Mohammed's dead hand still ruins lives from the grave

I'll be going to the Atheist Alliance International 2010 Copenhagen Convention to listen to a fine group of godless speakers, but there's one who won't be there — there was going to be a surprise speaker, not mentioned for security reasons, and now he has decided it would be too dangerous. The meeting is being held in Denmark, so of course they were going to have Kurt Westergaard, the cartoonist who infuriated so many Muslims, speak about his experience.

But not now. The threats and the risk are too great, and he has withdrawn.

That is genuinely disgraceful, that the idiots of Islam can rely on intimidation and fear to silence their critics. "Religion of Peace," my ass; Islam is the religion of ignorance and hate. It seems entirely appropriate to turn things over to Pat Condell:

He's a little too generous towards Islam at the end, though. Strip away the fear-mongering and hatred from Islam, and it would still be a religion of ignorance and delusions.

More like this

Irish atheists challenge new blasphemy laws: Secular campaigners in the Irish Republic defied a strict new blasphemy law which came into force today by publishing a series of anti-religious quotations online and promising to fight the legislation in court. The new law, which was passed in July,…
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…
You may have heard that YouTube blocked Pat Condell's latest video — here's an alternate source for that video. I have to disagree with part of what Condell says in it, though. He is arguing against the promotion of "tolerance and diversity," saying it has gone too far. I don't think so. I think…
A new Pat Condell video regarding the "inappropriately named teddy bear" fiasco in the Sudan. As usual, it's vintage Condell:

Reminds me of Richard Dawkins line at the Melbourne GAC wrt this :

"I might fear you, but don't for a moment think that i respect you."

By Rorschach (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

"It would still be a religion of ignorance and delusions."

Aren't all religions made of ignorance of delusions? At the very least?

By ru.martinez (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

A typo crept in. What I obviously meant:

"Aren't all religions made of ignorance AND delusions? At the very least?"

But "ignorance of delusions" somehow rings true, too.

By ru.martinez (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

If Pat seems to generous toward Islam here, you can always go watch his other videos, haha.

By MoonShark (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

One of the statements I never thought I would hear in my life: Pat Condell was too generous toward Islam.

I love it!!

That is genuinely disgraceful, that the idiots of Islam gangsters can rely on intimidation and fear to silence their critics.

Fixed.

By maxamillion (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Dunno about you younger folk here but back in the day if you didnt have a copy of Khalil Gibran in yer back pocket your chances of getting laid was greatly diminished. Sufi Islam is peaceful

Of course then the crazoid fundies were in the desert, we among others promoted them to the forefront and are reaping the disaster.

Lets hope the Wahibs dont start pouring money into the fundie xtians here to take over mexico from america, they might install palin as a puppet

By broboxley OT (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Perhaps they should replace Kurt Westergaard with Pat Condell.

Islam is the religion of ignorance and hate.

One of many.

@broboxley OT #7: FYI -- Kahil Gibran was a Maronite Christian...

Wiki Article

I liked the part about how if God is all they say he is, he should be able to clearly communicate himself through any language including English. No need for translations or scholars or whatever.

"It does no one any good to have your head cut off. I may fear you, but do not think for a *second* that I respect you." - Richard Dawkins

To those violent asshole nut jobs who claim to speak for their merciful God of the deranged desert goat herders: I am only sorry that there is not a hell for you suffer in. I will never submit to your backward and idiotic fables.

By askegg.myopenid.com (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

"...it would still be a religion of ignorance and delusions."

As mentioned above, all religions consist of ignorance and delusion, but Islam has singled itself out as the religion that is willing to back up its (absurd) claims with money, guns, intimidation, and death.

However, if those in authority would stand up to the bullies (listening, Comedy Central?), or western governments demanded that Middle Eastern governments grow a backbone, we wouldn't have nearly the problems we have now.

By Givesgoodemail (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Pat has his safety to consider, & maybe the safety of a wife & kids. I would be more outspoken about Submissionism than i am but my wife has asked me to refrain from endangering her.

By vanharris (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

"Religion of Peace," my ass; Islam is the religion of ignorance and hate.

Oh, sure -- you criticize Islam, all right. But you'd never dare to say anything bad about Christianity. You don't have the guts.

(/reverse fatwah envy)

You only pick on Islam, because you know it's true.

(/stupid apologetics)

@Stephan #11 yes he was born a maronite, parse my sentence, never claimed he was sufi but was rather refering to stuff like the following

Having drawn from an array of spiritual mysticism including Sufi Masters, Jalal-Ud-Din Rumi and Imam Al Ghazali, the universal persona of his writing speaks directly to the very core of the human soul.

In The Treasury of Khalil Gibran, edited by Martin L. Wolf, Gibran writes:

"All things in this creation exist within you, and all things in you exist in creation; there is no border between you and the closest things, and there is no distance between you and the farthest things, and all things, from the lowest to the loftiest, from the smallest to the greatest, are within you as equal things. In one atom are found all the elements of the earth; in one motion of the mind are found the motions of all the laws of existence; in one drop of water are found the secrets of all the endless oceans; in one aspect of you are found all the aspects of existence."

http://www.sikhspectrum.com/052004/gibran.htm

By broboxley OT (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

As a former political/editorial cartoonist, I loved to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable," and saw Thomas Nast as my patron saint, so to speak.

But even Boss Tweed didn't put out an international hit squad on Nast.

Is the Islamic prophet so weak that he can't withstand criticism? Is he so without compassion that he can't take some ribbing without seeking lethal revenge? Why is his honor so fragile? If he's such a Big Man, you'd think he'd shrug off such a cartoon with a dismissive "It's childish drivel. I'm above such things."

Oy, but it makes my head hurt.

Bravo to Kurt Westergaard for his courage in doing the cartoon in the first place.

By Moira Manion (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Islam is still using the same methods the xians used to use, violence, the threat of murder, and the occasional murders to keep everyone in the religion and believing.

Which, just shows how real religions really are.

Allah and Yahweh are all powerful. They can do anything. So why do they need homicidal maniacs to keep their religions going? Maybe because it is all just made up and they aren't real.

We no longer allow xians to run around loose speading and maintaining their religion with swords, guns, rope, and stacks of firewood. Without access to force and terror, the religion may or may not be doomed but it is definitely on the downhill.

Sufi Islam is peaceful

No it's not. It's just slightly less balls-out insane. And it's not a sect, it's a catch-all term for Islamic mysticism. Some are peaceful and some are holy warriors, but most are just run of the mill folks. And they make up about a fifth of the Islamic world.

Sufi Dervishes headed most of the armies that expanded Islam from the 13th to 19th centuries. They were the special forces of the Caliphate, the shock-troops of the Imams, the dashing vanguard of the prophet. And this is why Sufi sects tend to dominate outside of the core Middle-East; sub-saharan Africa, the Caucasus and central Asia, the sub-continent and the islands of the Indian Sea are all majority Sufi, mostly Naqshbandi. And the Naqshbandi are no more or less violent than your run of the mill Shiite or Sunni.

By Harry Tuttle (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Rorschach #1 and askegg #13

Is that the direct quote, or a paraphrase? I seem to recall it was a bit different (more impactive), and googling that phrase doesn't turn much.

Wouldn't it be nice if people would give up on this silly idea that they have the right not to be offended? Or at least become a bit less ready to jump from "that's not for me" right to "I'm offended, so off with your head."

(Not holding my breath for that, though.)

Got it.

I don't think we should go out of our way to insult Islam because it doesn't do any good to get your head cut off," he continued. "But we should always say that I may refrain from publishing a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, but it's because I fear you. Don't for one moment think it's because I respect you.

Islam is a malevolent religion that holds their societies back.

It is growing in the US, the west, and other places. Some of those are converts. In my area, many of those are women.*

Why in the hell would anyone convert to such a religion? A rhetorical question, probably difficult to answer.

At least with xianity, you have a choice of 38,000 different varieties. Or you can make your own up. And many are far more benign than the fundie death cults. And it is generally easy to drop out, although some sects like the JWs make it damn difficult. You may have to sacrifice all your family and friends to YHWH to get out.

*This seemed to slow down or stop after we invaded Iraq although all I don't have hard data, just impressions.

Allah and Yahweh are all powerful. They can do anything. So why do they need homicidal maniacs to keep their religions going?

And what do they need with a starship?

(sorry, couldn't resist)

I personally suspect the historical Muhammad may very well have been a paranoid schizophrenic whose communicative inceptions from god were hallucinatory delusions, and the legacy of Ron L Hubbard illuminates how the mental state and personality of the founder can be reflected in the tenants and practices of the religion.

By Cory Meyer (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

“Historical Muhammad”? There’s about as much reason to think there was such a person as there was an historical Jesus. It’s the exact same deal: a world-changing figure (in the case of Muhammad, the most important military leader of his era) completely missing from the contemporary record. And the most reliable account of his life comes generations after the “fact” and is filled with obvious fantasy (such as flying to Heaven on horseback).

I ain’t buyin’ this one, neither.

Cheers,

b&

--
EAC Memographer
BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
``All but God can prove this sentence true.''

By Ben Goren (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

There's about as much historical proof that Muhammad existed as there is for Jesus; i.e., very little. Certainly, even if such people existed, of course, their lives were nothing like the NT or the Koran. Muhammad was illiterate.

I don't feel that all religions are equally silly. If I believe (and I don't) that there's some greater force in the universe that guides my life in some way I can't understand, so what? I could be a biologist or a physicist and still harbor this belief. It wouldn't affect anything. BUT, when religious beliefs dictate how I interpret observable facts, that's something else (i.e., creation or evolution). If people believe in an insubstantial soul that transmigrates through different beings, this seems to have absolutely no real-world scientific consequence, so what's the harm? I'm an atheist and have been one since I was about 10 years old but I don't mind if others don't share my view, as long as it doesn't force anything on me. Of course, organized religions are seldom so benign, but that's a slightly different issue.

As for Islam, the problem with it is that it specifically doesn't permit reinterpretation. Muhammad was the "perfect man" so everything he did is what Muslims should do now, today. This includes rampant murder, pedophilia, torture, etc. Christians, from what I can tell, can subject the words of Jesus and the Apostles to many interpretations. Muslims cannot. When the Koran talks about how Jews are their worst enemy and need to be killed, that means, now, as well. By contact, the OT's many horrific descriptions of slaughter are interpreted by any branch of Judaism as anything more than historical tales. The fact that Jews universally ignore, and have for 1000s of years, large parts of the OT, even explicit commands, demonstrates that as a religion it is fundamentally different from Islam. Islam is locked in 7th century barbarism and as such it is incredibly more dangerous.

By thinkofengland2 (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Christians, from what I can tell, can subject the words of Jesus and the Apostles to many interpretations.

That is true. But it is a recent development of the Reformation and Enlightenment.

Xians fought bloody wars that killed tens of millions for the right to make more stuff up and "interpret" the bible.

Before that, the RCC was The True Church and heretics such as the Huegenots and Cathars were simply massacred. These days they just call each other names and Fake Xians. Those mean old secular authorities took away their armies and heavy weapons.

Islam is still stuck in the middle ages and many of their societies are medieval.

@#14

... but Islam has singled itself out as the religion that is willing to back up its (absurd) claims with money, guns, intimidation, and death. ...

Not that the Christians would ever do that! :-)

Aaargh! You're coming to Denmark??! How did I not know about this before now? I must have been living under a rock or something. The line up looks awesome too. May have to go to Denmark that weekend. Now, who in Copenhagen can I pester for space for two on the floor...

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

@14,31

Yeah, it's not like their aren't any Christian terrorists willing to murder abortion doctors or anything like that...

Yes, to be more correct, "the historical Muhammad if he actually did exist." We do know about the formation of cults revolves around the following of some charismatic leader, so I was speaking more hypothetically.

By Cory Meyer (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

I'm NOT defending Christianity or its long record of murder and intolerance and I didn't mean to gloss over it. But since the 1500s, the NT's "message" has been reinterpreted easily and has become more in accord with the views of civil society (like the abolition of slavery, as an example). And yes, you can easily find rapidly intolerant Christians, like in Africa or the anti-abortion crowd who advocate murder of doctors. But the fact remains that the basic message Islam is one of murder and subjugation and that's not the case with other religions.

By thinkofengland2 (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

And if only I could spell, I might know that *there are three ways to write out that sound

If the people at RevolutionMuslim can post names/addresses for Comedy Central and South Park executives, then I think fair is fair. What are the names/addresses of the people who own and operate that site?

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

But the fact remains that the basic message Islam is one of murder and subjugation and that's not the case with other religions.

That is true today although historically they were even. The witch hunts, the massacres of heretics, the Inquisition, the destruction of native peoples by conquerors..

But I'm much more concerned with certain malevolent strains of xianity.

The Moslems are over there, mostly murdering other Moslems by car bombs, suicide bombers, and frequent battles.

The xians are over here, occasionally murdering people they don't like and the xian Dominionist fundies are the ones trying to take over our society and destroy it.

I and my family and friends live here. It makes sense to worry more about where I actually live and have some influence over events.

Just do a Google Images search with the words:

South Park Super Best Friends

You'll see all kinds of images of the Prophet Muhammad. They are from 2001. No outrage, no threats of death, no notice given.

Strange, considering that it would be just as blasphemous then as now.

I think you're wrong on that, Raven. The basic message, as far as I understand it (I was not raised as a Christian) of Christianity is rather benign; the fact that for the most part it was ignored and Christians had no problem slaughtering each other and others, as well, doesn't alter that fact; it's really a statement of how people make religions into whatever they want. They just ignored the message. But the basic message of Islam is murder and subjugation and that's very different. Granted that for a long period of time, it would have been equally horrible to live under either regime. But nowadays, living in a Christian-dominated country like the US is perfectly OK; there is no Muslim country I would like to live in, let alone visit.

By thinkofengland2 (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

@N.N. (April 23, 2010 10:36 AM): I happen to live in central Copenhagen, so you can have a place on my couch – as long as you're a non-smoker, not allergic to cats nor ailurophobic.
Cheers
Frank

@40

Christianity is only benign if you ignore the Old Testament and about half of the New Testament. Actually, that is what the average layperson in the pew does. There's some vile crap in there if you actually read it.

I think you're wrong on that, Raven. The basic message, as far as I understand it (I was not raised as a Christian) of Christianity is rather benign;

It's not. You've never read the bible. The entire OT is the story of god's chosen people genociding everyone around them and stealing their stuff and women with Yahweh's help. With slavery, misogyny, and countless pointless rules such as not sowing two different seeds in the same field. You can sell your daughter as a sex slave if you need a few bucks or stone her to death for being disobedient if you're in a bad mood.

But the basic message of Islam is murder and subjugation and that's very different.

This isn't true either. There are some benign uplifting passages in the Koran. As well as some advocating various horrible things to people for various reasons.

Both books have mixed messages depending which verses one reads. Most xians just ignore most of the bible that deals with antiquated violence, weird sex, and slavery. Some don't. A huge number of xians in the USA want to reinstitute the mythical biblical law which has dozens of capital crimes. It is estimated that 99% of the US population would be slaughtered by the other 1%. That is 297 million people sent to hell.

The main difference is that we in the west have grown up. We no longer let our religious fanatics run around loose, the hallmark of a civilized society. Anyone really following the OT today would be doing multiple life sentences in prison.

Bush and the Bible: A Letter to George Bush

Dear President Bush,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. As you said "in the eyes of God marriage is based between a man a woman." I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev.21:20 states that I may ! not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle- room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

**************************************

bcseweb.org Rushdooney:
Our list may not be perfect but it seems to cover those “crimes” against the family that are inferred by Rushdoony’s statement to Moyers. The real frightening side of it is the interpretation of heresy, apostasy and idolatry. Rushdoony’s position seems to suggest that he would have anyone killed who disagreed with his religious opinions. That represents all but a tiny minority of people. Add to that death penalties for what is quite legal, blasphemy, not getting on with parents and working on a Sunday means that it the fantasy ideal world of Rushdoony and his pals, there will be an awful lot of mass murderers and amongst a tiny population.

We have done figures for the UK which suggest that around 99% of the population would end up dead and the remainder would have each, on average, killed 500 fellow citizens.

Chalcedon foundation bsceweb.org. Stoning disobedient children to death.Contempt for Parental Authority: Those who consider death as a horrible punishment here must realise that in such a case as

Anyone who thinks the bible has anything to offer us today hasn't read it.

Rushdooney was a psychopath and also an important theologian who started the modern xian Dominionist movement. His disciples include Pat Robertson and Howard Ahmanson, the funder of the Dishonesty Institute.

This is shameful! When I was searching to find "the answers" to god and religion, one of the religions I studied in depth was Islam. I went to 3 or 4 Mosques and met with many muslims. The people I met were very friendly and happy to share with me their faith. It sucks that a few assholes (or many...I don't know how many militant muslims there really are compared to all the muslims) can ruin it for everyone!

As a middle eastern non-believer, I need to admit I have mixed feelings about these kind of videos. On one hand, many of what that has been said are exactly the things that we are struggling to change, and almost always they are geniune facts.
But there's a darker side to all the anti-islam talks. They fastly grow to racist anti-arab, anti-iranian, anti-afghan talks. The video above was very rational and I'm not talking about this one in particular. But in many many other videos, after a brief talk about the violence in Quran, we need to sit and hear many not-so-funny jokes about deserts, sex with camels, felafel, and other stereotypical crpas.

It sucks that a few assholes (or many...I don't know how many militant muslims there really are compared to all the muslims) can ruin it for everyone!

Those "few assholes" you nimwit comfortably fill the football stadium in Kabul or any sports ground anywhere when a juicy execution for adultery or adolescent kissing is on the menu.
So fuck you and your no true scotsman bullshit sideways with a Leica rangefinder.

By Rorschach (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

There's something to the contention that during the Middle Ages, Islam was more tolerant than the Christianity of the same period. But that tolerance had at all times significant limitations.

One example was the Sufi mystic al-Hallaj, who was convicted of heresy and punished by cutting his hands and legs off and crucifying him. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Hallaj

Since the Middle Ages, the West has had a Renaissance and an Enlightenment, and Christianity has been to a large extent housebroken as a result. The Islamic world, unfortunately, is confronting modernity now, rather than having done so in the 17th and 18th centuries. Thus the death threats, and the murders, with which Muslim fanatics enforce conformity. It's all very reminiscent of Europe in an earlier period.

By Aaron Baker (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

The Islamic world, unfortunately, is confronting modernity now, rather than having done so in the 17th and 18th centuries. Thus the death threats, and the murders, with which Muslim fanatics enforce conformity. It's all very reminiscent of Europe in an earlier period.

Oh, so it's just a phase their going through, and don't worry, they'll outgrow it? Boys will be boys, doncha-know.

Pat Condell coins a word in one of his videos: "secularphobia", which most religious leaders are certainly guilty of.

One youtube there is also a short video of Christopher Hitchens telling about the origins of the Koran, which is just a mish-mash of the parts of the Old and New Testaments.

Raven: You don't understand the OT or the Koran. Yes, in the Koran there are nice sentiments, but those are in what's called the Meccan verses, written when Muhammad was powerless and needed to be conciliatory. The other half (it's not published chronologically) are called the Medina verses, written when Muhammad was in power. They are the verses that call Jews descendants of apes and pigs (well, the ape part is correct, but of course, for everyone), that Jews should be exterminated, etc. Muslim scholars support the principle of abrogation, which means that the latter, Medina, hateful, verses abrogate the earlier ones. So, yes, Muslims can point to all the nice sounding sections, but they mean nothing. It's the latter ones that prevail.

As for the OT, of course, it's full of horrible stuff, but it's an historical record; it's not prescriptive and as a matter of fact, Jews have not emulated any of it. For instance, Leviticus is replete with incredibly cruel injunctions, e.g., death for wearing blended fabrics, for all kinds of sexual issues, for children cursing their parents, etc., but it has never ever been put to practice. OTOH, the Koran's instructions to kill unbelievers is very evident and has been for over 1000 years.

By thinkofengland2 (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

For instance, Leviticus is replete with incredibly cruel injunctions, e.g., death for wearing blended fabrics, for all kinds of sexual issues, for children cursing their parents, etc., but it has never ever been put to practice.

No, it was enforced throughout several periods in history. Reconstructionist Christians still try to enforce them.

By Gyeong Hwa Pak… (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

As a middle eastern non-believer, I need to admit I have mixed feelings about these kind of videos. On one hand, many of what that has been said are exactly the things that we are struggling to change, and almost always they are geniune facts.
But there's a darker side to all the anti-islam talks. They fastly grow to racist anti-arab, anti-iranian, anti-afghan talks. The video above was very rational and I'm not talking about this one in particular. But in many many other videos, after a brief talk about the violence in Quran, we need to sit and hear many not-so-funny jokes about deserts, sex with camels, felafel, and other stereotypical crpas.

And?

This video didn't go there and there is a very real reason to be critical of Islam. There is a darker side all kinds of touchy subjects. Should we be afraid to confront them for fear of some wingnut who we also disagree with taking it too far?

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

SteveM wrote:

"Oh, so it's just a phase their going through, and don't worry, they'll outgrow it? Boys will be boys, doncha-know."

Yeah, that must be what I meant.

Is it too much to ask here that, as a general rule, people not read moronic implications into what one says; or is a special disclaimer required every time?

If there's a serious question here, I'd answer: Yes, the Islamic world will probably become more modern (and more humane) over time. Which is not the same thing as condoning, or urging that we not worry about, present violence.

By Aaron Baker (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Oh, so it's just a phase their going through, and don't worry, they'll outgrow it? Boys will be boys, doncha-know.

In all fairness Aaron didn't say it was right, just that there was a parallel.

By Richard Wolford (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Gyeong: Really? I had no idea. In any event, living according to anything in Leviticus is very uncommon. I have heard about a guy (or a small company) in Brooklyn, which will go through your woolen coat and remove all the linen fibers. But generally, that's about it. Light years from Muslims.

By thinkofengland2 (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

"As for the OT, of course, it's full of horrible stuff, but it's an historical record; it's not prescriptive and as a matter of fact"

BULLSHIT. God gives the order. GOD GIVES THE LAWS. It's explicitly in the book.

"Really? I had no idea. In any event, living according to anything in Leviticus is very uncommon."

Do you live under a rock? GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYS

Well, everyone has an opinion.

By thinkofengland2 (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

I may have not noticed before but I do notice now as I get older, I am getting really tired of religion trying to control everything. In my youth I struggled with the guilt trip that accompanies religion at least the christian one I was familiar with. I tried to reconcile what I was learning about the reality of the natural world it developed that the "question of god" just was not a question any more, especially the ones of a "personal" nature i.e. a supernatural being. So I am not sure if the conflict between people who are believers with those who believe differently and/or none believers is growing more intense relatively to say the end of the 1940's or not but my awareness of it is growing.
For that I thank people like Pat, and PZ. Now whether religion is growing in power and we are witnessing the results or it is more like the snarl of an animal as it finds itself more cornered and trapped time and greater minds then mine will tell

uncle frogy

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

In any event, living according to anything in Leviticus is very uncommon.

That's the book that's used to justify most of the hatred against homosexuals.

Aaron Baker @48 wrote,

There's something to the contention that during the Middle Ages, Islam was more tolerant than the Christianity of the same period. But that tolerance had at all times significant limitations.

To add to that you can look at period of the Caliphate of Cordoba and the subsequent Taifa states in Al Andalusia from about 700-1200. During that 500 years in Spain there was a general respect by Muslims for other 'people of the book' i.e. Christians and Jews. The Jewish culture did particularly well and provided a few Vizier's to Muslim rulers.

After the collapse of the Caliphate, the motivations of the Taifa kings, including Christian kings, were less inspired by religion than by power. There were battles where Christian kings accepted Muslim allies to battle other Christian kings. Religion was important, but expansion was more important.

Which doesn't mean that that occasional religious inspired atrocity didn't occur. There was the occasional massacre.

One other thing, before a pedant corrects me. I'm perfectly well aware that Taifa generally only refers to Muslim states while the small Christian states are called kingdoms.

However, since there is practicably no difference between the two groups, other than religion, I prefer to follow the lead of a small minority of historians and call all the small states in Andalusia during that period Taifa states.

If your terminology uses a different distinction, that's fine with me. At least you know what I'm talking about.

I don't think I, as a non-Muslim, would have been very happy in Muslim ruled Spain:

Toledo, which had first submitted to the Arabs in 711 or 712, revolted in 713. The town was punished by pillage and all the notables had their throats cut. In 730, the Cerdagne (in Septimania, near Barcelona) was ravaged and a bishop burned alive. In the regions under stable Islamic control, Jews and Christians were tolerated as dhimmis - like elsewhere in other Islamic lands - and could not build new churches or synagogues nor restore the old ones. Segregated in special quarters, they had to wear discriminatory clothing. Subjected to heavy taxes, the Christian peasantry formed a servile class attached to the Arab domains; many abandoned their land and fled to the towns. Harsh reprisals with mutilations and crucifixions* would sanction the Mozarab (Christian dhimmis) calls for help from the Christian kings. Moreover, if one dhimmi harmed a Muslim, the whole community would lose its status of protection, leaving it open to pillage, enslavement and arbitrary killing.

By the end of the eighth century, the rulers of North Africa and of Andalusia had introduced Malikism, one of the most rigorous schools of Islamic jurisprudence, and subsequently repressed the other Muslim schools of law. Three quarters of a century ago, at a time when political correctness was not dominating historical publication and discourse, Evariste Lévi-Provençal, the pre-eminent scholar of Andalusia, wrote: "The Muslim Andalusian state thus appears from its earliest origins as the defender and champion of a jealous orthodoxy, more and more ossified in a blind respect for a rigid doctrine, suspecting and condemning in advance the least effort of rational speculation."

The humiliating status imposed on the dhimmis and the confiscation of their land provoked many revolts, punished by massacres, as in Toledo (761, 784-86, 797). After another Toledan revolt in 806, seven hundred inhabitants were executed. Insurrections erupted in Saragossa from 781 to 881, Cordova (805), Merida (805-813, 828 and the following year, and later in 868), and yet again in Toledo (811-819); the insurgents were crucified, as prescribed in Qur’an 5:33*.

The revolt in Cordova of 818 was crushed by three days of massacres and pillage, with 300 notables crucified and 20 000 families expelled. Feuding was endemic in the Andalusian cities between the different sectors of the population: Arab and Berber colonizers, Iberian Muslim converts (Muwalladun) and Christian dhimmis (Mozarabs). There were rarely periods of peace in the Amirate of Cordova (756-912), nor later.

Al-Andalus represented the land of jihad par excellence. Every year, sometimes twice a year, raiding expeditions were sent to ravage the Christian Spanish kingdoms to the north, the Basque regions, or France and the Rhone valley, bringing back booty and slaves. Andalusian corsairs attacked and invaded along the Sicilian and Italian coasts, even as far as the Aegean Islands, looting and burning as they went. Thousands of people were deported to slavery in Andalusia, where the caliph kept a militia of tens of thousand of Christian slaves brought from all parts of Christian Europe (the Saqaliba), and a harem filled with captured Christian women. Society was sharply divided along ethnic and religious lines, with the Arab tribes at the top of the hierarchy, followed by the Berbers who were never recognized as equals, despite their Islamization; lower in the scale came the mullawadun converts and, at the very bottom, the dhimmi Christians and Jews.

The Andalusian Maliki jurist Ibn Abdun (d. 1134) offered these telling legal opinions regarding Jews and Christians in Seville around 1100 C.E.: "No…Jew or Christian may be allowed to wear the dress of an aristocrat, nor of a jurist, nor of a wealthy individual; on the contrary they must be detested and avoided. It is forbidden to [greet] them with the [expression], ‘Peace be upon you’. In effect, ‘Satan has gained possession of them, and caused them to forget God’s warning. They are the confederates of Satan’s party; Satan’s confederates will surely be the losers!’ (Qur’an 58:19 [modern Dawood translation]). A distinctive sign must be imposed upon them in order that they may be recognized and this will be for them a form of disgrace."

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2004/04/andalusian-myth-eurabian-reality.html

Not to say that life wasn't harsh elsewhere, too. But the idea that all was happiness under Muslim rule at any time in the past is ridiculous. It was cruel was the start and remains just as cruel today.

By thinkofengland2 (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

thinkofengland2:

As for the OT, of course, it's full of horrible stuff, but it's an historical record; it's not prescriptive and as a matter of fact, Jews have not emulated any of it. For instance, Leviticus is replete with incredibly cruel injunctions, e.g., death for wearing blended fabrics, for all kinds of sexual issues, for children cursing their parents, etc., but it has never ever been put to practice. OTOH, the Koran's instructions to kill unbelievers is very evident and has been for over 1000 years.

Bullcrap. You are just lying.

Xians put tens of thousands of witches to death due to a passage in the OT. The high point of American thecracy was Salem where they hung 25 witches and then killed some heretics, Unitarians and Quakers, for old times sake.

Xians started and ran the Inquisition.

Xians massacred Jews based on the bible (Christ Killers) on and off for 2,000 years.

The RCC never had much problem with heretics. They just killed them. If there was a lot like the Huegenots or Cathars, they killed them all, genocide.

A few hundred years ago being an apostate, heretic, or atheist could and did get you killed.

It took many brave people and wars which killed tens of millions to end all that.

Think of England2 might be Coumaindain, the anti-Moslem UK bigot. Same trollish lack of interest in engaging with reality. If not, I'm sure he will be here to rage on.

...for all kinds of sexual issues, for children cursing their parents, etc., but it has never ever been put to practice.

Oh really, you know that? You were alive 3,000 years ago? I doubt it. You don't seem to know any history or have 5 minutes and some brains to look it up.

Like all religions Islam is a muddle of superstion and ignorance.

But there are something like a *billion* freaking Muslims out there who AREN'T screaming sword-waving fundies, just like there are billions of Protestants who aren't members of Fred the Cryptkeeper's church.

The ONLY reason the crazy swordwavers have any power is the cowards running Saudi Arabia have bought them off by letting them terrorize their citizens and the rest of the world in exchange for letting the Princes keep their heads, power and money.

The sooner we move away from a petroleum-based economy, the sooner we can let these ignorant savages fall back into their little tribal holes where they so richly deserve to remain.

Calm down. Take some medication and breathe deeply a few times. I'm lying? Do you actually know me? If you want to discuss rationally and respectfully, OK. Otherwise, it's a waste of time to discuss with someone who is basically hysterically screaming. As for being from the UK, I most definitely am not. I have nothing to do with the UK.

What I should have said is that Jews don't live by the prescriptions in Leviticus; don't and just about never did. At least since Roman times.

By thinkofengland2 (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Think of England2 might be Coumaindain, the anti-Moslem UK bigot.

Cimourdain? Not a chance. Never seen him shift nyms, and he wouldn't be able to stop short at saying "muslim rule is cruel today". There would be much more fatwa envy, explicitly calling us out for being soft against the muslim threat. Also, how dare you say life wasn't harsh anywhere, muslims flew a plane into the WTC and practice FGM...etc...

What I should have said is that Jews don't live by the prescriptions in Leviticus; don't and just about never did.

So, they eat pork and shellfish?

If you alter that to "they do not enforce the punishments listed in Leviticus", that would seem more correct, but I don't know that you can state that they "just about never" did. We don't have too much data regarding day to day religious observances or punishments in the years 0 CE to 1600 CE, unless you have a source I do not?

@68

Of course, I was silly to delimit my time period to 0 CE. Obviously in the 500 years prior, the rules were important enough for the Jews to record in Leviticus. Would seem odd to write down detailed punishments for specific transgressions if they were mere hyperbole.

There is no god and Mohamed was not his prophet.
There is no god, he is not great, and Mohamed was not his prophet.
And if you adhere to Islam in any of it's malignant forms you own what happened to Theo Van Gogh, as surely as if you had swung the knife yourself.

And if you adhere to Islam in any of it's malignant forms you own what happened to Theo Van Gogh, as surely as if you had swung the knife yourself.

If you adhere to Christianity in any of it's (sic) malignant forms, you own what happened to George Tiller, as surely as if you had pulled the trigger yourself.

Ridiculous.

And if you adhere to Islam in any of it's malignant forms you own what happened to Theo Van Gogh, as surely as if you had swung the knife yourself.

If you adhere to Christianity in any of it's (sic) malignant forms, you own what happened to George Tiller, as surely as if you had pulled the trigger yourself.

Ridiculous.

See this to complete the trifecta

By https://me.yah… (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Is it too much to ask here that, as a general rule, people not read moronic implications into what one says; or is a special disclaimer required every time?

I had hoped the use of "doncha know" would have been a clue that I was not trying to be taken seriously.

At the root of intolerant religions, is the belief that humanity is divided in a significant, serious, radical way -- and this separation has its roots in the conflict between the Higher Realm of the spiritual, and the lower realm of the world. This division is not going to be bridged through reason or behavior, because it ultimately has to do with whether a person is the 'right stuff,' or not.

Both Christianity and Islam believe in salvation and damnation. If a religion asserts that the entire purpose of life, and the reason the universe was created in the first place, is as some sort of test so that the godly may be separated from the ungodly -- and the ungodly purged and condemned so that what remains will be pure and good -- then I think it's going to be almost impossible to keep "mean" forms of the religion from occurring. The very foundation, is "mean." Not everyone is going to be so obliging as to re-interpret damnation into being about 'learning to improve yourself' or some such strained nonsense.

As for the OT, of course, it's full of horrible stuff, but it's an historical record; it's not prescriptive and as a matter of fact, Jews have not emulated any of it. For instance, Leviticus is replete with incredibly cruel injunctions, e.g., death for wearing blended fabrics, for all kinds of sexual issues, for children cursing their parents, etc., but it has never ever been put to practice.

These are open questions in history. First of all, the OT is no sort of "historical record," if you mean it was an effort to record any actual historical facts. Second, the laws in the Torah were certainly meant to be prescriptive by the priestly authors who made them up and retrojected them into the supposed law codes of the mythic past of Old Israel. It's just that such an Old Israel never existed. The inventors of these codes may well have wished they could put them into practice, but were not often able to wrest the kind of control away from more populist elements in order to have such a draconian code.

The point of recording these injunctions as those of past generations of Israelites was not to edify the authors' contemporaries by describing to them the customs and laws of their ancestors without the corollary that this was God's word, part of an ancient and fully binding covenant with his chosen people. What are open questions are more complex than authorial intent, however. To what extent did anyone ever have the kind of power needed to actually enforce them? To what extent were Jews other than priests expected to observe the purity codes surrounding sanctuary and sacrifice? This was a big issue later, after the destruction of the second temple, when the Pharisees, forerunners of what became rabbinic Judaism, sought to define piety, for everybody, as the faithful observance of the purity codes, while more elite factions considered such observance a mark of distinction for their own caste, expressly not to be observed by the rabble, who were generally regarded by their "betters" as impure anyway due to the difficulty of avoiding contact with gentiles and the like. Things like Sabbath observance and being really picky about what you eat are burdensome for poor people (i.e. 95% of most ancient populations) and were probably not observed by most for reasons of necessity.

And then you have, in the diaspora at least, all manner of allegorizing schemes like Philo of Alexandria's. Philo spilled a copious amount of ink devising allegorical rationalizations for the prescriptions of the Torah, but urged their literal observance anyway, in opposition to other wealthy and assimilated (to Hellenistic culture) contemporaries who regarded allegorization of the prescriptive injunctions like circumcision and Sabbath observance as a way out of the actual performance of them and an excuse to refuse to set themselves apart from the larger culture, which was usually the result of staunch and literal piety.

None of these intricacies would have been salient at all for ancient Jews unless the basic understanding of the Torah was that it was indeed prescriptive.

"Calm down. Take some medication and breathe deeply a few times. I'm lying? Do you actually know me? If you want to discuss rationally and respectfully, OK. Otherwise, it's a waste of time to discuss with someone who is basically hysterically screaming. As for being from the UK, I most definitely am not. I have nothing to do with the UK.

What I should have said is that Jews don't live by the prescriptions in Leviticus; don't and just about never did. At least since Roman times."

The old "You disagree with me so you must be a hysterical loon" excuse. I'd actually say lying is a nice accusation. The other is that you're a moron beyond belief.

Oh btw, You can't say "never followed that law....save for the vast majority of ancient history where they did". For example No Mormon has ACTUALLY been racist or a polygamist...at least not since the 1970s. No Bacchae has killed a woman and eaten her heart...at least not since Roman times.

You can't discard most of the ancient history as an outlier when it's a big fucking chunk of the abrahamic religion's life span.

I should qualify somewhat, because on reading again what I wrote, I am also guilty of ignoring a number of uncertainties and intricacies.

One issue is that we have much better indications, from both Jewish and gentile sources, about these matters in the diaspora in the Greco-Roman period than we do of actual behavior in Judea in any period, information about which mostly comes from later, rabbinic sources like the Talmuds and the Mishnah and may be retrojection of later practices.

Circumcision, avoidance of pork, and Sabbath observance, in particular, are well-attested enough in the diaspora that we can be certain that they were widely observed. Detractors accused Jews of laziness due to the prohibition on work one day of the week, but the Sabbath was taken up even by many gentiles, though for different reasons (who doesn't want a day off now and again, after all --any excuse will do). Jews in Rome won a special dispensation allowing them to collect their grain dole on a day other than the Sabbath, and in some times and places throughout the Imperium, Jews were relieved of the duty of military service.

Jews were derided as worshipping pigs by some because they wouldn't eat it, and circumcision was widely understood to be the defining mark of Jewish ethnic identity, even though as a practice it wasn't limited to Jews.

Of course Islam is a religion of peace, and anyone who says otherwise must be killed for insulting Islam.

By Bill Gascoyne (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

"We don't have too much data regarding day to day religious observances or punishments in the years 0 CE to 1600 CE, unless you have a source I do not?"

According to the NT Jews were in fact stoning people up to Roman times. The book itself says "yes we totally did this".

Despite the claim that religion promotes peace, the world is still embroiled in violence, conflict, and war. Just read some of dubya's speeches or any speech by holymen such as pat robertson, etc.

By jcmartz.myopenid.com (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ Rorschach #47

Those "few assholes" you nimwit comfortably fill the football stadium in Kabul or any sports ground anywhere when a juicy execution for adultery or adolescent kissing is on the menu.
So fuck you and your no true scotsman bullshit sideways with a Leica rangefinder.

I brought this same point up to some of the muslims I met when I visited a few mosques for a religion class I was taking. There wasn't a real good answer as to why people would witness such grotesque behavior. One guy said that it was likely that there was an attendance policy and failure to come and watch the carnage would mean that "you" suffer the same fate. Another said that it was a culture problem and the people had it rough. I didn't find any explanation reasonable.

At any rate, I was stating that being Muslim doesn't make someone violent. The few hundred I have met are quite capable of nonviolent discourse, and that non violent expression invovling Kurt Westergaard wouldn't prevent him from speaking. It wasn't a commentary on the religion itself.

"At any rate, I was stating that being Muslim doesn't make someone violent."

No, no, no, you're wrong. Your experience shows being Muslim doesn't make EVERYONE violent. it clearly makes at least SOME violent. That said, cigarettes do not give EVERYONE cancer.

For the better, for you, PZ. You wouldn't want an avid racist speaking at an atheist convention. You mock that shit from the Tea Partiers for good reason.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

CJO, do you have a blog?

Bravo to Kurt Westergaard for his courage in doing the cartoon in the first place.

When Westergaard and the rest put out their little xenophobic cartoons, not only were they not under threat, they were using their position of power to bitchslap minority immigrants. They chose to do so under the guise of religion, because that is another thing that seperated them from the other. It takes no bravery to backhand those who are weaker then you.

While nobody deserves to be under threat of violence for their speech, it doesn't make the man's speech any braver.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

No, no, no, you're wrong. Your experience shows being Muslim doesn't make EVERYONE violent. it clearly makes at least SOME violent.

I would be careful about the chain of causality here. Could it not be instead that some violent people are Muslim and use Islam as an excuse? Or, that the nature of their environment is the cause of their violence and Islam just happens to be the dominant religion of that environment. Could it not also be that without Islam, many more would be violent? [I am not asking as a rhetorical device, I really am asking out of ignorance. I do not know nor imply the answers]

For the better, for you, PZ. You wouldn't want an avid racist speaking at an atheist convention. You mock that shit from the Tea Partiers for good reason.

No, the tea partiers are mocked because many of them hold racist signs, while tea partiers treat them as part of the flock and have the nerve to claim "tea parties aren't about race".

For the situation to be anything similar, you'd need a speaker saying extremely racist things and/or holding racist signs while everyone else acts like it's something acceptable or normal. That would not happen.

For the situation to be anything similar, you'd need a speaker saying extremely racist things and/or holding racist signs while everyone else acts like it's something acceptable or normal. That would not happen.

It already has. You guys celebrate his cartoon, an expression of xenophobia and hatred for the brown immigrants that are blamed for his nation's problems, as a symbol of freedom from oppression by religion.

So you were saying?

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Steven Weinberg said it long ago.

Good people will be good.
Bad people will be bad.

But it takes religion to make good people do bad.

Islam needs a Reformation or to grow up.
Some forms of xianity did it and nothing much happened but the wars, genocides, hangings and burnings stopped.
Other forms of xianity want to recreate the Dark Ages.

No, no, no, you're wrong. Your experience shows being Muslim doesn't make EVERYONE violent. it clearly makes at least SOME violent. That said, cigarettes do not give EVERYONE cancer.

Your statement is better than mine. But I do wonder if the violence is more a symptom of vanity. If being Muslim is not part of the violent person, does he/she fill that void with some other passion and continue to be violent? In prison systems converting to religion has shown to decrease violence. I don't know how rellevant that last statement is, but I am curious to the psychology of it.

Your statement is better than mine. But I do wonder if the violence is more a symptom of vanity. If being Muslim is not part of the violent person, does he/she fill that void with some other passion and continue to be violent? In prison systems converting to religion has shown to decrease violence. I don't know how rellevant that last statement is, but I am curious to the psychology of it.

Converting to religion is part of a parole ploy, so I would imagine that conversions are correlated with a decrease in violence.

Everyone finds Jesus, Mohammed, and Buddha in prison.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

If I misunderstood you, SteveM, I apologize.

By Aaron Baker (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Hey, Aaron, I apologize also, it was a stupid thing to say in a pretty serious topic.

The extremist Islamist fringe is very quick to try to use force to silence its critics. While, as has been argued before, some of those critics may be unpleasantly bigoted in their own right, the fact that violence is the preferred tool to silence non-violent dissent is never acceptable.

Also, the hardcore fanatics deliberately avoid drawing any distinction between those who oppose Islam out of base xenophobia, and those who raise wholly legitimate criticims of Islam's treatment of women, homosexuals and 'apostates'. This is all too often paired with the tendency among the extremist Islamist factions to put forward an utterly totalising world view of global Islam where the only alternative to conversion (or 'reversion') is death.

Thugs of all stripes always try to rule through fear, but they only succeed if people allow themselves to be intimidated. This is an easy thing for me to say, safe with no Fastwah hanging over my head, but if we allow oursleves to be frightened into silence, or even aquiessence, then the very existence of personal, social and political freedoms of all kinds could come under threat.

To be fair, I think that Islam is sometimes singled out unfairly. Every religion has its fringe loons who entertain fantasies of enforcing their faith on everybody, it is just that Islams's looms have a very high profile at the moment and tend to be better funded, equipped and organised. That said, there are plenty of Xians who would love to set up their own equivilent of Al Qaeda if they had the resources.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Sooooo many spelling errors in my last post. I must be getting tired.

By Gregory Greenwood (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

I realize that in the UK especially, Muslims are often given ridiculous concessions to their religion, and I attribute Condell's endless (and utterly humor-free--why does this guy identify himself as a comedian?) animosity to Islam to this.

That said, if I were the least-pious Muslim in the world--the kind who calls himself a Muslim because a couple of generations ago, he had grandparents who took Islam seriously (as self-described Catholics and Jews sometimes have), and who spends Ramadan enjoying three-martini lunches--I'd still be rather ticked at most of these cartoons. Not because they depict Mohammed, but because they're mainly about baiting Muslims.

It's like dealing with flashers. The annoying bit isn't that you saw some idiot's junk. It's that said idiot--who doesn't even know you--is trying to annoy you.

It's one thing to argue that religion in general is a bad thing that takes advantage of people and messes up their lives. It's another to make common cause with bigots. These "Here is Mohammed doing something gross--bring it on, Muslims" cartoons usually cross that line.

In almost all these cases, the message is Screw you, Muslims. It's not even subtle.

By Molly, NYC (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

I think it's important to emphasize, as some others here have said, that most Muslims are not barking mad or murderous.

I'm also concerned that perfectly legitimate criticisms of Islam can be used and are used(fallaciously of course) to justify mistreatment of Muslims. It ought to be as obvious as 1 + 1 = 2 that it doesn't follow from my dislike of your religion that I'm entitled to bulldoze your house, or pulverize your children from the air. And yet, apologists for such behavior will often pepper their propaganda with anti-Islamic dicta. They usually have enough sense of elementary logic not to say flat-out: thus it's OK for me to bomb them, kill them, expropriate them--but the statements are there to make bombing, killing, expropriating somehow more palatable.

By Aaron Baker (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

I realize that in the UK especially, Muslims are often given ridiculous concessions to their religion, and I attribute Condell's endless (and utterly humor-free--why does this guy identify himself as a comedian?) animosity to Islam to this.

That said, if I were the least-pious Muslim in the world--the kind who calls himself a Muslim because a couple of generations ago, he had grandparents who took Islam seriously (as self-described Catholics and Jews sometimes have), and who spends Ramadan enjoying three-martini lunches--I'd still be rather ticked at most of these cartoons. Not because they depict Mohammed, but because they're mainly about baiting Muslims.

It's like dealing with flashers. The annoying bit isn't that you saw some idiot's junk. It's that said idiot--who doesn't even know you--is trying to annoy you.

It's one thing to argue that religion in general is a bad thing that takes advantage of people and messes up their lives. It's another to make common cause with bigots. These "Here is Mohammed doing something gross--bring it on, Muslims" cartoons usually cross that line.

In almost all these cases, the message is Screw you, Muslims. It's not even subtle.

By Molly, NYC (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Sorry about the double post.

By Molly, NYC (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

I find it worth repeating (yet again and yet again) that shit like this always makes me think the pathetic little threatening assholes (and of all sects, come to think of it) who pull this shit admit loudly and clearly (and also yet again and again) by such actions they know only too well the god they so loudly swear fealty just isn't there.

Yes, you lying little psychopaths: you do know it too well. Which really means that you and me both know it: that your precious deity will smite no one, will never appear to defend its name, will never say a word in defense of your childish parrotting of hymns of praise to its name.

It embarrasses you, doesn't it? You speak for it; yet it will never speak for you. And what to do when you are (justly, deservingly, and you know this, too tell, too, don't you?) mocked for this? When you know too well your 'god' will say nothing, it will do nothing...

Ah. Right. You'll do it for him, then, won't you, sucker? Less embarrassing that way, I bet you figure...

Here's a bit of outside perspective, tho': from here, I can't say it seems to me all the histrionics, the bluster, the threats, nay, not even the actual realized violence make you look one bit less ridiculous.

Sorry, but no. From here, I have to say it just make you look that much more like your delusion's sucker. Dumb enough to buy yourself a criminal record for bullshit anyone with half a fucking brain should know is bullshit.

(/And that's pretty fucking dumb.)

By AJ Milne OM (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

@ shojaee

But there's a darker side to all the anti-islam talks. They fastly grow to racist anti-arab, anti-iranian, anti-afghan talks

They don't "grow": they are reused by racists who want to make their own biggotry look rational and honest. This is why many people in Europe are ambivalant or even completely hostile about the "Islam is the religion of ignorance and hate and I'm allowed to criticize Islam" meme: amoung the people "criticizing" Islam, you will find individuals like Geert Wilder, who uses this meme, but only because he is a white guy who does not want to live in a country where non-white people are allowed to be full fledged citizens, or Jean-Marie Le Pen, who started to attack people of muslim descent when he understood that antisemitism was not a way to gain votes anymore.

Those individuals are of course, the greatest assets to the fundies: it is a lot easier to sell a radical and violent agenda to people where there really is someone trying to get them.

@Rev. BigDumbChimp

There is a darker side all kinds of touchy subjects. Should we be afraid to confront them for fear of some wingnut who we also disagree with taking it too far?

You should just acknowledge their existance and remain carefull, so they do not become your bedfellows.

@thinkofengland2

Light years from Muslims.

Ahem

Of course, if we take int acount the fact that Jews are 16 millions compared to the 1,6 billion muslims, and the fact that most of them are living in countries where they are a minority unable to bully the rest of the population, then it quite obvious that this level of homocidal insanity is not as often seen amoung Jews, but the potential is here.

By Laurent Weppe (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

I must beg to differ, Molly. And I am in the position too.
See, the person you are describing you likely be me-I am from the middle east and I was raised muslim. Just that I no longer call myself a muslim-I am an atheist.
And I see absolutely no justification for the reaction we have seen from many muslims to the cartoons. In fact, if they hadn't made an issue of this-leaving a trail of dead bodies in the process-no one outside of Denmark would even know about their existence.
Even if they were simply meant to irritate muslims-a statement I can't agree with-the muslims could have shown the world how mature and tolerant they are by just shrugging them off as a matter of poor taste.
But we know that that didn't happen.

By Insightful Ape (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

thinkofengland2 wrote, Evariste Lévi-Provençal, the pre-eminent scholar of Andalusia....

There has been a lot of work done since Lévi-Provençal wrote his work over 75 years ago. For example, the Christian kings in Provance were also raiding the Muslim territories and acquiring female slaves for their own use.

As for the idea that Lévi-Provençal was unbiased is a joke. Just compare his treatment of El Cid with the modern scholarship of Richard Fletcher. Rodrigo Diaz was an mercenary who fought for the Christians and the Muslim, then conquered Valencia as a warlord. Lévi-Provençal goes along with Spanish tradition to make him out as a great national hero and glosses over the very mercenary dealings of his.

Not that I'm saying that the events you cite didn't happen, as well as others like the 12th century massacre of the Jews in Granada. I'd also agree with you that I wouldn't want to live during those times, I'm quite happy having modern plumbing.

However, having studied the period in some depth, your quote from jihad-watch seems to distort the truth by omission. That is, they omit other details which are of some importance. For example, the Almoravids, who introduced Malikism, in the 11th century to Spain (although it was developing during the 8th in North Africa) were invited into Spain by the Taifa kings as a way to fight off the Christian raids. The Taifa kings soon regretted inviting the Almoravids into Spain, as the Almoravids bound themselves much tighter to Islamic law. Unlike the Taifa kings who are rightly known as the 'party kings' because they loved their wine and sherry, even if alcohol was forbidden by the Koran.

Does this mean that three cultures lived in peace during that entire period, no. There were wars and raids from Muslim into Muslim territory, Christian into Christian territory, Muslim into Christian territory and Christian into Muslim territory, and everyone occasionally had a go at killing some Jews. But records are scanty and it's hard to say whether the Christians or the Muslims captured more slaves.

I would also submit that this period of relative respect among the different cultures was not because of religion, but in spite of it. The Muslims were the overlords and did encourage conversions because (at first) only Christians and Jews paid taxes while Muslims were exempt (that changed later). The Christians looked upon the Muslims as a superior, refined culture worthy of emulation (you can blame the Moors for the introduction of the guitar into Europe), and the life of the Jews was far superior than the continuous persecution by the Christians under the remaining Visigoth Catholic services. So everyone had something to be satisfied about and to emulate, which tends to make religion less important.

It's no great loss that Kurt Westergaard isn't coming. Not because I share Rutee's hate for him. But simply because he isn't a great speaker and really cannot add much to the debate apart from telling us about his security issues - and I think we know that already.

Pat Condell would indeed be a treat. As a former stand-up comedian I'm sure he could give us quite a show.

"I would be careful about the chain of causality here. Could it not be instead that some violent people are Muslim and use Islam as an excuse? "

No. When you kill yourself and others for the cause of Islam and a martyr's paradise you are not using Islam as an excuse. Islam is not the means to an end for the 911 hijackers it WAS the end. Their beliefs made them violent just as a skin heads beliefs lead them to commit violence. Neither is faking or using it as an excuse, they are true believers and thus go in balls out.

@#23 ambook. They do have the right not to be offended: to take offense is a voluntary thing,therefore, they can decide not to be offended at any time. That's why it's stated as "to take offense", it's purely up to the offended one whether they wish to consider themselves offended or not; no one forced it on them. So, fuck anyone who decides they are offended - it's their CHOICE!!!

Islam is not the means to an end for the 911 hijackers it WAS the end

Or it was more simply a tribalistic behavior: "Americans are what I identify as ennemis of my trive, therefore, even if I die, the satisfaction of hurting the «ennemi» makes it up for it". Religion has been described time and time again as a produce or side effect of evolution and the forming of larger communities, including in this very blog, so that a tribalistic behavior donning the appearance of religion because the most primitive kind of behaviors are universally frowned upon.

By Laurent Weppe (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

arg, I forgot to copy-paste the end:

here I go again:

Religion has been described time and time again as a produce or side effect of evolution and the forming of larger communities, including in this very blog, so that a tribalistic behavior donning the appearance of religion because the most primitive kind of behaviors are universally frowned upon should not be seen as an outlandish explanation

By Laurent Weppe (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Laurent Weppe

That is exactly what I'm talking about. There's a big difference between criticizing Islam (and even some cultural aspects related to that, like low level of scientific research) and mocking people because of their food, their cloth, their language or their skin color (or even worse, considering those things as a sign of being an extremist). Among american TV men I can name Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert as those who criticize Islam, but not the people. I see nothing wrong with the way the talk about the middle east, but obviously that's not the case about Geert Wilder.

Many people, more than you can imagine, in middle east are unhappy about the current situation as well. If there's an occasional threat from fundamentalists toward west, we are living under their regime. But that doesn't mean we like cheap jokes about our cultural heritage.

There are two prerequisites to living together peacefully regardless of faith and other affiliations: respect and tolerance
respect is the notion of restraining one's actions so as not to offend others
tolerance is the notion of not letting oneself offend by the actions of others
The problem with Moslem spokesmen is that they demand respect from others, while refusing to show tolerance towards those.

re 106:

[I wrote:]"I would be careful about the chain of causality here. Could it not be instead that some violent people are Muslim and use Islam as an excuse? "

[Ing wrote:]
No. When you kill yourself and others for the cause of Islam and a martyr's paradise you are not using Islam as an excuse.

"excuse" was a poor choice of words. But the point remains that I question whether Islam caused these people to be violent rather that they were already violent and Islam gave them a focus, a direction to channel their violence.

respect is the notion of restraining one's actions so as not to offend others
tolerance is the notion of not letting oneself offend by the actions of others

I disagree with these definitions.

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

@Rev. BigDumbChimp: Your statement is useless. Please provide a working definition yourself!

Well

Respect is the ability to disagree with a position but still follow the logic that lead the person to that position even while disagreeing with it.

Tolerance is thinking the other person's opinion is bat shit crazy (or whatever) but respecting their right to hold bat shit crazy opinions.

Disclaimer it is 3 Am and I've been partaking in adult beverages

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

Disclaimer it is 3 Am and I've been partaking in adult beverages

have you been drinking bacon again?

have you been drinking bacon again?

When I can

By Rev. BigDumbChimp (not verified) on 23 Apr 2010 #permalink

I had decided never to post here again, the apologia for genocide having gotten too much for me, but then I noticed some poor sod making the same mistake I made when I came here - believing that there was some principled opposition to religious barbarism at this site.

So, thinkofengland2, allow me to explain how this works. You will be able to cite endless facts about the practice of dhimmitude and Islamic supremacism. None of these facts will be answered. Anything you provide, up to and including video footage of psychopathic Imams calling for death to Hindus, Jews, Gays and just about everyone else, will be dismissed as "biased".

Meanwhile, the self-confessed Shrieking Harpy will say that cartooning Muhammed is racist. She will continue to do this, and continue to insist that Muslim psychopaths are by definition "poor brown immigrants", despite Adam Gadahn, Ibrahim Hooper, Abul Aziz Ibn Myatt etc. When you point to the horrific slaughter this hellish religion is wreaking in the Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, Tanzania etc. she'll shrug her shoulders and say "Well, that's the Africans for you. What can you do?" Somehow, she'll manage to convince herself this is not racist.

Oh, and what they also won't mention is that when the streets were full of pogroms, P.Z. himself folded in nothing flat.

So, thinkofengland2, don't bother. It's a waste of time. If you want to see real internationalism, a real commitment to fighting the Jihad, and a real defense of secularism and the Enlightenment, try faithfreedom.org, run by Ali Sina, or Mukto-Mona, which operates from the subcontinent.

By Cimourdain (not verified) on 24 Apr 2010 #permalink

I had decided never to post here again

welcome back!

we were hoping you might make a return so we could nominate you for the next Survivor Pharyngula.

you, um, ARE sticking around, then?

Wow, Cimourdain is sicker than I thought.

Here is a post titled Mohammed's dead hand still ruins lives from the grave, where part of the OP reads That is genuinely disgraceful, that the idiots of Islam can rely on intimidation and fear to silence their critics. "Religion of Peace," my ass; Islam is the religion of ignorance and hate.

To Cimourdain, this constitutes an apologia¹, and is worth a rant.

--

¹ I suppose anything not calling for indiscriminate murder would be an apologia, to this creature.

By John Morales (not verified) on 24 Apr 2010 #permalink

I was sort of hoping for an ignorant smart person, not an ignorant moron, to respond. Those were more interesting conversations then a bigoted moron.

I was wrong, at least one troll recurs enough for it.

By Rutee, Shrieki… (not verified) on 24 Apr 2010 #permalink

Cimourdain

#118

I had decided never to post here again

What? Our beloved racist, islamophobic, right-wing wacko is leaving us? Mere prose doesn't do justice to my reaction. A quote from one of Lewis Carroll's classic poems seems appropriate:

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
He chortled in his joy.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 24 Apr 2010 #permalink

Incidentally, for those of you keeping score at home, "P.Z. himself folded in nothing flat" refers to PZ not posting the Danish cartoons which caused riots some years ago. Apparently Cimourdain (the blessings of Allah be upon his head) feels these cartoons were the cruelest thing ever perpetuated against the ebil mooslums and not posting them on a blog is caving in to Islam.

Here's the post where Cimourdain accused PZ of folding.

By 'Tis Himself, OM (not verified) on 24 Apr 2010 #permalink

"Disclaimer it is 3 Am and I've been partaking in adult beverages"

You better be! With the world stock falling so low it's important to throw the juveniles back

Having started out with an attitude towards Islam that I would describe as reflexively hostile, I decided I should really endeavor to know what I'm talking about--and so I've made my way through a number of books on Islam (with the plan of reading the Qur'an cover to cover once I've gotten the background I think I need).

Right now I'm struggling through vol. i of Marshall Hodgson's Venture of Islam. Not an easy read: dense and nuanced to an extent that's almost a parody of nuance. It is, however, a magnificent example of a sympathetic treatment of Islam by a highly intelligent non-Muslim (Hodgson was a Quaker). I'm recommending it here to anyone who might be interested. No excuses are made for dhimmitude, or the many other Islamic sins. However, it is difficult to read Hodgson and come away feeling nothing but hatred for Islam. It emerges from his treatment as, rather like Christianity, a mixture of the admirable and the appalling.

There's a great deal I continue to dislike about Islam, but I think if you read Hodgson and other sympathetic scholars, you'll find it much harder to despise Muslims--which is all to the good, especially here in the States, where anti-Muslim prejudice has been showing its ugly head a lot more brazenly since 2001.

By Aaron Baker (not verified) on 24 Apr 2010 #permalink

""excuse" was a poor choice of words. But the point remains that I question whether Islam caused these people to be violent rather that they were already violent and Islam gave them a focus, a direction to channel their violence."

No. You take someone who enters Scientology for the purposes of self improvement. After spending thousands and being drafted for SeaOrg they're willing to help kidnap others, brain wash others, punish others in the cult and go against those who oppose the Scientology. You have someone who enters the Church to do good work and charity, after being indoctrinated to believe the Church is a bastion of light against a sea of darkness they're willing to hide the pedophiles to protect the Church's name, otherwise all the good they do would be lost.

People's beliefs can change their actions and character. Certain organized belief systems that work with heavy behavior modification will do that to those in them.

Someone can entirely be motivated to commit violence based on religion. If a person accepts "infidels must be killed" in their religious studies then their motivation for doing so is religiously based.

George Tiller was not killed because pro-life was a "focus" for violent people. his killer was motivated to violence for the cause of his pro-life religion.

"There's a great deal I continue to dislike about Islam, but I think if you read Hodgson and other sympathetic scholars, you'll find it much harder to despise Muslims--which is all to the good, especially here in the States, where anti-Muslim prejudice has been showing its ugly head a lot more brazenly since 2001."

There is a difference between despising Islam and despising Muslims. Yes there is admiral actions in the past of Islam. The Islamic world can be seen as a warning to the dangers of religion: the once height of civilization was lapped by the rest of the world once it accepted fundamentalism and halted progress. However, despite past good done by Islamic societies there's still the big heaping turd of bad things Islam is doing and influencing. If someone mixes turds with cookie dough you do not have a mix of good and bad...you have a shitty cookie.

Besides the question is not of past, but of present. What is Islam doing NOW. I am not seeing a society in the world that is forward thinking, at par with the rest of civilization and a good place to live for all that is run by an Islamic theocracy.

Well, Ing, as far as my standpoint is concerned: I'm not trying to eat Islam; I'm trying to observe it as dispassionately and unbigotedly as I can.

As for living in an Islamic society: your inimitable simile has more force. But I'm actually optimistic, in large part on the basis of the history of Christianity and Judaism, that Islam can shed a lot of its more poisonous (or, if you prefer, "shitty") features as it joins the modern world. I'm also thinking of places like Turkey that have had significant success in modernizing.

By Aaron Baker (not verified) on 24 Apr 2010 #permalink

Condell's stupidity burns.

By alex.asolis.net (not verified) on 24 Apr 2010 #permalink

arakrys,

PZ has noted Condell's support for UKIP on a more recent thread: Wait! Maybe Britain needs to keep Lord Justice Laws. A number of us have been telling him for some time that Condell's a bigot, and said it again on that thread - maybe the message will now get through.

By Knockgoats (not verified) on 02 May 2010 #permalink

"As for living in an Islamic society: your inimitable simile has more force. But I'm actually optimistic, in large part on the basis of the history of Christianity and Judaism, that Islam can shed a lot of its more poisonous (or, if you prefer, "shitty") features as it joins the modern world. I'm also thinking of places like Turkey that have had significant success in modernizing."

It should be noted that Christianity did not shed it's violent and bigotry willingly. It was reformed by humanist efforts challenging the idea of Divine status quo. Hobbs challenging the divine right of kings broke their political choke hold and the growth of medicine and science broke their epistemological and procedural strong hold. The church did not decide things like slavery, misogony, or homophobia were bad because of their traditions or texts...the reform came from people using extratexual sources of ethics. If Islam is to be declawed the best thing we can do is challenge it.