Posts Tagged “terror”

'... but it CAN'T be TERRORISM if Christians did it!' / PsiCop original graphicYesterday the world was treated to yet another story of yet another terror attack by a sanctimoniously-enraged Islamist — this time, on a high-speed train out of Paris, during which the attacker was subdued (WebCite cached version). This kind of shit is just horrific. Clearly there’s something about Islam which triggers this sort of raging terror.

It’s not just “lone-wolf” attacks of this sort, either; Muslims around the world have massed together, rioting, maiming, and murdering over things like apostasy and blasphemy. Not to mention, there are also many Islamist organizations (e.g. ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-that-savage-brood, the al-Nusra Front, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, etc.) which are currently engaged in religiously-driven wars with virtually everyone around them.

So if someone wants to posit that Islam can’t compel violence, I beg to differ. The evidence clearly demonstrates that it can, and does, promote the worst sort of violence. I concede not all Muslims are terrorists, nor do I even think most are. Nor do I think — as a lot of Neocrusaders here in the US claim — that all Muslims everywhere are prone to violence and terror. No way.

But even having admitted there’s some sort of festering sore deep in the heart of Islam, that’s not to say terrorism and violence are unique to that religion. That also is demonstrably untrue. Nearly all religions have this problem. Yes, even Buddhism — which many think is as pacifist a religion as can be found. That presumption is absolutely unfounded (cached).

Among all of this, though, is a form of terror triggered by a religion which is much closer to home to Americans. And that is, Christian terrorism. Yes, that’s what I said: Christian terrorism. Rest assured, it really exists. Unfortunately it doesn’t get anywhere near as much attention as Islamist terror does. Yes, it’s true that Christian terror attacks are much less common than those of Islamists, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem that needs to be addressed.

There was the assassination of Dr George Tiller by a Christianist anti-abortion crusader (cached). There were attacks on Sikh temples (cached) and on Unitarian Universalist churches (cached).

“Oh, but all of those were just crazy criminals being crazy criminals,” one might say. “What could their Christianity have to do with it?” It’s true there’s criminality in these guys, and it may also be that some or all had mental illnesses. But non-terrorist Muslims could easily say the very same about Islamist terrorists. Neither of these objections really holds up to scrutiny. The ability to use a religion to rationalize one’s own murderous impulses, doesn’t say anything good about the religion; one would think a truly divine faith taught by the Almighty himself ought not be used that way.

“Oh, and these all happened years ago,” one might also contend. “They’re in the past.” One could easily say that, since the Wisconsin Sikh temple massacre took place 3 years ago, and the other attacks were in 2008 and 2009. But … that contention ignores the fact that there have also been much more recent examples of Christian terrorism.

For instance, Larry McQuilliams — a member of the (Christian) Phineas Priesthood — shot up Austin TX just last December (cached). An avowed Christian and former GOP Congressional candidate was indicted just a couple months ago for conspiring to kill Muslims in upstate New York (cached). Another Christian and KKK member in New York state was just convicted of conspiring to kill Muslims and the president using some kind of radiation weapon (cached). And just a few days ago, one Moises Trevizo tried to bomb the Kansas clinic that Dr George Tiller had worked at (cached). None of these occurred in the deep, dark recesses of history. They’re all recent developments. They happened; the attempted bombing in Wichita was, as I said, just a few days ago. And they matter.

But you wouldn’t get that impression from the mass media. It’s not that these stories have gone unreported … obviously they were reported, since I linked to news outlets’ coverage of them. The problem is, these Christians’ terror attacks don’t get wall-to-wall coverage, nor has there been any kind of impulsive response to Christianity because of them. That just doesn’t happen. And whenever these stories are reported, the connection with Christianity usually isn’t made clear. For instance, the just-convicted Glendon Scott Crawford is reported to have been a member of the KKK, but that organization — like all forms of white supremacy in the US — is a basically Christian one (cached) whose ideas are founded on a particular set of legends based on that religion (and forked off 19th century British-Israelism, which I’ve blogged about a couple times).

A reason for the mass media to understate the “Christian” impulses behind these attacks is both simple and obvious: Christianity is the country’s majority religion, meaning lots of readers/viewers/listeners would be offended to hear their faith provoked these incidents of terrorism. And offended readers/viewers/listeners don’t buy newspapers or magazines, they don’t keep reading articles on the Web, and they change the radio or television channel. Sadly, this means the media are pandering to Americans’ immaturity … because only immaturity can explain why one wouldn’t want to know that one’s own co-religionists are using the faith to justify terrorism. It’s time for people of every religion on earth to take responsibility for their faiths — whichever one they belong to — and start watching out for its integrity. But this takes courage, which is in short supply. More’s the pity.

Photo credit: PsiCop original graphic.

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A photo frame displaying portraits of blogger Niloy Chowdhury, 40, with his wife is placed inside their room in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Assailants believed to be Islamist militants entered an apartment building posing as potential tenants and killed the secular blogger in Bangladesh's capital on Friday, in the fourth such deadly attack this year, police said. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)Unfortunately, there are a lot of places in the world where being a non-believer is dangerous, and being an outspoken non-believer is undeniably deadly. Bangladesh is one of them. Just this year, four secular bloggers have been killed there. Agence France-Presse reports via Yahoo News on the latest such slaughter, which took place earlier today (WebCite cached article):

A gang armed with machetes hacked a secular blogger to death at his home in Dhaka Friday, sparking protests in the capital over the fourth such murder in Bangladesh this year.

Niloy Chakrabarti, who used the pen-name Niloy Neel, was killed after the gang forced its way into his apartment, according to the Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network, which was alerted to the attack by a witness.

“They entered his room in the fifth floor and shoved his friend aside and then hacked him to death. He was a listed target of the Islamist militants,” the network’s head, Imran H. Sarker, told AFP.

Police confirmed Chakrabarti, 40, had been murdered by a group of half a dozen people at his home in the capital’s Goran neighbourhood who had pretended they were looking for somewhere to rent.

As one expects in a country with many Islamists, calls for help went unheeded before Chakabarti was hacked to death:

“Two of them then took him to a room and then slaughtered him there,” deputy police commissioner Muntashirul Islam told AFP, adding that his wife had been “confined to another room” during the attack.

Mahbubur Rahman, another deputy commissioner, told reporters Chakrabarti’s wife had been heard crying out “Save us! Save us!” but no one responded.

The AFP notes the 3 previous savage butcherings in Bangladesh, as well as the fact that the government there has taken the cowardly route of doing basically nothing about them:

Immediately after the murder, hundreds of secular activists joined a protest march in the city’s Shahbagh Square, which was also the venue for the demonstrations two years ago.

“We’re protesting a culture of impunity in Bangladesh. One after another blogger is being killed and yet there is no action to stop these murderers,” said protester Sarker of the Bangladesh Blogger and Activist Network.

The problem here, of course, is that as long as these Islamist terrorists are going after outspoken atheists, the country’s Muslim government isn’t motivated to act. They don’t appear to care about atheists or their country’s nominal secular nature. Secular activists are dispensible, I guess. Once the terrorists have slaughtered or driven out all the secularists, though, their machetes will start chopping into other targets … i.e. other Muslims, of different sorts than they are. At that point it will have turned into a sectarian war, and the government will be forced to intervene; but by then, the terrorists will have had time to entrench themselves and will be more difficult to go after. As unpopular as secularists are in a country which is over 90% Muslim, it really is in the government’s best interests to start going after the Islamists now, rather than later.

But my guess is they won’t see the wisdom in this. They will, as I noted, keep acting like cowards and letting secularists die so they don’t have to get up off their sniveling little asses and actually do something. Cowardice is perhaps the single most common human trait — sad to say.

P.S. Edited to add: The Center for Inquiry offers a timeline of such attacks in Bangladesh, dating back some 16 years (cached). Hat tip for this addition: Friendly Atheist.

Ed. to add: As though to answer the question of why Bangladeshi authorities aren’t doing much of anything about the butchering of secular bloggers, they just made their position on the matter clear (cached):

Terming hurting one’s religious sentiment as crime, Inspector General of Police (IGP) has advised the free thinkers not to hurt religious sentiment in their writings.

IGP AKM Shahidul Haque said: “According to laws if any one hurts one’s feelings, he will be punished by the law.”

Advising the free thinkers, IGP said: “None should cross the limit.”

In the eyes of the government, then, the lives of any anyone who’s publicly atheistic are automatically forfeit. How wonderful! (Hat tip for this edit: Friendly Atheist.)

Photo credit: AP Photo/A.M. Ahad, via Yahoo News.

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SiegeOfAcre1291For years now I’ve blogged about a Right-wing movement in the US I’ve called “the Great Neocrusade.” It’s a modern incarnation of the medieval Crusade, during which western European Christians ventured to the Levant in an effort to drive Muslims out, under the principle that their presence there was an affront to their Jesus which couldn’t be tolerated. (At least, that’s what the Crusade became. Its origin was in Pope Urban’s approval for Latin Christians venturing east to assist the Byzantines, but that scenario didn’t last long and the Crusaders embarked on their own mission, distinct from Byzantium’s, soon after their arrival. And about a century after the Crusades’ launch it would become a campaign against Byzantium itself).

As it stands within the American Right, the Neocrusade is an effort to drive Islam from the new Christian “holy land.” Neocrusaders are predominantly Christians — most of them being of the evangelical Protestant sort — but there are some Jews who’re part of the movement too. Their effort is predicated ostensibly on the threat posed by Islamist terror, which to be sure is horrific and should be fought using every means at our disposal to do so. That said, the Neocrusaders’ main contention — i.e. that Islam is inherently violent and all Muslims therefore are potential terrorists — is quite simply not true. What’s really going on is that these folk view Islam as the chief rival of their own religion, are incensed that it exists at all, and want to get rid of it in order to show the power of their own faith. All the crap about terrorism is mere pretense. That’s not to say Islamist terror isn’t real — just that they know better than to stomp around claiming every Muslim is a terrorist; they just say that in order to rationalize what they’re doing.

For the most part this Neocrusade manifests itself in the form of rhetoric and occasionally votes (such as outlawing “shari’a law” even though it’s not now, nor will it ever become, the law of the land in the US).

So it’s rare that Neocrusaders actually take up arms against Muslims in the US, but it nearly happened just in the last few months. The Web site Heavy.Com reports a Right-winger and failed Congressional candidate from Tennessee named Robert Doggart admitted he’d planned to stage an attack on a mosque and schools in Hancock, NY (WebCite cached article):

A Tennessee man, who made a failed bid for Congress last year as an independent with extreme right wing beliefs, has admitted in federal court to planning an attack on a Muslim community in New York.

Robert Doggart, 63, was recorded on a wiretapped phone talking about his plan to travel along with members of a private militia to an area near Hancock, New York, known as Islamberg, to burn down a mosque, school and cafeteria, while gunning down anyone from the community who tried to stop them.

“Our small group will soon be faced with the fight of our lives. We will offer those lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God,” Doggart said in a Facebook post, according to court documents. “We shall be Warriors who will inflict horrible numbers of casualties upon the enemies of our Nation and World Peace.”

Doggart was arrested April 10 by the FBI on charges that he solicited others to violate civil rights, attempted to damage religious property because of the religious character of the property and made threats through interstate communication.

Two weeks later, Doggart pleaded guilty to interstate communication of threats. A judge has not yet signed off on the plea agreement. He was released on $30,000 bond to home confinement after the agreement was made and faces between 0 and 5 years in federal prison, along with a possible fine of up to $250,000.

The Heavy article describes Doggart’s plot in detail and includes court documentation of the case as well as of Doggart’s background. There’s a lot of detail there and I can’t hope to do any of it justice; I’ll just suggest you check out the article and find out what happened.

There are two things about this case I find disappointing: First, the judge has let Doggart out on bond, in spite of the fact that he’d admitted, in court, to having planned a terror attack. That decision is mind-blowing. Had Doggart been, instead, a Muslim who’d admitted involvement in a terror attack, there’s no fucking way he’d be free right now. Second, the mass media haven’t picked up this story, not even (to my knowledge) news outlets local to Hancock NY or southeastern Tennessee. I hadn’t heard of Heavy.Com before finding this story, and ordinarily wouldn’t have used them as a source for a blog post, but primary-source material is included, so the report is substantive. The other outlets mentioning this are all Left-wing in nature.

Maybe all the good ol’ boys back in Tennessee would prefer not to mention this, so that might explain why Doggart’s local media are running silent, but I can’t imagine how or why the New York state or eastern Pennsylvania media don’t consider this news (Hancock is in Delaware county, abutting the Pennsylvania state line). Unless this story turns out to be untrue — which I admit is possible, but given the evidence contained in the story it seems extremely unlikely — the media are doing a disservice to ignore it as they are. Perhaps they’ll finally pick up the story … I certainly hope so. The reality of Christianism in the US is that it definitely is capable of terrorism, and this is one example of it (albeit one that was nipped in the bud). There have been other Christian terror attacks, such as the rampage in Austin TX last December by a member of the Phineas Priesthood (cached).

Hat tip: Raw Story.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Elton Simpson is shown here in a photo he appears to have taken of himself. Obtained by ABC NewsBy now I assume my readers will know of the shooting that took place in suburban Dallas during an event celebrating art depicting Islam’s prophet Muhammad (WebCite cached article). It took some time for them to get around to it, but authorities finally managed to release the names of the (deceased) attackers. As CNN reports, one of them had connections with Islamist terror (cached):

A day after police killed two gunmen who tried to ambush a Garland, Texas, event [cached] featuring controversial cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, details began to emerge about the shooters.

One suspect, identified as Elton Simpson by a federal law enforcement source, linked himself to ISIS in a tweet posted just before the attack.

He also was no stranger to federal investigators. In 2011, he was convicted of making a false statement involving international and domestic terrorism.

The other suspect, identified as Nadir Soofi by two federal law enforcement officials, was Simpson’s roommate in a Phoenix apartment.

Sanctimoniously-enraged Islamists threatening, attacking and even killing people over depictions of Muhammad is, unfortunately, an old story. It’s happened repeatedly, perhaps most famously in Paris earlier this year. Muslims’ reactions to such things are fairly predictable. Which, perhaps, explains why this event even took place at all.

You see, as the Washington Post explains, it was hosted by the sanctimoniously-enraged Neocrusader Pamela Geller and her outfit (cached):

For those unfamiliar with Pamela Geller, she was in the news a few weeks ago for sponsoring an ad campaign across major U.S. cities with anti-Muslim posters saying, among other things, “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah” [cached].

On Sunday, she was in the news again for sponsoring a “Jihad Watch Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest” in Garland, Tex., some 20 miles from Dallas, after which two suspects opened fire on a security guard before being shot and killed by police. Authorities did not immediately link the exhibit and the shootings, but Geller did, with vehemence.

She’s part of a movement by the Religious Right to get Islam banned in the US and maybe Muslims thrown out of the country. Now, most of us realize this is just not feasible, given the First Amendment of the US Constitution, but many of them don’t care about that, and of those who do, they think First Amendment protections don’t apply to Islam, because it’s “not a religion,” and instead is a political, economic, philosophical, judicial, and military system. Yes, they really think this … in spite of the fact that their own movement is all of these things, as well! (Yes, they’re hypocrites … but just like Muslims going on murderous rampages over Muhammad depictions is an old story, so too is R.R. hypocrisy an old story.)

At any rate, this event was clearly a trap that Ms Geller laid down for Muslims, and two of them tromped right into it. She can now trumpet to the universe about how she was right about Muslims, that they’re all dangerous fanatics, and that their religion must be outlawed.

As insanely counterfactual and delusional as she is — especially her paranoid conspiracy theory about some nefarious groups trying to “Islamicize” the country — the truth is that Ms Geller didn’t do anything wrong in this case. The US is a free country with free speech, and if people want to depict Muhammad in artwork, they can! It’s fine for Muslims to believe such depictions are forbidden. If it makes them feel better never to depict their prophet, more power to them! But … it is most certainly not rational of them to expect non-Muslims to obey that precept of Islam. Non-Muslims are never under any obligation to obey any aspect of Islam. They have no reason to do so, since they aren’t Muslims.

That simple statement seems so obvious that it almost doesn’t need to be said, but apparently, it does … because a lot of Muslims seem not to be aware of it.

The effect of this attack on other Muslims also seem obvious. What Simpson and Soofi did makes their religion look bad. As CNN mentioned, one local imam even admitted as much:

Shortly after the Sunday night shooting, a prominent Muslim leader in Dallas said tweeted that the incident was “just what we didn’t want.”

“The community stayed away from event,” wrote Imam Zia Sheikh. “Seems like a lone wolf type of attack. Just what we didn’t want.”

I’m sure they’ll do all they can to disavow these two, and insist their actions shouldn’t reflect poorly on Islam as a religion. The problem, of course, is that … well, it does, even if they’d prefer it didn’t.

My advice to them is the same advice I’ve given to American Christians who tell me the antics of militant Christianists shouldn’t reflect poorly on them, and that is: It’s your religion. You picked it. It belongs to you. If your co-believers are making your faith — and, in turn, you — look bad, then get off your asses and do something about it! Sniff out the extremists in your midst (after all, who else could recognize them as such?). Rein them in. Correct them. Discipline them. Control them. Stop them. Do whatever you must, in order to whip them into line.

Because after all, if you don’t respect your own religion enough to police it, you can’t rationally expect outside observers to respect it, too, or respect you for following it!

To think otherwise is like when “the Wizard” in The Wizard of Oz ordered Dorothy and company to “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” It didn’t work in the movie, and it doesn’t work in real life.

Lastly, because this shooting happened due to Islamists’ hatred of Muhammad depictions, I’m following my usual policy of adding one to this post. It’s the winner of this contest:

'You can't draw me!' / 'That's why I draw you.' / Bosh Fawstin, winner of contest in Garland, TX / via The Freethinker

‘You can’t draw me!’ / ‘That’s why I draw you.’ / Bosh Fawstin, winner of contest in Garland, TX / via The Freethinker

It would behoove Muslims who dislike these sorts of things to pay attention to what’s called the Streisand effect and not let their righteous indignation get so far out of control that it actually calls attention to things they’d rather no one ever saw. If they’d just calm down and shut up about Muhammad drawings, people might stop drawing him.

Photo credit: Top, ABC News; bottom, Bosh Fawstin via The Freethinker.

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This is the image by Lars Vilks published in Nerikes Allehanda along with the editorial. With permission by the Artist. Via Wikipedia.Notice: There’s been additional news from Copenhagen through the day; please see below for updates.

Today there was another eruption of violence over cartoons that, supposedly, “insult” Islam and its prophet, and in the minds of many Muslims, are utterly forbidden to all (not just Muslims). CNN reports on this morning’s shooting in Copenhagen (WebCite cached article):

Gunmen in Copenhagen, Denmark, stormed a building where controversial cartoonist Lars Vilks and his supporters had gathered Saturday, killing one man and wounding three police officers before driving away from the scene, police and witnesses said.…

The attackers fled the scene in a dark Volkswagen Polo, according to Copenhagen police.

Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen tweeted that he was “dismayed and deeply concerned by the shooting,” which French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called a “terror attack.”

Lars Vilks has been targeted by Islamists since 2007 when he produced cartoons portraying Islam’s prophet Muhammad as a dog. There have been several attempts on his life, and in 2010, Islamists tried to set his house on fire (cached). This time they got a lot closer to him, and someone died because of it.

One thing 'Bombhead' by Kurt Westergaard / Jyllands-Posten's Muhammad Cartoons, 2 / Jyllands-Posten, via About.Comthat really needs to stop is for scholars, pundits, and media outlets to trumpet repeatedly that the Qur’an doesn’t forbid depictions of its prophet. Maybe it does; maybe it doesn’t. But even if it doesn’t, that makes no difference: Clearly there are Muslims in the world who think it does, and who’re willing to murder people over it. Nothing else is relevant here.

That said, Lars Vilks Muhammad cartoon, via GawkerI fail to see why a religion’s imperatives must be obeyed by everyone, even those who don’t belong to that religion. It seems irrational for Muslims to assume non-Muslims would adhere to the strictures of their faith and behave as though they’re Muslims. I really don’t get why someone could think that.

I can only assume this sort of killing is the result of infantilization. Unfortunately, religious infantilization is hard to defeat; it takes courage and effort to take on one’s own co-religionists, discipline them, and force them to grow the fuck up. Most human beings don’t have enough courage, and don’t want to put forth that kind of effort. So they just stand back and let the infantilization — and its attendant rage and fury, and occasional riots and killings — keep right on going. It’s much easier that way.

As I always do in cases like this, I’ve added some gratuitous Muhammad cartoons to this blog post. Maybe it will sanctimoniously enrage some more violent Islamists. Go ahead, little crybabies — rage and fume all you like. The more you do, though, the more you reveal yourselves as the overgrown infants you actually are. Wah wah wah.

Update 1: When I wrote this earlier today there had only been the one attack that I mentioned. But a second took place later on, near a synagogue. The CNN story reflects this news, but my quotation above does not (to see what it looked like when I first wrote this post, see the cached page; to see what it looks like as I added this update, see this cached copy). So, unsurprisingly, the Islamist tantrums over cartoons continue.

Update 2: I awoke this morning to discover, as reported by the (UK) Guardian and others, the suspect in these shootings has been killed (cached).

Update 3: Authorities named the deceased suspect as one Omar el-Hussein, as the (UK) Telegraph and other outlets report; he’s Danish-born and had a history of violence, including a crime for which he’d been released from prison only weeks ago (cached).

Photo credits: Top, Nerikes Allehanda via Wikipedia; middle, Jyllands-Posten via About.Com; bottom, Nerikes Allehanda via Gawker.

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Update: No sooner did I finish this blog post, than the Islamist terrorists’ body count went up. See below for more.

'Bombhead' cartoon by K. WestergaardFor much of this year, there’s been a trend toward accusing the so-called “New Atheists” of being Islamophobic and racist, because they insolently dare critique Islam and Muslims. I haven’t been able to make much sense of all this, because, let’s face it — they’re in the business of critiquing all religions, Islam being just one of them. I can only surmise that these accusations are based on the idea that Islam as a religion is unimpeachable, and its adherents are all virtuous and above reproach, hence, the only reason anyone would say anything unkind about them or their religion is due to some racist impulse.

Or something like that. I guess.

If anyone needed evidence that there’s an extremely violent wing of Islam, made up of Muslims willing both to kill and to die for their own vision of al-Lah and Muhammad, this weekend provided it. The world’s Islamist terrorists decided to go on a tear over the last couple days, and are piling up the bodies like cordwood.

First, Injured shoppers call for help after gunmen went on a shooting spree in Westgate mall (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters, via Al Jazeera America)as the New York Times reports, there was an attack on a mall in Nairobi; as I type this, it’s still underway (locally-cached article):

Masked gunmen stormed into a fancy, crowded mall in Nairobi on Saturday and shot dead at least 59 people and wounded more than 150 in one of the most chilling terrorist attacks in East Africa since Al Qaeda blew up two American embassies in 1998.

Parents hurled their bodies over their children, people jumped into ventilation shafts to save themselves, and shoppers huddled behind the plastic mannequins of designer clothing stores as two squads of gunmen believed to be linked to a Somali terrorist group moved through the mall, shooting shoppers in the head. Hours later, the mall’s gleaming floors were smeared with blood as police officers dashed through the corpse-strewn corridors, trying to find the assailants.

A standoff with the attackers, who were reported to be heavily armed and holding an unknown number of hostages, continued as the sun rose on Sunday.

It must have taken enormous courage for these brave and faithful mujahadeen to storm into a mall full of defenseless shoppers and mow them down with assault weapons. What a stunning achievement on their part! They must be so proud!

Next,Deadly Attack at Pakistan Church: A suicide attack on a historic Christian church in northwestern Pakistan killed dozens on Sunday. (Arshad Arbab/European Pressphoto Agency) again as the NY Times reports, we have a church bombing in Pakistan that took place as a service ended (locally-cached article):

A suicide attack on a historic Christian church in northwestern Pakistan killed at least 78 people on Sunday in one of the deadliest attacks on the Christian minority in Pakistan in years.

The attack occurred as worshipers left All Saints Church in the old quarter of the regional capital, Peshawar, after a service on Sunday morning. Up to 600 people had attended the service and were leaving to receive free food being distributed on the lawn outside when two explosions ripped through the crowd.

“As soon as the service finished and the food was being distributed, all of a sudden we heard one explosion, followed by another,” said Azim Ghori, a witness.

No doubt the bomber expects to be attended, now, in Paradise by the 72 houris he earned through his act of sanctified suicide. He must certainly be pleased with himself, right about now.

But even these two horrific attacks still were not enough for the world’s sanctimoniously-enraged Islamist terrorists. In Iraq,The bomb attacks targeted a tent where a funeral ceremony was being held (AP photo via BBC) as the Associated Press reports via Yahoo News, they blew up a police headquarters, and a funeral (WebCite cached version):

A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden car near a funeral tent packed with mourners and another bomber on foot blew himself up nearby in a Shiite part of Baghdad early Saturday evening, the deadliest assault in a day of attacks that claimed at least 65 lives in Iraq.

In those two attacks we had Muslims attacking other Muslims. Yes, folks, these people are still waging a war inside their own religion, that began in the middle of the 7th century. Even after over 12 centuries these raging crybabies still can’t grow up and give it a rest!

I’m sure al-Lah must have had very good reasons for ordering all these cold-blooded attacks, including some on his own followers! Please, by all means, let’s continue hearing all about how horrific it is that anyone dares criticize the religion that brought us these atrocities. Let’s continue hearing about how anyone who says even the slightest unkind thing about Islam or Muslims, can only be motivated by “racism,” because Islam is, after all, “the Religion of Peace” and its followers could never be guilty of doing even the slightest thing wrong.

Or so the “New Atheists'” opponents think. I guess. At least, that’s what they’re implying.

By posting this, I absolutely am not suggesting that the followers of any other religion are above reproach, that only Islam is violent, or anything like that. I’ve spent the last several years blogging about horrible things said and done by followers of virtually every religious tradition on the planet. Christians far and away have been the chief targets of my observations, if only because I live in a predominantly Christian country. I’ve even chronicled at length all those militant Christians who’ve chosen to point the finger of blame at Islam, as though Muslims’ transgressions somehow justify their own. Their version of Christianity is dour and vicious in its own way (and yes, there is such a thing as Christian terrorism). They can’t make the viciousness of their religionism go away by kvetching and whining about Islam, even if they think they can. (That’s an example of their “two wrongs make a right” thinking as well as hypocrisy, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly.)

No, the problem is that all religions inevitably lead to excess and extremism, by some of their followers, some of the time. Without exception. Every. Single. Last. Fucking. One. Of. Them. Yes, even eastern religions that so many of us here in the occidental world think are pacifist in nature.

I suppose someone out there may, after reading this, accuse me of being an Islamophobe. All I can say is, if it’s so important to you to do so, then go right ahead. If it makes you happy to think of me as a vile racist Islamophobe so that you can conveniently ignore these facts, then by all means, go ahead! It won’t mean I’m wrong, and it won’t make you right, but you just go and do it, anyway — and don’t you dare let any pesky little facts get in your way!

P.S. In response to this severe wave of Islamist violence, I’ve put one of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons at the top of this post.

Photo credits: Top, Middle East Issues at About.Com; second, Goran Tomasevic/Reuters, via Al Jazeera America; third, Arshad Arbab/European Pressphoto Agency via NY Times; bottom, AP photo via the BBC.

Update: The count of the dead in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi is up to 68, as fighting there enters its third day (cached). Those brave, defenseless-shopper-killing mujahadeen are holding their own and still have hostages.

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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, 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.

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