No JT, It’s Not Stupid, It is hate

I am disappointed to write this.

I am a fan of JT Eberhard and I regularly play League of Legends with him for fun. We are facebook friends but I disagree with him because he simply has not gotten the point.

What is harmless and appears pointless to one person may be terrifying to another or indeed misunderstood or seen as racist.

This is an old racist trope. A trope I first heard off from the Philippines. Famously attributed to General Omar Bradley, while dealing with Muslim freedom fighters in the American Colony of the Philippines. It is said that he would rub pork fat on the bullets to deny the Muslims paradise and make them fear fighting American Soldiers. It backfired. I shall explain later.

In India there was a similar rumour that helped precipitate the war of 1857. That the grease in cartridges was from pigs and cows which is anathema and sacred to Muslim and Hindu soldiers. And this is something JT cannot understand.

Hindus see cows like Americans see horses. It makes no sense to Americans to not eat horse but they don’t really do it. Not like the French who still have boucheries chevalines. Or the fact that one of my traditional “foods” is lemon ants with pickled mangoes. Something I have eaten and photographed as part of a challenge to raise money for a charity and to encourage non-traditional sources of protein to help deal with protein malnourishment.

But here is the thing? If I put ants in your food as a joke, it would not be funny. It would be a cruel joke. There is a difference between me encouraging you to try something new and you doing something innocent that I have booby trapped.

As a kid people would waggle bacon at me too. I grew up with this sort of racism. I have had “skinheads” try to threaten to touch me with bacon too. In fact? Until the age of 18 I hadn’t eaten bacon not due to a restriction from my religion but due to its association with racists and bullies who sought to force me out of public life.

Funny right? The thing the Internet is so obsessed with can be a tool of hate? What next? Cat pictures being used an Gay Hate Rallies?

Ok, I’m not one to defend vandals, but I am one to oppose cruel and unusual punishment.  In Edinburgh, this just happened:

A year.  For hanging bacon on door knobs and tossing a few strips inside.  Yes, it’s vandalism, technically.  How should we deal with that, officer?

It isn’t vandalism. Vandalism is damaging the mosque by throwing paint at it.

This is an attack that comes under the jurisdiction of “hate crime”. It is simple. Writing “Avi was here” versus “fuck the pakis” on the mosque would create different sentences because one is vandalism and the other is racially motivated thus earning stricter sentences.

No other way than by custody?  How much time and thought did you devote to this problem?  I’m not the smartest person on earth, but I tapped my meager intellect for all of 2 seconds and had an idea.  How about you fine them £20 and make them polish the door handle?

Or even just hold them to Edinburgh’s normal maximum punishments for vandalism:

The entire world isn’t American, JT. The world has its racists. Would you understand the symbolism of orange cloth tied to trees in a Muslim area in India? Nope.

But the thing is? We know more about the USA than you know of us. Which is why we know why a burning cross erected on the lawn of an African American or a Swastika (A Hindu Religious symbol I may add) would be considered a hate crime and prosecuted and treated as a “big fucking deal”. And yes let us look at “the law”.

Criminal Damage Act 1971 makes graffiti and other forms of vandalism a criminal offence. If the value of the damage is less than £5,000, the penalty is a maximum fine of £2,500 and/or three months imprisonment [Section 33[1] Magistrates’ Court Act 1980] and the court may also make a Compensation Order. Aiding or abetting the act of graffiti and other vandalism attracts the same penalty. Possessing equipment with intent to cause damage is also an offence and, if intent can be proven to the court, a spray paint can would be included as such equipment.

The usage of race or religion as a driving force for a crime results in heavier sentencing in the UK since the issue isn’t graffiti whose main purpose is to deface and stick fingers up against the man but to spread and create fear, loathing and hate within a society.

The point of a burning cross isn’t sitting about keeping warm but to send a message to African Americans that there exist shady white guys who will kill them if they get too uppity.

So if they had spray-painted an enormous penis on the side of the mosque, they would face a maximum of three months in jail.  But hang easily removable bacon on the door handle?  You can rot in jail for a year, because this building and the people who own it are special.  The poor cop who got assigned the task of arresting the bacon perps…you know the Captain thinks you’re expendable when you get that assignment.

If they had spray painted a swastika on the side of a synagogue we would not be having this conversation and these people would be regarded as epic dickheads of the shittiest sort and we would not give a damn.

Same if they did the bacon stunt. We wouldn’t have given a flying fuck.

Religion is so persecuted.

Actually? It is down to the UK’s laws about race and religion created to broker a peace between Catholic and Protestants since such attacks on each other were common. It just so happens to apply to Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Black people, Gypsies, South Asians… The point was to stop and punish attacks against religion and the people who follow them including this. This isn’t to say that you cannot criticise Islam or Christianity but it means that you cannot go into a Church and deface the place.

This isn’t like taking a communion wafer, this is a clear attempt by ignorant (I will explain why later) people to make life worse for other people who have a different faith and who were minding their own business.

Wait, the mosque had a security guard and he didn’t notice people wrapping bacon around the door handles?  Second worst security guard ever (after Allah, who is even worse).

During slow open hours most religious places of worship are open to the public and the Security Guards won’t wander around following people who enter if they don’t look “Muslim” enough. This isn’t reverse Airport Security you know.

Yes, you are no doubt offended.  But offending you is not against the law, and we don’t increase penalties above what the regulations ordinarily demand in the presence of offense.  Well, we do, apparently, but we shouldn’t.  Most victims of crimes feel offended, it’s kind of part of the package.  Your offense goes without say.


If the point of the offence was to specifically do something anti-thetical to another faith on privately owned land where their own rules apply for no reason apart from spreading hate then it is illegal. I am sorry JT, but you have weighed in on the side of epic shitheads.

Racists and Bigots. These are the sort of twats who made growing up in the UK harder and these are the sort of people who really should “leave”. These are the sort of people who are dick weasels. These are the sort of people who wouldn’t care that I don’t have a religion but would throw bacon at me solely to see me feel discomfort.

If they had painted blood on the handles of doors of Jains or Hindus would you have been as kind? No. You would have called them fucking racists. And supporting them? Makes you one too. Unless you genuinely didn’t know about the law in the UK.

Wait, the “attack”?  Yeah, those door handles never knew what hit ‘em…because they’re not conscious.  And by “hit” I mean “draped on.”  Thankfully nobody was harmed in this attack…mostly because there was literally no potential for anybody to be harmed, which kind of makes use of the word “attack” hyperbolic.  If I hear “bacon attack” I think Wendy’s came out with a new burger.

JT? Last year there were more terrorist attacks in the UK committed by White Nationalists with as many deaths as Islamic Terrorists. Lee Rigby’s death? Versus the death of Mohammed Saleem. Hell? You are more likely to be beaten and assaulted for being “brown” in the UK.

It’s hyperbole to you because you have never had to live it.

Guess what? You know how scared African Americans are about white racists?

We have the Revolt of 1857 and countless brushfire wars in Indian history to remind us of events similar to the Klan. We simply don’t know how many died in the reprisals. The British never really kept count but the evidence is there. The British Records count a fall of manpower by a third. This is a huge number. The official Record of the Empire lists 100,000 soldiers executed for the revolt. It never mentions the massacres of villages to restore order. the number would well be in the millions without excluding the war casualties.

And that was a war precipitated by a single Hindu killing his officer. Because he was being forced to use a weapon that he believed to require him to tear open cartridges using his teeth. Cartridges he believed were greased with pig and cow fat and against his religion.

Like I said? No one’s making you eat a tarantula.

It is an irrational unwillingness to consume a food.

Your entire culture builds up insects as gross and inedible. Mine has no qualms eating chicken offal and ungutted fish.

You personally refusing to eat this is as irrational as a Muslim’s unwillingness to touch bacon. It is a phobia.

To force someone to confront it without any real rational reason (AKA? You got nothing but spiders to eat)

FYI? It tastes like a very mild cod with a crunch coat. You can eat the abdomen if you like but that is an acquired taste and is more bitter. The legs are very chewy. The exoskeleton of spiders is pretty damn tough and flexible so you have an interesting problem.

The more you chew? The tougher it gets as the air spaces are collapsed.

Imagine shrimp without the sea food taste.

And many of you still won’t want to eat this. Or my beloved pickled ants. And it is entirely due to culture. Now imagine if I sprinkled this stuff on your toast and never told you about what you are eating. Imagine the malice being poured into that? Now Imagine me doing that simply for the perverse pleasure of you being different and indeed a minority. Solely to make your life harder even if it doesn’t really.

The joke is on the perpetrators of the crime.

Most Muslims would get deeply offended by this because of the purpose of this attack. Not because accidental consumption of bacon makes you haraam and therefore doomed to hell.

You’re going to take a mother away from her child for draping bacon on a door handle?  Oh, you reduced her sentence to nine months, so the kid will only be without its mom, possibly getting tossed into foster care, for 3/4 of a year.  That makes it a fair punishment.  Good thing nobody was offended by the reduced sentence, otherwise she might find herself behind bars for a decade.

Actually? It is because it is a racially or a religiously motivated attack. Attacks on Muslims are seldom made by intelligent people or are thought all the way through. It is things like randomly yanking off a woman’s Burkha or Hijab or indeed chanting “Go Home” to a dashing young blogger who happens to be Asian.

Jesus fucking Christ, this happened in the godless paradise of Britain.  Just…FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.

FUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKKK Come on JT? You can do better than this.

These fucking dickheads are my KKK. These are the sort of twats who made my life a misery growing up. Who made me worry during football matches. I went with white people and I did so because I wanted to go with my friends, I know I wasn’t welcome at the grounds in the early 90s growing up. I grew up around dickheads like this and the fact they are dying out? GOOD FUCKING RIDDANCE. You may want me to show sympathy to bigots but guess what? People of Colour will work with our racists, but we won’t really shed tears over their bigotry.

We cannot describe this event as a ridiculous punishment for a “prank”. Because it is only a prank because it suits us. If it was an attack on Jewish people we would be up in arms. Muslims are too sensitive to strange people forcing them to break Halal. Now replace Muslim with Jewish and think of how we would have responded to that? Must we massacre 6 million Muslims before we give them the same benefit of racism/religious bigotry/xenophobia?

But to suggest a punishment of fine them £20 and make them polish the door handle’ is just highly insensitive. For starters? This is a hate crime and I must point out that riding the Metro in Manchester without a ticket would net you a much heftier fine than this. This is not even a slap on the wrist as punishments go. And it is bound in the fact that you  are regarding the punishment as “kids will be kids” and in the same league as a kid putting gum under a table.

You want me to feel sympathy for my predators? I grew up with people like this who did things like this to me. Fuck that! Look I am sorry that kid has to be in foster care but you know what? Mummy broke the law. The law NOT being vandalism but hate crime. In short? They broke into private property and vandalised it in a way designed to spread hate. You don’t get a free ride just because you got a kid. In fact? I would question the sort of role model that thinks harassing random people is acceptable. Simply trying to portray her as a innocent woman whose child was taken away by a cruel justice system that is biased against the plucky family fails to account for the hate.

The thing is there are reports from the Edinburgh Reporter and the Scotsman that the three were active in the Scottish Defence League who are a version of the English Defence League. They are racist. Sure they may say that Islam is not a race but they are detecting Muslims by the colour of their skins. They are still bigots and xenophobes who think the response to Islamic Terror is to go an attack Muslims in other parts of the UK. For all intents and purpose? The EDL are racists who use religion to evade the racism claim without realising that they are still bigots even if they aren’t racists.

And the EDL and SDL have been responsible for a large number of terror attacks on Mosques whose sole purpose is to spread fear.

Look? This isn’t a genuine mistake like a Muslim patient accidentally getting a pork chop in hospital food. This isn’t a bacon sandwich in a community centre shared by different groups. This is not a public building or a university hall where Islamic Rules hold no sway. This is a private place of worship. The rules of that faith are respected within its boundaries. This isn’t like you wrapping a Koran you purchased in Bacon but you entering a place of worship and their safe space and voiding it.

Had these people done so to a synagogue we would not be siding with them.

And the thing is? We may have given up our old religions? But you know what? I still don’t like the EDL because I know their bigotry was never about religion. It was always about race. When we think of “Muslims” we never think “White Guys”. Remember the Boston Marathon Bombing? Remember the delays and indeed the Witch Hunt for the Indian kid and the harassment his family faced?  When the real perpetrators were as White As White Can be since they were “actually Caucasian from the Caucasus Mountains”?

Because we still cop the racism associated with our old faith’s main demographics.

I completely disagree.

And yeah? I kind of expect this bullshit from Dawkins. Hell? I was waiting for Pat Condell to throw down before I wrote this but I never expected it from you.

At worst it shows you throwing in with the racists and the sort of cheap hate atheists often fall victim to. At best it shows that you didn’t listen to anyone from the UK about this case.


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  1. says

    In this case, the kid being removed from those ‘parents’ is a quite frankly a feature, rather than a bug. I’d want to see a serious act of contrition before returning the child to that kind of toxic environment.

  2. says

    For the record, I’m not surprised at all by JT’s attitude in this case. It’s the same attitude he’s been giving to women for a while now.

  3. says

    Thankfully nobody was harmed in this attack…mostly because there was literally no potential for anybody to be harmed, which kind of makes use of the word “attack” hyperbolic.

    Actually, there was a lone man in the mosque who must have been terrified.
    But it’s very convenient for the stories of Eberhart and Dawkins to vanish him. Fox News level.

  4. Pen says

    I think there’s a whole list of things JT likely doesn’t know:

    1. what it’s like to actually live with constant requests to ‘go home’, having your first name replaced by a slur for years at a time, and a perpetual risk of physical abuse.

    2. that we have a number of fairly intractable problems related to multiculturalism which will be hard to deal with, with the best will in the world. Therefore it is really in our interest to come down hard on law-breakers who are clearly not people of good will. A willful act can also be judged in terms of its consequences.

    3. that in the UK, for better or for worse, we have already been fining people 20 quid for losing their rag in a row with a friend or acquaintance and letting their vocabulary become unguarded. Not that I expect many Americans to approve, but there it is.

    4. that the perpetrators were part of an organised hate group. I hope he didn’t know that.

    5. that if they had been mere ignorant prankers, the sheer imbecility of their action would be enough to make you wonder hard about their capacity to bring up children. If they had been 14 years old, I would have been in favour of a stern warning and community service.

  5. Pen says

    There’s some interesting aspects to the sentencing which aren’t directly related to the original crime as well. The young woman was clearly punished by the judge in part for repeatedly denying her guilt and trying to fob the guilt off on an unknown borrower of her phone. One of the men was rewarded by the judge with a shorter sentence for his attempts to plead guilty some time ago.

  6. sanban says

    Quite right, Avi. As a brown person living in London in the 80s, I was frequently mistaken for a “P***” and once I was physically attacked by skinheads screaming racist abuse at me. I wasn’t simply “mugged” but back then, no-one cared that it was a hate crime, except us who had to live different lives for fear of such people acting with the complicity of people like JT who shrug it off as a “prank.” JT needs to check his privilege.

  7. Holms says

    Actually, there was a lone man in the mosque who must have been terrified.
    But it’s very convenient for the stories of Eberhart and Dawkins to vanish him. Fox News level.

    He has forgotten, or omitted, the fact that harm can be physical or psychological.

  8. Daniel Schealler says

    I hate it when JT gets things like this wrong. This is one of those times.

    Nobody’s perfect.

  9. says

    “Nobody’s perfect.” … Indeed, but it would be nice if people were able to acknowledge that. JT seems to double down and refuse to admit he makes mistakes, with the word length of his posts getting longer and longer if there is blowback. Or at least that is what happened with the Bria thing, maybe he’ll just ignore this one.

  10. says

    Ha, I’ve been ignoring JT after his last racist post about Bria Crutchfield being “too angry” in response to a very racist comment from an attendee at her talk. Seems after I commented on this post ->

    He banned me! So my point about him avoiding criticism is all the more valid I’d say … Not that mine is anywhere near as response-worthy as Avi’s post here. It’s telling his only response was to ban with no warning :)

  11. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    I agree with you Avicenna.

    Eating insects is a food of the future and I’m certainly game to try ‘em. Honey ants are an Indigenous Aussie delicacy – ever had those?

    Oh & you are right about the racist attack on the mosque too. It was a hate crime and totally unacceptable and deserving of a severe criminal penalty.

    I am no fan whatsoever of the religious ideology of Islam but I don’t believe in bullying Muslims or hurting others. The mosque is their place and they have the right to worship peacefully in it and feel safe from attack. The Muslims there (not just the lone one in there at the time but the rest of that, congregation / community / ummah is that the word?) weren’t hurting others or out to do so and thus they shouldn’t have been violated like that. It was a hate crime and it shouldn’t have happened and it certainly doesn’t help the SDL’s already disreputable and ugly cause.

  12. says

    It’s kind of annoying. I do like him, I do like Dawkins. I do wish however that people would actually listen to the damn Indians who keep telling him that this sort of attack is not rare and there are variants where beef is used to harass Hindus.

    Look. I am quite happy to run a Blasphemy Barbecue. We all go sit in a public area, run a BBQ and eat things we weren’t allowed to eat by our old religions. HELL! I may even figure out a way to get Khmer and Thai insect food so you guys can try that. But it isn’t going to be held at a Mosque.

  13. says

    If I can lighten the mood with a true experience from my life related to this discussion:

    When I book my flights to travel, I specify diabetic meals. I’m not a diabetic, I order them because they are low fat, low salt and low sugar. They usually consist of fresh fruit for dessert, potatoes, rice or noodles for starches, steamed vegetables, and either steamed fish or grilled chicken. (I say usually for a reason.) Unlike regular meals, there’s no choice with diabetic meals, but that’s not a problem. I also like the fact that special meals get served first.

    A few years ago, I was travelling to the Philippines, and ended up seated beside a man who was clearly muslim. I’ve seen people on flights who were obviously muslim, or not obviously until they started praying mid-flight, seen them in other aisles and seats, but that was the first and only time I’ve been elbow-to-elbow with someone.

    He didn’t speak English, so there wasn’t going to be any conversation on the flight, no big deal. About an hour into the flight, meals were being served. I was expecting the usually diabetic meal of either fish or chicken, neither of which would bother the man to see me eat or for him to smell it.

    It was pork.

    I have flown on about fifty flights in my life, and the ONE time I’m seated next to a muslim is the ONE time that I get pork in a diabetic meal, neither before or since. It just bleeding well figures, doesn’t it?


    Pen (#7) –

    I think there’s a whole list of things JT likely doesn’t know:
    1. what it’s like to actually live with constant requests to ‘go home’, having your first name replaced by a slur for years at a time, and a perpetual risk of physical abuse.

    I’ve been living in various Asian countries for over a decade since I left Canada, and have from time to time endured “go home”, racism and obscenities from people in these countries. That said, the majority of people here are far more polite to me as a foreigner than they would be greeted in Canada or the US. Many go out of their way to be nice to foreigners (except for the foreigners who go around acting like idiots and boors) and and some speak up when their countrymen act miserably.

    I have far more experience being a racial minority in other countries than Eberhard will ever know, and I can’t even begin to understand what non-whites encounter and suffer in mostly white countries. I can easily get out if I don’t like it. Unfortunately, it’s not the first time he’s gone off telling others what to feel.

  14. says

    Hey, I have a story about meals on planes, too! But it’s only second hand.
    Two colleagues of my husband went ti the USA on a fishing holiday. They ordered the Halal meal both time because they thought it was the most apetizing.
    On their return flight they were taken aside and given a thorough questioning by US security. Because two young men travelling alone ordering halal food must be muslim terrorists, right?

  15. Hello There says

    Refresh my memory. What race doesn’t eat pork? Ohh right…none. You loose all credibility by calling this “racist” when it clearly is not.

  16. says

    Oh nice! It isn’t racist! Hey everybody! Hear that? It isn’t racist!

    Let’s get a bacon catapult and hit the streets guys! We can hit every Muslim with bacon! And how would we know they are Muslims?

    You know… they all look a certain way.

    Hello There… Ecoute Bien S’il Vous Plait.

    The argument you make is fine and dandy, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is bigotry. It doesn’t make it right. The argument you make simply ignores the fact that this was a practice against ASIANS of all religion because we have one of two dietary restrictions usually and it is either beef or pork.

    And it doesn’t change the fact that in general “Muslim Detection by Such Bigots” has generally been due to the colour of our skin.

  17. lochaber says

    When I first ran across this news bit, the headline just mentioned something about a “prank” involving “easily removable” bacon. I was expecting something internet-meme related, or perhaps even clever or just strange. Once I started reading the articles, I then realized that this was involving a mosque, these weren’t 12 year olds, and “easily removable” just meant it wasn’t nailed and epoxied to the building. Definitely not a “prank.”

    Hello There @19> You didn’t do to well on the reading comprehension part of standardized tests, did you?

  18. Kevin Kehres says

    @19: Trying to define away bigotry, are we?

    We see right through you. Straight to the core.

  19. says

    This “Islam is not a race” stuff, therefore this cannot be racist is very annoying. If you live in the UK you’ll likely know there are certain things the right wing racists do to intimidate asian-looking people. I say “looking” as even a Moroccan friend of mine has been called a “paki”… Racists are stupid, they don’t care if islam is a race or not – all they see is brown people tend to follow this religion they don’t understand more than their white christian friends. Therefore they attack that in a racially coded way .. Therefore its fucking racist.

  20. says


    This “Islam is not a race” stuff, therefore this cannot be racist is very annoying. If you live in the UK you’ll likely know there are certain things the right wing racists do to intimidate asian-looking people.

    In Germany there was a noticable shift from right-wingers being simply racist, complaining about brown furreigners to them being “concerned” about the “islamification”. How could you accuse them of being racist? Islam is not a race!
    I mean, why would you call somebody who does this (donotlink) racist???

  21. opposablethumbs says

    Of course it’s racist, and it’s utter tosh to pretend otherwise. It’s shits like the SDL and EDL who make it more problematic to level legitimate condemnation at islam and islamism.

    Cheered me up a fraction to see that Nones are over 50% of the UK population now. But even if we were a tiny minority I hope we would never side with these vile bigots.

  22. =8)-DX says

    Refresh my memory. What race doesn’t eat pork? Ohh right…none. You loose all credibility by calling this “racist” when it clearly is not.

    Except that race is a social construct that has been historically used to pidgeon-hole people and assign stereotypes to them based on arbitrary characteristics.

    This argument is essentially saying that years of pogroms, violence, theft, rape and damage to property by mediaeval Christains against Jews wasn’t “racist”, because they allowed Jews to convert to Christianity and accepted them as Christians after babtism.

    It’s totally not racist to put bacon on the doors of Mosques because we’re only critcising their religion.
    is just as bad as:
    It’s fine to paint a star of David on a Jewish house or synagogue, because we’re only criticising their religion.

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