking up what she said about him and sticking on a disclaimer about the man's political beliefs.

Rorschach @ 267;

I haven't been following this closely.
But how on earth can you "be not sure" about whether adopting sharia law would help the plight of muslim women ? Please tell me this some british english way of saying "rubbish".

The discussion Strange Gods and I were having was to do with the idea put foward by Strange Gods that it might be better to perform some limited integration of a few of the less pernicious elements of Sharia into the UK system as a set of rules that operate under the aegis of UK secular law, so that Sharia does not become an underground practice that is wholly outside State control.

Strange gods also put forward the possibility that if some limited presence of suitably de-fanged Sharia was present in the UK legal system then the Islamic community would perhaps be more prepared to report such thingsd as spousal abuse to the police, thereby improving the lot of Muslim women.

Strange Gods later solicited my opinion on whether or not a system of government assessment of which parts of Sharia might be considered beneficial in this context would be effective. The post you read was an answer to that enquiry. Upthread I had already expressed my belief that any integration of Sharia into UK secular would be highly problematic for a variety of constitutional and legal reasons, and in the post you read I advocated disestablishment of the Anglican Church and the removal of all religion from UK politics as the preferable option.

Just to make myself clear. While I think that it might be legally possible to bring some elements of Sharia into UK law, I do not think that any form of Sharia, even one reshaped to be compatible with the tenets of UK secular law, would benefit Muslim women, the Islamic community of the UK, or Britain in general.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

"What the author or artist is trying to say might mean something particular, sure. What the work of art means to someone else is inherently separate. Certainly, one cannot say the artist means something he didn't if one knows otherwise. But, at the same time, one doesn't need to deny what it evokes in oneself simply because it contradicts the artist's intentions."

This is true, yes, but it doesn't establish any value for the 'art' in question.

"Yes, that is part of the solipsism I'm talking about. You're irritatingly unaware of your biases, but seem not to hesitate to hold everyone else to them."
I can't complain you don't know my history. I agreed with everyone else here that the poor Danes were fighting for Free Speech; Until I met a Dane and was exposed to their politics, and the ridiculous level of racism that plagues their political environment. Even thinking that they were there for freedom of speech, I STILL saw this cartoon the exact same way. I just didn't know it was specifically a jab at immigrants through the proxy of religion.

"It's a caricature. It's supposed to be simple and generalized. But the interpretation doesn't have to be "this face symbolizes all of Islam." Also, if Djn in #23 is to be believed, there could be a large share of nuance intended in the cartoon, so you're perhaps not giving enough credit to Westergaard."

I read Djn's post. I don't see how you can apply "An orange in the turban" to say that the FAnatics are lucky when you're depicting /Mohammed/ as the one with an orange falling?

And okay, maybe that doesn't have to be the interpretation. But how did you

And we've been over this; Westergaard's politics are established. Am I to believe the cartoon to be the balanced exception.

"Well, that's a limitation you'll have to live with, I guess. Your lack of imagination and excessive literalism don't speak for me, though. And I'm not sure what's wrong with saying "Islam is fundamentally violent" when it's true. Mind you, that's a different message than "Muslims are fundamentally violent," which isn't true. If you believe one must mean the latter when claiming the former, that's another of your own ridiculous biases."
Look, if you're going to claim an alternate interpretation, put up or shut up. I'm not expecting a 500 word essay, but you better explain the footpath you're taking between point A and point B, and you damn well better explain why it would be as direct as the cannon shot between them that I described. I gave you A and a reason for B outside of the Biases you keep claiming about me.

"The analogous question would be, do we reject what is meant by the Religious Right in using those terms or do we also teach ourselves to find the terms themselves abhorrent?"
Answering a question with a question?

If you want to make it really analogous, without having explained how you actually arrived at your alternate interpretations that you keep touting, it's a bit more like why we should consider "Sand Nigger" an appropriate term to describe the widely varied ethnicities that frequently (but not always) subscribe to Islam. If you can tell me how you got to your appropriate interpretations, then I'll be satisfied that there at least might have been a way to release the cartoon without coming off as stupid (You could release it without being RACIST, of course, but the conflation I see is still /stupid/)
(Without it ever actually HAVING been, thanks to the artist's INTENDED message)

"Oh, and that's so because you say, eh? What's the essential difference between political cartoons and something like Picasso's Guernica, then? Quite obviously, all of us here saying we didn't get the message Westergaard intended should be evidence that political cartoons aren't such simple vehicles, nor are they immune to interpretation."
Guernica was hard to make, rather then what would be a few hour exercise producing a simplistic caricature. If political cartoons weren't so long on caricature and blunt force trauma, I could see your argument that they're art. There's always technical skill to praise, after all.

And I don't know if you can claim "All of us" for at best, two people's claims. Now, explain how you actually GOT Your interpretation; It's the least you can do when you're insisting that mine is stupid and bias-derived (To say the very least, incorrect on the latter point)

"Well, that's a limitation you'll have to live with, I guess. Your lack of imagination and excessive literalism don't speak for me, though. And I'm not sure what's wrong with saying "Islam is fundamentally violent" when it's true."
...How can you possibly claim it's true when most muslims don't approve of violence? Notwithstanding that Truth doesn't lead to appropriateness; See below.

"Explain why we should find the image itself so very inappropriate. Or would you like to change your statement to say the image offends you, personally, and leave it at that?"
Are you a sociopath? You don't see how an offensive statement can be seen as inappropriate by more then just me? Even if I could say honestly at dinner that has both my stepmother and my mother "My father is sleeping with his secretary", that wouldn't make it an appropriate comment just because it's true. Similarly, I have a friend who was recently told by her stepmother that her father's really good in bed. Whether or not it's true, that doesn't make it appropriate to say to your stepdaughter.

"Whether or not you can make an argument for Westergaard's work having been promoted here, uncritically or no,"
He's lionized in poetry within the first 15 posts. I think we can safely say that he and his work have been promoted uncritically. You should at least admit that.

"I'm just asking for Rutee to make a case for her statement about the contents of the cartoon being inappropriate or retract the statement."
I did. You're not obligated to agree, but don't claim I haven't.

"The latest from Concordat Watch, interesting in that it deals with domestic violence: "
Outside of any related topic, that's one hell of a coincidence.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Oey Vey

Stuart's response was to counter this not with showing how his or the paper's anti-Islamic views are different from the KKK's and more like the contemporary response to the Catholic Church's crimes, but to claim...that the KKK wasn't racist? That their concern was merely about a (Catholic) theocracy? And that this was "stupid" because no Catholics - those of any "stature" - have been interested in theocracy?

Once again we a have a profound display of an inability to read what is written without filtering it through an ideological strainer.

I wasn't even referring to the Cartoons or Paper at this point, just the invidious comparison some idiot made between the KKK's resistance to Catholic immigration and the calls of some Europeans to restrict Islamic immigration.

All I did was point out the obvious, and that just bothers the shit out of leftwing moonbats who hate it when you do that.

And that was while the KKK's concerns about Catholics (and everything else) had absolutely no foundation,

I pointed that in the US, mainstream Muslim groups like CAIR, which have been invited to the White House (because presumably they are mainstream) do call for the US at some point to become a Koranic Theocracy.

Hence complaining that some folks who may be kooky in other regards, have expressed worry that Muslim immigrants may share a view like CAIR's does not in itself detract from the claim, if the claim has foundation.

Furthermore its just not marginal individuals making this claim, they are simply the ones that leftwing moonbats like strange gods will harp on, in an attempt to avoid, or even worse, claim the issue is not legitimate.

Instead of whining or placing my remarks out of context, why not actually deal with them at face value, or was that going to prove to difficult for you?

How can you possibly claim it's true when most muslims don't approve of violence?

...Words fail me. This is what's supposed to pass as analysis these days. This is what we're supposed to respect.

Fourteen hundred years of Jihad aggression, justifyed by the single most comprehensive theological system based on hatred of Infidels - forget all that. "most muslims don't approve of violence" - and therefore Islam is not violent.

This is supposed to pass for thinking these days. What a disgrace.

I can see its attraction, though. No need to do any actual work. No need to read Andrew Bostom on Jihad, or Bat Ye'or on dhimmitude. No need to read Ibn Warraq, or Efraim Karsh, or Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or Andre Servier, or Joseph Schacht, or Robert Spencer, or Wafa Sultan, or Snouck Hurgronje, or K.S. Lal, or Christoph Luxemberg, or Ali Sina... Or, for that matter to read the actual Koran, and familiarise yourself with the essential hadith and Sira that make its understanding possible. Or the tafsir and Shariah.

No. None of that. Just repeat one dubious factoid and that's all one needs to know.

Disgraceful.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

I see Cimourdain's literacy is as strong as his geography.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

[I wish PZ could institute some sort of intelligence and/or reading comprehension minimum to participate on these threads. It would make them much less painful.]

I wasn't even referring to the Cartoons or Paper at this point, just the invidious comparison some idiot made between the KKK's resistance to Catholic immigration and the calls of some Europeans to restrict Islamic immigration.

I was referring to the paper and people like you and Cimourdain, you bigoted peabrain. What was invidious about that comparison?* Is it your contention or is it not that the KKK's push to exclude immigrants from certain countries was based solely on a fear of Catholic theocracy (in competition with that which they were promoting) and lacking racist motivation? Do you seriously believe there to be a danger from immigrants from certain countries of the establishment of Islamic theocracy in Europe or the US?

Also, do you not recognize that the most powerful and effective promoter of theocracy in Europe for centuries and continuing into the present is the Catholic Church? Do you not know the real ways in which the RCC has interfered with legislation in countries in Europe and around the world?

EU lawyers warn: Concordats endanger human rights

Concordats help enforce Canon Law, the Vatican version of Sharia

Under Canon Law wife beating is no ground for divorce — in fact, nothing is. Therefore if you've been married in a Catholic Church, which means under Canon Law, you may find that a concordat has deprived you of your right to a civil divorce. The Polish concordat phrases it with great delicacy (1993, Article 10.2), calling for the state to put in place the enabling legislation which would enforce "concordat marriage”. But the Dominican one (1954, Article 15.2) says explicitly that people married in a Catholic church, and therefore under Canon Law, may never file for a divorce.

Concordat marriage was also the rule under dictators of the past. The 1940 Portuguese one concluded with Salazar prescribed this for all Catholics: anyone wanting a divorce had to leave the church, but at least divorce was legal. However, divorce was impossible under both the Italian concordat with Mussolini (1929, Art. 34) and the Spanish one with Franco, (1953, Art. 23-25). It is still impossible in Malta, and the 1993 Marriage Concordat is meant to keep it that way. Now the Vatican is trying, where it can, to bring back concordat marriage elsewhere.

In mid-December 2009 the Pope issued a decree which could serve to tightened up concordat marriage by eliminated a loophole. This had freed Catholics who had "formally defected" from the Church from its regulations, as well, that is, from Canon Law. “This [meant] that a defecting Catholic could validly be married in a civil ceremony, for example, without a dispensation.” Now, however, that clause has been eliminated: “All Catholics are bound by canonical form in marrying, period.” Including those who consider themselves ex-Catholics. Countries whose marriage laws closely mirror Canon Law will now be under pressure to conform to this decree and prevent even ex-Catholics from ever getting a divorce.

Other concordat clauses enforce Canon Law on the employees of Church-run institutions, even though these are funded by the state. For example, the concordat with Hitler (1933, Article 24) is used to this day to fire teachers in Catholic schools if they remarry after a civil divorce.

Through these intimidated Church employees, concordats can be used to enforce Canon Law on the general public. The Slovak “conscience concordat” would have prevented doctors in Church-run hospitals from performing abortions or nurses from giving out information about family planning, since it gave them the “right” to claim that this went against their religious conscience. And, of course, if they didn't exercise this “right” to impose Canon Law on others, they'd lose their jobs. In a rural area where the only hospital may be Church-run, this can effectively limit access to what are in Slovakia perfectly legal services.

At this point legal experts appointed by the European Union put their foot down. They stated firmly that denying access to such services, Canon Law or no Canon Law, was a violation of international Human Rights.

(This is of course one of many issues, but these assholes never show up on threads about those, other than to demand that everyone turn their focus to Islam exclusively.) There are all sorts of real ways you can join with other secularists, humanists, religious people, and groups in other countries or immigrants in your own to fight theocratic pushes locally and around the world. Almost every time one of these threads comes up, I provide links to organizations, but you could find them yourself. You would do this if you really cared about these issues. But you don't - you just want to demonize and exclude immigrants.

*It wasn't in fact a comparison, but an illustrative example, but leaving that aside...

Cimourdain @ 268;

However, my actual charge is accurate. The murder of two million Sudanese Christians and Animists is an absolutely textbook case of Jihad, conforming to the entire corpus of classical writings on this subject. To try and explain that away is exactly on a par with Nazi and Communist apologia. It's unconscionable.

I think we can both agree that the Sudenese genocide is utterly monstrous and wholly indefensible. The point I am trying to make (and I think this is also a position that Rutee would agree with) is that, while the massacres obviously had a religious element and the Janja Wheed malitias were predominantly made up of Muslims of Arab descent, the massacres certainly performed with tyhe support of the Sudenese government and may indeed have occurred on their direct orders.

The killings were, at least in part, motivated by politics rather than faith. Especially when one considers the potential resource wealth that is at stake. They were also motivated by ethnic as well as religious hatred. Religion is one element of this very toxic stew, but not the only one. Also, I would submit that the actions of one brutal government and their hired murderers cannot be extrapolated to apply to the motivations of the bulk of the adherents of an entire global religion.

That, unfortunately, is a debatable point. Thirty-six percent of Muslims in Britain believe murder for apostasy is legitimate. Do you care to imagine what those percentages are like elsewhere?

I am unfamiliar with the specific survey you are citing, but I was under the impression that such comparitively high levels of endorsement for religious violence were found in male Islamic youth, rather than being representative of the broad sweep of opinion of the entire Islamic community. Pretty much every ethicity has its share of what might fairly be discribed as 'angry young men' who often embrace extreme politics. BNP 'skinheads' being a case in point among the White community. Most such youths are nothing but talk. A few are more dangerous, but still do not accurately reflect the opinion of the majority. I wonder if it is not possible that among some elements of Islamic youth, identifying with the Jihadist cause may be a form of counter cultural statement. A badge of non-conformist honour rather than indicative of serious support for global religious war.

Even so, you are right that it is disturbing that militancy has any significant support base in the broader Islamic community. I just happen to think that this is best tackled by dialgue and education rather than any more dire measure.

That's a false parallel. To be German was to have been born into a specific nation. It was entirely possible to be German and fiercely anti-Nazi (witness Heinrich Boell). But to be Muslim is to believe in specific ideological tenets.

I would argue that Islam is not a monolithic cultural construct either. There is much variation of doctorine within the faith. I doubt Sunni and Shia muslims view themselves as interchangeable. I would say that it is equally possible to be Muslim and fiercely opposed to terrorism. Especially if members of your own family were victims of such terrorism.

You're making, I'm afraid, a distinction which isn't really there. You see Jihad does not necessarily mean qital, combat, but also advances by hijra, immigration, and Da'wa, conversion. The likes of Ibrahim Hooper who want to reduce the US to a Shariah state are every bit as much Jihadists as Osama bin Laden.

I once heard that Jihad literally translated to 'struggle for the faith', whether that struggle was internal to the believer or external. While one can certainly propogate poitical Islam without using violence, I do not think that attempting to convert others by non-violent persuasion or moving to live in non-Islamic countries can truly be considered equivilent to acts of violent terrorism. Ibrahim Hooper may be as religiously extreme as Bin Laden, but he does not present the same kind of threat unless he starts giving material aid to terrorists or takes part in terrorism himself.

I'm sorry, that's just wrong. I've read the autobiographies of Nelson Mandela and Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the great writings of the Enlightenment - none of these were moderates. They were extremists. And that is why they succeeded.

I don't want to nit-pick semantics here, but this is dependent on your definition of 'extremist'. Of the people you list, only Nelson Mandela was involved in political violence, and he did not become the global figure that he is today until long after he renounced that violence. Being outspoken in the face of oppression and advocating much needed change is not the same thing as that which I would define as extremism.

While Mandela was hugely important in the dismantling of the Apartheid regime, he was so successful because he was prepared to work and, critically, compramise with then President De Clerk. A lot of agents and officials of that disgusting Nationalist regime went unpunished. The 'Truth and Reconciliation Commission' could fairly be described as a politically expedient white wash, but I would say that this morally questionable tradeoff was necessary to avoid civil war. Am I happy about it? No, but Mandela saw that it was necessary for the long therm good of South Africa. That is not the inflexible attitude of someone I would discribe as an extremist. It is rather eminently pragmatic.

A fair point, but I submit what is most likely to cause the growth of homegrown monsters are attitudes like those of strange & Harpy. Look at the resurgence of neo-fascist movements in Europe. If these problems aren't discussed by respectable politicians, unrespectable ones will fill their places. I think this also addresses your other point about hardliners. I'm a hardliner myself, as are many of my friends, who are also immigrants. People from Africa and the Indian subcontinent are often far more aware of what Islam is than pampered Europeans.

You are right that certain issues are being seeded to hardliners by the lack of preparedness of mainstream politicians to discuss them, but I do not think that in any way validating the reactionary fear that the Far Right thrives upon will help the situation. These issues are important and should be discusses, and you are entitled to your opinion, but if a fruitful discourse is to be had in the mainstream of politics then countervailing opinions cannot simply be dismissed out of hand. As for pampered Europeans, with respect I doubt that the survivors or the families of those who died in the 7/7 London attacks or the Madrid train bombings or thoese Europeans abroad killed or maimed in 9/11 or the Bali atroscities or any of a hundred other outrages, would agree that Europe has been entirely insulated from the consequences of religious radicalism. Europe has a long history of political unrest and violence, both religiously motivated and driven by extreme secular political ideology. Militant Islam is but the latest chapter in a long, bloody and tragic tale.

Why did this guy join up? Simple: he saw what the Muslims did to him and his people during the partition of the subcontinent.

But this sounds as if he is importing his negative experience of Islam in his land of birth to the UK. That he is bringing his preconceptions about Islam and Muslims and applying it to people he does not know, many of whom were born and grew up not in his land of birth but here, in Britain under a completely different set of circumstances. I can see the argument that such blanket assumptions based on no more than the community of origin of a person comes dangerously close to racism.

Could you provide an example of an ephemeral fear of mainstream Islam? Here's my concern: the larger mass of less-observant Muslims are the cover in which the True Believers move. There is no sure way of telling the difference between a much sought after "moderate" and a True Believer.

Such a fear might be the idea that all Islamic immigration is part of a hidden, coordinated conspiracy to enter Western society and somehow 'out breed' the pre-existing populous in order to take over and turn that culture into a theocracy. This putative agenda is supposedly not held by extremists alone, but all muslims despite not a shred of credible evidence.

Oh come on. By that standard, just about everyone is "far right". Take, say, Bill Maher - ever heard him talk about Republicans? I guess that makes him a far right person.

Let me rephrase, It could be argued that the very idea that an entire sector of society that is identified by nothing morre than its race, ethnicity or religion can be identified as being 'specifically dangerous' is in itself a component of a common tactic of Far Right parties.

Also, just because this tactic is used by Far Right groups, is not to say that such tactics are not also employed by others from time to time. Even so, Maher's beef is with the politics of Republicans, not with the culture that created them per se. Most of the people who seek to use the fear of Islam as a political football are choosing to say that the politics of the extremists is inseperable from the culture of which they are a fringe manifestation. That Islam = extreme as a matter of ineluctable fate. I do not think that this case has been established.

The big difference between anti-Jewish paranoia and Islamophobia is the following: the concerns about Islam are real. The most damning evidence against Islam are those precious eyewitness testimonies of those who have seen its workings and its predations close up. Start with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Brigitte Gabriel, and Ibn Warraq.

I would say that some of the concerns over Islam are rooted in reality, wheras others are manufactured or revolve around the deliberate conflation of the position of an unrepresentative extreme with the position of the moderate majority. Then eyewitness testimony of the abuses of Muslim theocracies is of course valuable. However, it can not be taken at face value alone. We must be aware of the potential for bias.

Even so, most (perhaps all) Islamic theocracies are manifestly brutal and oppressive. However, No one here is advocating the creation of a muslim theocracy in any currently non-Islamic nation, or for that matter in a place like Turkey that is majority Muslim but still has a secular constitution.

I do not see the force of the argument that the presence of a muslim community within Western Nations would automatically lead to this end, any more than the presence of Jewish people will automatically lead to a Jewish theocracy, or the presence of Buddhists will entail that we will all end up under the rulership of the Dalai Llama. Islam is being singled out because it has its problems with extremists and it happens to be the prefered source of boogeyman 'evil foreigner' fear of the moment. In this case more 'evil foreign belief system' fear perhaps, but the principle is the same

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Once again we have someone who simply cannot read what is written.

I was referring to the paper and people like you and Cimourdain, you bigoted peabrain. What was invidious about that comparison?* Is it your contention or is it not that the KKK's push to exclude immigrants from certain countries was based solely on a fear of Catholic theocracy (in competition with that which they were promoting) and lacking racist motivation? Do you seriously believe there to be a danger from immigrants from certain countries of the establishment of Islamic theocracy in Europe or the US?

I didn't claim that the KKK wasn't or isn't racist shit for brains. Nor should anyone who expresses concerns about political Islam should be considered *racist*.

I simply evaluated the concerns by each group based on the merits for such concerns. By claiming that the KKK was wrong in opposing Catholic immigration simply because the KKK is racist is an Ad Hominem argument.

Those who express concerns about Islamic immigrations have legitimate reasons for doing so.
Political Islam is one such reason.

Do get yourself a copy of "Introduction to Logic" by Copi and study it. You will find that a valuable exercise.

One wonders what left wing moonbats would have done if hitler invented the transistor?

The other asinine argument with respect to the Church in Europe... Well what did you expect? the whole or much of Europe was under the titular control of the Church at one time. A number of reformations, an EnLigthenment and other movements have severely weakened the Church's political influence.

Issues like abortion for example, or birth control, in which the Church actively supports and seeks to influence govts on (and I think they should mind there own business) are issues that have adherents of all creeds, even if they are generally in the minority.

However, the suggestion that because the Church tries to play geopolitics I shouldn't be concerned when Islamic organizations, or it is racist to be concerned, claim to aspire to it is idiotic. I disapprove of the Church for doing it, and I have no interest in letting Islamicists getting started.

Do I think Islamicists will succeed in turning the US into a Koranic theocracy? Not a snowball's chance in hell; but that won't keep them from trying and causing mischief in the process. I don't think a nation should suffer additional troubles just because it already has troublemakers.

"The killings were, at least in part, motivated by politics rather than faith. Especially when one considers the potential resource wealth that is at stake. They were also motivated by ethnic as well as religious hatred. Religion is one element of this very toxic stew, but not the only one. Also, I would submit that the actions of one brutal government and their hired murderers cannot be extrapolated to apply to the motivations of the bulk of the adherents of an entire global religion."

To me, you're wasting your time with this guy. He actually thinks the causes of WWII are as simple as "Nazis are evil, and accomodation doesn't work!"

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom (#272)

This is true, yes, but it doesn't establish any value for the 'art' in question.

It establishes that the intentions and the image are two different things. And why should the "value" of the art suddenly matter? It seems like you're trying to shift the goalposts into another highly subjective area.

And okay, maybe that doesn't have to be the interpretation.

Oh, hey, you're making progess!

And we've been over this; Westergaard's politics are established. Am I to believe the cartoon to be the balanced exception.

However, you're still uncritically conflating Westergaard's intentions with the image. Keep in mind my problem is with your statement about the image itself: "BOMB! IN TURBAN! OF HOLY PROPHET! In no galaxy is that remotely fucking appropriate!"

you better explain the footpath you're taking between point A and point B, and you damn well better explain why it would be as direct as the cannon shot between them that I described.

Begging the question, much? First, it's art. Art doesn't require you reason out your personal reaction or interpretation in straight lines with every step accounted for. Second, you didn't provide any sort of direct explanation, either. You said "I don't know how this image can be viewed as anything but 'Islam is fundamentally violent.' " As to how one can view it otherwise, it's simple: start with a different set of biases.

I gave you A and a reason for B outside of the Biases you keep claiming about me.

No, I'm still waiting for your reasoning about why the image itself is inappropriate. Go ahead and claim that it offends you personally because you interpret it a particular way. That's your right. When you step beyond a personal statement, though, you're required to make a case for what you say.

Answering a question with a question?

Necessary to correct your broken analogy.

it's a bit more like why we should consider "Sand Nigger" an appropriate term to describe the widely varied ethnicities that frequently (but not always) subscribe to Islam.

And this is why it needs correcting. "Is the image in this cartoon appropriate?" is not analogous to "is X epithet appropriate when used in Y context?" To make the analogy work, you should be asking "is there something about the term 'sand nigger' that's inherently inappropriate?" And you probably could make a case for that, given the particular significance inextricably attached to the word "nigger."

If you can tell me how you got to your appropriate interpretations...

Where did I say mine was the "appropriate" interpretation? Pay attention to what I'm saying, please.

Guernica was hard to make, rather then what would be a few hour exercise producing a simplistic caricature.

Oh, so something's status as art depends on the time and effort it took to make it? Anything that can be done in the time it took Westergaard to draw the cartoon isn't art? And "blunt force trauma messages delivered by way of pictures" are peachy keen if they're painted over days rather than drawn in hours? This is nothing but idiotic snobbery and special pleading.

Now, explain how you actually GOT Your interpretation; It's the least you can do when you're insisting that mine is stupid and bias-derived (To say the very least, incorrect on the latter point)

Again, no. If you want to say you interpret it a certain way, fine. No explanation necessary. The point about your biases is that they're your biases and they don't speak for me (or anyone else). Your biases aren't the problem--your lack of awareness of them is. My interpretation is a product of my biases. (Hello, subjectivity.) However, if you want to say that there is something objectively inappropriate there, then back it up objectively.

How can you possibly claim it's true when most muslims don't approve of violence?

Gee, maybe because its scripture frequently and unashamedly calls for killing infidels and apostates and sinners? It's very, very easy to use Islam to try to justify violence on pretty much anyone, non-Muslim and Muslim alike. The same goes for Judaism and Christianity. Those are fundamentally violent religions as well. They've just had their teeth pulled by secular sensibilities in more areas of the world than Islam.

Even if I could say honestly at dinner that has both my stepmother and my mother "My father is sleeping with his secretary", that wouldn't make it an appropriate comment just because it's true.

Again, your objection depends on tying in the context with the statement. Is "my father is sleeping with his secretary" inappropriate by itself?

He's lionized in poetry within the first 15 posts. I think we can safely say that he and his work have been promoted uncritically. You should at least admit that.

So the poem gives Westergaard's actions a positive spin. But we're not going to look at any of the criticism of him below because...? Oh, because you don't have a point if we do that. Nice try.

I did. You're not obligated to agree, but don't claim I haven't.

Your argument, so far as you've made one that doesn't rely on the artist's intentions, amounts to how you don't know how people could see it any way but your way. In your eyes, it's inappropriate, thus it is inappropriate. So you've failed to make any sort of objective case.

Strange-gods, your comments in #247 were so vile and made so many wrong assumptions about me that I'm tempted to report you. Instead I will take the easy way out and just ignore you for the illogical and foul-mouthed lunatic that you are.

I'm tempted to report you

heh

To who?

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

hznfrst - A much better troll (Brenda Von Ash?) than yourself has already done it. Sorry, it's a one time trick.

By Patricia, OM (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Ha! Please do report me, hznfrst, you totalitarian nut. The most you'd conceivably get would be PZ's participation in this thread, which would be most welcome.

You're seriously advocating the abolition of the First Amendment, and you think that's not vile?

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

I didn't claim that the KKK wasn't or isn't racist shit for brains.

Was its opposition to immigration of people from Catholic countries and hostility toward these people based solely on beliefs about Catholic theocrats, or did it have a strong racist component?

Nor should anyone who expresses concerns about political Islam should be considered *racist*.

Oh? No one who "expresses concerns" about immigration from Islamic countries should be considered racist? Ever? "Nor" should they? So the KKK shouldn't?

I simply evaluated the concerns by each group based on the merits for such concerns.

I see. The KKK may [?] have been racist, but its concerns about immigration were purely religious. That was your contention. Good luck with that.

By claiming that the KKK was wrong in opposing Catholic immigration simply because the KKK is racist is an Ad Hominem argument.

...Do get yourself a copy of "Introduction to Logic" by Copi and study it. You will find that a valuable exercise.

Am I on Punk'd?

The other asinine argument with respect to the Church in Europe... Well what did you expect?

WTF?

the whole or much of Europe was under the titular control of the Church at one time. A number of reformations, an EnLigthenment and other movements have severely weakened the Church's political influence.

Sure as hell not eliminated it, as is easily demonstrated by looking at actual contemporary policies.

Issues like abortion for example, or birth control, in which the Church actively supports and seeks to influence govts on (and I think they should mind there own business) are issues that have adherents of all creeds, even if they are generally in the minority.

What the hell are you talking about?

However, the suggestion that because the Church tries to play geopolitics I shouldn't be concerned when Islamic organizations, or it is racist to be concerned, claim to aspire to it is idiotic. I disapprove of the Church for doing it, and I have no interest in letting Islamicists getting started.

Look, you jackass, the Church is actively involved in national politics in a number of European countries. It wields - not aspires to wield, or talks about wielding - enormous power over millions of people's lives. You "disapprove"? Fuck you. And as I said above, I've linked to numerous organizations that work against Islamic (and other) theocratic repression in countries around the world; it's significant, but not surprising, that people like you never seek more information.

Do I think Islamicists will succeed in turning the US into a Koranic theocracy? Not a snowball's chance in hell; but that won't keep them from trying and causing mischief in the process. I don't think a nation should suffer additional troubles just because it already has troublemakers.

Mischief? Troublemakers? You've got to be fucking kidding. I'm done with you.

"Begging the question, much? First, it's art. Art doesn't require you reason out your personal reaction or interpretation in straight lines with every step accounted for."
Then how am I to know that your reaction is reasonable? If you're not going to hold art to any standards of reason or intellectual accountability, then I'm simply not interested in continuing to vest any time on it with you.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Whether or not you can make an argument for Westergaard's work having been promoted here, uncritically or no, that has nothing to do with the point I was making about having to evaluate the contents of the cartoon itself separately when making statements only about those contents. I've quoted the statement I'm quibbling over more than once, so look upthread if you're confused.

Your interest in evaluating the contents of the cartoon outside of their context is irrelevant and diversionary. It does not relate to this discussion, since everyone here is now aware of their context.

It might be a decent and even brave cartoon had it been drawn and published in a Muslim country, but that's not what happened.

The hell I have. You're the one making a strawman of my argument if you think that. Point to where I said anything about the government. I know Rutee's been talking about voluntary line drawing, but she (?) seems to want it taken beyond just her own behavior. Who, in this communal voluntary system, decides that cartoons like Westergaard's, regardless of the intent of the artist, really do stereotype a billion people? Who gets final say? She's seeing something in it that's just not there for other people. You, yourself, said this: "It would be entirely appropriate if drawn and published in a Muslim nation." So obviously, even under a voluntary system, some sort of judgment is called for.

Now you're either bullshitting or very confused.

Voluntary adherence to standards of decency necessarily means there is no enforcement.

Enforcement means the use of force. Force means it is not voluntary; if it were voluntary then force would not be required. And you chose the word "enforcement." If I misunderstood you about state censorship, that is mostly your fault, because you picked the imagery of policing.

Assuming an actually structured process of community decision-making (which you have no basis to assume), who would decide the line? Probably everyone who voluntarily chose to adhere to that line, because it's very unlikely that anyone would choose to adhere a rule that they did not participate in creating.

But you have no basis to assume even such a structure; nothing like this has been proposed, or vaguely hinted at, and you will find no quotes to support your confusion.

The most that's been implicitly proposed is what we're doing right now. Having this discussion, and telling racists that their racism is not cool.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

SCOM

You really should learn to read what people write.

You'll feel better, look better informed, and appear to be smarter than the fool you are.

Let me wrap this up in case anyone still gives a crap.

An invidious comparison was made between the KKK's opposition to Catholic immigration (nevermind they were opposed to anything that wasn't white, drank beer and wore a schmata over their heads for now) and opposition to current immigration policy with respect to Muslims.

The KKK's stated reason for this opposition, not that they really needed a reason (the irrational don't need a reason), was concern about Catholics voting in Catholic dogma and the Pope.

All I did was briefly point out there were no rational reasons for such concern, regardless of who raised them, the KKK or the Village People. I did point out that the with respect to Muslim immigration, there are legitimate concerns.

Ergo, and this where you would benefit from Copi's elegant text, if concerns have a legitimate basis, then acting on them isn't inherently racist, is it? I am amazed that I must point out the fucking obvious, but when dealing with people who see the world through the prism of idiotological nonsense, like you, it becomes necessary.

If that is all it takes to cause you to wind up in a conniption induced coma, I feel sorry for you.

I don't think that's quite fair. The "established" status of the Church of England is a historical anachronism of which the average Briton is only vaguely aware. In terms of culture and day-to-day political life, the UK is far more secular than most regions of the US.

Comrade, you have state-run religious schools. Maybe that still feels secular to you, but it gives me the damn heebie jeebies just thinking about it.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Strange Gods @ 289;

I agree with you completely on that one. State funded 'faith schools' have to be one of the worst ideas in the long history of misgovernment of the UK. It is practically a charter for those who seek to use educational institutions as a means to indoctrinate the young and spread their preferred woo. It makes a mockery of the very idea of a modern education in favour of medievalist brainwashing.

It is an embarrasment to the country of my birth. Thank you so very much for this mess, Mr. Blair!

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

An invidious comparison was made between the KKK's opposition to Catholic immigration (nevermind they were opposed to anything that wasn't white, drank beer and wore a schmata over their heads for now) and opposition to current immigration policy with respect to Muslims.

Stuart, you are so stupid, you still don't understand this.

Most current opposition to so-called "Muslim immigration" is racist. For example Geert Wilders' Partij voor de Vrijheid platform. It is not limited to Muslims. It targets vreemdelingen, foreigners. It targets niet-westerse allochtonen, non-Western immigrants.

If the party was only targeting Muslim immigration, and specifically allowing non-Muslim people of all ethnicities from all countries, then there's a theoretical chance that could be administered in a non-racist manner. It would still be a bigoted way to treat moderate Muslims, but that's a separate matter.

The KKK's stated reason for this opposition, not that they really needed a reason (the irrational don't need a reason), was concern about Catholics voting in Catholic dogma and the Pope.

All I did was briefly point out there were no rational reasons for such concern, regardless of who raised them, the KKK or the Village People.

Yet you've been given the well-known evidence of Catholic bishops trying to push Catholic politicians to impose Vatican law upon the United States, and you've deliberately ignored it.

There are very legitimate reasons to worry about the imposition of Vatican law here. The Klan's means of addressing those concerns were racist.

Ergo, and this where you would benefit from Copi's elegant text, if concerns have a legitimate basis, then acting on them isn't inherently racist, is it?

No, that does not follow. The legitimate concerns about Catholic political influence can be addressed in either racist or non-racist ways. It is not simply "legitimate concern automatically equals not racist."

You've been using racist insults here, Stuart, so I don't expect that you'll honestly address this issue. But you are awfully stupid too, so maybe you really just don't understand. Either way it must be an embarrassment to your family.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

An invidious comparison was made between the KKK's opposition to Catholic immigration (nevermind they were opposed to anything that wasn't white, drank beer and wore a schmata* over their heads for now)

Mind that, you buffoon! That was the fucking point.

The KKK's stated reason for this opposition, not that they really needed a reason (the irrational don't need a reason), was concern about...

All I did was briefly point out there were no rational reasons for such concern,

You're not smart enough for this blog, dear.

*Are you Jewish, Stuart? Honestly.

As such, shouldn't every civilized person support those drawings and the people who made them?

As two Danish bloggers recently put it, Westergaard has become our Rushdie.

Rushdie wasn't deliberately fomenting racism.

They do blog at Jyllands-Posten but are mostly Socialdemocrat. And very sensible.

There seems to be disagreement between you and Torben P. You say it's social democratic. Torben says it's right-wing libertarian. I note that whatever their right/left stance, they promote a white nationalist politician.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

SC - Well I'll be a brass bosomed slut! I never thought I'd see the day you would get called a fool.

This calls for a toast to wishful thinking.

By Patricia, OM (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Oh dont tell me, there's been a racism debate right?

Intolerant and racist to tell muslims in the UK to stick to the law of the country they live in?

No, Rorschach, no one said that.

Please go fuck yourself, and stop trying to put words in other people's mouths.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Woops! Let me amend that.

Please go fuck yourself :)

That's better.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

SC - Amen!

Now Strange Gods I hope you aren't throwing that go fuck yourself out as anything but a gesture of good wishes? Some of us have no other choice.

By Patricia, OM (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Of course, Patricia. I had just forgotten my smiley.

Gregory,

I think it might be do-able, but only if you could identify one, universally acceptable interpretation of Sharia for all the different forms of Islam in the UK.

I'm not certain that's absolutely necessary. US courts are able to make a distinction between the conscientious objection claims of a Quaker as opposed to another brand of Christian.

It would make the system much easier to administer, though, if a basic set of shared principles could be found among the various schools of Sharia.

We do not want Intra-community tension between Shia and Sunni groups over this issue.

This is a good point; when there are civil disagreements between adherents of multiple schools of law, defaulting to a basic set of shared principles is the only option I can think of.

You would also have to persuade groups like the Muslim Council of Britain that Sharia may be partitioned in this way.

I wonder what the hell they do already in Muslim countries that have these disputes between schools of Sharia.

Assuming the assent of Muslim community leaders, it would also be important to establish from the off that these Sharia principles are being permitted to operate under the aegis of UK secular law, but in no way have parity of legal force with that law.

The only force Sharia would have in UK legislation would flow from the sovereign authority of the State as expressed through the democratically elected Parliament, not under any circumstances could any legal authority be derived from Allah. Or the Sugar Plum Fairy, for that matter. In the event of conflict, UK secular law always triumphs. Sharia can never be used to abridge the rights of any citizen for any reason. No questions, no argument. This last provision would likely be a sticking point, but if it is not accepted it would be a deal breaker.

Of course. Otherwise the option obviously isn't worth even a moment's deliberation.

It would be my hope that Sharia would evolve to interface more smoothly with the British secular system. It does evolve, so if given a new environment with new challenges, it may adapt to thrive. What I mean is, like the Western-born children of Muslim immigrants adopt many of the practices of their new culture (sex, drugs, rock & roll), the practice of Sharia may incorporate some elements of the secular system which it is not allowed to change, for the sake of reducing stress and cognitive dissonance.

There would also have to be provision to prevent what I hope I will not offend anyone by terming 'Sharia creep'. The integration of some elements of Sharia into UK law could never be used as a means of trying to import further elements of Sharia without consulting Parliament. Just because a limited adoption of Sharia had occurred, this could not be allowed to be viewed as a govenment endorsement of Sharia as a whole.

I hadn't thought of that. That would probably have to be made explicit from the beginning.

While disestablishment might not do anything to help the plight of Muslim women. I am not sure that adopting elements of Sharia would help either. The problem is not the law itself, it is the religious and social attitudes toward the putative 'proper place' of women in society within certain arms of Islam. So long as these tropes endure, reporting abuse will continue to be a rarity, even under a system that is sensitive to Sharia principles. It is the attitudes themsleves that must change, and I fear there is no quick or easy route that that goal.

People do look to authorities -- like governments -- for their moral values and social mores. Consider how many people you've encountered who make simple errors conflating law with morality: X is illegal therefore X is bad; Y is legal therefore Y is okay.

The extent to which a person may look to a government for guidance depends upon how much that person identifies with the government. Occupying forces are highly suspect, as are oligarchies. Effective pretenses of democracy encourage people to identify themselves quite literally as the government.

Immigrants who feel themselves excluded from society and polity are less likely to feel that the laws apply to them, and they have a good classical liberal reason behind them: "to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed".

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom (#286)

Then how am I to know that your reaction is reasonable?

Why on earth would it need to be reasonble? When I say that "art doesn't require you reason out your personal reaction" I'm saying that no one's reaction has to be reasonable. Mine, yours, anyone's. You're not just reacting, though, you're making an objective claim about the contents of the image itself. I simply want the objective basis for your objective claim or for you to retract the claim. However, if you want my reasoning behind why the image is not inappropriate, I'll repeat myself from back in #214: "since they are not thinking, feeling, living organisms, ideas and beliefs cannot be offended and if people want to be offended for the sake of ideas and beliefs, that's their own foolish choice."

If you're not going to hold art to any standards of reason or intellectual accountability, then I'm simply not interested in continuing to vest any time on it with you.

Why would art need standards of reason? It's art. One of its strengths is that it can be blissfully devoid of reason. As for intellectual accountability, that's precisely what I'm demanding of you in your assessment of the picture itself, sans the artist's intentions. Tell me what is inappropriate about the image. Apparently you're more interested in making up irrelevant and ludicrous excuses than accounting for your statement.

strange gods before me (#287)

Your interest in evaluating the contents of the cartoon outside of their context is irrelevant and diversionary. It does not relate to this discussion, since everyone here is now aware of their context.

It's not irrelvant or diversionary; it's in reaction to Rutee's claim that: "BOMB! IN TURBAN! OF HOLY PROPHET! In no galaxy is that remotely fucking appropriate!" If you don't want to discuss whether the image outside of its context is inappropriate then don't invite yourself to my part of this discussion.

It might be a decent and even brave cartoon had it been drawn and published in a Muslim country, but that's not what happened.

Unless you'd like to argue that an image can magically retain the artist's intentions, it seems you actually agree with me that the image isn't inappropriate.

Now you're either bullshitting or very confused.

Nope, you're confused. Did you perhaps not read my post at #214 which made it pretty damn clear that I understand Rutee's talking about voluntary self-censorship? Are you possibly confusing me with the likes of hznfrst, Cimourdain or Stuart because I'm also arguing with Rutee? Are you maybe biased against me because of our argument in the Rudness Required thread?

Voluntary adherence to standards of decency necessarily means there is no enforcement.
Enforcement means the use of force. Force means it is not voluntary...

Might I suggest you crack a dictionary so you can acquaint yourself with the other meanings of the word "enforce"? And if you would read the final sentence of the paragraph that talks about enforcing, you might notice my point has to do with the difficulty in drawing definitive lines regarding subjective material.

If I misunderstood you about state censorship, that is mostly your fault, because you picked the imagery of policing.

Nope, you invited yourself to butt in and didn't read carefully. I don't see Rutee making your mistake, so why don't you shoulder the blame for your own misreading instead of throwing a semantic tantrum?

The most that's been implicitly proposed is what we're doing right now. Having this discussion, and telling racists that their racism is not cool.

Don't presume to tell me what I should contribute to the thread. If you don't like the tangent I'm on, then don't read my posts.

Homophobe and unrepentant liar Cimourdain lied:

Yes, it's the oddest thing, isn't it? This "Far Right Xenophobia" is always directed at Islam, which is an "easy target", despite the fact that criticizing Islam publically means living in protection for the rest of your life. But it's really weird isn't it, that it's always directed against one, specific religion, and that these "far right xenophobes" seem to include people who are immigrants themselves: Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an example. I know a few others personally, including Sudanese christians who fled the genocide (and don't count in the contemtible world-view of strange and harpy). In fact, it get's odder and odder - these "xenophobes" are just as worried about native converts to Islam, but are unworried about large scale immigration of Hindus, or Sikhs, or Christians, or Jews, or Buddhists, or Atheists....

Except that's not true. And an example that demonstrate it false was already available in this thread, back at #171.

See Geert Wilders' Partij voor de Vrijheid platform. It is not limited to Muslims. It targets vreemdelingen, foreigners. It targets niet-westerse allochtonen, non-Western immigrants.

Right-wing nuts are not just anti-Muslim, they are opposed to non-white immigration. Islam is a convenient foil for the likes of Wilders, but he leaves it out of his party platform entirely, instead going straight for his real enemy.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink
The most that's been implicitly proposed is what we're doing right now. Having this discussion, and telling racists that their racism is not cool.

Don't presume to tell me what I should contribute to the thread. If you don't like the tangent I'm on, then don't read my posts.

You are seriously confused, A. Noyd, and apparently unable to follow the discussion.

Nowhere did I tell you what you should be talking about.

I said Rutee had not proposed, even implicitly, anything more than mere discussion of what is appropriate behavior in a civil society; the same thing we do when we discuss when/if people should cheat on their spouses, the same thing we do when we discuss at what age children should be told about drugs, the same thing we are doing right now. It's just a discussion, and you're welcome to participate in it, but that's all it is.

Nope, you invited yourself to butt in and didn't read carefully. I don't see Rutee making your mistake, so why don't you shoulder the blame for your own misreading instead of throwing a semantic tantrum?

Amusing that you talk about me "inviting myself to butt in" right after you admonish me for "presuming to tell you what you should contribute to the thread."

Again, it doesn't matter what sort of "enforcement" you're talking about; enforcement and voluntary choice are at counter purposes.

If something is voluntarily being chosen, no enforcement is necessary. If the individual voluntarily chooses to do something that breaks the agreement, and enforcement is then used, then the enforcement is not enforcing a voluntary decision, because the individual has just changed their mind about what they now voluntarily choose.

This "enforcement of voluntary choice" stuff is very confused. Nonsensical enough to be Orwellian, although I realize you didn't mean it that way.

And if you would read the final sentence of the paragraph that talks about enforcing, you might notice my point has to do with the difficulty in drawing definitive lines regarding subjective material.

And the answer is discussion to the goal of consensus; if no consensus is reached, then individuals voluntarily choose to do what they were going to do anyway. This is all very simple. There's barely a point here for you to belabor.

But again you mistakenly believe that you have some basis for assuming some structured process of community decision-making beyond mere discussion. You do not; you've read some intent into Rutee's writing that is not there and which you will not be able to produce quotes to support.

It's not irrelvant or diversionary; it's in reaction to Rutee's claim that: "BOMB! IN TURBAN! OF HOLY PROPHET! In no galaxy is that remotely fucking appropriate!" If you don't want to discuss whether the image outside of its context is inappropriate then don't invite yourself to my part of this discussion.

You are making a mistake in believing that the image can actually be removed from all context. It can not. People in the USA may not understand the Danish context, but they do grasp it in their vague understanding of global context, and they do understand it to be a picture of Muhammad with a bomb in his turban. Rutee apparently thinks that insult to Muslims is itself a problem regardless of racism around immigration; I would disagree, but the notion on which you've founded this question, of image without context, is flawed.

Unless you'd like to argue that an image can magically retain the artist's intentions, it seems you actually agree with me that the image isn't inappropriate.

The image has very effectively retained the artist's intentions, as it has been distributed almost exclusively as a package in this set of Danish newspaper cartoons. As to the theoretical case of it somehow losing all context and no longer even being perceived as a picture of Muhammad, that's a far future sci-fi notion that I'm not high enough to care about.

Nope, you're confused. Did you perhaps not read my post at #214 which made it pretty damn clear that I understand Rutee's talking about voluntary self-censorship?

You are confused if you believe that you are talking about voluntary self-censorship. You are explicitly talking about enforcement, so you are not talking about voluntary choice. Do let me know when you finally grok this.

Are you possibly confusing me with the likes of hznfrst, Cimourdain or Stuart because I'm also arguing with Rutee?

Nope.

Are you maybe biased against me because of our argument in the Rudness Required thread?

I don't recall that discussion. Here, I'll go google it now and tell you whether I'm still biased against you.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Here, I'll go google it now and tell you whether I'm still biased against you.

Oh, that one! No, I'm not.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Oey Vey

An invidious comparison was made between the KKK's opposition to Catholic immigration (nevermind they were opposed to anything that wasn't white, drank beer and wore a schmata* over their heads for now)

Mind that, you buffoon! That was the fucking point.

No it was not. The original claim was that concerns about Muslim immigration was inherently racist cuz after all, the KKK was on the same shtick.

My point, is that the *concern* of a Papal US can be evaluated independently of the KKK's other baggage. But feel free to keep missing that subtle point.

You're not smart enough for this blog, dear.

Actually I'm too smart for it, and you should have your frontal lobes checked and read Copi's book.

Apparently some people in this forum find the idea of a critical examination of Political Islam to terrible to contemplate so they make allusions to the KKK in an effort to encumber it with emotional baggage that they can use to reject it. Even worse, they bring up the RC church in the same discussion. As if that has anything to do with the cartoons, Political Islam or immigration.

This is usual manifestation of *pathological fairness* as practiced on the left. If you criticize Islam, you must find something to criticize the Church or Jews or whatever as well.

As if the Church and Israel have a dearth of critics.

Really pathetic.. and its amazing to hear these self-styled defenders of truth and justice throw secular liberalism under the bus.

Why Govt. could regulate Sharia and choose the parts that are beneficial...

That has to be the single stupidest idea I have heard.. possibly ever.

The reason there is a Wilders or a Westergaard is that to many people folks like you refuse to critically evaluate Political Islam and its attendant baggage. As a result marginal characters pick up the banner and run with it.

Its not a surprise that there is a Wilders or Westergaard, what is depressing (but not surprising) is that the far left will not criticize Political Islam and would rather give succor to it, then the help the moderates within Islam reform it.

And yes I am Jewish, and I know full well the left uses Jews when its convenient, and throws us under the bus, also when its convenient because it is incapable of defending the ideals of secular liberalism.

As for your apparently bigoted expectation that I should be in your camp cuz I'm Jewish, well you can kiss my hairy you know what.

No it was not. The original claim was that concerns about Muslim immigration was inherently racist cuz after all, the KKK was on the same shtick.

Simpleton. What schtick?

Actually I'm too smart for it,

*spurt*

This is usual manifestation of *pathological fairness* as practiced on the left. If you criticize Islam, you must find something to criticize the Church or Jews or whatever as well.

As if the Church and Israel have a dearth of critics.

The Church/Israel/Jews are equivalent here? How?

Really pathetic.. and its amazing to hear these self-styled defenders of truth and justice throw secular liberalism under the bus.

Opposing the real governmental influence of the RCC in Europe and around the world is throwing secular liberalism under the bus? Explain how.

And yes I am Jewish, and I know full well the left uses Jews when its convenient, and throws us under the bus, also when its convenient because it is incapable of defending the ideals of secular liberalism.

As for your apparently bigoted expectation that I should be in your camp cuz I'm Jewish....

No such expectation, but I'm still dubious. (What does secular liberalism mean to you, btw?)

No it was not. The original claim was that concerns about Muslim immigration was inherently racist cuz after all, the KKK was on the same shtick.

No, that's another of your lies, obviously contradicted by the following:

"If the party was only targeting Muslim immigration, and specifically allowing non-Muslim people of all ethnicities from all countries, then there's a theoretical chance that could be administered in a non-racist manner. It would still be a bigoted way to treat moderate Muslims, but that's a separate matter."

My point, is that the *concern* of a Papal US can be evaluated independently of the KKK's other baggage. But feel free to keep missing that subtle point.

It's a point I've already made. You've actually ignored the fact, brought to your attention several times now, that US bishops are actively and currently trying to impose Vatican law upon the United States. Earlier you said "no Catholic of any stature has ever said they wanted such a thing".

You're not smart enough for this blog, dear.

Actually I'm too smart for it,

Hyperon? Is that you?

and you should have your frontal lobes checked and read Copi's book.

Speaking of logic, then, how about your logic-fail in asserting that "if concerns have a legitimate basis, then acting on them isn't inherently racist, is it?"

Obviously and painfully false, as there are both racist and non-racist ways to address legitimate concerns.

Apparently some people in this forum find the idea of a critical examination of Political Islam to terrible to contemplate so they make allusions to the KKK in an effort to encumber it with emotional baggage that they can use to reject it.

You are free to engage with the example I gave of modern anti-Catholicism in the context of Latin American immigration, if you want to avoid the baggage of the KKK. I did not insist that either you or homophobe Cimourdain needs to actually address the real and legitimate example of racism in the Klan's anti-Catholicism.

Oh, and:

nevermind they were opposed to anything that wasn't white

Actually that would be the point to observe, not to nevermind. Eliminating all immigration to Holland from non-Western countries would be a relatively effective means of reducing non-white immigration, wouldn't it?

Even worse, they bring up the RC church in the same discussion. As if that has anything to do with the cartoons, Political Islam or immigration.

Actually your indifference to the electoral success of a Christian theocracy party and Catholic bishops imposing Vatican mandates upon Catholic politicians, compared with your obsession over relatively politically powerless Muslims, is relevant to the issue of your paranoia and misplaced worry.

This is usual manifestation of *pathological fairness* as practiced on the left. If you criticize Islam, you must find something to criticize the Church or Jews or whatever as well.

No, no. We aren't talking about Jewish influence on the United States because there isn't much to speak of, and what little there is, we generally like.

We are talking about Christian theocracy because it is currently the most dangerous threat to this democracy.

Why Govt. could regulate Sharia and choose the parts that are beneficial...

That has to be the single stupidest idea I have heard.. possibly ever.

If you were smart enough to demonstrate why it's so stupid (and it may indeed be), then you would actually participate in the discussion instead of screaming and crying at the very mention of Islam.

My major concern here regards violence against women. If integrating Sharia mediation with the secular judiciary will attract more participation by Western Muslims in the secular legal system, and if this brings more violence against women to the attention of the secular legal system, then I may be in favor of that. And I want to weigh other downsides against that potential benefit, to understand the net outcome. These are all empirical questions, and I don't have the answers for them yet, which is why I favor discussion. You, Stuart, reflexively reject the possibility of reducing violence against women; the very mention of Islam is too high a price to pay for even a discussion of women's lives potentially saved.

The reason there is a Wilders

The reason there is a Wilders is because there is a lot of racism in Holland. Again, see Geert Wilders' Partij voor de Vrijheid platform. It is not limited to Muslims. It targets vreemdelingen, foreigners. It targets niet-westerse allochtonen, non-Western immigrants.

Why are you so dishonest, racist liar Stuart? Why do you keep ignoring this, when it's been made clear over and over? Wilders is not opposed to Muslims per se, he is opposed to non-Westerners, all of them. This is a fact. It's right there in the party platform

the far left will not criticize Political Islam

Another of your many lies, even after I already gave you this link. I have plenty more. If you acknowledge one, honestly and seriously, I'll give you another.

And yes I am Jewish, and I know full well the left uses Jews when its convenient, and throws us under the bus, also when its convenient because it is incapable of defending the ideals of secular liberalism.

I'm sorry, could you please give an example of "the left" throwing Jews under the bus? Modern examples, please; I know Stalin was a shithead.

As for your apparently bigoted expectation that I should be in your camp cuz I'm Jewish, well you can kiss my hairy you know what.

No such expectation was made or suggested, you racist liar.

I could give you reason why all people generally, and/or Jewish people specifically, ought to be on the left, but it doesn't mean you're a bad Jew if you don't agree.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

"The reason there is a Wilders is because there is a lot of racism in Holland."

Really?

Are you Dutch? On what do you base that claim?

Gay Dutch would say, yeah there is a lot of racism in Holland, and it has to do with homophobic Muslims.

Like I said I don't believe a friggin' thing you say.

You don't think Govt. regulation of Sharia isn't stupid?

There is actually an easy way to regulate Sharia.

Enforce the law of the land.

Simple. It does not have to require special attention of govt. or be overtly regulated by it. Wife beating is not tolerated in Western Civilization. You beat your wife you go straight to jail. We do not care if your culture thinks its OK.

Jews don't need to have Halacha regulated by Govt. And yeah Halacha isn't exactly terribly fair to women either. Stop infantilizing Muslims by insisting that Muslims need special attention from Govt such as regulating Sharia.

Enforce the law of the land. That will be regulation enough.

I'm not indifferent to Catholic political influences, etc.,like when some idiot bishop threatened not to give Kerry Communion. That
should be denounced.

Its irrelevant to criticizing political Islam. Its not necessary that I crap on the Church while crapping on Sharia and other manifestations of political Islam.

You have no idea how to defend liberty.

But keep flapping your gums, I'm enjoying it.

"The reason there is a Wilders is because there is a lot of racism in Holland."

Really?

Are you Dutch? On what do you base that claim?

Damn, Stuart. You are pretty dumb. Again, see Geert Wilders' Partij voor de Vrijheid platform. It is not limited to Muslims. It targets vreemdelingen, foreigners. It targets niet-westerse allochtonen, non-Western immigrants.

Like I said I don't believe a friggin' thing you say.

What is to believe? Explain the Partij voor de Vrijheid platform as anything but racism. Go on. I'm waiting.

You don't think Govt. regulation of Sharia isn't stupid?

Illiterate, lying racist, I didn't say that.

There is actually an easy way to regulate Sharia.

Enforce the law of the land.

Simple. It does not have to require special attention of govt. or be overtly regulated by it. Wife beating is not tolerated in Western Civilization. You beat your wife you go straight to jail. We do not care if your culture thinks its OK.

Illiterate, lying racist, I already addressed this several times:

If something is a criminal offense for non-Muslims, it would still be a criminal offense for Muslims. There is no proposal for a two-track criminal justice system. The proposals concern interpersonal claims within the private civil law system.

Why do you deceitfully try to pretend that I am talking about making wife-beating okay? Why do you lie constantly?

I mean, look, Stuart, you have been caught lying in almost every single one of your comments so far. And you have the nerve to claim you can't believe me? It is to laugh. Find where I have lied to you.

Stop infantilizing Muslims by insisting that Muslims need special attention from Govt such as regulating Sharia.

Muslims per se might not need much of anything in particular. Immigrants do need to feel welcome, like they belong in their new countries. Sharia mediation courts are one proposal. I'm not necessarily advocating them. They may or may not be a lesser evil than making no outreach to these communities, the current status quo. Again, I don't even know what the lesser evil would be, because only stupid people like you ever bring Sharia up. And you reflexively, by your irrational hatred of leftists, assume that I must necessarily want Sharia for us all. Moron.

You support the white nationalist Geert Wilders and his strict anti-immigrant stance. How do you think that is going to help?

I'm not indifferent to Catholic political influences, etc.,like when some idiot bishop threatened not to give Kerry Communion. That should be denounced.

Hey look, you finally got around to it. Would you like a standing ovation?

Its irrelevant to criticizing political Islam. Its not necessary that I crap on the Church while crapping on Sharia and other manifestations of political Islam.

There's a point in there, but it's stupid. Criticizing the Vatican or the US Christian Theocracy party is a separate issue from criticizing political Islam.

But here's the catch.

Criticizing political Islam is irrelevant to protecting the United States' secular democracy.

Political Islam has no power here. Our recent losses of freedom have come from our own politicians' responses to violent Islam, in the form of the PATRIOT Act, extraordinary rendition, and so on.

Islam is not a threat to America. Islamophobia is a threat to America. Totalitarians like hznfrst suggest we should eliminate the First Amendment in response to the Islam. That is insane.

The Vatican is a threat to America. The Vatican succeeded in inserting the Stupak Amendment into the recent health care bill in the House. That was just two months ago.

This is an example of your misplaced priorities. Catholic political power may not be directly related to Muslim political power, but the latter is not an actual threat the way the former is.

You have no idea how to defend liberty.

And you do, by supporting a white nationalist politician?

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Wife beating is not tolerated in Western Civilization. You beat your wife you go straight to jail.

Eye-watering bullshit.

http://www.nd.nl/artikelen/2006/juni/02/tien-procent-van-de-nederlander…

Ten percent of Dutch people describe themselves as openly racist, believe they are more intelligent than immigrants, are in favor of hiring discrimination, and consider themselves politically active about their racism.

Another seventeen percent describe themselves as occasionally racist, viewing immigrants as lazy criminals. This group distinguishes themselves from hardcore racists because they do not consider themselves politically active to the goals of racism.

Two thirds of Dutch people say that Dutch society is racist, and eighty percent say that racism has increased in recent years there.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Eye-watering bullshit.

And he takes that as a fact, though it is merely an ideal, one not universally shared in the West. Yet he rejects the existence of the same ideal in Morocco.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Here's a thought. I wonder if my right-wing friend is still reading the thread.

Walton! Am I a liar?

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

(And here is a free witty remark if you can't find a better one.)

"No, but if my only other choices are lord or lunatic..."

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

SCOM, SGBM...

Just how many pseudonyms does this clown have?

LOL

You honor me, Stuart.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

You honor me, Stuart.

Aw! Not at all. Me. (And there are more heads to this scary hydra!)

'Night, all.

SCOM, SGBM...

Just how many pseudonyms does this clown have?

*giggle*

By Rorschach (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

The real headfuck begins when I reveal that I've been Walton all this time.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Yep, and I'm really SC, i admit it now.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Ha! ((I had to sign back in just to laugh at that. Good night II.)

The real headfuck begins when I reveal that I've been Walton all this time.

I KNEW IT!!

Yep, and I'm really SC, i admit it now.

I knew it! It all makes perfect sense now.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Zomg, two italicized "I knew its" at once. Et tu, llewelly?

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Perfect time for another round of "I am Jadehawk! No, I am Jadehawk!"

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Et tutoi, llewelly?

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

My grasp of Latin is entirely pop culture.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Et tu Brute !
Hey Neg..:-)

By Rorschach (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Latin ? I thought you were writing French.

Methinks Latin would be
Quod vos, llewelly ?

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

[meta]

Another thread exemplifying the "Pharyngula echo chamber". :)

By John Morales (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Posted by: Stuart | January 5, 2010 3:10 AM

Shorter Stuart:

*sputter*

A Hydra comments regularly on Pharyngula ?
SC, SGBM, TM, Walton, Knockgoats, who are the other 4 heads of this Pharynguhydra ?

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

The essential nature of the pharyngula commenter is not a pharyngula commenter; the essential nature of the pharyngula blog is not a blog; the essential nature of pharyngula is PZ Myers.
Many scientists have searched the blog for pharyngula, but they have not found it.
This is a fundamental misunderstanding: That pharyngula is in the blog; pharyngula is in our comments. All our thoughts are in comments, all our imagination is in comments, all our cognition is in comments. Everything that we call reality is in comments. Everything! There's nothing outside comments.
Past, present and future are actually one phenomenon, one picture, one reality, one comment.
Therefor, we are all PZ Myers.

This is a fundamental misunderstanding: That pharyngula is in the blog; pharyngula is in our comments. All our thoughts are in comments, all our imagination is in comments, all our cognition is in comments. Everything that we call reality is in comments. Everything! There's nothing outside comments.

Windy said it best :

I am the goat

By Rorschach (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

Child-rapist and car-thief strange says

(I figure if he can throw out baseless accusations, he can get them too)

I wonder what the hell they do already in Muslim countries that have these disputes between schools of Sharia.

This is the sort of thing that can only be written by someone who knows absolutely nothing about the Shariah, its foundations, or how it has remained monolithic for a thousand years. The gates of ijtihad are shut, they aren't opening again.

So on the one hand you have strange lying through his teeth to defame Geert Wilders, and on the other hand, lying through his teeth to defend Shariah.

You see, Gregory, why I have no time for such twenty-fifth rate minds?

To take your points in reverse order once again:

No one here is advocating the creation of a muslim theocracy in any currently non-Islamic nation, or for that matter in a place like Turkey that is majority Muslim but still has a secular constitution.

You're missing strange weird fetish for Shariah. But leaving that aside, and turning to Turkey. Turkey is secular because Attaturk fought hard to break the power of Islam. That meant: no hijabs, no participation in the political process of you went to a madrassa, the cult of the Turk to replace Islam, and a hundred other ways to break its power.

And it still didn't work entirely. Kafir populations have vanished slowly from Turkey. The current secularism is buckling under resurgent Islam.

That's what's also wrong with your attempted equivalence between Islam and Buddhism, Christianity etc. Islam isn't like other religions. Islam is not primarily a faith or a system of spirituality. It is, first and foremost, a system of law. A way to order society. It is much closer to Communism, Fascism and Nazism than it is to something like Christianity.

Don't take my word for it. Spend a weekend reading, say, Ibn Warraq. I understand where you're coming from, but it's wrong. It just isn't what Islam is.

It could be argued that the very idea that an entire sector of society that is identified by nothing morre than its race, ethnicity or religion

Sorry, that's an apples-and-pears list. Two apples and one pear. It's grotesque to discriminate on the basis of race, because people's character is not determined by their epidermis. But men's character is hugely influenced by their religion, just as it is by any ideology.

Take the only other parallel we have of a fanatical religion that used suicide-murder to get what it wanted, and exalted war and bloodshed: Imperial Way Shinto. Remember what needed to happen to end that.

Now imagine if you had large-scale immigration during the Second World War with temples to the God Emperor being opened, preaching Hirohito's divinity and the destiny of Imperial Japan - do you care to imagine how that would have turned out?

That he is bringing his preconceptions about Islam and Muslims and applying it to people he does not know, many of whom were born and grew up not in his land of birth but here, in Britain under a completely different set of circumstances. I can see the argument that such blanket assumptions based on no more than the community of origin of a person comes dangerously close to racism.

Not quite. You see, the same doctrine is being preached from British pulpits. Calls for murder of Sikhs and Hindus (and Jews, obviously) are quite routine in the major mosques of the UK (something that the islamosuckup brigade here seduously ignore).

I don't agree with his choice, neither on moral grounds, nor even on bleak practical grounds (plenty of white supremacists are finding out its the supremacist bit and not the white they like, and enjoy the fact that all they have to do is grow a beard and change their name to Adbullah and they can rant about Jews as much as they like - another fact ignored by the islamosuckup brigade). Yet I can see how he gets there, given the naked horror of what he faced.

It is precisely the illiterate, petulant squawkings of the likes of strange & harpy that are setting up what can only be described as a clash of uncivilizations.

I once heard that Jihad literally translated to 'struggle for the faith', whether that struggle was internal to the believer or external

That's an old apologia. It's bullshit. There's one, unreliable hadith that talks about spiritual struggle, and hundreds that talk about ot as struggle to extend the rule of Islam over the world.

In a way our resident ninnie makes my point very well. He's very hysterical about the handful of dominionist Christians in the US who want rule by Biblical law. But Muslims who want rule by Shariah? We yawn. We laugh. What else is new?

Which is my point. A level of fervour that would be considered extreme in other faiths is the norm, the to-be-expected in Islam.

Pretty much every ethicity has its share of what might fairly be discribed as 'angry young men' who often embrace extreme politics. BNP 'skinheads' being a case in point among the White community

Certainly true, but it's the relative levels. There are, what, 10,000 members of the BNP? Oh, gimme a break. My university union has more members than that.

On the other hand, the supporters of the Jihad world wide are measured in eight figures. Think about that.

I'd just like to say at this juncture that I think your concerns are honest, about the horrible possibility of the aforementioned "clash of uncivilizations". I certainly wouldn't want that, and it would be not just immoral, but stupid. I'm from Kenya originally, and, as I've mentioned before, have anti-Jihadist allies from the Indian subcontinent, the Sudan and so on. We're all kaffirs, we're all in this one together.

Just on that note, I think you made a mistake when I was talking about the Sudanese genocide. I wasn't referring to the most recent one (and it tells you a lot about Islam that this is the way I have to talk), I was referring to the previous one in which two million Christians and Animists were killed.

Yet, that you mention the janjaweed brings up something else worth noting. People try to say "Oh, it's Arab Muslims against Black Muslims, so, _of course_, Islam has nothing to do with it." Wrong. Islam has always been a vessel for Arab supremacism. Arab Muslims have a contempt for non-Arabs that is hard to grasp, and especially for blacks (the Arab word for black - abeed - is the same as for slave. It's a rather worse word than nigger).

I just happen to think that this is best tackled by dialgue and education rather than any more dire measure.

Absolutely. We need a campaign of counter-Da'wah, of relentless cultural imperialism. Yet that means first of all being honest about what the problem is - the teachings of Islam itself - and second of all being utterly unapologetic about the fact that our civilization is far superior.

I doubt Sunni and Shia muslims view themselves as interchangeable. I would say that it is equally possible to be Muslim and fiercely opposed to terrorism. Especially if members of your own family were victims of such terrorism.

Two points: first of all, Sunni and Shia are interchangeable in every way that matters to us - they both hate infidels equally, believe in tyranny and totalitarianism etc.

Secondly, sure, there are Muslims who'll start complaining about terrorism being used on Muslims. They don't open they're yaps for us kaffirs. No, Muslims do have a habit of only feeling the shoe when it pinches them.

I don't mean to duck the rest, but I am out of time. Talk later.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

(I figure if he can throw out baseless accusations, he can get them too)

You are demonstrably a homophobe, Cimourdain, as you've made clear by using anti-gay insults.

You are demonstrably an unrepentant liar, as documented previously.

This is the sort of thing that can only be written by someone who knows absolutely nothing about the Shariah, its foundations, or how it has remained monolithic for a thousand years. The gates of ijtihad are shut, they aren't opening again.

Surprise, another lie. Sharia is neither monolithic nor unchanging. This is trivial to observe.

To name several of the various conflicting schools of thought: Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki, Shafi'i, Ja'fari. Thus, not monolithic.

To its continually evolving nature: "there are no modern authoritative treatises of Islamic law as there was in the pre-modern era, and for that reason, any application of Islamic law to a current dispute inevitably requires a judge to engage in a certain amount of hypothetical reasoning, always a difficult task in even the best circumstances."

Did you learn that lie from reading Ibn '0.6 Timecubes' Warraq?

So on the one hand you have strange lying through his teeth to defame Geert Wilders,

Anyone can go to his website and confirm that he is not just anti-Islam, but calling for the end to all non-Western immigration. There's no explanation for that which is consistent with a non-racist critique of Islam. But it makes fine sense when you acknowledge he's a white nationalist.

and on the other hand, lying through his teeth to defend Shariah.

If you could actually demonstrate anything that you allege I'm lying about, you would. I'm defending Sharia for the sake of argument. You might try thinking outside your own biases for once yourself.

That's what's also wrong with your attempted equivalence between Islam and Buddhism, Christianity etc. Islam isn't like other religions. Islam is not primarily a faith or a system of spirituality. It is, first and foremost, a system of law. A way to order society. It is much closer to Communism, Fascism and Nazism than it is to something like Christianity.

I don't know about Buddhism, but Christianity and Judaism are first and foremost systems of law.

The Mitzvahs and Talmud provide an all-encompassing structure for social systems from a kingdom to a community to a family to an individual's private time. Yes, including laws; the Tanakh is full of them.

Catholicism is the same if not worse, having a doctrine or three for absolutely everything, literally including the thoughts one should strive to drive from one's mind, up to the operation and purpose of a modern nation, and what manner of laws that nation is permitted to have.

And of course evangelical Christianity has the same, as mentioned earlier.

All the Abrahamic religions are potentially authoritarian, and all have successfully been authoritarian at some point in their history. Catholicism remains so today, and I suppose you know what this is.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

(I figure if he can throw out baseless accusations, he can get them too)

You are demonstrably a homophobe, Cimourdain, as you've made clear by using anti-gay insults.

You are demonstrably an unrepentant liar, as documented previously.

This is the sort of thing that can only be written by someone who knows absolutely nothing about the Shariah, its foundations, or how it has remained monolithic for a thousand years. The gates of ijtihad are shut, they aren't opening again.

Surprise, another lie. Sharia is neither monolithic nor unchanging. This is trivial to observe.

To name several of the various conflicting schools of thought: Hanafi, Hanbali, Maliki, Shafi'i, Ja'fari. Thus, not monolithic.

To its continually evolving nature: "there are no modern authoritative treatises of Islamic law as there was in the pre-modern era, and for that reason, any application of Islamic law to a current dispute inevitably requires a judge to engage in a certain amount of hypothetical reasoning, always a difficult task in even the best circumstances."

Did you learn that lie from reading Ibn '0.6 Timecubes' Warraq?

So on the one hand you have strange lying through his teeth to defame Geert Wilders,

Anyone can go to his website and confirm that he is not just anti-Islam, but calling for the end to all non-Western immigration. There's no explanation for that which is consistent with a non-racist critique of Islam. But it makes fine sense when you acknowledge he's a white nationalist.

and on the other hand, lying through his teeth to defend Shariah.

If you could actually demonstrate anything that you allege I'm lying about, you would. I'm defending Sharia for the sake of argument. You might try thinking outside your own biases for once yourself.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 04 Jan 2010 #permalink

That's what's also wrong with your attempted equivalence between Islam and Buddhism, Christianity etc. Islam isn't like other religions. Islam is not primarily a faith or a system of spirituality. It is, first and foremost, a system of law. A way to order society. It is much closer to Communism, Fascism and Nazism than it is to something like Christianity.

I don't know about Buddhism, but Christianity and Judaism are first and foremost systems of law.

The Mitzvahs and Talmud provide an all-encompassing structure for social systems from a kingdom to a community to a family to an individual's private time. Yes, including laws; the Tanakh is full of them.

Catholicism is the same if not worse, having a doctrine or three for absolutely everything, literally including the thoughts one should strive to drive from one's mind, up to the operation and purpose of a modern nation, and what manner of laws that nation is permitted to have.

And of course evangelical Christianity has the same, as mentioned earlier.

All the Abrahamic religions have the potential to absolutely dominate the lives of people they rule, including non-believers, and all have successfully done so at some point in their history. Catholicism still does so today, and I suppose you know what this is.

It has been argued, by Hitchens and others, that these systems are totalitarian or authoritarian. Certainly at the worst of times the case can be made very strongly. But in any case they are first and foremost systems of law, as that's what tribalism is.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

I love it - strange calls me a homophobe and links to something that... doesn't actually have any anti-gay comments.

I rest my case. Strange is a liar without conscience and without scruple - unless of course he is simply too stupid to have either. There's good evidence for that - witness this:

I don't know about Buddhism, but Christianity and Judaism are first and foremost systems of law.

Utter nonsense uttered in a tone of assurance. THe dump-heap mind on display in its full decomposition.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

But men's character is hugely influenced by their religion, just as it is by any ideology.

And do you have any idea how malleable those ideologies are? How easily anyone of any religion can rationalize any verboten behavior they prefer? Do you even know any Muslims? Any idea how many Muslims in Britain like to get drunk? Any idea how many Muslims in the Middle East like to get drunk?

You keep repeating all these scary scenes like Muslims live as Party members in 1984. The factual existence of shades of gray is completely lost upon you. Too much fearful propaganda, not enough personal effort to explore reality. Afraid of the dark?

Take the only other parallel we have of a fanatical religion that used suicide-murder to get what it wanted, and exalted war and bloodshed: Imperial Way Shinto. Remember what needed to happen to end that.

A short list of others who used suicide attacks: the Dutch in Taiwan in the 1660s, Prussians in the 1860s, the Russian Narodnaya Volya in the 1880s, a plot to kill Hitler in 1943, the Viet Minh against the French occupiers, the Tamil Tigers. The last fought to establish a Hindu and Christian state in Sri Lanka. Religious, suicidal, violent, understandably, as they fought for their own freedom.

Now imagine if you had large-scale immigration during the Second World War with temples to the God Emperor being opened, preaching Hirohito's divinity and the destiny of Imperial Japan - do you care to imagine how that would have turned out?

So do you support the internment camps?

Not quite. You see, the same doctrine is being preached from British pulpits. Calls for murder of Sikhs and Hindus (and Jews, obviously) are quite routine in the major mosques of the UK (something that the islamosuckup brigade here seduously ignore).

Citation needed, obviously. From a non-biased source.

plenty of white supremacists are finding out its the supremacist bit and not the white they like, and enjoy the fact that all they have to do is grow a beard and change their name to Adbullah and they can rant about Jews as much as they like

Citation needed, although in this case you are obviously just making up bullshit as fast as you can think of it.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

I love it - strange calls me a homophobe and links to something that... doesn't actually have any anti-gay comments.

Piece of shit homophobe who calls his opponents "hysterical pansies" and is now lying about the fact.

Utter nonsense uttered in a tone of assurance.

Except that it's well-known fact. Do you even know what the Talmud is?

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

I suppose you will now claim that when you call people pansies and faggots, you don't mean them to be anti-gay slurs. Bullshit, of course, you know what it means.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

Cimourdain,

In a way our resident ninnie makes my point very well. He's very hysterical about the handful of dominionist Christians in the US who want rule by Biblical law. But Muslims who want rule by Shariah? We yawn. We laugh. What else is new?

1. you seem to have a very large hand.
2. knowing that the USA has accumulated about half of the planet's military arsenal, the prospect of a US Christian Theocracy is clearly the bigger threat to worldwide stability.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

"Why would art need standards of reason? It's art. One of its strengths is that it can be blissfully devoid of reason."
More precisely, your analysis of it needs that strict application of logic. By the standards you've set down (IE explicitly none) I can say that Westergaard's cartoon is commentary on how nice it is to have a blue sky, or that Thomas Nast thought more city people should see the Vulture in its natural habitat. Not only are those analyses nonsense as messages, but it's, euphemestically, difficult to tie those meanings back to their sources because there's no attempt to connect those.

"As for intellectual accountability, that's precisely what I'm demanding of you in your assessment of the picture itself, sans the artist's intentions."

Since you went out of your way several times to miss it, I sincerely doubt you're going to pay attention this time. Frankly, you seem to be at least as biased as you claim I am. Nonetheless.

The cartoon relies on two symbols, intricately tied together; Mohammed, and his hat.* His hat has been replaced with a bomb. Given the surly look on Mohammed's face, one can be sure that he intends to use said bomb. Given Mohammed, Islam's holiest prophet, and his intent to use the bomb, I'm left with the idea that Islam, and by extension its followers, are dedicated to violence. One can argue that you could comment on Islam independent of its followers, but without any sort of imagery to make that clear, I don't see how that can be the case.

Putting that aside, how sure are you that you're not biased?

"So the poem gives Westergaard's actions a positive spin. But we're not going to look at any of the criticism of him below because...? Oh, because you don't have a point if we do that. Nice try."
That was your response to my saying that the dude was lionized. Bear in mind that two people are responsible for bringing any sort of criticism to bear, AND ONE OF THEM IS ME. And those of us who HAVE been criticizing Westergaard have been fought every step of the way. I'm pretty sure that those of us criticizing Westergaard can criticize the rest of you for praising his actions uncritically. You can't claim my actions as proof that you have not only been doing something, but that you've been doing the opposite of what you actually did. Then again, if you're in Merika, that flies. We've had a run of senators claiming that their votes against the Stimulus Bill entitle them to claim credit on that bill's successes.

Putting that specific issue aside, you've claimed at least thrice now that my analysis hasn't been supported, when I've done so several times. Further, you've made nonsensical arguments in conjunction (Like that you don't have to defend your interpretation. Buh? Then why the hell do I?) with this.

One of my favorites was
"Again, your objection depends on tying in the context with the statement. Is "my father is sleeping with his secretary" inappropriate by itself?"
Yes. Yes it is. It is completely inappropriate as a public statement outside of some sort of specific context. It is private information that can only embarrass. There are contexts where it might be appropriate to say ("Speak now, or forever hold your peace" prior to a wedding), but outside of something specific, it is something you actually are supposed to filter.

Freedom of Speech means that if I want to comment on my father's improprieties, my speech is protected** but that doesn't automatically make every word that comes out my mouth appropriate. Case in ->fucking<- point.

To tie this directly back into the image, it's an insulting depiction of almost 2 billion people with no nuance and no subtlety***. I can think of it being rendered appropriate within given contexts, I think. But I don't see how that isn't inappropriate by default, because it's an incredible stereotyping (Literally in-credible. I've already demonstrated you can't even stereotype a population of a thousand, so let's not discuss doing so to a population of something like 1.7 billion) and a massive insult. Protected speech, always, but not necessarily appropriate.

Disagree, if you please, but if you'd like to claim once more that I have not /made an argument/, you are far more biased then I. And certainly more insulting, considering that the farthest I went with you was calling an unreasoned, unsupported analysis irrational, compared to you insulting both my intelligence and imagination.

*It is a rare portrayal, especially among stereotyped ones, that fails to show desert peoples from North Africa and the Middle East without either a turban or whatever you call the cloth meant to be soaked, worn like a sort of veil for the back of the head. And some of /those/ rare portrayals will be fezzes

**If it is true, at any rate, but that's a specific due to the nature of statements about private individuals

***Or at best, merely their beliefs. And ask anyone who just got out of a conversation with a passive aggressive evangelical about just how easy it is to mock both simultaneously.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

strange gods,

Walton! Am I a liar?

No. In my experience, you're very honest.

However, your major character flaw is a tendency to jump to conclusions about the moral character of people who disagree with you. It took me a considerable amount of effort to convince you that I'm not a misogynist and that I don't despise poor people, for instance. You have a tendency to assume that commenters who hold right-leaning views must be dishonest, malicious and/or foolish. (This is particularly odd, since by your own account you used to be a libertarian yourself.)

Oh, right. I have to translate something vital for the stupid people who really think I'm against Free Speech

*Takes out the breakfast cereal decoder ring*

Protected = You can say it out loud without fear of any reprise beyond peacable criticism. Doing so might paint you as a dumbshit, racist, contrarian, devil's advocate, god's advocate, defenestrator, Australian, Sooner, Lawyer, Really Bad Lawyer, Bus of Nuns, etc., but you can (Or should be able to, in the case of these illegal and immoral physical reprisals) certainly say it without having to worry about physical violence, incarceration, ass kicking, defenestration, trained hippos, etc.

I am not for one second against Freedom of Speech.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

strange,

Actually, even my homosexual colleagues use that term for emotionally incontinent ignoramuses such as yourself. Because that is exactly what you are.

The rest of your post makes that point rather neatly. You have never done a days worth of research on this subject, otherwise you would not ask such damn fool questions. Try "Undercover Mosque" for starters.

But there's a broader point: for all the hysterical screeching by our resident castrano about "racism" and "homophobia", he is singing a defence of the ones who'll happily kill gays in a duet with a whitewasher of genocide. What a lovely little song. One should put the two of you in a cage, and put you on display, possibly in a Damien Hirst exhibition.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

Castrano ? Did you mean castrato ?

Pansy, ninny, castrato... I notice you have a predilection for unmanly slurs.

By negentropyeater (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

Homophobe Cimourdain,

Actually, even my homosexual colleagues use that term

Yes, we call each other faggots too. Usually in a friendly way. Don't presume that you can try this yourself. Regardless of who's saying it, when you're using it as an insult, it is an anti-gay insult.

This shouldn't be hard to understand, and if you weren't so invested in your own ego, you might grasp that whatever you think of someone -- and I think you are a piece of shit -- that doesn't make it okay to attack their sexual orientation, attacking others of the same sexual orientation by extension.

The rest of your post makes that point rather neatly. You have never done a days worth of research on this subject, otherwise you would not ask such damn fool questions. Try "Undercover Mosque" for starters.

I said non-biased sources. I am well aware that there's a nonzero number of mosques preaching heinous shit. You asserted that it's "quite routine in the major mosques of the UK." That's a larger statement, and that's what you'll have to support with non-biased sources. So come on, where are they?

But there's a broader point: for all the hysterical screeching by our resident castrano

And another bigoted gendered insult. You really are a misanthrope, Cimourdain. It's a wonder you can live with yourself.

he is singing a defence of the ones who'll happily kill gays in a duet with a whitewasher of genocide.

No, I am merely correcting your mistakes. There are indeed Muslims who kill gay people; there were beheadings of gay teen boys in Saudi Arabia within the last few years, as I recall. Of course I make no defense of that. Nor am I a pacifist; if I thought war would improve that part of the world, then to war I would go.

I am correcting your own rash over-enthusiastic genocidal tendencies. You are too quick to believe the worst imaginable about the people you hate, and not all of it is true. Even if it turns out that liberalism must defeat Islam on the field of battle, misunderstanding one's enemy will do no good. We won't have to defeat an entire religion, and you're a fuckwit for gleefully envisioning Armageddon, but all I'm doing here is correcting your mistakes. I'm sorry you can't understand that, and you think investigation equals excuse.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

Comrade,

No. In my experience, you're very honest.

Thank you. It's hard work, you know. ;)

However, your major character flaw is a tendency to jump to conclusions about the moral character of people who disagree with you. It took me a considerable amount of effort to convince you that I'm not a misogynist and that I don't despise poor people, for instance.

Quite sure I've made this clear about two hundred times, but I'm happy to explain it again, because I don't want you to have the wrong idea about precisely which terrible opinion I had of you.

I never believed you had a burning hatred for women. I said you were disinterested in their lives and exhibited a cold contempt for their needs. (Pretty much those exact words; I hope they sound familiar.)

For example, at one time you said late-term abortion should be illegal simply because "Is it not more horrific for millions of people to die with the blessing of the state than for them to die through crime?"

You said this in direct response to the presentation of WHO data demonstrating that limitations on abortion caused more women's deaths.

In effect you were trading women's deaths for the sake of making a morality play about a larger number of fetal deaths.

You look back on this now and agree it was a horrific stance to take. But consider what it meant. You had to be indifferent to -- or shall we say inconsiderate, as in truly not considering -- these women's suffering to adopt that position.

You had to view them as something less than full persons, because you were literally trading their lives for the lives of something else -- fetuses -- which really are less than full persons.

I think you finally got over this when I made you think about how, regardless of whether a fetus has sensory input, the woman has more to lose: memories, desires, lovers, hopes, friends, plans and dreams. Thinking about it that way, you can so easily see how one is a full person and the other not, yes?

But you were previously willing to trade on their lives against something less than full persons. Now, how is this not cold contempt? Aquaria put it in slightly more direct language. You understand now, I hope, what we were getting at.

Again, it doesn't mean that you made a conscious decision to be that way. It means you grew up in a misogynist culture, and since you had the benefit of obliviousness granted upon you by male privilege, you didn't have to think about what you were absorbing. (Same for me, by the way, when I was much younger and held similar opinions, to my mother's lament.)

So, what else do you want to call it? What word would you apply to the choice of privileging a barely sensorily aware entity over the real life of a grown woman? If that's not misogyny, then what is it? and if that's not misogyny, then just what does it take for you to call misogyny?

You have a tendency to assume that commenters who hold right-leaning views must be dishonest, malicious and/or foolish. (This is particularly odd, since by your own account you used to be a libertarian yourself.)

Not odd at all. I was foolish. I was inexperienced, and simplistic mantras like "do not initiate force" sounded like they meant something very profound and satisfying. I think you can relate, actually.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

That's an old apologia. It's bullshit. There's one, unreliable hadith that talks about spiritual struggle, and hundreds that talk about ot as struggle to extend the rule of Islam over the world.

Doesn't matter that Jesus didn't say "to each according to his needs, from each according to his abilities." What matters is how many Christians think that sounds vaguely familiar.

Doesn't matter whether the hadith is reliable, what matter is whether Muslims believe it and teach it. And they do; it's huge, and it's a lovely fluffy thing to talk about it, because most Muslims, like most people, have never even been in a good bar brawl and don't relish the thought.

Why do Christians emphasize the love in the Bible? Not because it's prevalent; there's barely ten words about it. But because it feels good to talk about. Same reason Muslims emphasize the internal spiritual journey. That's what most of them would prefer to spend their time thinking about.

And not only in the hadith do we find this non-violent use of jihad. It's right there in the Koran. Surah 49:15

Only those are believers who have believed in Allah and His apostle and have never since doubted but have striven with their belongings and their persons in the cause of Allah: Such are the sincere ones.

Innamal muminuna lazina amanu billahi wa rasulihi summa lam yartabu wa jahadu bi amwalihim wa anfusihim fi sabil lah ulaika humus sadiqun

So your revisionist history, in which jihad always means war, is proven to be another lie.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

strange gods before me, OM # 339:

A short list of others who used suicide attacks: the Dutch in Taiwan in the 1660s, Prussians in the 1860s, the Russian Narodnaya Volya in the 1880s, a plot to kill Hitler in 1943, the Viet Minh against the French occupiers, the Tamil Tigers. (emphasis mine)

Now I am really curious: When and under which circumstances did the Prussians use suicide attacks in the 1860s?

-kuckucksblume

By https://www.go… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

In the Battle of Dybbøl, Carl Klinke blew himself up with 30 pounds of powder to make a hole in the gate.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

I don't know, the Prussian military resorting to suicide tactics against the Danes seems to be a little like cutting off your hand and replacing it with a chainsaw to swat flies. (No offense meant to Danes or to Bruce Campbell.)

@ # 353, # 354, # 355:

I understood suicide attacks to be terrorist attacks against civilians, not during a battle. But I admit that attacks on the battlefield can be counted, too.

However, even if the story of Klinke were true, it would have been a single incident and Klinke’s personal and spontaneous decision, which does not justify the statement "the Prussians used suicide attacks", the way e. g. the Japanese used suicide attacks at the end of WW II.

And German wikipedia says that the story of Klinke has been proven historically false long ago and that Klinke died by accident when the explosives went off too early.

-kuckucksblume

By https://www.go… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

SC: Now, I'm not one to sell Christianity's crazy short, but let's keep in mind Huckabee's a politician...

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

SC: Now, I'm not one to sell Christianity's crazy short, but let's keep in mind Huckabee's a politician...

I've heard some Muslims are as well. :)

(I really do believe the presidential candidate was being sincere there. In any case, I think we should err on the side of caution and take all expressions of desire for theocracy seriously.)

And German wikipedia says that the story of Klinke has been proven historically false long ago and that Klinke died by accident when the explosives went off too early.

Ah well. I suppose the Englishe page should be fixed then.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

I've heard some Muslims are as well. :)

I've heard that about Ahmenamesarehardijad, at least. Not that he's the one in charge, but... yes, it's valuable to remember for Islam as well. And any other religion.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

Tsk. So the Prussian military has been denied its Battle of Helm's Deep, Olympic-torch-runner-suicide-attack-Orc moment. Oh well.

@ Bobber:

Yes. And it has also been denied its Arnold-von-Winkelried moment, which seems to have been the model for the Klimke story.

-kuckucksblume

By https://www.go… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

Islam isn't like other religions. Islam is not primarily a faith or a system of spirituality. It is, first and foremost, a system of law. A way to order society. It is much closer to Communism, Fascism and Nazism than it is to something like Christianity.

Don't take my word for it. Spend a weekend reading, say, Ibn Warraq.

Christianity isn't like other religions. Christianity is not primarily a faith or a system of spirituality. It is, first and foremost, a system of law. A way to order society. It is much closer to communism, fascism and National Socialism than it is to something like Buddhism.

Don't take my word for it. Spend a weekend reading, say, Rushdooney.

If you can stomach it, that is.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

Well, "Buddhism"… I should have specified Pure Land Buddhism, which is so similar to Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular that China has a long and glorious tradition of confusing the two and Japanese Christians used it to hide when they were persecuted.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

Take the only other parallel we have of a fanatical religion that used suicide-murder to get what it wanted, and exalted war and bloodshed: Imperial Way Shinto. Remember what needed to happen to end that.

It is not a parallel. You are forgetting important historical facts (yes, I know, reality is so inconvenient sometimes in debate) about the Japan WWII scenario you are trying to rope into your ill-fitting analogy. Here are a few of them:

1. Kamikaze tactics were only used as a large-scale strategy (as opposed to isolated individual efforts which are commonplace occurrences in war in all sides, throughout history) at the end of the war, when things were looking very, very bad (basically hopeless) for the Japanese. It was, in other words, a last-ditch desperation attempt to avoid the ignomity of unconditional surrender.

2. Earlier in the war, when Japan was still fighting in a condition of relative parity, suicide attacks were not used and they took care to preserve the lives of their soldiers, like any other rational army would (the well-trained soldier being the most valuable and effective weapon of war, it is military idiocy to throw such assets away needlessly).

3. By the time the kamikaze strategy was adopted, the disparity in performance capability between American and Japanese airplanes had widened to the point that the majority of Japan's remaining combat aircraft were tactically ineffective for any combat role other than as kamikaze bombers. In other words, it was fight was kamikaze tactics, or not fight at all (ie surrender).

4. The kamikaze strategy was adopted on a large scale only after it was tried on a small scale and observed to work - ie it more effectively damaged the enemy than any other tactic tried up to that point. In other words, something at least vaguely resembling a scientific method was attempted to evaluate the kamikaze strategy before it was adopted.

5. The kamikaze strategy was not sustained for all that long - peaking over a couple months of fighting, and the reason for that was that it became increasingly difficult to recruit pilots willing to fly kamikaze planes. After the initial pulse of willing suicide pilots were used up, the pool of potential volunteers dried up.

6. The Japanese high command were under no illusion that kamikaze attacks would win them the war at that point. The whole and only focus of the Japanese strategy in the last year of the war was to avoid an invasion and occupation of the home islands - ie defeat in some form was inevitable but what they were trying to avoid was total defeat. And the primary aim of the kamikaze strategy was a psychological attack on the Americans' will to continue fighting. They wanted to convince the Americans that the invasion of the Japanese home islands would be an unprecedented bloodbath - that in essense the entire civilian Japanese population was going to come at them with kitchen knives and sharpened sticks, and that American GIs would be forced to slaughter women and children by the hundreds in order the achieve victory. The whole strategy was a PR campaign to try and convince the Americans that negotiated settlement, wherein Japans gets to retain at least some remnant of its pre-war government, would be preferable to a continued push for unconditional surrender.

6. The big irony is that the Japanese strategy worked. They read the Americans perfectly, and the Allies were in fact, deterred from launching an invasion of the Japanese home islands. What Japan's strategists did not account for was the fact that the Americans would get their hands on atomic weapons.

The critical distinction is that Japan's use of kamikaze was defensive. When Japan was on the offense, they used traditional military tactics. They turned to suicide tactics only after the whole ill-thought WWII enterprise had already blown up in their faces and the war was lost. The strategic goal motivating the strategy was no longer victory, but merely better terms in a negotiated surrender.

Why Imperial Japan refused to countenance unconditional surrender (which in hindsight would have saved them many lives and left them in the exact same position they ultimately found themselves in) can indeed be attributed to the triumph of ideology over rationality, but that is a separate issue.

strange gods before me (#303)

Nowhere did I tell you what you should be talking about.

Except for telling me that what I'm talking about is "irrelevant" and "diversionary" and that the discussion is about what you say it's about, not what I've decided to pursue.

I said Rutee had not proposed, even implicitly, anything more than mere discussion of what is appropriate behavior in a civil society...

And I say that her statement proves you wrong. She's claiming that not only is publishing the cartoon with the intent of stirring up hostilities wrong (which I'm not arguing with), but that the image itself is somehow inappropriate. If saying "in no galaxy" isn't universal enough, right after that bit, Rutee said: "If it weren't in the Jyllands-Posten I could at least assume run of the mill stupidity, not racism, but it wasn't!" So, whoever draws or publishes it, there's something wrong with it. You admit to disagreeing and responded earlier with: "It would be entirely appropriate if drawn and published in a Muslim nation." So hey, you're apparently able to consider the image apart from the context.

It's just a discussion, and you're welcome to participate in it, but that's all it is.

See, you're telling me what I'm supposed to be talking about, yet again.

Amusing that you talk about me "inviting myself to butt in" right after you admonish me for "presuming to tell you what you should contribute to the thread."

It's consistent to say that if you don't want to discuss what I'm discussing, stay out of it rather than telling me what the discussion is "really" about.

This "enforcement of voluntary choice" stuff is very confused.

If you didn't keep insisting I meant something I didn't, no doubt it would be a lot less confusing. What's ironic is that your little sermons about structured decision making based on agreement aren't at odds with what I was getting at. I'm saying that we can't seem to get to that point. Asking rhetorically who decides and who enforces the lines was to illustrate the lack of agreement thanks to the difficulty in deciding what's "appropriate" with such subjective material. Who makes and enforces the voluntary standards should be, as you say, no one but ourselves. But without agreement, there is no "we." Thus it follows that, lest we stifle ourselves by catering to everyone's sense of propriety, it's more sensible to risk making inappropriate images and combating them instead with criticism.

And the answer is discussion to the goal of consensus; if no consensus is reached, then individuals voluntarily choose to do what they were going to do anyway. This is all very simple. There's barely a point here for you to belabor.

Then either help explain that to Rutee, who doesn't seem to understand, or ignore this part of the discussion. If it pleases me, I can keep after this piddling little point so long as Rutee keeps responding. You're not required to watch.

The image has very effectively retained the artist's intentions, as it has been distributed almost exclusively as a package in this set of Danish newspaper cartoons.

And those intentions cling visibly to the image even when it's presented outside the package?

As to the theoretical case of it somehow losing all context and no longer even being perceived as a picture of Muhammad, that's a far future sci-fi notion that I'm not high enough to care about.

You keep saying you don't care, but you keep sticking your nose into my discussion. Make up your mind.

You are explicitly talking about enforcement, so you are not talking about voluntary choice. Do let me know when you finally grok this.

Do let me know when you've finally grokked that you're making a huge deal out of a rhetorical device by assuming my intent, ignoring the context, and choosing to stick to a preferentially exclusive understanding of the word "enforce."

Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom (#343)

By the standards you've set down (IE explicitly none) I can say that Westergaard's cartoon is commentary on how nice it is to have a blue sky...

Nope, see what you're doing? Referring to it as "commentary" involves the maker's intentions. I've already acknowledged no one can rewrite the artist's intentions for him. However, one's perceptions of the image and one's personal response to the symbols used don't have to agree with the artist's intentions. For instance, while it might be unusual, it wouldn't be wrong to say the image inspired in you feelings of how nice it is to have a blue sky. You don't need any specific, logical reason to respond that way. I don't need any specific, logical reason to see what I see. Nor do you. Until you try to pretend that you see something objective.

Given the surly look on Mohammed's face, one can be sure that he intends to use said bomb.

Maybe you feel certain of the cartoon Muhammad's intent, but that's your personal interpretation. No one else is required to share your certainty.

I'm left with the idea that Islam, and by extension its followers, are dedicated to violence. One can argue that you could comment on Islam independent of its followers, but without any sort of imagery to make that clear, I don't see how that can be the case.

Except that Muhammad = Islam = all Muslims is your own set of equivalences. I don't make those connections. I'm not even really sure how you make such leaps. But apparently because you do, artists must go to pains to cater to your personal biases or they're doing something wrong.

Putting that aside, how sure are you that you're not biased?

Where did I say, or even imply, I'm not biased? Let me repeat this relevant snippet: "Your biases aren't the problem--your lack of awareness of them is. My interpretation is a product of my biases." The difference is, I'm not pretending my interpretation is objective.

That was your response to my saying that the dude was lionized.

The point was, we cannot "safely say that he and his work have been promoted uncritically" below the very criticism supplied by yourself and others.

I'm pretty sure that those of us criticizing Westergaard can criticize the rest of you for praising his actions uncritically.

Where have I praised his actions? Earlier, I said "I can agree his message is heinous." I only disagreed with your insistence that the image itself is inappropriate.

One of my favorites was
"Again, your objection depends on tying in the context with the statement. Is "my father is sleeping with his secretary" inappropriate by itself?"
Yes. Yes it is. It is completely inappropriate as a public statement outside of some sort of specific context. It is private information that can only embarrass. ... [I]f I want to comment on my father's improprieties, my speech is protected.

All right, I'll give you half a point. There are many situations where people ignorant of the context would agree by default you shouldn't say this in public. However, your argument depends largely on the assumption that it is, in fact, private information and that the father is misbehaving. Those conditions aren't attached to the phrase itself. And then there are all the situations where you would agree it is appropriate. The point is, whether or not to say it is still too dependent on the situation, not the words themselves.

But here, if you want to see what I'm asking for, why don't we go back to the example of "sand nigger." I don't think there is any context, whether public or private, where its meaning is ambiguous or where we shouldn't work to eradicate its use. Everyone understands "nigger" to be a racial epithet loaded with negative connotations. While some black Americans may use "nigger" situationally without any negativity, they do not use it in combination with "sand." So we can reason that "sand nigger" is both objectively pejorative, even if we don't know who is using it to refer to whom, and that it incidentally relies on invoking racism towards black people.

Disagree, if you please, but if you'd like to claim once more that I have not /made an argument/, you are far more biased then I.

Your argument doesn't support your objective claim because it relies entirely on your highly subjective interpretation of the images in the cartoon. Claiming you can't imagine any interpretation but your own is no excuse. There is no unambiguous equivalence between Muhammad, Islam and Muslims.

...you insulting both my intelligence and imagination.

I don't see where I insulted your intelligence. However, you insulted your own imagination with your oft repeated plea that you "don't know how this image can be viewed as anything but..."

Except for telling me that what I'm talking about is "irrelevant" and "diversionary"

Fair enough. It is irrelevant and diversionary, but this may reasonably be understood as me telling you what to talk about.

and that the discussion is about what you say it's about, not what I've decided to pursue.

No, the discussion is in fact not about some structured process of community decision-making and Orwellian "voluntary enforcement", because no one has proposed that except you, though you still disingenuously try to push the idea off onto Rutee.

This is not a normative statement; it is a descriptive statement: the discussion is not about your bullshit.

The normative statement is that your bullshit is diversionary and disingenuous.

I said Rutee had not proposed, even implicitly, anything more than mere discussion of what is appropriate behavior in a civil society...

And I say that her statement proves you wrong. She's claiming that not only is publishing the cartoon with the intent of stirring up hostilities wrong (which I'm not arguing with), but that the image itself is somehow inappropriate.

Non sequitur. Rutee does appear to be claiming that the image in inherently inappropriate. Yet it does not follow that there should be anything more than a discussion of what is appropriate.

So this is where you screwed up your logic so badly? You took "that's not appropriate" and interpreted it to mean "we must have some structured system of 'voluntary enforcement' to force people to act appropriately."

Weird. I'm not sure how you made that leap. Perhaps whenever you did something inappropriate as a child, your family got out Robert's Rules of Order.

If saying "in no galaxy" isn't universal enough, right after that bit, Rutee said: "If it weren't in the Jyllands-Posten I could at least assume run of the mill stupidity, not racism, but it wasn't!" So, whoever draws or publishes it, there's something wrong with it. You admit to disagreeing and responded earlier with: "It would be entirely appropriate if drawn and published in a Muslim nation." So hey, you're apparently able to consider the image apart from the context.

No, I'm not judging the image apart from context. I'm imagining it in a different context. But imagining it does not actually remove it from its context, and it does not present a completely decontextualized image. In the real world, the image exists only in its real context of demonizing the other.

And that has not a thing to do with "voluntary enforcement" of some agreed-upon "line."

It's just a discussion, and you're welcome to participate in it, but that's all it is.

See, you're telling me what I'm supposed to be talking about, yet again.

No, my telling you that you were willing to participate was a reply to your complaint that I was telling you what to talk about. I was trying to make you feel welcome, because these kind of arguments can have the effect of making people feel very unwelcome. The likes of Cimourdain, hznfrst and Stuart are not welcome here at all. You are.

The fact that it is just a discussion is a descriptive statement, not normative. You're the only one who's proposed anything more. And that wouldn't be disingenuous in itself, except that you've tried to claim it was Rutee who proposed it, instead of you.

It's consistent to say that if you don't want to discuss what I'm discussing, stay out of it rather than telling me what the discussion is "really" about.

A. Noyd, if you were merely proposing these ideas as your own, I wouldn't have anything more to say about them. When you claim Rutee's implying them, then you are misrepresenting what the discussion is really about.

What's ironic is that your little sermons about structured decision making based on agreement aren't at odds with what I was getting at.

Not ironic; I offered that when I thought you were proposing government censorship, as an example of something less alarming but which Rutee still had not even vaguely implied (#287).

I'm saying that we can't seem to get to that point.

No surprise, since no one's suggesting it except you, and no one seems to want it.

Asking rhetorically who decides and who enforces the lines was to illustrate the lack of agreement thanks to the difficulty in deciding what's "appropriate" with such subjective material.

Adding the issue of enforcement was an unnecessary distraction if all you wanted to discuss was the evolution of social norms.

Who makes and enforces the voluntary standards should be, as you say, no one but ourselves. But without agreement, there is no "we."

The "we" is society, and while we do not have unanimity on anything, there is a general consensus that, say, hanging an effigy of Barack Obama is inappropriate. And we do address such acts and actors socially, through ostracism and shaming, without any formal process.

It is false that we need unanimity, it is false that we need enforcement. We have neither of those things and yet people still learn the social messages regarding appropriate behavior.

Thus it follows that, lest we stifle ourselves by catering to everyone's sense of propriety, it's more sensible to risk making inappropriate images and combating them instead with criticism.

What bullshit. People make public art for others' reactions, praise, fame, and curiosity. The expectation of others' reactions is in the artist's mind already, and if they do not want to be met with condemnation, then they know how to accomplish that; we are social apes, and we depend heavily on our theory of mind.

If one is planning to publicly hang an effigy of Barack Obama, one should damn well stifle that plan, unless the goal is to be despised.

Westergaard should not be a racist. It's a bad thing to be, unfair and prejudicial toward one's neighbors. Westergaard therefore should not create race-baiting imagery in the first place. It's not a matter of "you should publish whatever springs to mind and see what happens," any more than when standing on a bridge, you should listen to that curious voice that says "what would happen if I jumped?" Self-restraint is not only a mark of maturity, it is fundamentally necessary to the organism.

Westergaard damn well should have stifled his racist self. And this criticism is a message to the next racist fuck who contemplates such a thing; they should find something better to do with their time, like taking a dog for a walk.

And the answer is discussion to the goal of consensus; if no consensus is reached, then individuals voluntarily choose to do what they were going to do anyway. This is all very simple. There's barely a point here for you to belabor.

Then either help explain that to Rutee, who doesn't seem to understand, or ignore this part of the discussion. If it pleases me, I can keep after this piddling little point so long as Rutee keeps responding. You're not required to watch.

Let me explain this to you, A. Noyd. Not one of Rutee's replies has taken your bait about "enforcement." You are having a conversation with yourself.

And those intentions cling visibly to the image even when it's presented outside the package?

Fairly reliably, yes. They cling just fine here in the United States, where racist fucks like Stuart throw insults about Arabs and camels. You may pretend that they are without context here, but these racists needed no further provocation to show up and start proudly brandishing their disgusting worldviews.

As to the theoretical case of it somehow losing all context and no longer even being perceived as a picture of Muhammad, that's a far future sci-fi notion that I'm not high enough to care about.

You keep saying you don't care, but you keep sticking your nose into my discussion. Make up your mind.

A patently disingenuous response. What I said I don't care about was the fantasy notion of an image without context. I do care about the actual context of the image in the real world.

(And that was the first and only time I said I didn't care about something in this thread, so you can hardly say "you keep saying you don't care.")

Do let me know when you've finally grokked that you're making a huge deal out of a rhetorical device by assuming my intent, ignoring the context, and choosing to stick to a preferentially exclusive understanding of the word "enforce."

No, I already took your point that you weren't talking about police enforcement. My point is there is no kind of enforcement compatible with the word "voluntary." And look, I already explained as much:

Again, it doesn't matter what sort of "enforcement" you're talking about; enforcement and voluntary choice are at counter purposes.

If something is voluntarily being chosen, no enforcement is necessary. If the individual voluntarily chooses to do something that breaks the agreement, and enforcement is then used, then the enforcement is not enforcing a voluntary decision, because the individual has just changed their mind about what they now voluntarily choose.

Now, if you'd like to offer what the hell you think you mean by "voluntary enforcement," go on and do it. But enough with this nonsense of insisting that I don't understand what you mean while you refuse to explain what you mean.

The point was, we cannot "safely say that he and his work have been promoted uncritically" below the very criticism supplied by yourself and others.

Some people here have criticized, others have promoted uncritically. So it remains the case that he and his work have been promoted uncritically, although those who did so have themselves been criticized.

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

"Nope, see what you're doing? Referring to it as "commentary" involves the maker's intentions. I've already acknowledged no one can rewrite the artist's intentions for him. However, one's perceptions of the image and one's personal response to the symbols used don't have to agree with the artist's intentions. For instance, while it might be unusual, it wouldn't be wrong to say the image inspired in you feelings of how nice it is to have a blue sky. You don't need any specific, logical reason to respond that way. I don't need any specific, logical reason to see what I see. Nor do you. Until you try to pretend that you see something objective."

Alright, pal. You have a choice. I am 'off the clock'. I make a point of speaking conversationally while 'off the clock'. I can destroy the entire conversation by no longer playing nice on the differences between conversational and literal english. If I have to deal with that bullshit, the rest of you can join me.

Or you can behave like a human being and try and read for intent instead of forcing everyone you disagree with to speak in 'pixel perfect' legalese. Like the rest of us do with you. I don't really care what you decide, but bear in mind I plan on holding you to your decision.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink
You have a tendency to assume that commenters who hold right-leaning views must be dishonest, malicious and/or foolish. (This is particularly odd, since by your own account you used to be a libertarian yourself.)

Not odd at all. I was foolish. I was inexperienced, and simplistic mantras like "do not initiate force" sounded like they meant something very profound and satisfying. I think you can relate, actually.

Perhaps. But would you not accept that there are people on the political right who are neither dishonest nor malicious nor foolish? I would certainly be happy to accept that there are people on the political left who do not possess any of those qualities. I do not believe that there is a single objectively "correct" political ideology that all rational, wise and decent people must inevitably reach.

Perhaps not a single one, but a set. Consider one's objectives. They are either to maximize utility for everyone, or secure rights -- interests which compel protection -- for everyone, or they are neither of these. If neither, then one's objectives simply are not decent. Given one's objectives, there are policies which will achieve them and policies which will not; this is an empirical question.

There are reasonable disagreements to be had over policies, but they may be resolved by evidence. There are reasonable disagreements to be had over objectives, and these may be partially resolved by evidence -- psychology; what do people actually want? In the remainder there is room for honest disagreement, but the major flaw of right-wing rights-based arguments is not an honest one; it is a deliberate denial of the nature of power as freedom. And this may be fairly easily exposed as bullshit, so we now agree that "freedom, in a meaningful sense of the word, refers to the practical ability to do something that one wishes to do, and is therefore synonymous with power."

I have not yet seen a right-wing stance which was both morally decent and consistent with reality. This is not to say it must not exist, and neither have I seen God. But I have searched sincerely for both, and my expectations of finding either have waned.

Is all ignorance foolishness? Is all indecency maliciousness? I am not wholly comfortable with these words. I will say that the right-wing appears to be wrong, and at least morally negligent.

As to misogyny, what else do you want to call it?

By strange gods b… (not verified) on 05 Jan 2010 #permalink

Consider one's objectives. They are either to maximize utility for everyone, or secure rights -- interests which compel protection -- for everyone, or they are neither of these. If neither, then one's objectives simply are not decent. Given one's objectives, there are policies which will achieve them and policies which will not; this is an empirical question.

I don't think that the distinction you draw between utilitarian and rights-based political philosophies need necessarily be made. In my understanding, within Utilitarianism, there is a distinction between "act-utilitarianism" and "rule-utilitarianism". Act-utilitarianism holds that each individual act of public policy should be calculated to produce, crudely, "the greatest happiness for the greatest number". The obvious problem with this, morally, is that it allows for sacrifice of the individual for the good of the community. So if, for example, the public execution of an innocent man could be shown to serve some greater social good, act-utilitarianism would allow for it.

"Rule-utilitarianism", on the other hand, holds that public policy should take place within a framework of rules and institutions that are generally geared towards producing the greatest happiness and prosperity for everyone. These rules should be consistently applied, however, even where the outcome in the individual case is not beneficial. So, for example, a rule-utilitarian can argue for the consistent application of rights of due process, even in a case where this leads to a murderer going unpunished, because the consistent application of due process rights in general serves the greater social good of protecting the innocent. Similarly, a rule-utilitarian can argue for consistent freedom of speech even where this allows a Nazi or a radical Islamist to advocate violence and hatred; because even though the outcome is harmful in the individual case, the general principle of free speech serves a greater social good. Rule-utilitarianism is fundamentally based on the assumption that it is beneficial for all individuals in society to be governed by clear and consistent rules which are applied fairly, therefore allowing them to lead autonomous lives without fear of being maltreated arbitrarily by the state.

Yet this political philosophy, while it incorporates a doctrine of individual rights, is still fundamentally a pragmatic consequentialist theory. It doesn't rely on some abstract concept of inviolable "natural rights" pulled from the ether. Rather, in deciding what the rights of individuals should be and how they should be applied and enforced, we need to rely on empirical evidence to determine whether the consequences will be beneficial.

(Continued from #373 - sorry, I hit "Submit" before I was finished.)

So I agree that all decent, rational people must fundamentally share an ultimate objective for public policy. But let's break that down a little further.

We agree that a political system should serve, in crude utilitarian terms, "the greatest happiness of the greatest number". But "happiness" is a very poorly-defined term; "good" even more so. Ideas about what constitute true "happiness" differ from individual to individual. Some would argue that each individual's definition of "happiness" for him- or herself is equally valid, and would therefore adopt a liberal perspective, seeking to maximise individual autonomy and allow for "the pursuit of happiness". Others would argue that individuals cannot be trusted to choose for themselves the path that leads to true "happiness", and so advocate paternalism and state control to prevent people from harming their own interests. Most often, however, people's political views are a confused mix of both liberal and paternalist ideas.

With this in mind, different people can look at the same empirical evidence and advocate different policy prescriptions. In the sphere of economics, unrestrained capitalism is the best system for achieving maximum economic growth and wealth-creation. But it can't achieve certain other objectives, such as income equality or the protection of the environment. Different people have different ideas about the relative importance of these factors to the "good" or "happiness" of individuals, and so adopt different policy ideas. Similarly in the moral and social sphere; religious paternalists might argue, for instance, that prostitution is injurious to the "spiritual" health and emotional wellbeing of those who engage in it, and therefore that the state should seek to stamp it out. Conversely, someone of a liberal or libertarian leaning would be more likely to argue that it is for the individual to pursue happiness in his or her own way, and that if he or she chooses to engage in prostitution, this should be an available choice. The empirical sociological evidence is not contested, but the specific objective is.

Cimourdain @ 335;

I don't mean to duck the rest, but I am out of time. Talk later.

Fair enough. In case we pick this conversation up again later, here are my parting thoughts.

Turkey is secular because Attaturk fought hard to break the power of Islam. That meant: no hijabs, no participation in the political process of you went to a madrassa, the cult of the Turk to replace Islam, and a hundred other ways to break its power.

Is it not also true that Turkey's secularism has been maintained, at least in part, by periodic military intervention in the Turkish polity? I am not sure that it is desireable for constitutional secularism to be safeguarded by the military. The threat of a military coup constantly hanging over any civilian government that does not toe the line has as much potential to threaten representative democracy as an Islamic theocracy, in my opinion at least.

And it still didn't work entirely. Kafir populations have vanished slowly from Turkey. The current secularism is buckling under resurgent Islam.

The mistreatment of non-muslim groups like the Kurds in Turkey is a cause of great concern and is the principal reason why Turkey has not yet been granted membership of the EU. While I can see why many secularists in Turkey are very worried about the rise of Islam in Turkish politics, the fact remains that the current civilian Turkish government (that has so annoyed the Turkish military by pushing for a greater degree of Islam in Turkish public life) did come to power in an election that was considered reasonably free and fair by most observers. If the people of a democracy vote for an Islamist government, then the public democratic will must be respected. It is no democracy if the people's choice is only allowed to stand if they vote the 'right' way. A degree of populism is unavoidable in a mass enfranchisement based political system. Even if people vote for something that may transpire to be bad for them and the country as a whole, that is a price that must be payed if a democratic system is to remain credible.

That's what's also wrong with your attempted equivalence between Islam and Buddhism, Christianity etc. Islam isn't like other religions. Islam is not primarily a faith or a system of spirituality. It is, first and foremost, a system of law. A way to order society. It is much closer to Communism, Fascism and Nazism than it is to something like Christianity.

As has been pointed out by other contributors, Christianity and Judaism also have a history of providing systems of religious law. Indeed, there are still people who seek the adoption of such faith based law today in many parts of the world. Before the (legally unjustifiable and rather brutal) Chinese annexation, Tibet was run as a Buddhist theocracy, and by all accounts a somewhat oppressive one for all the attempts of the likes of Richard Gere to rehabilitate the Dalia Lama's public image.

Even where religions power does not translate into a system of literal law, religion still exercises systems of 'soft power' control. The Catholics no longer have an Inquisition per se (though Pope Palpati- err, Ratzinger's former job description may make one wonder), but proclamations from the pontiff about the inefficacy of condoms at preventing HIV transmission due to microscopic holes being engineered into their structure (!?), has still caused massive suffering and death without a shot fired or a law passed. What matters here is mechanisms of control, rather than systems of law as such. While Sharia may aspire to the status of legal enforceability, other religions have their rules and injuctions of faith that, while less codified, can bind believers just as strongly and can still influence even nominally 'secular' law by means of influencing the world view of legislators.

Sorry, that's an apples-and-pears list. Two apples and one pear. It's grotesque to discriminate on the basis of race, because people's character is not determined by their epidermis. But men's character is hugely influenced by their religion, just as it is by any ideology.

While it is true that theology influences worldview just like any other ideology, it could also be argued that the cultural context of one's upbringing, that may in some cases be intimately related to one's ethnicity, may also influence one's worldview to varying degrees, at least in one's early life. This still does not justify discrimination on this basis. Also, As I stated earler, I do not believe that Islam can accurately be described as a monolithic cultural expression. There are variations within Islam between different sects and subdivisions of the faith, some more extreme, some less so. There is only so much you can tell about the specifics of a persons beliefs from the general label 'Islam' or 'Muslim'. Further assumptions run the risk of unjustified and discriminatory generalisation.

Take the only other parallel we have of a fanatical religion that used suicide-murder to get what it wanted, and exalted war and bloodshed: Imperial Way Shinto. Remember what needed to happen to end that.

Amphiox @ 336 has already discussed the differences between radical Islam and Japanese Kamikaze tactics at some length. I would just like to add that there are some other examples of extreme religions that used suicide murder throughout history as a means of manipulating politics. One such example being the Jewish Zealot movement that fought against the Roman occupation. This group often had its adherents openly murder Roman officials in the certain knowledge that escape was impossible and death at the hands of the said official's bodyguards was inevitable. Arguably, the Zealots pioneered religiously motivated political suicide-terrorism. The idea is not new, or even originally muslim in origin.

Now imagine if you had large-scale immigration during the Second World War with temples to the God Emperor being opened, preaching Hirohito's divinity and the destiny of Imperial Japan - do you care to imagine how that would have turned out?

Does your analagy not require that one draws some level of equivilency between the current 'war on terror' (if I may use such an controvercial term)and World War Two? I would say that, terrible as the current conflict is, it has not yet seen carnage on a scale comparable to the Second World War, although it is certainly a partially ideologically motivated conflict of global scope. Also, most mosques do not preach a 'creed of Al Qaeda' per se which would be necessary to acheive a direct parallel between current events and your hypothetical scenario.

Not quite. You see, the same doctrine is being preached from British pulpits. Calls for murder of Sikhs and Hindus (and Jews, obviously) are quite routine in the major mosques of the UK (something that the islamosuckup brigade here seduously ignore).

While some radical imams in places like the Finsbury mosque do preach hatred from the pulpit, could not the same argument be made against evangelist Christian preachers in the US and beyond whose attitude toward homosexuals, women and unbelievers is scarcely more tolerant than that of the militant Islamists? The Ugandan anti-homosexual laws that were supported by US evangelicals being a case in point. Whatever the individuals attitude toward the sexual orientation of others, seeking to use law as a weapon against those whose only crime is a different set of sexual aesthetics is innately discriminatory and an abuse of purpose of law. Seeking to export such hatred abroad could even be seen as a global religious agenda that has some things in common with militant Islam.

That's an old apologia. It's bullshit. There's one, unreliable hadith that talks about spiritual struggle, and hundreds that talk about ot as struggle to extend the rule of Islam over the world.

Yet a great many moderate clerics place special emphasis upon the importance of the spirtual side of Islam. Even if the authority in the Hadiths is weak, does it matter so long as the practical expression of Islam by most mainstream muslims is non-violent? As a parallel, the whole bit in Christianity about not mixing fibres has reasonably firm scriptural support so far as I know, yet few Christians bother with it these days. Doubtless much to the relief of the textiles industry.

In a way our resident ninnie makes my point very well. He's very hysterical about the handful of dominionist Christians in the US who want rule by Biblical law. But Muslims who want rule by Shariah? We yawn. We laugh. What else is new?

I cannot speak for Strange Gods, but I see the two groups as roughly equivilent in their intent, if not yet their methods (though we should not forget the likes of Timothy McVeigh). Religious extremists of many stripes wish to rule the world. While Al Qaeda and its affliliates are currently the best organised, equipped and funded of such groups it is a fair bet that if the extremists of other religions could build up equivilent material resources then they too would engage in an attempt to compel the adoption of their theology among others by force. Extremist maniacs are much of a muchness in my eyes, whichever belief system they happen to have attached themselves to.

Certainly true, but it's the relative levels. There are, what, 10,000 members of the BNP? Oh, gimme a break. My university union has more members than that.

But the BNP is only one far right group whose membership is limited to the citizenry of one country. This cannot fairly be compared to all the adherents of militant Islam world wide. If we were to add in organisations like the KKK and Combat 18 and the innumerable other Far Right and Neo-Nazi organisations that operate world wide, then the gulf in numbers may not be quite so prenounced.

I'd just like to say at this juncture that I think your concerns are honest, about the horrible possibility of the aforementioned "clash of uncivilizations". I certainly wouldn't want that, and it would be not just immoral, but stupid.

I agree with you there. No sane person should aspire to a Huntingdon-esque Clash of Civilisations. Such a global war would cause unprecedented casualties if prosected with modern weaponry, and the possibility of the conflict goling nuclear does not bear thinking about.

Just on that note, I think you made a mistake when I was talking about the Sudanese genocide. I wasn't referring to the most recent one (and it tells you a lot about Islam that this is the way I have to talk), I was referring to the previous one in which two million Christians and Animists were killed.

Sorry. My mistake. Islam has a nasty history of genocide and massacres, but so do many other faiths and secular ideologies. Sometimes Muslims are on the receiving end, as we saw in the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s.

Yet, that you mention the janjaweed brings up something else worth noting. People try to say "Oh, it's Arab Muslims against Black Muslims, so, _of course_, Islam has nothing to do with it." Wrong. Islam has always been a vessel for Arab supremacism. Arab Muslims have a contempt for non-Arabs that is hard to grasp, and especially for blacks (the Arab word for black - abeed - is the same as for slave. It's a rather worse word than ni**er).

Certainly Some Arab Muslims see Islam as a justification for Arab supremicism, but the same is true of many Caucasian Christian evangelists the world over who see Christianity as a vessel for White supremacism. Their contempt for other ethnic groups, women, homosexuals and non-belivers in general is equally hard to grasp for anyone of a liberal mindset. I see the usefulness of religion as a means to justify race hatred and racially motivated violence (along with any other homophobic or misogynistic or similar violence or hatred) as the core problem here. The particular religion being used to this end is secondary.

Absolutely. We need a campaign of counter-Da'wah, of relentless cultural imperialism. Yet that means first of all being honest about what the problem is - the teachings of Islam itself - and second of all being utterly unapologetic about the fact that our civilization is far superior.

I think it is possible to countert militant Islam without casting all varients of Islam as equally to blame. As for the 'superiority' of our civilisation (if I may assume that you are referring to Western liberal democratic pluralist societies here), well part of the point of a multicultural society like the US or UK is the fact that it is not the product of any single culture or ethnic group. It is a combination of the efforts of many such groups that exist under an umbrella of laws intended (in the best case scenario, at least) to maintian equality for all.

We would likely have difficulty even finding a universally acceptable definitiohn of what contemporary Western civilisation is, still less whether it is objectively 'superior' to another culture. Especially since any appearence of 'superiority' may have come about due to greater access to wealth and resources that were originally secured by the less than luadable means of colonial occupation and oppression. Some part of that wealth may even have been built on the back of the abomination of slavery (though this applies to both civilisations in question).

Also, leaving aside the relative merits of differing civilisations for the moment, I do not think that the best way to persuade moderate muslims away from the temptations of extremism is by putting forth the idea that another culture is manifestly superior to their own. I think that this is more likely to entrench negative stereotypes that are held in some quaters of the Islamic community about the arrogance of Westerners, and may only serve to exacerbate inter-community tensions. I think that efforts should be made to communicate the idea to Muslim youth (and indeed all citizens, especially the young)that we all live under the aegis of secular law that both applies to us all equally and is intended to protect the rights of us all equally. Violent extremism of any stripe is a threat to the operation of such law and as such runs contrary to the common good. I think that this approach would be more productive and less likely to worsen the situation by providing additional ammunition to the apologists for extremism.

Two points: first of all, Sunni and Shia are interchangeable in every way that matters to us - they both hate infidels equally, believe in tyranny and totalitarianism etc.

I do not believe that such views are held equally by every Shia and every Sunni. I do not think that the available evidence is strong enough to claim that it is impossible to combine a belief in moderate Islam with a belief in democracy and personal freedom for oneself and others.

Also, within each broad grouping there are sub-sects with wildy different views. Suffi Muslims are hardly comparable in their level of militancy to adherents to the Whahabi (apologies for spelling) sect that Bin Laden himself belongs to. These differences do, or at least should, matter to us. If we do not try to fully understand broader Islam then our ability to combat its militant manifestations will likely be degraded. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, why expand our potential list of adversaries needlessly? If, as I believe, coexistence can be maintained with moderate Islam then it should be. As you yourself have said earlier, it would benefit no one if this conflict is escalated to the level of a 'clash of civilisations'.

Secondly, sure, there are Muslims who'll start complaining about terrorism being used on Muslims. They don't open they're yaps for us kaffirs. No, Muslims do have a habit of only feeling the shoe when it pinches them.

I do not think that it is possible to accurately describe the attitudes of all Muslims thusly. There is no evidence that adherence to moderate Islam renders a person incapable of empathy automatically. While there are certainly some Muslims who only care about the well being of their co-religionists, ethno-centrist attitudes are hardly limited to Muslims. Just look at the decades of blase American Isolationism which amounted to 'if it doesn't directly effect us, why the hell shouild we care?' Or my own country's history of land grabs and colonial resource theft along with the idea, expressed not entirely ironically, that 'god is and Englishman!'

Pretty much every major civilisation in history has, from time to time, expressed the idea that the rest of the world can go to the hell-trope in a handbag, so long as they are alright.

Did the Western governments really care about the Taliban's mistreatment of Afghans or Sadam's various massacres before 9/11? Certainly not enough to spend billions of dollars and launch wars over it.

oes the West care enough about the African Aids pandemic to come down hard on drug companies who seek to profiteer, even more than usual, rather than help the sick and dying? Apparently, not so much as to risk alienating those companies or opening up the difficult area of copyright law for reform.

Does the West care enough about rights abuses in the Middle Eastern oil producing states to risk a hike in the price of Crude? Hell no, that would lead to higher prices at the pump in the US and other Western nations, and that would cost votes.

This attitude is not uniquely Muslim. It seems that many of us only really feel the shoe when it pinches us. Especially among those who hold the reins of power.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 06 Jan 2010 #permalink

I am still not doing very well with the blockquotes. Apologies to all.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 06 Jan 2010 #permalink

strange gods before me, OM @ 299;

Intersting post. You have a point about people looking to government and law for elements of their sense of morality and social mores. Perhaps only a very few concessions to Sharia elements are needed? Just enough to create the sense that the concerns of the Islamic community are respected, while avoiding compramising the capacity of UK law to protect individual rights or its secular credentials.

I hope my post @ 266 was of interest to you, as a component of our little thought experiment if nothing else.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 06 Jan 2010 #permalink

Pansy, ninny, castrato... I notice you have a predilection for unmanly slurs.

negen,

Well, it's an accurate description. Incidentally, I take strong exception at strange's suggestion that hysterical emotional incontinence is synonymous with homosexuality. But I'll let that pass for the moment.

Well, well. You lot - you know who you are - should start your own organization "Atheists for Jihad and Shariah".

I mean just look at this stuff:

So your revisionist history, in which jihad always means war, is proven to be another lie.

Here is a collection of ten Qu'ran translations:

http://qb.gomen.org/QuranBrowser/

Take a look at Sura nine. Furthermore you can read back and see that I specifically mentioned that Jihad isn't necessarily qital, but it is invariably struggle to extend Islamic rule over the world.

Andrew Bostom's Legacy of Jihad is about two inches thick. It consists of a compilation of texts from classical Islam through to modernity to expound the centrality of Jihad. There is no other religion in the world that has the idea of war and conquest at its heart. No other religion has this kind of a comprehensive theology mandating war and subjugation of the unbeliever.

To not know this is to know nothing about the subject. I mean, absolutely nothing. Not that this stops people like David from thinking that kindergarten style arguing changes reality.

Here is Bertrand Russel:

Bolshevism combines the characteristics of the French Revolution with those of the rise of Islam....Marx has taught that Communism is fatally predestined to come about; this produces a state of mind not unlike that of the early successors of Mahommet....Among religions, Bolshevism is to be reckoned with Mohammedanism rather than with Christianity and Buddhism. Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation. Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of this world"

Gregory,

In reverse order...

oes the West care enough about the African Aids pandemic to come down hard on drug companies who seek to profiteer, even more than usual, rather than help the sick and dying?

Excuse me, there is a considerable movement to try to halt the spread of AIDS in Africa. More importantly, this is another "apples and pears" comparison. Where're the "not in our name" rallies for jihad atrocities? When has there ever been an outcry about Muslim attacks on Infidels?

This cannot be attributed to the West. It simply can't. When a Christian ruler, Milosevic, decided to start slaughtering Muslims by the gross, it was a Christian nation that went to war to put a stop to him.

Sorry, this is just not comparable.

Did the Western governments really care about the Taliban's mistreatment of Afghans or Sadam's various massacres before 9/11?

From this, I take it you were in favor of the removal of Saddam Hussein then, and generally in support of the neoconservative school of thought? I just want this clear.

From a purely pragmatic standpoint, why expand our potential list of adversaries needlessly?

A fair point, but it's never practical to ignore reality. Islam is what it is, and it isn't helped by pretending its something else. There might be some Machiavellian logic in publicly pretending otherwise, but that ignores the hundreds of millions of Infidels who do not get what Islam is, what it is all about, and what it has in store for them. That business of education is the most important thing right now - so important, I would say, that our survival literally depends on it.

As you yourself have said earlier, it would benefit no one if this conflict is escalated to the level of a 'clash of civilisations'.

That is not what I said. I was talking about the nightmarish possibility of a clash of uncivilizations - that, because of people like strange and harpy dominating the conversation, people will be driven to less respectable representatives. Bosnia, on a global scale.

Here's a passage from Christopher Hitchens's review of America Alone:

Why did Bosnia collapse into the worst slaughter in Europe since World War Two? In the thirty years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 percent to 31 percent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 percent to 44 percent. In a democratic age, you can’t buck demography—except through civil war. The Serbs figured that out—as other Continentals will in the years ahead: if you can’t outbreed the enemy, cull ’em. The problem that Europe faces is that Bosnia’s demographic profile is now the model for the entire continent.

This is a highly reductionist view of the origin and nature of the Bosnian war—it would not account, for example, for Croatian irredentism. But paranoia about population did mutate into Serbian xenophobia and fascism, and a similar consciousness does animate movements like the British National Party and Le Pen’s Front Nationale

To continue:

If we do not try to fully understand broader Islam then our ability to combat its militant manifestations will likely be degraded.

Couldn't agree more. Understanding Islam is absolutely vital. I do, however, think that this might be more profitably addressed to certain boastful ignoramuses on this site, rather than myself.

Suffi Muslims are hardly comparable in their level of militancy to adherents to the Whahabi (apologies for spelling) sect that Bin Laden himself belongs to

Another mistake. There are many, many Sufis who are every bit as terrifying as the Wahabis. I don't just mean rank-and-file, but big, respected scholars whose writings resound with bloodlust as much as those of Mohammed abd al-Wahab. Take Al Ghazali, for instance.

I do not believe that such views are held equally by every Shia and every Sunni. I do not think that the available evidence is strong enough to claim that it is impossible to combine a belief in moderate Islam with a belief in democracy and personal freedom for oneself and others.

Unfortunately, the trouble is that the overwhelming majority of Muslim countries are unfree, and undemocratic.

I think that efforts should be made to communicate the idea to Muslim youth (and indeed all citizens, especially the young)that we all live under the aegis of secular law that both applies to us all equally and is intended to protect the rights of us all equally.

Well, yes, but where do you think that those secular laws come from? Muslims see, quite correctly, that this is a naked clash of cultural ways. The idea that laws should be secular is unique to Western civilization, and the result of a hard struggle. Islam rejects that as blasphemy.

We would likely have difficulty even finding a universally acceptable definitiohn of what contemporary Western civilisation is, still less whether it is objectively 'superior' to another culture

Okay, I'd suggest reading Ibn Warraq's Why the West is Best:

http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_1_snd-west.html

A brief quote:

In short, the glory of the West, as philosopher Roger Scruton puts it, is that life here is an open book. Under Islam, the book is closed. In many non-Western countries, especially Islamic ones, citizens are not free to read what they wish. In Saudi Arabia, Muslims are not free to convert to Christianity, and Christians are not free to practice their faith—clear violations of Article 18 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In contrast with the mind-numbing enforced certainties and rules of Islam, Western civilization offers what Bertrand Russell once called “liberating doubt,” which encourages the methodological principle of scientific skepticism. Western politics, like science, proceeds through tentative steps of trial and error, open discussion, criticism, and self-correction.

Respect for reason is better than fearful inshallah fatalism. Equality before the law is better. Freedom of speech is better than censorship. And so on.

The Jihadists are crystal clear - they want to destroy this civilization and replace it with their own ways. Unless we match that level of determination, be prepared to loose.

Certainly Some Arab Muslims see Islam as a justification for Arab supremicism, but the same is true of many Caucasian Christian evangelists the world over who see Christianity as a vessel for White supremacism.

True, but nothing on the same scale. Those are usually the result of sub-sects (the KKK, the early Mormon Church and the Dutch Reformed Church spring to mind). Yet Pope St. Victor, pontiff from 189 to 199, was black and gave us things like the celebration of Easter on Sunday.

Contrast this with, for example, Muhammad's comments about "ethiopians with heads the size of a raisin". Arabness suffuses Islam. Arabic is its holy language, which prayers must be said in. And so on.

But the BNP is only one far right group whose membership is limited to the citizenry of one country

Okay, let's take it neat then. If you consider the 40% of British Muslims who are apparently hot for Shariah, then we've got more fully fledged nutters amongst a Muslim minority than amongst a "indigenous" majority.

Dollars to doughnuts, I assure you, the entire Nazi-and-similar membership on the planet is a sandgrain compared with the forces of the Jihad. With one single, exception - that hideous fusion of Islamonazism that you can find in the Middle East (moderate, progressive PLO has twenty five members who took the name Hitler).

Look, can I try and make this easy? We've had ghastly atrocities at the hands of a religion founded by a pacifist. Do you care to imagine what we can expect at the hands of one founded by a warlord?

That's the problem. You're very much pushing at an open door with me when it comes to Catholic nonsense about AIDS or its collusion with fascism or...

But there is a crucial difference between a religion that has sometimes been an aid to fascism and tyranny and one that is itself fascistic and tyrannical.

You see when, say, the hideous Buddhist theocracy was brought down or the Second World War was won, or the Inquisition shut down, or - oh, take your pick. The point is that after that, the moderate faithful had a simple way out. They could just point to the actual words of Jesus Christ or Gautama Buddha and say that the evil was a perversion of their founders noble intentions, obviously.

That door doesn't exist with Islam. There is no way - none - to argue that war, slavery, rape and murder are not mandated by Islam.

That's what makes our situation so bad. There is no hope for a situation like the one we have with Christianity, where we occasionally have to clobber its more annoying manifestations but, by and large, can get on with our lives. That's not going to happen because the foundational texts of Islam are fundamentally about one thing: hatred of everything that is not Islam.

I'll respond to the bits about Imperial Shinto later, but I'll just point out one thing now: one argument made was that the Japanese military and their filthy god-king only started using suicide attacks when things were going against them. Well, what does this imply, except that Islam is an even more bloodthirsty and frightening foe?

I remember something once said about Islam: "A secular dogma like Nazism is less dangerous than Islam. It's less dangerous because in Islam, it's God Almighty telling you to do these things, not just the Fuehrer".

Once again, Gregory, I know where you're coming from. The picture I'm painting isn't just bleak - it's completely fucking terrifying. Want to know just how bad it could get? With original, pure Islam resurgent across the world, we could be looking at the equivalent of a Nazi empire stretching from Indonesia to Nigeria, commanding the allegiance of the best part of a billion people, and armed with nuclear weapons.

This is why I get so angry when riff-raff like strange act as though this is all part of some sinister bias on my part. For chrissakes do you think I want to think of that as the future? That I wouldn't give anything to be wrong about this?

I didn't learn as much as I did about Islam because it's an interesting subject. I did it because I was hoping to prove myself wrong.

I'll respond to the rest later.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 06 Jan 2010 #permalink

strange gods before me (#369)

No, the discussion is in fact not about some structured process of community decision-making and Orwellian "voluntary enforcement", because no one has proposed that except you, though you still disingenuously try to push the idea off onto Rutee.

Wow, you are so wrapped up in this crusade to prove your mistake isn't a mistake, you can't seem to understand that I only alluded to anything even like that rhetorically to stress the lack of agreement needed to draw lines over inappropriate images. I haven't said Rutee brought up community decision making, rather that Rutee's desire for "us" to refrain from crossing the line of stereotyping people would require some form of agreement on whether the images in the cartoon do that. What I did say Rutee brought up was the notion of the cartoon itself being objectively inappropriate apart from its context.

You took "that's not appropriate" and interpreted it to mean "we must have some structured system of 'voluntary enforcement' to force people to act appropriately."
Weird. I'm not sure how you made that leap.

I didn't make that leap; you did. I've already explained what I meant by the "who decides/enforces" bit. Maybe try taking me at my word? And if you weren't constantly bringing this up, it wouldn't be a topic at all. I alluded to something rhetorically and now you're making out that I was drawing the whole conversation that direction. Since you can't seem to help yourself, I'll ignore you from now on where you presume what I meant.

No, I'm not judging the image apart from context. I'm imagining it in a different context. But imagining it does not actually remove it from its context, and it does not present a completely decontextualized image.

All right, if you like. I suppose it's confusing that I'm not explicitly acknowledging that there's always going to be some context, and I should have corrected you earlier as to what I mean, which is that the propriety of images (and words and phrases) can change depending on the context, but that's not always the case. Where an image is inappropriate no matter the context, however, there must be some recognizably inappropriately element or combination of elements within the image to base that on. For instance, whether one is a racist or not, one ought to know that drawings of East Asians with buck-teeth and slits for eyes are racist. When artists like Roger Shimomura or Gene Luen Yang make such drawings, it's only appropriate because they're doing so in the context of commenting on racism.

On the other hand, while I acknowledge Westergaard's intentions, if we're to say the image on its own works to stereotype Muslims, we should be equally eager to condemn much of the art in Jesus and Mo. And maybe you would, but I don't think there's a case for either. However, I'm not opposed to changing my mind if a reasonable case were to be made. And that is what I've been requesting of Rutee. If you consider that irrelevant and diversionary, then feel free to ignore it.

No, my telling you that you were willing to participate was a reply to your complaint that I was telling you what to talk about. I was trying to make you feel welcome...

Despite how it comes across that way, I'll believe you that you didn't mean that I was welcome to discuss only what you think the conversation is about and not my own "diversionary" tangent--though, looking back, the "diversionary" nature you're objecting to is almost entirely of your own invention.

What bullshit. People make public art [blah blah]

What a lot of words to prove only that you missed the point. I'm talking about the particular instances where the propriety of something remains ambiguous. If we can muster enough agreement, there's obviously no problem. If we can't, then we ought to worry less about crossing lines and more about criticism after the fact, perhaps with the goal of better establishing such lines.

Now, if you'd like to offer what the hell you think you mean by "voluntary enforcement," go on and do it.

General consensus, peer pressure, social norms, persuasive arguments by groups or individuals, appeals to logic and evidence, etc. The question could be translated as, "Where is the __(fill in the blank with the suggestions above)__ needed for us decide/maintain the line (in relation to the images in the cartoon)?" Keep in mind that it was a rhetorical device meant to point out the absence of any of those. If you want to say it was an unreasonable or incorrect usage, that's your opinion; I disagree.

But enough with this nonsense of insisting that I don't understand what you mean while you refuse to explain what you mean.

Except I did explain: "Asking rhetorically who decides and who enforces the lines was to illustrate the lack of agreement..." It's not my fault if you're determined to see something more absolute.

Some people here have criticized, others have promoted uncritically. So it remains the case that he and his work have been promoted uncritically, although those who did so have themselves been criticized.

Okay, I'm wrong; I guess we can "safely say that he and his work have been promoted uncritically" if we're incredibly literal about it. Your original intent seemed to be to say it was PZ who'd promoted it uncritically. I declined to agree or disagree as it wasn't relevant to my point. Rutee, however, brought up the comments in support. If we're going to include comments, we can just as safely say, without qualification, that "he and his work have been soundly criticized." If Rutee meant what she said about uncritical promotion only at the most literal level, than I admit I misread.

Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom (#370)

Or you can behave like a human being and try and read for intent instead of forcing everyone you disagree with to speak in 'pixel perfect' legalese.

I'm not asking, much less forcing, anyone to speak legalese or "literal" English (whatever that is). I am asking you to stop attaching inappropriately assumed conditions to what is supposed to be objective reasoning. For example, don't use the context the cartoon was drawn in to defend a statement where you removed it from that context. Don't keep referring to your own biases when talking about how people in general would respond to particular images. Don't assume the situation referred to in the statement "my father is sleeping with his secretary" includes wrongdoing on the part of the father. Things like that.

I try to quote what I'm drawing my conclusions from, so if I'm mistaking your intent anyhere, it should be pretty simple to let me know you meant something else. For instance, did you perhaps mean to imply that you can talk about a piece of art as being "commentary on" something without reference to the artist's intentions? If you did, then I will take your word for it, but I would insist the idea of commentator-less commentary is beyond absurd.

However, no matter how many places you can point to where I am misinterpreting you, none of it will amount to an excuse for you arguing an objective point with nothing but your personal biases. The fact is, you still haven't supported your statement. Your footnote in 343 about "a rare portrayal, especially among stereotyped ones" and "desert peoples from North Africa and the Middle East" came closest, but falls short for several reasons, not the least of which is your own casual admission that the stereotype doesn't cover all Muslims.

Like the rest of us do with you.

Yeah, and look at how well you've done that, eh? You seem to think that I'm pro-Westergaard, that I consider myself unbiased, and that I require you to speak legalese.

Cimourdain @ 378;

Excuse me, there is a considerable movement to try to halt the spread of AIDS in Africa. More importantly, this is another "apples and pears" comparison. Where're the "not in our name" rallies for jihad atrocities? When has there ever been an outcry about Muslim attacks on Infidels?

There are certainly efforts to halt the spread of HIV in Africa, and many of these efforts are led and funded by Western powers. My point, however, is that when the drug companies refused to allow cheaper versions of their anti-retroviral drugs to be made by groups who wanted to help African countries severely affected by the HIV pandemic, and cited copyright concerns as their justification, Western powers did not step in to help the sufferers of HIV by putting pressure on the companies to render their drugs cheaper or issue production licences to save lives.

There was not even (to the best of my knowledge) a wholly comprehensive program of drug subsidy. The Western powers were not prepared to tackle the drug companies on these issues for fear of alienating their powerful political lobbies. Money and politics over lives.

While I believe that there are Muslim activists who condemn terrorist violence, and in the wake of every major terrorist outrage in the West condemnation of the attack is issued by Muslim community leaders and groups like the Muslim Council of Britain, you do have a point that some sections of the Islamic community do show a disturbing level of comparitive silence over terror attacks and 'not in our name' protests are rare. However, I would not necessarily equate a hesitancy to publically condemn the violent acts of their co-religionists with outright support for Jihadist actions. There appears to be a cultural imperative within some forms of Islam against public criticism of any other Muslim. A form of 'my religion, right or wrong' thinking that, while it may give the impression of indifference to the suffering of the vicims of militant Islamist terror, does not amount to the entirety of Islam condoning such violence.

When a Christian ruler, Milosevic, decided to start slaughtering Muslims by the gross, it was a Christian nation that went to war to put a stop to him.

I was under the impression that it was an alliance of secularly governed nations, that had to act as Nato members without the support of the broader UN, who intervened. While part of the reasoning behind the intervention was humanitarian and was intended to prevent the massacre of Muslims and Croats, there was also a strong vein of real politik motivation.

The Balkans have historically been a powder keg that have contributed to to the genesis of two world wars. Political instability in Mittle Europe was not beneficial to the regional interests of any of the powers in the alliance. I wonder to what degree it was truly a case of Christian nations riding to the resacue of Muslims out of the milk of human kindness, rather than a military action undertaken to quell dangerous regional instability and further the national interests of the alliance member states.

From this, I take it you were in favor of the removal of Saddam Hussein then, and generally in support of the neoconservative school of thought? I just want this clear.

Rest assured, I am in no way enamoured of Neoconservative politics, and I am horrified that I may have given that impression. This misunderstanding is my fault. My post was unclear. I was trying to point out that, while the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq were in part justified by an appeal to humanitarian concerns ('sexed up' dossiers aside), these concerns were conspicuously insufficient to induce the Western powers to act in these arenas for some years. It was only after the 9/11 attacks that action was taken. In the case of Afghanistan, humanitarian arguments were used to bolster the case for a war whose prime motivation was a retaliation for the assault on American territory. In the case of Iraq, it looks more like a fig leaf for a war that may have been as much about oil as anything else, and served to do little other than distract attention from the attempts to deal with global Islamist terrorism.

In both cases, the primary motivation was not altruistic, but rather driven by perceived national interest. This plays into my broader point that ethno-centrist attitudes are common in the actions of all cultures and civilisations and are in no way unique to Islam.

To reiterate; I was using this case as a purely explanitory example. I am not a neo-con. If I ever become one, could someone please put me out of my misery quickly and humanely.

Islam is what it is, and it isn't helped by pretending its something else. There might be some Machiavellian logic in publicly pretending otherwise, but that ignores the hundreds of millions of Infidels who do not get what Islam is, what it is all about, and what it has in store for them. That business of education is the most important thing right now - so important, I would say, that our survival literally depends on it.

With respect, I do not think that you have established that your view of Islam is the only objectively supportable view. Islam is too broad a cultural manifestation to be all one thing. If I read your meaning correctly, you say we need to educate people about the nature of the Islamist 'threat'. I would contend that we should be careful with any such stark them-and-us dichotomy, lest we are over zealous and drive moderates Muslims with no desire to harm the West into the camp of the militants.

If we start bandying about polarising language and engaging in broad-brush-stroke generalisations about a religion with over a billion adherents worldwide, then we run the risk of taking an asymetrical conflict against an, admittedly dangerous, terrorist movement but one with limited resources and capabilities, and replacing it with a far more dangerous adversary that would be largely of our own creation. If we wind up trying to fight the entirety of Islam, then the ensuing conflict will likely be the most devestating war in recent history. This is not something we should undertake on the basis of a misunderstanding or what might well be a misplaced fear.

That is not what I said. I was talking about the nightmarish possibility of a clash of uncivilizations - that, because of people like strange and harpy dominating the conversation, people will be driven to less respectable representatives. Bosnia, on a global scale.

My apologies. I misinterpreted your meaning. I do think, however, that when politicians engage with the public over the concerns pertaining to political Islam there is a temptation to trade in populist, reactionary posturing and hyperbole. This is a temptation that must be resisted if we are to avoid a clash of civilisations scenario.

Another mistake. There are many, many Sufis who are every bit as terrifying as the Wahabis. I don't just mean rank-and-file, but big, respected scholars whose writings resound with bloodlust as much as those of Mohammed abd al-Wahab. Take Al Ghazali, for instance.

Perhaps Suffi Islam was a bad example, but there are variations of orthodoxy in Islam. Wahabism is particularly extreme, and perhaps this sect cannot be reached by reason and conflict is inevitable. I think, however, that we should be leery of closing the door on the idea of dialogue with any arm of Islam completely. There are more moderate Muslim groups who seek to avoid armed conflict. Why not seek to cultivate a more productive relationship with these groups? If for no other reason than that it may allow us to counter any attempt by the most extreme elements to dominate the political and religious discourse within Islam itself.

In any politically tense situation, when the various parties stop talking the liklihood that bullets will start flying increases exponentially. Islam is a creed, an idea. Its militant elements cannot be defeated with bullets and bombs alone. Not even the most swanky laser guided bombs of the US military can do that. At some point, diplomacy becomes inevitable. If we cultivate good relations with those elements of Islam we find more hospitable to our interests now, then when those talks come about we will be in a better position to acheive a favourable outcome acceptable to all sides.

Unfortunately, the trouble is that the overwhelming majority of Muslim countries are unfree, and undemocratic.

This is true, but why focus on Islam alone? I would point out that the overwhelming majority of theocracies (both contemporary and historical) are unfree and undemocratic. If you once contaminate the political process with religion, you immediately run the risk of creating a poison to freedom. This is as true of Christianity, Buddhism or any other mono or polytheistic theology as it is of Islam.

Also, just because Islamic governance does not tend to be conducive to democratic freedoms does not automatically mean that Muslim communities living within multicultural societies are a threat to democracy in those countries. If I may borrow a SF term, Islam is not a 'hivemind'. There is a difference between the goals and motivations of Islamic theocracy, and the goals and motivations of individual Muslims. Hence my argument that one can combine Islamic faith and a belief in democarcy and personal freedom.

Well, yes, but where do you think that those secular laws come from? Muslims see, quite correctly, that this is a naked clash of cultural ways. The idea that laws should be secular is unique to Western civilization, and the result of a hard struggle. Islam rejects that as blasphemy.

I do not know about 'unique to Western civilisation'. I imagine that China and other communist societies would agree that laws should have a secular basis. While some Muslims might see this as a clash of cultural mores, I think it likely that many others would be prepared to integrate and adapt to the idea of the sheild of secular law as a beneficial thing. After all, many Muslims living in the West have already adopted elements of Western culture such as components of Western styles of dress. I think that crime rates demonstrate that some level of acceptance of secular law has already been integrated into the lifestyle of many moderate, law abiding Muslims. Reinforcing this message through education could be helpful in promoting the idea of the seperation of the personal experience of Islam from the secular regulation of public life. The two do not have to be in conflict except in the minds of a minority of hardcore extremists.

Respect for reason is better than fearful inshallah fatalism. Equality before the law is better. Freedom of speech is better than censorship. And so on.

I agree with you on all three points, as I imagine most other contributors here would. But just because we see these things as preferable does not give us the right to enforce them on other societies. We must accept that our preferences may partially be dictated by cultural bias, and we cannot necessarily demonstrate the objective superiority of these things in the context of a Muslim culture. We can say that these things are better than the alternative and deploy many cogent arguments to support our opinions, but this is of little value if the target audience feels that we are being supercillious or condescending. If our statement of superiority closes the door to further disourse then we have acheived little of value.

The Jihadists are crystal clear - they want to destroy this civilization and replace it with their own ways. Unless we match that level of determination, be prepared to loose.

The Jihadists aspire to such a goal, but I am still not convinced that the bulk of Muslims do. We certainly need to match the determination of the extremists if we are to defeat their violent ideology, but such a demonstration of determination must never be allowed to descend into a mirroring of their totalising language or their reflexive intolerance. If we permit this, then victory over Islamic fundamentalism would be moot, since our own culture would have come to embody an equally repugnant ideology.

You see when, say, the hideous Buddhist theocracy was brought down or the Second World War was won, or the Inquisition shut down, or - oh, take your pick. The point is that after that, the moderate faithful had a simple way out. They could just point to the actual words of Jesus Christ or Gautama Buddha and say that the evil was a perversion of their founders noble intentions, obviously.

Not wishing to trade in semantics, but they could point only to the reported words of these figures. The actual texts themselves cannot be viewed as wholly authoritative sources so long after the fact and in the wake of so many translations. Would this even be a true way out? Or just an excuse to be deployed until next time?

That door doesn't exist with Islam. There is no way - none - to argue that war, slavery, rape and murder are not mandated by Islam.

Historically, all those things have been mndated by Christianity too. The Crusades and assorted other 'wars of faith'. The use of the bible to justify slavery through the repugnant Hammite doctrine of the origin of races. The use of the bible to justify the absence of marital rape laws from the statute books for decades. The fact that the catholic church protected its own by covering up child abuse perpetrated by priests, and then moved the priests from parish to parish, effectively facilitating further abuse. The use of Christian law and morality to justify witch hunts (this justification is even still wheeled out today in some parts of the world) and capital punishment for various crimes, some shockingly minor. The differences between Islam and Christianity on this point are not so great as they may initially appear. I could easily see an Al Qaeda style Christian terror group emerging in some parts of the world if they could secure sufficient funds and weaponry, and they would not lack for scriptural support for their violence.

I remember something once said about Islam: "A secular dogma like Nazism is less dangerous than Islam. It's less dangerous because in Islam, it's God Almighty telling you to do these things, not just the Fuehrer".

Once again I feel I must ask the question; why single out Islam? I would say that the same statement could be applied to any militant theology. Also, a fanatically observed ideology like Nazism can replace god with something else that compels the same mindless adherence in its followers. In the case of Nazism, it was the 'Fatherland' and the simultaneously repugnant and laughable idea of the 'purity' of 'Aryan blood'. These ideas were the motivating ideology that was behind many of the genocidal horrors of the Nazi regime. I have long held that Nazism (and extreme Communism, for that matter) acts more like a fundamentalist religion than a secular system of government, since it requires absolute sublimation of the self before a concept imbued with such overwhelming status that it overrides any other consideration of morality or ethics. While not a paranormal goidhead per se, this ideology has equivilent status in the minds of its dedicated believers and can drive them to commit comparable atrocities.

...we could be looking at the equivalent of a Nazi empire stretching from Indonesia to Nigeria, commanding the allegiance of the best part of a billion people, and armed with nuclear weapons.

This may be a possible scenario if Bin Laden and his cronies succeed in creating their long desired 'Pan-Islamic Caliphate', but I must confess that I think it highly unlikely that they would be able to muster a sufficient consensus among the many and varied arms of Islam to make such a Muslim 'superstate' a reality. The threat of possible nuclear terrorism is more immenent. I think that the best way to avoid this threat is not to cast Islam itself as the enemy, since this plays into the extremists hands by reinforcing their claim that the West is not interested in defeating global terorism, but is instead trying to prosecute a 'war on Islam'.

Instead, I think it would be more efficacious to limit our military activity to trying to damage, Al Qaeda's command and control structures and consequently degrade their capacity to launch further attacks, while doing all we can to prevent Bin Laden and his ilk gaining control of Islamic societies, especially those like Pakistan who are already in possession of a nuclear arsenal, or other couintries who are on the road to developing such a capability. We need to try to help moderate voices within global Islam to combat the radicalisation of Muslims before the extremists are able to dominate the discourse within the Muslim world. If we are successful, the Pan-Islamic Caliphate remains no more than an extremist pipe dream, and the threat of nuclear terrorism recedes a little.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 06 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Gregory Greenwood # 381:

There are certainly efforts to halt the spread of HIV in Africa, and many of these efforts are led and funded by Western powers. My point, however, is that when the drug companies refused to allow cheaper versions of their anti-retroviral drugs to be made by groups who wanted to help African countries severely affected by the HIV pandemic, and cited copyright concerns as their justification, Western powers did not step in to help the sufferers of HIV by putting pressure on the companies to render their drugs cheaper or issue production licences to save lives.

There was not even (to the best of my knowledge) a wholly comprehensive program of drug subsidy. The Western powers were not prepared to tackle the drug companies on these issues for fear of alienating their powerful political lobbies. Money and politics over lives.

Sorry for the derail and not to stick up for the many, many evils of the pharmaceutical companies (I've worked for a couple, I've seen things you'd not even believe! I could write a book!) but you're a tad off base here, even though I'll grant the comparitive lack of appropriate governmental regulation and enforcement.* One company I worked for (drug and company shall remain nameless) was working on an anti HIV drug that they were trying to give away free to the third world (and effectively bill rich patients in the first world for it). Don't think this was some throw away PR project either, teams of chemists (this is where I came in!) were dedicated to designing the synthetic route to the drug so that it could be made cheaply enough to be a sustainable loss if given away free in the third world.

This link for oneexample, shows another type (doubtlessly more profitable and less altruistic) of effort that's going on. My point is that it's isn't quite as monolithically evil as people often make out. It's still pretty damn evil though.

Oh and one last thing, there is a genuine "two cultures" in the pharma industry. There is a (I would say large) majority of the working scientists there who want to do good science (and do) actually got into their jobs to help people (trust me, drug discovery isn't the cake walk most people seem to think it is). There is also that charming cadre of marketeers and business folk who want to make the profits to keep the company operational. The two groups don't always see eye to eye, and in my experience frequent clashes occur.

Louis

*Pharma companies are, right or wrong, primarily businesses in a capitalist market. They are responsible to their shareholders. I think this is absolutely the wrong system/economic model in which to discover treatments, and the companies themselves are discovering this (particularly now). BTW I don't this this excuses or apologises for their many extensive faults, it merely explains the basis for them. I could write another books about this.

Louis @ 382;

Interesting post. I did not mean to imply that every employee of Big Pharma was part of a monolithic conspiracy of cackling, Bond Villain-esque evil. For that to be the case, company head offices would really need to be built in the craters of extinct volcanoes...

It does not come as a huge surprise that, while the biochemists, epidemiologists and other scientists are trying to help the dire situation in Africa, it is the marketing and business manager types who cannot see beyond share values, overheads and the bottom line.

When people say laissez faire capitalism is the best possible model for all aspects of society, I really do not know whether to laugh hysterically or weep bitterly. I usually just settle for muttering darkly to myself.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 07 Jan 2010 #permalink

@ Gregory #383:

Oh I know you didn't mean we are all cackling evil-doers. The fact that we are is just a happy coincidence! ;-)

I've always wanted to go into the lab and have someone rush in and cry "NO! Man should not be meddling with that! It is against god!"*. Sadly, synthetic chemistry rarely inspires that sort of reaction. {Sigh} A boy can dream....

As for the laissez-faire capitalist funsters, I was talking to an academic economist friend of mine the other day and he mentioned libertarians/winger laissez-faire fantasists et al. His comment was that whilst dealing with the terminally religious and fundamentalist (like the actual subject of this thread) was fun and did constitute dealing with *a* problem, the free market fundies had actual power and actual influence of a far more serious level. Perhaps we should be focussing on their fantasies. Mind you, he may have been making a play for the vital importance of his field in a room of scientists....

Louis

*However, I suspect it gets old very fast. Ask an evolutionary biologist.

Louis @ 384;

I've always wanted to go into the lab and have someone rush in and cry "NO! Man should not be meddling with that! It is against god!"

Don't say that too loudly, they might hear you. I am absolutely certain that there are fundies out there who would adopt just such a position. Lets not forget the Vaccies, after all.

Also, it has been observed that Xians often use the term 'evolution' as shorthand for any form of science, from Astronomy to Quantum Physics, that they do not understand and consequently hate. So you do not have to feel left out. It is likely that at least some of the fundies ranting about the 'evils' of evolution actually mean to express antipathy for synthetic chemistry as well.

Don't you feel better now? ;)

His comment was that whilst dealing with the terminally religious and fundamentalist (like the actual subject of this thread) was fun and did constitute dealing with *a* problem, the free market fundies had actual power and actual influence of a far more serious level.

In my experience, such as it is, these two groups are far from mutually exclusive. I know that there are priviliged fundies who contend that wealth is a tangible expression of gods favour, while poverty is a punishment for 'sinful' behaviour.

These fundies apparently have not stopped long enough to rationalize away all the (by their logic) good, Christian drug lords in the world.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 07 Jan 2010 #permalink

Gregory,

In reverse order, once more. Sorry about the delay.

Instead, I think it would be more efficacious to limit our military activity to trying to damage, Al Qaeda's command and control structures and consequently degrade their capacity to launch further attacks, while doing all we can to prevent Bin Laden and his ilk gaining control of Islamic societies, especially those like Pakistan who are already in possession of a nuclear arsenal, or other couintries who are on the road to developing such a capability.

Our military policy has been a shambles, I agree, and our utter failure to provide a broad support network for apostates, freethinkers, minorities has been even worse. Pissing away a trillion dollars to "bring democracy to Iraq" (good luck bringing democracy to a Muslim nation), while spending nada to help support Wafa Sultan, Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali etc. is simply insane.

That said, if Iran isn't stopped militarily, and stopped soon, then we will see the fusion of ninth century fanaticism with twenty-first century weaponry. Care to imagine how that will work out?

We need to try to help moderate voices within global Islam to combat the radicalisation of Muslims before the extremists are able to dominate the discourse within the Muslim world

Yeah, good luck with that. You haven't been paying attention to what I've been saying: the reason that no reform movement has ever workedi n Islam, and the reason that the moderates have been so useless in this fight, is that they have no theological leg to stand on.

I think an approach like Ibn Warraq's and Ali Sina's, of demonstrating to all decent Muslims what a vicious trick they've been subjected to, is far more likely to work than hoping to put one over the world's Muslims and have them wake up one morning all "moderate".

This may be a possible scenario if Bin Laden and his cronies succeed in creating their long desired 'Pan-Islamic Caliphate', but I must confess that I think it highly unlikely that they would be able to muster a sufficient consensus among the many and varied arms of Islam to make such a Muslim 'superstate' a reality

That's true. I did say it was the worse possible scenario. Yet, what about a situation where resurgent Islam succeeds in destroying the liberal way of life that the world has enjoyed the last sixty years? Not so long ago, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and others were all under common law. Now Shariah has either taken over or made major inroads in many of these places.

Also, a fanatically observed ideology like Nazism can replace god with something else that compels the same mindless adherence in its followers.

Again, you're pushing at an open door with me. If I were born in Europe sixty years ago, I would certainly have considered Nazism the primary threat, and Islam not so much.

Why do I focus on Islam? Well, let's phrase it like this: where else, in the rank of religious and philosophical figures do you see someone like Muhammad? Christ? Hardly. Buddha? No. Confucious, Aristotle? Laughable.

But there is one. Another warlord who came to a broken and disunited people, welded them together, brought a Book with a Total System for all Life, was virulently anti-Semitic, exalted war and death, hated reason, and believed a woman's place was Children, Kitchen, and Church.

Do you get it now?

As regards the comparions with Christianity, again, you're missing the difference in scale. The Crusades were essentially a defensive conflict in response to centuries of Jihadist aggression. We all rightly raise hell about the child rape in the Church, but the practice of child rape enjoys legal and societal sanction throughout swathes of the Islamic world, so people don't even bother to cover it up. That's a crucial difference. If you want to know why, look up little Aisha.

Returning to the subject of war, I was struck by a portion in Sam Harris's brilliant The End of Faith where he notes that there was a point when Islam was relatively tolerant, but that was only in comparison with the horror of medieval Christianity. Or, in other words, at the best Islam's ever been it was slightly better than Christianity at its absolute worst.

Same thing with the Witch hunts. What, sixty thousand killed over the course of a century or so? Chump change to Islam.

Not wishing to trade in semantics, but they could point only to the reported words of these figures. The actual texts themselves cannot be viewed as wholly authoritative sources so long after the fact and in the wake of so many translations. Would this even be a true way out? Or just an excuse to be deployed until next time?

Yes, that is just semantics. A Muslim can no more question the perfection fo the Qur'an and remain a Muslim than a Christian can question the divinity of Christ and remain a Christian.

You're mistaking a lapse in faith with a doctrinal reform. While a lapsed believer is obviously preferable to a jihadist, it's simply nuts to think that such a lapsed believer can convice his true believing friends.

There were doctrinal roots that allowed Christianity to be reformed. There are none such in Islam.

While some Muslims might see this as a clash of cultural mores, I think it likely that many others would be prepared to integrate and adapt to the idea of the sheild of secular law as a beneficial thing

I should like to see even a smidgeon of evidence for this.

We must accept that our preferences may partially be dictated by cultural bias, and we cannot necessarily demonstrate the objective superiority of these things in the context of a Muslim culture.

Yes, I can, and yes, I do. I can tell you what happens if you try to run a country on Islam. It rots. It falls to pieces. The people live in fear, and beggary, and when they're not being cut to pieces in civil war, it's because they're under a tyrants boot.

Universal rights exist, and they pertain to every single human being, and if so much as one Muslim claims the right to apostasize or to speak his mind freely he is right, and it does not matter if the remaining billion scream against him, their screaming can no more affect moral truth than it can change the law of gravity.

If our statement of superiority closes the door to further disourse then we have acheived little of value.

Discussion is only valuable if both parties share certain fundamental values. If someone desires to rob me, or enslave me, or murder me, I'm not interested in discourse, I'm interested in victory.

The same goes for those Muslims who think, for example, that raping a nine year old girl is acceptable, or murdering a man for choosing to leave Islam, or for drawing a cartoon or whatever. I don't want to reason with these thugs, I want to eliminate them.

You are right, however, on the bulk question. I agree with Ali Sina that, if the truth about Islam is ever made clear to the world's Muslims, then 90%+ will apostasize. Yet that day will not arrive unless we infidels quit dicking around about the nature of Islam.

I was under the impression that it was an alliance of secularly governed nations, that had to act as Nato members without the support of the broader UN, who intervened.

Look, get real. Which nation got all the heavy lifting, and bore the brunt of that effort?

I'll try to respond to the rest later.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 08 Jan 2010 #permalink