A self-serving “sensitivity” that beggars belief


A few months back, a contributor to this blog expressed outrage at my refusal to challenge another contributor for calling for the torching of mosques. I considered this irresponsible, but not an act of such magnitude as to warrant a response. I saw this expression of an opinion as paling into insignificance against what was actually taking place in the world, and to which I did (and do) give my full attention. Today I am reminded of that little spat. There’s apparently been a spate of arson attacks on mosques in the US, “Four Mosques Have Burned In Seven Weeks — Leaving Many Muslims and Advocates Stunned” said one headline.

We’ve never seen four mosques burned within seven weeks of each other,

said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Really?

Muslim terrorism 2016 – Mosques Sheet2

Fifty-seven mosques attacked in fifty-two weeks, with 365 deaths and 776 injuries thrown in. How’s that stack up?

It seems Muslim lives only matter if they’re murdered by non-Muslims. There’s a ring of familiarity to that.

 

Comments

  1. says

    I imagine they’re only focusing on attacks occurring in America. That’s not unreasonable for an American organization.

    • says

      I imagine they’re only focusing on attacks occurring in America. That’s not unreasonable for an American organization.

      It is, if they are themselves attacking outside America

      Besides, they are not apologists for American Muslims; they are apologists for Islam.

      • rgmani says

        Let me start with the disclaimer that I admire Maajid Nawaz greatly and am most definitely not a fan of what the SPLC is doing to him. Nonetheless, I do want to point out that Maajid isn’t exactly ‘outside America.’ True, he is British but he does have a presence here. He is here frequently, has collaborated with people like Sam Harris, his books have sold well here and he writes a regular Daily Beast column. So in criticizing him, the SPLC is not exactly attacking someone whose activities are entirely outside the US.

        – RM

        • says

          Indeed. I would go so far as to say that in this day and age, there isn’t much that can be assigned “inside” or “outside” any particular country, especially in the case of a well-connected and important country such as the US. I don’t think the SPLC’s action can be defended on grounds of being an American organisation.

          I have a disclaimer, too. 🙂 While I am appalled at the SPLC’s witch hunt, I remain a critic of Maajid Nawaz, though not as staunchly as previously, given the shifts that he seems to have been making over the last year or so. Unless I’ve missed it, I’m still waiting for him to be honest about the Qur’an. He is in the same bind that every Muslim finds him or herself in, and no amount of slickness is going to break that.

          • Steersman says

            Anything specific about that “shift”? Seem to recollect seeing a tweet of Nawaz’ that suggested he wasn’t quite as dogmatic or as literalist. Or at least as closed-minded about criticism of Islam.

            But quite agree about the “bind” that every Muslim finds themself in. They have generally painted themselves into a very tight corner by insisting that the Quran is entirely and wholly the literal word of Gawd. Tends to preclude any reformation at all – the slightest effort to back away from that claim is seen as heresy and apostasy; which of course entails some draconian penalities.

            • says

              I wish I’d been more systematic about this and recorded my findings. Initially I’d been quite hostile to Nawaz, based on his reluctance to acknowledge what Islam and the Qur’an are, at the same time as obfuscating these from non-Muslims who readily gave him the benefit of the doubt. I also thought that his image as an Islamic “reformer” concealed what he was really doing, which was deflecting scrutiny and criticism away from Islam and the Qur’an, thereby perpetuating what’s been Islam’s problem all along: its non-exposure to critical enquiry, resulting in the mess we have today. The hostility was provoked by Nawaz’ insistence that it’s all a matter of debate, of argument, of talk shows and op-eds, etc. while the matter was being fought out with guns and bombs and knives in the Muslim world. Instead of the nice flow of ideas, what vast Muslim populations were experiencing was a flow, nay, a torrent, of blood. Then I started picking up shifts in Nawaz’ language that suggested that he was either rethinking his position, or falling back behind more defensible positions. If I’d taken note of exactly when I’d detected these shifts and exactly what they were, I’d have been able to give you a better answer. I’m sorry. But I’m sure that the day Maajid Nawaz actually makes an honest statement about the Qur’an, it’ll be hard to miss. I’d be very happy if someone can point out to me that I’ve indeed missed it.

              I don’t think there’s any special problem with people maintaining a scripture being the utterances of any particular supernatural being. That more or less happened throughout history. The Dung Beetle God says the fireball will awaken again tomorrow — thus is it written. The problem with Islam is that this particular god is held to have said his word is perfect, unchanging and for all time, and moreover, you are to kill anyone who says otherwise — “This is the book about which there is no doubt” is the Qur’an’s opening line (something, by the way, that it would’ve been impossible for Allah to say, even if you believed in him). As long as one person accepts this murderous command, it doesn’t matter how many billions believe otherwise. Since it is no longer possible to destroy a book, all that we can now do, is to equip every child with a critical mind so they can deal with this evil themselves when it comes their way, or, at the very least, save them from having their minds fucked up in madrassas so they become unable to even look at the Qur’an in any way other than with blind reverence, let alone an open mind.

  2. Steersman says

    “self-serving sensitivity”, indeed. Although I note from a quick skim of your “Mosques Sheet” that most of those happened outside of the US so the SPLC might – and I emphasize “might” – be excused for a bit of understandable parochialism. However, it does betray a rather problematic blindness to the nature of Islam.

    In any case, nice to see you back in the saddle again after, apparently, a bit of a hiatus over Christmas and New Years. I did have a brief moment or two of horror at the thought that you might have seen the error of your ways, taken to wearing the hijab, and/or gone off to join ISIS. 🙂

  3. Steersman says

    Anjuli: I wish I’d been more systematic about this and recorded my findings. Initially I’d been quite hostile to Nawaz, based on his reluctance to acknowledge what Islam and the Qur’an are, at the same time as obfuscating these from non-Muslims who readily gave him the benefit of the doubt.

    Difficult to do that recording, particularly as one doesn’t know whether any particular item is likely to be of interest or value later. Although I find that the Twitter archive function is quite useful – one can get a complete list of all of one’s tweets, even if it apparently doesn’t provide “Likes”; simply responding to a tweet, even innocuously, tags it for later access.

    But quite understandable that you would be “quite hostile to Nawaz”; I think he and too many other “reformers” are little more than apologists and give cover to the worst of Islam [1]. As you put it some time back, “the slickness of Nawaz” is more than just a little problematic [2]. But link [3] refers to a “conversation” I had with him in which he had previously referred to his Facebook page (of some interest in itself) wherein he linked to a debate [4] – which I think you may have had a post on – that he had with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Douglas Murray, and Zeba Khan on the claim that “Islam Is a Religion of Peace”. Simply an astounding claim and argument from Nawaz, and hardly less odious, in my view, than insisting that since Hitler loved his mother, presumably, we can turn a blind eye to the Holocaust and conclude that National Socialists were simply misunderstood and hard-done-by.

    Anjuli: But I’m sure that the day Maajid Nawaz actually makes an honest statement about the Qur’an, it’ll be hard to miss. I’d be very happy if someone can point out to me that I’ve indeed missed it.

    🙂 About the only thing that I’ve seen, I think, is a fairly recent tweet where he’s argued or suggested that Islam shouldn’t be immune to criticism. But I don’t recollect seeing anything where he’s actually given any credence or even thought to such.

    Anjuli: I don’t think there’s any special problem with people maintaining a scripture being the utterances of any particular supernatural being. …. The problem with Islam is that this particular god is held to have said his word is perfect, unchanging and for all time, and moreover, you are to kill anyone who says otherwise …

    Exactly, although I think the issue is the combination of the claim and exactly what it is that was said – kind of like gunpower: it takes a particular combination of particular elements to be explosive. For instance, if “Allah” had said only to generally be kind to your neighbors, and pay your taxes, and to support reason and science then one might consider Islam innocuous or value-neutral. But when it is claimed that the entire Quran qualifies as that, and it encompasses outright barbarisms and manifest horrors then, Houston, we have a serious problem – there’s virtually no “wiggle-room” at all, which is not at all the case with Christianity. But that’s why I’ve frequently quoted the American ex-Muslim (apparently) Simi Rahman [5]:

    Rahman: And sure, there were efforts made to modernize Islam, but they were only superficial. We couldn’t do it. We couldn’t do it because there is a logical dilemma at the core of Islam. And that is, that the Quran is the last word of God, that it is perfect and unchangeable. And to even suggest such a thing is blasphemy and apostasy.

    Sure would like to see Nawaz, and others of his somewhat discreditable tribe of “reformers”, actually try to honestly address that.

    —–
    1) “_https://twitter.com/SteersMann/status/763474455184146434”;
    2) “_https://twitter.com/SteersMann/statuses/797355542431735808”;
    3) “_https://twitter.com/SteersMann/statuses/792106089374371842”;
    4) “_http://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/islam-religion-peace”;
    5) “_https://www.facebook.com/simi.rahman/posts/10153153879381302”;

    • says

      Since Hitler loved his mother, presumably, we can turn a blind eye to the Holocaust and conclude that National Socialists were simply misunderstood and hard-done-by.

      An almost perfect analogy for Islamic apologetics. If Hitler’s love for his mother and his kindness to animals had been abrogated, then the analogy would be perfect.

      BTW, Adolf Hitler’s love for his mother stands out as one of the great loves of a son for a mother. No doubt this had something to do with his brutal and mostly-absent father, with whom he had an absolutely antagonistic relationship.

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