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Not a merely inner struggle

Tarek Fatah says it.

While ordinary Britons and non-Muslims around the world are bewildered by these never-ending acts of terrorism, the response of the leaders of the Islamic community is the tired old cliche — Islam is a religion of peace, and jihad is simply an “inner struggle.”

The fact these terrorists are motivated by one powerful belief — the doctrine of armed jihad against the “kuffar” (non-Muslims) — is disingenuously denied by Islamic clerics and leaders.

Yesterday, instead of calling on Muslims to shelve the doctrine of armed jihad, predictably, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) issued a quick press release claiming the “barbaric” attack has “no basis in Islam.”

Not true, MCB. As a Muslim, I can say without fear, the latest terror attack has a basis in Islam and it’s time for us Muslims to dig our heads out of the sand.

He says it. You don’t see that very often.

This was an opportunity for the Muslim leadership to confess they have failed and that the time has come to admit that jihadis cannot be fought without fighting the doctrine of jihad.

It is worth noting that not a single Muslim cleric since 9/11 has mustered the courage to say the doctrine of armed jihad is defunct and inapplicable in the 21st century. They rightfully denounce terrorism, but dare not denounce jihad.

If only they would.

Unless the leaders of British mosques as well as the Islamic organizations in the U.K. denounce the doctrine of jihad as pronounced by the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami, and distance themselves from the ideology of Qutb, al-Banna and Maudoodi, they stand complicit in the havoc that these jihadis are raining down on the rest of us.

They cannot have it both ways: promoting the teachings of Maududi and Qutb among Muslim youth, while concealing the same teachings from the rest of Britain.

If the Muslim leadership did denounce armed jihad, think what a blow it would be against “Islamophobia.”

Comments

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

    If only.

    Well said & well quoted Ophelia.

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

    the response of the leaders of the Islamic community is the tired old cliche — Islam is a religion of peace, and jihad is simply an “inner struggle.”

    This cliche is often said but it seems its isn’t shown.

    If Muslim is a “religion of peace” then why all the terrorism? Why the rioting, arson and death threats whenever someone criticises it in any form book cartoon or Z-grade film? Why the bombing of marathons, the hacking of people to death on the streets, the signs sometimes held even by small children calling for the beheading of those who insult Islam?

    Compare religions – how many Buddhist terrorists are there these days or Hindu ones or Wiccan / pagan / New Age or even Christian. (Hint – if you have to go back to the days of the Crusades you may be abit out of date and drawing a long bow!) A few exceptional cases, maybe -as many of the atrocties committed by Muslims – nowhere near.

    Its not like other religions other cultures don’t also have good reasons – Tibet and West Papupa have stronger cases for nationhood culture’s oppressed and genocide being committed against them than Palestine does. Yet they don’t resort to terrorism – and they haven’t turned down multiple reasonable peace offers either. Why this difference? One key one is ideology -Tibetans are pacifist Buddhists who genuinely follow a religion of peace whereas Palestinians follow a religion that idolises homicide-suicide bombers and thinks indiscriminate firing of rockets from their bases at innocent civilians is just hunky-dory.

    Islam has a problem in that Islam inspires and leads to terrorism. This is indisputable. It is proven by cases like the London killings, the Boston marathon bombings , the two or more attempts to destroy the World Trade Centre the better known and last being 9-11, the numerous attempts to blow up and hijack passenger planes and so on.

    Those who deny this are denying reality every bit as much as those who deny the reality of Global Overheating and evolution and the effectiveness of vaccines.

    Good on Tarek Fatah for having the honesty to state the truth. Time more Muslims acknowledged this reality and importantly did more about it. Some of the commenters on Pharyngula need to follow his example here too.

  3. GBell says

  4. Anthony K says

    Some of the commenters on Pharyngula need to follow his example here too.

    Shut the fuck up, StevoR, you fucking bigot.

    You don’t have the fucking standing to invoke honesty here. When you can stop hiding behind “I said some bad things because I was drunk”, then maybe you’ll begin to approach someone who has an ounce of credibity.

  5. Pen says

    <blockquoteIf the Muslim leadership did denounce armed jihad, think what a blow it would be against “Islamophobia.”

    While it would be nice if they did, their failure to do so doesn’t excuse attacks on women walking down the street wearing headscarfs or attempts to vandalise mosques.

    Tarek Fatah, like most commentators, has ignored the fact that the murderers’ act had nothing to do with jihad and everything to do with their identification with Muslim civilians in other parts of the world being attacked by drones.

    As for Islam being a religion of peace or not, London contains over 1 million Muslims, of whom 2 individuals just committed a horrible murder. In general I very much doubt that London’s Muslims are over-represented in the crime statistics, including violent crime. For most Muslims, as for most of us, religion (or atheism) is merely a prop to the behaviours we already favour for other reasons.

    I’m glad Fatah wants to campaign to improve his religion, but I think this tendency to link religious doctrine to the behaviour of the bulk of people should stop. It promotes literal islamophobia, i.e. fear, and a backlash of anger and violence, inevitably directed a the most vulnerable and innocent.

  6. says

    Compare religions – how many Buddhist terrorists are there these days or Hindu ones or Wiccan / pagan / New Age or even Christian. (Hint – if you have to go back to the days of the Crusades you may be abit out of date and drawing a long bow!)

    Here you go, Steve:

    Christian terrorism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_terrorism
    Hindu terrorism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffron_terror

    In any case, it seems self-evident that geopolitical tensions are what generate the extremist views that lead to terrorism. Religion just gets harnessed to the cause to bolster the resolve of the extremists. Any religion can be exploited this way, but not every religious culture is subject to the exact same level of geopolitical tension at the exact same points in history.

    I’d like to see a world free of religion, but I have no reason at all to believe that such a world would be free of terrorism.

  7. rumblestiltsken says

    “If the Muslim leadership did denounce armed jihad, think what a blow it would be against “Islamophobia.””

    You may remember a recent conversation between David Silverman and Justin Vacula … you must because you reposted it. In that discussion, the driving force of the point you supported was “when people who ally with you on a particular issue do bad things, silence is complicity.” You agree with that assessment right?

    So, much like the original posts about Topless Jihad, you have now made several posts about how Islam is at least partially responsible for the beheading. In fact, you specifically state that “this incident (should change) how people view Islam.” It seems in Britain a lot of people agree with you.

    I note that a number of people who agree with you have done bad things. http://www.kentnews.co.uk/news/attack_on_mosque_in_gillingham_follows_woolwich_street_murder_1_2206737 for example.

    Yet, in a run of posts, not only do you never mention these acts, you go out of your way to suggest that Islamophobia is not a thing. As you did with FEMEN in the face of clear racism during the protests. Do you truly think that mosque was attacked for a reason other than an irrational hatred of Muslims?

    As Dave Silverman has so clearly pointed out in social justice as a person of the privileged group, silence about allies behaving badly is complicity. What you are doing here is worse than silence, it is willfully ignoring the proof that bigots do discriminate against Islamic people.

  8. sailor1031 says

    Those muslim leaders and clerics who make such claims have obviously never read the Koran – particularly suras 2 through 9.

  9. says

    Hey Anthony,

    You are not trying to deny that the amount of attacks by muslims exceeds that (even %wise) that of all other religions? Because then you have left on your blinders.

    Whatever Stevor may have said wrong does not imply his wrongness here. Stop the ad hominem attacks, and focus on what he says here. Which sadly is the truth.

    The amount and scale of attacks by muslims is such that we need to look into what sets those attacks apart from other religioninspired attacks.

    Their faith is one, and their culture is another. Most of those attacks are committed by men from Arabic cultures, some are by 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants out of those cultures.

    The problem may thus be muslim, arabic or a combination of both. In my eyes, it is a combination.

    For a solution we must therefore look to get rid of either their faith, or their arabic culture. I am a big fan of Enlightenment. We have to seperate those groups, spread them all over the country, intergrate them in our culture. (talking about immigrants)

    What we can do for the Arabic cultures themselves is harder. Economic growth will be a part of the solution, but will take time and still leave disgruntled people behind.

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

    @3. Anthony K.

    “Shut the fuck up, StevoR, you fucking bigot. You don’t have the fucking standing to invoke honesty here.

    Well, chyaa-ming. I don’t think much of you either particularly when you lie about and abuse me like that.

    My standing here is as a commenter with opinions and facts, just like yours. Its not your blog or mine we both just express ourselves here. I use logic and support my aruments with observed reality; you use insults, guess when it comes to contesting evidence that means I win.

    When you can stop hiding behind “I said some bad things because I was drunk”, then maybe you’ll begin to approach someone who has an ounce of credibity.

    Not true – certainly not a fair representation of me and my views.

    Every time you accuse me of being a bigot when you must by now know this is not the truth, Anthony K you are lying – as well as engaging in personal abuse and silencing tactics. Your comment here shows you to be a liar and a bully. Mine shows that I’m someone who dislikes Islamist extremists. Which, last time I checked, was no crime or sin.

    Yes, ok, I’ve admitted posting comments I later regretted when I was overtired and emotional (if I recall right Israel was under Hamas rocketfire at the time) and, yes, also drunk. Not just drunk.
    I apologised for those comments the next day and have repeatedly corrected and clarified them since. So move on. Come up with some new argument that deals with what I really think here and now not what you misconstrued and misunderstood from one set of comments from one last year ago.

    I’m sure you’re not perfect and have said things you later wish you hadn’t too, Anthony K.

    As for wikilinks to Buddhist and Hindu and Christian terrorists, I’m not denying that these exist – but I am saying comparing Buddhist terrorists with Islamist one sis like comparing a prawn with a blue whale so great is the disparity in numbers. Other non-Muslim terrrorists groups do exist, sure, but they are far rarer and far less justified by their holy books and founders lives than is the case with Islam. For every Christian or other terrorist group or attack I bet I can name – anyone could probably name – at least five and possibly ten Islamists examples. That ratio tells us something.

    Look at the London attack scenes again, Anthony K, look at the scenes at the end of this years Boston marathon too. Then look in the mirror and ask yourself why the hell you seem to be so sympathetic to the misogynist, homophobic, ultra-right wing, uber religious, murderous Islamists and their cause. You and a few others. The Islamists support bigotry and are bigots. I do not.

    @5. Pen :

    Tarek Fatah, like most commentators, has ignored the fact that the murderers’ act had nothing to do with jihad ..

    Um, dude the killers actually said they were doing this in the name of Allah!

    Not that any weak excuses justify such murder and or terrorism anyhow.

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

    D’oh. Blockquote fail, sorry That’s :

    @3. Anthony K.

    >“Shut the fuck up, StevoR, you fucking bigot. You don’t have the fucking standing to invoke honesty here.

    Well, chyaa-ming. I don’t think much of you either particularly when you lie about and abuse me like that.

    My standing here is as a commenter with opinions and facts, just like yours.

    Natch.

  12. spike13 says

    #2 Steve
    I think you need to drop the history book and pick up a newspaper.
    Only a few weeks ago Buddhists burned down an entire Islamic neighborhood.
    Sri Lanka and India are full of Hindu extremist groups.(Ghandi was murdered by some, you may have heard of him)
    The IRA and the UDF are not exactly secular either.( not to mention abortion clinic bombings and murders of doctors here in the US.)

  13. atheist says

    If the Muslim leadership did denounce armed jihad, think what a blow it would be against “Islamophobia.”

    Such a public denunciation, if made by some of the more radical clerics, would probably undercut violent acts by Muslims, yes. However, I suspect it would have no effect on “Islamophobia”, which, because it is a form of bigotry, is well-insulated against facts. And it would have no effect on the geopolitical problems which tend to create radicalism in the first place.

  14. spike13 says

    #8Rumble
    Are you seriously equating damaging a building with the brutal murder of a human being?
    The article you linked to did not say who the perpetrator was, or if he was aligned with any group.
    I hardly think anyone here holds common cause with such groups as the EDL or needs to refute or condemn their actions. That goes without saying.

  15. spike13 says

    #13 Athiest
    Islamaphobia… Really
    Here’s a start to do away with this manufactured irrational fear,
    Stop applauding the killing of co-religionists.( more Muslims have been killed by other intolerant Muslims than by any other cause)
    Stop encouraging/applauding the murder of infidels.(a good way to avoid discrimination against yourself is to not practice it against others)
    Stop treating female Muslims as if they were some kind of sub human. Imaginary god forbid that we hope for a declaration that women are fully functioning human beings wholly worthy of equality and respect .( other religions and creeds should also take note of this as well)
    Bigotry implies an obstinate hatred. I submit radical Islam has more than earned the scorn it receives.

  16. atheist says

    You know, Muslims have denounced terror so many times now that it has become a cliche. Every time a Muslim carries out a violent act — and sometimes when non-Muslims carry out violent acts — the usual Western voices demand that Islam denounce the act. And some Muslim always comes forward and denounces it. And then the usual Westerners ignore the Muslim denunciation and carry on talking about the violence of Islam. Over the years this has become a strange ritual of unforgiveness, almost like a religious rite.

    The problem is that the Westerners are demanding something they will never get: they are demanding that peaceful Muslims to control violent Muslims. But when someone kills an abortion doctor, nobody demands that all Christians denounce the act. And when the Rohingya are massacred in Burma, nobody demands that all Buddhists apologize. Thus Muslims are held to a standard unlike any other tribe.

  17. Aneres says

    “And then the usual Westerners ignore the Muslim denunciation and carry on experiencing the violence of Islam.”

    Fixed for you.

  18. atheist says

    @spike13 – May 26, 2013 at 5:56 am (UTC -7)

    Islamaphobia… Really
    Here’s a start to do away with this manufactured irrational fear,
    Stop applauding the killing of co-religionists. …
    Stop encouraging/applauding the murder of infidels. …
    Stop treating female Muslims as if they were some kind of sub human. Imaginary god forbid that we hope for a declaration that women are fully functioning human beings wholly worthy of equality and respect . …

    So you believe that I have “applauded” the killing of Muslims, and of “Infidels”, and that I treat female Muslims as sub-human. That is strange, because my statements have contained no applause for barbaric violence, nor have I even mentioned female Muslims. How, then, can I explain your accusations? Do you have a medical condition which causes you to hallucinate? Is there some other anomaly in your perception? I have no idea.

    I said that if certain Muslim clerics were to denounce violence this would probably undercut violent acts. I said that even if this were to happen, certain Westerners would carry on irrationally hating Muslims exactly as before. I also pointed to geopolitical problems as a contributing cause to Muslim radicalization. I did not applaud anything.

    I don’t know you, spike13, but I find your inability to read straightforward statements and process them to be very odd. Do you have an emotional reaction to the idea of “Islamophobia”, which causes you to lash out in anger and make wild accusations? Is the concept somehow very threatening to you?

  19. spike13 says

    #16 Athiest
    “the usual Western voices demand that Islam denounce the act. And some Muslim always comes forward and denounces ”

    Sounds like you almost find it distasteful
    Nobody demands all Muslims fall to the ground and beg forgiveness. If you haven’t done any harm,you have nothing to be sorry for.
    It’s the ones preaching hatred that the denunciation has to come from.
    As for christians denouncing abortion clinic bombings? Yes we demand a condemnation from those who whip up the intolerance, although much like radical Islam all we usually get is vacillation and relativism.
    And of course you finish with the Islamic crying towel….
    No one has suffered as we have suffered….poor poor us….weep …sob

  20. atheist says

    @spike13 – May 26, 2013 at 6:27 am (UTC -7)

    Sounds like you almost find it distasteful

    Of course I find it distasteful. It is a humiliating rigamarole that satisfies no-one.

  21. spike13 says

    #17
    No not accusing you personally of this, I am speaking in generalities .
    The Islamic faith treats women like shit.( and it is certainly not alone in this as Christianity and Judaism have dismal records as well)
    You for all I know may be a rational decent human being,but when taking on the burden of apologetics for Islam you cannot seriously be taking personal offense for having the practices of the faith pointed out to you.

  22. spike13 says

    #19
    It seves to show that the terrorists co-religionists do not share the violent tendencies of the asshole who decided that the only way he could promote his faith was by killing .

  23. spike13 says

    #17
    Islamaphobia is a bullshit term that projects that my reservations about Islam are…no, must be, irrational.
    Islamic preaching and extremist groups actions are what create my suspicion of it.
    Simply put the term is a distraction and a misdirection.

  24. atheist says

    @spike13 – May 26, 2013 at 6:41 am (UTC -7)

    You for all I know may be a rational decent human being,but when taking on the burden of apologetics for Islam you cannot seriously be taking personal offense for having the practices of the faith pointed out to you.

    You are conflating two separate things here. Apologetics for Islam, and a sociological interest in the status of Muslims. You say I’m taking on the burden of apologetics, but that word means something specific: it means arguing that Islam is true, and that Allah/God really exists and Mohammed is his prophet. That is not what I’m talking about, my interest in Islam itself is strictly academic.

    What is being discussed here is the sociological status of Muslims. I’m not interested in the religion per se, I’m interested in the worshippers. I have no issue with people pointing out the stupidities and violence of Islam, or of any form of religion. What I’m concerned about is bigotry against Muslims. And I am also concerned about secularism, and about the West.

    It seems to me that the ritual of demanding that Muslims in general apologize for the actions of violent radicals is both arrogant and pointless. Arrogant because Muslims are held to a standard unlike any other people. Pointless because Muslims have limitited control over their co-religionists, and because the geopolitical causes are ignored. Finally, I think it is actually counterproductive for secularists such as ourselves to become involved with this ongoing warfare between “The West” and “Islam”. In taking the side of “The West” we put ourselves in jeopardy of being seen as a bunch of imperialists.

  25. Vall says

    @Atheist
    ” But when someone kills an abortion doctor, nobody demands that all Christians denounce the act. ”

    That is a bold statement. I can disprove it without any links too: I demand ALL Christians denounce killing abortion doctors.
    I understand it is a complicated issue, but mixing in charges of Islamaphobia only cloud issues. Phobias are irrational fears, and I’m not sure it’s irrational to fear someone who wants to behead you. I’ve been to the Middle-East. Many times. I know most people are pretty much the same around the world. I felt less personal fear (of mugging for example) walking around Dubai than I did in any European country. Part of that feeling of safety comes from the fact that most people are good no matter what religion they are. Do you think a bigot would say something like that? However,another part comes from the fact that it’s hard to pickpocket someone if you don’t have hands. What is the punishment for stealing in a Muslim country again?

    I would like to point out the ” emotional reaction to the idea of “Islamophobia”, which causes you to lash out in anger and make wild accusations” from my point of view comes from the side yelling “Islamaphobe!”
    I’m not suggesting there is no such thing, but that you are painting the wrong people with that brush.

    I don’t think any religious mania is good. That is where the abortion bombers, and embassy bombers come from. Any phobia I have on the issue is not from the prefix.

  26. atheist says

    @Vall – May 26, 2013 at 7:25 am (UTC -7)

    I understand it is a complicated issue, but mixing in charges of Islamaphobia only cloud issues. Phobias are irrational fears, and I’m not sure it’s irrational to fear someone who wants to behead you. …

    I would like to point out the ” emotional reaction to the idea of “Islamophobia”, which causes you to lash out in anger and make wild accusations” from my point of view comes from the side yelling “Islamaphobe!”
    I’m not suggesting there is no such thing, but that you are painting the wrong people with that brush.

    Please don’t think I am calling folks here bigoted, or that I am somehow saying your feelings of fear toward psychotic Jihadist murderers are somehow “wrong”. Religious whackos are scary, and when they carve people up with knives that’s even scarier. I don’t think you guys are the real Islamophobes, nor do I disrespect your entirely understandable fear of Jihadist terrorists.

    What I’m asking is not that you feel or don’t feel a certain way. What I’m asking is that you rational folks use your considerable powers of reason and look at the actual security situation surrounding Jihadist violence, objectively. I’m not against atheists and secularists, I just want you guys/gals to live up to your potential as vectors of peace and rationality. I want you to look at violence objectively, though I understand it is hard.

  27. Nepenthe says

    Tibetans are pacifist Buddhists who genuinely follow a religion of peace

    Someone knows nothing about the culture of Tibet.

    Compare religions – how many Buddhist terrorists are there these days or Hindu ones or Wiccan / pagan / New Age or even Christian. (Hint – if you have to go back to the days of the Crusades you may be abit out of date and drawing a long bow!) A few exceptional cases, maybe -as many of the atrocties committed by Muslims – nowhere near.

    Someone knows nothing about South Asia in general. Shocking.

  28. Vall says

    @Atheist

    That was aimed more at Anthony than you. I agree with most of his posts, but I think he’s wrong on this one. Where I disagree with you, is when you say there is an expectation to denounce atrocities singling out Muslims. Is it possible that it just seems like that because of current events? I don’t blame all Muslims for the actions of some fringe groups. I know better.

    “What I’m asking is that you rational folks use your considerable powers of reason and look at the actual security situation surrounding Jihadist violence, objectively”

    I’d like that as well. So are we on different sides here? All I want, is to not cloud the issue further with charges of bigotry and hatred. It is a red herring made out of straw.

  29. Vall says

    I’d like to add from your post @18 “And then the usual Westerners ignore the Muslim denunciation and carry on talking about the violence of Islam. Over the years this has become a strange ritual of unforgiveness, almost like a religious rite.”

    I agree with that and your paragraph that follows it. Peaceful Muslims cannot control the groups at the edges any more than peaceful Christians can control the abortion nuts. If you think there is no one crying foul you haven’t been reading the blogs around here. The usual complaint is “you guys attack Christians all the time, but Muslims are far worse.”

    Think about this though: it isn’t just Westerners that ignore Muslim denunciation, the jihadists are ignoring it too.

  30. says

    the doctrine of armed jihad against the “kuffar” (non-Muslims) — is disingenuously denied by Islamic clerics and leaders.

    Well, it’s getting tough to hate openly, ya know? Gotta feel a bit bad for someone who can’t express their irrational urge to kill and dominate without getting criticized for it.

  31. says

    One key one is ideology -Tibetans are pacifist Buddhists who genuinely follow a religion of peace

    You know the Dalai Lama’s sect, the yellow hat buddhists?? There used to be blue hat, black hat, and red hat buddhist sects, too. Guess what happened to them? Hint: the yellow hat buddhists.

    It’s amazing how peaceful you can get when your enemies are enhumed.

  32. Rebekah, the Wily Jew says

    Cue the far left Islam-apologists. Yet tellingly, almost every apologist here talks past Tarek Fatah and just repeats the political mantras of ‘all religions are equally as bad’ (clue: a URL to Wikipedia is not the same thing as actual analysis) and/or ‘the West is really to blame’. And of course there are the fervent charges of ‘bigotry’.

  33. hjhornbeck says

    Rebekah, the Wily Jew @34:

    Cue the far left Islam-apologists. Yet tellingly, almost every apologist here talks past Tarek Fatah and just repeats the political mantras of ‘all religions are equally as bad’ (clue: a URL to Wikipedia is not the same thing as actual analysis) and/or ‘the West is really to blame’.

    [digs out his reading glasses...]

    Though traditionally regarded as a peaceful religion, Buddhism has a dark side. On multiple occasions over the past fifteen centuries, Buddhist leaders have sanctioned violence, and even war. The eight essays in this book focus on a variety of Buddhist traditions, from antiquity to the present, and show that Buddhist organizations have used religious images and rhetoric to support military conquest throughout history. Buddhist soldiers in sixth century China were given the illustrious status of Bodhisattva after killing their adversaries. In seventeenth century Tibet, the Fifth Dalai Lama endorsed a Mongol ruler’s killing of his rivals. And in modern-day Thailand, Buddhist soldiers carry out their duties undercover, as fully ordained monks armed with guns. Buddhist Warfare demonstrates that the discourse on religion and violence, usually applied to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, can no longer exclude Buddhist traditions. The book examines Buddhist military action in Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and shows that even the most unlikely and allegedly pacifist religious traditions are susceptible to the violent tendencies of man.

    Jerryson, Michael, and Mark Juergensmeyer. Buddhist warfare. Oxford University Press, USA, 2009.

    A compelling history of the contradictory, often militaristic, role of Zen Buddhism, this book meticulously documents the close and previously unknown support of a supposedly peaceful religion for Japanese militarism throughout World War II. Drawing on the writings and speeches of leading Zen masters and scholars, Brian Victoria shows that Zen served as a powerful foundation for the fanatical and suicidal spirit displayed by the imperial Japanese military. At the same time, the author recounts the dramatic and tragic stories of the handful of Buddhist organizations and individuals that dared to oppose Japan’s march to war. He follows this history up through recent apologies by several Zen sects for their support of the war and the way support for militarism was transformed into corporate Zen in postwar Japan. The second edition includes a substantive new chapter on the roots of Zen militarism and an epilogue that explores the potentially volatile mix of religion and war. With the increasing interest in Buddhism in the West, this book is as timely as it is certain to be controversial.

    Victoria, Brian Andre. Zen at war. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2006.

    Buddhist violence is not a well-known concept. In fact, it is generally considered an oxymoron. An image of a Buddhist monk holding a handgun or the idea of a militarized Buddhist monastery tends to stretch the imagination; yet these sights exist throughout southern Thailand.Michael Jerryson offers an extensive examination of one of the least known but longest-running conflicts of Southeast Asia. Part of this conflict, based primarily in Thailand’s southernmost provinces, is fueled by religious divisions. Thailand’s total population is over 92 percent Buddhist, but over 85 percent of the people in the southernmost provinces are Muslim. Since 2004, the Thai government has imposed martial law over the territory and combatted a grass-roots militant Malay Muslim insurgency.Buddhist Fury reveals the Buddhist parameters of the conflict within a global context. Through fieldwork in the conflict area, Jerryson chronicles the habits of Buddhist monks in the militarized zone. Many Buddhist practices remain unchanged. Buddhist monks continue to chant, counsel the laity, and accrue merit. Yet at the same time, monks zealously advocate Buddhist nationalism, act as covert military officers, and equip themselves with guns. Buddhist Fury displays the methods by which religion alters the nature of the conflict and shows the dangers of this transformation.

    Jerryson, Michael K. Buddhist Fury: Religion and Violence in Southern Thailand. Oxford University Press, 2011.

    And of course there are the fervent charges of ‘bigotry’.

    I’d say less “fervent charging,” and more “pointing out the truth.”

  34. Vall says

    @35 hjhornbeck,

    I’m not sure I understand your post.

    The first line from the Buddhist Fury quote: “Buddhist violence is not a well-known concept. In fact, it is generally considered an oxymoron. An image of a Buddhist monk holding a handgun or the idea of a militarized Buddhist monastery tends to stretch the imagination; yet these sights exist throughout southern Thailand.”

    So are you saying Rebekah should have known about something your own quote said is not well-known?

    “Part of this conflict, based primarily in Thailand’s southernmost provinces, is fueled by religious divisions. Thailand’s total population is over 92 percent Buddhist, but over 85 percent of the people in the southernmost provinces are Muslim.”

    Or, as the latter part of that paragraph points out: Muslims can drive even Buddhist monks to take up arms? Is that the message?

  35. rumblestiltsken says

    @34 Rebekah

    I have no problem with Tarek Fatah and his opinion, in the same way I have no problem with Maryam Namazie saying very similar things. Maryam speaks as a person from the middle-east about Islam. That is her culture, what she has experience of.

    When Ophelia says similar things she is talking about her own culture, that of white America. In that culture Islamophobia is reality. People get profiled, arrested, attacked, injured and killed. Just for being potential Muslims.

    When she ignores that, in a position of being part of the culture that perpetrates that, she is doing something that neither Tarek nor Maryam do (in fact the opposite of what they do). She is denying bigotry her culture is responsible for.

  36. says

    rumblestiltsken – your comparison @ 9 with Dave talking to Vacula is ridiculous. I don’t post regularly on a forum that bashes Muslims; JV does post regularly on a forum that bashes a few women including me. Also, I have condemned the EDL, nationalism, etc.

    Maryam would treat your comment @ 37 with contempt. She doesn’t consider people to be captives in little boxes labeled “their culture” – she thinks (and I agree with her) we can all step back and think critically about our cultures and other people’s.

    And I wasn’t talking about “white America,” as a matter of fact. Woolwich is in London.

  37. rumblestiltsken says

    Maryam also regularly asserts that Islamists are different from Muslims, something you never feel the need to mention. She says it almost every post she writes.

    As for “I don’t post regularly on a forum that bashes Muslims” …

    Well, ok. Your own blog is a place where people regularly bash Muslims, yourself included. You write stories where people bashing Muslims (like the FEMEN activists who were racist) are specifically called “not being racist” by you.

  38. Rebekah, the Wily Jew says

    @hjhornbeck

    I never claimed that Buddhism has no terrorism or other violence associated with it, which is the only assertion your smug post would actually address.

    You ultimately do the same thing as the URL-and-run crowd, casting the mere existence of non-Islamic religious violence as some sort of argument that Islam is no worse than other religions. That is simply pathetic sophistry.

    Vall otherwise does a nice job of picking apart your evidence. I would add that the Thai insurgency is a very foolish bloody flag for you Islam apologists to wave about given that the modus operandi of the Muslim terrorists there includes targeting school teachers. In turn the openly racist and Islamic supremacists leanings in neighbouring Malaysia speak volumes about what sort of society their fellow Malays are struggling toward.

    But please go back to evidence-free charges of “bigotry”, it is so much easier than having to actually defend Islam on its merits.

  39. atheist says

    @Rebekah, the Wily Jew – May 27, 2013 at 12:59 am (UTC -7)

    You ultimately do the same thing as the URL-and-run crowd, casting the mere existence of non-Islamic religious violence as some sort of argument that Islam is no worse than other religions. That is simply pathetic sophistry.

    But please go back to evidence-free charges of “bigotry”, it is so much easier than having to actually defend Islam on its merits.

    Again, you’re conflating Islam, the religion, with Muslims. I can’t speak for everyone here, but my aim is to defend Muslims on their merits, which are considerable. For merely one example, US Muslims, as a group, are less likely than US Christians or Jews to condone the killing of civilians.

    And of course Islam is no worse than any other religion. What actual proof do you have that Islam is worse than, say, Christianity or Buddhism?

  40. Rebekah, the Wily Jew says

    And of course Islam is no worse than any other religion.

    Interesting how you are allowed to make a statement without evidence, whilst immediately demanding evidence of me in the next breath. Before I get to some evidence the intellectual bankruptcy of your position is neatly demonstrated by replacing two of your words: “And of course [fascism] is no worse than any other [political ideology].”

    As usual ‘atheists’ like you give Islam and religion in general special status amongst the larger pool of ideologies.

    What actual proof do you have that Islam is worse than, say, Christianity or Buddhism?

    1. Islam began its military aggression under its founder. Neither Jesus nor Buddha led any armies or committed any acts of violence against others. Christian had no military power at its disposal until Constantine’s conversion centuries later. Mohammed personally oversaw the conquest of multiple tribes, including mass executions and enslavement in some instances (see Banu Qurayza). Islam was born with a militaristic ethos and retains it to this day.

    2. Neither Buddha nor Jesus exhibited brutal misogyny, in fact both men were unusually tolerant of women. Mohammed was in contrast a serial rapist, capturing women after battle, whose most ‘progressive’ gender act was banning the deliberate murder of girls (for population control). He explicitly condones sex slavery in the Qur’an (e.g. 33:50) and declined to ban FGM, a practice that while not exclusively Islamic, follows Islam in perfect correlation from Indonesia to West Africa. Islamic misogyny in the world day speaks for itself.

    3. Islam has a unique pattern of worldwide terrorism, stretching from Bali to Buenos Aires, from London to Dar es Salaam. Muslims are violent conflict with every major ethnic group with whom they are in contact. Literally nothing Christian or Buddhists terrorists have done comes close, nor do those religions show such inability to peacefully coexist.

    People like you often cite abortion violence as a comparable phenomenon. From what I can find only six people have ever been killed in abortion related violence in forty years of lawful abortion in the U.S. and Europe. A few other attempted murders exist, but to even compare that to body count of Islam is absurd by orders of magnitude.

    Timothy McVeigh is another ‘Christian terrorist’ I see waved about even though he explicitly told the media he was an agnostic. But then again people like you refuse to believe Muslim terrorists when they state unequivocally that Islam is their motive, so why would you believe someone else. And then there is the post-1921 IRA who, never to my knowledge used Christianity as a justification of their conduct on any occasion. Provide proof to the contrary if you have some.

    4. When Christians protested The Life of Brian, Piss Christ, etc. no one died, in fact do credible threat even existed. Now compare that with the Islamic reaction to the Satanic Verses, the Theo van Gogh-Hirsi Ali film, the Danish cartoons, the woman who started Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, South Park, etc. The body count speaks for itself. Further I know of no violent Buddhist protests of a similar nature.

    5. Name a politician perpetual security threat from Christian or Buddhist threat à la Geert Wilders or Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

    I could go on and on…you craven faitheists are so blinkered by your paternalistic desire to ‘protect’ Muslims that you abandon even basic reason and evidence.

    …my aim is to defend Muslims on their merits, which are considerable.

    Really?

    What percentage of humanity are Muslims and what percentage of Nobel prizes in science have muslims won? What percentage of all Nobel Prizes have they won?

    Name a Muslim charity that routinely gives money or aid to non-Muslims.

    Also since you love polls so much, what do polls say about attitudes towards violence against women in ‘secular’ model Turkey?

    Again I could go on and on.

  41. rumblestiltsken says

    That is an assertion. If an MRA laughs and mocks when a feminist calls out overt sexism, do you call that “bashing women”? Cos I do.

    How do you justify how you specifically dismissed racism among FEMEN when they dressed up in Arab-face? And mocking those who reasonably asserted it was present?

    I only relate this to MRAs because you get that. You understand it from the inside, and equally you would not put up with someone outside the group effected by the harassment telling you not to worry about it, it isn’t bad, it isn’t real.

    I really hate the shit you get. I support you in it 100%.

    In this case, a bunch of people directly affected by what they call racism and Islamophobia have actually been pointing you to clear, unequivocal examples of it. You deny it, minimise it, and then write numerous posts never mentioning it. This recent set of posts is only further elision.

    It is bad ally behaviour to the extreme.

    ps. Thanks for engaging this discussion. Vacula wouldn’t do that. I don’t equate you and him.

  42. atheist says

    @Rebekah, the Wily Jew – May 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm (UTC -7)

    As usual ‘atheists’ like you give Islam and religion in general special status amongst the larger pool of ideologies.

    I’m not giving Islam, nor any religion, special status among ideologies. You have certainly listed some bad features of the religion Islam, but for any of them I can find features of another religion that are just as bad. You argue that Islam is a uniquely militant faith but one only need read about the Crusades, or the Inquisition, to see Christian violence that is at least as bad. If you want Christian misogyny, why not look at the writings of Tertullian, or consider the European witch-hunts, which ended up killing perhaps 80,000 women.

    3. Islam has a unique pattern of worldwide terrorism, stretching from Bali to Buenos Aires, from London to Dar es Salaam. Muslims are violent conflict with every major ethnic group with whom they are in contact. Literally nothing Christian or Buddhists terrorists have done comes close, nor do those religions show such inability to peacefully coexist.

    You are wrong about the comparative scales of Western vs. Islamic violence. Professor Juan Cole compares Muslims killed by Western powers versus Westerners killed by Muslim powers since 1798. The score: The West has probably killed 10,000,000 Muslims, while Muslim Powers have killed perhaps 20,000 – 30,000 Westerners.

    What percentage of humanity are Muslims and what percentage of Nobel prizes in science have muslims won? What percentage of all Nobel Prizes have they won?

    Who invented the concept of an algorithm? Whose numerals are used by everyone worldwide? How important was the influence of the medical scholar Avicenna to the European renaissance? And what, actually, does it matter — if Muslims started winning more Nobel prizes, would you decide Jihadist violence was OK?

    I admit you have a point about the Jihadist violence against filmmakers & writers. That is indeed unique among religions (though not among states). My response is that, in the US and UK at least, the majority of Muslims do not support such violence.

    You call me a “fetishist” for defending Muslims. While I am as kinky as the next person, what if my defense of Muslims is actually more about trying to keep Skeptics from getting involved in a conflict not in our interest?

  43. Rebekah, the Wily Jew says

    I’m not giving Islam, nor any religion, special status among ideologies.

    Sure that is why you keep fervently defending the supposedly axiomatic notion it is no worse than any other religion. But prove me wrong, argue with similar passion that fascism is indeed no worse than any other political ideology and I will actually believe you. Until then you are simply a faitheist caught out genuflecting to religion.

    You have certainly listed some bad features of the religion Islam, but for any of them I can find features of another religion that are just as bad.

    And yet you fail to do so, conveniently skipping over most of what I wrote.

    You argue that Islam is a uniquely militant faith but one only need read about the Crusades, or the Inquisition, to see Christian violence that is at least as bad.

    When in doubt invoke the Crusades. Remind me what a Muslim army was doing in medieval France centuries before French knights returned the favour? And by “Crusades”, so you mean the part where Crusaders helped Spaniards and Portuguese drive Islamic occupiers from Iberia?

    Your examples are the most tired, dialed-in responses you could muster with no analysis or added commentary to even suggest you have a real clue on those subjects.

    If you want Christian misogyny, why not look at the writings of Tertullian, or consider the European witch-hunts, which ended up killing perhaps 80,000 women.

    Here you return to the same pathetic sophistry that dominates this strain of Islam apologetics. The mere existence of Christian misogyny, which no one here disputes, does not make it equivalent in harm to Islam. It is also telling you again have to plunge back centuries to find misogyny even remotely comparable to contemporary Islam.

    You are wrong about the comparative scales of Western vs. Islamic violence. Professor Juan Cole compares Muslims killed by Western powers versus Westerners killed by Muslim powers since 1798. The score: The West has probably killed 10,000,000 Muslims, while Muslim Powers have killed perhaps 20,000 – 30,000 Westerners.

    You quote Juan Cole like the Talmud, yet deny being an Islam apologist? Lol.

    But move those goal posts. Now want lay all “Western” action at the feet of Christianity regardless of its actual motivations. All major cultures have blood-soaked, imperialistic histories. Islam attempted to destroy Christian Europe for centuries and when they fell behind technologically, suddenly the West was the ‘aggressor’.

    The problem for you Islam apologists again and again is that Muslim terrorist repeatedly and openly invoke the role of Islam in their actions. You also have the problem of the Caliphate and Islamic imperialism being so expressly tied to Islam and its disturbing concept of the Houses of War and Peace.

    Who invented the concept of an algorithm?…How important was the influence of the medical scholar Avicenna to the European renaissance?

    Do have any noteworthy accomplishments for Muslims from after the Middle Ages?

    Whose numerals are used by everyone worldwide?

    Now that rebuttal shows better than anything the sheer ignorance behind your fervent defence of Islam:
    1. The actual numerals use worldwide are Western as actual Arab numerals, while based on the same system, do not actually look the same. For example an “8” is a “^”-shaped sign in Arabic.
    2. ‘Arabic’ numerals ultimately come from Hindu India. Muslims gained that knowledge by their brutal invasion there, not invention.

    And what, actually, does it matter — if Muslims started winning more Nobel prizes, would you decide Jihadist violence was OK?

    Hey you were the one praising Muslims “considerable” virtues as a group, yet you cannot name a single modern contribution to world culture in the arts and sciences. That is not to say there are none, but as their self-appointed defender you SHOULD be able to list at least a few rather than babbling about what Islam did five plus centuries ago. It speaks volumes that you do not.

    I admit you have a point about the Jihadist violence against filmmakers & writers. That is indeed unique among religions (though not among states). My response is that, in the US and UK at least, the majority of Muslims do not support such violence.

    So what size minority are allowed to support violence before Islam has a problem? 49%?

  44. Rebekah, the Wily Jew says

    By the way something to think about with the Crusades and Inquisition, those are previously unknown patterns of Christian conduct that come about in direct response to contact with Islam. Like Vall said in response hjhornbeck, is Islam actually so awful it has Buddhist monks taking up arms against it?

  45. atheist says

    @Rebekah, the Wily Jew – May 27, 2013 at 9:57 pm (UTC -7)

    I’m not giving Islam, nor any religion, special status among ideologies.

    Sure that is why you keep fervently defending the supposedly axiomatic notion it is no worse than any other religion.

    The reason I keep defending Muslims is that you, and others here, keep arguing that their religion is uniquely bad. To single out Muslims as a unique evil is of course very popular right now in the West. But these anti-Muslim attitudes come with a lot of baggage, baggage that Skeptics/Atheists should not want to carry. Your claim that defending Muslims is tantamount to defending fascism is bizarre and silly, and I’m not engaging it.

    When you take sides in the conflict between “The West” and “Islam”, you present Skepticism as a weapon to be utilized. But Skepticism was not meant to be possessed by one tribe, nor should it be used as a means of attacking another tribe. Skepticism should be a global beacon of intelligence and reason, not a shield held by the West, used to defend its flank as it goes pillaging. Skepticism should not allow itself to be a Western possession.

    Hey you were the one praising Muslims “considerable” virtues as a group, yet you cannot name a single modern contribution to world culture in the arts and sciences.

    As far as I am concerned, the fact that Muslims are less likely than other religions to support the killing of civilians, is already a contribution to global politics. I also think the fact that they have managed, in spite of everything, to become an educated middle-class group in the US & UK, is pretty impressive. But if you want modern inventions by Muslims, here you go.

  46. atheist says

    You quote Juan Cole like the Talmud, yet deny being an Islam apologist? Lol.

    But move those goal posts. Now want lay all “Western” action at the feet of Christianity regardless of its actual motivations. All major cultures have blood-soaked, imperialistic histories. Islam attempted to destroy Christian Europe for centuries and when they fell behind technologically, suddenly the West was the ‘aggressor’.

    Well do you have any argument that Juan Cole is wrong? Why shouldn’t we use the evidence he presents, does the fact that it comes from him somehow invalidate it? And, yes, Christian violence does not present as “terrorism” because in the West, Christians have access to much more powerful weaponry than car bombs. Consider the dangerous alliance between American Evangelical Christians and Likudnik Israelis as an example. The group described at that link, “Christians United For Israel”, supports warlike policies in the US and in Israel. For instance they agitate for the US to declare war on Iran. It should go without saying that this is much more dangerous than any suicide bomber’s suit.

  47. atheist says

    @Rebekah, the Wily Jew – May 27, 2013 at 10:23 pm (UTC -7)

    By the way something to think about with the Crusades and Inquisition, those are previously unknown patterns of Christian conduct that come about in direct response to contact with Islam. Like Vall said in response hjhornbeck, is Islam actually so awful it has Buddhist monks taking up arms against it?

    You know, it takes two to tango. I don’t think you can blame the Crusades or the Inquisition on Muslims. But your point that the Muslims were aggressors along with Christians, in that period, is reasonable.

  48. Rebekah, the Wily Jew says

    To single out Muslims as a unique evil is of course very popular right now in the West. But these anti-Muslim attitudes…

    Here is your intellectual dishonesty laid bare. A rational analysis that does not a priori assume that disparate things must be equal for the sake of political agendas is “singl[ing] out”. ‘Islam’ in turns immediately becomes “Muslims”. Criticism of Islam is immediately condemned as “anti-Muslim”. Your tactic is both disturbing and yet cartoonishly transparent at the same time.

    Despite all your denial, you are in fact the worst sort of accomodationist pseudo-atheist, using the cudgel of ‘bigotry’ (you are merely accuse people of it more subtly) to silence even the attempt to rationally discuss Islam. The conclusion that Islam is a more harmful religion is simply not allowed before we have even begun. When I present the mere beginnings of a good faith argument, you just arrogantly announce that “any of them I can find features of another religion that are just as bad”…without actually doing so.

    …you present Skepticism…

    Now you are simply fabricating stuff out of thin air. I never claimed to be a ‘sceptic’ nor a part of big-S scepticism.

    This whole defence of Islam is about your cliché leftwing rage at Western policy.

    …the fact that Muslims are less likely than other religions to support the killing of civilians, is already a contribution to global politics.

    QED. See how a single opinion poll of American Muslims becomes a “fact” about “Muslims” in general in your mind.

    That says it all about your intellectual laziness and your paternalistic romaticisation of Muslims as some sort of anondyne to Western (i.e. “white US”) evil.

    But if you want modern inventions by Muslims, here you go.

    Did you even read that list before smugly presenting it? It has six items, one of which is a bowling technique from cricket. Lol. It further claims credit for the “Moon landing” because of a single Egyptian scientist out of the thousands of people involved. It is an utter joke.

    As for the Jews, less than 1% of humanity, we have well over 100 Nobel Prizes.

    Well do you have any argument that Juan Cole is wrong?

    Yes, the Armenian genocide, check and mate. I could go on and on with examples of Christian deaths at Ottoman hands, but that example alone, even using the lowest death totals from Turkish nationalists, exposes his morally bankrupt and fundamentally dishonest analysis.

    You know, it takes two to tango.

    Like most Islam apologists you love to smugly make smug pronouncements that address a point that is not even in contention. The moral responsibility for the Crusaders’ crimes rests solely on the European knights responsible. I never said, nor suggested otherwise. I merely noted that Christianity had existed for a thousand years without a concept of ‘holy war’ and that notion arises only in the face of centuries of Islamic aggression. Similarly the Inquisition arises only after Christians face the aftermath of centuries of Islamic occupation of Iberia.

    Conflict with Islam has similarly been linked some of the ugliest behaviour ever manifest in my own people, the Jews but also Hindus, Serbs, Greeks, Thai and Burmese Buddhists, Han Chinese, African Christians, etc. The bleeding edges of Islam just seem to have a certain effect on other peoples.

  49. atheist says

    @Rebekah, the Wily Jew – May 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm (UTC -7)

    To single out Muslims as a unique evil is of course very popular right now in the West. But these anti-Muslim attitudes…

    Here is your intellectual dishonesty laid bare. A rational analysis that does not a priori assume that disparate things must be equal for the sake of political agendas is “singl[ing] out”. ‘Islam’ in turns immediately becomes “Muslims”. Criticism of Islam is immediately condemned as “anti-Muslim”. Your tactic is both disturbing and yet cartoonishly transparent at the same time.

    I’m not assuming a priori that Islam is equal to Christianity, or that Muslims are the same as Christians. I’m also not “silencing” anyone. I’m making an argument that the two tribes are quite similar, using polls as evidence. I’m also making a political argument about Skepticism/Secularism, saying that secularists ought not to have a double standard about Islam & Muslims, judging them more harshly than Christians or Buddhists.

    You dislike my use of opinion polls as evidence. Well, we’re talking about the beliefs of a group of people, and good opinion polls are the most scientific way I can think of to ascertain this. Can you think of a better way, or do you have a reason to distrust these particular polls other than disliking their conclusions?

    Your point about the Armenian Genocide is a good one, thank your for making it. I’m surprised that Juan Cole missed that, how sloppy. Note, though, that even with that addition of 0.8 – 1.6 million murders by the Ottomans, the West is still way ahead. Do you have other attacks that Juan Cole missed?

    Your argument that Muslims somehow force other tribes to attack them through their own inherent awfulness is circular. It only makes sense if you’re already convinced that Muslims are worse.

    Do you agree that some Christians and Jews use their political power, through groups like “Christians United For Israel”, to push for war between the US and Iran? And can we agree that such a war would be more dangerous than any suicide attack?

  50. Rebekah, the Wily Jew says

    You dislike my use of opinion polls as evidence.

    This is my last response to you because a desperate and dishonest ad hominem like that is a conversation killer.

    I very clearly explicated your misuse of the opinion poll in question. Polls, although a valid form of evidence, are “fact” only in the specific data, the conclusion from that data inherently remains an opinion about a larger entity based on incomplete evidence. Further a poll of American Muslims is not immediately applicable to “Muslims” in general, as you lazily suggested. The fact those two basic points of analysis escape you and you turn around and characterise my criticism as a “dislike” of polls is again just reveals a petty and/or obtuse mind.

    Why not spend more time actually becoming informed on world history, where you seem to have only the most shallow knowledge rather than badgering me for “other attacks that Juan Cole missed” (and yes, he most definitely did) when we already have mutual agreement the man lacks the moral and intellectual integrity to mention a genocide that destroyed an even larger portion of a sizable ethnicity than the Shoah..

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

    @Rebekah, the Wily Jew :

    You are awesome – I am literally in awe of you – and completely 100% correct in every detail here.

    You have said what I think better than I could argue it myself.

    Thankyou. Very well said indeed.

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