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“The Myth of Muslim Silence”

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That's the title of an interesting piece by Stephen Schwartz, author of The Two Faces of Islam.

In it he argues that the media ignores moderate Muslims while covering the radicals in lavish, horrific detail, painting a distorted picture of the faith. The centerpiece of the article is a deconstruction of coverage of the plot to attack Fort Dix. He notes that the plotters weren't, as first assumed, Kosovo Albanian Muslims. They were, instead, ethnic Albanians from Macedonia who came here as children and were radicalized in Arab-dominated Wahhabi mosques. His point is that the media misses distinctions between different kinds of Muslims, lumping peaceful, moderate Albanians in with violent Wahhabis.

He then cites several examples of Muslim commentary on the case — all of it condemning the plot — that he says got scant coverage.

I didn't follow the Fort Dix story closely enough to judge whether he's right on that score, but the piece once again points up the intellectual bankruptcy of those who demand that Muslims "speak out" against terror. Continuing to make that argument ignores several relevant facts:

1. They do. All the time. I've cited multiple examples in the past year.

2. Demands that Muslims take the lead assume that moderate Muslims have some sort of connection to (or influence over) the extremists. What are (for example) American Muslims supposed to do: Call up Al-Qaeda and yell at them? They don't have AQ's number any more than you or I do, nor will their words be heeded any more than yours or mine.

3. Few groups spend a lot of time flagellating themselves for the extremists in their midst.

Let's expand on that last point for a moment because it's an important one, tied in with assumptions about group identity that simply are not true.

The underlying logic of the "Muslims must denounce terrorism" goes as follows: The terrorists are Islamic, and therefore Muslims have a particular duty to denounce Islamic terror.

This is reasonable to an extent: disavowing the nutjobs operating under your banner is sometimes necessary. But where it goes off the rails is when people demand that every Muslim denounce every act of Islamic terror every time one occurs.

This is ridiculous. Every time a Christian commits murder, are Christians obligated to go on television and state the obvious — that murder is wrong and the offender doesn't represent Christian views? Of course not. They can simply state once (or occasionally) that murder is wrong and unChristian. Actually, they don't even have to do that; it's considered obvious that murder is wrong, so they aren't required to say anything. Silence is not assent in such cases.

So why are Muslims treated differently? Because groups are always good at pointing out the mote in other groups' eyes, even while giving their own members the benefit of the doubt. Do conservatives regularly call out nutjob conservatives? No. Liberals do that, and conservatives disavow them if necessary. Do liberals regularly call out liberal nutjobs? No; conservatives do that, and then liberals disavow them if necessary.

In this country, who spends time identifying atheist/agnostic misbehavior? Believers. Who are most likely to point out believer wrongdoing? Atheists/agnostics.

Simply put, groups are horrible at policing their own, because doing so requires admitting some kinship between your own beliefs and those of the nutjobs — admitting that your beliefs can be twisted to bad ends. No one likes doing that.

Beyond that, when you're in the group you know that the extremists are just that — extremists, a tiny minority that do not represent the group as a whole. They are shunned, dismissed; psychologically, the majority separates themselves from the whackjobs to the point they no longer feel kinship with them — and thus no particular responsibility to account for their actions. Hence Christians feel no particular need to respond every time a Christian misbehaves, and Muslims feel no particular need to respond every time a member of some fundamentalist sect detonates a car bomb.

This is especially true when the actions cross national and sectarian boundaries. Demanding that a mainstream American Muslim denounce fundamentalist terrorism is like demanding that Lutherans denounce the actions of Baptists — or, more aptly, Christian Identity adherents. It's actually even sillier than that, because at least in the example above everyone involved is American. In the case of Islamic terror, we're demanding that American Muslims feel responsibility not just for another sect, but for another country and culture. So it's more like demanding that Lutherans apologize for the atrocities committed by the Lord's Resistance Army.

Now, political reality is a different matter, and not always fair; in this day and age, there is more political need for Muslims to speak out than there is for Christians. But that doesn't make demands that they do so any less illogical. Nor does it justify the assumptions made about them when they fail to speak up in any given instance.

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About Sean Aqui

  • Zedd

    Sean,

    Thanks!! Beautifully stated.

  • Kyle

    You have some fair points.

    The problem is that while millions of Christians in America and Europe have simultaneously marched in support of Muslims in Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, etc.. we have yet to see millions of Muslims march in support for the rights and freedoms of non-Muslims.

    For example, about a million Muslims around the world marched against the Danish Cartoons. Many of these marchers included signs calling for the beheading of anyone who Insults Islam and praising Hitler.

    In contrast, there were no marches in support of the 100 innocent non-Muslims who were killed by fanatics because the cartoons hurt their feelings.

  • STM

    Yep, spot on … what about the IRA and its splinter groups? An organisation of radical Catholics (admittedly many weren’t practising, although their families often were) who thought it was OK to let off bombs in high streets across Northern Ireland and England, killing and maiming innocent women and kids to achieve their goals.

    Or the radical protestant Ulster unionist militias, killing Catholics for dating protestants, or for having the temerity to live in a non-Catholic area?

    Don’t hear much about that, do you? Yet all violence carried out by Ireland’s terror groups had Christian sectarian roots.

    Just as those atrocities committed by the IRA or the Irish Unionist militias who “opposed” them had nothing to do with real Christianity, radical Islamic terrorism doesn’t have a lot to do with mainstream Islam. It has everything to with twisted, warped ideologies that attract people who are psychopaths and enjoy violence and killing and use it to justify an end.

    It’s a crime and law-and-order issue, not an issue of religion.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Nice to see you back with us, Sean. Hope we’ll see much of you down the line with fine articles like this one.

    Demands that Muslims take the lead assume that moderate Muslims have some sort of connection to (or influence over) the extremists.

    Not only do they not have influence, when given the choice, the radicals often choose to moderates on the top of their list of targets. Nothing makes extremist angrier than fellow believers who are willing to compromise with the enemy.

    Dave

  • http://thegeez Richard

    All people must realize that these extremists in any religion have parents and religious examples that taught them to be that way. You don’t grow up without having been exposed to hatred to be a hater. Simply put, if all the parents raised their children to have respect for the fellow human being, (leave religion out of it) the world would be a little better. Everyone knows as previously posted, there are wars all over the world and for every reason. Let us put our efforts to respect each other, help each other, and not fight each other. If you are a real parent you would teach your children so the fighting may stop around the world. It starts at home. The governments can’t help you unless you help yourselves. Think about it for a while.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Nothing makes extremists angrier than fellow believers who are willing to compromise with the enemy.

    Hence the ire of Fred Phelps and his ilk towards ‘moderates’ like Jerry Falwell.

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Exactly, Dr. D. – which also reminds us of the troubling similarities between Phelps and the radical Mullahs.

    Dave

  • http://www.justfuckinggoogleit.com kafir

    You forget, most Muslims nod their heads when the extremists talk about murdering kafir (non-Muslims).

    Islam is ALL ABOUT murdering unbelievers, taking over governments and imposing Islamic rule. Read their “holy book”! Read about the Islamic conquests! Read how they took over Spain for christsakes.

    If you honestly believe that there is any hope that Muslims will stand up to those preaching hate… you are hopelessly deluded. The religion is about hating non-Muslims, and the so-called extremists are merely following their “holy book” the closest. The problem is not “extremists”, the problem is Islam!

    It’s a religion of violence, and it is infesting our countries. Something must be done about it, and I’m sick and tired of the so-called “Left” ignoring their subjugation of women and support of terrorism in the name of tolerance. Stop caving in to these barbarians, or you can kiss Western civilization goodbye. If Muslims become the majority, we will end up in a theocracy aka a caliphate. Is that what you want?

  • Dr Dreadful

    kafir (which, by the way, in apartheid South Africa meant something quite different…):

    Here’s a suggestion. Why don’t you take your xenophobic drivel, and substitute the words “Muslims”, “Islam” and “Spain” with “Christians”, “Christianity” and “Palestine” respectively.

    If the resulting post reads like bollocks to you, congratulations. That’s how your comments read to the rest of us.

  • gazelle

    as the iraq example demonstrates clearly :

    it is one thing to be critical of US policy and another to be an extremist.

    so there can be and there are legitimate political struggles against US policies and presences in the wider Middle East, for example.

    some muslims are silent, some are critics (even blogcritics), and some more radicalized – well its common sense – not understanding or working with these distinctions is just neanderthal stupidity.

    g

  • JD

    You save the important part to the end:

    “Now, political reality is a different matter, and not always fair; in this day and age, there is more political need for Muslims to speak out than there is for Christians. But that doesn’t make demands that they do so any less illogical.”

    You say yourself there is more need for Muslims to speak out than Christians. So why spend an entire post arguing there is not the case? Trying to apply simple logic to a huge complex situation is, well, not very logical.

    If the best you can do to prove that the Muslim community *is* speaking is to quote online chats, you really are missing the point. Deliberatly, or because you’re letting the details confuse you? It’s hard to tell.

    There are enough prominent, well connected Muslims that it is quite logically possible to expect the Muslims to speak out. Visibly, on national TV and in the press, and repeatedly so. It hasn’t happened. Whether you think this is right or not (I’ve got a whole other point of view on Iraq and suchlike), there is nothing illogical about a basic stance that wishes moderate Muslims would speak out more.

  • Maxwell

    Hey Dr Dreadful

    While the tone of kafir’s comment was a bit shrill his fears are moe than justifiable.
    If you dont watch it Muslims will outbreed you, they already routinely outfight you and they are much more willing to die for their cause than any westerner will ever be. Quite simply you are the rich and decadent empire while they are the hungry barbarians on the frontier (Byzantium anyone?). It may not be humane or honourable but If you want western civilisation to survive drive away or kill them now while they are still few.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Max, you still commit the logical error of taking the behavior of a few extremists and projecting it onto an entire population. Yes, Islam sees the world differently than our culture does – it’s understandable that because this is outside your comfort zone you perceive it as a threat. But that’s xenophobia, not rationality. The activities of al-Qaeda and their ilk are no more representative of Muslims than Fred Phelps is of Christians.

  • Abdullah

    The title of the article is correct but I wouldn’t read anything that Schwartz writes. He is an extremist in his own right. He accuses anyone outside of his Islamic cult as being Wahabi. He is an undercover neocon proven by his appearances on familysecuritymatters.org. I can speak on behalf of all Muslims by saying we condemn both terrorism and Schwartz.

  • http://eastnetgallery.wordpress.com High Heels

    An excellent article, well done.

  • http://allronpaul.blogspot.com bumbledraven

    Every time a Christian commits murder, are Christians obligated to go on television and state the obvious — that murder is wrong and the offender doesn’t represent Christian views?

    No, but whenever someone commits mass-murder in the name of Christianity, it wouldn’t hurt for Christians to stand up and say, “hey, this guy is not Christian.”

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    #13:
    It isn’t reasonable to compare a local nuisance like Phelps and his 70 or 80 followers to a multitude of ticking time bombs all over the world.

    “a few extremists” does not accurately reflect the beliefs, goals, laws, methods, and scope of mainstream Islam worldwide. Anything outside the Bill of Rights is, indeed, outside my comfort zone and I don’t see any tolerance within the aims and structure of militant Islam for that almost-sacred statement of American principles and freedoms.

  • Nancy

    Unfortunately I must side more with Kaffir & Maxwell than Dr. D: having read both the qu’ran & hadith (the doings of Muhammed) – altho admittedly in English translation – albiet by native Arab-speaking scholars – & quite a few related commentaries, I can state that there was no doubt left in my mind after I finished that both Muhammed & Islam in general do indeed call for conversion by violence if necessary, or eradication should the targeted convertees remain stubbornly non-muslim. Actually, it varies: early on in the first books Muhammed was very much in his pacifistic mode, saying that non-believers shouldn’t be pressured to convert, that fellow People Of The Book (i.e. Jews & Christians) were to be left alone & treated equally, etc. As time went on, however, the later chapters become steadily more aggressive & damning in nature, until in the last few books he calls outright for the killing of anybody refusing to convert to Islam, & rails rabidly against both Christians & Jews, or tries to insist that there are no such things as Christians/Jews, that all the great Christian or Jewish saints & patriarchs to that time were actually Muslims, etc. So when you get right down to it, there’s far more in the Qu’ran & Hadith about approving the killing of innocent non-muslims & their status as less-than-equals than there is about letting them live in peace. In all, Islam is NOT a “peaceful” religion: the “peace” it consistently refers to is strictly a “peace” that will exist only when the entire world is either muslim or under muslim control, & this is spelled out pretty baldly as well.

    Fortunately, most muslims are more interested in the daily struggle for earning a living than they are in jihad & conquering the world for Allah & Muhammed. Unfortunately, a sizeable percentage of them – including Americans born & raised here as muslims – also thoroughly approve of what muslim extremists & terrorists are doing, & support them tacitly, if not actively, through donations or other methods through their local mosques, etc. One reason the extremists can get by with their widespread support like this is exactly because the Qu’ran contains so much explicitly violent & violence-advocating material in it, which considerably overwhelms & outweighs in quantity & virulence the admonitions for non-violence. This last more than anything else seems to be what sticks in the collective craws of non-muslims, who on their part HAVE indeed marched for the rights of muslims, while few or no muslims ever reciprocate – and non-muslims are getting tired of this being a one-way street when it comes to tolerance, since Islam & muslims are notoriously intolerant of non-muslim religions, & rigidly intolerant of those who leave for (or even listen to) non-muslim theologies. Furthermore, while demanding freedom to worship in non-muslim countries, they refuse to extend the same courtesy to non-muslims in muslim countries.

    Try as you might, those of you who argue for the benignity of muslims can’t or don’t address those aspects of it, & frankly I doubt you could, because there IS no refutation of these facts.

    Again, comparing Phelps, hateful as he is, with radical muslims is apples & oranges, because as obnoxious & rude as his actions are, Phelps has not yet (as far as is known) descended to actual violence, advocating violence (except by God), or inciting followers to violence…probably because he knows the moment he does, he & his flock will be rounded up & sent to the old hoosegow for conspiracy, etc. Far too many muslims, on the other hand, not only advocate it, they go out & DO it; then have the gall to whine about being targeted by non-muslims as ‘violent’. Well – DUH! It ain’t radical quakers, zoroastrians, or zen buddhists who are out there attacking innocent people left & right; it’s muslims. They wouldn’t have gotten the rep if they hadn’t been doing the act – & the rest of them going along with the ‘whackjobs’ by tacit group/community support, either by silence, providing cover, or other means.

    If the shoe fits….

  • steve

    Unfortunately, while plenty of “Christians” commit the act of murder, far fewer do so in the name of Christianity.

  • Nancy

    Having read both the Qu’ran & the Hadith as well as numerous commentaries on both (by muslims, not outsiders) I have to say that Islam is definitely NOT a religion of “peace”. Quite specifically & frequently Mohammed calls for the forcible conversion or eradication of non-muslims, a 180 on his very earliest strictures to respect the religions of others & force no one’s beliefs. The preponderance of violence-advocating statements & directives far outweigh & outnumber those to peace & are far more virulent & emphatic.

    Furthermore, there is the sore issue of muslims demanding freedom to worship in non-muslim countries, yet they do not reciprocate by allowing non-muslims to worship freely in their muslim countries, & they pursue extremely rabid zero-tolerance policies when it comes to any muslim even listening to non-muslim theologies, let alone converting, which is without fail punished by either death or being committed to an insane asylum. In other words, do as we say, not as we do. This sort of totally bald-faced hypocrisy & intolerance is what sticks in the craws of most non-muslims who are not inclined to view Islam & its adherents with an overly friendly eye.

    Finally, as vile as Phelps & followers are, they do not (that is known, anyway) advocate violence (except by God, who seems to be ignoring them) against those who irk them. Muslims, on the other hand, no only have a sizable portion of believers who DO advocate it, but actively recruit and/or practice it, either against others or as suicide bombers, while the rest, apparently, according to recent polls both here & abroad, tacitly approve & support said extremists/terrorists, through donations, through silence, through covering or providing sanctuary, etc. Muslims have the bad rep because they’ve EARNED it. It ain’t militant zoroastrians or radical quakers who are out murdering everyone in sight.

  • Dr Dreadful

    True, Steve, you don’t see murder committed much in the name of Christianity.

    Nowadays in the ‘West’, anyway.

    However, in many parts of the world (e.g. the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda) and on many occasions in the past (e.g. the Spanish Inquisition), such murders are and were committed frequently.

    They aren’t/weren’t true to Christian principles, either.

  • Dr Dreadful

    It isn’t reasonable to compare a local nuisance like Phelps and his 70 or 80 followers to a multitude of ticking time bombs all over the world.

    The scale is different, but the aim – to cause maximum pain and disruption in furtherance of some perverted ideal of the ‘true’ faith – is the same. I think the analogy is perfectly reasonable.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    #21:
    Then, according to your thinking, flying planes into buildings and blowing up restaurants, buses, planes, ships, etc. is analagous to carrying a rude sign at a small demonstration. “The aim …is the same.” Really?

    I do agree that “disruption in futherance of some perverted ideal of the ‘true’ faith”, by some adherents of Islam and any others who want to express their religious beliefs in compelling political terms, will cause some maximum pain.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    Sorry, I was commenting on #22.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Nancy #18 and 20: I don’t see that the other Judeo-Christian religions are any better. In the Old Testament, God frequently commits genocide – or encourages his ‘chosen people’ to commit it for him – against nations unfortunate enough not to enjoy his patronage.

    Since Islam derived from these two, I wonder where Muhammad got his ideas from?

    Still, as you say, most Muslims (along with most followers of any other mainstream religion) do not interpret the entirety of their holy book literally. They are more interested in getting on with life than in blowing infidels to kingdom come, which they quite rightly perceive to be evil, stupid and a waste of precious time.

    #23: Yes, really. The fact that Phelps doesn’t have the balls to do more than shoot his mouth off doesn’t make him any less of a terrorist. The only difference is that his violence is psychological rather than physical. He emphatically does not advocate non-violence: quite the opposite, except that he has an imaginary enforcer (his fantasy version of God) to do it for him.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    #25:
    It distorts language, reason, and reality to claim that thoughts and words–even vicious or violent ones–are no different than terrorist ATTACKS. The former clearly don’t kill people or make things explode(nor is that the intent of thoughts and words only), while it is the only purpose of a physical terrorist attack.

    Would you rather be confronted (psychologically)by a blithering nut case who called you nasty names and then went away, or blown up by a suicide killer as you ate a sandwich in a cafe? See the difference?

    I personally think all religious literalist/fundamentalists are ignorant, honestly misguided or deluded. But there exists today a different and deadly level of anti-freedom of thought and uncivilized actions where radical Islam is concerned.

  • Anon

    You miss Schwartz’s point entirely in this article. He doesn’t say that Muslims need to denounce terrorism, he simply says that media constructions of Arabs have precluded the existence of moderates. This is not a new concept either and originates with Edward Said. The Western image of the Muslim resembles a terrorist more than anything else in today’s world. Among many of the wealthier elements outward ignorance becomes replaced by subtle racism, but in much of the West, especially the US, people really believe tripe about all Muslims being violent. Schwartz actually bring out the first argument you make and says that there are numerous critics of violence out there but they are often times overshadowed or out right ignored in favor of negative media portrayals.

    In fact, many commentators on this page make the exact, racialist error that Schwartz brings to light. Namely, they are unable to dissociate Muslims with their religion. The violence associated with the Koran is debatable but even if it’s a given that means nothing about the Muslim community. To draw a comparison with Christianity, Jesus claims that he has brought the sword with him. A sword is not exactly a call for peace and the letters of Paul extrapolate quite nicely and explain who exactly bears the brunt of this sword: ‘hypocrites’ (i.e. Jews), homosexuals, adulterers, etc.. Similarly, the Old Testament is rife with calls to violence. Of the 613 commandments in Judaism, the majority of them carry a punishment of death should they be broken. Likewise the Jews slaughtered thousands in the conquest of Israel after Exodus. Thus the violence of organized religion is common to all Western religions and to judge a people by it is, for lack of a better word, absolutely retarded. Now, whether the violence can be put in some sort of “perspective” and the violence of the past justified is a debate for theologians and historians, not for me; however, I won’t preclude a people from fair treatment and individualism because of a book they believe in.

    Furthermore, the ignorance to the moderate Muslim community is such a pervasive element in the modern West that it drives away a lot of fair treatment of Muslims. In the US, most of the population believes that even “moderate Muslims” are very religious. Thus they think that many of them are just “ignorant” to the truth of the Koran – and in true intellectually colonialist style many Westerners believe their reading of a translation and a book by Salman Rushdie means they can bash a book that Muslim scholars have only studied for roughly a millennium longer. In either case, there are many Muslims who drink, have sex, don’t attend mosque regularly, don’t know arabic, etc.. These Muslims exist just like their are Jews who don’t know a word of Hebrew and Christians who proudly wear a cross between their bosom while something else finds its way between their legs. The point is, the moderate element of the Muslim community is largely ignored by the West and it leads to incredibly backwards and absurd notions of how Muslims live and how they act.

  • http://adreamersholiday.blogspot.com Lee Richards

    #27:
    “I won’t preclude a people from fair treatment and individualism because of a book they believe in.”

    The radical militant terrorist martyrs who claim to be fighting the unbelievers for Islam would preclude YOU from fair treatment and individualism because of a book you DON’T believe in. Or is that just negative media portrayal?

    “…they are unable to dissociate Muslims with their religion.”
    They are Muslims precisely because of religion, are they not? How then can they be “dissociated” from it?(What is a Catholic, for comparison, if not a member in some standing, of an organized religion?)

    And I don’t think it is retarded to judge a religion–Western or Eastern–by the history of its violence. I think it’s a proper way to help evaluate them all.

  • STM

    Steve wrote: “Unfortunately, while plenty of “Christians” commit the act of murder, far fewer do so in the name of Christianity.”

    You’re obviously forgetting 20 years of Christian sectarian carnage in Northern Ireland and England (and the many other incidents between 1916 and the late 60s before the latest round of violence, known as The Troubles). While the IRA will tell you it was a military unit fighting for freedom, in truth many of its members were just psychopathic killers and it has its basis in Catholic sectarian movements. Many of their killings were carried out against protestant loyalists, and purely on a sectarian basis. The loyalist Ulster Unionists fighting them made no such claims: they were protestants, and Catholic haters, and that justified their killings as far as they were concerned. Many of these people would commit murder on a Saturday and then make a pious display either at Mass or Church on a Sunday.

    This only stopped happening a couple of years back, BTW, and the death toll in its entirety would probably surpass the toll of 9/11.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Stinkey sez: I didn’t know muslims were into science.

    Then you don’t know much, do you, squire*. For hundreds of years prior to the European Renaissance, Muslims were pretty much the only people doing science. They developed algebra, astronomy and chemistry (hence the Arabic names for many mathematical and chemical terms and celestial objects), made major leaps in medicine and engineering, and are credited with developing the modern scientific method.

    Read up on it sometime – it’s a fascinating and humbling area of study.

    *Although actually I think you just misread (deliberately or otherwise) the title of the article.

  • STM

    Must warn you old boy: Stinkey knows plenty, Doc, he just pretends he doesn’t for a bit of sport at our expense. Be on the lookout too for alter-egos going under the monikers village idiot and sr.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/clavos Clavos

    Isn’t driveby his, too?

  • Dr Dreadful

    STM #32: Bring it on, then. There are those who’ll take his BS seriously and are gonna need some edyookayshun.

    I’ve seen him write under sr. That must be his alias for when he actually has something to say. I tend to ignore the others.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    sr has quite a few names he goes by but never uses his real name. I routinely delete the most offensive of the remarks he makes, so feel free to ignore anything he says that is too stupid!

  • Nancy

    Comment on #27 reminds me of a non-observant muslim friend I have who was clueless about when Eid was, altho she had an inkling that Ramadan was going on, but just …. ;)

  • Zedd

    Nancy,

    Lets not forget how the Children of Israel reached the promise land. They attacked and killed innocent people (who are today’s Arabs) and ravaged their land while claiming sanction from God. There is nothing in the bible condemning those attacks. Its as if they were victims (??) They killed innocent people because “G*d told them to”. Actually, the god of Israel as they would say. The same one that we supposedly worship every Sunday.

    Lets not forget the crusades and the missionaries who up until 20yrs ago were preaching racist ideas and formulating ideologies which contributed to the subjugation of millions of people all over the world. Most White supremacist groups use the bible as their foundation.

  • Zedd

    No one HAS to do anything because of the actions of another. That is just ridiculous. In this case we are actually talking about people who don’t know, have no tie to, or never will know the perpetrators.

    Why don’t all Brunettes apologies for Ted Bundy.

    This form of reasoning is beyond irrational. It displays an ignorance that should have been eradicated with the use blood letting, especially since WE America have such a vile history which was done away with only 40yrs ago.

    911 happens and all of a sudden Muslims are evil when Western nations including America have been brutalizing the WORLD for centuries, devastating populations far worse than 911. There are 600K dead Iraqis because of our messing with peoples lives. Is anyone not paying attention? That doesn’t compare to 911 in any way. However we disturbingly think our lives are more valuable and we are owed an apology.

  • Zedd

    Sean

    Now, political reality is a different matter, and not always fair; in this day and age, there is more political need for Muslims to speak out than there is for Christians. But that doesn’t make demands that they do so any less illogical. Nor does it justify the assumptions made about them when they fail to speak up in any given instance.

    I would say the need would be for them to re-market themselves. Actually its a wonderful opportunity for them to mainstream. If they formulate an affective PR campaign, they can come out ahead on this.

    For myself, I find myself going out of my way to show non judgement when a see a lady with a scarf on her head (I know its silly and they probably don’t care). I have heard people including work mates make the most disparaging comments about complete strangers simply because their head was covered. I can only imagine what they must go through on a daily bases because of bigoted people.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    It gets tiresome to see people distort the concepts of Judaism to defend the terror that Arabs perpetrate against us.

    Neither Zedd nor Anon asks what were the reasons for the Biblical commands given to kick out the Canaanites from the Land. I don’t know about Anon, but Zedd claims to be a Christian. She claims to recognize the truth of the Bible.

    Perhaps Zedd, you should read Chapter 18 of Leviticus again, particularly Leviticus 18:25-29. Perhaps you should read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah again in Genesis.

    If you claim to understand the truth in the Tana”kh, maybe you should actually show that you do understand what is written there instead of taking cheap (and ignorant) shots at my ancestors.

    As for Anon, about one third of the 613 commandments in the Torah have not been performed for 2,000 years. Of the remaining two thirds, the capital crimes are murder, sexual immorality, apostasy and cursing G-d.

    Stick to the topic that Sean writes about.

    And Sean, BTW, how does it feel not to be able to buy liquor at Target because a Moslem will refuse to ring up the order? Or have they figured out how to get around that? How does it feel to have a Moslem refuse to carry liquor or pork in a cab? Do you like Sharia law being applied to you, a kafir? These folks may not have to “apologize” for the acts of terror committed by violent Moslems, but should you suffer because of their imperialistic sense of conscience? IU haven’t been to Minnesota for a while and my father-in-law does not buy liquor.

  • bliffle

    The argument can be made that Moderate Muslims are the outcasts and shirkers, given the Quran. Islam is a religion and as such demands submission to it’s premises. It is not a debating society. It’s writings are given by almighty god and must be obeyed. Thus, a moderate, who does not believe in violence and murder to advance islam is the outcast and rebel.

    Perhaps this idea is apparent to moderate muslims and intimidates them into silence and acquiescence.

  • http://midtopia.blogspot.com Sean Aqui

    You miss Schwartz’s point entirely in this article. He doesn’t say that Muslims need to denounce terrorism, he simply says that media constructions of Arabs have precluded the existence of moderates.

    I know. I was using his article as a springboard to talk about people who *do* say that, because he not only talks about the media, he links to specific examples of Muslims speaking out that the media largely ignored.

  • http://midtopia.blogspot.com Sean Aqui

    Sean, BTW, how does it feel not to be able to buy liquor at Target because a Moslem will refuse to ring up the order? Or have they figured out how to get around that? How does it feel to have a Moslem refuse to carry liquor or pork in a cab?

    Target doesn’t sell liquor; I buy my beer at liquor stores. If you mean pork products, I’ve addressed that and the other issues you mention here.

    The gist of the argument:

    The Target thing is a customer-service issue for a private company. If it becomes a problem for them, it will change.

    The taxi drivers are out of line because a huge majority of the drivers are Muslim. Their qualms about transporting items must give way to the needs of having a reliable transportation service for everyone.

    We have a similar controversy going on here involving Christian pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth-control pills, “morning after” bills or RU-486, believing that such drugs either encourage immoral behavior or facilitate abortion.

    Should you suffer because of their imperialistic sense of conscience?

    What an odd way to describe individual morals.

    Everyone “suffers” from others’ moral decisions every day. I’m sure there are plenty of owners of small grocery stores who refuse to stock things they disagree with, like liquor and pornography. Should they be forced to carry such items?

    My criteria is that it depends on how much the individual conscience impinges on the freedoms of the rest of us.

    In the case of the pharmacists, for example, it’s more of a problem if the pharmacist is the only one in town, with few convenient alternatives. It’s not a problem if he’s just one of 40 pharmacists, any of whom will dispense the medications in question.

  • Nancy

    Zedd, IMO ALL organized religions suck & those that follow them blindly or zealously are dupes or idiots. However, I’m not addressing christians & other religions here in this thread; I’m trying to stick to muslims, which are the subject at hand.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Target doesn’t sell liquor; I buy my beer at liquor stores.

    Sorry Sean,

    Told you I’ve been away from Minnesota for a while. Here, you can buy wine, liquor or vodka at any grocery store that stocks them. In a culture that is not awash in alcohol like America’s or Europe’s, it just isn’t an issue.

    I read your blog post and understand the argument. As I told you, it’s been a while since I’ve been to Minnesota, and after nearly six years you lose some of your touch. Nevertheless, I think you underestimate the nature of the problems you face in Minnesota with Islam. Moslems can be a very volatile people by nature (I do remember the Somali there) and a cultural war can be set off far more easily than you realize.

  • Zedd

    Nancy #43

    Agreed as usual.

  • Zedd

    Ruvy

    I am a Christian but I don’t put other people down who do the same things that the people who my faith is built upon did.

    The Israelites under Joshua did attack people for no good reason and wipe them out. Never got why that was supposed to be a good thing.

    Perhaps you can tell us all and try not to sound like a Muslim fundamentalist kook while doing so.

  • STM

    In Australia, last week, the country’s Human Rights commissioner, who is blind, revealed that on many occasions he’d been denied entry to taxis in Sydney with his guide dog – most likely, according to witnesses who’ve taken cab numbers – because some muslim drivers are offended by dogs. Some drivers who aren’t muslim have also refused, saying they are allergic to dogs, but it seems mostly to be a religious issue.

    On one occasion, he was told he had to take the cab that was first in the queue and according to one newspaper, was left clutching at air thin as the original driver sped off. There was no other cab at the rank.

    Cab drivers in Australia are legally obliged to carry blind passengers AND their guide dogs, and are prosecuted for not doing so.

    Here’s the catch though: the Koran very clearly states while dogs generally are to be regarded as dirty animals, it OK to keep dogs and be around them provided they are used in a working capacity – which means some muslim drivers don’t know the teachings. I’d say guide dogs fit nicely into that category … but don’t expect things to change any time soon.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “The Israelites under Joshua did attack people for no good reason and wipe them out. Never got why that was supposed to be a good thing.”

    “Perhaps Zedd, you should read Chapter 18 of Leviticus again, particularly Leviticus 18:25-29. Perhaps you should read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah again in Genesis.”

    The answers you seek in the book of Joshua are clearly set down in Leviticus 18:25-29. Try reading from one to another, Zedd. If you claim to be a Christian, you should see this. Perhaps the Christian twisting of original Jewish text in order to squeeze Jesus out of it blinds you to the simple truths written there.

    If you honestly believed in G-d you’d recognize that He gifted us with this land in perpetuity – all of it. Palestine and Palestinians are a “no-people” designed to afflict Jews us for our own sins of idolatry and lack of faith in G-d.

  • Zedd

    Ruvy

    My God is really big. Property ownership in a desert by a small group of people on one small planet in one tiny solar system within a galaxy in this grand universe that is 13 billion yrs old, would not be a factor to verify His existence by. Doesn’t that sound silly to you? If that were the case, he wouldn’t be The God. Is that how you define Him? by your own tiny personal history?

    The Earth itself is thought to be about 4.57 billion years old. Humans are thought to be only 200,000 years old. Jews are 3,800 years old.

    If I were to use the existence of Jews and a reported promise of land to the Jews by God as a justification for his existence, He would be quite finite wouldn’t he?

    Jews or their desire to own that land don’t justify God to me and it shouldn’t. That would be odd. Jews are just part of the story of everything. The story began billions of years prior to their existence and the story is still being told today through me, Asama, a little old lady in China… God is revealed through so many wondrous things, Moses had moments of revelation in his own life and so do you and I Ruvy. My choices and experience everyday also write the story, its just not recorded for everyone to learn from 3.8 thousand years later. So NO the Exodus story does not prove the existence of God to me. The entire, much more bigger and certainly more significant wonder of it ALL does, for me.

    Its just a story of a people. Simmer down.

  • Zedd

    Ruvy

    As to your siting the fact that God allowed the Children of Israel to kill the inhabitants of the land of Canaan because they were immoral, sounds like the exact reason that extremist Muslims give for wanting to destroy the West.

    Again that is the point that I was making. Our society consists of infidel or acum (in Hebrew) and needs to be purged for who they consider to be G*d.

  • Zedd

    That was citing…

  • sr

    Zedd, Your always such a class act. Keep up the good fight.

  • Tim Shannon

    I understand the statement being made here. I received an e-mail that represents my thoughts. This is long, but very well worth considering…

    A man whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War 2 owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism.

    “Very few people were true Nazis “he said,” but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those
    who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”

    We are told again and again by “experts” and “talking heads” that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just
    want to live in peace.

    Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

    The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march.
    It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal
    groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave.
    It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honour kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape
    victims and homosexuals.

    The hard quantifiable fact is that the “peaceful majority” the “silent majority” is cowed and extraneous. Communist Russia comprised Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant.

    China’s huge population, was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The average Japanese individual prior to World War 2 was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel and bayonet.

    And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were “peace loving”?

    History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points:

    Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence.

    Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day and find
    that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun.

    Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.

    As for us who watch it all unfold; we must pay attention to the onlygroup that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

    Lastly, at the risk of offending, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, can contribute to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand.

  • zingzing

    ruvy: “Palestine and Palestinians are a “no-people” designed to afflict Jews us for our own sins of idolatry and lack of faith in G-d.”

    ah-ha. that’s why you have no problem with killing them, even those that are innocent. they aren’t even people according to you and your god…

    they were sent to punish you, eh? fantastic. i mean that in the cosmic sense.

    your religion-backed cultural bigotry and hatred has gone to murderous levels, and never again can you claim to be any better than those that you hate. you hate them for the same reason by which you justify killing them. you are a mirror image.

    sigh… you can be so sensible about so many different things. remember this: all people should be respected, live and let live, love your enemy, etc.

    you just stated that murder is a capital offense. and so it is. killing with hatred in your heart is not self defense, especially when you so boldy state your intention to do so. i don’t know how your god punishes you, but you better believe you’re in for it.

    defend yourself. then think about what your brother muslim would say in the same situation.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    ruvy: “Palestine and Palestinians are a “no-people” designed to afflict Jews us for our own sins of idolatry and lack of faith in G-d.”

    ah-ha. that’s why you have no problem with killing them, even those that are innocent. they aren’t even people according to you and your god…

    they were sent to punish you, eh? fantastic. i mean that in the cosmic sense.

    Your ignorance of what I’m talking about and deliberate mis-reading of it is so profound, it is not worth responding to.

  • zingzing

    really?

    i don’t think so. maybe you would like to explain?

    what i’m getting (and anyone who reads that sentence is going to get the same thing) is that palestinians were created by god to punish the jews, and serve no other purpose in the universe.

    i didn’t “deliberately” do anything. i just responded to what you wrote.

    maybe i am ingnorant of what you are talking about, but that’s because what you say is mind-warpingly fucked.

    i mean, what else could you be saying?

    i think you just can’t defend yourself, so you take the coward’s way out.

    i can’t think anything else at this point.

  • sr

    Tim, you know your right and I know your right, however most will just sit back and watch the view. The writing has been on the walls for sometime but nobody reads it. It’s good to be old and get me the hell out of here.

  • zingzing

    so, ruvy, i guess you could say that either i’m wrong because you say i am, or that you’re a nasty little murderous creature because you say you are.

  • sr

    Well gollee zing. Ruvy a nasty little murderous creature. Sure could have fooled me. Where are the comment police when you need them?

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    sr, a muppet could fool you. On the other hand, I guess Ruvy could just about fool a muppet. ;-)

  • zingzing

    it’s not a personal attack when it’s true. right? we’ve all seen ruvy, in the last year or two, go from a relatively well-adjusted jew living in a war zone into this religious nut who sees no use in trying to find peace. he WANTS this war between judaism and islam. it’s dangerous and stupid, and also downright disgusting. if those of ruvy’s ilk (on both sides) were to disappear, the conflict would end.

  • sr

    Chris#60. What can I say, just fooled by Chris the muppet from sesame street. Just cant remember which muppet you are.

  • sr

    Lets all go into the sea. Please feel free to join in the fun zing.

  • zingzing

    i don’t want to go swimming with you, sr… you peed in the water last time, and i haven’t forgotten.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    sr, but there’s a lot you can’t remember these days, right?

  • sr

    Right Chris. I cant even remember the last time I peed in my fish pond. No wonder my fish are floating around.