Posts Tagged “Islam”

NBC News / Protesters clash with security forces after setting a fire at the German Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, on FridayRaging and rioting continue across the Muslim world in the wake of the release of a Neocrusader’s Youtube video that’s supposedly insulting to Islam and its founder. NBC News reports on the irrational, childish fury which is rapidly engulfing the Muslim world (WebCite cached article)

At least seven people were reported to have been killed Friday across the Middle East and Africa in protests over the anti-Islamic video that led to a deadly attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya this week.

The unrest was centered mainly on U.S. embassies, but other targets also came under attack, including embassies and other outposts of Britain, Germany and the U.N.

Please read the whole article to see for yourself the lengthy catalog of Muslim mayhem and bloodletting. The sheer amount of rage is staggering, and so far, it’s cost seven lives.

Yes, folks, in the eyes of Muslims, seven people absolutely had to fucking die, because some Neocrusading Christianist crank in California dared make a movie that dissed their religion.

Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoon, via Assyrian International News AgencyFor all you raging Muslims, here’s a little something more for you to stamp and fume about: As usual in cases like this, I’m turning up the heat a little more, by posting these Muslim-offending cartoons, published by Jyllands-Posten back in 2005.

Please enjoy! Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoon, via Assyrian International News AgencyOh … and while you’re at it, try to learn the lesson of the Streisand effect.

Boo fucking hoo, all you little crybaby Muslims. Rage and bluster all you want … but these aren’t going anywhere.

Photo credit, top: NBC News; others, AINA.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments No Comments »

Agence France-Presse / Getty Images, via the New York TimesIt’s been in the news all day … rioting at the U.S. embassy in Cairo (cached), and a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya (cached), all supposedly because of an anti-Islam movie produced by someone in California. The trouble with all of this news is — it might not be so. News outlets like the New York Times are beginning to report that at least the Benghazi murders might not have been caused by the inflammatory video, after all (WebCite cached article):

The Obama administration suspects that the fiery attack in Libya that killed the American ambassador and three other diplomats may have been planned rather than a spontaneous mob getting out of control, American officials said Wednesday. …

The attack at the compound in Benghazi was far more deadly than administration officials first announced on Tuesday night, when Mrs. Clinton said one American had been killed and one injured.

Another of those killed was Sean Smith, an information management officer who joined the Foreign Service 10 years ago, Mrs. Clinton said in a statement. The State Department did not identify the other two, pending notification of their relatives. Mr. Smith, who was a husband and father of two, previously served in Iraq, Canada and the Netherlands.

This is in contrast to the rioting in Cairo which may actually have been triggered by the video’s insult to Islam and its founding prophet:

The protesters in Cairo appeared to be a genuinely spontaneous unarmed mob angered by an anti-Islam video produced in the United States. By contrast, it appeared the attackers in Benghazi were armed with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

I have no doubt that America’s Neocrusaders will use both the murders in Benghazi and the riots in Cairo as “evidence” that Islam is violent, evil, and must be stamped out. They’ll say, “See? Islam isn’t ‘the Religion of Peace’ after all!” The trouble is … that’s precisely what this movie was designed to do! It was purposely incendiary, and even some of those involved in making it claim they’d been deceived by its producer (cached). And his biography appears to be leakier than a sieve (cached).

Let’s be brutally honest: It doesn’t take rocket science to realize this Youtube video would send some Muslims up in flames. After all, the mere threat of burning copies of the Qur’an had caused thousands of Afghans to fly into a murderous rage. We already know Muslims aren’t culturally mature enough to handle any kind of critique of their religion. We didn’t need this movie to prove it. So what, then, did this movie accomplish?

Abso-fucking-lutely nothing whatsoever! All it did was cause raging and rioting that need not ever have happened.

But while the producer of this movie bears at least some moral responsibility for this … since it appears he went into this expressly desiring this particular result (cached) … it’s also true that no one can incite a riot unless there are other folks ready, willing and able to take the bait and start rioting. In other words, this “Sam Bacile” did not put a gun to the heads of these rioters and force them to go on a rampage. The rioters in Cairo went and did that, entirely on their own. On the other hand, they could have chosen to act differently; they could have had the maturity to understand that not everyone else in the world loves their religion or its founder, and that once in a while one of those people is going to insult Islam.

There’s only one phrase to describe all of this: “Religionistic immaturity.” Immaturity on the part of America’s Neocrusaders, including “Sam Bacile,” who can’t handle the fact that Islam exists and who feel the need to throw tantrums over it; and on the part of the rioting Muslims, who can’t handle the fact that people of other religions might say something bad about Islam and who likewise throw tantrums of their own.

Folks … the human race can no longer afford this kind of deeply-ingrained, culturally-perpetuated immaturity. Muslims need to fucking grow the hell up and deal with the fact that not everyone likes their religion. By the same token, Christians need to fucking grow the hell up and stop being enraged that other people have rejected their faith. This kind of wanton childishness in the name of God really needs to stop.

Just. Fucking. Stop. OK?

Update: In their ongoing effort to show how childish they can be, rioting Muslims in Egypt have entered the U.S. embassy compound tonight (cached). Well done, Muslims. You’re on your way to invading and capturing yet another American embassy. Yessirree, everyone is now sure to conclude that yours truly is “the Religion of Peace.” Yep. No doubt about that! You all must be so proud of yourselves! </sarcasm>

Photo credit: Agence France-Presse / Getty Images, via the New York Times.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments No Comments »

Crusaders battleThe nation’s Neocrusaders have carried their war against Islam into the Nutmeg State, and have claimed several Metro North commuter-train stations as their beachhead. The Connecticut Post reports on this latest propaganda effort (WebCite cached article):

The series of billboards paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative are the latest chapter in an ongoing battle of trackside messages financed by advocacy groups on opposite sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The current ad campaign posted at five Connecticut stations on the New Haven Line — Greenwich, Cos Cob, Noroton Heights, Darien and South Norwalk — include the slogan “It’s not Islamophobia, It’s Islamorealism,” in red lettering on a black background.

Above the slogan, the poster lists the number 19,250, the purported number of terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic extremists since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The signs were put up by a group led by Pamela Geller, a prominent and vocal Jewish Neocrusader, part of a pissing contest she’s gotten into with a critic of Israel:

Geller said the ads, which will run through Sept. 2 were bought to counter a round of platform advertisements critical of Israel that were financed by retired Wall Street broker Henry Clifford of the Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine, she said in an email exchange.

Call me unimpressed with Geller’s signs, which state that Palestine belongs to solely to Jews and that everyone else needs to get the fuck out — now. This is the sort of attitude that all sides in the Middle East conflict have been hurling at each other for decades now, and I note that it has accomplished absolutely nothing whatsoever. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see how continuing this sort of rhetoric is going to do any good; after all, one of the clichéd definitions of insanity is, “Doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results.”

I note that at least one of Geller’s signs is non-factual. Have a look at it:

One of several controversial advertisments is posted at the Cos Cob train station. This ad reads 'Jews have had a continuous presences in Israel for over 3,000 years. Ancient Israel was renamed ''Palestine'' by the conquering Romans in 135 CE. By any name it has always been the Jewish homeland.' Photo: Lindsay Niegelberg / Stamford Advocate. Via the Connecticut Post.

One of several controversial advertisments is posted at the Cos Cob train station. This ad reads ‘Jews have had a continuous presences in Israel for over 3,000 years. Ancient Israel was renamed ”Palestine” by the conquering Romans in 135 CE. By any name it has always been the Jewish homeland.’ Photo: Lindsay Niegelberg / Stamford Advocate. Via the Connecticut Post.

Let’s go over the sign’s claims. First, we have: “Jews have had a continuous presences in Israel for over 3,000 years.” This part is true. The people from whom modern Jews descended, were living in the region, c. 1,000 BCE. So far so good for Geller.

But then we have: “Ancient Israel was renamed ‘Palestine’ by the conquering Romans in 135 CE.” While it’s true that Emperor Hadrian renamed the province “Syria Palaestina” in the early 2nd century CE, it’s absolutely not true that the name “Palestine” was a Roman invention. No way! The Romans followed a precedent that was ancient, even in their own day: Egyptians had known the area as “Peleset” for a millennium or more, and that name ended up becoming “Palaistina” in Herodotus and — yes! — “Pelesheth” in the Old Testament. Far from inventing a previously-unknown name, the Romans merely used an older one that they were aware of.

Lastly we have: “By any name it has always been the Jewish homeland.” This statement obfuscates the facts. The region known as Palestine may be “the Jewish homeland,” but it also happens to be “the Canaanite homeland” and “the Samaritan homeland” as well. Many other peoples have lived there through history: Phoenicians, Syriacs, Philistines, & Arameans, not to mention Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Romans, Greeks, and any number of others. Really, the concept of assigned “homelands,” and deciding to which people a region “belongs,” is juvenile and ridiculous in any event. One can select any arbitrary window in history and then say the people who were in a region at that time, “own” it forever and ever. But the odds are, that people moved in there at some point, either adding to or displacing another people who previously had “owned” that region. All of humanity migrated out of Africa, so quite literally, no other area can be said to be the ultimate “homeland” of any people.

I’ve said it before and will say it again: The mature way to respond to one form of religionistic extremism, is not to hurl another form of religionistic extremism back at it. It’s childish, and it’s not going to help anyone.

I’ll close this post by pointing out that the “American Freedom Defense Initiative” is a contradiction in terms. Geller and the other folks behind it, are not promoting true “freedom.” If they had their way, Islam would be outlawed, and very likely so too would be non-belief. That sort of effort is the opposite of “freedom.”

Photo credit, top: Wikimedia Commons; middle, Lindsay Niegelberg / Stamford Advocate, via Connecticut Post.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments No Comments »

Construction at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Tennessee in July, 2012 (Stephen Lance Dennee/Associated Press, via the New York Times)The Great Neocrusade pulled out all the stops in its effort to prevent a mosque from opening up in Murfreesboro, TN. I’ve blogged about the measures taken against it — both legal and illegal — by militant, furious Neocrusaders. But all of it was for naught. As the New York Times Lede blog reports, the mosque opened this weekend (locally-cached article):

After years of attacks, threats and court action, an Islamic center in Tennessee cleared one last hurdle that allowed it to open its doors on Friday to worshipers, allowing them to honor the occasion with prayers on what is Islam’s main congregational day of the week. But the opening of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro was overshadowed by concerns after the shooting of worshipers at a Sikh temple on Sunday in Wisconsin and an arson attack on a mosque in Missouri this week. …

The mosque faced arson, vandalism and a court battle before it cleared [cached] a final step when it passed inspection this week and was given a temporary certificate of occupancy for 30 days.

Even in spite of their having ultimately lost this battle, some Neocrusaders still chose to be on hand to whine about the mosque’s opening:

Standing in the parking lot, Dan J. Qualls, 50, a former car plant worker, said he came to the center to protest. Mr. Qualls, wearing an “I Love Jesus” hat, said he understood that the First Amendment protects the right to worship freely but said he believed Islam represented violence.

To be clear, Mr Qualls and the rest of you Christofascist Neocrusaders … your own religion is violent, too. Moreover, you know it, even if you’d prefer not to have to admit it. Complaining about Islam being violent (and yes, it can be!) does not grant you the right to act as though your own religion is non-violent. It most certainly is not.

I suggest that Neocrusaders crack open their Bibles for once and actually read the reported teachings of Jesus Christ himself, the founder of their own religion:

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Mt 7:3-5)

“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” (Lk 6:41-42)

Before you militant Christians can presume the right to critique other peoples’ religions, you should begin following your own. Please start doing so.

Photo credit: Stephen Lance Dennee/AP, via the New York Times.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments No Comments »

Michelangelo's "God", from "the Creation of Adam"Every time some hideous catastrophe takes place in the occidental world, inevitably, people start musing about “where God was” while it was going on. I’ve noticed this has been particularly common in regard to the Aurora massacre that happened just over a week ago. CNN’s Belief blog alone has hosted multiple postings which ask this one question … but that’s hardly the only place. The media and the blogosphere are literally choked with people asking that question. Last Sunday, preachers and pastors around the country were (trying to) answer it for their flocks during their sermons, and I assume are still trying to do so.

I tangentially mentioned that particular question myself, just a few days ago — so I have to confess, even I have stumbled into it. Given how frequently this question has come up, I’ve decided I must address it a little more directly.

The question, “Where God was during the Aurora massacre?” is a direct consequence of “the problem of evil” which lies at the philosophical heart of the Abrahamic faiths.

Elsewhere I’ve devoted an entire Web page to this particular dilemma. To keep it brief, the problem lies in the fact that the Abrahamic faiths believe in a creator deity which is simultaneously omnipotent (i.e. having the power to do anything s/he/it wants), omniscient (i.e. knowing everything that can be known: past, present, and future alike), and benevolent (i.e. wanting there to be no suffering on the part of anyone). In spite of this supposed combination of traits, though, we know that this deity’s creation contains suffering … a lot of it. Over the centuries many theodicies have been proposed to explain how this presumed creator deity can have all three of these traits yet still there is a lot of suffering. All of those theodicies, however, fail the test of logic, because they all fail to take into account the absolute nature of the three traits the Abrahamic deity is assumed to possess, as well as his role as the creator of the universe.

The one most apologists use is the “free will” theodicy, or the claim that the creator has given humanity “free will,” so that each of us can do whatevever s/he wishes at any time, and said deity refuses to do anything about it … hence there is suffering in the world that God cannot prevent. Unfortunately this fails for three reasons: First, not all suffering is even of human origin, so that someone’s presumed “free will” played no role in it and cannot have caused it. Second, that creator deity is believed to have intervened in human affairs many times in history and has gone so far as to order people around; clearly he is not some kind of remote spectator-being who’s philosophically opposed to getting involved in people’s decisions and unwilling to get in their way. Third, as the creator, he must have known how his creation would turn out; he must have known in advance what everyone would do; he must have known there would be widespread suffering for uncountable billions of people over many generations; yet — despite knowing all of this prior to the moment of creation — he created the universe anyway.

Ultimately, a truly omnipotent and omniscient being can never be absolved of any responsibility for what he creates; if he exists, and if he created this universe, he and he alone is responsible for everything that ever happens in it. Those who are part of that creation can, at best, only be secondary agents — since he created them as they are, and they did not create themselves. In the end, simply put, it is logically impossible for the creator of the universe we live in — which has suffering in it — to simultaneously be omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent. It just doesn’t work.

The curious thing about the problem of evil is, as soon as you take the Abrahamic deity’s presumed benevolence out of the equation, the rest of it actually becomes logically tenable. Removing his omnipotence or omniscience tends not to work so well: If you assume the creator was less-than-omnipotent, you’re still left with a creator who made a universe he knew would get out of his control and have suffering in it that he couldn’t do anything about; and even if the deity was less-than-omniscient, he still must have had some idea that he was risking creating a universe that might have suffering in it. So even taking either or both of those out, you’re still left with a creator-being who must have behaved in a less-than-totally-benevolent manner.

While this is coolly logical, it unfortunately does not fit with prevailing notions about the Abrahamic faiths. Most Jews, Christians and Muslims are unnerved even to consider that the deity they worship might be something other than benevolent. Some are willing to dispense with his omnipotence or omniscience (e.g. Harold Kushner, author of the best-selling When Bad Things Happen to Good People), but for the most part they simply refuse even to entertain the idea that their creator deity could be anything less than loving and compassionate.

Thus, as far as I’m concerned, for followers of the Abrahamic faiths to have to ask themselves, “Where was God during the Aurora massacre?” just provides more evidence of the inherent, undeniable absurdity of their beliefs. They shouldn’t even be asking it! What they should be asking — instead — is, “Why do I believe in a creator-deity to whom tradition assigns a combination of traits that logic tells me he can’t possibly have?”

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments 1 Comment »

The tomb of Sidi Mahmoud Ben Amar in January 2008. Photo: Martha de Jong-LantinkA group of militant Islamists in Mali are carrying out a campaign against idolatry in Timbuktu and destroying treasured monuments in the process. They’ve been at it for a couple of days, as Reuters reports via the New York Times, and they aren’t letting up (locally-cached article):

Ignoring international calls to halt their attacks, Islamist militants in Timbuktu continued to smash the mausoleums of Sufi saints on Sunday, witnesses said.

The hard-line Salafi group Ansar Dine, which supports a puritanical version of Islamic law, consider the centuries-old Sufi shrines in Timbuktu to be idolatrous. About 30 militants armed with assault rifles and pickaxes destroyed three mausoleums on Saturday and three more on Sunday, witnesses said. The group said it planned to destroy all 16 of the city’s main shrines.

Unfortunately, the Mali government can do nothing to stop this; due to a civil war, they don’t have control of the region. UNESCO and other international interests have condemned the desecration, but no one appears inclined to do anything about it, just now.

Of course, this is not the first time Islamofascist thugs have destroyed monuments to sects or religions they despise. The article mentions sites Salafis have demolished elsewhere in the last year. The Taliban in Afghanistan also famously destroyed some Buddhist statues. So this kind of destructive religionism, unfortunately, isn’t without precedent in Islam.

Note that this is a sectarian struggle; Salafis and Sufis are all Muslims, even if they might, themselves, disagree on that.

Photo credit: Martha de Jong-Lantink, via Global Heritage Fund.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments 1 Comment »

Gustave Doré (1832-1883), The Crusaders war machinery, via Wikimedia CommonsThis issue isn’t really new. Wired magazine has been reporting on this particular issue for quite some time (cached). It seems anti-terror instruction in the US military has been taken over by Neocrusaders who’ve made any number of outrageous claims about Islam as a whole and are trying to inculcate hatred of Muslims generally among the ranks. I blogged about this particular influence within the FBI when Wired reported on it last year. But the influence of the Neocrusade in the military seems to be worse, more pervasive, and more extensive.

Last year the Pentagon began a review of its anti-terror training materials, and the results of that review are starting to emerge. MSNBC elaborates on an Al Jazeera report on aspects that have come to light already (WebCite cached article):

As the Pentagon reviews all military classes following the disclosure of one that advocated “total war” against Muslims, the news website Al-Jazeera reported Saturday that it had received materials from a similar course and that both were put together by the same group, a nonprofit that offers classes and workshops to military and government officials.

Al-Jazeera said [cached] it received course slides from an unnamed military officer who said “this bigoted conspiracy cabal is both disgusting and so deeply un-American.”

The slides leave the impression that Hamas extremists have infiltrated the U.S. government, media and education via U.S. Islamic groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Al-Jazeera said. …

The documents indicated the two courses were prepared by the consulting firm Strategic Engagement Group, Inc., Al-Jazeera said. The website for Strategic Engagement [cached] does include statements similar to those in the materials cited by Al-Jazeera, msnbc.com found.

I decided to nose around in Strategic Engagement’s Web site to see what they offer. The first link I clicked on was this PDF version of a Powerpoint presentation entitled “CAIR Is Hamas” (cached). It didn’t take long for me to discover that these people are spewing factual errors. For instance, slide 3 of the presentation says:

In the 1920’s, after WWI and the Turkish Revolution, Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk” became the leader of the new nation-state Turkey. He dissolved the nearly 700 old Islamic State (Caliphate) known as the “Ottoman Empire,” outlawed the wearing of hijab, the growing of Islamic beards, the call to prayer, replaced Arabic with Latin, did away with Shariah (Islamic Law) and replaced it with secular law, and built an army to protect secular Turkey.

First, while it’s true that Ataturk did establish a new, and secular, government in Turkey, his new state did not encompass all of what had once been the Ottoman Empire. That dismantled state was succeeded, in those other regions, by other less secular states, or they became colonies of western powers and only later became independent states. So it’s factually incorrect to state that “the Ottoman Empire” was succeeded uniformly by the “secular” state of Turkey.

Second, the Ottoman Empire was not really a “Caliphate.” While some of its rulers did use that title, sporadically, even when they did, it was not universally recognized across Islam. Moreover, that they did so, doesn’t really mean a lot: Ottoman rulers sometimes arrogated other titles, such as “Roman Emperor,” and that’s also difficult to take very seriously. The title that best applies to the Ottoman rulers was “sultan,” not “caliph,” making the Ottoman Empire a “sultanate” rather than a “caliphate.”

Third, Ataturk did not “replace Arabic with Latin.” Within Ataturk’s new state of Turkey, the dominant language had been Turkish, not Arabic, and it remains so. While Turkish had long been written mostly using the Arabic alphabet, it was less than ideal; Ataturk did encourage the use of a Latin-based alphabet instead. But it is simply not true that Turkey went from speaking Arabic to speaking Latin.

I hardly need to investigate these Neocrusading wingnuts any further, given their loose command of basic history. Listen, I get it. Really I do. I get that the United States has been attacked by Islamic terrorists who feel compelled to kill others — and themselves — out of a violent religiofascistic impulse. I also get that there are immature, violent Muslims who are prone to explode in insane fury at the slightest provocation. I concede there are still some dangerously fanatical Muslims out there who think their religion orders them to maim and kill. That’s very much in evidence, and only a fool would say otherwise. What concerns me are these two basic premises of the Neocrusade:

  1. Islamofascist terrorists are not the “fringe” of Islam, they are its heart; which means that all Muslims, not just some, are murderous fanatics.
  2. Only Islam has any murderous impulses; other religions, particularly Christianity, do not.

The former premise is just not true, as witnessed by the fact that there are plenty of “moderate,” non-terrorist Muslims around the world, who at this moment are fighting the terrorist element of their religion. And other religions, including Christianity, most certainly also have their own terrorizing, murderous extremists. Eradicating Islam completely — which is the Neocrusade’s ultimate goal — cannot and will never end terrorism. To assume so is not only irrational, it’s delusional. The cold fact is that nearly any religion, anywhere, is capable of inciting violence and even terrorism in its followers. None is immune to it. The sooner we understand this, the better off we’ll all be.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments No Comments »