Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Through a Glass Darkly

We often make quick judgments, based on what we think we know, only to discover later that our brilliant insight may have been wrong. In fact, not only wrong, but unkind and — in the long run — harmful.

Thus, the story in The Daily Mail. A story about someone we thought we knew, someone we made into an iconic symbol of all that we hate and fear since 9/11.

Islamic Rage Boy He’s a poster boy for islamic terrorism, right? He hates, and it shows on his face. But what is behind that façade? I’ll bet that like me, you thought you knew his story, or at least it’s general outlines.

If so, then like me also, you are guilty of the rush to judgment of another human being… guilty of indulging the need for a scapegoat who can carry our fears, if only in his image.

Yes, Rage Boy. That funny, strange face that I called “the missing link.” Mea culpa. That others have used to make money by putting his image on coffee cups and bumper stickers and underwear. Mea maxima culpa.

I don’t know if this reporter’s story is true or not. However, he travelled all the way to Kashmir to examine the life of Rage Boy and to draw his own conclusions. But first he sets the stage with our pre-determined ideas about this man:

Islamist extremism is rarely out of the news these days. It showed its most inhuman side last week when a Taliban suicide bomber killed politicians and a group of schoolgirls in an attack in Afghanistan.

In Pakistan, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto said the bomb that blew up her homecoming convoy, killing 140 people, may have been strapped to a child dressed in her party colours who was handed up to her vehicle moments before the blast.

[… ]

Islamist terrorism — the reason given by General Musharraf for declaring martial law in Pakistan last weekend — has spread its tentacles wide, leaving people and governments frightened about how best to respond.

If anyone embodies the violent potency of this threat, it is Islamic Rage Boy. Over the past few months he has become as much of a hate figure as Bin Laden.

Journalist Christopher Hitchens calls him a “religious nut bag” full of “yells and gibberings”, and says that he refuses to live his own life “at the pleasure of Rage Boy”.

On Jihad Watch… ‘The Goobs’ writes: “Can you IMAGINE how nasty it would smell standing next to this nutter? Whatcha wanna bet he hasn’t ever owned a can of Right Guard?”

‘Johndoe’ thinks “Rage Boy will never rise from the madness that enslaves him. Never. He is past the point of no return — irredeemable like millions of his fellow psychotics.”

And then there is the summation of Rage Boy by Real Clear Politics last June, comparing the ugliness of his open mouth to the ethereal beauty of an unknown British man’s mouth, fully opened to sing an aria from Puccini. The author (as I did) already knows who Rage Boy is, and what he is thinking. We both know this even though we don’t even know his name:

In Rage Boy’s world, anything or any person perceived to undermine his fragile sense of self is justification for someone to incite a riot, or to wear a bomb to market, or even to fly an airplane into a building. The fact that Rage Boy is obviously an actor sent out to hype outrage at these orchestrated events only confirms the cynicism that underpins jihad’s moral bankruptcy. Rage Boy is nihilism unleashed.

But are those summations of Rage Boy his actual truth? Patrick French went to Kashmir to find out.
- - - - - - - - -
He hadn’t been to Kashmir since his exotic travels as a teenaged backpacker. Back then, as he says, it was full of “hippies and tourists”, but they are long gone. The beauty of the place remains, but the airport is anything but welcoming:

… since the start of the anti-Indian insurgency in the late Eighties, it has become a place of bloodshed. When India became independent and Pakistan was created in 1947, the Kashmir valley became a part of India despite having a large Muslim majority — a decision that was to have fatal historical reverberations.

Arriving at Srinagar airport, I got a taste of what was to come: sand-bags, fortified arches draped with camouflage netting, pill-box bunkers, armoured vehicles with gun barrels poking out of their turrets, roads lined with razor wire. Indian paramilitary police in helmets and metal breastplates manned frequent checkpoints.

I soon realised that my mobile phone was not working: all foreign phones are jammed as a security measure.

Mr. French, with the aid of a local reporter, made his way to what his guide called ‘the Gaza Strip of Kashmir’:

We went to Malik Angan, a poor area that the security forces monitor closely, though they risk being shot at or stoned.

As we arrived, paramilitary policemen were searching a cloth vendor, making him dismantle his cart.

This is the place where Rage Boy lives and moves and has his being. This is the place where he even has a name and a history beyond what we have allotted for him. Mr. French arrives at the house where this man resides, and climbs the wooden steps to the third floor and comes face to face with this icon:

There, standing in an empty room, dressed in a salwar kameez and zip-up cardigan, with crooked teeth and a quizzical look on his face, was Islamic Rage Boy.

His name? Shakeel Ahmad Bhat. His age? Twenty-nine. His occupation? “Failed militant.”

During the following two days, Mr French sat on the floor of the home Shakeel Ahmad Bhat shares with his mother. Through an interpreter, he listens to this man’s life story, while part of him — the observing reporter — asks himself if this is the truth. He decides finally on the simplest answer -

His story was not what I had expected and showed the personal torment of life in a society that has gone wrong. Although it is hard to prove the authenticity of his story, given my knowledge of Kashmiri political history over the past 20 years, everything he told me sounded plausible: after all, what reason would he have to lie?

Indeed. As you read the details, you realize that he’s probably not capable of lying now; perhaps he never was.

Rage Boy — I mean, Shakeel — is from a Sufi family. He says his father brought him to mosques and told him two rules: don’t be greedy and help to spread Islam peacefully.

In this country Shakeel would have been designated as “learning disabled.” Even beatings at school did not make him literate, so at the age of ten he was permitted to stay home. By the age of thirteen, he’d been recruited as a “militant” to fight Indian troops. His recruitment came about through a family member:

While searching for militants, police raided Shakeel’s home and threw his 18-year-old sister Shareefa out of an upstairs window. She broke her spine and died from her injuries four years later.

So much for his father’s admonition about being peaceful. Shakeel joined other boys headed to Pakistan for training. He was so small, he was often carried on the shoulders of the bigger boys as they traveled over the mountains to Muzaffarabad and the training camp run by the Pakistani army — along with the help of the Al-Umar Mujahideen. Then, dressed up in his AK-47, Shakeel made his way home. He would drive the Indian army away from Srinagar:

“I thought Kashmir should have the right to self-determination… ”

[… ]

Shakeel was not a very good militant. When I asked him how many people he had killed, he looked embarrassed.

“I gave scares but I never killed anyone,” he said. “I couldn’t. I never hurled a grenade in a public place.”

His greatest achievement was opening fire on the cavalcade of a visiting Indian government minister.

Even when his team caught a police informant, Shakeel called for him to be set free. “I thought I would set an example. Forgiveness is better than killing.”

In 1994, when he was 16, he was arrested and taken to a military barracks. Of the 20 boys and young men who had crossed the border to Pakistan with him, only eight were still alive.

Once detained, his story of torture is familiar, so numbingly routine has it become (for us, at least, who are the armchair readers).

  • He was stripped naked, watered down, and treated to electric shocks.
  • A nail was pushed through his jaw. He still has the scar thirteen years later.
  • They pushed his head under water, to simulate drowning (was this ever done to you as a kid by the “big boys”? It feels as though you will die… which is the point, I presume)
  • His right arm was so badly injured that he is unable to lift anything.
  • Even after they let him go, they still kept watch. Once they visited his home and since Shakeel wasn’t available, they beat his grandfather instead. The old man’s leg was broken and he spent his remaining years bed-ridden.

Because of his injuries Shakeel doesn’t work; his brothers support him.

Mr. French reports that Shakeel says he feels like he’s a hundred and ten years-old. That is a common feeling for PTSD victims. One of the more common results (the “sequelae” as the experts would say) of post-traumatic stress disorder is that feeling of being old and fragile, even if you’re only ten.

As I read of his illiteracy and injuries and very limited life, I wondered how this man had managed to become an icon all the way across the world:

Shakeel’s understanding of the world is limited by his inability to read or write. He likes going to demonstrations and has an ambition to start a political party.

“But not to be the puppet of Pakistan or India,” he insisted.

He sometimes watches Al Jazeera English on television and although he cannot comprehend much of what is said, he told me he can work out what is going on from the images on screen and from what his brothers have told him.

If something upsets him, he organises a demonstration.

He seems to be quite an idealist.

He has demonstrated against the Pope’s comments about Islam, against the sexual exploitation of Kashmiri girls, against police violence and ‘encounter’ killings and against the honouring of Rushdie. Why did he object to Rushdie being knighted?

“He has a reputation for Muslim-bashing,” he said solemnly. “Why is the London government encouraging someone who does these things?”

Does this seem contrived? It might have to me, had it not been for The Man on Route 29. This is a divided north/south highway that makes its way from Florida through Atlanta and edging east to Washington, D.C. before it ends in Maryland. Along parts of the way it is named “The Seminole Trail.” There are lots of stories about the origins of its name, but as you travel it, you can see why it made such a good Indian trail.

For many years, to the west of us, as the Seminole Trail cuts through Nelson County, an old man used to stand in the median strip — or sit in his folding chair — during the daylight hours. He spent all his time waving to the passing cars. People who used the road everyday got used to him and waved back.

The Waving Man was a fixture for years. When he was forcibly removed by his sister, who found his behavior embarrassing, a petition was begun to bring him back to the spot he called “my church.” I haven’t been there in years, so I don’t know if he succeeded. But his mission reminds me of Shakeel’s. Sometimes your vocation just doesn’t have to be very complicated:

When the Islamic Rage Boy phenomenon took off and Shakeel had his face reproduced all over the world, the local police got worried and brought him in for questioning.

“They had photocopies from the internet which they showed to me.”

They told Shakeel to stop going on demonstrations but he refused.

He says he was brought before one of Srinagar’s most senior police officers, who offered him an administrative job in the government, and said he would find him a girl to marry. I believe him — Indian authorities have a habit of trying to rehabilitate militants who are no longer an obvious threat.

“They said they would drop all the cases against me if I quit going to demos.” He refused.

Just because he is simple, doesn’t mean he isn’t as complex as the rest of us. Mr. French asked him what he would most like. The answer is surprising: to marry a non-Muslim woman and convert her, thereby earning his way into Heaven. Mr. French remarked that there might be suitable candidates in Britain.

Even though he is poor and illiterate, he has folders of his images that people have printed out for him. Some of the work hurts his feelings:

Shakeel leafed through the pages: Islamic Rage Boy on clothes, being force-fed a pork chop, as a vampire, as a beer bottle, as a woman in a bikini, as ‘Jihady Idol’, as ‘Adolf Mohammed Rage Boy’, distended and jabbing his finger at a photographer above a quote from Christopher Hitchens: “It’s impossible to satisfy Rage Boy and his ilk. It’s stupid to try.”

One picture showed what looked like an American preacher holding a microphone while wearing a Rage Boy baseball cap. Shakeel stopped on an image of his face superimposed on a pig.

He looked profoundly shocked and upset by this picture…

“I surely get hurt when I see these pictures,” he said. “This is terrorism for me. The people who do this are showing their own culture, so why do they tell us that we are uncivilised?’

Mr. French calls Shakeel “an eccentric” but finds him more representative of Muslim anger than those who follow the hijacked Osama bin Laden synthetic version.

While I agree with Mr. French about this man — limited by poverty and a victim of Indian-Pakistani politics — we still must return to the dangers of the synthetics that the Salafists and Wahhabists would impose on us.

Those British-trained Muslim physicians who had their own terror cell do not inhabit the same spiritual universe as Shakeel or Mister Waving Man. And unlike his ineffectual dreams of world peace, they strive for world domination.

The problem for the rest of the world is how to tell the two apart. We want to simplify it: poverty, lack of education, marginalization — all the politically correct visions of The Problem of the 21st Century.

But the poor ones demonstrate and dance in the streets. And the educated, assimilated Muslims go about their daily lives just like the rest of us. It is that tertium quid — that third version — which seeks to destroy us. These are the educated, angry, and essentially envious ones who hate us simply because of their doctrine, a doctrine born of envy and hatred for a culture that came even and then passed them, hundreds of years ago.

There is nothing more dangerous than projected hatred and envy. But there are not enough bombs in the universe to eradicate the feelings of humiliation these killers carry. And like a virus, their hatred and envy spread to infect their fellow Muslims.

In fact, these Evil Ones are indifferent to the fate of their brethren. Does it bother Iran that any bombs aimed at Israel will kill many, if not most, of the neighboring Palestinians? Not at all. Palestinians are simply collateral damage waiting to be blown up, and they know it. Perhaps this knowledge fuels their hatred, too. Meanwhile, as we search for a path past this dilemma, it is helpful to remember that the story is seldom as simple as we paint it.

Rage Boy is more than the sum of our fears.

38 comments:

Homophobic Horse said...

So you subscribe to the moderate Islam idea now?

Dymphna said...

Before I can answer that I need to understand what you mean by "moderate Muslim".

I also need to understand what you think needs to be done re the problem of violent Muslims.

Please explain your terms or we'll be talking past each other.

I will be away for the rest of the day so there is no need to rush your answer. I'll be interested to hear what you have to say about the problem, though.

The Poster Formerly Known as Gordon said...

What an excellent, shocking post and article. I'm sure certain other weblogs would dismiss this story as Islamophilic propaganda - it's to your credit that you don't.

As with all problems the world faces today the problem of Islam - surely one of the largest we face - is too complex to be reduced to stereotypes. Rage Boy's story reflects this.

As to whether "moderate Islam" exists, I have no doubt - but I don't know what good that does us. I believe that Islamic immigration into Western countries must be put on hiatus until we can see for ourselves whether the Muslims already here can be successfully assimilated and their religion "tamed," as it will.

Once again, thank you. Gates of Vienna gets my vote as the thinking person's Islamo-skeptic site.

PRCalDude said...

Most Muslims I've met have been peaceful, and I've known more about the Qur'an than they did.

That said, I don't want them in my society and I don't want to live next to them.

As far as "Rage Boy" is concerned, I feel empathy for him. It never hurts to remind ourselves that he's made in the imago Dei just like the rest of us, and despite what the Qur'an teaches about unbelievers. Perhaps he should trim the beard and grow out his hair though.

PRCalDude said...

*sympathy

Alex said...

Shakeel Ahmad Bhat is not the problem.
I am concerned, however, with the “torment of life in a society that has gone wrong.”
Not his society. Ours.
Not the desire of the Evil Ones to murder us, but rather our urge to commit cultural suicide.
Despite all the positive things that can be said about our culture -
What is it that is wrong with us?

Ypp said...

Women can rarely see beyond personality. If there is any problem, they consider it to be personal problem. And personal problem can be treated with some kind of psychology, sociology and reach out. Actually, all our problems with jihad wre caused by women's attitudes prevailing in our society.

Of course he is miserable and unhappy. But it is not his personal problem. It is a problem of his culture, and he IS te symbol of his culture. And for most simple people their hate is the only defence from this failing culture.

Holger Awakens said...

To quote:

"One picture showed what looked like an American preacher holding a microphone while wearing a Rage Boy baseball cap. Shakeel stopped on an image of his face superimposed on a pig.

He looked profoundly shocked and upset by this picture…

“I surely get hurt when I see these pictures,” he said. “This is terrorism for me. The people who do this are showing their own culture, so why do they tell us that we are uncivilised?’

Well, pictures of innocent American bodies strewn on the streets of Manhattan after jumping to their deaths from the burning floors of the World Trade Center constitute terrorism to me.

Just because a Brit reporter travelled to Kashmir to interview this guy does little to convince me of slant here. Think about it. This "reporter" is actually an author. He's in the business of selling books and articles. So, if he travels to Kashmir, interviews Rage Boy and finds out he is a bin Laden disciple who screams "Death to America" every two minutes, who was going to buy that story? We already had that story. How many news agencies have carried this story because it's a "flip" of what we thought?

Pardon my skepticism. I've seen too much islamic marketing in my day.

Homophobic Horse said...

"Holgar Awakens", a man, has just reduced the above article to the level of demented cynical psychology.

"Holgar Awakens" must be severly criticised for his womanish behaviour don't you think ypp?

Ypp said...

I mean, that the fact that he is miserable does not mean that we must immediately start giving. Just like with a sick person - we should not invite him to our house. At best we may try to bring him to the hospital. If he wants to be cured, of course.

Anonymous said...

The Daily Mail article may be an important discovery for us, particularly in light of the humanity and civility that we, the modern West, often claim to possess and protect. A strategy toward victory must include a tenet best described through a churchy metaphor (please indulge me for a moment) of “Hate the sin, not the sinner.” This approach is the only way for us to make any claim to the moral high ground.

On the question of whether or not there exist “moderate Muslims,” we must separate the evaluation of the ideology/world view/religion of Islam from each individual who embraces Islam to some varying degree. On the question of Islam, when measured by itself, I conclude that it is aggressive, violent, arrogant and perhaps even demonic. The texts and history lead us to this conclusion.

However when evaluating the individual, we must consider the basic, intrinsic value of the human being and even mourn for those trapped, polluted and lost to the darkness of Islam. Some are not so far ‘gone’ as others, perhaps these individuals could be labeled as ‘moderates’ while at the same time there is nothing moderate about the complete text and history of Islam.

I have a friend who is “Muslim” by his own description, he is a fine person in many ways, to a degree that I even admire his conviction to do the right thing even at significant personal cost. Does he follow the Islam that I have learned about from Pipes, Spencer, Trifkovic and others? No. Do his noble convictions come from that Islam? Probably not, but instead from the natural moral law that still resides within him and has not been erased by the Islamic darkness.

I am not going soft on the Jihadis. We must do what must be done to defend our society, such as it is, through lethal force where necessary. However, we must show compassion where we can and make attempts to open the eyes of those whom we can influence. Perhaps the Conservative will take one extreme and the Liberal the other, while in fact, the winning strategy is to treat the human being with basic dignity and respect while we must dispatch those who present the grave threat.

Presuming that the journalist’s work is genuine, can we say that we (the West) have treated “Rage Boy,” the simple man that he is, with dignity and respect? No, we have failed at this. My contrarian will say, “but he disrespected us first!” to which I will reply, 1) He knows not of which he speaks, he is personally misinformed, deluded, lacks the data to reach an informed opinion, and 2) our claim to having been ‘dissed’ puts us in the ugly camp of those, ironically mostly on the liberal side, who frequently use their perception of “being offended” as the ultimate trump card to claim unfathomable injury caused by another - and this tactic is just lame (a little teenage vernacular there).

Per the report, Shakeel urged mercy for the police informant. Perhaps this should provide us hope that there are many that may be reachable through appeals to indwelling moral knowledge. However, this approach may be in doubt since much of the West knows not the difference between right and wrong - this, perhaps being our greatest weakness.

Homophobic Horse said...

"However when evaluating the individual, we must consider the basic, intrinsic value of the human being and [ahem] "even mourn for those trapped, polluted and lost to the darkness of Islam".

Yeah that's why many of us completely baulk at the idea of deporting muslims for being muslims. It's also why it's never gonna happen, not in a million years.

Immigration restriction is still completely feasible and even laudable.

gun-totin-wacko said...

In a Christian context, I'd say this man shouldn't worry about reaching heaven. He would seem to be on the right track.

But he's typical of many of the violent gang/cult members in the world. He's illiterate, uneducated and seeking respect. If he were in the US, he'd probably be a Crip or a Blood.

Nevertheless, his simplistic view is not a bad one. Peaceful conversion is the goal of all religions, is it not?

Stogie said...

Rage Boy: poor little schmuck. He is living proof that the greatest victims of Islam are Muslims.

Col. B. Bunny said...

Keith Nolan, in Into Cambodia. Spring Campaign, Summer Offensive, 1970, wrote a heck of an account about operations against the NVA in Tay Ninh Province and Cambodia. He spoke respectfully of captured NVA officers but also recounted their operations against U.S. forces.

Eric Newby in Love And War in the Apennines told of a German officer who knew that he was an Allied soldier but shared his lunch with him one sunny day high up in the mountains, and told him, if I recall correctly, that he would not report him. (Newby was an escaped POW and the German a former academic, I think. It's a wonderful book, btw, especially the audio version.)

KGS has written of a German who served in the SS but whose parents hid Jews and who refused to fight on the Western front (GOV).

A Nazi fighter pilot risked his life to fly into a U.S. bomber formation to mercifully dispatch an airman who was suffocating behind an abandoned bomber, his parachute snagged in the attempt to escape. Not one shot was fired at him.

While there are regiments of swine in the jihadi ranks, I have no doubt that Shakeel Ahmad Bhat is not in that category of combatant. We can be acutely aware of our enemies without abandoning our capacity to see that there is decency in some of them.

A great story Dymphna.

Simon de Montfort said...

He admitted to atempted murder. He routinely celebrates the murder of innocents. He is the enemy; he deserves his woes, and worse. If he dies, the world will be a better place End of story.

Witch-king of Angmar said...

Sorry to break up this sympathy fest, but the Rage Boy is on record of saying that ayatollah Homeini is his inspiration:

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2007/07/017839.php

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

"...When India became independent and Pakistan was created in 1947, the Kashmir valley became a part of India despite having a large Muslim majority — a decision that was to have fatal historical reverberations..."

Hmm, so is this a key element in all areas of the world where Muslims are busy murdering everyone else? I think not, so there can be no real cause-effect relationship here. This is a parallel of why Muslims are so pissed at Israel. But the Islamic violence from the Maldives to Indonesia, From Thailand to Nigeria disproves that theory. Islam is violent, it spawns ignorance and hate and murder not only in retarded rage boys, but also in educated physicians who crash planes into skyscrapers and drive fuel-bombs into Scottish airports.

Sad, but irrelevant (sp) story.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 11/21/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...

gun-totin-wacko said...

I would again point out to some of the commenters that Rage Boy is, to use an un-pc word, retarded. Also illiterate. And he "failed" as a terrorist- a job that merely requires one be smart enough to press a button at the right time.

The fact that he sees Khomeini as an inspiration, despite his own apparent views on peaceful conversion, merely points out his weaknesses.

Nobody here is buying off on the "religion of peace" theme. To some of us, this guy is a victim. And that's the theme in this post.

ZionistYoungster said...

Feelings. Feelings, feelings and feelings again.

A kid who didn't get the gold medal in the school contest could feel grievanced and wronged, and even voice that feeling, sometimes padding it with appeals to "justice" if he's astute enough. But if he starts beating people up to secure the transfer of said medal, he gets detention.

Wait, scratch that. I was describing the school systems of fifty years ago. Today, all the kids get the gold medal.

Islam indoctrinates its adherents to feel entitled to the gold medal of Total World Domination. Just like for that kid, their feelings of grievance and wrongdoing and rage are authentic. But this isn't about feelings.

The situation of Kashmir under Hindu rule may be a grievance in their eyes, as indeed the Jewish State and the reconquered Al-Andalus are, but that is of no import. My slogan regarding all Muslim (and Marxist as well) grievances has been, from the start, "Grievances, Yes; Legitimate, No".

The kid doesn't deserve the gold medal unless he earned it, and the adherents of the Religious of Perpetual Outrage aren't entitled to rule the world. No matter how many flags of Crusades and Mossadegh Coups they wave as justification.

This story is complex if viewed from the lens of feelings. But when you consider it from the point of view of real-world consequences, it is amazingly, gobsmackingly simple:

They want to take what's ours (lands and personal freedoms), but we want to keep what's ours, so we'll have to fight them until they permanently stop wanting to take what's ours.

Even if that entails certain, um, forbidden measures such as the first step of keeping them away from our areas (a.k.a. deportation, the dreaded and ineffable D-word).

Anonymous said...

As to whether "moderate Islam" exists, I have no doubt

Moderate Islam does not exist, and actually cannot exist - if Islam were to moderate, it would cease to be Islam.

RanDomino said...

You all think you're so smart because your diction is so nice... But then you make blanket statements that Islam is evil.

You are the Christian equivalents of the British doctors terrorist cell.

I wish I could put it more eloquently, but I just find it disempoweringly frustrating to find people who seem smart but are actually completely deluded.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

Let's see, we see Islam as evil, so we are the same as those who see averyone non-islamic as evil, and so travel to their countries to kill them, men, women, children, in as large a number as possible.

Hmm,
Somehow the scales don't seem to be balanced on that equation.

ZionistYoungster said...

RanDomino,

"But then you make blanket statements that Islam is evil."

We could be in error. You could be in error. Better to have erred on the side of caution than to be interred before one's life has come to full fruition.

Kafir_Kelbeh said...

When I read this article in full, I was curious why he was insistent upon marrying a non-Muslim woman.

He may not be as simple as we imagine...

(I am a bit dubious, that is all...)

Kafir_Kelbeh said...

Moderate Muslims may exist, but I do not agree that moderate Islam exists.

Until the Quran can be interpreted in any fashion other than literally and for current times and followers, then moderate Islam will not exist and peaceful Muslims will be in direct defiance of their religion.

I am in agreement on this issue with many scholars and former Muslims, including Robert Spencer and Whalid Shoebat.

The Poster Formerly Known as Gordon said...

mr. smarterthanthou: You dismiss the issue of how Kashmir came to be the terrorist cesspool it has become to easily. The story shows that, although Islam is the prime culprit in many of its "bloody borders" disputes, it is not the culprit in all of them.

Once the decision to partition India was irrevocable (and we can argue about the wisdom of this move), the logical fate for the Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir was to have the smaller southern predominantly Hindu part of the Kingdom (Jammu, where Hindus were 2/3 of the population) join India, and the larger, predominantly Muslim part of the Kingdom (Kashmir, where 95% of the population was Muslim) join Pakistan. There would have been some harrowing refugee stories as the Muslims in Jammu fled north and the HIndus in Kashmir fled south, and that would have been the end of the story. But because the ruler of the Kingdom was a Hindu, this didn't happen, and the entire territory went to India. This violation of the whole fundament which guided the partition is the cause of what is happening in Kashmir today.

In addition, the Federal government of India has consistenly interfered with the Kashmiri state government, using its power to dissolve state governments and impose direct federal rule in 1986, and allowing rigged elections throughout Kashmir's time as an Indian state.

Just because Islam is usually wrong doesn't mean that Islam is always wrong.

Anonymous said...

You all think you're so smart because your diction is so nice... But then you make blanket statements that Islam is evil.

Perhaps RanDomino could show us where he has seen "blanket statements that Islam is evil" on this blog? While he is at it, I hope he could also mention some of the non-evil versions of Islam.

Baron Bodissey said...

Former Gordon,

You are absolutely right about Kashmir. It would have been far better if the British had simply partitioned it along ethnic lines, just as they did the rest of the country, in 1947. There would have been nasty migrations and slaughter, just as in the rest of India, but the later violence would have been less.

The issue of Hindu violence should be acknowledged. Most of it is reactive, a response to the depredations of the Muslims, and even if it ceased, the Muslims in Pakistan and the Muslim areas of India would still be murderous and expansionist.

But a failure to acknowledge Hindu violence does disservice to the truth. It is relatively minor, and not the issue here, but it does exist.

We should acknowledge it and then move on, because Islamic violence is far greater, and ongoing, and is systemic within the religion itself, which is not true of Hinduism.

The Poster Formerly Known as Gordon said...

Baron, I pretty much agree with your statement. As I expressed many times on LGF, Islam is 600 years younger than Christianity, and its adherents often behave as Christians did in 1407.

And I now have come to agree with Robert Spencer that there are some inherent things about Islam that may stymie any attempts to "soften" its more blood-curdling irredentist holy book language as has been done with Christianity and Judaism.

But I must continue to protest at those who would twist history to fit everything into a neat pigeonhole. There are always exceptions to the rule. Kashmir is one of them. Bosnia and Kosovo are another, as I continually pointed out on LGF.

Unlike at that forum, in this forum I get intelligent counter-argument, not ad hominem insults and wilful ignorance. For that, I thank you.

RanDomino said...

Kafir_Kelbeh said...

Until the Quran can be interpreted in any fashion other than literally and for current times and followers, then moderate Islam will not exist and peaceful Muslims will be in direct defiance of their religion.


The New Testament says that women should be subservient to their husbands, yet there are many Feminists who consider themselves Christians. Are they, in fact, not?
Can there be non-Orthodox practicing Jews?
Do you see why an absolutist philosophy of religions is impractical?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps RanDomino could show us where he has seen "blanket statements that Islam is evil" on this blog?

Okay, here's one:

While he is at it, I hope he could also mention some of the non-evil versions of Islam.

(I found this post to be eminently amazing, in a forehead-smacking way)

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

Former Gordon, I realize that Kashmir is an ugly situation where India and England played a major part in the upset.

However, every nation on earth with a large minority of Muslim inhabitants is at the top of the list of shitty and dangerous places to live, primarily due to the violence of those muslims, and the ignorance and stupidity that they enforce on themselves and others.

So I am not in any way willing to excuse Kashmir Muslims for acting like animals, when in reality, their whole culture around the globe is a disease that needs to be destroyed.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

Feminists may consider themselves to be Christians (a very small number would HONESTLY call themselves Christian), but generally they would be wrong. Modern feminism is very socialist, and socialism is not compatable with either the New Testament nor the US Constitution.

Modern feminists believe in sexual promiscuity and abortion. Those views are not Christian, no matter what she may think.

Mr. Smarterthanyou said...

While there can be non-orthodox practicing Jews, there sure seem to be a lot of agnostic and atheist Jews.

But if Judaism requires that you follow orthodox practices to be called a Jew, then the answer is no. I just read about Jewish women deciding not to have their sons circumcised. I guess they must have finished having their Jewish husbands neutered, and decided to change tack. Those undoubtedly feminist Jewish women could not be considered Jewish, no matter what they think

Wimbledon Womble said...

Rage Boy is just an idiot who "likes to [participate]," to paraphrase Chauncey Gardner.

The real evil is out there, just much more numerous, not so ugly and not so stupid-looking. Half the time, they were suits and file lawsuits.

Incremental cultural drift toward sharia may be more dangerous than outright jihadi violence.

Anonymous said...

RanDomino:
Okay, here's one:

My post was written after RanDomino made this claim that people here "make blanket statements that Islam is evil", and so it cannot have been the basis of his claim. The question RanDomino has therefore evaded is where he saw the "blanket statements that Islam is evil" that led to him making this claim in the first place.

RanDomino also failed to mention some of the non-evil versions of Islam.

I encourage him to answer them this time.

(I found this post to be eminently amazing, in a forehead-smacking way)

That's probably because he made incorrect assumptions about my motivation for asking him these questions.

Russet Shadows said...

Wow. Even Gates of Vienna has fallen to the Islamophilic battery. Were you guys paid off by LGF? This change of direction comes soon after the Fjordman debacle. Coincidence? I wonder.

As for me, I fail to see how Rage Boy's history (if true) and his schizo thoughts (again, if true) exempt him from the conclusion that he made the wrong choices. I personally don't care how smart you are if you're demonstrating in favor of murdering Americans.