Archive for the “Islam” Category

Muslims and their religion

Siege of Nicaea. Crusaders Throwing Heads Of Muslims Over RampartsYet another Religious Right figure threw his hat into the ring of the sanctimonious Neocrusaders expressing their juvenile rage against the existence of Islam. Randall Terry, one of the whining crybabies who founded Operation Rescue, ripped pages from the Qur’an in front of the White House yesterday, as Agence France-Presse via Google News reports (WebCite cached article):

A small group of conservative Christians tore some pages from a Koran in a protest outside the White House Saturday to denounce what they called the “charade of Islam” on the anniversary of 9/11.

“Part of why we’re doing that, please hear me: the charade that Islam is a peaceful religion must end,” said Randall Terry, a leading anti-abortion campaigner, and one of six people who took part in the protest.

Sorry, Mr Terry, but the “charade” that “must end,” is that Christians such as yourselves are loving people who are actually following the teachings of Jesus. You and your immature, militant Religious Right cohorts are doing nothing of the sort. Destroying other religions’ holy books is something Jesus never did. He didn’t even come close. The worst thing that Jesus did to any religion, according to the gospels, was when he threw the money-changers out of the Temple in Jerusalem; and of course, he debated with and dressed down the Pharisees and others at various points during his ministry. But on all of those occasions, his “target” was not some other religion, but his own … i.e. Judaism. He did nothing whatever to any other religion. In fact, he suggested that members of other religions might have virtues that Jews were ignoring; e.g. he healed the servant of a Roman centurion (presumably a traditional Roman pagan) based on the centurion’s faith in him, and he used the story of the “good Samaritan” to show that someone of a hated ethnicity and religion might uphold his moral duties when upright, “pious” Jews might not.

One of Terry’s co-protestors tried to make a point of how “violent” the Qur’an is:

Another activist, Andrew Beacham, read out a few Koran passages calling for hatred towards Christians and Jews, and then ripped those pages from an English paperback edition of the Islamic holy book.

If this is the case, then perhaps I should rip, from a copy of the Christian Bible, pages containing the following passages:

Moses said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well. Moreover, there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before and such as shall never be again. … Now it came about at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle. Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead. (Exodus 11:4-6; 12:29-30).

The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is His name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; and the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea. (Exodus 15:3-4)

It came about, however, when the congregation had assembled against Moses and Aaron, that they turned toward the tent of meeting, and behold, the cloud covered it and the glory of the Lord appeared. Then Moses and Aaron came to the front of the tent of meeting, and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Get away from among this congregation, that I may consume them instantly.” Then they fell on their faces. Moses said to Aaron, “Take your censer and put in it fire from the altar, and lay incense on it; then bring it quickly to the congregation and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone forth from the Lord, the plague has begun!” Then Aaron took it as Moses had spoken, and ran into the midst of the assembly, for behold, the plague had begun among the people. So he put on the incense and made atonement for the people. He took his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was checked. But those who died by the plague were 14,700, besides those who died on account of Korah. (Numbers 16:42-49)

[The Lord said] “You shall consume all the peoples whom the Lord your God will deliver to you; your eye shall not pity them, nor shall you serve their gods, for that would be a snare to you.” (Deuteronomy 7:16)

Now the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear or be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you and arise, go up to Ai; see,I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. You shall do to Ai and its king just as you did to Jericho and its king; you shall take only its spoil and its cattle as plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it.” (Joshua 8:1-2)

This exercise hardly seems fair; most of the Old Testament is a virtually-endless narrative of hatred (by God and by humans), revenge, punishment, and violence (sometimes on a massive scale) perpetrated either directly by God on people, or by his people obeying his commands. The New Testament is hardly free from horrific violence:

But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him. Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things. (Acts 5:1-11)

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth; and it became a loathsome and malignant sore on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image. The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died. Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things; for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.” And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.” The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory. Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened; and they gnawed their tongues because of pain, and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent of their deeds. (Revelation 16:1-11)

As with the Old Testament, it hardly seems fair to quote from Revelation, which is a long chronicle of horrible things that God orders done to the Earth and to everything in it — including humanity. No matter how much violence might be found in the Qur’an, there’s plenty of it in the Bible, too.

It’s true that Islam is not really the “Religion of Peace” its apologists want us to think it is … but Christianity as Randall Terry practices it, is also not the “Religion of Love” he’d like us to think it is, either.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Battle of the Vorskla River (1399 - Crusade against Tatars)This morning is the 9th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. That means it’s “put up or shut up” time for all the latter-day anti-Muslim crusaders in the US — whom I’ve dubbed “Neocrusaders” — because today is the day they’ve chosen to “send their message” that Islam is bad and only their own religion, Christianity, is good. (As though it’s news to anyone that they think this way.)

And that, in turn, means all the media outlets are going to run stories about 9/11/2001 memorials right alongside stories about these juvenile, enraged vermin who’re convinced they need to be heard. Yeah, it’s going to be fun. Toward that end, the nothing-if-not-predictable Matt Drudge posted, at the title of his Web page, the following (here’s how it looked):

Drudge's whining lament that ISLAM CASTS SHADOW OVER 9/11

Here’s a question that really needs to be asked: Who, exactly, is responsible for this “shadow”? Is it really “Islam”? I agree that Islam bears a burden for what happened on September 11, 2001. That much is incontrovertible. But I wonder if it’s not Drudge himself — and the rest of the Neocrusaders in the Religious Right — who aren’t artificially propping up Islam, 9 years later, so as to cast that shadow that he’s whining about. I wonder if they aren’t continuing to demonize Islam so as to make Christianity look better (in their own eyes) and to distract people from what they want to do (which is to reshape the US into a Christian theocracy). When they make idiotic, laughable claims such as that Islam is not a religion (see this, cached, and this, cached, and this, cached … to provide just three examples), they are telling us much more about themselves than they are about Islam or about Muslims. And what they are telling us about themselves and Christianity as they see it, is not attractive at all.

The Neocrusaders are using the anniversary of 9/11/2001 like a tool, to construct their desired Christian theocracy. It’s a sham, it’s transparent, and it’s deplorable that they would use these attacks in such a way.

The time has come for them to finally grow the fuck up and stop beating people over the head with the supposed superiority of their religion. The truth about Christianity as the Religious Right practices it — the so-called “Religion of Love” — is that it is the opposite of “loving,” and far from having having any moral superiority over any other religion.

The truth about the Religious Right is that they are insane. Completely, thoroughly, and perhaps intractably insane.

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Afghans in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, shout anti-U.S. slogans Friday as they burn tires and block a highway during a protest in reaction to a small American church's plan to burn copies of the Quran.In an attempt to prove correct the Neocrusaders’ contention that Islam is a violent and dangerous religion, more riots broke out across Afghanistan over the burning of Qur’ans — which haven’t even taken place yet. USA Today and Reuters report on the latest event which left one person dead (WebCite cached version):

A demonstrator protesting plans to burn copies of the Quran at a Florida church was killed today in northeast Afghanistan as thousands of angry Afghans took to the streets in Kabul and five provinces, Reuters reports.

Reuters says the protester was shot and killed outside a German-run NATO base in northeast Afghanistan and NATO is investigating.

Obviously the Germans needed to be attacked, because the childish lunatic fringe in the US wants some attention. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Photo credit: Rahmat Gul / AP via USA Today.

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1933 May 10 Berlin book burning, taken from the U.S. National ArchivesThe fires just keep getting hotter … even though they have yet even to be lit! While Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville continues to waffle over whether or not he plans to burn copies of the Qur’an to celebrate the 9th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, other folks have come out of the woodwork, around the country, stating that they plan to do the same.

First, a congregation that rivals Jones’s for its psychotic nature, the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, KS, says it will do so; the Christian Science Monitor reports on the latest from these asylum escapees (WebCite cached article):

Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., may have “suspended” plans to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11. But the controversial Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., says it will burn the Quran. In fact, it already has. …

Although the church burned a Quran in Washington in 2008, it did not get much media attention. On its web site Friday, the church called Pastor Jones in Gainesville a “false prophet … bullied by sissy, intolerant rebels worldwide into cancelling plans to burn that blasphemous idol called the Koran.”

Westboro also declared that it “will burn the Koran and the doomed American flag at 12:00 p.m. on September 11, 2010 at Westboro Baptist Church.”

I blogged about this insane crew a year and a half ago when they came here to Connecticut to spread their vicious hatred. Back then I called them “the Lunatic Church of Hate.” I now believe the same moniker applies to Pastor Jones and his pathetic rabble.

Also, not to be outdone, some crank out in Wyoming plans to match the Westboro Baptist Church stunt, as the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports (cached article):

The founder of the Wyoming Tyranny Response Team plans to burn a copy of the Quran on the steps of the State Capitol on Saturday.

Duncan Philp said he will protest the location of a proposed Islamic Center near Ground Zero in New York City. He also will protest President Barack Obama’s support for the location.

Philp is quite the crank, actually. His group’s Web site is a mixture of zany pseudo-militia fascism and conspiratorialism, and it includes this revealing little screed (cached):

We are compelled to post a list of what we are NOT due to the outrageous claims made by left wing organizations like the Anti-Defamation League aka Amerikan Defecation League, in which the ADL has in the past publicly implied that the TRT holds anti-semitic beliefs and is a front organization for covert militias and right wing fringe organizations. The ADL only gets one chance to get away with a lie and the next time it will cost you Foxman (The ADL Dictator of political correctness). We will drop a dime on the ADL to Aaron Zelman (JPFO Founder) who will in turn will place us in contact with an attorney to discuss civil litigation.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, like the ADL is another left wing front group for the Amerikan Communist Party and its founder Morris “Sleaze” Dees has tried his to discredit our proud organization with his own set of lies. Dees even went so far as to accuse one our TRT founders of being anti-semitic, a man by the name of Bob Glass, who is in fact Jewish.

I don’t know about you, but I smell a whiff of “But some of our best friends are Jewish, so we CAN’T be anti-Semitic!” in here. Sorry, but I’m not stupid enough to buy it.

And there’s a third entry in the insanity sweepstakes … a pastor in Springfield TN plans to burn a Qur’an too. WTVF-TV in Nashville TN reports on this nutjob (cached article):

Springfield Pastor Bob Old said his decision to burn the Islamic holy book on September 11 has nothing to do with the agenda of the pastor in Florida or the controversy surrounding the mosque in New York.

He has his own reasons behind the demonstrations and no intentions of backing down.

“My plans for Saturday are to take a copy of the Quran and burn it,” said Old.

He’s planning to go forward with the demonstration on 9/11 to be able to make his point and have it heard.

I do not for one moment believe that Old’s plan has nothing to do with the current controversy. He claims he has other reasons for it:

“To the Muslim church I would say the reason I am doing on Saturday because I believe they worship a false god. They have a false text, a false prophet and a false scripture,” said Old.

He said the other two reasons are to teach Americans about their constitutional rights and to make them better Christians.

First, Pastor Old … let me clue you in: Muslims don’t have any “church.” Only Christians have a “church.” Muslims pray in “mosques” and comprise an ummah. Second, I’m trying to figure how watching a Qur’an burn can educate anyone about the Constitution or magically make them “better Christians,” but … for some strange reason … it’s just not coming to me. Perhaps you could demonstrate the connection, Pastor?

Anyway … it looks like the Neocrusade against Islam in the United States is continuing without letup. A lot of this seems to be predicated on a desire for attention, and a (false) assumption that no one knows that there are folks in the US who dislike Islam. There is no way, however, that anyone could possibly fail to be aware that the Religious Right opposes Islam and wants Muslims gone. This is not a secret which needs to be revealed to a world that has no idea it’s true. The Neocrusade has been underway for several weeks now, and really is no longer news to anyone. At least not to me.

What these people really are, of course, are Christofascists, acting like fascists because they believe they possess a special entitlement to be able to do fascist things. The childishness just rolls on …

Photo credit: US National Archives / Wikimedia Commons.

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Afghan police fire into the air to disperse mob July 30: Afghan police fire weapons into the air to disperse an angry mob of rioters burning vehicles and chanting 'death to America.' NBC's Jim Maceda reports.I’ve blogged several times recently about Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, and his plans to celebrate the 9th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks by burning Qur’ans. This afternoon he’d announced he’d cancelled his plan — after insisting for weeks that nothing could dissuade him — but tonight waffled on it after complaining he’d been lied to. So the Qur’an burning may proceed as planned, despite the “cancellation.”

But you see, Jones’s childish “on-again, off-again” Christofascist, Qur’an-burning tantrum is only half of the equation here. There would have been no controversy, if not for the fact that many of the world’s Muslims are enraged over this. In fact, some of them responded to Jones’s immaturity, with some immaturity of their own. The AP via Google News reported, a few days ago, on protests over this Qur’an burning … that, curiously enough, hasn’t even happened yet (WebCite cached article):

Hundreds of Afghans railed against the United States and called for President Barack Obama’s death at a rally in the capital Monday to denounce an American church’s plans to burn the Islamic holy book on 9/11.

The crowd in Kabul, numbering as many as 500, chanted “Long live Islam” and “Death to America” as they listened to fiery speeches from members of parliament, provincial council deputies, and Islamic clerics who criticized the U.S. and demanded the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country. Some threw rocks when a U.S. military convoy passed, but speakers shouted at them to stop and told police to arrest anyone who disobeyed.

In their childish fury these Afghans have decided that President Obama and the entire US is to blame:

“We know this is not just the decision of a church. It is the decision of the president and the entire United States,” said Abdul Shakoor, an 18-year-old high school student who said he joined the protest after hearing neighborhood gossip about the Quran burning.

Why yes. Of course. Not one thing happens in this country of some 300 million people, without the approval of the President and the unanimous consent of that entire, vast, population. Obviously!

The problem here is not just that Jones and his Dove World Outreach Center are overgrown children who can’t control themselves … so, too, is a large contingent of the world’s Muslim population. (Didn’t we learn this after the riots that followed publication of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons?)

Can we please try to just fucking grow up, people? Is it really too much to ask of grown adults that that act their damned ages, fercryinoutloud?

Photo credit: NBC News/MSNBC.

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Non nobis Domine. Sed nomini tuo da gloriam.I’d been skeptical about Neocrusading pastor Terry Jones’s announcement that he’d called off his plan to burn Qur’ans this September 11. And it turns out I was right to be. Jones is wavering, angry about having been misled. The AP reports via the Torrington Register-Citizen (WebCite cached version):

An anti-Islamic preacher backed off and then threatened to reconsider burning the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, angrily accusing a Muslim leader of lying to him Thursday with a promise to move an Islamic center and mosque away from New York’s ground zero. The imam planning the center denied there was ever such a deal. …

Standing outside his 50-member Pentecostal church, the Dove Outreach Center, alongside Imam Muhammad Musri, the president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, Jones said he relented when Musri assured him that the New York mosque will be moved.

Musri, however, said after the news conference that the agreement was only for him and Jones to travel to New York and meet Saturday with the imam overseeing plans to build a mosque near ground zero.

Hours later, Jones said Musri “clearly, clearly lied to us.”

Previously, Jones had claimed that the (supposed) move of the Cordoba Center was exactly the “sign from God” he’d been waiting for to get him to call off his Qur’an-burning. I had also blogged earlier tonight:

What’s going to happen, I wonder, once the insane Pastor Jones discovers that that so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” (which isn’t actually at “ground zero” in the first place) isn’t being moved? Will he claim his “sign from God” has been taken away from him by the vile forces of Islam, and burn some Qur’ans after all?

I guess this petulance is the result of just that eventuality.

Photo credit: One lucky guy.

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Book burning Mural by Jose Chavez Morado, Museo Alhondiga de Granaditas, Guanajuato, MexicoNo sooner did I finish blogging about the sorry history of the Florida Neocrusading pastor who wanted to burn Qur’ans to celebrate the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, than he held a press conference to announce he was cancelling. Or is he? This report from ABC News shows that the situation is still very uncertain (WebCite cached article):

A fiery Florida pastor called off his bonfire of Korans today after claiming he has a deal that will move a controversial mosque away from the site of the 9/11 terror attacks, but the Muslim cleric planning the so-called Ground Zero Mosque quickly denied to ABC News that he has agreed to move his project.

Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Fla., emerged from his church in Gainesville, Fla., along with Florida Imam Muhammad al-Masri to announce his decision to cancel his Koran burning, saying he viewed the supposed deal as “a sign from God.”

What’s going to happen, I wonder, once the insane Pastor Jones discovers that that so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” (which isn’t actually at “ground zero” in the first place) isn’t being moved? Will he claim his “sign from God” has been taken away from him by the vile forces of Islam, and burn some Qur’ans after all?

Besides, to date, Jones’s complaint about Islam … and his supposed motivation for burning Qur’ans … has not, to my knowledge, been the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque.” It has, instead, been Jones’s insistence that the United States is about to come under Shari’a law. (See for example this ABC News interview, with cached version.) So it’s not clear to me how this issue became the linchpin that made Jones change his mind.

The bottom line is that we are certainly not out of the woods yet … not with a creature like Pastor Jones at the heart of the controversy.

Photo credit: larry&flo.

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