Saturday, March 11, 2006

Respect Must Be Earned

The Mo Jihad the Better!One of the recurring themes of the Great Cartoon Caper is exemplified by this article in today’s Daily Telegraph of Australia:

Only an official apology by the Danish government to all Muslims for offence caused by the prophet Mohammad cartoons would prompt the lifting of the boycott of Danish goods, Muslim preachers said.

An official apology “is absolutely necessary ... because your government has not dealt with them (Muslims) respectfully,” Islamic scholar Tareq al-Suweidan told a conference hosted by the Government in an attempt to ease tension over the drawings.

The keyword here is “respect” (or the antonym, “disrespect”). Other examples of the theme can be found here, here, and here.

In an interesting synchronicity, we had a commenter on yesterday's post who said this:

I see Islamophobia is here because there is no study of the prophet Mohammed’s words. Islam does not want terrorism but it will not let itself the slandered by scared people afraid on the Internet. If you respect us than you should get respect back but you must first give apology for what is your action.

First we must respect them.

In reply to which I have one word:


Oh, I have certainly learned to fear Islam. Islamophobia is definitely a rational response to world events right now — just ask those Christian schoolgirls in Indonesia. Oh, wait; you can’t ask them: they don’t have heads anymore.

I have learned to be circumspect about Islam, to tread lightly around its outer edges. I have learned to be alert concerning it, and observe it carefully in all its different manifestations.

But I have no respect for Islam, and no amount of violence, extortion, and bullying threats will cause me to respect it.

Judaism has gained my respect. The heroic and humane actions of Jews in my own lifetime have caused me to respect them.

Hindus have gained my respect. They have developed a powerful and accomplished civilization whilst learning to accommodate widely disparate cultures in a democratic polity.

But in the past five hundred years Islam has added nothing to the general welfare of mankind. All the great accomplishments and advances that produced modern technological civilization occurred without the help of Muslims, and often in the face of their active resistance. When Islam emerges beyond its own parochial borders, the only things it gives to the rest of the world are fire, bloodshed, mayhem, and destruction.

To any Muslim or Islamic sympathizer: I invite counterexamples. Deliver them here, and I will post them.

But until there is a significant counterweight to the all the terror and backwardness, I have no respect for Islam or its Prophet.

Respect must be earned.


Pastorius said...

I would respect Muslims if the moderate contingent of Muslims would stand up and start working with the people of the West to put a stop to those who would kill in the name of Allah.

A simple gesture could get the ball rolling. We know from a U.S. government study that most American mosques are filled with Wahabbist hate literature funded, and placed here, by Saudi money.

If moderate Muslims would simply make contact with the Churches, Synogogues, and Temples in their area, and invite people of other faiths out to their Mosques for a day of gathering up the hate literature, and carting it away down to the recycling center, this would do a tremendous amount to repair the damage caused by their more radical brothers and sisters.

I have been calling for this action since July of 2005. I repeat the request every few weeks.

Now, of course, my traffic isn't in the millions, but I have not heard one positive reaction from any Muslims to my suggestion.

On the other hand, I have been threatened with death on several occasions, and I have had Muslims call me names, imply that I am a racist, xenophobe, etc.


They are the ones with the problem. They need to take steps to fix it.

I am getting awfully tired of waiting.

The truth is, I am one of the few bloggers who do what we do who actually believes that there are moderate Muslims out there. I argue that Islam can reform itself. I say that we need to watch out for and protect our Muslim friends, and I attempt to counsel the true racists and xenophobes who visit my site against the preaching of hatred.

But, eventually, if this war gets worse, and moderate Muslims do not begin to stand up and join us in the fight against the Islamofascists, then I will cease to care whether the moderates are adversely effected.

Eventually, my moderate friends, this may turn into an all-out war, and that will not be a nice situation for you, if you do not choose sides.

Eleanor © said...

First words such as "respect" must be defined. Obviously, like "peace,"the elimination of enemies rather than of conflict, "respect" has a different meaning for Muslims than it does for non-Muslims.

In the West, respect is earned; it appears that for Islam, respect is demanded or dire consequences will ensure. In other words," respect" is the same thing as a threat.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I know I shouldn't come here, I know my comments will no doubt be destroyed but I'll say this:

This post and many others on this blog (and the comments they attract), read like hateful tracts written by xenophobes and racists.

The language used is a carbon copy of whenever in human history we've made the foolish mistake of attacking a race, or nation, or creed and tried to de-humanise them in order for us to attack more willfully.

Can you not see the hatred seething out of you in this grotesque act of bigotry?

Are you blind to this?

Francis W. Porretto said...

Not only must respect be earned; it's more easily lost than any other earned commodity except a reputation for honesty.

After one Islamist terror strike that "moderate" Muslims make excuses for, whatever respect they'd accumulated would be entirely dissipated.

After one proclamation from HAMAS that Israel has no right to exist because all of that land is "Islamic Waqf," if "moderate" Muslims fail to contradict it, there goes all their earned respect.

After one attempt to censor or intimidate a critic of Islam, if "moderate" Muslims fail to uphold his right to speak his mind, poof! No more respect; all the way back to "Go."

Sounds like they've got quite a mountain to climb...but they built it for themselves.

Baron Bodissey said...

Headmistress gets a rap on the knuckles from Headmaster Bodissey for using a long link and messing up the post width!

There’s a link template up top here to help you make the link tags, if you need it.


Headmistress, zookeeper said...
Consider the following comparison of Muslim versus Jewish response to ‘disrespect:’

“Speaking of the Holocaust, the Jews have come from the tragedy and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror; with their work, not with their crying and yelling....We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jews protest by killing people....Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them.”
What do you think, Daniel? Xenophobic? Hateful? Racist? Grotesquely bigoted and dehumanizing? (Good Lord, Daniel, how many labels you yourself can pack into one comment criticizing everybody else for dehumanizing others!)

The comments were made by a Syrian born former Muslim, Dr. Wafa Sultan. She also says “I believe our people are hostages to our own beliefs and teachings.”
And how about this:
“The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality.”

It will come as no surprise to anybody who reads the news with both eyes open that Syrian clerics declare her an infidel, a blasphemer and state that she is worse than the Danish cartoonists, and that she has received numerous death threats.

I suggest that you, Daniel, are the one indulging in racist bigotry here, by being unwilling to look beyond your stereotypes into the facts.

Links: worldmag blog and NYT.

bordergal said...

Beloved Fritz,

The original comment about muslims/terrorists was made by a Muslim. Look it up.

You've totally missed the point about the cartoons and their relationship with freedom of speech and inquiry in a modern society.

The muslim response to some silly cartoons (burning down embassies, killing people) is totally ridiculous. Why aren't you holding Muslims accountable for their violent acts, which are much more offensive then any cartoon could be?

I note that the Pope didn't order the Swiss Guard to burn down the Danish Embassy in Rome, even if he did disapprove of the cartoons.

I also believe that YOU are treating Muslims with contempt, since you apparently don't believe that they are capable of meeting standards of civilized behavior. One must not expect too much from the "natives" don't cha know.

Dymphna said...

I love having trolls...makes me feel like we've!

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

The DeputyHeadmistress stands in the corner with her dunce-cap on.

Ralph Thayer said...

I am an American. I am obliged by "E Pluribus Unum" to respect any other countryman's RIGHT to hold and express his beliefs, as he is obliged to respect my RIGHT to hold and express mine. However, NONE of us is obliged to respect the other's BELIEFS.

As the British author Lionel Shriver wrote, "I am under no obligation to respect your beliefs... I may regard creationists as plain wrong, which would make holding their beliefs in high regard nonsensical. In kind, if I proclaim on a street corner that a certain Japanese beetle in my back garden is the new Messiah, you are also within your rights to ridicule me as a fruitcake."

Angry young commentators (likely ignorant of The Flushing Remonstrance of 1657 asserting freedom of religion for all, including "Turks and Egyptians") flatter themselves by perceiving criticism as hate. I find escargot vial and disgusting, but that doesn't mean I bother with hating snails. Harboring resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person will die. Fascinating, to witness co-dependency raised to the level of a religion.

The fundamentalist Muslim creed holds that all men are created Muslim. The American creed holds that "all Men are created equal... endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." One is as a cart with square stone wheels, the other is as a 747 with wings -- I leave it to the reader to sort which to which.

A. Eteraz said...


This is a ridiculously farcical post, to be frank. It's simplistic and it ignores history.

What qualifies as "general welfare of mankind." Do buildings count? Because that would mean that the Taj Mahal comes in, along with the hundreds of amazing structures made by the Ottomans, Safavids and Central Asian Muslims. Does art come into play? In which case the portrait stylings of late-Safavid Iran and late-Ottoman Turkey (whose relationship to Venetian art are discussed in detail in Orhan Pamuk's amazing novel, 'My Name is Red') come in. Does poetry count? In which case men like Mirza Asadullah Ghalib (who is compared to Shakespeare and Pushkin) come in. Do liberators count - men who free others from tyranny? In which case Muhammad Jinnah & Iqbal (who restored South Asian autonomy from the British), must come in. Do philanthropists count? In which case Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, which is the world's most successful microfinance system, must come in. Do novelists count? In which case Naguib Mahfouz, Pamuk, Sa'dawi, and Khadare (who wrote the most potent critique of totaliarianism ever), and a whole host of others must come in. Do feminists count? Because then Mernissi and Riffat Hassan and Shirin Ebadi come in. Do legal reformers count? Because then Sir Syed Ahmed and Javed Ghamidi must come in.

Oh, but let me guess your rebuttal: we in the west have never heard of these people.

Here's my rebuttal to that: I'm a westerner through and through. I have heard of them. What makes you different from me? You apparently study Islam. In fact, more of your posts are about Islam than mine. In our connected age, its not that hard to learn about these people.

Even within America, Muslims have been involved since the 16th century. Columbus's navigator was a Muslim, and he relied upon a 10th century narrative by Spanish Muslims to guide Columbus Westward. The first explorer of Arizona, a Muslim. Diallo, who served as a go-between the British and Africa, out of the colonies, a Muslim. A Muslim named was present at the First Continental Congress, though after befriending Jefferson, I believe he converted to Christianity.

Now when it comes to industry, Muslims are absent. Until recently Muslims had no arms. Very little industry. But there are causal events that explain this, accepted by the most conservative of historians. One word: colonialism. Only in the last fifty years have Muslim nations begun emerging from the fact that they had no autonomy over their own homelands. I'll be the first to point out that there have been a number of failed Muslim states since then. But a lot of the third world is in a continously failed state. Long before Muslims started killing each other and others in Iraq and Europe, Burmese were slaughtering millions (Pol Pot); Sri Lankans were carrying out suicide bombings; Africans were engaging in genocide; Serbians were setting up concentration camps (until 1994); Communists were commiting torture and carrying out ethnic cleansing (until this day: have you hard of China). Even still, there are numerous Muslims in the past fifty years of note. Again, Western ignorance of them doesn't preclude their existence. Take only the Shaikhs of UAE. World's tallest building is in Dubai. The world's only underwater city, there. The world's only 7 star hotel, there. Then there is the Aga Khan, who is almost a UNESCO unto himself. There is the Edhi Foundation. In terms of art there are people like Hossein Nouri. Islamic Banking is now an almost trillion dollar industry, and its barely 10 years old. Next time you eat Church's chicken, thank it's Muslim owners. When you buy Ethan Allen, thank its Muslim owners. When playing at Euro Disney, thank its Muslim owners. When banking at Citibank, thank the 30% stake Muslims have in it. I love how people love to point out that there are no Muslim nobel winners. Actually there are three. And two others were finalists. Here's a question worth pondering: how many Chinese have won? How many Hindus? They are groups equal in number to the Muslims of the world. How many Africans? I'm rattling off these things, not because I really give a rat's ass if a few of your readers recognize Muslim involvement in the world; nor do I personally think that material advancement transaltes into the kind of spiritual self-inspection that the world's extremist Muslims must undergo; nor am I even the right kind of Muslim to stand up and make proclamations about Muslim achievement. I have too many of my own personally unresolved issues with Muslim. But I rattled off these things to say to you -- what did your question accomplish? Nothing but re-entrenching in your readers a misanthropic stereotypecasting that since some Muslims are violent, it has to be because all Muslims are incapable people. I keep saying it over and over: if you care about the West, along with your critique of its enemies, which you do quite well, you'd do well to identify those in the Muslim world who are contributing to the advancement of the world. Saying that there just aren't any such people is closed-minded and doesn't advance human welfare -- which is what this whole thing was about, right? You really surprise me with the subtlety of the comments you make on my blog, and the occassional closed-mindedness of the comments you make on yours. Having been exposed to your subtlety, I have to ask: are you fronting? If so, are you fronting on my blog, or on yours? Is the point to make bridges or walls? Your post is making walls.

Dymphna said...


This is a ridiculously farcical post, to be frank. It's simplistic and it ignores history.

Soory, eteraz. In his dementia, the Baron posted in my name. He didn't notice when he got on that it was registered to me.

As for history, for myself, I'll take the history since 9/11. There is simply no excuse for the torture of that young man who was killed the other day...there is no excuse for the Bloody Borders that V.S. Naipaul described so well.

I don't give a fig for the Taj Mahal. It is built on the destruction of a Hindu temple and lots of Hindu massacres have gone into much of Islamic architecture.

You lost me on the wall part. I'm not fronting anything. I want to believe that moderate Muslims exist, but except for you and a # of apostates -- that psychiatrist in California being the latest example -- I grow more despairing every day.

I used to believe in a black and white world. I don't' anymore.

Take the rest up with the Baron.

Dymphna said...

If you don't understand me, eteraz, read the other commenters. They're saying what would make them feel less paranoid and more welcoming.

X said...

The taj mahal isn't even built on the destruction of a hindu temple. It is a hindu temple. Most of the "islamic" structures in northern India are bastardised Hindu temples and palaces that were layered over with a bit of islamic tiling and turned in to mosques.

Charles Martel said...

I would respect Muslims if they would renounce their Koran and its call to violence. Not going to happen you say? Well then neither will they gain my respect.

Charles Martel said...

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill

What sort of relativistic nonsense are you spewing? Oh, I just noticed the hyphenated name. I understand now.

A. Eteraz said...

That's really amusing that my entire comment was reduced to the Taj Mahal. Sad, and amusing. Second of all, even if you want to reduce everything down to the Taj Mahal, then instead of pointing out that it was a Hindu temple, perhaps you could recognize that the Mughals created some kind of multireligious society. Sikhism emerged in that time; a mixture of Islam and Hinduism. The fact that the Taj Mahal reflects Hindu and Persian stylizings suggets a fusion of contrasting themes. In America we call that multiculturalism; but when Muslims do it, oh wait, they have never been able to do anything like that.

What boggles me is that you say you don't believe in a black and white world (which means its all gray right?) and then you stand up and make distinctions like (West - great; Islam - bad). If that's not black and white, I don't know what is.

I have to be honest, frankly speaking: I get incredibly depressed coming to your blog. It's just an all out attack upon all the things that I am trying to reform. Unending antagonization from the "greater" civilization is disappointing. It's bad enough for 'moderates' that we have to deal with allegations of apostasy and midieval viewpoints. On top of that, we have to hear people say to us: oh, actually, you guys will be free of all these problems if you just got rid of the Quran and Islam, and recognize that all your cultural output is a farce. Um, thanks a lot.

Wafa Sultan's embracing of apostasy was powerful; but its not effective. We have to take Islam BACK; not hand it over to the bearded fools who are more than happy to push all its Wafa Sultans out.

A. Eteraz said...

A. Eteraz said...

Since we're talking about Islam and the West.

Islam didn't give us the holocaust. Or Stalin. Or Milosevic. I love how everyone loves to point out that Ottomans killed Armenians. While right in that same time, Brits were slaughtering Africans (in Ethiopia and South Africa); the Dutch were instituting apartheid; and we were blowing up the Phillipines. History, people, read it.

As far as the comment that Islam seems adept at taking from the West, you need to recognize that the world is global. And it has always been that way. Do you think the West did everything on its own? No, they borrowed, learned, stole and pirated from everyone else. That's how history works. Learn history.

I found this one particular invention particularly interesting. Although it wasn't the Arabs, but the Ottomans.

"Though the Chinese invented saltpetre gunpowder, and used it in their fireworks, it was the Arabs who worked out that it could be purified using potassium nitrate for military use. Muslim incendiary devices terrified the Crusaders. By the 15th century they had invented both a rocket, which they called a "self-moving and combusting egg", and a torpedo - a self-propelled pear-shaped bomb with a spear at the front which impaled itself in enemy ships and then blew up."

Baron Bodissey said...

Eteraz –-

Don’t use long links and mess up the post width!

There’s a link template up top here to help you make the link tags. said...

This is just a general overview of some interesting contributions. (Link).

Papa Ray said...

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill has been showing his ignorance lately all over the web. You must forgive him because he actually believes the stuff he writes. He is a flustrated actor who is so left leaning that he walks in leftward bound circles of no end.

But he has a good heart, because he enjoys looking down and getting recognition for helping those who are less fortunate and more ignorant (in his mind) than he is.

Here are a few things for him to get pissed off about:

I reject Islam) because of Muhammad’s lack of moral and ethical fortitude and b) because of the absurdities in the Quran.

a) Muhammad lived a less than holy life. His lust for sex, his affairs with his maids and slave girls, his pedophilic relationship at age 54 with Aisha, a 9-year-old child, his killing sprees, his massacre and the genocide of the Jews, his slave making and trading, his assassination of his opponents, his raids and lootings of the merchant caravans and unarmed villagers, his burning of trees, his destroying the water wells, his cursing and invoking evil on his enemies, his revenge on his captured prisoners of war, his torturing of his captives to for greed and his hallucinations such as believing of having sex with his wives when he actually did not, disqualify him as a sane person let alone a messenger of God

b) An unbiased study of the Quran shows that far from being a “miracle”, that book is a hoax. The Quran is replete with scientific heresies, historic blunders, mathematical mistakes, logical absurdities, grammatical errors and ethical fallacies. Could possibly the author of this Universe be as ignorant as it appears to be in the Quran?

Quran tells Muslims to kill the disbelievers wherever they find them (2:191), murder them and treat them harshly (9:123), slay them (9:5), fight with them (8:65 ), strive against them with great endeavor (25:52), be stern with them because they belong to hell (66:9) and strike off their heads; then after making a “wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives” for ransom ;47:4).

This is how the pagans are to be treated. As for the Christians and the Jews, the order is to subdue them and impose on them a penalty tax, after humiliating them (9:29) and if they resist, kill them."

The Cult of Islam is not compatible with any religion or any government.

It can't be revised or modified so it must be destroyed. Those Muslims that wish to stand in the way of destroying it, will be consumed in the fires with it.

Islam is the Muslims enemy, it will be the cause of their destruction and and only after that will the Muslim peoples be able to emerge into the bright light of the future and live without the bondage and evil that was Islam.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Papa Ray said...

Paul Vallely is Associate Editor of The Independent where he writes on social, ethical and religious issues (a liberal newspaper) and he is also described as a "radical Centurist".

He has posted many articles on the web and in various newspapers. The biggest problem with most of his writings is that he almost never gives references or links to his writings. Allowing them to stand alone without any evidence or proof of what he says. Most that know history know that he takes a little fact and then mixes it with rumor and legends that are not proven but popular.

No matter, he is still a good writer and can be counted on to go places and get stories that most will not.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Baron Bodissey said...

First of all, everybody, I must reiterate that this was my post and not Dymphna's. I got in on her login without noticing it. Maybe some of you could recognize that it was not her superior quality.


Eteraz --

You're very slick, but you're dodging the issue, yet again.

You're right that Islam didn't give us Stalin or Hitler or Mao; those were due to the "secular religion" of socialist totalitarian. But they were not due to Christianity, Judaism, or Hinduism. These latter religions have nothing comparable to the Armenian genocide within the last 200 years or more.

And I notice that your examples are all from the distant past. Remember, I said "in the last 500 years". I challenge you to find an example of some major Muslim achievement in the last 500 years, either ab initio or by synthesizing and improving on the work of others.

There may be some such examples, but I don't know of them. And if they are, I'll bet the list is very short, compared to the list of Western achievements in the same period.

And the Jews have the longest list of all. Per capita, the Jews are the most brilliant, creattive, and prolific innovators in the world. From mathematics through literature and music to the splitting of the atom, the Jews have been at the apex of our cultural achievements.

And, to recap a much earlier post, I stand with the Jews.

felix said...

A phobia is an irrational fear. We would all agree it is rational to be afraid of radical islam. In fact if someone is not afraid of radical islam, given contemporary events, then that individual would be considered mentally disturbed.

The problem arises, I think, when we try to distinguish between the so-called "tiny minority" that constitutes radical islam and the "vast majority" that is supposed to be islam in general. The trouble is that many of us are wondering if the tiny minority is really a minority at all. Public opinion surveys of Muslims living in western countries don't appear to support the "tiny minority" theory.

Pastorius said...

Hi Eteraz,
I appreciate your predicament, being stuck between the world of radicals, and the world of those who oppose Islam. Tough place to be. I see that you are sincere.

If you really want to go into the Lion's Den, I offer you a contributorship on the Infidel Bloggers Alliance. If you accept, you will be our second Muslim blogger.

the Infidel Bloggers Alliance is made up of Baron, Dymphna, myself, and about twenty other bloggers from countries as disparate as Italy, England, Spain, Malaysia, Indonesia, Israel, U.S., Canada, etc.

Would love to have you on board.

Wally Ballou said...

Eteratz makes a very good point. Even if you personally believe that "Islam" has created nothing of value on the past 500 years, it would be civilized of you to moderate the expression of that opinion. Otherwise, how can a sincere, moderate muslim be expected to take it? Don't shove it in his face (or those like him)>? Don't tell him he's a fool or inferior. It's just not fair and not productive.

Please don't conflate the countries, the people, the culture and the religion into one big lump and make blanket statements about the aggregate even if you believe them. It just isn't right. It isn't nice. How about a little constructive hypocrisy?

You are falling into the trap of offering the muslims the choice which their more radical brethren offer you - convert or be damned.

I think a modicum of "respect" for individuals, not for their particular faith or affiliation, would preclude lumping people the way this post appears to do.

You know me - I'm no sob sister. I just don't think it's the right, effective, and ultimately civilized approach.

I know you, too, and I know you're no bigot - I think you just let your rhetoric carry you away a bit.

Baron Bodissey said...

Cato, the problem is that eteraz was horning in on a response to the specific demand that the Danish government apologize to ALL Muslims. Not a subset of Muslims, not Sunni or Shiite or radical or moderate, but all of them. Hence my reply is to all of them.

Eteraz is in a hard place, trying to defend the indefensible. I respect his humane effort, but I still disagree.

At some point we in the West have to stop owning the criticisms and accusations aimed at us, and instead throw them back in the faces of those who aim them at us. Not doing so is what invites so many attacks.

And those who have demanded that governments apologize for the actions of a newspaper editor are not limited to the “radicals”. The demand has been almost universal in the Islamic world.

I think it is time to say “NO!” very loudly.

A large part of our problem in this war is that we are perceived as being willing to roll over as soon as the “Muslim street” demands it. IMHO, we measurably improve our chances of success, and reduce our casualty rate, if we actively work to change the perception that we are weak, vacillating, spineless folk who capitulate easily to violent threats. This is part of the process.

Wally Ballou said...

I may be wrong, but I still think you don't see my main point.

You are defending what you meant, regardless of what you might have said. Seems to me this is what bloggers and commenters always do. I'm just saying that your post seemed to go well beyond your immediate point - the response to the maniacal cartoonophobes - to a general total blanket condemnation of Islamic culture as sterile and corrupt.

You can't blame him for taking offense. Its no defense to say he was changing the subject - you stuck your thumb in his eye.

If you didn't mean it the way he took it, maybe you should think about what you did mean, how what you said must have appeared to him, and what you would say to his face. I thought his second comment was quite poignant.

Just my $2.00E-02

A. Eteraz said...

Responses and Comments to All Commentators:

Shellback: Ok, boohoo, the Saracens have oil. Without it they are nothing. How far are you going to take that? The Chinese have a billion workers. Without that they'd be nothing. The Indians have 400 million English speaking outsourcers, oh, but without that they'd be nothing. Think about it: the USA has a plethora of natural resources (which, if you recall, belonged to the native americans at some point); without these resources we'd be nothing; what about our location -- without our geography, which prevents us from being attacked by land, we'd be you see my point? This whole "if so and so didn't have x & y" kind of reasoning doesn't really yield very much.

Baron: I challenge you to re-read my earlier post with the long list of Muslim achievements. Also, what is this whole 'ab-initio' business? Let me show you how irrelevant that kind of reasoning is. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from a top 10 American University. Everything I do in my life: is that an "Islamic" achievement or a "Western" one? Isn't it whatever I say it is? What if I win a noble peace prize. Is that an "Islamic" or "Western" achievement? When it comes to learning, there is no ab-initio anything. Watch the movie Le Destin, where a French student in 12th century Muslim Spain takes the Muslim philosopher Averroes' books on Aristotle back with him to Paris where he is killed for heresy. When it comes to achievement there is no ab-initio anything. Would Columbus have found his way West without his Muslim navigator (who was relying on earlier Muslim explorations?)? Would Einstein have discovered relativity if he wasn't relying on the Christian Newton's theories? Would Matisse be Matisse without having studied Morrocan Art? Would Borges be Borges without his love for Arab culture? Would Paulo Coehlo be the world's most read writer without his interactions with the Muslim bedouins of the Sahara? Would Johann Goethe be Goethe without his East West Diwan? Which is inspired by the Muslims Hafiz and Rumi? Would Emerson be Emerson without his quotations of the Quran? Since you love Jewish achievement so much: would Marx have invented socialism without a Christian mystic (Hegel's) contributions? (Would Hegel have invented his Geist without access to the Hindu Gita, which made its way West through Muslim trade routes?) Ab initio? There isn't such a thing. It's all proximate causation. Which is why this line of inquiry you've engaged in is meaningless at best.

Also, about your point that Stalin and Hitler are not connected to Christianity, please look up Alisair McIntyre at Notre Dame who says that modern secularism is merely an extension of Christianity. And the Serbs? They hated the Muslims because they were not Christian.

I also think it an irrelevant point to try and suggest that any of this discussion I've engaged in is connected to the Danish Muslims' request for an apology. A cursory glance of my views on the cartoon issue make it quite clear that I am on the side of free speech. So trying to suggest that all my other points are invalid by falsely connecting me to what other Muslims are saying is disingenous at best. And I'm the slick one?

A. Eteraz said...


I'm glad to see that you understood where I was coming from.


Thank you for the invite. Can you tell me more? At this point I'm leaning towards acceptance. However, I'd like to know more. Can you email me some specifics? eteraz at gmail dot com.

I guess I should disclose that I'm not exactly the kind of person who can tow a specific 'line' - except maybe if its generalized things relating to human dignity, i.e. humanism, rationalism and some type of secularism.

I would also like to nominate Bin Ladin's niece, Wafah Dafour, as Infidel Chick of the Week. Alas, cursed with his nose, she is only a 8.

A. Eteraz said...


I misspoke, I was only Magna Cum Laude. We didn't use the latin terms where I went. We had 'honors' 'high honors' and 'highest honors.' I graduated with 'high honors' and thought the latin translation for that was Summa Cum Laude. Just discovered that is not the case. Summa refers to 'highest honors.'

A. Eteraz said...

This has been bothering me all day.

Hey Eleseus,

Learn how to insult dude.

Mo (I take it you're referring to Muhammad) was a real person. As such, he couldn't be imaginary.

If you're trying to mock Muslims' belief in their imaginary friends, you should insult Allah (he's the one in the sky).

I can only imagine how difficult high school might have been for you.

Baron Bodissey said...

Eteraz --

I commend your attitude. You take a lot of abuse here, and respond good-naturedly. More power to you.

I take your points about all those cross-cultural interactions, but maybe we could just look at the patents...? There must be some explanation for the large discrepancy (besides my Islamophobia).

Pastorius said...

I agree wtih Baron. You do take a log of abuse here, and you do respond to it well.

By the way, I was already thinking of making Wafah the Infidel babe of the week. But, then I got hung up on the idea of making her the Islamic Babe of the Week, or possibly, the Apostate Babe of the Week.

Don't know if you've noticed but I actually did give one Muslim chick the Infidel Babe of the Week a few weeks back, and I got called out on it.

And, this weeks babe is in a burqa.

Anyway, on the serious side of things, I will email. you.

A. Eteraz said...

Elysian Fields,

The reason I had to stoop to the "vain attempt" of having to discuss today's events with yesterday's achievements, was because that was what the post at issue was about! ("What has Islam done in the last 500 years"). I imagine that you, the first commentator to it, would have recognized that. Also, if you note, my entire point has been that these kinds of evaluations are farcical.

As far as whether your statement would have been better conveyed had you used the term "Prophet" -- I agree with you. Yes, your insult would have actually been funny then. But you failed in so doing. Therefore it was not amusing. It was just sad and made you seem like you don't know what you're talking about (even if in your daily life you do). Which is tre amusing because now the only way anyone will ever figure out that you *could* be funny is if they scroll down 49 comments on a post that's no longer at the top of the blog. No one's gonna do that. I don't even want to scroll down that much to see my own posts. There is a lesson here for all of us.

By the way, one does not "elucidate" their "accolades". One can 'list' or 'cite' or 'reference' accolades. 'Elucidation' is for thesis, arguments and responses. I think you got a bit carried away in your logorrhea there Mr. Wolfe. Stylistic point, but it was annoying me.

X said...

Without oil etc...

The japanese have virtually no natural resources, yet their economy grew and became one of the largest in the world in less than 50 years. The mere fact of having resources to exploit isn't enough; people have the wherewithall to effectively exploit those resources and then build on that exploitation. Great Britain, for instance, is resource rich but that isn't the sole reason for her success; Other countries are equally rich, if not moreso, but they haven't held world-spanning empires, nor created any of the many major technologies that make our life so easy today. America and Russia are both resource rich and have huge populations, yet it was the Americans that dominated the 1851 Worlds Fair in London, simply because they had the skill and motivation to take all those inventions and make them better.