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Islamists Want to Destroy Pyramids

The utter madness of Islamic fundamentalists doesn’t seem to have any limit at all. Now a group of Islamists in Egypt wants to destroy the famous pyramids of that country, some of the most incredible ancient artifacts in all of human history.

Egypt is taking a jihadist’s calls to destroy the Giza Pyramids and Sphinx “seriously,” an Egyptian interior ministry source has said, according to reports.

The source, who was not named, spoke to the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper late Monday in response to Sheikh Murgan Salem al-Gohary’s television interview earlier this week.

Gohary, a jihadist with self-professed links to the Taliban, called for the “destruction of the Sphinx and the Giza Pyramids in Egypt,” drawing ties between the Egyptian relics and Buddha statues.

The Islamist, previously twice-sentenced under former President Hosni Mubarak for advocating violence, called on Muslims to remove such “idols.”

“All Muslims are charged with applying the teachings of Islam to remove such idols, as we did in Afghanistan when we destroyed the Buddha statues,” he said on Saturday during a television interview on an Egyptian private channel, widely watched by Egyptian and Arab audiences.

“God ordered Prophet Mohammed to destroy idols,” he added. “When I was with the Taliban we destroyed the statue of Buddha, something the government failed to do.”

And this is hardly idle chatter. The Salafis have a lot of power in the new Egyptian government. I imagine the Egyptian military, which is where the real power lies at this point, would disagree. After all, there is a lot of money at stake.

Comments

  1. Michael Heath says

    This is obviously nuts. But not as nuts as American conservative Christians who successfully thwart our mitigating the threat of global warming.

    I raise this comparison because I’m confident many conservative Christians will point to the Muslim wingnuts wanting to destroy these artifacts as evidence Christians are far more tolerant relative to Muslims (they’ll defectively conflate the groups into the larger population sets). And on art and other historical artifacts they’re probably right. But the moral superiority I predict they’ll take, just like they did with the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan, doesn’t hold when we consider conservative Christians are the primary voting base successfully obstructing global mitigation efforts on one of the gravest threats humanity has ever faced.

  2. Matrim says

    Is this legit? Because I remember someone (possibly the Reasonable Doubts or Godless Bitches crew, it was one of the podcasts I frequent) mentioning this months ago, and that it was satirical. The government taking it seriously part, not the people calling for it part (it’s entirely unsurprising that people call for things like the destruction of cultural treasures).

  3. baal says

    “Religion poisons everything” is a slogan and suffers for that. That these Egyptian Muslims even consider it reasonable to float the idea that the pyramids should be destroyed points out the problem with religiously focused virtue. By holding religion foremost, the harmful consequences of actions are relegated to a lower tier and poorer decisions are made than otherwise would be.

  4. reinderdijkhuis says

    This was actually the subject of a story idea I pitched to a comics publisher in Denmark around 2004. They didn’t care for it, thinking that a Luxor-style terrorist attack would be a more plausible thing to write about.

  5. says

    This is obviously nuts. But not as nuts as American conservative Christians who successfully thwart our mitigating the threat of global warming.

    I knew there would be the requisite Yeah but Christians are just as bad if not worse response within ten comments, but this one takes the cake for being the most gratuitous. Ever.

  6. says

    Matrim, I have the same vague memory of this being called a hoax. It was either Reasonable Doubts or Cognitive Dissonance.

    Can we get some fact-checking, please? Snopes has nothing.

  7. says

    Note to self: read the links before opening mouth.

    No, this seems to be legit this time. Not that there’s a real plan for bombing the pyramids, but that a cleric is actually talking about it and the Egyptian government is replying.

  8. StevoR says

    Bamian Buddhas blown up by the taliban.

    Looting in Iraq post liberation. Ancient cultural treasures destroyed anywhere they get their hands on them.

    Now talk of the Jihadists smashing even the pyramids.

    Someone care to explain again (or,come to think of it, for a first time) exactly why we can’t call these Islamist barbarians, barbarians?

  9. StevoR says

    Oh and Hamas has fired rockets into Jerusalem now as well. Just seen on the TV news.

    So much for those who said they wouldn’t fire on that city because it was holy to them as well.

  10. StevoR says

    But of course the Israelis have to be the bad guys because, y’know heaven forbid they defend themselves from people fucking firing rockets at Israeli civilians then hiding behind their own civilians.

    PS. Tip to the Hamas people – if you’re going to claim your people are just harmless civilians its probably best if you don’t have someone interviewed whose fucking name is Jihad something or other – yeah they actually did that!

    It also helps if the population didn’t vote about two thirds~ish or more for Hamas a few years ago and then fight a civil war against the not-quite-so-utterly extremist Fatah faction when they didn’t get their way entirely after that. And if the Palestinians as a whole hadn’t rejected, y’know, every single fucking peace offer ever made and every olive branch ever offered too.

  11. Michael Heath says

    I wrote earlier:

    This is obviously nuts. But not as nuts as American conservative Christians who successfully thwart our mitigating the threat of global warming.

    heddle reponds:

    I knew there would be the requisite Yeah but Christians are just as bad if not worse response within ten comments, but this one takes the cake for being the most gratuitous. Ever.

    My dictionary states gratuitous means, Uncalled for; lacking good reason.

    And yet I followed-up what you quote with exactly why there’s a good reason to make this comparison in the very next paragraph, which I’ll post again here:

    I raise this comparison because I’m confident many conservative Christians will point to the Muslim wingnuts wanting to destroy these artifacts as evidence Christians are far more tolerant relative to Muslims (they’ll defectively conflate the groups into the larger population sets). And on art and other historical artifacts they’re probably right. But the moral superiority I predict they’ll take, just like they did with the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan, doesn’t hold when we consider conservative Christians are the primary voting base successfully obstructing global mitigation efforts on one of the gravest threats humanity has ever faced.

    Why not actually confront my argument, rather then avoid or even deny it existed, and explain how it’s actually nothing and therefore what you quote from me is gratuitous.

    Why is it heddle that almost every time we disagree, I’m accusing you of denying or avoiding the very premises within the framework an issue is being presented? As you do once again here by avoiding my preemptive argument why this isn’t gratuitous but instead behaving as if I hadn’t even presented a justification. When in fact I did. Perhaps my justification isn’t a compelling defense. But you act as if it didn’t even exist, and that’s poor form heddle. Just like you avoided my noting that merely supporting civil rights for groups your church discriminates against is not a sufficiently moral defense for institutionalized and practiced bigotry against those people in your own church.

  12. iknklast says

    on art and other historical artifacts they’re probably right

    Marginally. Until that art offends the sensibilities of Christians, such as the video that was censored from the Smithsonian. The statue of Justice covered because she has a bare breast. The blasphemy charges of Pussy Riot. Etc.

  13. says

    How, exactly, do you “destroy” a pyramid? That’s a lot of rock. Perhaps they are thinking they could re-enslave all the jews and have them haul it? Idiots.

  14. frog says

    My guide at the Taj Mahal (the real one in Agra, not the casino), explained to me that the radical right wing Muslims object to all grave-markers, and consider gigantic tombs (as the Taj Mahal is) to be horrible blasphemies or insults or something; thus all the heavy security at the site.

    (I don’t know if the objection to grave-markers is that they qualify as idols or what.)

    So in addition to “we hate all other religions” there may be an added layer of “and we hate tombs” on top of it.

  15. says

    Why not actually confront my argument, rather then avoid or even deny it existed, and explain how it’s actually nothing and therefore what you quote from me is gratuitous.

    Because it was gratuitous. Anyone can follow your algorithm of making a gratuitous comment, going off and then argue its merits. It doesn’t make it any less gratuitous.

    If Ed wrote:

    The Miami Marlins are horrible for selling off their team.

    You could reply:

    Yes but not as bad as the Christians who deny global warming. I only bring this up because…

  16. raven says

    They have done this before.

    1. The Bamyan Buddhas in Afghanistan.

    2. In Mali just recently, the Islamics destroyed a bunch of centuries old shrines and Mausoleums of Sufi origin.

    3. Boko Harum, Nigeria, rejects all western education including the cloud theory of rain and are Flat Earthers.

    It does look like the Moslem fundies want to go back to the Dark Ages. In Pakistan, they’ve been burning down girl’s schools and shooting health care workers trying to eliminate polio. And the government seems to be absolutely powerless against them.

    This is what happens when a society lets fundie religious kooks run around loose.

    Hitchens: Religion poisons everything.

  17. says

    When I first read the title, I was divided between thinking A) there were some Muslims making a big deal about wanting to destroy them, and B) some crazed American wingnut was asserting without basis that Muslims wanted to destroy the pyramids, and was making the assertion to spread more Islamophobia.

    Now that I know it was A, I wonder how our wingnuts will react, namely how many will end up agreeing and possibly asserting that these fundie Muslims are more moral for wanting to destroy the idols. The majority will probably muster some half-hearted anger over the idea, but they’re the boring ones.

  18. criticaldragon1177 says

    Ed Brayton,

    I’ll be stunned if the pyramids aren’t still around for the rest of my life. Unless the most extreme fanatics take over the country there’s no way they’ll be destroyed.

  19. grumpyoldfart says

    And after the pyramids are demolished what will they do with the rubble?
    `

    Put it in a big pile that looks like — a pyramid!

  20. criticaldragon1177 says

    #2 Cottonnero

    If we were really moving into James Bond territory there would be an action sequence where Bond would punch him in the face after chances around the villain’s henchmen on dune buggies while being shot at. Than Bond deactivate the bomb right before it detonates, and than make love to beutiful Egyptian woman. ;)

  21. Doc Bill says

    Wait, wait! There’s an opportunity here not to be missed.

    I’m all for letting Sheikh Murgan Salem al-Gohary destroy the pyramids and all by himself. Let’s give the good sheikh a hammer, shovel and wheelbarrow and put him to work from dawn to dusk reducing the pyramids to rubble. Let him at it! Start with the Great Pyramid and when he’s done with that he can move on to other pyramids.

    I think it’s a fine idea.

  22. Artor says

    I have to wonder how they might go about destroying the Pyramids. According to Wikipedia, the Great Pyramid has a mass of 6 billion  kg. I’m not sure what it would take to destroy that, but I suspect conventional explosives are insufficient- they’d either need decades of demolition efforts, utterly destroying the economy of Egypt and any countries that commit to help with the project, or they’d need nukes.
    I can imagine the results of such a blast. Here’s a link of people trying to dispose of a dead, beached whale with too much dynamite. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vn7D-pikXNU A car 1/4 mile away was destroyed by a chunk of rotting blubber. Envision searing hot blocks of stone peppering Cairo and the surrounding region. Any physicists here who can give some details of what this might involve?

  23. baal says

    heddle @ 21
    Parallels between different destructive behaviours based on religious ideology is not a generic argument. M. Heath is entirely correct that we shouldn’t lose sight of the tragedy that is global warming denialism. That reminder is relevant since both that denialism and the anti-ancient great works screeds are driven by small minded theocratic concerns.
    Insisting that M. Heath is just grinding an axe is totally off base. You apparently read here often. That experience should show you that M.Heath’s positions rely on research and well considered opinion (even when you don’t agree with him).

  24. mako says

    Holy Crap, is Michael Heath at #12 really that crazy? Or does his just run a bot with an algorithm that takes every blog entry and twists is to blame christians?

    Ed: “I was playing poker on vacation…”

    Michael Heath’s web bot: “This is obviously nuts. But not as nuts as American conservative Christians who sent missionaries to Hawaii and stole native land thus twarting a mitigation of native culture!”

    Ed: “I think the 10th circuit’s decision was incorrect due to …. ”

    Michael Heath’s web bot: “This is obviously nuts. But not as nuts as American conservative Christians who twart mitigating science because they don’t believe in evolution!”

    and so on.

  25. mako says

    in other news, apparently michael heath uses another username ‘baal’ to post crazy awesome sock puppet kudos to himself! c.f. #32

    “That experience should show you that M.Heath’s positions rely on research and well considered opinion (even when you don’t agree with him).”

    Uh… o.k. Mikey, thanks for the opinion of yourself.

  26. mako says

    ooops, heddle already covered the Michael Heath syndrome supra, and my comment was a little cumulative. My bad. However, experience should show us all that heddle’s positions rely on research and well considered opinion (even when you don’t agree with him).

  27. Didaktylos says

    There was a thriller I read about 20 years back that featured an Islamist Egyptian government demolishing the Pyramids. Can’t for the life of me remember who it was by or what the title was.

  28. matty1 says

    Michael Heath is a pretty regular poster here and I’m not aware of him regularly using sock puppets (there was I think one or two comments a few years ago that I suspected where him and had at the end something like ‘I usually post under my own name but this comment would upset family members if I did’).

    Baal is less prolific but has been seen before. Mako on the other hand, who is that?

  29. andrewlephong says

    The popular account of why the Sphinx is missing its nose is that Napoleon’s troops blasted it off. But there’s another account that says an Islamic fanatic saw peasants worshipping the Sphinx and was so enraged by this blatant act of idolatry, that he cut off its nose. If true, it wouldn’t be the first time they tried this.

  30. caseloweraz says

    I agree that Sheikh Murgan Salem al-Gohary is probably serious but that the idea is nuts.

    First, as pointed out supra (to borrow from Mako), doing it would take nukes, and rather large ones — in the multimegaton range, I think. The chance of Islamists having those is nil IMO.

    Second, even a failure using conventional explosives would bring the wrath of Egypt’s government and military down on their heads.

  31. scottm says

    I don’t see how this can be taken very seriously. This is right up there with the idiot who made a lot of noise about putting a burqa on the Statue of Liberty. It’s a bid for attention as far as I can tell.

  32. thomasmorris says

    @42 – Really? I could have sworn it was because the worker who was sculpting the nose was startled by Aladdin and Jasmine flying by on a magic carpet?

  33. baal says

    I’m amused at being taken as a sock puppet for Heath. I don’t write nearly as well as he does and I live two States over. I’m also a great deal less careful in my statements and think that Ronny Raygun is responsible for kicking off much of the BS that Heath dislikes today.

    I also like to play armchair psychologist and assume Mr. Heath thinks that he’s never been wrong or that his views over time are consistent even though they seem to have wandered from a fair bit right of center to somewhere clearly on the left.

    Having typed this, you can be assured that I’m not him. These statements and how I said them will be more than a little off-putting for him.

    Lastly, I’ve been commenting here in about 30-40% of posts for several months and lurked with rarer comments for nearly a year. Mr. Heath is substantially more prolific and doesn’t need a sock puppet for buttressing his views. Heddle on the other hand…

  34. abear says

    Islamists started destroying statues and artifacts of pre-Islamic Maldives a few years ago. The National Museum was thoroughly trashed.

    Ali Waheed (the director of National Museum of the Maldives) stated: “The collection was totally, totally smashed. The whole pre-Islamic history is gone.”

  35. Michael Heath says

    baal writes:

    I . . . think that Ronny Raygun is responsible for kicking off much of the BS that Heath dislikes today.

    Oh I definitely concede President Reagan’s contributions to so much of the harm we now encounter today from conservatism. My primary defense of Reagan in this venue is that his Administration was generally a successful one consistent with what historians perceive; that sounds radical in a liberal joint like this because so many posters here are not capable of conceding anything positive to him or his Administration, including those events they managed which did turn out positive.

    Perhaps Mr. Reagan’s biggest failing after his global warming denialism was legitimizing the kind of conservatism we have today; an ideology which is based much upon his rhetoric, in spite of the fact he actually governed differently than his own rhetoric or adapted views which conservatives now conveniently ignore. An observation Ed repeatedly illustrates with his own posts when President Obama and the Democrats take a position consistent with Reagan where today’s Republicans consider that treason; e.g., against torture, for progressive taxation, increasing tax rates if its tied to decreasing the deficit being three of the most obvious.

    baal writes:

    I also like to play armchair psychologist and assume Mr. Heath thinks that he’s never been wrong or that his views over time are consistent even though they seem to have wandered from a fair bit right of center to somewhere clearly on the left.

    I’ve repeatedly noted my regret for voting for President Bush in 2000. I’ve repeatedly noted I left the GOP. In addition I’ve repeatedly noted that moderates such as myself were key contributors to a few of the core root cause factors that caused such an enormous crash in the great recession, i.e., that we favored fiscal conservatism on the budget in 1990s rather than reforming our labor market, that we sided with conservatives on the regulatory changes that allowed the investment banks and companies like AIG to act like commercial banks and insurance companies, that we provided political support for a Fed Chairman who turned out to be living in a world of fantasy. Where the lessons learned have certainly swung me to the left on some economic issues. In fact I follow liberal economists now far more than I do freshwater ones.

  36. StevoR says

    @46. Budbear :

    Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! It’s sock puppets all the way down!

    Nice Asimov reference* there. Cheers. (Raised beer salute.)

    * Elijah Baley & Daneel Olivaw SF detective duo.

  37. criticaldragon1177 says

    #51 Valhar2000

    This is just one man, and although there maybe other extremist clerics who would love to support destroying the pyramids, it doesn’t look like most Egyptians, and just as importantly doesn’t look like the Egyptian government supports him either.

  38. says

    “And after the pyramids are demolished what will they do with the rubble? Put it in a big pile that looks like — a pyramid!”

    Oh, sure, it’s a joke, now. Did you ever stop to think about the ramifications (those are vacations with male sheep, I think)? Tomorrow, the Pyramids; sometime, shortly after, MOUNT FUCKING EVEREST.

    “I imagine the Egyptian military, which is where the real power lies at this point, would disagree. After all, there is a lot of money at stake.”

    Yep, it’s all about the “Sphinxies”! (http://www.egyptvoyager.com/features/money.swf)

    Just sell the fucking things to Bain Capital and be done with it.

  39. slc1 says

    Re MH @ #49

    In fairness to Ronnie the rat, the evidence for climate change was not nearly as convincing in the 1980s as it is today. One of the big reasons for that is the great improvement in the computer models, due to the concomitant increase in computer power since that time. Today’s models include many more effects and run with with much shorter time scan intervals then they were able to do in the 1980s.

    As someone who has had considerable experience in developing simulation models, I can relate that models that required large main frame computers in 1980 run many times faster on high end desktops then they did then on those machines.

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