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Aug 29 2011

Islamophobia is Stupid

So, Fox news is using the 9/11 Ten Year Anniversary to shamelessly stoke the flames of hatred over the Park 51 Islamic Community Center at the expense of thousands of dead Americans. According to Media Matters, it started on fox news with a link to a Wall Street Journal Article and the headline:

Bloomberg Bans Clergy From 9/11 Ceremony but Ground Zero Mosque OK

Dishonest point number 1, the WSJ article does not mention the Mosque.

Thus churns the perpetual motion machine that is Fox News, soon a regular conservative blogger picked up the story and it ended up on Fox and Friends by the end of the day; discussing the news that they had started in the first place, you know the drill; dishonest point number 2.

But what gets me is the whole concept of Islamophobia, it strikes me as both anti-American and pants-on-head-retarded. First and foremost, it is just good old fashion American bigotry with an equal helping of American historical ignorance. The right loves to blast the newcomers and decry their strange ways yet always seem to forget that America is a melting pot…that isn’t white.

But I don’t think the melting is happening enough for Fox news viewers and it won’t. Let’s face it, if you’re an Arab-American immigrant, you are very likely to hold to your culture and gravitate towards other Arabs. America is a big scary place and you would want to seek groups with a common bond. So we are not going to fully “Americanize” the fresh off the boat immigrants, but that is never how populations integrate into our culture. It takes generations of popular culture, MTV, and pre-marital sex. But I guess it’s not happening fast enough for the right to show our new American brothers and sisters any semblance of kindness.

Let me clearly state this, if you are against the building of a Mosque anywhere on private property in the United States, I declare you to be a coward. You are just a craven who is too terrified of the other side to let the other side even speak. Even when what you fear so much does not exist. I know Muslims; I live, eat, and work with them every day. I even attend Muslim prayer, since a bit of meditation always is nice and “When in Rome.” There is no great plan to take over Christendom just as there is no great Christian plan to convert all Muslims. Sure they may be some individuals that desire that, but internal factions and infighting prevent Muslims and Christians alike from mass jihad / crusades. The simple truth is that people who oppose free expression of religion on private property lack sufficient faith in their beliefs to be able to turn the other cheek.

Clergy was banned from the 9/11 anniversary because it is a government event and members of most faiths and secular alike died in the terrible attacks. So ALL clergy was banned, including Imams. Why should we bring your all loving, all seeing, and all powerful deities to the event? If they existed, they had a hand in 9/11 as much as any terrorist.

If you have a real beef with Violent Extremist Networks, your nearest recruiter is right down the street and I will have room for you in a patrol as soon as you get here. But you won’t because you’re a fucking pussy.

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  1. 1
    Garrett

    Indeed sir.

    Also I lol’d at this part: (some parts cut out)

    I know Muslims; I … eat … them every day.

    :P

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  2. 2
    Non-Biblical Paul

    I wholeheartedly agree. As I write this, more than 20 states are considering banning sharia law at some official level or another, and it seems to me that all such attempts amount to is Republican fear mongering more inspired by attempts to establish a Christian theocracy, than true danger from American Islamic communities.

    I’m from Detroit. We’ve got the largest population of Arabs outside the Middle East here, and with them, naturally, there is a large Islamic population. Despite what conservatives say about Muslim communities here, they’ve so far posed less danger than their neighboring Protestant communities.

    Which is not to say that Islam isn’t a dangerous religion. For example, Mohammed married and raped an underage girl; we can’t accept sharia law that would allow Muslims to rape children just because Mohammed did it. However, The Constitution and state laws already address such criminal transgressions, all it takes is for Christian America to grow up and start interpreting the Constitution the way they should: your right of free exercise doesn’t extend so far that it allows you to violate anyone’s own constitutional rights – if Christians stopped being selfish, they wouldn’t need any special bans against sharia.

    And, you’re right. A lot of America’s frothing conservatives need to go on over there and carry around a rifle for a while, like I did.

  3. 3
    Daniel Schealler

    Hmm. Quibble (just a minor one).

    There is no great plan to take over Christendom just as there is no great Christian plan to convert all Muslims.

    That kind of sounds a little bit as like saying that if there was such a plan then the objections would be justified.

    I know that’s not what you meant, but that’s how it sounded on my first read-through.

    Also (another quibble), it’s a little bit untrue to say there’s no great plan amongst Muslims to convert the world to Islam.

    It’s true in the sense that it isn’t necessarily a goal shared by all Muslims – probably not even shared by most Muslims.

    But that there are Muslim groups that would like to see a globe-spanning Caliphate is, I think, not unreasonable.

    Just as how there are secular humanist groups that would like to see all the governments in the world become more secular.

    Within all ideological groupings there will probably be a sub-community that would like to see their ideology become dominant.

    So long as such groups keep their attempts to free argument, this is all perfectly okay. I don’t mind that some Muslim groups want to convert everyone to Islam. I disagree with them (obviously) and oppose them in the sense that I would be quick to propose counter-arguments.

    But I respect people’s rights to form and exchange their views in the marketplace of free ideas, regardless of how strongly I disagree with or object to those ideas.

    1. 3.1
      Assassin Actual

      I should have been alittle bit more clear, I meant there is no plan that has any realistic chance of winning. The military might of the West could completly destroy the arab world several times over. For a Christian crusade, it would require a civil war or a coup in either America or Europe in order to set the stage for action. Both of which have a low risk of actually happening. Terrorism will continue to be an issue and may be used to try to spark a conflict but, none of the groups in question have the political strenght to pull it off as of this writing.

      1. Daniel Schealler

        Thanks for the clarification – that’s actually a lot more interesting than what I thought you probably meant.

        Oh, and looking back: When all I mention are some quibbles, it might sound like I didn’t like the rest of it.

        Which I did.

        Good post, etc. ^_^

        1. Assassin Actual

          You can’t worry about every nutbag, you will end up going nuts yourself!

          Thanks for the flattery!

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  4. 4
    Charles Sullivan

    Of course clergy aren’t really banned. They can attend just like anyone else, and they can even where their costumes. They just won’t have an official role in the proceedings.

    1. 4.1
      Assassin Actual

      /sage

  5. 5
    FlyingToaster

    If you have a real beef with Violent Extremist Networks, your nearest recruiter is right down the street and I will have room for you in a patrol as soon as you get here. But you won’t because you’re a fucking pussy.

    YES!!!!

    I’m forwarding this to the next ‘winger relative who tries to put me on their Xtianist mailing list.

  6. 6
    Eeerie

    Right, “Islamophobia” is one of the stupidest terms around today. Equating disgust for an ideology with racist bigotry. Really, really stupid

    Not quite as stupid as this:

    “If you have a real beef with Violent Extremist Networks, your nearest recruiter is right down the street and I will have room for you in a patrol as soon as you get here. But you won’t because you’re a fucking pussy.”

    What a wonderful idea! Only members of the military and veterans are entitled to voice an opinion! One might as well live in a banana republic and be done with it.

    There’s another way that this is really stupid. In the struggle against Islamic fascism, civilians are all in the front lines. I could name numerous radicals – Ayaan Hirsi Ali would be a good example – who risk death every single day, who do not have anywhere near the levels of backup that professional troops do. Who also can never, ever go home, who have to live their entire lives looking over their shoulders.

    So, who’s the “fucking pussy” now?

  7. 7
    Eeerie

    And heaven for-fend that someone might have been born too weak or had an accident or something. I guess they’ll just have to shut up and keep quiet and accept that they will never, ever be part of the military elite that get’s to decide what is and what is not acceptable in debate.

    There’s a name for this sort of thing.

    1. 7.1
      Assassin Actual

      Then come to work for KBR or the plethra of other military contractors, we have physically disabled persons working on my COS right now. There is still nothing stopping one from contributing. Plus as a civi you make more money. But you will get no retraction from me, I have lost a chuck of leg and had several brain injuries and I am still going. You are comparing US persons to HCNs and the reasons for both parties contributing to Coalition efforts are different and thus distorts my intended point of the comment; being that the most vile anti-Islam voices tend to be those that DONT serve, not a vast bashing of anyone that can’t.

      I think in your /RAGE you missunderstood where my /RAGE was directed at.

      Also you have a valid point on the fate of most HCNs that support the US Military, I for one, expect the majority of them to either move to a different part of the country and loose their family support groups or be murdered. But they won’t die because of religion, they will die for money and politics.

      1. Eeerie

        Like any person of even elementary moral sense, I am very sorry to hear about your injuries and I hope that you recover to full health, insofar as that’s possible.

        What I dispute is this assertion, restated and underlined in your response, that one should just shut up if one has not been a military veteran, or, conversely, that those who have served have an extra claim to believability. That is a sinister piece of demagogy, a very sinister piece of demagogy.

        Leaving aside what “HCNs” are, I repeat and restate the fact that there are many people who risk their lives daily in civilian settings trying to oppose the menace of theocratic fascism. I can instance Ayaan Hirsi Ali, I can instance Nonie Darwish, Ibn Warraq etc. There is a very serious argument to be made that these people do more for the preservation of liberty than, say, this nonsense in Libya.

        Meanwhile, there are plenty of those in uniform who hold views that are rancid and are not made less so by their being in uniform (vide that USAF ditty etc.).

        There also have been plenty of times that armed forces have been opposed by better people outside of them. I will note those youngsters who refused – not “dodged” – the draft and would not be part of the most disgraceful war in US history. Are they less credible? Further, I could note that during the unquestionably justified Second World War, it was the British civilians who in no uncertain terms told the US forces that they weren’t going to have any segregation on English soil, thanks. Is this point not valid because civilians made it? And, I repeat my question: Is Christopher Hitchens’s expose of evangelical nonsense in the US armed forces made any more or less believable by the fact that he has never worn a uniform?

        I can do this all day – how Colin Powell’s disgraceful record in Watergate, in the betrayal of the Kurds and Shia, in his support of DADT is not made any better by his standing as a soldier – but I think the point is made. I should add that I have had some experience of the armed forces in my own rain-soaked Island, and I can say that they come off a great deal better than our worthless ruling class, but that does not change this point.

        Finally, and in closing, I was wondering when, exactly, being “anti-Islam” became a bad thing? Your colleague P.Z. Myers is regularly and routinely anti-Christianity; the fact that he doesn’t have the guts to take on a living menace doesn’t make it any less important. Sam Harris is certainly anti-Islam, as are the voices I mentioned before. I fail to see the problem with saying, and saying loudly, that Islam seems to have absorbed all the vileness of its predecessors with none of their virtues, while adding a selection of lunacies of its own. Where, exactly, is the problem.

        1. Assassin Actual

          As I said in my other reply below. I didn’t mean to imply that only military people should have a say. The comment was directed at those who would label anything Islamic as relating to terrorism and intended to point out that those persons, the republican pundits could be making a more substantial contribution rather than arguing over a silly Islamic community center.

          Anyone is free and right to criticize the military and its methods and still retain their creditability. I’ve said on this blog before that the military is a reflection of the culture it serves and it is in the best interest of any society to keep its military in line. But on the specific point of blog post; if one has a serious problem with Islamic Violent Extremists Networks there are ways to actually action on that problem. Railing against a community center and drawing Beakean ties from one group to another is pointless because you are not solving the problem, you are just driving moderates away from your cause. If America is to defeat IVENs, we should treat our Muslim population with the same respect you would give to any other group. Arguing about points of law is well and fine, but plastering the group with rhetoric that links them to one of the most horrific American events since WWII is unethical, counterproductive, and dumb.

          When it comes to Anti-Islam or Anti-Christianity, I am for the free expression and practice of religion on private property. I think there is an important difference between protesting the building of a mosque, church, or Scientologist space and the effort to push any faith out of the public square. The former is bigotry, the second is holding to Jeffersonian ideals. Now if an Imam wanted to post chapter from the Koran inside a city hall anywhere in the US, I would be opposed to that as much as the Ten Commandments. Islam or Christianity are not evil because they are just memes, it’s the person that makes it evil and that is because that person is evil. I know Dawkins would argue otherwise but I’m not Dawkins or PZ .

          I will be first to admit that the military is as diverse as America in the spectrum of ideas it holds and the less than stellar record of strategic backstabbing but that gets to the level of the military where political decisions reign. Since we execute the orders of our political masters. Draft dodgers won’t get a pass from me, I believe I am fighting in an immoral conflict but my logic was, “Better it be executed by someone with moral reservations rather than someone who just wants to make contact to get his Combat Action Badge.” But then again, my personal form of protest in the military is to fight as honorably as possible in a messy conflict, but that’s why we have a warrior class now instead of a draft.

          Also, HCN = Host Country National aka Iraqi. I forget to translate Army into English some times.

        2. Samy

          Eeerie,

          I’m not sure how you were able to deduce that Assassin Actual’s argument in this blog had anything to do with military personnel or civilians having or not having a moral say in the matter. I found many of your responses to be quite insulting and embarrassing. It was mainly the question you posed that nearly threw me off my seat; “when exactly being anti-Islam become a bad thing?” If I had to take a guess, I’d say that perhaps it was around the same time being anti-Christianity/Hinduism/pick one became a matter of bigotry. Yes there’s a name for this too. There was that other quote of yours; “…Islam seems to have absorbed all the vileness of it’s predecessors with none of their virtues…” That would be an accurate statement if every Muslim was a violent radical, but I hope we can both muster the common sense to assume this claim untrue.

          From what I understood, and Assassin please correct me if I am wrong, Assassin was attempting to explain that we are not at war with Muslims, rather, we are at war with radicals. Also, he alludes that the debate about the location of the community center is irrelevant and petty to our current situation. He gives ONE example on how to take part in helping out with the actual conflict. Maybe he should have listed the hundreds of ways to combat terrorism in order to satisfy you. He did not however. He suggested military service in opposition to the backwards act of limiting Muslims basic rights in this progressive nation. One takes the fight to the planners and supporters of that tragic day, while the other sets our country back to its founding days. At no point did he ever suggest that the military and only the military should have a say in the matter.

          1. Eeerie

            Tacked my response onto the bottom.

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  8. 8
    Eeerie

    Finally, that reminds me of the following ditty from the US Air Force song book:

    “Phantom fliers in the sky,
    Persian-pukes prepare to die
    Rolling in with snake and nape,
    Allah creates but we cremate.”

    And then there’s the following interesting article on the predominance on evangelical Christians in the military:

    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/12/hitchens-theocracy-200912

    Since these guys have all gone past their recruiter, there’s no problem with their p.o.v., right? In fact, how dare Christopher Hitchens, a civilian who has never served, criticize the Men In Uniform? Goodness me, where will it all end?

    Or do you want to rethink that stupid comment?

    1. 8.1
      Salome59913

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  9. 9
    Eeerie

    The military might of the West could completly destroy the arab world several times over.

    First of all, that makes the usual stupid conflation of “Arab” with “Muslim. Second, I could mention the fact that there are those lousy “Shariah Zones” opening up in London, which are co-terminus with the “anti-gay” zones. I have a number of brave comrades from Outrage! and other groups who have made a principled stand against this nonsense, especially as more and more slimy politicians realize that there are more votes to be had in throwing gays to the wolves than sticking up for them. Then there is the ever increasing anti-Semitism, and the curtailing of freedom of speech.

    As regards “civil war”, let me direct your attention to an interesting article over on Spittoon that notes that the presence of the Islamic ultra-right is acting as a force-multiplier for other far-right groups. For example, we may live to see the EDL in open alliance with the Hindu fascists of the Shiv Sena, who have some very hard memories about what has been done to their brothers and sisters, and is still being done.

    Meanwhile, I could mention the persecution of the Copts in Egypt, the genocide and slavery in the Sudan, the slow destruction of the Christian population in Iraq, and so on and so on. Minor matters, I’m sure.

    1. 9.1
      Assassin Actual

      True enough with all the sub classes in the Middle east, I refer to the “Arab-world” because we attack geography and on some levels are unwilling to fight a bloody battle with Nuclear Pakistan and soon to be Iran.

  10. 10
    A Lone Staff

    Too true, Sir. I’m glad you’ve found a home on FTB. For a while I thought I was the only one in ACU’s that thought along those lines.

  11. 11
    silent Service

    Well said. Unfortunatly I know too many in the service that live in Faux Newsville’s fantasy nightmare.

  12. 12
    Assassin Actual

    A further response to Eeerie,
    Yes people join the military who are bigots or even just plain crazy, but we are a professional military with a high standard of conduct. Act the fool over here and you go to jail, shoot a downed combatant after he is down, you go to jail, defile a mosque, you go to jail. The organization enforces ethics IOT mitigate an individual’s personal feelings.
    Yes people in the military say horrible things about our enemy, but the primary purpose is to dehumanize them as to lessen the traumatic physiological effects that comes with murdering someone.
    But there is no need to fear a concerted war effort from any Muslim nation because as I implied in my original post, only developed western nations currently have the power to completely obliterate our foe. To turn them to naught but glass, we only suffer their attacks because of our chivalrous nature. They exist because we let them; most other invaders would put the whole lot to the sword.
    As I have already stated in my other reply, you attempt to say they weak can’t serve does not hold water. The military today is comprised of many companies that comply with ADA standards and there is a whole alphabet soup of other governmental agencies that have neither the age nor fitness requirements of the military. What you would find over here is how anti-war most warriors are. We will meet the enemy on the field of battle (or support other formations as they enter it), kill them, but feel really bad afterward because this IS NOT A FAIR FIGHT, we take the ground almost every time. And if we lose the ground…well its broken arrow time and its game on.
    As far as the minorities in the Middle East, it sucks to be them but comes with the territory. The world outside the west is a mean place and while it is sad, there is very little we can actually do to help them other than continue to build up the Iraqi Security Forces. It’s not radicalism that is their bane, radicalism always exists, it’s the lack of governance to counter to radicals and prevent violence, law and order and all that.
    But to boil it down a bit more so perhaps you won’t rage, “If you don’t contribute to the solution and just bitch about it, you are not influencing what actually happens”. You’re just a spectator and there are 100s of ways to actually get in the game. If this issue is your life’s issue, I will be the first to agree with you that JUST writing on a blog won’t do jack.

    1. 12.1
      Eeerie

      If at any point I have implied that there is anything rotten or fundamentally indecent about the US military, or that it doesn’t discipline itself, I apologize. I don’t think I said that, and I certainly don’t believe it. What I have said – I repeat – is that I have no time for any banana republic nonsense that only those willing to join the military have a moral say in this matter. That opens a very dangerous, very nasty door.

      I entirely agree with you that one cannot regard this stuff as a spectator. I remember the innumerable times honorable old lefties like Christopher Hitchens and the indomitable Saad Eddin Ibrahim appealed to the so-called “anti-war crowd” that they could do with some help to get their stories out, maybe helping out with the innumerable ways that civil society was struggling against theocratic barbarism and so on. The utter failure – the utter treason in the moral sense – of the left to do anything on this, while supporting the goons and killers across the globe, has left the left with no moral credit whatsoever.

      Mutatis mutandis, I fail to see how, say, supporting the efforts of OUTRAGE! in resisting gangs like Hizb ut-Tahrir renders you hors de combat.

  13. 13
    Eeerie

    Just going to reply here, since otherwise these replies will get way too narrow.

    To state the origins of my quarrel, it starts with that snide line that, if you are really concerned about Islamic fascism, you should be in the army or shut up. That’s cheap demagogy.

    I should expand my point that the main menace of this movement is not its terrorist wing, not even slightly. I agree with Peter Hitchens that it is far more likely that an eagle will drop a tortoise on my head while I’m walking down the street than I will die in a terrorist outrage. However, matters such as creeping Sharia, lynch mobs designed to destroy freedom of speech and all the rest of it are a very real and very serious menace to liberty and civilization, and they need to be opposed and opposed firmly.

    If this were a solely military matter, I would simply make a note, and squirrel myself away. It’s not. The cultural assault is far more dangerous. Further, there are matters such as solidarity to fellow infidels in Pakistan, Sudan, Indonesia, Malaysia etc.

    Vide Assassin‘s discussion of evil of doctrines/movements versus people is, in my view, exactly backwards. There are many people who have shown great virtue and heroism while professing creeds of absolute evil, such as Communism or Islam (example of the former: the comrades who fought long and hard against Apartheid in South Africa. Example of the latter: those Imams who hid the Tutsis in Mosques during the Rwandan genocide). That’s even true of the Nazis; there were good and righteous people who joined the NSDAP for decent reasons. That does not, however, change the nature of those creeds and movements.

    I agree with Richard Dawkins that Islam is an unmitigated evil. It is an absolute fascism, the most retrograde doctrine in human history. I invite you to read the following from the great Ibn Warraq:

    http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm?frm=3766&sec_id=3766

    To be quite clear what I mean, what I mean is this: in the same way that when Communism is fully practiced, it can only produce starvation, slavery and want, Islam can only produce tyranny, suppression and genocide.

    Where things get dicey is, as I’ve said, when it comes to Muslims themselves. Most are not evil or wicked people. Heck, Ayaan Hirsi Ali starts out as a partisan of the ultra-reactionary Muslim Brotherhood.

    I am fine with pouring scorn on a doctrine, especially one as toxic as this. I have more of a problem with accusing people. I hope that distinction is clear.

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    Islamophobia is Stupid | Assassin Actual | Dave Thompson Photography

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