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Glenn Greenwald makes the point that the “mosque” debate is not a distraction

A few days ago, I said I wasn’t going to talk about the Park51 Islamic cultural center (aka the “Ground Zero Mosque”), because it was being used as a distraction by the Republican party. But Glenn Greenwald makes the point that this has grown far beyond a simple distraction, and is showcasing growing American religious intolerance, hatred of “the other”, and Islamophobia.

The main evidence? A anti-mosque rally held yesterday in Manhattan, that turned ugly. A black man who merely looked slightly Muslim is threatened and attacked. The crowd yells “Mohammed’s a pig”. A student carrying a sign that says “Religious tolerance is what makes America great” is also threatened. And if this is really just about “ground zero” then why are communities trying to stop the building of mosques in other cities?

Are Americans really that stupid that they blame the actions of a few terrorists on all Muslims? Should all Christians be blamed for the actions of the Ku Klux Klan?

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72 Comments

  1. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I feel obligated as well to post the link in the article to Ron Paul’s statement about this. I give Paul a lot of flack due to his mostly libertarian leanings (i.e. the free market can save us all, etc.), but on this one he is a breath of fresh air from the festering toxicity from the right at the moment. One of the only real conservatives left, Tea Party included, in the shambles of the Republican Party.

    http://www.ronpaul.com/2010-08-20/ron-paul-sunshine-patriots-stop-your-demagogy-about-the-nyc-mosque/

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Yes, I wanted to mention Ron Paul taking the high road on this one, along with a few other Republicans and Democrats. Too few.

    But this posting wasn’t really about politicians, and Greenwald’s article mention’s Paul’s statement, so I decided to leave it out. Thanks for posting that link.

    Other politicians who have taken a courageous stand on this issue include Jeff Merkley (well worth reading), Joe Sestak, Grover Norquist (whose wife is Muslim), Russ Feingold, Jerry Nadler, Ted Olson (whose wife died in 9/11), and perhaps a handful of others.

    Monday, August 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Permalink
  3. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Browsing the Koran is instructive. For example, if you search on the teram “unbeliever” (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/k/koran/koran-idx?type=simple&q1=unbeliever&size=First+100) you come up with these gems:

    Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers; and whoever does this, he shall have nothing of (the guardianship of) Allah, but you should guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully . . .

    . . .surely the unbelievers are your open enemy.

    . . . surely Allah has prepared a disgraceful chastisement for the unbelievers.

    . . .surely Allah will gather together the hypocrites and the unbelievers all in hell.

    O you who believe! do not take the unbelievers for friends rather than the believers; do you desire that you should give to Allah a manifest proof against yourselves?

    Allah has promised the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women and the unbelievers the fire of hell to abide therein; it is enough for them; and Allah has cursed them and they shall have lasting punishment.

    . . . strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.

    O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness . . .

    So do not follow the unbelievers, and strive against them a mighty striving with it.

    That He may reward those who believe and do good out of His grace; surely He does not love the unbelievers.

    And those who disbelieve shall be driven to hell in companies; until, when they come to it, its doors shall be opened, and the keepers of it shall say to them: Did not there come to you apostles from among you reciting to you the communications of your Lord and warning you of the meeting of this day of yours? They shall say: Yea! But the sentence of punishment was due against the unbelievers.

    Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers . . .

    . . .hold not to the ties of marriage of unbelieving women . . .

    And Nuh said: My Lord! leave not upon the land any dweller from among the unbelievers:. . .

    Surely We have prepared for the unbelievers chains and shackles and a burning fire.

    These are they who are unbelievers, the wicked.

    So today those who believe shall laugh at the unbelievers; . . .

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 10:44 am | Permalink
  4. tenthirtytwo wrote:

    2 Kings 2:23-25, Leviticus 20:13, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, dot dot dot

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink
  5. m wrote:

    How about the Spanish Inquisition, The Trail of Tears, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki? It’s not good to be not white in the US, even today.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 11:38 am | Permalink
  6. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Tenthirtytwo, say what you will about the Christian bible or any of the other fantasies. The Koran is different.

    To anyone calling themselves Muslim, the Koran is the final and unalterable word of Allah is received by his last and final prophet Muhammad. It’s the Instruction Manual, the set of rules which must be followed, or else the Muslim is no longer really a Muslim.

    Myself, I don’t want for a neighbor anyone who follows instructions to regard me as his enemy, anyone who refuses the possibility that he might become my friend, anyone who accepts 1400-year-old instructions to fight against me.

    This is not Islamophobia. It’s the opposite: this is merely recognizing the Muslim phobia of unbelievers which is commanded by the Koran.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink
  7. Hassan wrote:

    Quoting Quran without being full islamic scholar is like quoting a medical surgery book without being doctor.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink
  8. Don wrote:

    Well, I was going to put a kudo here for PatriotSgt for pointing out Ron Paul’s post on his webpage. Thanks so much. I don’t fully agree with Paul, but I also like an awful lot of what he says and have posted it to my Facebook friends.

    I live in a very libertarian county with a strong agricultural/logging bent. There’s a real bit of honesty woven through the local libertarianism which I very much relate to (although we have more than our share of wing-nuts, too), so much so that it has helped me to reach a point where I no longer classify myself as any of the political groups currently in vogue – I just don’t fit.

    Again, thanks for the post.

    I now return this thread to the people who want to play My Religion’s Better Than Yours.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Permalink
  9. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Hassan, are you a Muslim? If so, do you want to add something substantive? I’m an unbeliever; will you be my friend?

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink
  10. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Don, just remember, a man without religion is like a fish without a bicycle.

    (I think Hassan is getting to me with this analogy thing.)

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Permalink
  11. Hassan wrote:

    H. Rider Haggard, yes I am muslim, and by all accounts I am not hippie kind of muslim (liberals muslim would consider me quiet orthodox). And what you quoted from Quran is correct, but the context and overall understanding of islam is not. This is exactly what extremist (alqaeda type) people do. Read some text and misinterpret what it means, and then kill innocent people. They are enemy of peace loving muslims more than west itself, and they hurt us muslims more than anyone can imagine.

    I am and would be friend to anyone (believer or unbeliever) once I know them. (meaning same criteria of making friend, but it does not mean I would become friend to a stranger regardless of his faith).

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink
  12. Jonah wrote:

    “To anyone calling themselves Muslim, the Koran is the final and unalterable word of Allah is received by his last and final prophet Muhammad. It’s the Instruction Manual, the set of rules which must be followed, or else the Muslim is no longer really a Muslim.”

    What is the evidence for this? Have you personally spoken with each and every muslim? Have you also spoken with each and every person who follows the bible to ensure that they do not follow it to the letter?

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Permalink
  13. patriotsgt wrote:

    To both sides of this debate. Most Americans can be accepting AND accomodating to all types of people. We are afterall the worlds melting pot; an ecletic group of multinational, multireligion, multiviewpoint people. That does not mean we accept everyone without reservation. I think the resistance to accepting the majority of Muslims who are not radical or extreme comes from a distrust born in the days and weeks following 911. There were large gatherings in places like Palestine and Egypt, and many articles written by Muslim scholars and leaders praising Osama Bin Laden and the attacks on 911. They called it a great victory for all Muslims. Yes, there were also many American Muslims that denounced both along with leaders of Muslim nations. But, the pictures, videos and words remain, which fuel the questions of how many still feel that way?

    I think that if more Muslim leaders (not heads of state) but religious and other prominent persons would jointly comdemn terror, extremism and Al Quiada Americans would be quicker to forgive and move on.

    For those blindly opposing anything Muslim we must be smarter than that. I know many good Muslims, and met many in my travels to Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and the EUA. I can tell you the majority of Iraqi’s I met are very thankful for America’s sacrifice and are looking forward to running their own country, but not angry with the US. Same in Afghanistan, they wnat and end to conflict, raise there families and for the 40 and under crowd to know peace for the first time.
    Most who are vehemently opposed to Muslims here would be surprised to know that Muslims in other countries are just as sceptical of our motives when we are there. (yes there are phobes on both sides).
    So think it through, do not blindly dismiss objections, but work through them and we will get to the other side of this issue.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Permalink
  14. Iron Knee wrote:

    Interesting discussion. Thanks to everyone (including H. Rider Haggard) for keeping it informative and civil!

    I also want to welcome Hassan, and thank him for some of his recent comments. It is helpful to have the opinions of a Muslim in here (although I would not presume to think you speak for all Muslims).

    Oh, and M didn’t mention the crusades (that defining initial moment between Muslims and Christians), the Japanese internment camps during WWII, Northern Ireland, and other infamous events.

    I’m not saying it’s all bad. I’m just saying that you can condemn any religion by playing this kind of silly game.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Permalink
  15. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Haggard, You can believe it is different if you wish, as that is your right. The Bible commands all sorts of horrible things. It condones slavery, the subjugation of women, a death sentence to homosexuals. The mark of Cain was used to justify racism and violence toward blacks by the KKK. Read about the Salem Witch trials. Read about the Dark Ages.

    I’m not justifying the behavior of extremist Muslims, I’m trying to explain that religion is about interpretation, and interpretation most often is a mirror. Violent ugly people will interpret it in violent ugly ways. Peaceful people will interpret it in peaceful ways. Such is human nature. The Christian religion most certainly has been used in violent, ugly ways in the past, and even in the present (abortion clinic bombings spring to mind). And I don’t doubt for a moment that some small portion of the population would continue using it in violent, ugly ways were they permitted a-la theocratic governing. But again, this is a reflection of their nature.

    At least, that is my 2 million dollars.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Permalink
  16. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Tenthirtytwo and Hassan, what I think you are both saying is that good people, in order to be good people, have to ignore the literal commandments of the holy books of their faiths.

    But Hassan, who’s to say that it’s the violent types who are misinterpreting the Koran? Depending on which believer you talk to, you might get the opinion that it’s the peacelovers who are misinterpreting, and that they are insufficiently motivated to carry out jihad.

    And Iron Knee, it’s not a silly game. As long as those literal commandments are there in the “holy” books, some people will carry them out while the moderate members of the faiths provide camouflage and shielding by virtue of their moderation. How do you distinguish, a priori, a Christian who’s a good person from a Christian who’s an evil person? What distinguishes your local Presbyterian from someone who would join the Westboro Baptist Church? They both claim to follow the same god.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Permalink
  17. Iron Knee wrote:

    Or, they just have to believe that the holy books are not necessarily literal. After all, weren’t we given free choice?

    The old testament, which is believed by Christians, Jews, and Muslims, says that pi (the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter) is equal to 3. You wanna take that literally? Or is there room to realize that they were off by 5%.

    Haggard, are you bothered by the fact that you can’t determine if a person is good by what religion they follow? I guess it would be convenient if bad people were easily identified.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Permalink
  18. Morrius wrote:

    Why must being a good person be linked to a religion? Can you be a good and moral person and an atheist at the same time?

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Permalink
  19. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Iron Knee, I guess one thing that bothers me is that the religious are at least one of unthinking, gullible, self-deluded, hypocritical, or evil.

    Another thing that bothers me is that I was raised thinking that the religious wars had ended in Europe centuries ago, and that the USA never had to worry about such wars. But now I see the Muslim immigrant populations in Europe attacking the plurality and commonality which form the foundation of our tolerant society, and I think it’s my duty to our civilization to point this out as an evil which seems to me to be inherent in the the instruction manual of the religion itself.

    Have you seen the videos of Muslims blocking the streets of Paris five time a day? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DX-te0o7F0g
    (Notice how it’s impossible to bow to Mecca without showing your ass to the non-Muslim world. Is that an unfair characterization?)

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Permalink
  20. patriotsgt wrote:

    Morrius, absolutely. Religion is man made, interpreted by man, run by men and as such is fallable. It cannot be as God intended, because he is the only perfect being and the rest of us will screw things up if we are given the chance.
    If we all lived more by spiritual or moral principles and worried less how we looked to others or what brand of religion we belonged (like a club) the world would be a better place.
    For those that claim to be by the book religious people, just ask them if they give 10% of their earnings to the church and if they live as meagerly as possible to help as many poor people as they can. Few will pass the test (more Muslims would probably pass the test then Christians).

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Permalink
  21. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Patriotsgt: God?

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Wqo9IVCWV5E/SCr414wT9hI/AAAAAAAAAWw/no7euc1K_pc/s1600-h/bz+GodInHead+05-06-08WB.jpg

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink
  22. Dave TN wrote:

    I never thought I’d say this but Scientology is sounding better and better today for some reason. I’m surprised that no one has stepped on or into the agnostic viewpoint. IK touched upon it when he discussed free will to determine our fate but even then we usually fall back on some religious upbringing for the ground rules. I speak from experience in a Presbyterian Church, Jehovah’s Witness faith, and Seven Day Adventist church; so my views are a little bit eclectic but my faith is solid. My point though is not about me but if I can essentially adapt my faith then why can we not believe that Muslims feel the same about theirs. I would think to be American and Muslim they might have to adapt their faith if this rigid form of beliefs that Haggard speaks is correct. The world of Anglo Saxon Christian religion for some odd reason views all Muslims belief as one unbending non changing religion. It is a diverse religion with different sects, just like the Christian faith. Here in the Appalachian areas the Baptist faith branches off from itself on a regular basis, because of disputes with the former group usually over some interpretation of the bible, sometimes just small passages. This issue is quite a bit more complex than has been painted; not the black and white presentation but that is life.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Permalink
  23. Iron Knee wrote:

    For example, see “Sunni” and “Shiite”.

    It may surprise you to learn that not all Muslims pray five times a day.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 12:12 am | Permalink
  24. tenthirtytwo wrote:

    Haggard, in my opinion it is not necessarily that you are wrong in your statement of what the books contain, simply that you are walking a slippery slope.

    As a simplistic example, what if someone watches the movie Goodfellas, and turns to a life of crime? What if someone reads Mein Kampf and decides that they want to stick some Jews in an oven?

    And, more to the point, do we blame the media or the person?

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 8:54 am | Permalink
  25. patriotsgt wrote:

    The old 2nd amendment argument, guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink
  26. ebdoug wrote:

    I’m one of those non believers. Re: the Muslims in Europe blocking the streets. What about Bush in Asia knocking off 600,000 men, women and children in three years in Iraq? He is a born again Christian and along the way he said “let’s start the crusade.” Before his staff set him up.
    Since I read so much and have tax clients, I get in a lot of discussion. After one discussion, I heard from the person “But I say as Jesus, I am the only Lord.” And Mohammad is the only one. And etc.
    Can non believers have morals? Well, when I was thirteen I was introduced to teh Catholic Religion in Southampton LI. They would stay out late at night drinking, misbehaving and going to confession in the morning. Wait, I have only myself to answer to. So I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I’m a great bridge player but refuse to cheat as people thought I was doing to win. I can’t cheat anyone as I have to live with myself. And I live by the creed “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Has worked perfectly in my one life. Well, except I can’t kill mice. My house with eight cats is over run with mice. They love to hunt them, just don’t kill them.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Permalink
  27. ebdoug wrote:

    http://start.localnet.com/article.php?article=D9HQORP81.html

    Is this way we were talking about? This hate caused by Fox News has destroyed two lives. And the lawyer says since the perpetrator comes from a good family, he should be allowed out on bail.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink
  28. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Tenthirtytwo, my point is that the Koran is full of hate speech, that it teaches Muslims to be phobic of nonbelievers and to assume that all nonbelievers hate them.

    Are you familiar with the Islamic concept of al-Taqiyya? See for example http://hauns.com/~DCQu4E5g/koran5.html: “Al-taqiyya and dissimulation are words used for a practice of Muslims blatantly lying to non-Muslims. All but some of the most fundamental Muslims consider the act of Al-taqiyya or lying to non-Muslims to be a good work. This is very important when one remembers that, in Islam, salvation is determined by good works. This means that a Muslim lying to a non-Muslim is that Muslim doing a good work to earn salvation.” See further http://www.chroniclewatch.com/2010/04/04/al-taqiyya-islamic-art-of-deception-the-essay/: “Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari (d. 923), author of a standard and authoritative Qur’an commentary, explains verse 3:28 as follows: If you [Muslims] are under their [non-Muslims'] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them with your tongue while harboring inner animosity for them … [know that] God has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels rather than other believers—except when infidels are above them [in authority]. Should that be the case, let them act friendly towards them while preserving their religion.”

    What this means in practice is that the word of a Muslim cannot be trusted in a non-Muslim civil society. A Muslim taking an oath to uphold, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States must be presumed to be lying, and so Muslims should, by consequence of the teaching of the Koran, be excluded from public office and from military service in the United States.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Permalink
  29. Don wrote:

    The ease with which any of us can find anecdotal examples of inappropriate actions based on religious beliefs may really be the story here.

    There are those of us who believe that religious zealotry underlays far too many of the world’s problems – and has for centuries. The role religious zealotry plays is insidious. By this I mean that those who hold a particular religious point of view all too often believe they are standing on the moral high ground so, to themselves, their religious perspective is unquestionably right. To them, their point of view justifies their judgments allowing little room to truly examine others’ perspectives while, at the same time, forgiving them for not examining their own.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink
  30. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    No, don, that’s not really the story here. You’re merely talking about garden-variety religious zealotry, not the codified hate speech in the Koran.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Permalink
  31. Dan wrote:

    Gee, no one mentioned Rev 18:10-13
    All Hallowed ground needs a reference.
    I believe all this non-sense only proves that the war on terrorism is over and we lost. Oh how quickly we lost our core values. Makes me think I wasted 20 years of my life defending a piece of paper. We disregard the Constitution and if the Republican leadership gets it’s way, good-by equal protection and a citizen’s birthright.
    It’s about loving one another, so if you think your way is the only correct way, read Romans 2:13

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Permalink
  32. patriotsgt wrote:

    H. Rider – OK I understand your point, but here is the reality.
    1. Islam is the worlds largest religion, praticed by 1 bill. people in virtually every country on earth. We/you are not going to change that.
    2. Muslims live in th US. We/you can’t stop or change that.
    3. Constitutionally, they may build Mosque’s or civic centers where zoning allows. We/you cannot change the constitution.
    4. Muslims will continue to pratice their religion in the US and abroad. We/you can not change that.

    So given the 4 facts above what is the point besides education, of your point. Where do we go from here, what is it you would like to see happen? We cannot kick them out, ban them from building, change their mind (any more then they can do to us).

    Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 5:18 am | Permalink
  33. tenthirtytwo wrote:

    Haggard, are you aware that both the websites you quoted are anti-Islam, pro-Christianity sites? Who verifies their claims? Who peer reviews their articles and statements?

    Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 6:30 am | Permalink
  34. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Why, we do, Tenthirtytwo, we do. Tag, you’re it.

    Patriotsgt, I don’t have any answers for you. But recognizing a problem is the first part of any solution.

    Religious discrimination is against the law in many aspects of public life in the USA. But the Koran commands Muslims to exercise religious discrimination against unbelievers. Where does that lead us? Keep in mind that two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 7:06 am | Permalink
  35. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Hassan, are you still reading this string? Got anything to contribute regarding al-Taqiyya?

    Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 7:55 am | Permalink
  36. Hassan wrote:

    Sorry I been quite busy. I am just too much shocked to read your comments H. Rider Haggard, I lived whole life as muslim, and lived in muslim country for good period of time, and frankly I know no one who harbors general hate towards non-muslim. Infact only while I was living in America, and after 9/11 I realized (after reading somewhat as well) that there are extremist who go against teachings of islam.

    This should be evident from the fact that muslim ruled almost half of the world, yet you would fine arab christians, jews, and also Spain was vibrant community. India (current India+Pakistan+Bangladesh etc) was ruled by muslims over 1000 of years. The understanding you have (shared by muslim extremist) would have led no non-muslim exist there. Indian subcontinent is still hindu majority even.

    There is some concept of al-Taqiyya in shia muslims, details of which even I do not know. There is no such thing in sunni islam (which is 85% of muslims). So you may want to go to shia websites and see how do they define al-Taqiyya and what it means. For us (sunni) it means nothing except something we heard shias doing.

    Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
  37. Don wrote:

    Well, I guess I’m having a hard time distinguishing between garden variety zealotry and codified zealotry. In fact, I can’t distinguish between the two at all. H.Rider Haggard, you’ve made your point time and time again that there is something special about Islam versus the rest of the religions in the world while I simplistically believe that there are zealots in most of the world’s religions and have no difficulty in finding facts that back that up – at least in my mind.

    I think you missed my main point, though, that being the way in which religious zealots feel they are in keeping with whichever god they believe is guiding them. For the most part, they all believe that their religions dogma justifies their actions.

    We have anti-abortion Christian zealots that, in the name of their god and with what they believe to be codified religious dogma backing them up, have no problem murdering doctors. Shintos and Buddhists in Japan engaged in almost 10 years of war triggered by colonialism and imperialism, but with a strong belief that the Emperor was divine and therefor right to take the country to war. I know this is a bit simplistic about the causes of WWII and Japan’s actions, but the codified belief in the divinity of the Emperor allowed the real power wielders of Japan to launch their foreign endeavors. Puritans believed that there were witches and that when they were found they should be put to death. They thought this because of their codified religious beliefs.

    This list can go on forever. People do horrible things to other people and all too often their religion is central part of their belief that what they’re doing is right. One can’t simply say that Islam is worse than the rest – it ain’t true. There is plenty of blood and death and hate carried out in the name, of “the true religion” (pick one), to go around.

    I do want to thank H Rider Haggard, though, because his questions have helped me carry on an internal dialog with regards to this subject, allowing me to get a better handle on what I believe.

    Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  38. ebdoug wrote:

    Don, the Emperor of Japan did not want to go to war. His cabinet overrode him. He was mortified. Read a wonderful book by Elizabeth Grey Vining published in 1952 called “Windows for the Crown Prince” Educating the crown Prince of Japan about the US and in the English language. She was there in 1945-until 1950? when McArthur was occupying Japan.
    There used to be Christians in Iraq also until Bush destabilized the country. They ran for their lives. He got rid of the Christians.

    Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  39. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Hassan, take a look at http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6b/1.html

    Sunni Sources in Support of al-Taqiyya
    ======================================
    The following exposition will Insha Allah demonstrate the existence
    of al-Taqiyya in the Quran, Hadith, the Prophet’s (PBUH&HF) custom, and the
    companions’ custom. As usual, Sunni books will be used to further the
    argument. This is in keeping with the commitment to reveal the truth by
    showing that the Sunnis reject the Shia’s arguments, while THEIR OWN books
    are replete (full) with the SAME ideologies that the Shia uphold! Although
    some Wahhabis staunchly argue their aforementioned statements, and
    aggressively defame the Shia and refute their doctrines, they have failed
    to explain the validity of their argument vis-a-vis the existence of these
    SAME doctrines in their own books, as has been demonstrated in ALL the past
    posts about the Shia. Those who think that they are the true protectors of
    the custom of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) and the only guardians of the Islamic
    Faith, how can they explain their own rejection of that which they are
    supposed to protect? Rejecting al-Taqiyya is rejecting the Quran, as will
    be shown shortly.

    Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink
  40. Don wrote:

    I should have been clearer. Hirohito was actively involved in the decision making process that launched the invasion of China in 1931 and approved of it. It has been claimed that the Emperor approved of the dropping of directives for the humane treatment of prisoners and is well documented that he personally approving of the use of chemical weapons in China on numerous occasions.

    Hirohito was definitely reluctant to initiate hostilities with the UK and the US. I haven’t read Vining’s book (I’ll try and get a copy of it and add it to my reading list – it sounds quite interesting) but there is a general consensus among many historians of the period that Hirohito ultimately endorsed the plan of operation that initiated direct combat with the “west.” That he was strongly coerced to do so is widely accepted.

    I believe my larger point still stands, though, and that is that the divine authority of the Emperor was used to drive Japan into war starting in 1931 through the capitulation of Japan in 1945.

    Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Permalink
  41. Hassan wrote:

    H. Rider Haggard, I would not take shia site to describe what sunnis believe, nor take christian site to explain what muslims believe. I am sure you would find it quite condescending to tell you what you should believe as whatever you are from non-follower of your religion.

    I am sure you have heard about the incident of cab driver being attacked in NYC. The attacked asked (in normal conversation) are you muslim? And the driver replied yes, and was later stabbed.

    I would not have blamed (from common sense alone) if the guy had knife out before, and had asked the cab driver if he was muslim, and had threatned to kill him if he was, that the muslim guy would have said he is not muslim to save his life.

    Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Permalink
  42. Hassan wrote:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-august-25-2010/tennessee-no-evil

    Thursday, August 26, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Permalink
  43. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Hassan, I’m an unbeliever. I don’t have a religion. The Sunni/Shia divide makes as much sense to me as Jonathan Swift’s bigendian/smallendian divide.

    I look at Muhammad’s exhortation in the Koran of “O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness,” and I look at the Koranic al-Taqiyya tradition of “diplomacy,” of Muslims saying whatever is necessary to defend the faith, and as a result I can find in myself no way to trust a Muslim’s word.

    What can you possibly say to me or to any other unbeliever that would outweigh the clear and simple words of the Koran?

    Friday, August 27, 2010 at 12:59 am | Permalink
  44. Hassan wrote:

    H. Rider Haggard, if you are sincere in your questions than I can suggest you go to authentic sunni websites and read what they are propogating, or better go to an islamic scholar (sunni if you want our perspective) in your area/city and ask him about these questions.

    (BTW you did not quote clear text of quran propagating al-Taqiyya compared to verses quoting fighting, if hiding of real faith was the intent of muslims, according to you, then apparently quran should have been hidden).

    This is my last comment here in this conversation, as I suggested above, if you want to really clarify your doubts go to some scholar in your area.

    Friday, August 27, 2010 at 4:54 am | Permalink
  45. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Thanks for providing those links to the authentic sunni websites, Hassan. I’ll get right on that.

    Friday, August 27, 2010 at 7:27 am | Permalink
  46. Jonah wrote:

    I think some of the posts on this thread sums up why a cultural center to educate non-muslims and muslims is needed. As mandvi’s video proves, using the internet to learn about something as complex is an easy way out.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-august-25-2010/daily-show–8-25-10-in–60-seconds

    And since bloomberg points out, if there are porn stalls close to the memorial, there is no reason why a cultural center, that would serve as a tool to educate people striving to learn about islam, shouldn’t be close to the memorial.

    Friday, August 27, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink
  47. Karin wrote:

    Islam recognizes jews and christians as “people of the book” (i.e. fellow believers in the old testament) and assures special privileges to those two groups. It is however clearly against polytheism.
    Regarding who goes on holy wars – it says very sad things about the education system that a christian would lambaste a moslem on this issue. The crusades, anyone? And islam was indeed traditionally more tolerant regarding other religions than christianity was – take the time to study some scholarly history books for verification. It may be different today in some countries where islamism has made an appearance, but ordinary islam is not a worse problem than any other religion.

    Friday, August 27, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Permalink
  48. BTN wrote:

    I think Tenthirtytwo made a good point that bears repeating, “I’m trying to explain that religion is about interpretation, and interpretation most often is a mirror.”

    Haggard, nobody is arguing that the Koran doesn’t contain those passages that you mention. The point is, that some Muslims don’t take everything in the Koran literally, just as some Christians don’t take the whole Bible literally. The problem is that YOU (a non-Muslim) are defing a Muslim differently than they describe themselves.

    Let’s assume that your definition of a Muslim (must obey everything in the Koran) is correct. If that is the case, then you don’t have that much to worry about: many people who call themselves Muslim (such as Hassan) are not really Muslim anyway (by your definition). So instead of fearing (hating?) 1/4 of the world’s population, you only have to worry about <1%.

    Extending your defintion to Christians:

    Claim: A Christian believes everything in the Bible.
    Fact: The Bible contains contradictory statements.
    Conclusion: There are no Christians.

    Or how about this: What if I read that all Atheist think that all non-Atheist should be killed. Does that automatically mean that you want to kill non-Atheist because you call youself an Atheist?

    Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Permalink
  49. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    BTN, two points:

    1) You seems to be saying that the religious are either hypocrites, claiming to adhere to some holy book while rejection portions thereof, or dangerous, actually adhering to such holy book. Is that your view?

    2) Watch out with the Atheist namecalling. It defines the target in relation to a non-existent fantasy, rather than in relation to the reality of this universe. The term “rationalist” is more on target. And then, of course, it follows that the religious are defined as being a-rational, non-rational, or irrational. Or just fantasists.

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 7:36 am | Permalink
  50. tenthirtytwo wrote:

    H, you say, “we do”, but I haven’t seen any evidence that you’ve verified anything. It seems that you just copy and paste things you agree with. Forgive me if I have gotten the wrong impression.

    The problem specifically with what you’ve posted the last time has nothing to do with what al-Taqiyya is (which personally I feel is a misinterpretation, at least based on what I have read), and everything to do with the line, “All but some of the most fundamental Muslims consider the act of Al-taqiyya or lying to non-Muslims to be a good work.”

    All I ask is that you examine these things from a different viewpoint. Imagine I went to foxnation.com and saw an article that says, “almost every democrat wants to grind your babies into sausages and considers lying about it a great thing.” How would I verify this claim? I could go ask a democrat, “do you want to grind babies into sausages?” It is likely they would respond no. But, foxnation told me they would lie! It is just as the prophecies foretold!

    It is not a valuable use of time examining claims like this, because they are not falsifiable. As a fellow atheist (or rationalist, or whatever you’d like to call it), I hope you are aware of how dangerous claims that are not falsifiable are. Obviously Hassan disagrees with your interpretation of al-Taqiyya. But then he is a Muslim, so he is probably lying to you. And round and round it goes…

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Permalink
  51. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    When I said “Tag, you’re it,” I was leaving it to you to verify or falsify the claims you mentioned.

    Religion poisons everything, and al-Taqiyya in particular, so ’round and ’round it goes. Other names for al-Taqiyya are dissimulation or diplomacy; both meanings include speaking in such a way that your actual beliefs and intentions are not evident to those you’re speaking to. Sunnis like Hassan deny doing it. Shiites claim that Sunnis do it too, in line with the commands of the Koran. The Koran commands believers to avoid friendship with non-believers, which to me means that believers do not regard non-believers as deserving of honesty.

    What’s your take? Do you think Muslims are as trustworthy as those whose minds are not fogged by religion?

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink
  52. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I don’t know what claims I mentioned that you wish me to verify or falsify. I do know I’ve made several points, all of which you seem to either ignore and continue on or ignore and tread a new path.

    Would you rather be on a plane full of Muslims or a plane full of atheist serial killers? It is perplexing that you can’t recognize the foolishness of these statements. Muslims have done terrible things. Christians have done terrible things. Atheists have done terrible things. The common thread here is not Islam, nor is it religion. It is humanity. It could be argued that without religion, thousands of atrocities in the past would never have happened. And it could just as easily be argued that the same atrocities would have been visited with different justifications.

    I’ll leave you in peace.

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Permalink
  53. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    I think the common thread that you’re getting at is the problem of falling into the grip of an ideology which warps the sense of right and wrong that most of us have, sociopaths excepted. That ideology can be a religion like Christianity or Islam, or another ideology like Leninism, Nazism, or neo-conservatism.

    Developing the habit of skeptical thinking which insulates you from the effects of religion also inoculates you from falling into many other ideologies.

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010 at 8:32 am | Permalink
  54. Iron Knee wrote:

    I only have a small data point, but my sister is married to a Muslim man, and I’ve been good friends with several people who claim to be Muslim, and my impression is that they are pretty much no different from anyone else. I also know quite a few Christians, and I can’t say that I know any that actually believe that everything in the Bible is absolutely word-of-God true (let alone follow it). Likely, the same thing is true of Muslims. Yes, there are extremists out there in all religions, and right now the extremists seem to be getting more than their fair share of attention (whether they be Christian, Muslim, or crazy-movement-of-the-day extremists).

    To me, the problem is extremists.

    There is no point to arguments (like those made by Haggard) concerning Muslims. What should we do? Pass laws against Muslims because their holy book tells them to not be friends with non-believers? Deport them? Put them in concentration camps? Because arguments like these can only cause hatred.

    Religion should remain a personal thing. I am an atheist, but I hold no ill will toward religion. I also don’t like watching NASCAR racing, but I don’t mind people who love it. Same thing. I would never say “Religion poisons everything” like Haggard did, above. People have done bad things in the name of their religious beliefs, but they have also done good things. And I don’t believe that religious beliefs are the cause of the bad things. If religion didn’t exist, I’m sure they would use ethnicity, or something else equally meaningless (famously, like the color of one’s eyes) to justify their bad behavior.

    Sunday, September 5, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Permalink
  55. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Iron Knee, bless you as a peacemaker.

    I’m not trying to cause hatred. I’m merely trying to point out that hatred exists.

    The only thing that saves us from the extremism inherent in the commands of the holy books is that people don’t really follow those commands.

    Both the Bible and the Koran foment an exclusionary attitude toward those not of the same faith. But the Koran goes further: it foments fear and hatred of unbelievers, and commands action against them. Any objective observer must recognize it as hate speech.

    Religion should remain a personal thing. But that goes against the Koran, which makes religion a very public thing.

    I agree with you, people can always find excuses to do bad things. Which of those excuses should we let stand without opposition?

    Credit where credit is due: Christopher Hitchens originated the thought that “religion poisons everything.”

    Monday, September 6, 2010 at 11:02 am | Permalink
  56. BTN wrote:

    On point 1: I’m not saying that religious people are hypocrites OR that they adhere religiously to texts; I’m saying the religion is a personal thing. Many Christians do not claim to follow the Bible verbatim and many Muslims do not cliam to follow the Koran verbatim, either. If they don’t make that claim, they aren’t being hypocritical, just a little “loose” in ther definition of their religion; most people would consider themselves law-abiding citizens yet they speed on the highway. I guess my view could best be decribed as “People define their religion, their religion doesn’t define them.”

    On point 2: I was just trying to make an analogy. You (a non-Muslim) are making the claim that all people that call themselves Muslims must follow everything in the Koran. This is false. People can do whatever they want. It is true that SOME Muslims may follow the Koran strictly. Some Muslims also crash planes into buildings. And some Muslims think that Muslims that crash planes into buildings are perverting the Islamic religion.

    On your latest comment, I take you at your word that you are not “trying to cause hatred.” However, if that is the case then your posts don’t convey that very well:

    1) “say what you will about the Christian bible or any of the other fantasies. The Koran is different.” I suppose you’ve never heard of the phrase “Old Testament justice?”

    2) “the word of a Muslim cannot be trusted in a non-Muslim civil society. A Muslim taking an oath to uphold, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States must be presumed to be lying, and so Muslims should, by consequence of the teaching of the Koran, be excluded from public office and from military service in the United States.”

    You were also dismissive to Hassan. He wrote,”I lived whole life as muslim, and lived in muslim country for good period of time, and frankly I know no one who harbors general hate towards non-muslim.” You didn’t respond to that, but instead quoted a random Muslim website again. However, I guess that he was probably lying anyway because he was a Muslim addressing non-believers, right?

    Judge people based on their actual words and actions, not by what you THINK their belifs are. We know that hatred exists, but by judging the many based on actions of the few, you are just adding fuel to the fire like Bush’s simplistic “with us or against us” bull$hit and playing into the hands of the extremists.

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Permalink
  57. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    BTN,

    1) The Koran is at least one hundred times worse than the Bible in its attitude toward unbelievers. Don’t believe it? Try doing a search of the Bible for “unbeliever” (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/k/kjv/kjv-idx?type=simple&format=Long&q1=unbeliever&restrict=All&size=All). You’ll find four instances, and the only negative instance is “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” In contrast, searching the Koran for “unbeliever” (http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/k/koran/koran-idx?type=simple&q1=unbeliever&size=All) gives one hundred twenty five (125) negative instances.

    2) You think I was a little over-the-top? I think not. Enjoy this video, “Al Taqiyya – Lying For Islam” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekCvH2HukWc) and get back to me.

    Yes, I was dismissive toward Hassan. He claims to be a Muslim, and at the same time claims, in effect, not to subscribe to the Koran. Perhaps he’s merely suffering from cognitive dissonance, but if so he needs to make up his mind which of these two mutually exclusive positions he has taken.

    Again, I’m not preaching hate. (Hassan may be a fine fellow.) I’m speaking out against the hate in the Koran.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink
  58. dnono wrote:

    HRH,

    Please stop.

    You’ve tried to make your point and some may buy it, but I don’t.

    you and your links are painfully boring.

    And since your mind is already made up your essentially just like the folks selling their religion door-to-door in my neighborhood, so I’ll be polite and just kindly ask you to stop shoving your viewpoint in my face. I’m not buying it.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink
  59. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    DNONO, you haven’t posted previously in this string. Other than saying “Shut up!” do you have anything to say? Otherwise go stick your head back in . . the sand.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Permalink
  60. Iron Knee wrote:

    Don’t make me separate you two!

    Please, let’s be civil in here. Dnono, if you don’t like the way HRH is saying things, offer him some helpful suggestions.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
  61. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Yes, let’s be civil. Let’s move on and discuss more of the Koran, and the concept of “dhimma”:

    [9.29] Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

    [9.30] And the Jews say: Uzair is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!

    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/k/koran/koran-idx?type=DIV0&byte=282392

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Permalink
  62. Iron Knee wrote:

    HRH, now you’re just being a jerk. I hate to break it to you, but doing so doesn’t help your cause, it just alienates people.

    I value your comments on this site, but your main point seems to be that because there are passages like this in the Koran, then all Muslims are suspect. There are plenty of similar passages in the old testament, which is believed by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Does that mean you are a bad Christian if you eat shrimp? Maybe so, but who cares?

    Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 10:16 am | Permalink
  63. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Iron Knee, the thing about the Bible is that everything is supposed to have changed with the advent of Jesus. Those Old Testament commands became inoperative for Christians (Jews are another matter, but let’s not get sidetracked).

    I’ve got nothing to say in defense of Christianity. But I challenge you to find any passages in the Bible which command Christians to fight those of other religions until they are subjugated.

    Look, I don’t like having to point this stuff out. I realize it does alienate those who would rather not hear it, who would rather stay in happy, trusting ignorance.

    But having read the Koran and seen the poison, I can’t just ignore it.

    Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink
  64. Iron Knee wrote:

    HRH, you are ignoring the fact that what people actually DO is far more important than what they SAY (even in writing). As for Christians subjugating other religions, I have one word: “crusades”. For heaven’s sake, talk about subjugating other religions, especially Islam. I (and others) have also mentioned that in the vast majority of dominantly Muslim countries, Christians and Jews have not only survived, but prospered.

    If you are claiming that the Koran is the final word and people’s actions don’t matter, then you are as bad as any extremist. So it is you who is staying in (un)happy ignorance.

    Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink
  65. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    Iron Knee, the cycle of violence of which the Crusades were a reactionary part began with Muslim conquests as ordered by the Koran. The Crusades were pushback.

    The Koran claims that it is the final word, not I. And who ever said that people’s actions don’t matter? But how many Muslims do you know who will point out to you which parts of the Koran they reject?

    Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Permalink
  66. BTN wrote:

    Sam: The sky is blue.
    Bill: No, the grass is green.

    HRH, it has become obvious that you are having a differnt debate than everyone else on here. NO ONE is making the claim that the Koran does not have passages that incite hatred. I would go as far as to say that you might be right in stating that the Koran is worse than the Bible in this respect. The point that you are missing is that IT DOESN’T MATTER.

    YOU are the one claiming that the Koran is the final word and EVERYTHING in it must be followed verabtim. You actually have the arrogance to state what **other people’s beliefs** are! You are not an atheist, you are a freaking Pope!

    What would you say to a Muslim that doesn’t think all non-Muslims should be killed?

    Thursday, September 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Permalink
  67. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    BTN, wipe that fleck of foam off and do at least a little reading on your own before asserting that it’s me making claims.

    Start with Wikipedia “Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the verbal book of divine guidance and direction for mankind. Muslims also consider the original Arabic verbal text to be the final revelation of God”

    . . .

    “Muslims maintain the present wording of the Qur’anic text corresponds exactly to that revealed to Muhammad himself: as the words of God, said to be delivered to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. Muslims consider the Qur’an to be a guide, a sign of the prophethood of Muhammad and the truth of the religion. They argue it is not possible for a human to produce a book like the Qur’an, as the Qur’an itself maintains.”

    . . .

    “The Qur’an itself challenges any who disagree with its divine origin to produce a text of a miraculous nature.”

    BTN, where did you get the idea that Muslims think all non-Muslims should be killed? That’s not in the Koran.

    Friday, September 10, 2010 at 2:00 am | Permalink
  68. BTN wrote:

    It’s not foam: sometimes I like squirting whipped cream directly into my mouth (my attitute towards your posts is not anger, it is surprise and disbelief).

    Also, the key word in the wikipedia citation is “guidance.” I’ve made this point in all of my posts, as have several others, yet you continue to insist that the Koran MUST be taken literally and followed verbatim by every Muslim.

    To clear things up, let’s play a game. Consider the following three statements:

    1) The Koran instructs all Muslims to make enemies of all non-believers.
    2) All Muslims must follow the Koran literally and verbatim.
    3) Muslims can have non-believers as friends.
    4) Enemies cannnot be friends (they can become friends or they can pretend to be friends).

    Logically speaking, at least one of these statements must be false. From your point of view, which one(s)?

    Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Permalink
  69. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    BTN, I’ve just stumbled across a site which I’m sure you’ll enjoy: “Is the Qur’an Hate Propaganda?” (http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Pages/Quran-Hate.htm). It goes into much more depth than I have uncovered by my own reading. An excerpt:

    “One can always find apologists willing to dismiss the harsh rhetoric of the Qur’an with creative interpretation, tortuous explanation or outright denial, but their words and deeds almost always belie a concern for Islam’s image that does not extend to Islam’s victims – at least not with the same sense of urgency – thus proving the point.

    “Of course, there are also exceptional Muslims who do not agree with Islamic supremacy and sincerely champion secularism and respect for all people. Some even find verses or fragments of such to support their independent beliefs. But, for these people, the Qur’an as a whole will always be a constant challenge, since it explicitly teaches the distinct and inferior status of non-Muslims.”

    That’s a fun game you propose by saying “Consider the following three statements” and then giving four statements. While you reconsider which three of those four statements you want to be part of your game, let me re-cast the four statements for you as four true statements in accordance with the rules of the Koran:

    1) The Koran instructs all Muslims that unbelievers are surely their enemy.
    2) All Muslims must follow the Koran literally and verbatim (If you find that hard to believe, just read the Koran.)
    3) Muslims must not take non-believers as friends. While non-believers may befriend Muslims, Muslims are not allowed to truly reciprocate.
    4) Non-believers may truly consider themselves to be friends of Muslims, but Muslims are not allowed to truly consider themselves friends of non-believers, but may practice diplomacy by pretending to be friends of non-believers.

    Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink
  70. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    I’d like to give those who have been disagreeing with me a few words of support. This is from a progressive Muslim woman:

    “We need to reject literal reads of the Quran and recognize that these verses were communicated during specific moments of war, and they aren’t edicts for all time. We, as Muslims, must reject the notion that we read these words literally. To many, that would be an act of blasphemy. But, until we do, the literal words of the Quran will be used to rally hate against the faith. And that is why, indeed, Qurans will be burned by the small congregation of about 50 folks from the Rev. Terry Jones’ Dove World Outreach Center. It’s really just these particular verses that need to go up in smoke.” (http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-09-08/get-over-the-quran-burning/)

    If I were her I’d be fearful for my life for having blasphemed against the Prophet and the Koran.

    Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 1:35 pm | Permalink
  71. BTN wrote:

    HRH, I had added the fourth statement as an afterthought. It seemed unnecessary, but I wanted to avoid loopholes. I did notice that I had left the word “three,” but I assumed that people would have figured out the typo and ignored it. I guess that’s two mistakes.

    Anyway, you pretty much made the game irrelevant with post 70 by what you wrote. I am not referring to the quote itself, but instead by your labelling the author of the post as a ***progressive Muslim****. You have just labeled someone who doesn’t follow the Koran literally as a Muslim. That was pretty much the point of all my posts (and several others’ as well): not all Muslims follow the Koran literally, therefore you can’t know all of a Muslim’s beliefs and moral base by reading the Koran.

    I call Check. Your move.

    Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Permalink
  72. H. Rider Haggard wrote:

    I guess you didn’t read post 69 above: “Of course, there are also exceptional Muslims who do not agree with Islamic supremacy and sincerely champion secularism and respect for all people. Some even find verses or fragments of such to support their independent beliefs. But, for these people, the Qur’an as a whole will always be a constant challenge, since it explicitly teaches the distinct and inferior status of non-Muslims.”

    The point was that these beliefs are exceptional “independent beliefs”, not the norm, not something you would expect from a Muslim.

    Thing is, we all live by stereotypes. We expect the stereotypical Christian to ask “What would Jesus do?” and expect him to follow Jesus teachings such as “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall have peace.” There are outlying exceptions like the Westboro Baptist Church.

    And we expect Muslims to ask “What would Muhammad do?” and expect them to follow the Koran and the ideal behavior set forth by the Prophet: to politicize their religion, to wage war against unbelievers, to believe that Allah does not love unbelievers, to deceive unbelievers in the furtherance of their religion, to spread Islam by conquest where possible, to use nonviolent means where conquest is not possible, and to break agreements with nonbelievers with impunity. That’s been the pattern for 1680 years, and there is no sign of change in the wind. Again, there are outlying exceptions.

    So yes, you’ll meet the occasional lonely Muslim voice like Asra Nomani’s, trying to steer Islam away from the Koranic teachings of the Prophet, and yes, you can’t know what is anyone’s heart of hearts. Does that give you some sort of satisfaction?

    One website claims today that 1,028 people were killed in the name of Islam during the just-ended month of Ramadan, while one person was killed in the name of all other religions combined. (http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/). I’m not sure how much credence to place in that claim. But it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s true. The poison flows from the Koran.

    Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 11:09 pm | Permalink