Friday, August 04, 2006

Pandering to Eteraz

Yesterday’s post with the verse mocking Mohammed caused Eteraz to object vigorously. As a result, a number of people piled on Eteraz in the comments.

I don’t think bashing Eteraz is a good idea. He’s not the enemy, and using him as a convenient stand-in for the enemy serves no useful purpose at all. It’s important to remember that Eteraz represents the kind of Islam we would like to see in the world. If all Muslims were like Eteraz, we wouldn’t have this war, and most of us kaffirs wouldn’t be paying any attention to Islam at all.

To those who enjoin Eteraz to get a thicker skin: you wouldn’t believe what a thick skin he has already. A rhinoceros has nothing on him. Go visit his blog, or the other places where he comments, and observe the spite and vituperation and just plain nastiness directed at him, much of it from his fellow Muslims. They make Gates of Vienna commenters look like cute li’l puppies in comparison.

But I do have substantive issues with Eteraz, and we argue by email sometimes. Yesterday he wrote me about his objections to the guest-posted verse, and said this:

Its almost like you are pandering to people like [one of the critical commenters]. I didn’t imagine you to be one to pander.

Even some of your other statements have become increasingly anti-Islam at large and not Islam in its extremist manifestation.

He’s got a good point there. I’ve caught quite a bit of flak for this, and not just from Eteraz.

The brutality of our Islamist enemies and my frustration at the fools who would appease them have caused me to lash out at the religion itself. Sometimes Islam does seem unredeemable, but that’s not what I want to assert in this forum.

When I replied to Eteraz I said this:

Unfortunately, millions of people say they want to destroy Israel (and America) because of their faith in Allah, their Islamic faith.

I would not be engaging in mockery if the Danish cartoon incident had not come along, if many, many Muslims had not said that they want to kill people who mock the Prophet.

Mockery is a weapon of choice. It helps us, the people who are not Muslims, to create solidarity against Islamofascists, and against the cowardly appeasers who want to accommodate their totalitarian demands.

As a by-product, it hurts people like you, and that’s unfortunate, and I sincerely regret it.

I also will regret it if, at the airport, they start vigorously searching people who look like you, or who have Urdu-sounding names like yours, or have a birthplace in Pakistan like yours listed on their passport. I hate the fact that such things may have to happen to you. But I think they are a necessary step, part of our self-defense.

I hope that you don’t ever end up worshipping in a mosque where Islamists are storing explosives. I hope you don’t visit friends who — unbeknownst to you — have allowed extremists to hide rocket launchers in their back yard. Because you might end up dead as a result. But that doesn’t mean our pilots are choosing their targets incorrectly.

Because of what’s happening, it may eventually become dangerous to be a Muslim in this country. But it’s dangerous right now to be a Christian in Pakistan. Or a Jew anywhere, for that matter.

If 9/11 had never happened, I never would have mocked Islam. But our enemies have decided to fight a religious war, and I have chosen sides in it.

This means that I want to demonstrate that I do not stand with those whose faith is so bizarre, so primitive, and so intolerant that they would cut off the heads of those who do not share it.

I do not lump you in with those people. But, unfortunately, you and they have in common a book of scripture, one which plays an integral part of this ongoing war. Alas, here’s no way to avoid the result…

It’s a broad brush we’re using here, and probably tars quite a lot of folks who don’t deserve it. But how many of them are there? That’s an important question, and one that’s hard to answer. Some of our regular readers believe there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim, and that all them must be converted or exterminated.

I’m not one of those, as I have said repeatedly. But it’s disturbing and disheartening that the voice of moderate Islam is so consistently muted, if not mute.

In his email to me, as an example of a moderate and non-humor-impaired Muslim, Eteraz cited Salman Rushdie. But what kind of example is that? Rushdie is a secular Muslim, and basically an apostate. We all saw what his “moderation” cost him. No wonder the moderates are so quiet.

That’s a large part of the problem. If the extremists, the Islamists, are so intolerant of moderation in Islam that they will attempt to kill those who practice it, and if they are at least 10% of the Muslim population, then they will be able to destroy moderation within Islam unless those Muslims of a moderate temperament organize to defend themselves against such violent intimidation.

Eteraz wrote me another note later on. He said, in part:

You are living under the assumption that the IF’s [Islamofascists] are coming after us. They are. 9/11 was an example of it.

However, the IF’s live under the assumption that the US is coming after the Muslim world. To them, our bases in Saudi; our funding of tyrannical regimes (Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Saudi), are examples of our “attack.”

Both sides are acting and reacting fearing each other’s attack-mongering. You want to ridicule and mock all Muslims because you fear the plans of some Muslims. The extremists want to ridicule and mock all Christians and Jews because they fear the plans of some Christians and some Jews. Each group says: “we who are not the other, want to create solidarity amongst ourselves and mocking the other helps us do that.” I’m rather disappointed by your response.

Unfortunately, my reply to him has disappeared somewhere in the belly of our dysfunctional email service. However, when I responded to him I said something like this:

Eteraz, you are creating a false equivalence, and I don’t buy it. The mockery of Islam by non-Muslims is not equivalent to terrorist attacks on Christians and Jews.

The equivalent would be for Muslims to mock Christians and make fun of Jesus. That OK; it doesn’t bother me at all. I hope they go ahead and mock!

If that were all that were happening, the Twin Towers would still be standing, none of this would be an issue, and I would never have taken up blogging.

We started this blog because thousands of people were killed, are being killed, and will be killed, all in the name of Allah. Every day.

There is no equivalent to this kind of behavior among non-Muslims. None whatsoever.

Hizbullah giving the Nazi saluteThere are no instances of Christian or Jewish groups behaving like the thousands of Hizbullah cadres in the streets of Beirut who give the Nazi salute and scream “Death to Israel!”

It’s unfortunate, but there’s no way around it: The relationship between Islam and other religions is not symmetrical.

That’s part of the problem.

But I think it’s a good idea to pander to Eteraz and people like him, to coax them up out of the foxholes they’re hiding in. They’re hiding for a good reason, if Salman Rushdie is any example.

Allah go boom!Yesterday’s post was offensive; there’s no doubt about it. I’m going to lay off the insulting frivolities for a while and deal with what’s important.

And here’s what’s important: Islam has a bomb in its turban.

Its other clothes, its shoes, its pants, and its shirt are all normal. But there’s a bomb in the turban, and the fuse is lit.

One of these days it’s going to take the head off, and do a lot of damage to everyone who happens to be nearby.

38 comments:

BenK said...

After reading various pages on Eteraz' blog it's easy to respect him. Here is someone, you feel, who you could have a really worthwhile conversation with.

For whatever comfort it's worth to him, after reading "Mahomet the Pedophile Prophet" and his reply on his blog I'm now aware that the 9-year-old bride age is disputed.

KG said...

The time is past for considering the feelings of moderates such as Eteraz, because radical islam is going to kill a lot of us. Soon.
Worse--far worse-is the fact that our way of life in the West, the institutions and freedoms we hold dear are under sustained, often successful attack.
Moderate muslims MUST choose a side in this fight. It's not enough to claim "moderate" status because being a moderate will get you killed as surely as being a combatant.And large numbers of muslms living in the West are willing enough to enjoy the prosperity and freedom it gives them without paying the price of defending those things.
I'm aware of the argument that moderates would pay a higher price for opposing their radical brethren. But they choose islam. They choose a religion mired in backward, primitive beliefs and customs, a religion which is used as an umbrella organisation to preach hatred and commit atrocities, a religion seemingly incapable of reaching a working accommodation with other beliefs.
It's islam in the West which demands that women cover themselves. Islam which demands that pork be removed from the menu. Islam which teaches children to hate others based on...religion.
Islam which seeks--by force--to bend the West to a belief system which will destroy the very things the West represents.
I'm not prepared to commit suicide by pretending that moderate islam will somehow, magically, overcome the howling darkness at it's borders.
Partly because I don't believe that the majority of even "moderate" muslims share the same vision for mankind that we in the West have. If they did, islamic countries would be as advanced, as prosperous, as free as the West.

dick said...

I too think it's good that we have those such as Eteraz among us. Their moderation is the only hope that we can get out of this thing we're in without massive carnage on our part: that we can target the IFs and then live in peace with the MMs (moderate muslims).

However: I do think "The extremists want to ridicule and mock all Christians and Jews because they fear the plans of some Christians and some Jews" is disingenuous.

Last night, I watched Obsession. Highly recommended for all. A segment of the movie showed arab tv programming that was anti-semitic in the extreme: for example, graphic enactments of jews killing christian kids to get blood for their passover matzoh. Eteraz: this goes quite a way beyond "mock and ridicule". It's a vitriolic call to hatred and revenge - on state run tv no less. Just as the Baron says about IF murder; there is no equivalent to this (at least none that I am aware of) in the non-islamic world. In fact, I believe that western tv is falling over backwards not to offend muslims, to the extent that it is failing to speak inconvenient truths. (As an aside on which: it's more PC to have CO2 as the enemy than IF.)

I think that an, admittedly tasteless, piece of doggerel about your prophet falls way short of accusing his believers of sacrificing non-believers to drink their blood. So please be careful not to make false equivalencies.

Still: hooray for Eteraz and all those like him who are ready to take a stand for sanity in a communities that are becoming less sane by the minute. It takes courage. I'm not sure I'd be up to it. Hats off to Eteraz et al.

Dick

A. Eteraz said...

Thanks Baron.

I think your foxhole comment was good one.

I wrote a few clarifications on my blog.

The Post

My life goes on.

I think the commentators here need to realize that this is about the only blog that I actually comment at, so it's very easy to say to me: "why don't you go fix the Muslims and stop telling us what to do." Fact is, the reason that this is the only blog I comment at is precisely because most of the time I'm writing up stuff that is reformist in nature, or working behind the scenes with groups/individuals who do reformist activities (this takes up 90% of the time in my life). Coming to one blog to comment is all I have time for, and I choose to come here.

Ok, Baron, I'm tired. Salutations.

bordergal said...

I'm with kg. The moderates have to have to choose, and choose quickly.

Or they will be just like the faceless masses in Germany during WWII who somehow had "no idea" that those funny looking camps were slowly killing and burning innocent flesh.

This isn't rocket science, and it shouldn't be hard to pick a side.

We need no summer soldiers or sunshine patriots in this fight.

bordergal said...

What I've said may seem harsh...but sides are lining up (see below). The time is coming, and soon, when moderates will have to fish or cut bait.

"Judges in Egypt called upon the government to dissolve its peace agreement with Israel, on the grounds that it is inconceivable for Egypt to coexist peaceably with Israel while the IDF operates in Lebanon. The judges expressed support of popular resistance against Israeli advances, which, in their eyes, is the only way to protect the Arab ummah (greater nation)".

zhorkon said...

This is one of those gray areas where we in the West should apply some common sense to our own behavior - but different individuals will have differing ideas on what's sensible. My own feeling (as a non-believer) is that Muslims, like all of us, simply must develop some tolerance of arguably stupid, bigoted and hurtful depictions of their most cherished icons and beliefs - if they expect to survive in a modern world where evolving technology and commerce virtually forces very different peoples to intimately interact every day. They are unavoidably going to meet people who'll insult them, and if their reaction is physically violent, they - even in their large numbers - will ultimately be the ones eliminated from global society and history.

It may be cruel or unfair, but that's the way it is. None of us will be living in closed, isolated, mono-cultural tribal societies much longer.

That said, I don't see much point in unnecessarily offending and alienating everybody who’s not from my own culture or ethnic group. Was Mohammed a pedophile? Maybe. That's a legitimate line of inquiry for scholars, and differing thoughts on the matter must be allowed into the public discourse without threats or coercion. But this is not the same as hurling insults, which more reflect egotistical aggression on the part of the insulter than any interest in making others reflect more deeply on the basic tenants of their beliefs.

I thought the little poem was a bit over the top, rather like the cross in the jar of urine a few years back. Yeah, that's "expression" which we in the West must defend to remain free... but tactically, it sure isn't going to make winning this war against Medieval savagery any easier.

snowonpine said...

There are supposedly some 1.2 billion, some say 1.3 billion Muslims in the world today. Estimates of the number of active Muslim terrorists are, at best, just wild ass guesses but just as a thought experiment lets say that there are somewhere around 200,000 active terrorists and throw in another 500,000 supporters as infrastructure--funding, logistics, supply, transportation, training. Also lets suppose as well that these active terrorists are supported by 10% of the 1.3 billion ummah. That still leaves some 1 billion plus Muslims who are not active terrorists, active terrorist supporters or passively support the terrorists.

Some have said that there are many behind the scenes attempts by more Moderate Muslims to fight the terrorists and/or the conservative brand of Islam they represent. Outside of a few notable examples, Rushdie, Dr. Wafa Sultan and a few others, certainly less than 50 or 100 people who are mentioned in western news sources, I have heard of no general movement, no large number of people who have challenged and are fighting the terrorists and the Wahabi line.

Unless, as in so many florid Middle East based adventure films, this army appears over the ridge soon, I think we have to conclude that its just wishful thinking to believe that such a "Moderate Muslim" force exists or that we can expect "Moderate Muslims" to fight on the side of Infidels against their fellow Muslims.

Brian Macker said...

Benk,

You state, "... I'm now aware that the 9-year-old bride age is disputed." I would say that it's one thing to dispute something and quite another to back up your claims. There are plenty of holocaust deniers and hitler worshippers out there who dispute other historical facts. That doesn't make their conjectures true.

Did you read Mr. Silas's refutation of those claims that Aisha was not nine at the time of her marriage? He does a damn fine job of showing that the counter arguments are fallacious or questionable.
He does so in a scholarly manner requiring cites and confirmation while providing his own.

I must say after reading all that back and forth there that I found even more solid evidence that Aisha was indeed extremely young at the time of her marriage, not vice versa. It provided me with around another dozen or so direct cites from Islamic religious texts that reaffirm the youth of Aisha.

For example,
“Yahya b. Abbad b. Abdullah b. al-Zubayr from his father told me that he heard Aisha say: “The apostle died in my bosom during my turn: I had wronged none in regard to him. It was due to my ignorance and extreme youth that the apostle died in my arms.””
(Guillaume, A., "The Life of Muhammad", a translation of Ibn Ishaq's "Sirat Rasul Allah", Oxford University Press, Karachi, Pakistan, page 682).

Aisha is identifying herself in extreme youth at the time of Muhammad’s death.

Brian Macker said...

If other Muslim moderates practice the same moral equivalences that Eteraz does then I don't see how this problem can ever be solved.

If my disputing muslim claims and mocking false beliefs is the same as outright violent assault to them there can be no peace, ever. No more so than if my neighbor though me watering my lawn was morally equivalent to stealing his money and raping his wife.

How can a guy who claims to have spent his entire life studying religion make such a fundamental error. No, mocking false religion is not only not an attack but is in fact an attempt to help the victims under the spell of a closed and intolerant system.

North Koreans should be thankful that we mock their spiritual and political leader, that they are not says more about them than us. Similarly Muslims so also be thankful. They need an environment where they are not executed for exploring the truth of their and other beliefs.

No one can come to a honest opinion under and environment full of death threats. Not only does it coerce an individuals ability to follow their conscience but it prevents them from having access to the information required to make the decision in the first place.

heroyalwhyness said...

Certainly, Eteraz would fit into the 'moderate' muslim characterization. Unfortunately, there simply isn't a 'moderate' islam. Islam is the problem and its scripture is the same for all muslims.

The followers of this scripture - just as Eteraz, even as a moderate, continue to facilitate Islam and have clearly picked sides.

The nature of this scripture places moderate/weaker followers in that 'foxhole'. . .along with nonbelievers.

All the pretexts for confrontation with the west are balderdash. Look at the Sudan, the Phillipines, Chechnya or Kashmir etc. and decide which entity has an agenda to conquer, pillage, loot, rape, mame, dhimmify and eventually hefty bag the remaining female population.
Unlike allah, my God doesn't need me to shed blood on his behalf. I am however, expected to respect and protect my life and that of my family.
Before 9/11 I didn't know anything about the followers of the RoP. Such is the shame, cause the west had plenty of warning beginning with the Iranian hostage crisis under Carter. I'm aware and ready now.

Under these circumstances, it is quite easy to choose sides.

Prodicus said...

In 2004, when Atefeh Sahaleh was executed, the age of sexual consent for females in Iran was, I believe, nine years. If I am wrong, perhaps one of the experts here can enlighten me.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Sorry, I'm with KG and bordergal while there are individual moderate Muslims, that makes no case for laying off Islam in general. In that sense moderate Muslims now are no more relevant than moderate Nazis in 1939. It does however do a great disservice to lay off the evil of Islam in general just because of sympathy for some individual.
As for Eteraz ... I am not impressed. The guy is not profound so much as confused, always more smart mouth than deep thought. And he is no friend of the West ... when not making risible excuses for murderers, he concedes little credit to the west except for the laissez faire liberalism that is killing us. That he approves of. (i.e. Thanks for nothing, punk).

And as for Islam - it is not 90% normal with a dangerously abnormal 10%, it is an evil and wicked faith more like a quarter stone cold genuine evil, half passive acceptance of stupidity and mayhap a quarter acceptable.

jimmytheklaw said...

awesome examination found here on mohammad and pedophile charge http://answering-islam.org.uk/Authors/Wood/pedophile.htm

i tend to agree mostly with the article

KG said...

Dangit--wish I'd made the point as well as Fellow Peacekeeper!

Zerosumgame said...

As one of the more anti-Islamic posters here, even I could have come up with a much better defense of Mohammed's marriage to Aisha than Eteraz's rather shaky assertions about how she was not so young. (From what I understand, this comes from the Hadiths, not the Quran itself.)

His answer could very simply have been that Muhammad was a product of his time and place -- 7th century pagan Arabia. That what judgments we make 1400 years later in the West are simply not "the way it was" in 7th century Mecca.

My understanding is that his idea of allowing men more than one wife was generated by the simple fact that warring clans left a lot of widows, and this was a way for widows and their children to be cared for.

The rather limited rights he gave to women may not have been very enlightened by our standards, but were likely more than what they had in Arabia prior to Islam. (It would be interesting to see how they compared to 7th century Byzantium or Sassanid Persia.)

My problem with Mohammed is not with those things. It is with his calls to holy war, murdering of infidels, and the explicit, genocidal Jewhatred, generated by the refusal of the Jews of Mecca to convert to his young religion. This has infected Islam ever since, and may eventually push us into a nuclear world war that consumes us all.

niconoclast said...

The narcissistic infantilism of Islam is omnipresent in this perverted faith.Ever found a Muslim who can brook any criticism whatsoever?

Here in the UK criticism of this cult is now practially illegal.Only a foolhardy person would venture out onto the streets to critique it.Seems like they have already won...

Zerosumgame said...

OT - In the past, I had discussed the topic of Dutch emigration with some others. Now, here are some statistics from the Dutch themselves:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1677926/posts

Note how it is the only Western European nation with net outflow of people.

Chip said...

What I posted yesterday is my idea of humor - black as the holes.

Profitsbeard said...

Anyone who follows the playbook of a pedophile warlord has little credibility, either philosophically, morally or "religiously".

What are Muslims thinking?

There are a host of comparatively sane creeds, based on loving thy neighbor, profoundly unfolding enlightmentment, respect for the natural world- and, meanwhile, the followers of Mohammad are content with the precepts of a desert bandit who had the arrogance to steal his entire religion from the Jews and 'Christians' (gnostic heretics, obviously) and pass off this world-historical theft as a unique "prophecy"?

Can't Muslims do the most elementary "comparative religion" work?

And thereby see the nakedly vicious personality of their "perfect man" through his unending petty resentments (the victims of which are treated to eternal hellfire to please his sadism), sexual terrorism (enslaving the wives of the men he and his followers killed, because they would not "convert"), and his sanctimonious vendettas against those whose religion he stole (saying that the Jews and Christians "distorted" the meaning of their holy books), as documented in the Koran and Hadiths?

Anyone who knowingly follows this pilfered and malicious creed needs a sense of the absurd, because no other sense exists within it.

Mockery is all it deserves.

I'd suggest Mohammedans bail out, at the risk of death (ordained by their fellow cultists), and look for a more loving faith.

*~@):~{>

One that allows laughter -at its own expense- and not mere schadenfreude sneering at the misery of others.

May Islam vanish as the other dogmatic despotisms have vanished.

The dustbin of history awaits its joylessness.

Right next to the delusions of Stalin's "Five Year Plans", Hitler's "Thousand Year Reich", Pol Pot's "Year Zero" and Mao's "Great Leap Foreward cum Cultural Revolution".

Humor is the stake through the hearts of these vacuous vampires.

(Although I prefer garlic.)

Scott said...

Eteraz has a point and we can see it perhaps more clearly if we look at our own society.

Was it fair in 1960 to mock all Southern Americans because of segregation? Make fun of their accents, their relative poverty, their yearnings for a dimly remembered 'golden age'?

How would that have advanced the cause of desegregation. Would it have driven a wedge between the declining Southern Klans and the vast majority of Southerners who had nothing against blacks, in fact, knew them in personal ways that most Yankees did not, but were
afraid of a future where blacks would be equal?

I think not. It isn't a perfect comparison I admit. Still the fact
remains that if we had treated every Southerner as a Klansman we would only have created more Klansman as those who were looking for a way out would have found none.

I don't think we should appease the Islamofascist. In fact I think mocking their ludicrous ideology is a good idea but we should remember we do have allies in the Islamic world.

General Musharraf may not have done all we would have like him to do but the man has endured enough assassination attempts to cut him some slack. The Saudi Royal Family may not be composed of Abe Lincoln,Tom Jefferson and Martin Luther King but they are not bin Laden or Hezbollah either.

I will even admit to finding some sympathy for Islamic complaints as
regards western society. Should a child have to walk down the street and look over and see a newspaper vending machine selling "Hollywood Hookers" or homosexual papers?

Christians, Jews and Muslims have
common ground in some areas of life. We all think there is a place
for decency in public life and I can't get too upset with a Muslim cleric finding Gay Freedom Day parades offensive. I can however tell him to stuff it when he suggests the participants need to be killed. I'd let it go at telling
the celebrants to put their pants back on or no more parade permit.

What needs to be done is to make clear to the Islamic world that they have to police themselves otherwise we will have to do it for them. It is not the job of the United States or Israel to track down terrorist gangs or individual
nut cases. That is the responsibility of the Muslims.

We need a Clint Eastwood Dirty Harry type declaration to the effect of 'you won't believe what
happens next even while it is happening to you' in regards to future acts of terrorism.

We are the stronger civilization and we have a right to enforce our standards on the weaker one. They
may not like it but they will like
the alternative a whole lot less.

The Real Sporer said...

Love this recently discoverd blog.

Is not Islam, like much of the rest of the world, at a point of decision unlike those of the past. While history repeats itself, it also evolves, and now we have the technology of mass death and the media of mass distortion.

It seems that moderate Muslims must simply decide if their faith can accomodate itself to peaceful coexistence with the rest of the world or not. I'm guessing most Muslims will and do choose coexistence but now they must act on that choice to aggressively confront terror.

How goes Lebanon will say much about this choice.

http://therealsporer.blogspot.com/

peggy said...

profitsbeard,

The sad thing is that muslims do see that mohammed did bad and wrong things, but like Eteraz, they divide mohammed into two people who have no relation to one another. There is the political Mohammed who is guilty of all kinds of things and then there is the spiritual mohammed. Thus the example of mohammed is neatly divided into non-obligatory (special conditions only) and the private example which is obligatory. Its a complete logical disconnect that Eteraz himself has said doesnt concern him at all. For the moderate muslim, what mohammed did in public life is cleanly divided from mohammed in private life and has no bearing AT ALL on his character OR the trustworthiness of his words or teachings. For them a man who lied in public life can nonetheless be absolutely trusted when he claimed to have received his religion from an angel among other things.

Its this logical disconnect that is responsible for the truism that there are no real muslim moderates. There are certainly those like Eteraz who are unlikely to become violent or join the jihad but nonetheless they are bearers of the far more subtle and dangerous ideas of islam. Like carriers of some contagious disease, they carry these ideas like a virus into our society and pass them along unwittingly to others.

This is why it is important to encourage a person like Eteraz while at the same time never ceasing to challenge his islamic world view. A sick person in quarantine can be cared for without harming others. In a similar way, dangerous ideas can be contained through free speech and vigorous challenge in a free society while at the same time respecting the human being that happens to carry those ideas. We should never cease to vigorously defend the fabric and integrity of our society from this body of warped ideas that is normative islam any more than we should cease fighting the murderous fanatics trying to eliminate us physically from the earth. We are threatened from both sides. In my frank opinion, Islam has nothing unique to offer our society that has any value at all to us. In fact every one of its distinctives is poison to us. It is my hope that one day Mr Eteraz will become concerned about the whole character of the entire man, Mohammed and see that he was no prophet in the line of the prophets of Israel. That day will be a victory for reality and for truth.

peggy said...

PS.
The most dangerous islamic idea of all is perfectly illustrated by eteraz's unconcerned attitude towards the "public" mohammed. At the heart of his faith is a complete dependence on ignoring half of the truth about mohammed and training oneself to be completely unconcerned about it. This lazy and disconnected attitude towards truth can onl destroy a society based on an unflinching and dedicated pursuit of truth flowing from both its Jewish stream and (especially) from its Greek stream.

How can the truth be served by turning a blind eye to the flawed character of a leader and by turning one man into two unrelated examples. Our society as we know it will be dead when the last person sucuumbs to notion that this willful muslim blindness to mohammed's public career is just as valid an approach to truth and faith as any other.

Color me no fan of Ali Eteraz. May he come to really care about the truth.

Profitsbeard said...

Peggy-

If the ONLY choice were between belief in the teachings of Mohammad or having no beliefs at all, I'd choose the void.

As Nietzsche quipped:

"Man would rather have the Void for a purpose than be void of purpose."

Emptiness can at least be a womb for further freedom of thought. But the headlock of Islam constricts thinking to the unexaminable example of a "prophet" whose "bible" begins:

"This book is not to be doubted."

What can you do with a presumptuous proclamation like that but laugh?!

They order an end to skeptical inquiry before you have even have a chance to see the contents.

Like someone saying to you:

"You MUST put on a blindfold and jump off this cliff, and you HAVE TO believe me that there is a safety net somewhere down below."

I think I'd rather judge for myself, without the precondition of willful blindness.

Having read the Koran, I find it astonishingly banal, eerily uninspiring and full of bizarre "I am really not crazy; this is not a deception of the devil" types of special pleadings by Mohammad which render it psychologically suspect, at best.

No Beatitudes, no Psalms, no Songs of Solomon, no Proverbs. But a lot of revenge fantasies and mundane concerns that give it an overall tone of "religiously" retrograde arrogance.

Give me the Tao, the Tripitaka, Heraclitus, Epictetus, the Mumonkan, Micah, the Sermon on the Mount, or Corinthians any day.

"Greatest of these is love." is such an alien concept to Mohammad that these five simple words negate the entirety of the blustering Koran.

I would love to see all Muslims leave this dead-end faith and find freedom of soul on any other open spiritual path.

Ocean Guy said...

James Lileks wrote a couple of years ago about the 5 reactions Muslims can have to extremists in their midst:

Endorsement,
Indifference,
Denial,
Participation,
and lastly
Rejection.

Except for those Muslims who actively reject the extremists... ALL others enable the radicals. That's right, most Muslims Help the extremists, if only through inaction.

Simply claiming to be moderate is not sufficient to help the rest of the world confront the extremists. So people like Eteraz have an uphill battle. They may have been put in the situation unwillingly, but then so have the rest of us.

As long as the extremists hide among, and deign to speak for all Muslims, both we and Eteraz have a problem. Until the number of Muslims actively rejecting the extremists becomes much, much larger, nothing will change.

Francis W. Porretto said...

I think it vital that we demand a terminological separation between "moderate" and "extremist" Muslims. We of the West have to learn exactly what Islam is and what it demands if we're going to deal with it sensibly.

Given the tale of history, so-called "moderate Muslims" should find a new term for their faith and leave "Islam" to the blood-drenched brethren they're so eager to disavow.

blubi101 said...

Islam needs to be mocked, but not to offend muslims. The best way to combat islamism is for islam to be perceived as primitive and stupid, so that young people of muslim descent are not attracted to it. I don´t know any practising muslims, so I have no trouble doing so unlike the baron.
How the good Eteraz reconciles his faith with reason is his problem, but this is an ideological war and reason must prevail.

Anonymous said...

It’s important to remember that Eteraz represents the kind of Islam we would like to see in the world.

Rubbish. The more Eteraz represents the kind of "Islam" we would like to see in the world, the less he actually represents true Islam.

We need to rid ourselves of the ridiculous fantasy that there can ever be a kind of Islam that can be acceptable in the Western world.

Russet Shadows said...

I've long given up hope of reforming Islam. People who sanction in any way the kind of things that Mohammed did are just as bad as he is. Perhaps the only thing to do besides wage war upon them is mass exile to say, the moon.

Robohobo53 said...

Baron, why do claim that Eteraz is a friend? He is just another apologist for a violent death cult. His biases are betrayed with every word he writes. I work with a Muslim who is in absolute fear for his life should he so much as lightly criticize his religion. He is a good guy that knows the faults of his creed and privately wishes it could be reformed, but knows it cannot. And we live and work in the US. Scary prospects.

Anonymous said...

Baron, why do claim that Eteraz is a friend? He is just another apologist for a violent death cult.

Let me remind you of the words of Flemming Rose, editor of Jyllands-Posten (the newspaper that originally published the 12 Mohammad cartoons):

"I think if any religion insists that I, as a non-Muslim, should submit to their taboos, then I don't think they're showing me respect. I think they're asking for my submission."

Now, consider Eteraz' recent ridiculous, Muslim-style outburst. Heck, he even wrote a post on his own blog called Baron's Betrayal. How's that? Betrayal! Is Eteraz asking for the Baron's submission or what?

While Eteraz (may or) may not be the enemy, Islam is clearly our enemy. Eteraz, as we know, does not renounce this violent death cult that is our enemy, and now it seems he wants us to go easy on Mohammad.

I think that Muslims often show their true colors when they are provoked. Methinks Eteraz is beginning to show his...

Archonix said...

Eratz is at least trying (probably in every sense of the word, but tryng nontheless) and he needs to be encouraged in that.

Nilk said...

blubi101, with regards to mocking islam in a way that is inoffensive to muslims, it can't be done.

If it is not islamic, it is an offense against Allah. I have a copy of the quran, and I can guarantee you that any muslim who visits me will be grossly offended by that - a woman, and a kaffir woman at that!

Let's compound that with the Sacred Heart on the wall in full view of everyone in the room.

And that's before I've opened my mouth!

The Danish cartoons were far from offensive as drawings. They are offensive to muslims simply because they are.

I think Eteraz does very well in his efforts to communicate with the infidels, but there is very little common ground between us.

That is a shame, but I have no answers for how to make it easier for him to remove his shackles of blind faith and acceptance.

There is no peace in Islam. Only submission.

He's in my prayers, though, so I'm hoping that helps.

blubi101 said...

Nilk,

I didn´t express myself clearly - what I meant was that the reason for mocking islam is not, or shouldn´t be, to offend muslims but to point out how absurd islam is. I couldn´t care less if they are offended.

Regards

Old Peculier said...

North Koreans should be thankful that we mock their spiritual and political leader, that they are not says more about them than us.

Hmm. Do we really know what North Koreans think? Given that dissent is punished by imprisonment in a labour camp, not just for you, but for your family and all your descendants, I don't think we should, from the comfort of a free-world blog, pass judgement.

Moderate and reformist Muslims face huge and dangerous obstacles. The biggest obstacle, apart from death threats from their more mainstream co-religionists, is the Koran. And then there's Mohammed.

Instead of glossing over the problematic aspects of Mohammed's character, and the violent verses in the Koran, moderate or reformist Muslims need to confront them. Irshad Manji, for whom I have a great deal of respect, criticises the Koran, but she has not yet managed to bring herself to criticise Mohammed.

bigcatlady said...

Could it be that there are moderate Muslims, just that they are fearful for their lives and those of the dear ones in the countries of origins that the radicals do not end up attacking them?

Phanarath said...

To Anonymous:

Flemming Rose said: "I think if any religion insists that I, as a non-Muslim, should submit to their taboos, then I don't think they're asking for my respect. I think they're asking for my submission."

Its just a little diferent from what you wrote. But I think, its an important difference.


As for Muslims. If all Muslims had been extremist, then the religion would never had survived for longer then 50 years max. And if all Muslims where the socalled moderates, then it would never had spread. It has nothing to offer and spreads mostly trough violance.

Islam would be easy to deal with, without the extremists. But it would also be a lot easier to deal with, without the Moderates.

I think Peggy said it very well. The Moderates are the carriers.