Archive for the “Islam” Category

Muslims and their religion

'Bombhead' cartoon by K. WestergaardI’ve already blogged on any number of cartoon controversies, caused by Muslims who pitched fits over depictions of Muhammad. They erroneously believe they possess the authority to force all of humanity — Muslim and non-Muslim alike — to abide by their own Islamic metaphysics, which require that their prophet Muhammad never be depicted in artwork.

Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller - 2010-10-03 - ... 'Where's Muhammad?'The latest controversy involves this week’s installment of the comic Non Sequitur (cached) by Wiley Miller (which is, by the way, one of my own favorites, especially since The Far Side finished its run, some 15 years ago). There’s no evidence that Muslims have pitched any fits over it, yet, but that doesn’t mean that a controversy hasn’t already kicked up over it, as the Washington Post reports (WebCite cached article):

Depending on what newspaper you take, you may or may not see today’s “Non Sequitur” comic that’s captioned, in part, “…Where’s Muhammad?”

Some newspapers chose instead to run a Sunday replacement strip featuring the recurring character Obvious-Man. So what was the editorial thinking behind the choice?

“I have absolutely no information on why any of the editors chose not to run it,” “Non Sequitur” creator Wiley Miller tells Comic Riffs. “All I can do is surmise that the irony of their being afraid to run a cartoon that satirizes media’s knee-jerk reaction to anything involving Islam bounced right of their foreheads. So what they’ve actually accomplished is, sadly, [to] validate the point.” …

“Both of the papers I get that carry comics, the Portland Press Herald and the Boston Globe, ran the substitute,” says the cartoonist, who goes by “Wiley.” “Really disappointing.”

The caption to the single-panel comic — which depicts a cheery, slightly surreal park scene — says: “Picture book titled voted least likely to ever find a publisher…’Where’s Muhammad?’ ” The cartoon was one of the “most favorited” Sunday on the syndicate’s website, where readers on the comments thread were mentioning where they had — or had not — found the “Muhammad” strip in their local papers.

WaPo itself waffled on the matter, as its own article admits:

The Washington Post chose to run the “Where’s Muhammad?” comic in its online edition [cached] but not in its Sunday print funnies, running an “Obvious-Man” replacement. Spokeswoman Kris Coratti said The Post had no comment on that decision.

Yes folks, it certainly looks as though the Islamist terrorists have won their war, if newspaper editors are proactively obeying the dictates of their vicious, fundamentalist religion. Just to help ensure the Islamists are thwarted … and as my own little protest against craven newspaper editors who bend over for them … the cartoon in question appears to the left, and I headlined this post with the classic “Bombhead” cartoon.

Hat tip: The Friendly Atheist.

Photo credit: Jyllands-Posten / Kurt Westergaard (via About.Com).

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Mask ... for going into hidingThe Seattle cartoonist who proposed “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” earlier this year, has been forced to change her name and go into hiding, because of death threats — at least one serious and credible enough that it’s the FBI which suggested she do so. According to USA Today‘s On Deadline blog (WebCite cached article):

At the urging of the FBI, the Seattle cartoonist behind “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” is “going ghost” — leaving town, changing her name, creating a new identity because of the death threat issued in July [cached] by an Islamic cleric linked to the failed Times Square bombing, the Seattle Weekly says [cached] of its former contributor.

The reaction to this proposal, in the worldwide Muslim community, was horrific, and included such measures as Facebook and Youtube being blocked inside of Pakistan, as I blogged at the time.

Ain’t childishness wonderful? Especially when it’s religiously-fueled childishness?

USA Today adds the following note, which is somehow supposed to sound nice:

Norris had made friends with local Islamic leaders, and the head of the Seattle chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the group “has a no tolerance policy for threats of violence.”

I guess it’s all well and good, and maybe heartwarming, that she “made friends” with members of CAIR, and that CAIR has a “no tolerance policy.” But that doesn’t appear to have helped. You would think that true “friends” would have at least tried to do something, and prevent her from having to go into hiding … no?

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Author: al-Azhr, the Egyptian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs  This Fatawa describes how an Egyptian man turned apostate and the subsequent punishment prescribed for him by the Al-Azhr Fatawa council.The lunatic clerics who run the theocracy of Iran finally weighed in on the Qur’an-desecration controversy. As one would expect, they issued a fatwa against anyone who dares deface a Qur’an, as Agence France-Presse via Google News reports (WebCite cached article):

Two top Iranian clerics said anyone desecrating the Koran must be killed, Fars news agency reported, as hundreds of people protested on Monday outside the Swiss embassy in Tehran.

“From the point of view of Islamic jurisprudence, strong objection to such thoughts is mandatory and necessary and killing the people who have committed this act is compulsory,” Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani was quoted as saying by Fars.

His view was echoed by Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi who added that such a response must be taken after consulting a “religious judge.”

Because, of course, no one in his right mind would ever dream of doing anything without first consulting a “religious judge”! Right?

The Iranian government — also predictably — found it necessary to throw in one of their irrational, conspiratorial anti-Semitic zingers:

Top Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have issued harsh criticism over the issue, with the hardliner even saying that a bid to burn the Muslim holy book was a “Zionist plot” that would lead to the speedy “annihilation” of Israel.

Adding to the ridiculousness of it all, a crowd formed that was so delusionally enraged over Qur’an desecration that they didn’t even realize they were going after the wrong target:

Meanwhile up to 500 people demonstrated outside the Swiss embassy in northern Tehran in protest against the United States over the Koran-burning issue.

An AFP photographer said the crowd, chanting anti-US and anti-Israel slogans, pelted stones at the embassy and tried to get into the building, but the guards prevented them from entering the premises.

Note that this is similar to when a similarly-deranged Afghan rabble attacked a German base in their country over Qur’ans which, at that time, hadn’t even been defaced yet.

Yes, folks, the worldwide collective temper-tantrum continues. Two of the world’s great religions continue to try to show which can be more irrational and immature than the other. It would be hilarious, if not for the destruction and the lives that have been lost over it.

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Afghan protesters in Jalalabad shout slogans in a Friday demonstration against a pastor's plan to burn the Quran.A couple of days ago I remarked that Muslims around the world — and particularly, for some unknown reason, in Afghanistan — were working to prove the Neocrusaders correct when they claim that Islam is an inherently violent religion. Well, they’ve managed the amazing feat of continuing to be juvenile imbeciles about the whole matter, and have continued to riot over it. Reuters reports on the continuing protests (WebCite cached article):

Demonstrators took to Afghanistan’s streets for a third day on Sunday to protest against a U.S. preacher’s plan to burn copies of the Koran even though he has since withdrawn the threat.

Chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Christians”, demonstrators clashed with Afghan security forces in Logar province, south of the capital Kabul. …

Three demonstrators were wounded, one seriously, when Afghan security forces opened fire on Sunday to disperse hundreds of protesters marching to Pul-e-Alam, the capital of Logar province, said Din Mohammad Darwish, the provincial governor’s spokesman.

The protesters threatened to attack foreign military bases. There are almost 150,000 foreign troops fighting a growing Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan.

“The governor must give us an assurance that the church is not going to burn the Koran, otherwise we will attack foreign troop bases in our thousands,” protester Mohammad Yahya said.

I have no idea how the governor of Lugar province in Afghanistan is supposed to be able to prevent some idiotic schmuck in Florida from burning the Qur’an … but then again, I’m just a cold-hearted, cynical, God-hating, agnostic heathen, not an immature religionist screwball who lives in a Third World hut. I guess it’s just too much to expect of me to understand something that profound; I’ll have to remain ignorant and simple-minded, where such important things are concerned.

So in addition to one person dying over a Qur’an that hasn’t burned yet, two more have died over a Qur’an that never was burned after all. Someday humanity will grow up and begin to make sense … but not, it seems, any time soon. Sigh. Has anyone in the Muslim world figured out, yet, that events like this are only serving to make the Neocrusaders feel they’re right? Hmm? Maybe?

Photo credit: CNN (cached).

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Siege of Damascus (during the Second Crusade)A couple days ago I blogged about several proposed Qur’an burnings around the country. One was planned in Tennessee, and according to the Tennessean of Nashville, it took place (WebCite cached article):

A Florida pastor’s threat to burn Islam’s holy book on the anniversary of 9/11 set off a nationwide furor and incited Muslim anger as far away as Afghanistan, but the incendiary plan ended quietly in the backyard of a home in Springfield. …

On Saturday, despite the national tempest and opposition from conservative Christian leaders including Middle Tennessee pastors, Old carried out his plan.

But for all the controversy and hype, his Quran burning took place in front of just a handful of people, most of them from the media.

Old and the Rev. Danny Allen stood together in [the Rev. Bob] Old’s backyard, answering what they say was a message from God.

Note that the sniveling coward burned his Qur’an in someone’s backyard … far from the public eye. Nothing like taking pride in “answering … a message from God,” eh? Yessirree, that’s the way to show the courage of your convictions, Reverend!

On the other hand, another proposed Qur’an burning, this one in Wyoming, did not take place, at least so far as is known, as reported by the Wyoming Tribune Eagle (cached):

Cheyenne resident Duncan Philp proposed burning a copy of the Quran Saturday on the steps of the State Capitol, but [Mahamed] Salih [secretary of the Cheyenne Interfaith Council] said the plan did not go forward.

[Pro-religious tolerance rally attendee Jason] Bloomberg said he told [Duncan] Philp [of the Wyoming Tyranny Response Team] that burning the Quran is exactly what terrorists want to see happen because it pits Americans against each other.

Of course, one can’t be sure that Philp didn’t burn a Qur’an in a Wyoming backyard, but it simply hasn’t been posted on YouTube yet.

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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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