Urbanski Explains Islam: Why Left and Right Both Get it Wrong

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Tue, Jan 20 - 9:00 am EDT | 2 years ago by
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    Riposte Modernism - Islam

    Since the Charlie Hebdo attack I wrote about previously, it’s been my experience that both Left and Right continue to get it wrong about Islam, though obviously in very different ways. Not just in the sense of what they get wrong, but how they get it wrong; I think that when the Right gets it wrong it’s out of lack of sufficient information and understanding on the subject coupled with a natural fear/anger-reaction at attacks from a perceived external threat. But people on the Right who make the wrong conclusions about Islam genuinely believe in those conclusions.

    On the other hand, when the Left gets it wrong I have serious trouble imagining that they actually believe what they are saying; rather, they’ve managed to convince themselves that they must pretend that Islam is a religion of peace that has no serious internal issues that weren’t caused by European or Zionist “oppression,” and that there’s only like five actual terrorists in the entire religion, and it’s just because they’ve “misunderstood Islam.” They’ve convinced themselves of this because to admit that Islam is a religion with a very serious problem would ruin the rest of their “narrative” about the West being the worst civilization of all time (rather than the best, fairest, freest and most successful of all time).

    Leftists want to portray the Right as “Islamophobes” or even racists. I think some people on the Right might technically be Islamophobes in the sense of being afraid of what a world ruled by Islam might look like, so fair enough; but as for racist, I would suggest that while there certainly might be some people on the Right who conflate their personal hatred of people with different skin color than their own with Islam (stupid, since Islam is a religion, arguably a culture, but there are people of every race on earth who are Muslim), the Left is to me just as ‘racist’ about Islam. Theirs is the racism of the absurd myth of the “noble savage,” which wants to imagine that people from the third world and of darker skin than their own are all poor innocents who can do no wrong, and any wrong they do commit must be the West’s fault. That Extremist Muslims cannot be held accountable for their actions because it’s their “culture” – as if to suggest that they couldn’t possibly do any better. Some people on the Right don’t believe there is such a thing as a moderate Muslim; but on the Left I think they find moderate Muslims, and by that I actually mean Muslims who are pluralists or rational Muslims seeking to fight against the extremist forces who have hijacked their religion and culture, tremendously inconvenient and just wish they’d go away, because they ruin the whole ‘story’ by annoyingly asking the Left for help against extremist Islam.

    I think the Left is beyond help in this matter. So I’m going to try to address my friends on the Right today (and maybe hope that those people on the Left who actually still believe in true liberal values like free speech might tag along for the ride), and try to explain just what the real deal is with Islam and why if you’re someone who believes in and defends the values of Western Civilization, you really ought to want to rethink a position that is universally dismissive of Islam as the enemy.

    Remember first, as I said previously, the real ‘enemy’ to our civilization is not Islam. Islam is just the occasionally noisy neighbor who sometimes involves us in their internal squabbles (more on that later). They can’t really do anything to us. The issue of our civilization’s survival is not “Islam vs. The West,” it’s Collectivism vs. Individualism. Whether that Collectivism is from Al-Qaeda and the Mujahaddeen Boko Haram Youth Martyr Brigade, or the Social Justice Action Committee for Censoring Intolerant Thought, or the Catholic League, they’re all authoritarian assholes. They’re the enemy.

    If you’re a Catholic, or an Atheist, or a Rastafarian, and you’re saying “the murders aren’t really justifiable, but Hebdo should still have been censored,” then you’re arguing for the same world as the ISIS/Taliban-crowd are. Just with a slightly different flavor, but still a world where a tiny group of elites should get to tell us all what to do (in the name of God, Social Justice, or Jah, or what-have-you).

    If there’s one thing Charlie Hebdo did it was create a watershed moment, where there’s no hiding which side you’re on anymore. “Je suis Charlie” doesn’t mean you like Charlie Hebdo’s content, it means you defend to the death their absolute right to publish it. That’s the ENTIRE POINT. Free speech means defending the publication of ideas you do not approve of. So this is an absolute line in the sand: you either “are Charlie” or you “killed Charlie.” If you don’t believe in the inalienable right to free speech, you are helping to murder our civilization.

    Now, back to Islam. Some people on the Right are of the opinion that Islam is a religion of violent extremism. It’s not. It is, however, a religion with a very serious Violent Extremism Problem.

    To explain the difference, I’m going to give a little example in a form I suspect most of you will have experienced or at least seen, at some point or another: Let’s say you’re on the internet, having a good old argument about politics. You’re a conservative, you’ve done research, you’re pointing out facts, you’re using skillful rhetoric and everything is going well. You’re arguing with your opponent(s) but respecting them.

    All of a sudden, some little buttwipe chimes in; his profile says he’s 17.5 years old, and he has a big Stars & Stripes logo for an avatar, and he starts talking all this ridiculous bullshit; it’s incoherent, devoid of facts, filled with racial slurs, talking about the Founding Fathers but he can’t name even one of them, and he starts talking about how every Democrat should be shot and anyone he doesn’t like get round up and put into camps. He talks about Leave It To Beaver, and doesn’t seem to realize that was a TV show and not real life. He literally wants to recreate the world of Leave It to Beaver by violent force, and then keep it that way, also by violent force, forever. He does not represent you in any way, but now everyone is entangling your argument with his, and using him against you. Meanwhile, Little Buttwipe has been sending real-life death threats to the forum moderator, and keeps making reply-posts to stuff you wrote making it sound like you’re best friends because you’re a “fellow patriot.” Now everyone is pissed off at you and assuming you’ve condoned his actions.

    Now assume that about 22% of all conservatives are just like Little Buttwipe, and that in spite of their minority numbers they’re the moderators of every forum, run every news website, own all the major media, are in charge of the political parties, and have worked their way into control of every school board and church in your area. The liberals are all claiming that all conservatives are just like Little Buttwipe. Meanwhile, the Little Buttwipes are now sufficiently in power over the conservative movement and culture that they’re looking over at you, and your friends who are like you, and accusing you of being “traitors”, “RINOs” and “fake conservatives” because you’re not “patriotic” enough. You don’t even dress right for them, and they question your taste in music. You or other friends have started to be physically threatened by the Little Buttwipes, while all the media interviews them, and makes out like they’re the spokesmen of ‘true conservatism’, both denying your existence and using them against you in the process. You know they’re not. You know maybe one in five conservatives are Little Buttwipes; but ten years ago it was maybe one in ten. And now they’ve taken over the Boy Scouts and church youth groups, teaching them all how to be Little Buttwipes too, and you see that this is going to get a lot worse.

    That’s the situation for Islam right now. The “you” in the story is the average Muslim; while the Little Buttwipes, in this case, are the extremist sect, the Wahabi/Salafist movement, that have taken over the religion. Even though, as I said above, percentage-wise they’re only a minority in Islam. And I made them 17.5 years old because if Islam was 100 years old, that’s about how long Wahabism will have actually existed in it. But of course, like any good insane reactionary sect, they try to pretend like their ignorant dumbass version of Islam was the way it was done in the good old days. It’s the Wahabist’s version of Little Buttwipe’s Leave It to Beaver obsession. They don’t believe in facts, they believe in a fairy-tale version of a world that never existed. And as Salman Rushdie brilliantly said in his latest appearance on Bill Maher‘s show (one of the good liberals, who isn’t afraid to stand up for free speech), the extremists in Islam are literally at war with the flow of time. They want to freeze the world in their deluded religious fantasy of how things were in the past.

    Now, almost all of the extremist violence in Islam comes out of that one sect, the Wahabis (excepting that there are some Shiite Muslim groups, who despise the Wahabis, like Hezbollah; those are pretty well the Shi’a equivalent; only the Wahabis are much worse in terms of actual death tolls). So other than the Iranians and their deal, pretty much all the terrorism you’ve heard about in the last 50 years of Muslim terrorism has been from this one sect in Islam.

    The Taliban? Wahabi.

    Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden? Wahabi.

    Boko Haram? Wahabi.

    ISIS? Wahabi.

    The US National Counterterrorism Center report at the state department points out that in 2011, out of a total of 10,283 terrorism attacks (that killed 12,533 people, and injured 25,903), 8,886 of those deaths were at the hands of Terrorist attacks by “Sunni Extremists”, but in point of fact they should have just said Wahabists, because all Sunni Extremists are Wahabists.

    So this is a little bit like saying that Christianity is a violent extremist religion when pretty much every single act of extremist violence was being done by Methodists.

    But Kasimir, you ask, if this is all just largely the doings of one minority sect, why does it seem like this is an endemic problem in all Islam? The answer, my friends, is that the Wahabi movement has done a very organized job over the last four or five decades in infiltrating every other area of the Muslim religion and culture, and ‘radicalizing’ it.

    Check this out:

    Afghan women
    Source: Telegraph

    The above picture is what Afghanistan looks like today. Those are women crossing the street.

    Women in Cabul
    Source: Twicsy

    This is what Afghanistan looked like in the mid 1970s. I don’t need to tell you that those are women, obviously.

    Was Afghanistan not Muslim in the 1970s? It was. Very Muslim. But 50 years ago, most of Afghanistan was not Wahabi Muslim but rather Sufi Muslim. Some of the greatest Muslim mystics, poets, philosophers and esotericists came out of that region. And Afghani Islam was tolerant, progressive, and contemplative, with room for the acceptance of liberal values imported from the West.

    What changed was that Wahabism expanded aggressively into Afghanistan; it did so there by taking advantage of the war with the Soviet Union, but in many other places in the world, Wahabism has expanded through infiltrating peaceful societies. Indonesia, for example, has an enormous Muslim population that has been known to be tolerant, liberal and generally peaceful, and has in the last 10 years or so become increasingly intolerant and violent.

    Turkey, which has prided itself since the end of WWI on being secular and democratic, and whose Islam (also largely Sufi) has always been liberal and tolerant, is becoming an increasingly dangerous place to be a woman, an unbeliever, or a non-conformist. It got this way because a fundamentalist religious president was elected to run this secular country, a president who has recently said things like that women are not men’s equals, has engaged in considerable repression of journalists and tightened controls over the internet, repressing protesters, and most recently he and members of his party have claimed that the Charlie Hebdo attacks were a conspiracy orchestrated by the French Government and carried out by the Mossad to try to malign Muslims.

    Turkey! This was a country solidly in the modernist and secular camp for 80 years, but Wahabism’s rise has been creeping slowly in, turning it into just another Extremist Theocracy in the making. The secularists in Turkey have held large protests, but they just don’t have the votes, because the Wahabists have mobilized the least educated sectors of the population with decades of propaganda about their ‘true Islam’.

    Wahabism has gained the opportunity for such a meteoric takeover largely by sheer dumb luck. The movement’s core was in the oil-rich area of the Middle East; and in particular in the case of Saudi Arabia, it radicalized the region early and very effectively. Now, the House of Saud that governs there is forced to give them billions of dollars in assistance, and to help them expand their brand everywhere, just to keep themselves from being overthrown. And with those billions, the Wahabis have very cleverly created a media empire; on the internet and YouTube, and have subverted the leadership of most Muslim schools and a sizable percentage of Mosques.

    Now obviously, not all Wahabi Muslims are terrorists or violent killers, but they do create the kind of extremism that encourages that violence. They take every aspect of Muslim culture and belief and interpret it in the most reactionary and extreme way possible, encouraging the mindset of the fanatic. But they are not all of Islam. There are movements, hopelessly outnumbered, being outpaced (and needless to say outgunned) by the Wahabis, that are fighting to try to preserve the some of the original values in Islam itself (things like the duty of every Muslim to understand Islam through their own reasoning and ‘diligence’ or ijtihad, not by the blind adoption of dogma), or that are fighting for Western values being integrated into Islam, that are at present completely bereft of Western allies. This is unfortunate, because these anti-extremist Muslims, along with a great many Muslims throughout the world, love many of our Western values, and resent the religious extremists that have taken over their cultures and religion, that indoctrinate their youth and that impose their ideas on everyone else.

    Here’s the really big thing: just like the real threat to Western Civilization is not Muslim Terrorism but our own postmodernist rot, the real goal of the Wahabis is not to attack us, but to take over the Muslim world. Yes, they talk about ultimately spreading Islam to the entire planet, blah blah blah, but they can’t do that and even they know that’s just a pipe dream they use for propaganda to stir up the base. Their real goal is to take over the entirety of Muslim religion and culture. Even when they attack us, that’s their real goal. Even when they kill Westerners, it’s to manipulate the West into attacking them to get more Muslims radicalized. Again, as Salman Rushdie put it: we are the sideshow. The main event for Wahabism is what’s happening in the Muslim world. Ultimately, that means it’s a battle that Muslims in that world have to fight for themselves. But considering that those Muslims who value Western ideals and who oppose violent extremism in the Islamic world will be getting no help at all from our spineless post-modernist progressives, who would rather be ‘outraged’ about how a scientist who made a breakthrough in human space exploration was wearing a sexist shirt than about the brutalities that Muslim Extremists inflict on women and girls, it sure would be nice if the freethinking conservatives who value Western civil and human rights, liberties and ethics would recognize a potential ally when they see one, and stand up for those people who actually still believe in fighting and often dying for the principles that so many Westerners have willingly abandoned.

    Kasimir Urbanski doesn’t write on a specific subject; he’s EveryJoe’s resident maniac-at-large. A recovering Humanities academic and world-traveler, he now lives in South America and is a researcher of fringe religion, eastern philosophy, and esoteric consciousness-expansion. In his spare time he writes tabletop RPGs, and blogs about them at therpgpundit.blogspot.com.

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      • Kasimir Urbanski

        This guy here? An example of exactly the kind of Muslims I’m talking about who are trying to fight extremism in their own culture:

        http://www.everyjoe.com/2015/01/13/news/charlie-hebdo-rotterdam-mayor-aboutaleb-to-dutch-muslims-f-k-off/

        Unfortunately, both the dogmatic left and right alike want to pretend this guy doesn’t exist, for different reasons.

        • James

          The problem is they seem to never get anywhere or do anything other than talk quietly and ask people to play nice.

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          That guy got to be mayor of Rotterdam. And he wasn’t talking very quietly, he literally told extremist Muslims to go fuck themselves.

          Part of the reason that the ‘moderates’ in Islam seem to get nowhere is because they’re facing enormous opposition by an extremist movement that has a well-oiled propaganda machine and is funded by the Saudi state. But another reason, as I said in the article, is because they are abandoned by the West; no one in the west seems to want Muslims who fight against Extremism: not the right, because it ruins their delusions that ALL Islam itself is dangerous extremism that can have no possible redeeming faculties, and not the left, because it ruins their delusions that Islam can’t possibly be a religion with any problems because only western civilization can possibly be a source of evil to them.

      • Bordeaux Vixen

        I guess you know what they are all thinking and intending with their choices then?

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          Which “they” are you referring to?

      • ahabicher

        Meanwhile, we in the west use the extremist violence to erect surveillance states, pass autoritarian laws, and justify the militarization of our police forces.

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          There’s a point there, yes. I’m more worried about what we, in the west, do to damage our civilization than what Muslim Radicals can do. And the “we” includes people acting in response to acts of terrorism, be it States greedy for getting more control over it’s citizens (the recent ‘monitor every transmission’ proposal by the UK prime minister would, if it were even possible, be MUCH more harming to the freedoms and rights of the UK’s citizens than any terrorist attack could possibly cause).

      • A random internet troll

        The Afghanistan pictures are telling. One issue (that of cultural tolerance for the traditions of a people) gets very muddled given the extreme traditions are so recent. So this isn’t an issue of Western cultural imperialism, which is (I think) the worry that most on the left have (that we can reduce cultural diversity).

        I do think that free speech is a continuum, and that there are always going to be thresholds. Like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater or threatening somebody with violence (both forms of speech). The trick is to base these limits in some sort of rational rubric, and not based on what some people would prefer not to hear. The standard on the right these days (speech is bad if it hurts people’s feelings) could end up in the same spot if one isn’t careful.

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          The “hurts people’s feelings” thing is at least as prevalent in the left.

        • A random internet troll

          It may be, but it is more important on the right where it seems to be the point of infection, whereas it seems to be on of many issues on the left. In a sense, I think that the reason this issue looks so tough on the left is it is a lot less clear what would be an effective place to start.

        • James

          I have yet to deal with a person from the right all pissed off because of feelings. Its always been the left for me.

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          Yup. The right is more likely to use a “think of the children” argument, the left an “i have a right to not be uncomfortable” argument.

      • bishopneo

        Personally I’ve never understood the need for people to go to the extreme ends of the spectrum when defending/accusing… anything really.

        Is Islam a peaceful religion? No. But nether is Christianity.

        Is Islam nothing but a bunch of extremists who what to kill everyone? No, but there are some. Just as there are in Christianity.

        Almost every religion or divisive topic has zealots who are deaf dumb and blind to the opposite view. And there will always be those on the other side willing to paint everyone else with a very large brush.

        The truth is always somewhere in between.

        • Dean Collins

          There is a reason it’s “Piss Christ” and not “Piss Muḥammad”. There are no counterparts to Wahabis in Christianity. This false equivalency simply does nothing to help the situation.

        • bishopneo

          I would respectfully disagree. There are plenty of examples in history of Christian followers being extreme and trying to wipe out those that don’t believe as they to. They are also plenty of examples of those within the Christian faith being violent against others within Christianity because they believe something different.

          Either way, my original point was that people that go the extremes in their beliefs are almost always wrong. Neither the Extreme Left nor the Extreme Right are correct in their views about Islam specifically.

        • damian

          there are many examples throughout history of atrocities both small and large in scale committed by christians – the author however points out that these are becoming far less common and far smaller in scale in western christianity whilst the opposite is true in islam.

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          Yes, arguing “they (usually Christians) are just as bad!!” is a common way the left abandons Islam to the extremists.

        • Michael Bugg

          The difference, bishopneo, is that no Christian could ever claim that killing someone who insults their religion is something taught by Jesus Christ. That’s why the whole idea of protecting the freedom of speech and religion came out of the (at the time) Christian West–it’s simply “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you,” which is the very core of Chrsitian morality.

          Muslims who kill those who “insult” Allah or Mohamed, on the other hand, can point directly to the Quran and the A’hadith (traditions). Go read them for yourself if you don’t believe me.

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          You do know about Iconoclasm, right? And its history in Christianity? And just how many people were brutally killed, burned at the stake, etc., for having IMAGES of the Virgin or the Saints or Jesus on the Crucifix?
          All this again justified by pointing directly to the Old Testament Law, which was a big part of the Christian religion and used to justify all its social atrocities for a long, long time (or even now, in fact, though really the large-scale mainstream religions fundamentally turned away from that in the course of the Enlightenment).
          It was Enlightenment ideas about the inherent Rights of Man, and NOT Christianity, which was largely opposed to the Enlightenment as the anti-christian scheming of a bunch of Freemasons, Deists, Rosicrucians, Neo-Classicist Pagans, and Natural Philosophers, that led to our modern ideas about Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Conscience.
          There is no right to free expression in the historical Christian tradition. That’s why the WARS OF RELIGION happened, that’s what the Reformation was about, when Luther declared the “priesthood of all believers”, only later he sold out too, an we had to wait until Andreas called for it again in the 1600s as a rallying cry for a higher spiritual liberty against the despotic Protestants as much as the despotic Catholics.

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          God damnit don’t force me to start making the very arguments that I’m explaining are NOT THE POINT in this article.
          You are MISSING THE POINT, sir.

          Or maybe you’re not, maybe you don’t care because you’re really just another kind of collectivist for whom Freedom of Speech and the defense of the values of modern Western Civilization are not really the important thing to you, and fighting some medieval war of Extremists is?

        • Christy Golden

          Well written article. Thank You.

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          More accurately, while there are a tiny group of counterparts to wahabism in Christianity, they are completely marginalized and shrinking as a demographic, compared to Islam where they have managed to put themselves into a position of centrality, are subverting and eliminating competing denominations within the religion, and are growing through a combination of effective propaganda, appeals to populism, and infiltration of mosques and religious schools.

        • Shawn Smith

          Is Islam nothing but a bunch of extremists who what to kill everyone? No, but there are some. Just as there are in Christianity.

          Shitty moral equivalencies, the favorite tool of leftists.

          http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-beliefs-about-sharia/

          How many Christians do you know that favor making apostasy (leaving the faith) punishable by death? Because there is a very significant contingent of Muslims worldwide who think that.

      • FaerieGodfather

        As a heathen, I have a lot of “conservative” right-wing friends, and I get a lot of stupid Islamophobic crap in my news feed– about how Muslims can’t be good citizens of the US or other Western countries, about how we should play into the extremists’ hands by waging war as inhumanely and as dishonorably as possible against them.

        I hope this article gives them some food for thought.

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          I hope so!

        • Shawn Smith

          I’m just curious, have you ever heard the term “jizya”? Do you know what it means?

        • FaerieGodfather

          Yes, I’ve heard the term and I know what it means. What does that have to do with modern Muslims living in modern Western countries?

      • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

        Actually quite good. I never read an Urbanski article before. Most people don’t know what the Muslim world looked like before the Islamic Revival, fueled in large part by the Wahhabi lobby. Daniel Pipes likes to look back to those times to argue that moderate Islam is a possibility because it was a reality.

        Of the many good books on the Wahhabi influence, I recommend Dore Gold’s “Hatred’s Kingdom.” http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/2005/06/hatreds-kingdom.html

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          Glad to have caught your interest, Jason. Hope you’ll read on in the future!

      • Michael Bugg

        I agree with your main thrust. However, to argue that Islam is not inherently violent is to ignore what it says about itself in the Quran and the A’hadith (traditions). Yes, there have been (in many cases, very long) periods where Islamic nations rose above the origins of their faith and turned their civilizational vitality and confidence towards art, architecture, poetry, science, etc.

        However, even in those periods of peace and prosperity, the Muslims have still always called their founder “the Prophet of the Sword,” and with good reason. The “extremists” aren’t really extreme in that sense–a terrorist who kills in the name of Allah can rightly claim to only be following the example of Mohammed. (And please, before throwing insults at me, read up on the life of Mohammed.)

        I agree, most Muslims are non-violent. When I went on-tour in Israel, our bus driver was a Palestinian Muslim, and an absolutely wonderful guy. One of my friends has a boss who is also a Palestinian Muslim who only wants peace for his children–and not at the cost of genociding the Israelis. I’ve also got some Bosnian and African Muslim acquaintances, who I’ve enjoyed the company of. I certainly don’t think that they’re terrorists just waiting for their moment.

        But none of that changes the facts of Islam’s origin or doctrines, and we have to deal with those, not with what we wish Islam was.

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          This is as meaningless as the criticism some New Atheists (or indeed, some Muslim Apologists) make of Christianity by pointing to the brutalities in Bible, and Christian atrocities from ages past.

          Look, any institutional religion is going to be turned into a means of social and political control, by definition (since it no longer serves its original purpose as a mystery cult and only exists to propagate the power of the priest-class, usually by selling themselves out like whores to the ruling class). And that social control usually ends up manifesting as things that run directly against the core values of Western Enlightenment Civilization. That’s as true with Hinduism as with Christianity as with Islam, even Buddhism. Point to any institutional religion and I can show you all kinds of cases of corruption, abuses, violation of rights, oppression, religious warfare, and atrocities ironically committed in the name of god or peace or even Buddha. But those are “ordinary atrocities”. That’s stuff that’s just par with the course for major religions.
          And anytime you try to claim that the early Islamic conquests were somehow similar to what ISIS is doing now, you give aid and comfort to the enemy, and you end up distorting the history of everything along the way, and more importantly, paying attention to the wrong thing. What’s happening in Islam today is not just the ordinary crappiness of organized religion, its a religion in extremist meltdown.

          Saying “what we wish Islam was” as if there aren’t entirely internal Islamic movements and denominations RIGHT NOW that are tolerant, relatively peaceful and desperately fighting OUR ENEMIES as well as theirs, is ADDING to the problem. The ‘right thing’ to be looking at is how to best help those movements against the Wahabis.

        • Michael Bugg

          “Point to any institutional religion and I can show you all kinds of cases of corruption, abuses, violation of rights, oppression, religious warfare, and atrocities ironically committed in the name of god or peace or even Buddha.”

          Which doesn’t change the fact that all of the major religions have vastly different teachings on key elements. The question is not whether crimes have been committed in the name of both Christ and Mohammed, but whether those crimes are consistent with the original teachings. In Christianity, clearly not, and the abuses took centuries and the corruption of getting in bed with the state to develop. In Islam, those crimes–including murder, mutilation, and banditry for the express purpose of forcing the oppressed to convert–were built in from the very beginning.

          To lump all religions together in terms of teachings and root issues is a common form of bigotry, no different than saying “All blacks are like . . .(fill in the blank).”

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          In the earliest controversy we know about in Christianity, Paul was forced to flee for his life because other Christians wanted him killed for having argued against circumcision being a necessary pre-requisite to joining the faith.

          In Judaism, we’re taught that YHVH led the Israelites to the promised land, and they found it full of people, and the Lord ordered that the Israelites should slay every last one of them, and not spare any. And when they did spare a few, this caused them no end of troubles with YHVH.

          But again, it’s pretty much irrelevant; the point isn’t to have a contest of “which religion is more bloodthirsty”, or which has the dumbest origin story, or which Institutional Religion is more crappy (they’re all crappy, because they’re collectivist institutions).
          We don’t need to say “all religions are equally bad”, or compare history, what we need to do is recognize that RIGHT NOW there are far better and far worse elements of religion in Islam, it doesn’t matter why. Comparisons to Christianity in this are meaningless too, it DOESN’T MATTER.

          What matters is that there has been, is, and could be versions of Islam that would be much better for us to have than the violent, extremist and not-in-any-way-’original’ sect that has set itself up as the ‘fundamentalists’ and have been gaining power.

        • Shawn Smith

          In the earliest controversy we know about in Christianity, Paul was forced to flee for his life because other Christians wanted him killed for having argued against circumcision being a necessary pre-requisite to joining the faith.

          Where did you get this?

        • Kasimir Urbanski

          It’s the understood subtext of events in Acts 21-22.

        • Shawn Smith

          I must admit, I just reread that passage and, while it is not a necessary interpretation of the text, it is a plausible and honest one. It is at least as possible that the Jews who opposed Paul there were not Christians at all.

      • Ciarog

        Durkadurkas used to dress like us once? By Jove, they really are human! It must have been a golden age for their culture!

        (Meanwhile, Betty Friedman sees the same thing in the Faustian civilization and writes about how repressive and stifling it is.)

        To be sure, life amongst mid-20th century Magians was apparently pretty good if you were rich. I knew a British fellow who’s parents spent a lot of time traveling throughout North Africa and the Middle East. They were often invited to dinners and formal ceremonies (some even serving alcohol) alongside powerful political leaders and members of the host nation’s royal family. Most of this was pre-Nasser, and almost all of the countries they went to were absolute Monarchies. Free, open, intellectual absolute monarchies. Funny how that works isn’t it?

        Actually funny as in amusing but not funny as in odd. As I’ve been trying to say elsewhere, absolute freedom is only a good idea for a very small subset of humanity. Even the concept of people working together and building a society without being forced only seems to work in Northern Asia and Western Europe (historically uncommon/fleeting even there). Most people are perfectly happy with their chains; force them to be free and they’ll go crawling into an even darker dungeon than they were brought out of. The best you can hope out of them is a system that’ll keep the slaves in line while allowing the exceptional cases freedom to prosper.

        (One other point: Turkey has never really been Democratic. They have a benevolent military dictatorship that usually leaves the civilians alone to run their pretend-democracy, but they will launch the occasional coup if things get too out of hand; wouldn’t be surprised if we see one in a few more years. I ain’t even sure if Turkey is secular; more like an outwardly secular country filled with Muslims under the rule of a very weird cult of state worshippers who, of course, are in control of the military. I won’t say much about the Deep State except that if it can be said to exist then most democracies can be said to have something like it.)

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