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Atheism has no desire for martyrs, so please stop creating them

In Syria, you aren’t free to argue in even the mildest terms about gods.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the boy had been arguing with someone about the existence of God, and was heard to say: "Even if the Prophet Mohammad returns, I will not become a believer."

But other sources suggested that the comment was misheard, and that the boy was actually arguing with another customer over giving him a free coffee, saying "Even if the Prophet returns, I will not give you a free coffee."

Qataa was reportedly abducted and tortured for 24 hours, before being dragged into the middle of a crowded street and executed in front of his mother.

It was quite explicit that he was murdered for atheism.

The Observatory said in a statement: “People gathered around him and a member of the fighting brigade said: ‘Generous citizens of Aleppo, disbelieving in God is polytheism and cursing the prophet is a polytheism. Whoever curses even once will be punished like this’.

“He then fired two bullets from an automatic rifle in view of the crowd and in front of the boy’s mother and father, and got into a car and left.”

I curse that cowardly gunman’s god a thousand times, and I won’t give him any free coffee, either.

Mohammad Qataa was 15 years old, and killed for being smarter than a pious thug.

Comments

  1. voidhawk says

    Ugh utterly disgusting. Also I know its small and irrelevant compared to the murder but in what possible way is atheism polytheism?

  2. says

    Our god is *REAL*, our god is *REAL*.
    Look at the pain we cause!
    *REAL*!
    He needs us to prove how *REAL* he is -
    by the spilling of others’ blood.
    Our god is *REAL*, doubt us and rue the day!
    Believe, before more children die!
    *REAL*!
    Please let this be true,
    for we have utterly debased ourselves in His name.
    Please tell us that our god is *REAL*!”
    Or we’ll have done this all in vain …

    .

  3. brive1987 says

    This is hideous. When I think it through though I alway have an internal conflict between wanting to send in a first world moral enforcer squad or submitting sorrowfully to an acknowledgment that a huge proportion of that society actually find death for this “crime” perfectly rational and moral.

    Having just listened to Reasonable Doubts martyrs episode 2 (ie the Moslem world survey) I almost wish there was a command theory of objective morality without the greys of flawed human and social constructs that could be imposed on us all equally.

    But there ain’t.

  4. left0ver1under says

    Religions are only ever peaceful when they are powerless and at the mercy of others.

    Religions turn genocidal when they attain enough power to get away with it.

  5. Sastra says

    The God of the Book combines faith culture and honor culture in a very, very ugly way. This is heart-breaking.

  6. Nick Gotts says

    The people who did this are, in practice, the leading faction among the Syrian rebels, and are being armed by “western allies” such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Any arms sent to the rebels after the dreadful EU decision to end its arms embargo may well end up with them. Vile though Assad’s regime is, it looks as though its replacement could be worse if he falls.

  7. mikeconley says

    Vile though Assad’s regime is, it looks as though its replacement could be worse if he falls.

    Gee, ya think? Strange how that keeps happening…

  8. Ichthyic says

    The people who did this are, in practice, the leading faction among the Syrian rebels, and are being armed by “western allies” such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Any arms sent to the rebels after the dreadful EU decision to end its arms embargo may well end up with them. Vile though Assad’s regime is, it looks as though its replacement could be worse if he falls.

    *sigh*

    Nick, it wasn’t that way until WAY late in the Syrian revolution. After months of having direct help blocked by China and Russia, the Syrian rebels had no choice but to look for help to the Muslim brotherhood.

    don’t you DARE say that Syria would be better off with Assad. He’s a murdering bastard.

  9. Ichthyic says

    my point being, yet again, it’s due to powers OUTSIDE of the ME that this shit keeps happening.

  10. Poggio says

    Those who grew up in a western religious tradition would associate polytheism with the Ancient Greeks and Romans but this isn’t what this murderer was referring to. Muslims consider Islam to be the only monotheistic religion, as seen in their creed, the Shihada (there is only one god and mohammed is his prophet). The popularity of Islam and the Shihada in the 6-7th century CE was due in significant part to the violent mixture of competing polytheistic cults, Christianity principally, in Egypt, Alexandria in particular and elsewhere in the Levant. Islam was born essentially as an anti-polytheistic cult which united the culturally distinct peoples of the area. The competing Christian creed of the period, the Nicene, was foreign (Greek) and entirely polytheistic, positing a trinity of gods. Muslim theologians consider the Nicene creed to be barbaric paganism, and the Shihada culturally enlightened monotheism. Part of the fervor of conversion for Muslims is in demonstrating this so-called enlightened belief.

    I doubt this murderer comprehends atheism. To him everyone is either a Muslim with proper monotheistic beliefs or a polytheist who doesn’t recite the Shihada.

  11. laurentweppe says

    The people who did this are, in practice, the leading faction among the Syrian rebels

    The islamists became the leading faction among the syrian rebels because the EU established an arms embargo: the first thing the secularist rebels did was to turn toward the western world, toward Us to plead for help, and they were ignored, thus allowing the fundies to become to dominant force thanks to better access to firepower.

    And the Assad regime will fall: if it survive now, it will only to fall 25 years from now when the children of the repression victims come on age, but you can bet your fucking ass that the later the Assad regime falls, the likelier the minorities who support it now will join the list of ethnicities exterminated by their former thralls

  12. kylemarquis says

    “Voidhawk: Ugh utterly disgusting. Also I know its small and irrelevant compared to the murder but in what possible way is atheism polytheism?”

    I suspect it’s a translation for the Islamic concept of shirk:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shirk_(Islam)

    Which appears to be incoherent nonsense, but at least it’s not sensus divinitatis.

  13. Gregory Greenwood says

    A fifteen year old tortured and then murdered in cold blood for what may or may not have been a statement of atheism. So much for the ‘religion of peace’.

    The situation is Syria has spun completely out of control – Assad is a genocidal monster, and the rebel movement has now been so comprehensively infiltrated by fundamentalists that it seems likely that, should Assad fall, the current conflict will be promptly replaced by a new civil war, this time between the secularists within the current rebel groups and the islamist extremists. The possibility of anything other than a disastrous outcome to the conflict seems more remote with every passing day.

    And plenty of blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the West. Even leaving aside the issue of the arms embargo that seems to have only worsened the situation (to be fair, there were seemingly legitimate arguments in favour of an embargo with regard to avoiding escalation and concerns over turning the Syrian civil conflict into a proxy war with Russia, though it seems that this particular analysis was in error as it turns out), there is still the fact that a series of Western leaders spent many years turning a blind eye to Assad’s ever more oppressive and autocratic rule, instead praising him as a supposedly ‘progressive’ leader. The indulgance of the international community doubtlessly emboldened him in his policies, and may have directly contributed to the savagery of his war against his own people, since he could be fairly confident that he would face no more than disappointed tut-tutting from the outside world.

    Everything the West does with regard to the Middle East only seems to make a bad situation worse, and all because our priorities are always to protect our access to Middle Eastern oil reserves – whether directly or through promoting notional ‘regional stability’, which all too often amounts to favouring currently ‘friendly’ tyrants over difficult to control democracies of the type that arise on their own, rather than the faux democratic puppet regimes we sometimes install by means of ill-advised military intervention – whatever that may mean when it comes to propping up the regimes of brutal tyrants and theocrats, so long as those regimes continue to satiate our endless thirst for black gold. Preventing violent repression and slaughter of innocent peoples never seems to factor into the calcuations, at least not until the world is watching, and our governments feel compelled to do something to create the illusion that they give a damn.

    And now it looks like Syria’s civil war may be about to start spreading into Lebanon as well, due to Hezzbollah’s support for the Assad regime, so it seems that the suffering and death is only set to spread.

    And yet people still scratch their heads and wonder why there is so much radicalisation of youth in Middle Eastern countries…

  14. Nick Gotts says

    laurentweppe,

    The islamists became the leading faction among the syrian rebels because the EU established an arms embargo

    Do you have any evidence for that claim? The “secularists” have completely failed to establish a coherent movement, and have also failed to gain significant support from anywhere other than the Sunni Arab majority. Neither of these failures can rationally be blamed on the EU arms embargo.

    And the Assad regime will fall: if it survive now, it will only to fall 25 years from now when the children of the repression victims come on age, but you can bet your fucking ass that the later the Assad regime falls, the likelier the minorities who support it now will join the list of ethnicities exterminated by their former thralls

    Of course it will fall, because everything falls. The rest of that quote is completely unverifiable speculation.

  15. Nick Gotts says

    Even leaving aside the issue of the arms embargo that seems to have only worsened the situation (to be fair, there were seemingly legitimate arguments in favour of an embargo with regard to avoiding escalation and concerns over turning the Syrian civil conflict into a proxy war with Russia, though it seems that this particular analysis was in error as it turns out), there is still the fact that a series of Western leaders spent many years turning a blind eye to Assad’s ever more oppressive and autocratic rule, instead praising him as a supposedly ‘progressive’ leader. The indulgance of the international community doubtlessly emboldened him in his policies, and may have directly contributed to the savagery of his war against his own people, since he could be fairly confident that he would face no more than disappointed tut-tutting from the outside world. – Gregory Greenwood

    The concerns were entirely valid, and it’s not true that a “blind eye” has been turned to Assad’s brutality. True, when he first succeeded his father in 2000 there were hopes that he would be a “reformer”, i.e. adopt pro-western policies, but the USA and UK turned against him in 2003 when he opposed the invasion of Iraq, and have been keen to publicise his crimes ever since. France continued to support him until recently, due to inter-imperialist rivalries. One thing we can be certain of: if “the west” intervenes in the Syrian civil war, it won’t be out of concern for the Syrian people. If that were the concern, they would have started by restoring relations with Iran, the foreign power that has most leverage over Assad.

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

    @18. Enopoletus Harding : Citation?

    Importance? Relevance here?

    Syria : Shit what can you say? Too much and not enough probably. Fuck the whole situation there sucks. That’s all I am personally goanna say here. Well, not quite.

    Sectarian warfare. Brutality. Cruelty and inhumanity. Zealotry and hatred and Hezbollah and Shia and Sunni and Alawite hating and killing and ugliness of everything despairing. No winners, the horror, horror and shitness of it all. Bashar Assad and Islamist jihadists, what a fucking choice. No winners everyone loses.

    So.
    Very.
    Fucked.
    Up.

    Too many people.

    Suffering agonies.

    We can only barely ..

    Begin ..

    To

    Imagine.

    Wish there was some hope here.

    Is there?

    Fear not?

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

    And I do NOT know.

    Doubt many really do.

    Fuck.

  18. Gregory Greenwood says

    Nick Gotts @ 19;

    The concerns were entirely valid, and it’s not true that a “blind eye” has been turned to Assad’s brutality. True, when he first succeeded his father in 2000 there were hopes that he would be a “reformer”, i.e. adopt pro-western policies, but the USA and UK turned against him in 2003 when he opposed the invasion of Iraq, and have been keen to publicise his crimes ever since. France continued to support him until recently, due to inter-imperialist rivalries. One thing we can be certain of: if “the west” intervenes in the Syrian civil war, it won’t be out of concern for the Syrian people. If that were the concern, they would have started by restoring relations with Iran, the foreign power that has most leverage over Assad.

    The last thing I want to see is another bloody debacle like the Iraq war. It seems doubtful that Western military intervention would do anything other than further exacerbate the violence. I think that there were missed opportunities where the West could and should have done more to put pressure on Assad to change his policies, but that ship seems to have sailed. It is possible that normalising relations with Iran could help mitigate the violence, but it seems rather unlikely that either Western leaders or the hardliners in Tehran are going to be much in favour of that.

    Unfortunately, I can’t see any way out of this mess that has much of a chance at being successful, given that the sectarian conflcit is already spreading, and the powers that may have a shot at ending it are more interested in poking each other with sticks than actually working together.

  19. says

    And the ‘And even if the prophet comes’ is a common saying. Ugh.

    Also, how are we supposed to give arms to people and trust that they’re secular? Handing out guns is the perfect way to ramp up violence, not tamp it down.

  20. gravityisjustatheory says

    voidhawk
    10 June 2013 at 7:01 am (UTC -5)

    Ugh utterly disgusting. Also I know its small and irrelevant compared to the murder but in what possible way is atheism polytheism?

    This seems to be a common logical failing among extreme idealogues, regardless of ideology.

    “Anyone/thing that isn’t exactly the same as what we believe in is totally wrong, and all the things that are totally wrong are all basically the same”.

    Hence Jack Chick arguing that Catholicism = Satanism = Paganism.

    Or a libertarian I was recently arguing with claiming that wanting workplace safety regulations means you want to replicate North Korea.

  21. laurentweppe says

    Do you have any evidence for that claim?

    Here

    The third chapters goes in detail into the transformation of the revolution from paceful demonstrations to a violent uprising driven in no small part by the defection of soldiers revulsed by their orers to shoot down unnarmed protesters, that they lacked heavy weaponry and that foreign-sourced weapons represented only a tiny fraction of theirtragically lacking arsenal.

    It also explores the weakness of non-regime affiliated muslim organizations before the uprising (the Muslim Brotherhood lost its base during the slaughter of Hama in 1982, the salafis groups were closely monitored and controlled by the regime to be used as proxy in foreign wars) their lack of grassroot presence and the role played by foreign money (what the authors call “superior financing”), weapons and experience (many jihadists are foreign fighters who fought the US and Shia government in Iraq) to allow these groups to quickly raise to prominence despite starting from scratch.

    The secular Free Syria Army fought as well as it could on a shoestring while the salafist patrons used their petro-dollars to arm, finance and propagandize them.

  22. laurentweppe says

    Arg, blockquote failed me…

    Again:

    Do you have any evidence for that claim?

    Here

    The third chapters goes in detail into the transformation of the revolution from paceful demonstrations to a violent uprising driven in no small part by the defection of soldiers revulsed by their orers to shoot down unnarmed protesters, that they lacked heavy weaponry and that foreign-sourced weapons represented only a tiny fraction of theirtragically lacking arsenal.

    It also explores the weakness of non-regime affiliated muslim organizations before the uprising (the Muslim Brotherhood lost its base during the slaughter of Hama in 1982, the salafis groups were closely monitored and controlled by the regime to be used as proxy in foreign wars) their lack of grassroot presence and the role played by foreign money (what the authors call “superior financing”), weapons and experience (many jihadists are foreign fighters who fought the US and Shia government in Iraq) to allow these groups to quickly raise to prominence despite starting from scratch.

    The secular Free Syria Army fought as well as it could on a shoestring while the salafist patrons used their petro-dollars to arm, finance and propagandize them.

  23. timanthony says

    Just dropped in to look for a recent atheism-related article to add a comment to… and say I’ve finally started reading Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion”. I also bought Hitch’s “god is not Great” but someone advised me to read TGD first.

    Anyway, as much as I thought I knew the landscape of religion in both modern and historical eras, which is to say, quite a lot, this book has sobered me up again to the maxim: the more you know, the more you know you don’t know.

    It’s bloody breathtaking. I am having my eyes opened ever-wider to the utter banal evil of religion in the modern era. I’m so lost for words, I’m stuck with a pathetic (and faintly heretical!) Holy Fucking Crap.

    btw this is intended as a recommendation to buy or borrow the book and read it.

    And… OBVIOUSLY read PZ’S book too. I can’t imagine it isn’t pretty funny in places. (Dawkins’ book isn’t one bit funny, read it then use PZ’s for relief would be my advice).

  24. laurentweppe says

    Do you really think anything published by the International Institute for Strategic Studies is likely to be anything close to objective?

    Much more than any drivel produced by someone claiming that a pseudo-secular dictator is a lesser evil compared to the homegrown rebellion bred by his regime’s corruption.
    Also, they had the good taste to cite and link to their sources, which include organizations like Human Rights Watch, The Guardian, le Monde… So unless you want to go all republican complotist on me and pretend that The Guardian, France and george Soros are all secretly pinning for the Muslim Brotherhood….

  25. Azuma Hazuki says

    Something nasty occurred to me a little while ago: Iran is mostly Shi’ite, and IIRC so is Syria.

    Do you ever get the impression that the Sunnis, lead by Saudi Arabia, are “playing” the rest of the world including their erstwhile allies the USA, in order to exterminate Shi’ites and establis the Caliphate?

    I keep seeing patterns like that. Hussein and Qaddafi both were killed right after they made noise about pegging their oil to a currency NOT called the US Dollar. Muslim-on-Muslim violence tends to be Sunni-on-Shi’ite. Maybe I’m overanalyzing but something smells really rotten here.

  26. David Marjanović says

    One thing we can be certain of: if “the west” intervenes in the Syrian civil war, it won’t be out of concern for the Syrian people.

    Oh, absolutely.

    If that were the concern, they would have started by restoring relations with Iran, the foreign power that has most leverage over Assad.

    It looks like the biggest obstacle is China, though. And Russia selling MiGs to Assad… *headshake*

  27. David Marjanović says

    and IIRC so is Syria

    Oh no. Syria has a very large Sunni majority. But the Assad clan and the people they rely on are Alawi, which is more like Shia than like Sunna.

    the Sunnis

    LOL. Nowhere near a monolith.

    Hussein and Qaddafi both were killed right after they made noise about pegging their oil to a currency NOT called the US Dollar.

    Evidence for the latter, please.

    The former did – but at that point it was a deliberate move to annoy the US, as far as I can see; it was long after a war started looking probable.

  28. Azuma Hazuki says

    @34/David M

    I am going to cite someone who is extremely vile personally. But I think, leaving his broader ideology aside, he’s dealing with just facts here. Yes, it’s Lew Rockwell, the ghostwriter for Ron Paul’s tirades. Hold the bile down (I know I had to) and read: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig11/scott-pd10.1.html

    (Do not look up “paleolibertarianism” on Wikipedia. Or this guy himself. There is something diseased about this man. But damn if he doesn’t lay out the facts here. Even Hitler can be correct about things, I guess.)

  29. Nick Gotts says

    Much more than any drivel produced by someone claiming that a pseudo-secular dictator is a lesser evil compared to the homegrown rebellion bred by his regime’s corruption. – laurentweppe

    I did no such thing, liar.

  30. robro says

    Ichthyic: “my point being, yet again, it’s due to powers OUTSIDE of the ME that this shit keeps happening.” This seems to underestimate the role of the powers WITHIN the ME, particularly Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates, to contribute to the mayhem. The situation in Syria is certainly the result of a long history of Western “influence” (hegemony) in the region, but Britain, France, and later the US had their allies in the region long before the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

    Poggio: “Islam was born essentially as an anti-polytheistic cult…” Really? That’s what Islamists think, but it’s based on the assumption that the Islamic narrative about itself is accurate, which is highly questionable. Even in the mid-18th century Muhammad bin Saud and the religious leader Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab joined forces to rid Islam of “idolatry” and other impurities such as saint worship which seem very similar to the kind of “polytheism” common in Christianity. I am told that to this day you will find trees in the Levant festooned with prayer clothes…and ancient religious practice that predates even Judaism.

  31. David Marjanović says

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig11/scott-pd10.1.html

    First, that’s not by Rockwell at all. It is, as it says, by a Peter Dale Scott at the conspiracy-theory site globalresearch.ca (which is all over the map politically).

    Anyway, it says:

    Gaddafi’s plans for an authentically post-colonial Africa

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    That dude was a megalomaniac. First he wanted to unite all Arabs under his green banner in general and himself in particular, then, when that failed, he wanted to unite all Africans that way. He kept behaving ridiculously in the African Union all the way to his end. Everything he did was a stunt.

  32. David Marjanović says

    Also from there:

    As Ellen Brown has pointed out [no citation given], first Iraq and then Libya decided to challenge the petrodollar system and stop selling all their oil for dollars, shortly before each country was attacked.

    Kenneth Schortgen Jr., writing on Examiner.com, noted that “[s]ix months before the US moved into Iraq to take down Saddam Hussein, the oil nation had made the move to accept Euros instead of dollars for oil, and this became a threat to the global dominance of the dollar as the reserve currency, and its dominion as the petrodollar..”

    According to a Russian article titled “Bombing of Lybia – Punishment for Qaddafi for His Attempt to Refuse US Dollar,” Qaddafi made a similarly bold move: he initiated a movement to refuse the dollar and the euro, and called on Arab and African nations to use a new currency instead, the gold dinar. Qaddafi suggested establishing a united African continent, with its 200 million people using this single currency. … The initiative was viewed negatively by the USA and the European Union, with French president Nicolas Sarkozy calling Libya a threat to the financial security of mankind; but Qaddafi continued his push for the creation of a united Africa.

    It’s deeply ridiculous to suggest that anybody could have taken this gold dinar idea seriously. It would have been a return to the gold standard! Do I need to explain how ridiculous that is?

  33. Nick Gotts says

    This seems to underestimate the role of the powers WITHIN the ME, particularly Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates, to contribute to the mayhem. – robro

    None of the Arab monarchies has an arms industry, so whatever arms are going to the Syrian jihadis from Saudi and Qatar (the main suppliers) come from outside, almost entirely from the west; and a serious threat to cut off arms supplies to those states would at least reduce the flow (arms are also reaching them from Iraqi Sunnis). AFAIK, the only ME states with a significant arms industry are Israel and Iran. According to this Guardian article, the USA is actually pressurizing Saudi Arabia and Qatar not to give the rebels what they most want, heat-seeking missiles to bring down aircraft, for fear of them being used against civilian aircraft. That wouldn’t look good at all. According to the same article, the chief American advocate of greater aid to the rebels is John McCain.

    The truth is, Assad’s regime was never going to be removed without outside intervention at least on the scale of Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands of people, because he has well-armed and well-trained forces; significant domestic support not just from Alawites, but from Christians, Druze and Kurdish Sunnis, together making up around 1/3 of the population, as well as much of the Sunni Arab business community; and powerful allies – the Shia-dominated government in Iraq, Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Russia. A civil war was always very likely to turn into a sectarian struggle, simply because it was bound to pit Sunnis against Alawites, with atrocities on both sides; and such a struggle could easily spread throughout the Middle East. Outside powers – including Russia and China as well as the west – should be trying to minimize the flow of arms, and encouraging regional powers on both sides to restrain their Syrian allies.

  34. Nick Gotts says

    It looks like the biggest obstacle is China, though. And Russia selling MiGs to Assad… *headshake* – David Marjanović

    I agree with you about Russian arms sales – but western help to the rebels gives them an excuse, apart from its other drawbacks. I’m not sure what you mean about China – they won’t agree to a UN resolution authorizing western intervention, but why should they? Russia and China agreed to limited intervention in Libya to restrain Gaddafi – and saw it used to bring about regime change. Whether the Libyan people have seen a net benefit from that is not clear – one vile dictator replaced by a bunch of feuding militias – and the people of northern Mali certainly didn’t, but western companies certainly look set for fat profits. (I supported the NATO intervention in Libya, but the outcome leaves me very uncertain that I was right to do so.)

    It is possible that normalising relations with Iran could help mitigate the violence, but it seems rather unlikely that either Western leaders or the hardliners in Tehran are going to be much in favour of that. – Gregory Greenwood

    Actually the “hardliners in Tehran” have made repeated attempts over the years to improve relations with the USA – see Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett Going to Tehran: Why the United States must come to terms with the Islamic Republic. The Leveretts are former senior US foreign policy advisers under both Clinton and Shrub, and “realists” in international relations terminology.

  35. robro says

    Nick — Of course the guns come from the West, mostly the US, and Russia. I would not be surprised to learn that Israel is funneling weapons to some factions in Syria…not Israeli weapons, of course…too embarrassing…but purchased say from Slovakia. That does not diminish the involvement of regional powers such as Saudi Arabia or Iran on the other side. These are complex geo-political affairs where everyone has dirty hands. There are no “good” guys. To fail to recognize these realities only skews our perspective of the situation.

  36. Nick Gotts says

    robro,

    Agreed, entirely. Israel seems to be siding with the rebels, to judge by their air attacks (supposedly on arms going to Hezbollah, but one should take that with a bucket of salt). That seems unwise, given that the Assad regime has been willing to abide by a ceasefire with Israel for 40 years.

  37. atheist says

    ‘Generous citizens of Aleppo, disbelieving in God is polytheism and cursing the prophet is a polytheism. Whoever curses even once will be punished like this’.

    No, you murderous dumbfuck, it’s atheism.

  38. Azuma Hazuki says

    @44/atheist

    Hardcore Muslims have no real concept of atheism, and I suspect the word being rendered polytheism here is shirk, which is non-Islamic belief. Remember pre-Islamic Arabs were polytheists, and Muslims make a (rather good, in my opinion!) case that Christianity is also polytheistic. But they can’t comprehend a complete lack of belief, and in any case “shirk” covers more than simple polytheism.

  39. Gregory Greenwood says

    Nick Gotts @ 41;

    Actually the “hardliners in Tehran” have made repeated attempts over the years to improve relations with the USA – see Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett Going to Tehran: Why the United States must come to terms with the Islamic Republic. The Leveretts are former senior US foreign policy advisers under both Clinton and Shrub, and “realists” in international relations terminology.

    Interesting – I will have to make a point of reading that. Thanks.

  40. Nick Gotts says

    Gregory Greenwood@46,

    It certainly changed my view considerably – I read it when preparing a talk on Iran to my local CND group. There’s a lot that’s very nasty about the Islamic Republic, but it also has considerable achievements to its credit – look up the statistics on literacy, women in higher education, birth rate, and prevalence of extreme poverty, for example. And there seems to be very little evidence Ahmadinejad’s victory in the 2009 election was fraudulent, as is routinely claimed. The USA is happy to deal with regimes that are considerably less pluralistic, but Iran persists in challenging American hegemony in the ME, and acting as if it were an independent state!

  41. dutchdelight says

    Syria is turning into a Jihadi meatgrinder, apart from the civilian casualties, I can’t say i’m terribly sad over that.

    If Al-Qusair is going to be the model, the SAA and the Party of God will do to the low and mid level fighters of Ayman Al-Zawahiris Jihadist army what the drone program did and is still doing against the commanders and higher echelons of the organization in other theatres around the world.

    All in all it seems the efforts in this ‘war against terror’ are starting to pay back and severely thinning the opposition. Al-Zawahiri can’t have long to go anymore either, his exit would let us all move on to the next chapter.

  42. Gregory Greenwood says

    dutchdelight @ 48;

    Syria is turning into a Jihadi meatgrinder, apart from the civilian casualties, I can’t say i’m terribly sad over that.

    You can’t just gloss over those civilian casualties. Syria is suffering a humanitarian catastrophe, and it is at least possible that we have already seen the deployment of chemical weapons against civilian population centres.The human cost of this ‘meatgrinder’ is horrifyingly high already, and will worsen with every day withpout a peace settlement. I don’t imagine that your sense of satisfaction at the carnage will be of much comfort to those who have already lossed loved ones in this brutal sectarian war.

    If Al-Qusair is going to be the model, the SAA and the Party of God will do to the low and mid level fighters of Ayman Al-Zawahiris Jihadist army what the drone program did and is still doing against the commanders and higher echelons of the organization in other theatres around the world.

    That would be the drone program that has been used to target the attendees of funerals and first responders to earluer strikes, I take it? The program of a military that has massaged the civilian casualty rates of their drone strikes by defining every male above the age of puberty in the strike zone as a militant?

    I don’t think that the drone campaigns in Afghanistan and Pakistan are any ideal to aspire to.

    All in all it seems the efforts in this ‘war against terror’ are starting to pay back and severely thinning the opposition. Al-Zawahiri can’t have long to go anymore either, his exit would let us all move on to the next chapter.

    Even ignoring the ethically unjustifiable character of the ‘collateral damage’ (hateful term) inflicted upon civilians, you are forgetting that this War on Terror – these drone strikes that kill innocent people alongside Jihadis – is serving to radicalise more people with every missile fired and every bomb dropped. Even if Al-Zawahiri was to die this second, it is laughably naive to assume that this would mark any kind of significant blow to global islamic extremist movements, still less their end. At one time, it was assumed that Bin Laden’s death would signal some ill-defined ‘final victory’ against fundamentalist islamic terrorism, and yet when he died nothing of note changed. The militant groups didn’t even miss a beat.

    Al Qaeda as a group was never some singular nerve centre for all militant violence, a clausewitzian centre of gravity that, if struck hard enough, would end the war in one fell swoop. It is simply a well known organisation that has hit Western headlines and is used sloppily by the media to refer to both that specific group and the generalised militant islamist movement as a whole. Ultimately, it is merely one group amongst many, and its destruction would simply be the striking off of one head from the hydra.

    Our actions in the muslim world have already ensured that the next generation of muslim youth have been well and truly radicalised. Their greivances are not imaginary – they can point to the horrors pf Abu Ghuraib, the abuse of due process and use of torture at Guantanamo Bay, the vast numbers of civlians dead in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the corrupt puppet regimes that we have installed. They aren’t simply going to forget all of that; we have guaranteed that this war is going to drag on, in one form or another and at varying levels of intensity, for decades to come. And for each Al-Zawahiri that we kill, we have already created ten more to take up their banner.

    The ‘War on Terror’ was a catastrophic failure, and its legacy will haunt the world for generations to come. It is vital that we don’t forget that lesson, lest we make the same mistakes all over again.

  43. says

    @Gregory Greenwood, #49:

    The ‘War on Terror’ was a catastrophic failure

    Judging by how the War on Terror and the War on Drugs have gone, I’m thinking that if the US were to declare a War on Puppies we’d be up to our eyeballs in juvenile canines before you can blink.

  44. anchor says

    Mohammad Qataa.

    Indeed, to cloak his name with the false mantle of martyrdom would be an insult.

    I shall endeavor to remember him.

    He challenged the monster and lost his life.

    That young man deserves remembrance.

  45. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    ‘Generous citizens of Aleppo, disbelieving in God is polytheism and cursing the prophet is a polytheism. Whoever curses even once will be punished like this’.

    A pious thug who doesn’t even understand why he’s executing the boy.

  46. dutchdelight says

    Syria is suffering a humanitarian catastrophe, and it is at least possible that we have already seen the deployment of chemical weapons against civilian population centres.

    Yes, lots of things are possible, but no evidence for chemical weapons use if forthcoming as of yet. I’m also not entirely sure what problem there is with Assad deploying chemical weapons against Jihadi fortifications without civilians, it’s just another weapon of war.

    Also, you’re well into fantasyland if you think there’s going to be any kind of peace settlement until Assad regains control of Syria or his hold on power is severed.

    you are forgetting that this War on Terror – these drone strikes that kill innocent people alongside Jihadis – is serving to radicalise more people with every missile fired and every bomb dropped.

    I’d like a citation of your naked assertion that drone strikes create more radicals. It seems to me that publishing cartoons also creates more radicals, yet that has considerable support of most FTB readers and writers last time i checked.

    The complaints about civilian casualties of drone strikes has never made much sense to me. Every kind of military operation in hostile territory risks civilian casualties, if that’s your problem, don’t get involved in wars. What is the point of singling out drone activity which has been a resounding success as far as targeting higher echelons of the talibs and related organizations.

    At one time, it was assumed that Bin Laden’s death would signal some ill-defined ‘final victory’ against fundamentalist islamic terrorism, and yet when he died nothing of note changed.

    I’m sorry you thought such opinions had credibility. Nobody in their right mind would have expected any kind of final victory. What we gained was Pakistan confronted with it’s own duplicity and a treasure trove of intel which directly lead to the surge in commanders and higher getting hit by drones strikes.

    Al Qaeda as a group was .. .

    Thanks for that information, now note that i didn’t mention Al Qaeda once. Good job.

    Our actions in the muslim world have already ensured that the next generation of muslim youth have been well and truly radicalised.

    Your blanket statements about muslim youth in the middle-east is prima facie ridiculous. There are sunni, shia, aleviet, sufi, salafist and kurdish muslims to name a few that all have their own agenda’s and goals. They mostly want peace and a functional sovereign government, neither is helped by radicalising and joining the jihadi’s in their fight for a new caliphate which is mostly a fata morgana chased by the petrodollar financed salafists and the jihadis they keep under their spell. You talk about them like they are faceless pawns.

    … corrupt puppet regimes that we have installed. They aren’t simply going to forget all of that

    Yea, it turns out you can’t just expect to get away with that without repercussions. Bummer for the US.

    … for each Al-Zawahiri that we kill, we have already created ten more to take up their banner.

    Now thats some quality bullshit. Al-Zawahiri is the main ideologue and important glue between the disparate jihadi brigades that wouldn’t naturally work together. Of course it won’t end muslim terrorism when he’s gone, and i never implied such. I said it would allow us to move on to a new chapter in this “war on terror” business, and on top of that it would justify Obama’s change in military posture in this saga.

    Of course this war on terror was ridiculous right from the start, getting stuck in multiple pointless wars costing hundreds of billions of dollars didn’t bring anybody anything good that couldn’t also have been achieved with targeted special forces attacks and a bigger focus on intel. But that’s not under discussion right now, if anything Obama is now making the right choices there.

  47. Gregory Greenwood says

    dutchdelight @ 54;’

    It is always refreshing to be chided by someone who finds the civilian casualties of a brutal sectarian war acceptable so long as it leads to a ‘Jihadi meatgrinder’. Maybe you should look to your own sense of ethics before presuming to lecture me, friend.

  48. dutchdelight says

    Must be nice to sit on your high horse there and make stuff up about what i said, friend.