Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Dialogue

9-11 has wrought tremendous change in the thinking of average Americans, and in how they parse events they had previously ignored. 9-11 permanently revolutionized the conversation in the United States, exposing and deepening the fault lines which, prior to the Fall of the Towers, could be safely papered over.

That world is gone. We currently live in transition and concern. The future is not at all clear.

During this transition, there will occur many conversations about what constitutes the “reality” of this conflict and its future. This is just one of them.

I feel fortunate to have Eteraz as my interlocutor. said...

anne is the voice of the holocaust. to suggest that hitler ‘had’ her means that the jews were somehow complicit in the holocaust. or rather, ‘wanted it’ like anne does hitler. get it now?

this is one of the most disgusting pieces of ‘art’ i have seen in my life. wow, i’m actually having a physical reaction. don’t know why b/c i never even really read the diary of anne frank.

Dymphna said...

eteraz: If you were a practicing Christian you might have the same visceral reaction to “Piss Christ” as you describe here. For me, *any* bad art — say, a rusted car bumper mounted on a piece of lucite and given a *deep* and meaningful title — has that same visceral effect.

That’s why I put that ‘cartoon’ up: we were meant to respond to it and then to examine our responses...I keep thinking about Anne Frank’s book and how much courage it gave me as a young girl. To have both those people together is like matter and anti-matter.

It makes you wonder about the cartoonist’s mind, too.


Dymphna said...

I did not post that cartoon lightly. But it’s important to see because anti-semitism is on the rise in Europe and this time we *must* be prepared.

[…] said...


you say that anti-semitism is on the rise, but you have to also admit that islamophobia is also on the rise. i’m talking about specifically in europe.

a good number of muslims in europe are good people, who don’t deserve to be treated as europe once treated its jews.

Dymphna said...

eteraz, when you compare anti-semitism and Islamophobia in Europe you’re talking about two different phenomena.

1. Jewish schools in Britain now have structural protection against bombers. Is this true also for Islamic schools?

2. Jewish cemeteries are being desecrated in France and England. Do you have reports of desecration of Muslim cemeteries also? Some of these graveyards are historical places, and the destruction is savagely done.

3. Jewish girls are at more risk of rape in France. This may be also true of Muslim girls, but it is Muslim youths who invented the [gang-rape] game of retourné, not native French or Brits.

4. Synagogues in both places have been torched, covered with graffiti and have needed police protection on Holy Days. Is this true for Muslims during, say, Ramadan? Are the Christians, Jews, and atheists out hassling the Muslims?

5. It is hard to imagine Burger King apologizing to Jews because one of them complained that their ice cream cup vaguely resembled a sacred Hebrew letter. It is hard to imagine a Jew complaining about it in the first place.

Islamophobia is on the rise because Islamists are volatile, supremacist, and very much loose cannons in the public sphere. Islamophobia is the result of Muslim behavior. It wasn’t a bunch of yeshiva students who set off bombs in London or Madrid.

Unless Islam can shed its present violent acting-out, Islamophobia will continue to rise. Bombs, hate talk, demands for special treatment, and contempt for the country in which they live will endear them [Muslims] to no one.

As you said, there are two choices for Muslims: passivity and arrogance. Until they find some tertium quid, things will continue to deteriorate.

One more: the Danish imam (who is a Danish citizen) who toured the Middle East stirring up trouble with the cartoons of Mohammed (plus a few really ugly ones that he made up and included with the others to aid the incitement) is a traitor to his country, Denmark. He betrayed his people. But he doesn’t see it that way. Denmark is simply where he lives. His people are those he incited to riot and boycott.

Denmark feels hurt and betrayed by this man, and their hurt is translated into Islamophobia. [From the Muslim point of view, this imam was simply practicing taqiyya.]

And I’ll be darned if I can think of a Jew who has done what he did, either now or in the past millennium.

The funny thing about Israel is that even though it’s a theocracy, many of its citizens are atheists. And some of them are Arabs. Meanwhile, the Muslims are killing off the infidels who infest their country. In Iraq there are two Jews left. In Yemen, a thousand year old Jewish culture was obliterated and the remnant moved to Israel.

Now the Middle East says their final solution to the Jews is to either kill them all or make Europe take them.

For me, anti-semitism and islamophobia are not on the same order of injustice at all. The Jews are hated and feared because they exist; the Muslims are hated and feared because they kill people at will and do not seem bound to the rule of law that the rest of us take for granted. That cartoon of Hitler and Anne Frank was drawn and posted by European Muslims. Think about it.

A Hindu ashram moved into our area 20 years ago. I’ve never worried about them coming to do me harm. But if an equal number of Wahhabist Muslims moved in down the road, I’d sell my house.

That makes me Islamophobic, but it’s a recently acquired phobia which began to fester on 9/11/2001. So far I haven’t found a way to cure it. said...


Fair response. Just two points.

1 - The Europeans who were massacring the Jewry didn’t subjectively think that the Jews had not done anything. They had laundry lists of ‘reasons’ for their anti-semitism. In hindsight, its clear that most of their reasons were at worst, bull, and at best, hyperbole. So, simply because you give me a lot of reasons for why your phobia is justified, doesn’t mean that your phobia is justified. Why? See point 2.

2 - Just as with historical anti-semitism in Europe by Europeans, they could not distinguish between one Jew and another, so your “reasons” do not distinguish between one Muslim and another. Oh, sure, you might in your heart think that not all Muslims are complicit in destructive activities, but for a moment look at how you convey your message. You do it by lumping all Muslims together. “The Muslims are hated and feared because they kill people at will and do not seem bound to the rule of law that the rest of us take for granted.” It’s rhetoric like that which once led to Europeans killing Jews. That’s a very destructive “the.” I absolutely agree with you that there are destructive Muslims in Europe (and in other parts of the world including America). However, you seem to forget that at one point, there *were* Jews in Europe who were charging exorbitant interest and using their ability to extend interest in predatory activity. Also, Jews of that time were guilty (in the eyes of europeans) of another crime: of choosing to be Jewish over and above being European or French or German. (Something Muslims are also accused of). Not being an anti-semite, I obviously don’t believe that the European reprisal to such allegations was justified. No, it was inhuman. *However* just as the European reprisals against Jews simply because a handful of jews were unethical and did not consider themselves French enough were not ethical, so any European reprisal against “the Muslims” should be considered unethical. It’s a matter of consistency. I consider myself a component of the Western civilization. I believe that it should be consistent.

3 - With regards to Algerian rape and other evidences of specific crimes in Europe, I believe the solution is to take constructive action which will bring these people into the ambit of the mainstream. Economic stimulation might be a start. You may have heard today of Abu Hamza in Britain being indicted. I’m all in favor of using rational and judicial means to bring all Muslim perpetrators to justice. However, let’s leave the islamophobic rhetoric out of it. It makes you sound like a bigot. I think you’d concur that bigotry is what we’re fighting against and trying to remedy. Why should you fall to the level of people whose behavior should *not* be emulated.

Dymph: civilizational and social conflicts in a million ways. Before I got involved in trying to assist the Muslim-West divide, I was deeply involved in assisting the black-white divide in the U.S. Especially since I come from the deep south and have seen and lived some of the abject conditions that create it. I met many white american in this time who were simply unwilling to let go of their ‘phobia’ of black people. The cure, I’m afraid, I don’t have to give. The cure, actually, is our own soul; which asks us to be better than who we are. To strive to be a force of good in the world.

Ask yourself this: do you want to assimilate Muslims in the west because you wish to share with them the beauty of your society? if the answer is yes, then phobia will have to be remedied. If the answer is no, then might I ask you to have a bit more hope. I know it’s hard. But we’re in it together. said...

i realize that was far more than ‘just two points.’

Eteraz, I was delayed by illness in my response to your last two points. I have thought about them, and they are important. However, I don’t think you read me carefully, and I want to answer you, belated though my response may be.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Eteraz, you tell me, “…look at how you convey your message. You do it by lumping all Muslims together. ‘The Muslims are hated and feared because they kill people at will and do not seem bound to the rule of law that the rest of us take for granted.’”

I have not “lumped all Muslims together.” I did say, specifically, “A Hindu ashram moved into our area 20 years ago. I’ve never worried about them coming to do me harm. But if an equal number of Wahhabist Muslims moved in down the road, I’d sell my house.”

Perhaps I should have been even more specific: the lumpen Muslims I object to, and the ones which cause such harm, are the Salafists, Wahhabists, Deobandis, Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah, Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, Jamaat ul-Fuqra, Abu Sayyaf, Ansar Al-Islam, Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Mujahedin-e Khalq, and, of course, Al Qaeda. I would include here any other murderous, supremacist, utopian sects whose ultimate aim is the destruction of Western Civilization and its replacement by the Caliphate.

I also object to the third generation Muslim yahoos in Britain and France who are parasites on the welfare state and resent, even attempt to mangle, the hand that feeds them. I do not believe that Britain has systematically isolated its Muslim young. Perhaps that is not true in other parts of Europe. However, Britain has a fairly good record of assimilating its immigrant population. This assimilation has been less troublesome for other ethnic populations because they do not hang on to their differences and their grievances as have the third-generation Muslim youths. This Badge of Grievance, worn so proudly and so angrily, has some parallels with a sub-culture of aggrieved American blacks.

You spoke of “civilizational and social conflicts” and your role in ameliorating the racial divide in America. I will save that for a further dialogue.

I repeat: Islamophobia is a growing problem because of the easily-led and aggressively violent crowds of Muslims. Muslims are burning embassies, causing Europeans to flee the Middle East, and engaging in kidnapping, extortion, rape, murder, and general mayhem — all of it performed for an audience of appalled and frightened Westerners. As long as large groups of Muslims march, carrying signs that proclaim “Death to Liberty”, I will be an Islamophobe.

However, I reserve the right to pick and choose which Muslims make me paranoid. You’re not one of them.


Kiddo said...

How can anyone who has studied islamic history not be suspicious, especially when al Taqiyya comes into play? How can one read translations of speeches in Arabic and not be suspicious? Add the increasingly threatening bluster of Ahmadenijad as well as the posters held up by the "cartoon maniacs" along with their actions, and what's a poor infidel to do?

I feel no shame personally about calling things by their right names, and when fascism is afoot, I will call it that, even if it prefers the name "islam".

Pastorius said...

I have noticed a sudden surge of "moderate" Muslims commenting on our respective blogs. I am suspicious of the sudden nature of this phenomenon, corresponding as it does with the Cartoon Jihad.

If you ask me, Dymphna, this man is not the moderate he represents himself to be.

Get a load of this statement, buried in the body of a long comment:

"I absolutely agree with you that there are destructive Muslims in Europe (and in other parts of the world including America). However, you seem to forget that at one point, there *were* Jews in Europe who were charging exorbitant interest and using their ability to extend interest in predatory activity."

If it were me, I wouldn't even bother going any further with the "dialogue." I don't believe this man is interested in learning. I think he is interested in convincing you that there are Muslims who are nice guys, so that the West will enter into a hudna.

This man has betrayed his true sensibilities with the above statement.

What do you think?

I have posted on this subject over at the Infidel Bloggers Alliance.

Christine said...

I would really like to say that I don't hate all muslims. I would really like to believe that there are "moderate" muslims. But, right now I have come to the conclusion that I need to withhold judgement. All I hear is some slight lip service given to how peaceful they are, to how they don't approve of the violence. But, most of the time this "lip service" comes with veiled understanding of why this violence has taken place. You can't have it both ways. You either disapprove of the violence or you don't.

There are going to be 100,000 muslims protesting in London. What are they going to be protesting? The publication of the cartoons.

Where are the 100,000 muslims protesting the violence of those who proclaim it is called for by their religion?

Where are the 100,000 muslims protesting the terror, inhumane treatment and oppression that is taking place in the ME?

Where are the 100,000 muslims protesting the violence against the Iraqi's who have finally tasted freedom for the first time in 30+ years?

Why do so many muslims devalue the lives of those millions of Iraqi's who have become free by protesting the act that freed them? Do you not understand that for the majority of Iraqi's the war was a necessary sacrifice for them to taste freedom? That for them, dying for their freedom is more dignifying then dying at the hands of Saddam Hussein?

Until I see this side of the Muslims, I will continue to hold judgement against them.

A. Eteraz said...

wow, pastorius, are you serious?

my statement you quote could have been better written. or should have been backed up by reference. it may not be true at all, or it may be partially true. i didn't look up a reference. frankly i was thinking of the merchant of venice when i wrote that comment. also, if you go further down in my comments, you'll see that i wrote: "Not being an anti-semite, I obviously don’t believe that the European reprisal to such allegations was justified. No, it was inhuman."

i'm afraid that you are becoming threatened by the wrong person.

feel free to read the latest post on my blog for confirmation.

i must say i feel thoroughly flustered with your sudden rancor. so much so that ill have to come back to respond to your comments some other time dymphna.

Kiddo said...

I'm personally as suspicious as Pastorius. I've known the "techniques" personally for some time now, but a great summary of al Taqiyya written by Walid Phares and currently posted at really reminded me of the significance of this technique as a military minded tactic and its use historically.

The Turks insisted that there would be peace as well in 1922 in Smyrna, right before they set the Christian section of town on fire and pillaged and murdered all the Christians they could find. Just a historical sidenote.

A. Eteraz said...

wow. nothing like good ol' paranoia, eh pim? especially since i'm neither turkish nor living in 1922. oh, but that doesn' matter to you. we are all alike. and act the same.

A. Eteraz said...


Thank you for explaining your position. I pretty much agree with you.

I obviously wouldn't be anti-theocracy and pro-secular-humanism if I didn't see things from your perspective.

Perhaps because I just happen to know more Muslims, I tend to give Muslims the benefit of the doubt until they do something terrible, which, unfortunately, is too often. For what it's worth, I'm probably more reluctant to enter the Muslim world for a visit than you are. This would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

Still, you cannot deny that there is an irrational paranoia of "all" Muslims in the West. Pastorius' comments are just one example of it. Tell me, if one guy like me can't gain "entry" into your wonderful world of post-enlightenment America without being looked at suspiciously, how am I supposed to bring a bunch of people along with me?

Or perhaps you wish that "we" had never come to "your" world in the first place? Clearly there are many in your readers who would love that.

Pastorius said...

I don't know who you are, so for me, your reputation does not precede you. However, Baron and Dymphna trust you, so perhaps I ought to know better and trust you too.

As you have responded to me, I will tell you what I find wrong with what you said there.

The way you constructed your argument was,

1)yeah, there are dangerous Muslims, but

2) there were Jews who charged too much interest,

think about that.

You are making it sound as if charging to much on a product is the equivalent of 4200 acts of deadly terror within the last four and a half years.

9/11, Beslan, 7/11, 3/11, the Malaysian girls who were beheaded, etc, etc. etc.

Those are so much worse than charging high interest rates that they should NEVER be mentioned in the same context.

You, I'm sure understand what I mean.

Eteraz, do you care to explain that statement?

Pastorius said...

By the way, Eteraz,

You have a good sense of humor, and that says a lot. I really would like to get past this with you. I would prefer to think you and I can like each other. So, hopefully, I can get some reasonable clarification, and then, you will be kind enough to understand where I am coming from, and we can get along after this.

I am open to trying to understand where you are coming from as long as you don't think that charging high interest rates is in the same moral universe as Beslan, 9/11 etc.

felix said...

So I looked up phobia in the dictionary. "a persistent, abnormal, or illogical fear of a specific thing or situation". I think what people are saying is that considering the world-wide murder and mayhem perpetrated by radical islamists, it would not be illogical or abnormal to develop a fear of radical islam. In fact it would be illogical not to fear radical islam.

And since we are not all experts on Islam, nor can we be expected to become experts, people will start to generalize from radical islam toward islam in general. As in, perhaps in the USA (where I live) we ought to restrict Muslim immigration while we sort this out. Do you see where this is going?

Pastorius said...

If Eteraz is a good guy, as it seems he might be, then it is unfair for him to have to shoulder all of our comments.

If he is a good guy as he seems he might be, then we ought to get off his back. But, I sure am interested in hearing his response to me.

A. Eteraz said...


i should have added that the jews brutalized by europe were *viewed* by europeans to be charging too much interest and being economic predators. viewed by europe. you can read ivanhoe, and marx (the german problem) for evidence of this, as well as merchant of venice, which is what i was thinking of (and i did assume that it was based in fact). personally i believe that the jews did not deserve their historical persecution at the hands of europe. in a later statement of mine i added that these were "allegations" against the jews by europeans. the fault is mine for typing too fast and putting the emphasis on the wrong words.

If its worth anything I'll more than happily retract my statement; hopefully though its clarified enough here.

also i prefer not to compare muslim atrocities today with the behavior of jews who have largely been a peaceful and persecuted people. muslim atrocities today should, instead, be compared to christian massacres in the crusades, and fascist and communist massacres of the 20th century.


im all for restricting immigration if it is done by facially neutral means and is rationally related to attain a legitimate governmental objective. just a caveat though: the median muslim income in america is about $55,000. that's good taxing. in terms of immigration reform, i believe we need better political asylum laws. not let nutjobs in by begging mercy.

A. Eteraz said...


i do think that you should have come to me first. it doesn't matter that you don't know who i am, that's just good netiquette. i'd extend you the same courtesy. i've been on this blog long enough -- and premiered enough -- to have justified that.

what was most disturbing was that you linked my words with the spectre of a 'moderate muslim' conspiracy. i'm the first at the mosque to tell fools to shut the hell up when zionist conspiracy comes out of their mouth. when u started talking about a secret cult of muslims i became alarmed.

but i tend not to hold grudes. thank nietzsche for teaching us that resentment breeds all evil. unless of course you diss the eagles in which case we'll have issues.

Dymphna said...

Wow. I am taken aback by the animus shown to Eteraz. I thought this would take the form of a dialogue, not a shout out. Gosh, much of eteraz have you read?

Before you say anything more, read his "Professio" on his blog, written a few years ago. It is poignant: a man on the threshold of attempting to wrest for himself, out of his childhood's faith, a mature structure of belief. Such a task is wrenching under the best of circumstances, but here, eteraz sees only two paths, passivity and arrogance and he wants neither. So what to do?

Because Allah Wills It

This struggle comes to everyone in a community of faith. It must be particularly hard when your faith is being overtaken by those who distort and prevaricate in the name of a greater good, or in the name of their conception of deity.

Recently I posted Nalin Pekgul's story of being forced to leave home again -- a Muslim woman in Stockholm feeling unsafe in her neighborhood of 25 years. The original news story is here:
Why I'm Leaving Home -- Again

Her sadness has some similarities to that of the young eteraz in his memoir.

Finally, I would recommend to you Mark Humphrys' post on "Moderate Muslims." He is a hard-headed, pro-American Irishman. While I don't agree with his whole essay, he has much to say that is pertintent to the issue. You can find it here:
Moderate Muslims

He has many pertintent links, but if you make your way through them, you will find a good, working definition of a moderate...and eteraz seems to be in that group.

We face a Herculean task: reining in the homicidal maniacs while givng moderate Muslims hope that they can find a way to live among us. Not an easy job for either side, and it will take at least two generations at best.

Muslims are in the same boat Roman Catholicism was when her monolithic hold on the West began to crack and fissure. It took many, many generations for the Church to see that break up as necessary and (to some) even beneficial.

I hope Islam has enough time on its side and I pray moderate Muslims are able to find a way to speak out safely.

Please grant eteraz the charity his effort in this process has earned him. Yes, many of us are hurt and suspicious by all the damage that has been done to our country. It is appalling to recognize that there are many, many evil dissemblers (we can start with CAIR) who wish us harm. But we do our own intellectual and spiritual selves harm to lump everyone together because we're scared.

Some how this reminds me of the painful changes I experienced in Florida and NC when the civil rights movement began. Old beliefs die hard.

But our antipathy toward Muslims is new, and is directly driven by the behavior of extremists and the hysterics they can call forth to stage some latest outrage.

I don't think eteraz belongs in that group.

Maybe it's time for "Take a Muslim to Lunch Week"???

Meanwhile, eteraz, my original term stands: If I found out an enclave of Wahhabist Muslims had moved in down the road, I'd be outta here.

Pastorius said...

I can understand why you think I should have come to you first. Now, that you have given your explanation and clarification, I understand.


With all due respect I don't think I turned this into a shouting match.

Eteraz sloppy statement was so incendiary, although he didn't mean it, that my response was extremely moderate in relation.

We all know that we have seen a lot of Taqiyya in the media.

I thought I was seeing it here.

My bad? Maybe. But, it's the same as the Islamophobia which Eteraz is concerned with. Phobia is irrational fear. Is our fear irrational?

Well, in the case of Eteraz, it seems we have met a friend.

But, I don't think fear of Islam is irrational considering over 80% of mosques in the United States contain virulent hate material, and I never hear Muslims complaining about it.

If there was virulent hate material against blacks, or gays in my church, you can bet that you would be reading about it on my blog.

Pastorius said...

I like you "Take a Muslim to lunch week" idea, Dymphna.

By the way, I have Muslim friends. I don't start shaking when I am in the presence of a Muslim.


Fellow Peacekeeper said...

There is no Islamophobia.

A phobia is an "an uncontrollable, irrational, and persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity."

Westerners have been randomly murdered by radical adherents of Islam (aka terrorists)at work, on holiday, on the tube, on aicraft. Consequently it only becomes Islamophobia when one starts digging bunkers in the basement at home (unless in Israel, where that too is reasonable). Until that point it is entirely a rational and real concern, and not a phobia.

Islamophobia is a misnomer, Orwelian newspeak designed to silence reasonable doubts.

Nancy Reyes said...

Hmmm....the comment that the writer wouldn't worry if an ashram moved down the street, but would worry if a bunch of muslims did is indeed prejudiced...
When I was growing up, many of my white neighbors said the same about Blacks...with reason, of course, because the crime rate went up as the neighborhood "changed"...
As for Ashrams... an ashram carried out a major bioterror attack in Oregon about ten years ago...which did not get much publicity outside of medical journals because of fear of "copycat" poisonings...
All religions have nut cases...

Wally Ballou said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Wally Ballou said...

Boinky - the reason Dymphna doesn't fear an ashram is because she has lived next door to one for more than 20 years - it's not prejudice, it's familiarity. You are correct that there are many types of organizations calling themselves "ashrams" but a real Hindu community in America has never committed a crime that I am aware of.

Eteratz - I too was outraged by your ill-informed speculation about how some Jews may have deserved persecution, and I don't think "I was thinking about the Merchant of Venice" is an adequate explanation. I think you should apologize, and admit that your original point was entirely invalid.

The Jews of Europe were not persecuted for exploitation. Under pre-renaissance Christian laws, ANY interest rate was considered usury - not just an "extreme" interest rate. Since then as now, loaning money at interest was essential to commerce, the Jews were forced into the role of money lender because most other fields were closed to them and Christians could not do it. So they performed an essential community service which also served as a comvenient excuse to attack them - very useful to defaulting debtors.

But what they were mainly attacked for were wild suppositions and ugly roumor-panics that had nothing to do with any actions they took or could have taken. Along with their supposed historical guilt in the murder of Christ, they were believed to abduct and murder Christian children to use their blood to make matzoh - the infamous "blood libel". By the way, anti-semitism of this ugly brand has disappeared from the civilized world. But it still thrives in what one might wish to consider "moderate" Muslim societies - Egyptian television has repeated this muck to its viewers as though it were scholarly fact, and a 30-part series based on the infamous Czarist forgery "the Protocols of the Elders of Zion" has been broadcast repeatedly on television in Egypt and across the Middle East - so just where is the moderate Muslim "mainstream"? Does it exist? Not in that part of the world.

felix said...

A bit OT but considering your expertise in this area, you have listed a number of islamofascists groups. They are:

Salafists, Wahhabists, Deobandis, Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah, Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami, Jamaat ul-Fuqra, Abu Sayyaf, Ansar Al-Islam, Gama’a al-Islamiyya, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Mujahedin-e Khalq, and, of course, Al Qaeda

So it follows that when it comes time to identify who is a radical islamist, so we can legally deport them, I guess being a member or follower of one of these groups, would be the way we would make the designation. What do you think?

pacific_waters said...

I am unclear why it is the responsibility of a government to assimilate an antagonistic population. The violence in Islam is inherent in the koran. Though there may be expcetions, the muslim world in general, supports, whether by direct engagement or by default the most militant of islamic terrorists and murderers.

Wally Ballou said...

The demosntration by moderate muslims in London was instructive. They weren't demonstrating against their violent and bloody-minde co-religionists; they were demonstrating against "Islamaphobia". It seems all these moderate groups ever do is whine about how put upon they are, and how Muslims deserve special rights and special privileges from the guilty west. Its better than "respect our prophet or we will kill you" but it's still rubbish.

felix said...

Well said. It is not our job in the west to bring in a population with hostile attitudes toward our values with the hope that, through interaction with our education and political system, they will assimilate. That they will give up their values and adapt ours. Just because we think they should adapt our values, doesn't mean it will happen.

In fact, I have long contended that denying Muslim immigrants who are in any way affiliated with radical Islam entry into the US (or anywhere) would help alot in bringing sanity to the counrty of origin. Just say "it looks like our cultures are incompatible so, sorry, but we don't know what else to do, so no more green cards to anyone with radical islamist tendencies" We have lots of immigrants from elsewhere, Latin America, India, etc. who would be happy to come here and with whom we do not see any religious conflict developing.

Fat Man said...

Christine has the right question
. The muslim world seems to be composed of terrorists and the silent majority. Where are the humane peaceful muslims who should be opposing the terrorists? Calling them out as the lunatics that they are, Insisting that suicide bombers are murderers not martyrs. Why don't we ever hear about congregations who fire imams who deliver "fierey denunciations" instead of words of peace from their pulpits?

"muslim atrocities today should, instead, be compared to christian massacres in the crusades, and fascist and communist massacres of the 20th century."

The crusades were a thousand years ago. Get over it. Fascism and Communism were defeated by the United States. When are Muslims going to take up arms against the fascists in their own midst (and that is what the terrorists are), rather than complaing about opposition to fascism?

"We face a Herculean task: reining in the homicidal maniacs while givng moderate Muslims hope that they can find a way to live among us. Not an easy job for either side, and it will take at least two generations at best."

What you mean "we." Its not our job. Muslims have to reign in their own fanatics. They have to figure out how to keep their religion and deal with the rest of the world as reasonable men. They need to practice peace.

Fat Man said...

Mark Steyn who is smarter and more articulate than I am said it all today

But then it's patiently explained to us for the umpteenth time that they're not representative, that there are many many "moderate Muslims.''

I believe that. I've met plenty of "moderate Muslims" in Jordan and Iraq and the Gulf states. But, as a reader wrote to me a year or two back, in Europe and North America they aren't so much "moderate Muslims" as quiescent Muslims. The few who do speak out wind up living in hiding or under 24-hour armed guard, like Dutch MP Ayaab Hirsi Ali.

So when the EU and the BBC and the New York Times say that we too need to be more "sensitive" to those fellows with "Behead the enemies of Islam" banners, they should look in the mirror: They're turning into "moderate Muslims," and likely to wind up as cowed and silenced and invisible.

Wally Ballou said...

Thanks for the word from over the pond, scott.

I saw a lot of comments on the BBC web pages after the London demonstration (the first, uglier one) and I was struck with how many people brought up their rage and disgust with the fruits of political correctness. The image of British police keeping their citizens from confronting hooded and masked men howling for their violent destruction is hard to take and even harder to call "fair and tolerant".

It is inevitable that political opinion in Europe will shift when it sinks in to the mass of people that their political and cultural existence is threatened. Denial and projection (and blame the yanks) can only go so far. The danger is that being moved to do something doesn't always move people to solutions that are effective and right. The other danger is the shift, when it comes, will be too late.

Do you think there is a credible non-BNP voice on the immigration/terror issue in the UK? Are the Tories positioned to take advantage of the situation, and if they are, could they and would they do anything useful?

A. Eteraz said...


I just wanted to say that I deeply appreciate your comments. They were insightful and fair. More than that, it seemed that you had thought out your position on 'moderate muslims' (i still prefer liberal) independently of my presence or input. And that was really refreshing. both you and baron seemed to me from the first people who are thinking people. analytical people. critically aware people. in the presence of such people one can speak his mind without any worries about perception and with an allegiance solely to tolerance, moderation and humanity. it was people like you, who i call voltaire, and nietzsche and camus, but who are no different than you, that long ago made me aware of the intolerance everywhere around me; who told me over and over, it doesn't matter what you are, or the color of your skin, or where you are from, as long as you believe in making the world a better place, and do it with an open mind, you will have done the right thing, the just thing.

as far as the wahhabi mosque thing. i'd move too =) or i might grow a beard, infiltrate and take over with a secular-muslim agenda. i could tell you a few stories about how muslim organizations at various universities around the country used to be deeply wahhabi, but with the emergence of just one guy here, one girl there, were 'reformed' into active, localized, socially just, and tolerant, organizations. those children are just now starting to have their own children, and starting to find their way into the american mosques.

i keep reiterating to my co-religionists, that american-muslims have the answer to the 'assimilation problem.' but we can't be satisfied with the fact that we are getting by here. we need to dip our hands in the quagmire that is europe. though i am not as alarmist as some of your readers, i dont want that any harm should come to the david or the seistine chapel or the louvre from any closed-minded mullah.

my 'inspiration' to 'reform' comes from my appreciation of western art. i have loved the arts in general. immensely. always will. i have found that there has been nothing that convinces a skeptical-easterner about the beauty of the western civilization than a little opera, a little jazz, or the rach 3. the ability to sense beauty is a universal and that, not syllogism and bombs (though they may be short term solutions), is going to provide the ultimate healing. as muhammad said, "God is Beautiful and Loves Beauty."

on my blog i put up a review of a band who is fusing western music with eastern verses. i encourage all of you to buy their music. it was jazz that defeated the ussr. might it be electronica that beats islamo-fascism (cuz it sure as hell wont be hip hop).

A. Eteraz said...


I would really appreciate it if you could somehow publicize a little explanation of "Taqiyah." The word is being bandied about with little or no knowledge.

Taqiya is often translated as "dissimulation." A more appropriate meaning might be "pragmatism."

Second, it is a Shia' doctrine. The reason for this is that for a large part of Islamic history Shias have been (and still are) persecuted by Sunnis. As such, Shias (who have a centralized Church institution), has permitted Taqiyah for Shias. In other words, they are allowed to say to a Sunni that they are Sunni.

On the whole, Sunnis do *not* approve of taqiyah. Largely because they consider it 1) a shia thing, and as such, per se evil, and 2) an act of hypocrisy. Some Sunni scholars did approve of taqiyah but only in times where Muslim lives were in danger.

There is little or no reason for Muslims to practice taqiyah in America. Why? Because this country promises freedom of religion. Taqiyah comes into effect only in times of religious persecution. When you are being murdered for being a Muslim. There is no Western state that performs such activity. As such, there is no Shariah reason for Taqiyah. Again, like I said, good luck finding Sunnis who practice taqiyah.

Now, could there be 'sleeper cells' who could be pretending to be Westerner and have evil intentions. Yeah, possible. Definitely if you watch sleeper cell (which is written by a Muslim, by the way). But that's not taqiyah. That's 'infiltration.'

Again, the only time Taqiyah has been documented has been 1) by Shias in Sunni areas 2) during the inquisition in Spain 3) during the USSR's purging of all religions.

Finally, taqiyah has beneficial uses when used by minority or divergent muslim groups, such as the druze, the bahai and the ismaili (who use it quite effectively and pseudo-openly).

As I recall, Maimonides, who studied with the great Islamic thinker Ibn Rushd (Averroes), sent a letter to the Jews of Yemen, telling them that a particular form 'taqiyah' (though he called it by a Jewish name) was permitted.

Again, calling it "dissimulation" and then drawing the negative connotations the word carries is quite a bit of a stretch. It is effective for purposes of polemic, but not understanding.

Kat said...

I appreciate Eteratz coming into this forum to discuss and I hope that I am not too late (figuratively speaking) to add to the dialogue.

First, on the perception and reality of persecution, the issue of the persecuted Jews did have a long history in Europe and Russia. I may be sketchy on my history, but I believe that Edward the First carried out a pogrom against English Jews and this, in fact, inspired Ivanhoe. If I remember correctly, Edward had borrowed extensively from the Jewish money lenders in order to prosecute his wars to unite the British aisle (war against Scotland and Wales) and fight the French for his French holdings. His coffers were bare and I believe the first thing he did was introduce an extra tax against the Jews. When some came to complain or tried to remind him that he owed them a lot of money, he used some excuse about "usary" and even witchcraft (I'll look that up) to have large contingents of the Jewish population moved to the European continent proper.

Thus, it is correct that Jews have been persecuted for centuries prior to the existence of Nazis.

In more recent history, pre-holocaust, this continued due to other perceptions. It is important to note that the post WWI German world was extremely fractured. Most of the "states" were still practically fuedal holdings with princelings, counts and dukes running the individual areas. Further, the post WWI situation saw many German soldiers return to nothing thus the "states" and other petty landholders were able to form their own militias and it was within these militias that nationalistic ideas began to form.

It may not be a well known fact, but during this time period, pogroms against many "foreigners" had already begun. My own family is from the Bavarian state. They were once Mennonites who had migrated from Russia after one of its many pogroms (Russians didn't like anyone that wasn't part of the Russian Orthodox church) to Germany.

During the post WWI period with the multiple militias searching out the "foreign" and blaming them for the German loss, my Grandfather's immediate family was killed. My grandfather and his brother were only saved because his parents insisted that he and his brother go to family in a nearby province. After this incident, my grandfather stowed away on a boat and arrived in the US in 1921 (yes, an illegal immigrant, though he did become naturalized in 1936).

It is instructive to remember that the fascists didn't just hate Jews, they hated everybody who was not them (yes, like the erstwhile Islamists).

However, the real stir about the Jews began within the construct of the failing Weimer Republic. It was during this period that the success of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia had spawned quite the confidence in Communist political groups throughout Europe. Marches in Berlin, Munich, Bonn, Paris, Vienna, accross the European continent, of Communist groups had become regular sights.

They were quite large, though I'm not sure if they ever drew the crowds like the modern leftists "march for anything" variety or the Muslim marches we have seen in Europe. Most European nations feared the Communists, even in the pre-Stalin days, than any other political front. The merchant and industrialist classes feared them most of all.

These marches began largely peaceful though they carried signs that often demanded a "workers revolution" which many took as a threat of violent overthrow. These groups began to be confronted with police as well as private militias (read "thugs") hired by the merchants and industrialists, though some were certainly free wheeling citizens who were bound and determined to avoid another revolution. The Communist Marchers, seeing no protection from police but more persecution, began to carry cudgels and other weapons. The marches became violent confrontations. There were fires and riots. Definitely some death and injuries going on from all sides.

At this time, the Communist movement was widely believed to be led by Jewish students and workers. Of course, as all conspiracy theories have some truth in them, there were several prominent leaders who were Jewish, though we can see clearly from history that it was not "Jewishness" that led them to Communism since Communism (or Marxism) eschewed religion (Marx's famous "opiate of the masses"). However, the European climate was such that after hundreds of years of persecution, the last great bloody war and the economic problems of all the states with (yes,) Jewish bankers (among the many) having done quite well in providing funds for these states to buy weapons, supply armies, etc, it seemed almost a given that nationalistic fascism would start zeroing in on Jews as the cause of problems.

Though, I'll remind you all of the first line of the famous poem (though the pastor's name escapes me):

"When they came for the Communists"

There is a question about the origins of the poem, but I think it speaks clearly to the progression of pogroms and anti-semitism in Germany and Europe. It is very likely that the same issue drove the acquiessence and even direct participation of the Vichy French government with the Nazis (I believer that 70,000 was the estimated number of Jews given up or driven out).

Unfortunately, I think that the current distaste for Israel, whatever the geo-political ramifications of its existense, may be a continuation of this age old persecution. It doesn't take much to understand that the Balfour Declaration was supported by some in Britain, not for altruistic means, but because it meant an exodus of Jews, which also accounts for the rather schizophrenic actions of the British Home office, both supporting the declaration as well as signing Sykes-Pico and then of course, the French being main allies getting their way and screwing Hussein out of his Arab nation.

But, I digress. And, I hope that you take this discussion as a recount of history, not as anti-semitism and don't verbally beat me with a stick. If any part is in dispute, please say so as I am going largely off memory of extensive reading.


This is what many fear in regards to the persecution of Muslims in Europe or even the United States. the parallels can be viewed similarly based on the conduct of the groups. Of course, it would be best if the Muslim community, however offended or however "small", refrained from threatening violence because, as much as some may shout about the provocation of cartoons, the direct threat of violence has historically moved other groups to take action through non-state or state authorized organizations.

In a similar fashion, the conduct of Islamic nations and their citizens outside of western states, just like the actions and words of the Russian Communists who firmly believed in a world wide Communist Utopia and its struggle, can be seen as inflamatory and adding to the phobia within these nations (real or perceived).

Many Muslims consider themselves Muslims first and typically identify more with the people within their home region or state and is re-enforced by the concept of Ummah. It's not really unusual for any immigrant group to hold on to certain features and identify with the "homeland" for several generations because it helps them deal with the move to a completely new, alien environment. So they identify with the issues and concerns there more than in their new homes which also leads to the idea that it is a very wide divide between and that it is possible the European nations are harboring "the enemy within".

That is not to say that real persecution should not be dealt with whether it is from Muslims or against Muslims. In this, the state law must be seen to act fairly among the citizens or it will be seen as sympathizing or agreeing with one or the other when the state should be neutral and protect all citizens' rights. No Muslim can be above the law, outside the law or protected from the law by his community as is the case in many parts of Paris and other European nations where the police cannot even arrest burglars because they fear going into the communities without large numbers of police - this is one area where Muslim populations can make concessions and keep the state from leaning to the right. At the same time, real persecution or discrimination against Muslims should be publicized and seen to be dealt with immediately and fairly.

This is difficult because of the anti-terrorism laws that can be perceived as unjustly arresting large groups of the community, though, for most of us, it is understandable why Europe, after so many years of harboring "dissident" Islamists and "revolutionaries", as well as comparably large Muslim immigratioins, has more to deal with than the United States. I'm not sure what the answer is here except that the state has to keep talking about the protection of ALL its citizens, including Muslims, from the "criminals" within, whether they be terrorists or bigots.

It is important that we do not let certain activities or actions of a few create within us a phobia that may lead us down the same path we have already traversed whether that be pogroms of deportation, internment camps or whatever (I don't think we'll see concentration camps Nazi style, but the other alternatives are not any thing I'd like to see either) against a specific identity group.

I think we are aware enough, both in Europe and the US, of our previous activities that do not jive with modern liberalism (small "l") that we will walk carefully and try to sort this out without those sorts of activities. But, as in the internment of the Japanese, within a democracy, the government must be seen as responsive to its citizens fears, so, we cannot say for sure what the citizens might demand if some act occured again. It probably wouldn't even have to be as egregious as 9/11 or 3/11 or any other. Though God (or whomever) forbid that it is as terrible as some such as bin Laden have threatened.

We would indeed feel our world shake.

We do have history to thank for our current struggle between liberty and our sense of self protection. I personally am conflicted. I remember the past, but I see the extent of the opposition from the direct enemy to the supporters to the sympathizer and I worry about escalation and my safety (as well as my family). I worry that the conflict inside of me will not necessarily be won out by my "better angel", but may be pushed in towards the illiberal without much provocation.

I know that I have a phobia and I am torn between its necessity as self preservation and its extreme. I need no one to urge me towards one or the other nor congratulate me on identifying the risk because there is a part of me that wishes that this did not exist and I was not confronted with the decision.

Right now, I prefer my personal conflict because I know it will do me well whether I need to protect and defend myself or others, be that from the Islamists or from those that would be indiscriminate in their actions towards Muslims.

I know my phobia because I fly. Two weeks after 9/11 I got on an air plane and for the first time I actually stared at every passenger (as if I could spot a "terrorist"), watched where they sat, looked for the exits, noted who got up and went to the bathroom and how many. And I have done it ever since. It may be self preservation, but I know that every time someone looked "Arab", they got my most attention. It is only since I began to identify the Eastern european Muslims involved in terrorist plots that I realize how foolish it was to be entranced by the "Arab" when it is everyone and anyone.

On the other hand, I have had enough conversations around the web with both the "liberal" Muslim and the not so liberal to know that something must change. It may not be Islam as a faith that is in need of change, but definitely the concept of "way of life". I remember not long after 9/11, Saudi Prince Turki al Faisel called the bin ladenists "cultists". At the time, I thought he was just making an excuse or brushing off the extent of the situation, but he was right in many ways. The concept of dying both figuratively or literally, for leaving the Ummah or for committing prohibited acts, is very cultist. So is the concept that every Muslim is literally his brother's keeper and the only way to keep him safe is to insure that he follows the rules to the letter or eschews proscribed acts because the sin of one belongs to the many, thus, all temptation (read "freedom") must be taken away or the person and their whole family "shamed" or ejected from the Ummah is very cultist.

Don't get me wrong because we have many experiences with Christian cults among the many. As a matter of fact, one of the best sites I've read on the subject of cults was a Christian site that talked about identifying the possibility of "cult" behavior within the church. It was a real eye opener about how certain behaviors are manifested and controlled. the fact that the same phenomenom can and does exist in Islam should not surprise us nor should we act as if it were the only, but the size and propagation of the concept is the problem. It isn't "every Muslim", but there are more than enough to make it a serious concern. You can't simply "de-cult" millions of people in a few years. It may come down to more confrontation and bloody war.

Now I will end with a comment on the discussion with Eteratz. I don't know if I've said something that is challenging to anyone, but I have to say that eteratz's comments above are rather pleasant compared to the conversations I've had with others. More challenging would be the discussion I tried to have with a person calling themselves "Islamic Nation" who had all the pre-requisite problems:

CIA did 9/11
CIA did riots, protests, created bin Laden in order to have a pretext for war, etc, etc, etc
The Jews
Zionist America
Did I mention that the CIA is apparently very well established and capable within every middle east state and, if ever there is a problem, they're behind it?
Islam is the way of life
US helped Saddam kill everyone and supplied all his weapons, then took him down to get his oil and have hegemony.
Islam is persecuted
Final question to me was "Why won't you let us have an Islamic Nation?" I presumed they were talking about Iran.

Would you be shocked to know that "Islamic Nation" was a naturalized US citizen?

In between these talks, some real scary people from both sides jumped in and did some flame throwing (like Islam is evil and must be destroyed and "unbelievers will burn in hell" -both Christian and Muslim variety) making it a bit difficult to dialogue, but I waded in valiantly and had a fairly productive discussion of the issues at hand.

So, really, this conversation with Eteratz was light years less angst ridden. Thank you both Dymphna and Eteratz for the time and bandwith. My apologies for taking up so much space.

Next time I'll just blog it and post a link. ;)

A. Eteraz said...


where exactly are you blogging these days =)

Kat said...

If it's a serious question ;)

the Middleground

otherwise :p (ppptthhhh)


OBloodyHell said...

> Still, you cannot deny that there is an irrational paranoia of "all" Muslims in the West.

No, eteraz. We can deny that. Any paranoia is quite rational.

I direct you once more to this picture.

This man is protesting in New York City, if I understand the caption.

If we were to round him up and toss him out on his ass into whatever BuFu country he came from, would he claim we were "suppressing his free speech rights"?

The sheer, unmitigated insanity of such a notion is comical in its extent.

Sorry. As I noted in the previous thread -- This man attacks -- attacks, repudiates, categorically rejects -- something I rate MORE HIGHLY than he rates his prophet. -- and he insultingly does it under the auspices of that very thing.

The man is doing the same as if I were here claiming that Mohammed had *sexual relations with pigs*.

... Male pigs.

NOTE: I don't claim it.

Now, if I *did* claim it, then I would be free to do so -- because This is our country. It was founded by and upon certain rules.. One of those rules is the right of each and every man to free expression.

In those Islamic states, you can certainly argue for the right of the people there to act as they see fit -- by sharia law -- and, for the most part, we have left that alone. America, despite being largely revolted by many Islamic practices, has made little effort to stop even things like clitorectomies.

But when you start blowing things up -- when you claim your religion gives you the right to do so -- we take notice. And it is no longer an "irrational" thing to have a problem with people who claim to follow Islam and don't openly decry such acts.

Islam wanted our attention.

Well, they've got it.

It's up to ISLAM to say what it wants us to hear... and if the violent voices overshout these supposed moderates, well, that's your problem, not ours.

I'm sure there are a lot of left-leaning people out there who have a clue and aren't complete nutjobs. I can even name one, off the top of my head whom I know personally, and two I know by reputation (Lieberman and Zell Miller). This does not change the fact that the Left's voices are dominated by clueless, brain-dead idiots like Pelosi and Dean and Reid -- and the people who listen to them.

If you are Muslim and want people to believe there are moderates, then you need to get those people out speaking, acting, and behaving -- as visible representatives of "the RoP".

Actions speak louder than words

OBloodyHell said...

> how much of eteraz have you read?

Dymphna, eteraz's logical structures upon which he bases his arguments are, sorry, straight out of the handbook.

Go ahead. Read the commentary by Jihadwatch I link to in the previous thread.

He may be trustworthy... but his claims certainly bear all the hallmarks of someone attempting to distract from the real matter using the twin techniques of Taqiyya and Tu-Quoque.

> If Eteraz is a good guy, as it seems he might be, then it is unfair for him to have to shoulder all of our comments.

Pastorius, NO. He is being given an open forum here, to express his position, opinions, and arguments for or against things we say. He's not getting shouted down, insulted (unless you classify a measure of healthy distrust of someone whose background encourages dissembling as an insulting act) nor blown off.

If his replies are necessarily longer than those of others, then that is certainly reasonable... he's attempting to deal with more than one person at a time.

If he actually seeks to convince, then he cannot ask for a better venue, since, if his arguments hold up (I'm not overly impressed so far) then he will have been given exactly the power we defend free speech and expression for... the power to persuade, convince, and change peoples minds by rational argument.

OBloodyHell said...

BTW, Jihadwatch more than amply deals with his comments on Taqiyya and Tu-Quoque -- and pretty much destroys his claims regarding them.

Again, the more of his responses I read, the less impressed I am by them -- he could not be doing a better job if he was quoting out of a handbook most of us have never read on Taqiyya and Tu-Quoque.

He makes claims which are irrelevant but appear to be, hide the truth by omission or hidden irrelevance (depending on our lack of awareness of facts about Islam or history), and throws out unrelated facts as though they tied somehow to the matter.

He's good. Very, very good.

But honest and trustworthy?

I *suspect* not.

Brad Gray said...

Not too sure what I can Interject. But I like to read this blog.



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