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Islamophobia
August 28, 2011 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Fear Inc.: The Roots Of the Islamophobia Network In America.
posted by homunculus (87 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Right-Wing Foundations Behind Today’s Islamophobia Also Prop Up Anti-Gay Industry
posted by homunculus at 12:15 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Will no one rid me of these turbulent bigots?
posted by dunkadunc at 12:19 PM on August 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


Will no one rid me of these turbulent bigots?

Same as it ever was.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:27 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why am I not surprised to see Richard Mellon Scaife's name all over this? He's the guy funded the Arkansas Project that tried to take down Clinton in the '90s.
posted by octothorpe at 12:35 PM on August 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Right-Wing Foundations Behind Today’s Islamophobia Also Prop Up Anti-Gay Industry

Now there's a real shocker, eh?
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 12:42 PM on August 28, 2011


I'll tell you how this stuff gets spread around in my network: email FWDs from my extremely conservative (and wealthy) grandfather.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:44 PM on August 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait...you mean money is spent advocating a political opinion? And it comes from some people more than others?
posted by michaelh at 1:13 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


michaelh: "Wait...you mean money is spent advocating a political opinion? And it comes from some people more than others?"

It is in the interest of the rich and wealthy to keep us distracted and fighting amongst ourselves so we don't realize who the real enemy is and string them up from the nearest phone pole.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:19 PM on August 28, 2011 [18 favorites]


O... 5 persons getting millions to spread Islamophobia and all this for political gain... what a crazy planet we live in. And to what result? More trouble for normal people who have nothing to do with the political motives at all, more war, more lies and more violence. Guess these guys could have done much more interesting things with all this money?!
posted by TolkienLibrary at 1:19 PM on August 28, 2011


What I want to know is why we can't seem to get people to organize around things that really matter and would have a positive impact on society – things like education reform, campaign finance reform, healthcare, etc.

Probably because doing so doesn't serve the interests of incumbent power, and those of us down on the bottom who suffer the effects of these societal ills are too busy struggling to keep our heads above water to organize spontaneously. Thus we find ourselves susceptible to these kind of cynically-calculated divide-and-conquer attacks, factionating us and turning us against those who by right of common cause should truly be our allies.

Fucking depressing, I tell you.
posted by Scientist at 1:20 PM on August 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nothing new here. Funding of this sort is frequently done in the shadows. The Center for American Progress itself, funders of this hardly earth shattering study, is itself notoriously close mouthed about their funding sources.

(By the way, they also put out a report suggesting America should beef up our presence in Afghanistan.)
posted by IndigoJones at 1:20 PM on August 28, 2011


What amazes me is that it's so little money. $42 million? That's barely a dollar a bigot.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:25 PM on August 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


What amazes me is that it's so little money. $42 million? That's barely a dollar a bigot.

Nah, it takes much more effort, time, and money to create bigots. The paltry sums mentioned here are just to rile them up; that's the easy thing.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 1:34 PM on August 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


It is in the interest of the rich and wealthy to keep us distracted and fighting amongst ourselves so we don't realize who the real enemy is and string them up from the nearest phone pole.

I don't know if you want to kill these guys or stop reading politics on MeFi, but either way I like it.
posted by michaelh at 1:43 PM on August 28, 2011


And don't get them started on gay Muslims!
posted by Bromius at 1:48 PM on August 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nah, it takes much more effort, time, and money to create bigots.

Or as Earl Long once said about Louisiana legislators, "I don't buy 'em, I rent 'em! It's cheaper!"
posted by gimonca at 2:02 PM on August 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


As 9/11 Anniversary Approaches, a Call for Balance
posted by homunculus at 2:44 PM on August 28, 2011


Call me crazy but perhaps the "real enemy" of both Muslims and the USA are the ones who did this today.
posted by joannemullen at 3:12 PM on August 28, 2011


Call me crazy but perhaps the "real enemy" of both Muslims and the USA are the ones who did this today.

Can you explain what blowing up a mosque in Iraq has to do with being an enemy of USA? I mean it may very well be true that whoever did it isn't so happyabout the US government but why does blowing up a mosque in a completely foreign country get you on the USA enemies list?

Oh wait. Crazy. Carry on.
posted by ennui.bz at 3:35 PM on August 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Get all the islamophobic bigots together and ask for a show of hands for which of them have had a conversation with a Muslim in the last year.

Unfamiliarity and strangeness breeds fear, fear breeds hate.

Oh, and millions of dollars spent on fomenting fear and hate also breeds fear and hate. That too.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 3:59 PM on August 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


"And it all starts with the money flowing from a select group of foundations. A small group of foundations and wealthy donors are the lifeblood of the Islamophobia network"

Isn't this how things like the Ford Foundation and Time worked to fund CIA activities?
posted by marienbad at 4:06 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I lose track, which ones are the mulims again?
posted by the noob at 6:37 PM on August 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The Muslims" are those people who thought that ten thousand years worth of human history and education were worth saving, in the face of library burning, inquisition throwing, and liturgical beatdown bringing power mongering huns. Just sayin.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:48 PM on August 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


My apologies, beatdown bringing should be hyphenated.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:50 PM on August 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fareed Zakaria interview with Sharif El-Gamal, the real estate developer who came up with the idea for the Ground Zero mosque.
posted by homunculus at 7:59 PM on August 28, 2011


Hey, what's wrong with the Huns? Those guys were great.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:22 PM on August 28, 2011


/.,M `
posted by ShooBoo at 10:29 PM on August 28, 2011


Divide and conquer.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:01 AM on August 29, 2011


Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed´s "A User’s guide to the Crisis of Civilisation" offers an interesting analysis of the root´s roots, so to speak. The political authorities have had to find some mechanism for going beyond normal security measures allowed for (and limited by) the rule of law, to the set of extra-legal activities which must take place beyond public scrutiny and accountability, and will shortly be required for maintaining public order. Demonising Muslims has a long and proud tradition in Western/Christian relations. It´s easy to construct from that a ´threat´ from which we much be ´protected´, through the introduction of Presidential powers to invoke martial law, the suspension of posse commitatus, Halliburton´s delightful Project Endgame, withdrawal of US troops to US soil, introduction and regular practice of military city lockdown procedures, etc. Unthinkable even 10 years ago, impossible to justify legally or constitutionally absent an external ´threat´, and all jolly handy when the peasants start revolting. Have a safe day.
posted by falcon at 7:34 AM on August 29, 2011


"The Muslims" are those people who thought that ten thousand years worth of human history and education were worth saving, in the face of library burning, inquisition throwing, and liturgical beatdown bringing power mongering huns. Just sayin.

They haven't espoused that philosophy for centuries now. In fact, they haven't even been as intellectually enlightened as you portray them for the majority of Islamic civilization (which can hardly be called "civilization" today). Their sudden change of attitude is largely attributable to them eagerly falling for al-Ghazali's anti-intellectual wankery.

The amusing thing about this is that there is no need for a concerted campaign to demonize Islam. The religion makes a mockery of itself through the outrageous acts of its "moderate" followers. See the Pew Global Survey of public opinion in countries with Muslim majorities, as well the thuggery of European "moderates" who infiltrated a lecture by Lars Vilks at Uppsala University in Sweden. These results are terrifying.
posted by identitymap at 10:24 AM on August 29, 2011


The religion makes a mockery of itself through the outrageous acts of its "moderate" followers. See the Pew Global Survey of public opinion in countries with Muslim majorities, as well the thuggery of European "moderates" who infiltrated a lecture by Lars Vilks at Uppsala University in Sweden. These results are terrifying.

Finesse that, Mefites.
posted by etherist at 10:30 AM on August 29, 2011


I'll finesse that as soon as I can Google an important-sounding opposing viewpoint to paste into the comment thread.
posted by phong3d at 11:34 AM on August 29, 2011


They haven't espoused that philosophy for centuries now. In fact, they haven't even been as intellectually enlightened as you portray them for the majority of Islamic civilization (which can hardly be called "civilization" today). Their sudden change of attitude is largely attributable to them eagerly falling for al-Ghazali's anti-intellectual wankery.

It's weird... it's like as soon as European crusades and imperialism came through burning, destroying, conquering and occupying the major areas, their cultural growth came to a screeching halt. And then, a few hundred years later, when the occupying forces were coerced into releasing their grip somewhat, these populaces had the GALL to actually be angry and resentful at those same Western and European forces! Fucking random, lemme tell ya.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:38 PM on August 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's weird... it's like as soon as European crusades and imperialism came through burning, destroying, conquering and occupying the major areas, their cultural growth came to a screeching halt.

This borders on historical revisionism. The crusades, while militarily and economically draining, were in the grand scheme of things just one of many conflicts faced by the Abbasid caliphates. Prolonged warfare with the Mongols was what ultimately hastened their downfall.

Secondly, the caliphates of Islam's "Golden Age" had many of their own excursions in conquering and plundering. Islam didn't spread outward from present-day Saudi Arabia because kafirs were awestruck by its "beauty". They were told to either submit or part with their heads.

Thirdly, moderate Islam's regression has accelerated significantly only over the past 60-80 years. The Islamic intellectual environment showed large geographical variation after the downfall of the Abbasids. For example, the Ottoman empire underwent a brief period of modernization before ultimately ending in the early 1900s. Assclowns like the Wahabbis and folks inspired by Sayyid Qutb made matters a lot worse with their fundamentalist ideologies (elements of which have infected moderate Islam in varying degrees, depending once again on the country and the ethnic group).
posted by identitymap at 2:16 PM on August 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can you explain what blowing up a mosque in Iraq has to do with being an enemy of USA? I mean it may very well be true that whoever did it isn't so happyabout the US government but why does blowing up a mosque in a completely foreign country get you on the USA enemies list?

Could it be that the USA is trying to establish peace in a fledgling democracy, and terrorist groups in that country have a long history of deliberately bombing mosques and other places with high population density in order to (a) kill apostates (Shia/Sunni/Kurd) (b) interfere with the USA's remaining objectives? Nah, perish the thought. Westerners are and always have been blood-thirsty monsters who get their jollies by murdering brown people. Everything is the West's fault.
posted by identitymap at 2:32 PM on August 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Finesse that, Mefites.

For one thing, it's pretty clear that British muslims are lying or see themselves as immoral because it is impossible to me that none of them are homosexual and/or 97% of them haven't had sex before getting married. It makes you wonder who they were asking these questions.
posted by Hoopo at 4:25 PM on August 29, 2011


It is in the interest of the rich and wealthy to keep us distracted and fighting amongst ourselves so we don't realize who the real enemy is and string them up from the nearest phone pole.

I hear ya, but I'm going to go with "sometimes people who are born into/work to obtain significant money, power and influence are just as bigoted and socially ignorant as other people; their money, power and influence just allow their bigotry and ignorance to be disseminated far and wide."

also known as the "money doesn't cure stupidity" theory
posted by davejay at 4:28 PM on August 29, 2011


Could it be that the USA is trying to establish peace in a fledgling democracy

That seems a little naive.
posted by Hoopo at 4:38 PM on August 29, 2011


For one thing, it's pretty clear that British muslims are lying or see themselves as immoral because it is impossible to me that none of them are homosexual and/or 97% of them haven't had sex before getting married.

Clear indeed. This is a textbook example of argument from personal incredulity. Have you never heard of self-loathing homosexuals? Are there no gay/lesbian Muslims who struggle to reconcile their true nature with the bigoted, repressive edicts of of a schizophrenic madman?

That seems a little naive.

Apparently it's naïveté to think that a country that has been looking for an exit strategy since 2003 would benefit from a peaceful Iraq (so they can get the hell out). Apparently it's more plausible to believe that Washington has been taken over by a cabal of movie villains who cackle "die brownies die!" before personally dropping bombs on civilians. Just for the lulz.
posted by identitymap at 6:15 PM on August 29, 2011


Identitymap, since you've clearly done your homework on this, maybe you could answer a question:

If Islam is indeed so obviously incorrect, why is it necessary for Americans to spend millions of dollars on paranoid, hateful propaganda? I may be mistaken that there is more sophisticated propaganda educational material out there, but I haven't seen it.
posted by sneebler at 8:51 PM on August 29, 2011


If Islam is indeed so obviously incorrect, why is it necessary for Americans to spend millions of dollars on paranoid, hateful propaganda?

I highly doubt that the financiers of this campaign are as homogenous a group as the MeFi hivemind thinks. They are probably comprised of three large groups:

1) Wealthy, conservative culture-warriors who genuinely believe all that fire & brimstone nonsense. I think this is the smallest group.

2) The well-to-do who have a symbiotic relationship with the GOP but couldn't care less about Islam. These folks know about the average American Christian's susceptibility to fear/distrust of other religions. This makes it very easy for them to use Islam as a political hot-button that they can use to bolster political support. It might not be the single election-winning issue, but it surely helps a lot. Reassure fearful conservatives, acquire the bully pulpit. See GWB and abortion for an analogy.

3) The unwitting moneybags who merely invest in PACs and think tanks, and are only interested in the general results produced, not the methods used.

They could also believe that the MeFi's farcical White Guilt is unsettlingly pervasive.

To say that Islam is "incorrect" is an awkward understatement. It's incorrect in much the same way that Aesop's fables are "incorrect" - perhaps more, as even talking foxes are more believable than Islam's official narrative. The notion that an all-powerful being chose to convey his final word to an illiterate goat herder through a metaphysical deity is absurd enough. Then add the fact that said goat herder had to seek someone who could record the voices in his head in written form (curiously enough, the voices stopped only with the goat herder's death - sound like schizophrenia yet?). But wait. Not all of God's word could be captured in time. An entire tome of instructions were transmitted orally for a couple of centuries before finally being inked. Hence much of the stuff in Islam's holy books went through anywhere between 2-20 middlemen. Strangely enough, God didn't have the foresight to tell his chosen prophet "hey dude, raping 9-year-old girls is bad, mmkay?". And this is supposed to be His final word, conveyed through the final prophet.



Your phrasing suggests that you subscribe to the view "nefarious group X hates Y, therefore ~Y must be true". Hitler hated incompetence, therefore incompetence is a virtue.
posted by identitymap at 8:41 AM on August 30, 2011


On a related note, it never fails to amuse me how most MeFites, who are rightfully supportive of gender equality and gay rights, scramble to white knight for a religion that prescribes dogmatic inequality between the sexes (inheritance laws, polygamy, punishment for disobeying parents, etc.) and explicitly states that homosexuals should be thrown off high cliffs.
posted by identitymap at 8:48 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Apparently it's more plausible to believe that Washington has been taken over by a cabal of movie villains who cackle "die brownies die!

Bringing the "fledgling democracy" nonsense into it plays into the narrative written on the fly by the Bush government after "but Iraq has Ebola guns pointed at your children!!1!1!" didn't pan out. Democracy has nothing to do with it. Democracy is incidental. Peace is incidental. It is naive to think that the US has anything but its own interests in mind in Iraq.

Nice job on the whole though, identitymap. Your approach really lends your arguments that "frothing-at-the-mouth bigot" quality that people find so convincing. Your iconoclastic take-down of the literal veracity of a religious text is certainly anathema here on Metafilter, and I for one find it refreshing. It was about time someone finally stood up to the pro-fundie bullies on this site, and I am in awe of your bravery.
posted by Hoopo at 9:50 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bringing the "fledgling democracy" nonsense into it plays into the narrative written on the fly by the Bush government after "but Iraq has Ebola guns pointed at your children!!1!1!" didn't pan out. Democracy has nothing to do with it.

You're addressing something unrelated to my original point. I never claimed that "spreading democracy" was anything other than a pretext for the invasion. However, maintaining a peaceful environment is currently a prerequisite for full withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. Unless you're claiming that Obama's Iraq policy is identical to Bush's, all evidence points toward the idea that the US wants peace in that country (primarily for its own purposes).

Your approach really lends your arguments that "frothing-at-the-mouth bigot" quality that people find so convincing.

The scorn. It's like I've slaughtered a sacred cow or something.

Your iconoclastic take-down of the literal veracity of a religious text is certainly anathema here on Metafilter, and I for one find it refreshing.

And you've conveniently ignored my references (two of which were statistical) to instances of purported "moderates" being anything but. Highlighting the literal absurdity was just icing on the cake.
posted by identitymap at 10:35 AM on August 30, 2011


Can you explain what blowing up a mosque in Iraq has to do with being an enemy of USA?

Report: Next Terrorist Attack Might Come From… Iraq
posted by homunculus at 11:22 AM on August 30, 2011


identitymap, are you Eric Raymond?
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:27 AM on August 30, 2011


I retract the question. (I read some of your stuff more carefully and I no longer think it's a possibility.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:37 AM on August 30, 2011


However, maintaining a peaceful environment is currently a prerequisite for full withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.

No it's not. The US-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement is pretty clear that it's a set date.

And you've conveniently ignored my references (two of which were statistical) to instances of purported "moderates" being anything but

I haven't ignored them. I don't believe that a telephone poll is all that's required to prove your assertion that there are no Muslim moderates.
posted by Hoopo at 11:47 AM on August 30, 2011


Muslim Americans 'Overwhelmingly' Satisfied With Their Lives, Poll Finds

Muslim Americans: No Signs of Growth in Alienation or Support for Extremism
posted by homunculus at 12:32 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I haven't ignored them. I don't believe that a telephone poll is all that's required to prove your assertion that there are no Muslim moderates.

Haters gonna hate, brother.
posted by NoMich at 12:40 PM on August 30, 2011


(ugh, all meaning got lost there. sorry. nevermind me.)
posted by NoMich at 12:41 PM on August 30, 2011


King: Muslim poll 'very disappointing'
posted by homunculus at 12:42 PM on August 30, 2011


King: Muslim poll 'very disappointing'

“I’ve always said that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are good Americans [but] I’m concerned that only 43 percent of Muslims see anti-terrorism programs are ‘sincere’. I don’t know what world they’re living in… it’s very disappointing,” King said.

Yeah, maybe because your hypocritical hearings are a transparent farce, and when all available evidence tells you that your BS isn't flying in the community whose goodwill you need and hope to engender, you brush it off with "Some people just want to be perpetual victims.”

What a fucking tone-deaf prick.
posted by Amanojaku at 12:59 PM on August 30, 2011


identitymap, did you join Metafilter just to illustrate your disdain for the community?
posted by krinklyfig at 4:13 PM on August 30, 2011


9/11 Coloring Book Draws Criticism for Portrayal of Muslims
posted by homunculus at 4:22 PM on August 30, 2011


identitymap, thanks for trying to answer my question so directly.

Sorry about the word "incorrect" - I vacillated between that and "wrong" or "self-defeating", and in the end tiredness won out.

"Your phrasing suggests that you subscribe to the view "nefarious group X hates Y, therefore ~Y must be true". Hitler hated incompetence, therefore incompetence is a virtue."

Your innuendo suggests that careless assumptions will prevent productive dialog.
posted by sneebler at 5:48 PM on August 30, 2011


I don't believe that a telephone poll is all that's required to prove your assertion that there are no Muslim moderates.

Of course you don't. You wouldn't have questioned the veracity of telephone polling if it didn't produce results that conflicted with your preconceived notions of Islam being a fluffy bunny religion.

FTFA:
The Gallup poll features the results of telephone and face-to-face interviews with Muslims and non-Muslims in the UK, France and Germany and is designed to measure global attitudes towards people from different faith traditions.

Emphasis mine.

Lastly, I never asserted that "there are no Muslim moderates". That assertion is not just a theoretical absurdity. It also flies in the face of my personal experience (and statistical evidence of the kind I've referenced in this thread). That same link shows that French Muslims are far less dogmatic than their British and German counterparts, with 35% of respondents finding homosexual acts acceptable.

My assertion was that simply condemning terrorism does not a moderate make. Braying for the blood of suspected apostates, as many so-called moderate Muslims in Pakistan do, does not make one a moderate (see the whole Salman Taseer affair). Taking up arms against one's country in an attempt to secede and form an Islamic state unto itself does not make one a moderate (Kashmir), nor does supporting those who do. I'm attacking the classification criteria, not the assertion "there exist moderate Muslims".

"Some of my best friends are Muslim"
posted by identitymap at 5:49 PM on August 30, 2011


identitymap, did you join Metafilter just to illustrate your disdain for the community?

Hardly. I didn't fork out $5 USD to troll you folks. MeFi remains the best source for eclectic, intellectually stimulating content. It's just that the hivemind can have its head up its collective ass on certain topics. My comments in this thread should not be taken to mean that I'm a teabagger or even a social conservative (quite the contrary).

Your innuendo suggests that careless assumptions will prevent productive dialog.

My apologies. I read snark where there wasn't any.
posted by identitymap at 5:55 PM on August 30, 2011


Of course you don't. You wouldn't have questioned the veracity of telephone polling if it didn't produce results that conflicted with your preconceived notions of Islam being a fluffy bunny religion.

Having tackled that straw man, it's still worth questioning whether political money is spent well if it's spent attacking a major world religion dominant in regions where we're currently at war. It smacks of the type of racist and jingoist propaganda prevalent during our previous conflicts. I honestly thought it had died out with my grandparents' generation, but clearly people exist who are intent on defending and carrying on that kind of dishonorable tradition.

It's just that the hivemind can have its head up its collective ass on certain topics.

Maybe it's that you characterize this place as a "hivemind" and seem intent on antagonizing people instead of engaging them. Anyway, aside from one AskMe thread your comments appear only in this thread since you joined.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:59 PM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's that you characterize this place as a "hivemind" and seem intent on antagonizing people instead of engaging them.

The term "hivemind" is a term of endearment, used by many other MeFites in the past. You'll find quite a few questions over at AskMeFi phrased as "asking the hivemind, ...".
posted by identitymap at 6:23 PM on August 30, 2011


identitymap, I've been here since 2002. Maybe the term "hivemind" with its "head up its collective ass" is a term of endearment. Maybe there are yet other approaches you could take which would be more productive and less endearing. I'll drop it. Not really important.

But I still don't think this sort of propaganda which you vehemently defend is at all productive to our stated goals. You don't win over a population by characterizing their religion the way you do. I don't think that's going to win hearts and minds in regions dominated by Islam, which is the real battle we're waging these days, not a battle of whose religion is best.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:45 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


But I still don't think this sort of propaganda which you vehemently defend is at all productive to our stated goals.

I don't defend it. I despise it as much as you do. I think it's a shame that the opinions of the populace are being shaped by propagandists, rather than the reality of the situation (which, as I've pointed out, isn't as rosy as Metafilter comments threads would have you believe). For the record, I don't think that Islam poses a mortal danger to the USA.

You don't win over a population by characterizing their religion the way you do.

I'm holding up a mirror for that population. I've taken great care to present facts and tried to limit my editorialism to the religion's official narrative (which I find absurd and intellectually stultifying). Pardon me for not subscribing to the notion that religions deserve special immunity from polemic.

I don't think that's going to win hearts and minds in regions dominated by Islam, which is the real battle we're waging these days, not a battle of whose religion is best.

The Western Left has tried for decades to win the hearts and minds of Muslims around the world. We have engaged in self-censorship to refrain from offending them. That didn't work. If winning their hearts and minds comes at the cost of giving up the freedoms that have been essential to Western intellectual progress, then I'll take the latter. Ultimately they must realize that non-Muslims drawing their prophet as cartoons are undeniably protected by the principle of free speech. (Attempted) Murder is never a reasonable response to perceived offence (Theo van Gogh, Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Kurt Westergaard, Lars Vilks, and the list goes on). Never mind burning foreign embassies. Or killing UN peacekeepers who look white.
posted by identitymap at 7:39 PM on August 30, 2011


The Western Left has tried for decades to win the hearts and minds of Muslims around the world.

Opinions differ. We've been engaged in coups and numerous military actions in countries dominated by Islam since the 1950s. We say be like us, but we give them few options. It's really about Realpolitik.

If winning their hearts and minds comes at the cost of giving up the freedoms that have been essential to Western intellectual progress, then I'll take the latter.

Hobson's choice.

Ultimately they must realize that non-Muslims drawing their prophet as cartoons are undeniably protected by the principle of free speech.

At some point we have to consider that people like that are found in Western culture as well and do not speak for the whole.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:22 PM on August 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course you don't. You wouldn't have questioned the veracity of telephone polling if it didn't produce results that conflicted with your preconceived notions of Islam being a fluffy bunny religion

I don't place a great deal of value in opinion polls in general, especially as reported in the news. A brief look at the report shows they have set these figures up as "Muslims vs Public". "Public" is a pretty large umbrella, presumably including pastafarians. The same survey finds that only 29% of people in the UK, 25% of people in France, 45% of people in Canada, and 67% of people in the US consider religion an important part of their daily life. If you were to make a specific category for Southern Baptists, Mormons, and Catholics, you might find similar attitudes towards the morality of homosexuality as you would with a Muslim group. The survey doesn't do that. BTW, Only 58% of the British public think homosexual acts are morally acceptable despite the fact that most identify with no particular religion. Assuming there is no middle ground, 42% of British public think in line with British Muslims on this question, which unfortunately hardly makes it an extreme position. THAT's terrifying.

To me the most disturbing thing the polls show is the distrust of Muslims among the public, and the exact opposite in the Muslim populations. How the public preferred to be in neighbourhoods that weren't ethnically or religiously mixed. The anger the public feels compared to the Muslim population. That didn't come up much in the news, but it might explain the spin that was put on this survey.

Anyways, I don't think you read it. Fluffy bunnies.

My assertion was that simply condemning terrorism does not a moderate make. Braying for the blood of suspected apostates, as many so-called moderate Muslims in Pakistan do, does not make one a moderate (see the whole Salman Taseer affair). Taking up arms against one's country in an attempt to secede and form an Islamic state unto itself does not make one a moderate (Kashmir), nor does supporting those who do. I'm attacking the classification criteria, not the assertion "there exist moderate Muslims".

So you've come in here, guns blazing, to make the point that violent fundamentalist Muslims are not moderate Muslims? And it took you that long?
posted by Hoopo at 10:31 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm holding up a mirror for that population.

For the record? You're really not.
posted by Amanojaku at 9:11 AM on August 31, 2011


We've been engaged in coups and numerous military actions in countries dominated by Islam since the 1950s.

As have other countries with Muslim majorities (notably, Saudi Arabia and Iran).

At some point we have to consider that people like that are found in Western culture as well and do not speak for the whole.

The Middle East and South Asia produce dozens of McVeighs every week. Regardless, it wouldn't benefit this discussion to degenerate into a game of who produces more nutcase terrorists. You're comparing two lone terrorists acting independently with thousands of violent protesters in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Attacks on the aforementioned foreign embassies were committed by huge mobs of enraged Muslims. That's more akin to Jim Crow-era lynchings.

Did you really equate book-burning with mass murder? How is Terry Jones even remotely in the same category as McVeigh and Breivik?

If you were to make a specific category for Southern Baptists, Mormons, and Catholics, you might find similar attitudes towards the morality of homosexuality as you would with a Muslim group.

Two issues. First, why do that? The term "Muslim" is as much an umbrella term as are "Christian" and "Jew". Islam has numerous sects within itself. Second, I'm well aware that homophobia is institutionalized amongst Southern Baptists, Roman Catholics and Mormons. So what? Homophobia is homophobia. It's distasteful no matter which group expresses it. This amounts to nothing more than "b-b-but Christians", and seems like an attempt to normalize Muslim homophobia. In any case, there is an enormous difference between 58% of the general population (which includes Muslims) and so small a percentage of Muslims that it doesn't even show up in a survey of sample size 500.

And you've conveniently ignored the self-segregation of many Muslims in the UK and Europe. That's another topic for another debate, but suffice to say that not all Muslims in Europe are clamouring to live amongst dhimmis and kafirs (e.g. the Banlieux of Paris, various "no go zones" in other countries, etc.).

So you've come in here, guns blazing, to make the point that violent fundamentalist Muslims are not moderate Muslims?

Resorting to intentional obtuseness now, are we?
posted by identitymap at 10:32 AM on August 31, 2011


We've been engaged in coups and numerous military actions in countries dominated by Islam since the 1950s.

As have other countries with Muslim majorities (notably, Saudi Arabia and Iran).

...

It's distasteful no matter which group expresses it. This amounts to nothing more than "b-b-but Christians"


Granting the difference between religious groups and political entities, I find the cognitive dissonance here amusing.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:46 AM on August 31, 2011


And you've conveniently ignored the self-segregation of many Muslims in the UK and Europe.

The survey hasn't though, and is at odds with your view, unless you're going to pick from it where it's convenient for you and ignore other portions that don't support your prejudice. You should really read it before throwing it around as evidence. The "isolated" category of the general public is higher than the "isolated" category in the Muslim category across the board.

Two issues. First, why do that?

Why? because Islam is a religion. If you're going to isolate a group for scrutiny on religious grounds, then perhaps you should be comparing it to other religious groups rather than the general public observed to be largely non-religious. Isolating a religious group from the general public will skew results towards the tenets of those religions. Insofar as homosexuality is frowned on by those religions, the attitudes of people who identify themselves as belonging to that religion will also frown on it. Christianity was an example I used because I'm familiar with it and the texts are anti-homosexual, there was no "b-b-b-ut", and I in fact used the example of 42% of the general, largely non-religious British public to illustrate that homophobia is widespread in Britain and far from fringe in general. "b-b-but it's bad, and THEY do it!" is not cutting it here.


Resorting to intentional obtuseness now, are we?

no.
posted by Hoopo at 11:19 AM on August 31, 2011


58% of the general population (which includes Muslims)

I'd also point out that under 3% of the general public is Muslim in England. 3% is the margin of error for the poll, so it's not as though it's having a huge effect on the numbers. Now the survey results also explain that Muslims are more religious than the general public, i.e. they consider religion an important part of their everyday lives. So it wouldn't be wrong for you to point out that a lot of Christians don't believe or practice what's in the Bible as regularly as Muslims do the Koran or Haddith or whatever. This might have the effect that Christians personally believe that homosexual acts are acceptable despite the teachings of the Church beyond what Muslims do. However the wording of the survey is clear that it's personal beliefs we're talking about. They have placed emphasis on those words. Personal beliefs like these do not always translate into what policies a person supports for everyone, and could reflect privately held values. My own Catholic step-family is of the "marriage is between a man and a woman" variety, and yet respect the fact that our country has chosen to honor same-sex marriage. While I find their views on homosexuality repugnant, they have the right to have repugnant views provided they don't infringe on the rights and freedoms of others. That's kinda how things work here.
posted by Hoopo at 12:58 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


As have other countries with Muslim majorities (notably, Saudi Arabia and Iran).

We deposed Mohammad Mosaddegh, the elected PM of Iran, in 1953 and installed the constitutional monarch as the authoritarian Shah. Iran nationalized their oil services in 1951, which previously had been controlled by a British oil company. The coup was orchestrated by the British and US intelligence services. Ever since then, Iran has been under an authoritarian regime, first a monarch and then fundamentalist militant regime after a populist revolt in 1979. The Saudi royals are in power in large part due to the support of the US and its allies, without whom the Arab Spring likely would have swept aside, if not previous. This stuff doesn't happen in a vacuum.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:15 PM on September 1, 2011


Pehlavi's SAVAK engaged in some pretty brutal things with the unofficial blessing of the CIA, but it was ultimately the people of Iran themselves who installed a theocracy in his place. They thought a return to "Islamic values" would rid their country of Western puppets and get rid of Pehlavi's iron-fisted rule. Instead, they deposed one dictator for a far worse hierarchy of pious despots. Going by the results of the 2009 presidential election, it seems as if the majority of Iranians have had enough of the current bastards but are unable to overthrow them.

Lest readers think that Realpolitik is exclusively the domain of Western governments, it should be noted that every single empire or global power has done the same in the past. The Romans did it, the Mongols did it, as did the Islamic caliphates, the Ottoman Empire, the British, etc. This doesn't justify it, but it strongly suggests that it is a natural consequence of political power.

Meanwhile, Iran continues to exert considerable influence in the Middle East, and wealthy Saudis continue to bankroll terrorist groups in AfPak and elsewhere. They are also employing more covert means - their very own "soft power", if you will.
posted by identitymap at 7:37 PM on September 1, 2011


Pehlavi's SAVAK engaged in some pretty brutal things with the unofficial blessing of the CIA, but it was ultimately the people of Iran themselves who installed a theocracy in his place.

True, but such an overthrow given their situation is hardly unexpected. It's a rejection of the value system imposed on them. I'm not suggesting it was better, but you can't lay the blame of these societal reactions flatly at the feet of a religion. That's simplistic and naive, jingoistic even. What they wanted was autonomy, which we refused to let them have once it became contrary to our interests, completely aside from any notions of democracy. It's not hard to see why they wouldn't want to follow in the footsteps of the so-called Enlightened West, the people who forced authoritarian rule on them when they did have a functioning democracy. Their culture is far older than our own, even though ours has been wealthier in recent days. This is not a permanent condition.

Lest readers think that Realpolitik is exclusively the domain of Western governments, it should be noted that every single empire or global power has done the same in the past. The Romans did it, the Mongols did it, as did the Islamic caliphates, the Ottoman Empire, the British, etc. This doesn't justify it, but it strongly suggests that it is a natural consequence of political power.

That may be true. Even so, this conversation started because you specifically singled out Islam for scorn. I don't have much good to say about organized religion in general, but I am not sure it's at all useful to try to portray a culture as savage in an effort to defend our own culture and resultant policies.

Have you seen any of Terry Jones' historical Barbarians, from the BBC historical television series? It's excellent. It focuses on the Roman Empire, but as you mention in the tradition of Realpolitik, empires throughout history have nearly always tried to portray themselves as enlightened and the people they conquer as savages, even though it was usually propaganda of its day and often flatly untrue, objectively speaking. It's a good idea to be objective when listening to the same kind of talk coming from our present day empires, or when engaging in it.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:09 PM on September 1, 2011


Even so, this conversation started because you specifically singled out Islam for scorn. I don't have much good to say about organized religion in general, but I am not sure it's at all useful to try to portray a culture as savage in an effort to defend our own culture and resultant policies.

I didn't "single out" Islam. This is a thread about Islam, which is why I limited my attention to it. Christian (or any other group's) bigotry and violence is largely irrelevant to the topic at hand except perhaps to draw historical comparisons. Also, I'm certainly not portraying a culture as savage in order to defend Western culture or its past activities in the Middle East. The West has supported dictatorships to further its own interest. That's patently obvious. But savage is as savage does. Killing those who criticize blasphemy laws, killing foreign peacekeepers because some troll burned a book halfway across the world, censoring the Internet because some guy created a Facebook page mocking a "prophet", and putting homosexuals to death is pretty fucking savage. No, not all Muslims condone these things, but disconcertingly large swaths of them in other countries do.
posted by identitymap at 1:22 PM on September 2, 2011


But savage is as savage does. Killing those who criticize blasphemy laws, killing foreign peacekeepers because some troll burned a book halfway across the world, censoring the Internet because some guy created a Facebook page mocking a "prophet", and putting homosexuals to death is pretty fucking savage.

How many Muslims engage in these practices or condone them in comparison to the complete number of adherents?

No, not all Muslims condone these things, but disconcertingly large swaths of them in other countries do.

Savage is as savage does ...

How many Iraqi people died since our invasion?

You have a score card to tally who is the superior culture, obviously. When the score is the sheer number of deaths, who is more savage? Feel free to consider that a rhetorical question.

You have already come to a conclusion and are just trying to evangelize. You look at every incident as if it were a reflection of the whole. Tit for tat. This conversation can go on like this forever, just like the endless wars we humans fight with each other, keeping score. I'm saying step outside the box you live in and look at the big picture.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:36 PM on September 2, 2011


Muslim and American: Living under the shadow of 9/11
posted by homunculus at 6:41 PM on September 2, 2011


How many Muslims engage in these practices or condone them in comparison to the complete number of adherents?

See here (a link I merely referred to earlier). Especially note the section "Support for Severe Punishments". Pakistan, a country of 170 million people of which 97% are Muslim, is a complete basket-case. Minorities live in constant terror due to pervasive intolerance. The governor of a large state was recently assassinated in broad daylight for merely voicing his opinion that the country's anti-blasphemy law is antithetical to a free democracy. His assassin received overwhelming support from all strata of Pakistani society, from villagers to the university educated elite. The former governor's son was kidnapped last week over the same issue. Shahbaz Bhatti was the Federal Minister of Minorities until being assassinated for - wait for it - blasphemy. The reactions from prominent Muslims were absolutely galling.

And that's just one country.
posted by identitymap at 7:36 PM on September 2, 2011


Correction: the reactions from some prominent Muslims were galling. And that has been my assertion throughout this thread. All I'm saying is that the "some" in this case is actually quite a large number.
posted by identitymap at 7:57 PM on September 2, 2011


Correction: the reactions from some prominent Muslims were galling. And that has been my assertion throughout this thread. All I'm saying is that the "some" in this case is actually quite a large number.

Is this conversation helping to improve the situation? I don't think so. Maybe we should spend our time doing something productive which will help bring about positive change, rather than simply condemning people.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:11 AM on September 3, 2011


I completely agree. However the first step is getting people to acknowledge that there is a problem.
posted by identitymap at 8:34 AM on September 3, 2011


Poll: Two-Thirds Of Republicans, Tea Partiers And Fox News Viewers Think Islam Is Incompatible With American Values
posted by homunculus at 10:55 PM on September 6, 2011


This would be one instance of a broken clock being right twice a day. If "American values" are taken to include separation of Church & State and equal rights regardless of religious affiliation, gender and sexual orientation*, then Islam is most definitely incompatible with these values. It takes a very syncretic interpretation of Islam's foundational texts to achieve compatibility, as they emphasize in no uncertain terms the importance of the religion in political governance, the ways in which men & women are unquestionably unequal and the rights that are to be granted to non-Muslims living in an Islamic state (which is promoted).

* Yes, I know, only some states have been enlightened enough to implement this as law
posted by identitymap at 7:05 PM on September 7, 2011


There are some interesting vaguely related links about the Kevin William Harpham bombing over here and here. My favorites being this and :

After Right-Wing Pressure, DHS Now Has ‘Just One Person’ Dealing With Domestic Terrorism
posted by jeffburdges at 7:35 AM on September 8, 2011


Allen West Brings 'Ground Zero Mosque' Controversy Out Of Hibernation
posted by homunculus at 1:05 PM on September 8, 2011


My Take: Muslims should stop apologizing for 9/11
posted by homunculus at 1:17 PM on September 8, 2011


Unlike Islamic Terrorists, Neo-Nazi Terrorists Don’t Get Life Sentences
posted by homunculus at 6:08 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


New York GOP Exploits 9/11 Anniversary, Sends Islamophobic Mailer To Voters In NY Special Election
posted by homunculus at 1:35 PM on September 11, 2011


FBI Teaches Agents: ‘Mainstream’ Muslims Are ‘Violent, Radical’
posted by homunculus at 8:08 PM on September 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


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