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Nov 18 2013

That’s not very friendly

Hemant is off taking care of personal business, so I guess he didn’t notice this rather unpleasant guest post that is celebrating a decapitation. Islamists in Syria killed the wrong person, one of their own allies…so now we’re supposed to celebrate brutal murder and bloody mutilation, as long as the right guy was murdered and mutilated.

Indiscriminate cruelty and slaughter has long been a way of life for these types. I guess I’m supposed to be sad when it becomes a way of death for them too, but for once I’ll nod along in agreement with Jesus, who is said to have stated the inevitability of violence begetting violence pretty succinctly: “He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.”

Mohammed Fares was another Islamist boil on the ass of humanity. It’s an unpleasant procedure, but boils need to be lanced. Or beheaded — same thing.

No. The dead man might have been the most evil creature on the planet, a terrible, awful person who would have spread more terror if he’d lived, but let’s not dehumanize people by calling them diseases and asking for more death and using the Bible to justify violence. You know who else does that, right? Hint: it shouldn’t be atheists.

Wait. Sometimes Christians get it right, too.

Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

156 comments

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  1. 1
    Ray Ingles

    Schadenfreude is a very human emotion, though. All of us are guilty of it at some point. (That was one of the few times I thought you went beyond snide – which is appropriate at times – and into mean-spirited.)

  2. 2
    cervantes

    Donne was a Christian, to be sure — you pretty much had to be in his day. And he was a minister who wrote sermons. But his significance, in addition to his literary talent, was that he was also a humanist, a social critic, and a relatively modern thinker for his time. Atheists and secularists in England in 1600 you aren’t going to find.

  3. 3
    rorschach

    I was wondering.

  4. 4
    LykeX

    A bit of schadenfreude I could forgive; it’s not admirable, but I get it. However, that last bit goes way over the line. It explicitly advocates killing people.

    It quite literally says “these people should be killed”. Fuck that shit.

  5. 5
    cortex

    It’s not the first time Terry’s gotten all giggly over dead Muslims.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/07/03/muslim-terror-cleric-anwar-al-awlaki-liked-to-cavort-with-prostitutes-in-posh-d-c-hotels/

    One of the reasons I don’t hang around there anymore.

  6. 6
    The Apostate

    Oof, I felt a little ill at reading that, too. It reminds me of those who wish for sex criminals to face sexual assault in prison: I thought we were beyond Hammurabi?

  7. 7
    cogito

    let’s not dehumanize people by calling them diseases

    I agree. But why is it ok to call Dick Cheney (another disagreeable person) an “incurious, unempathetic, soulless dead-eyed bug”?

  8. 8
    zenlike

    Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

    Terry, it’s not that arguing that people with belief don’t necessarely have better moral standard then non-believers, that as a non-believer you automatically have better morals. Your morals suck.

  9. 9
    Inaji

    Nasty. It’s the same old shit – the foundation under the glee at someone’s death is that old standby of othering. “Oh, them? They are Other. Perfectly okay to kill ‘em.” Disgusting attitude all the way around.

  10. 10
    gussnarp

    Terry’s been blogging under Hemant’s masthead for a while now, and he’s found several occasions to come down on the islamophobic side before, but this is the most vile comment I’ve read from him yet.

  11. 11
    Martin Wagner

    I don’t necessarily hold to the concept that all life is precious at all times. I can think of situations where killing a person might be necessary or even desirable. Granted, it wouldn’t be a thing you should celebrate.

  12. 12
    Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD

    @cogito #7

    But why is it ok to call Dick Cheney (another disagreeable person) an “incurious, unempathetic, soulless dead-eyed bug”?

    Because that is a possibly slightly hyperbolic description of him. It does not call for his death, maiming, or any particular harm to come to him.
    He doesn’t seem to think curiosity is a virtue so incurious.
    Unempathic – well, since he doesn’t seem to want to empathise with other people fine.
    soulless – Well souls don’t exist so check.
    I suspect dead-eyed is similar to the stunned mullet look I get from students who aren’t getting things. I haven’t watched him enough to be sure that he’s like that all the time.
    Bug? Possibly the least accurate part, though it could be argued that he has no spine and therefore is an invertebrate like insects.

  13. 13
    LykeX

    @Martin Wagner

    I can think of situations where killing a person might be necessary or even desirable.

    Indeed, but there’s a big difference between killing someone in immediate self-defense (or defense of others) and to calmly sit and decide that someone should be killed.

    Any situation in which you are enough in control to behead (or otherwise execute) somebody, you are almost certainly also capable of finding a better solution.

  14. 14
    pentatomid

    But why is it ok to call Dick Cheney (another disagreeable person) an “incurious, unempathetic, soulless dead-eyed bug”?

    There’s a difference between calling someone names, and othering. (I do object to ‘bug’ being used as an insult, because, well, Hemiptera are awesome, but that’s a whole different matter)

  15. 15
    cogito

    @Ariaflame #12
    The point is that both are examples of dehumanizing a person that you dislike. Equating your enemy to a disease, an insect, a rat etc is pretty much the oldest trick in the book and it is not something we should stoop to.

  16. 16
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    I agree with Cogito. Dehumanizing someone, whether as a bug or a disease, is something to be avoided. PZ had a serious double standard in these two posts.

  17. 17
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    There are plenty of times when someone refers to someone else as a thing, not a person-type (not even a contemptible person-type) on this blog. Tony! uses “shit stain”, “douche nozzle” and “douche weasel” are popular, there are obviously others.

    And yet, some things are more disturbing than others. I don’t like “bug” just as I wouldn’t like “vermin” or “cockroach”. These are things that have played a real role in recent genocides. That makes me acutely aware of the looming horror people might feel if such language became more common. Whereas “shit stain” if it became more common would likely go the way of “fuck” or “fucker”. Overuse would more often lead to diluting its power rather than strengthening it.

    So I agree that there is an ominous subtext with “soulless dead-eyed bug”.

    But that’s subtext.

    “boils need to be lanced. Or beheaded — same thing.”

    that’s fucking text.

    There’s a difference.

  18. 18
    Greta Christina

    I don’t necessarily hold to the concept that all life is precious at all times. I can think of situations where killing a person might be necessary or even desirable.

    Martin Wagner @ #11: I don’t think those two statements are contradictory. I think we can see killing some people sometimes to be necessary (such as in self-defense), and still see all human life as precious. Even if in some cases killing some people sometimes is a necessity, we can still see it as sad, the least bad of a set of bad choices.

    And crowing about it in a racist, dehumanizing way is definitely not okay.

    Oh, and for the record: I also didn’t like calling Dick Cheney a bug — for much the same reason. I don’t like dehumanizing language, even in obviously over-the-top rhetoric.

  19. 19
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    It is 100% possible to simultaneously believe that someone is a terrible horrible no good very bad person that the world would be better off without and say that they didn’t deserve to die (at all, or in a given manner).

    That’s my own stance with regards to this particular person. I can say that Syria is better off without him and be grossed out and horrified by how he met his end – and disgusted by this sort of cheerleading.

  20. 20
    Inaji

    CD @ 17:

    Tony! uses

    There’s no need to bring an individual into this, eh? Something like “common terms of use here include shit stain, douchenozzle and doucheweasel, and…”

    That way, it doesn’t seem like you’re calling someone out for something.

    /derail

    Cogito @ 15:

    The point is that both are examples of dehumanizing a person that you dislike. Equating your enemy to a disease, an insect, a rat etc is pretty much the oldest trick in the book and it is not something we should stoop to.

    The point also being that one instance is being used to glorify and support execution and the other isn’t. At any rate, now that you’ve berated PZ over a post which has nothing to do with this one, how about saying something about the specific topic here? If you wish to continue on about the Dick Cheney description, perhaps you could take that discussion to that specific thread. http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/11/14/dick-cheney-is-simply-an-awful-human-being/

  21. 21
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    To equate the post at Hemant’s with PZ’s “soulless dead-eyed bug” is a serious mismatch of scope and scale. It is simply *not* the case that a hyperbolic insult rises anywhere near the level of a celebration of death. All “dehumanization” is not the same. If I call someone a horse’s ass I may, by a technical definition, be “dehumanizing” them. But it would be offensive to suggest that was on a par with “people need killed.”

    It’s very good that we’re as critical of our own behavior as we are of those we interact with as opponents. It’s one of the things we’re constantly urging our opponents to do: Realize that horrible behavior is not justified just because one hates the other party.

    However, I’ve noticed what looks to me like an excessive pendulum swing here on Pharyngula. A waning ability to make judgments about context, power differentials, and degree of severity. Short version: “Don’t be just as bad!!!” when the behavior in question, in any sensible moral calculus, is not just as bad by the most absurd stretch of the imagination.

    Frankly, it’s one reason I don’t come ’round much anymore. I sense there’s a certain loss of perspective—not malicious, not stupid or evil, but a little blinkered—among some of the comments. For me, it comes too close for comfort to that dreadful “I don’t care who started it” thing. Or maybe a bit like those who tsk-tsk marginalized people for “sinking to their level” when they understandably push back at those who dismiss or harass them.

    We rightfully call out behavior that “monsterizes” other people because calling them monsters gives us a too easy excuse to ignore the fact that it’s actually just ordinary people, our friends and neighbors, who do awful things. But there’s a vast ethical difference between that and objecting to calling one of the most evil men in recent American history, Dick Cheney, a soulless dead-eyed bug.

    It truly disturbs me that this is not obvious to people I really like and respect, and that few here seem to have noticed it, let alone commented on it. For what it’s worth—and it needn’t be worth anything to you, I know, I’m just explicating my own position—it’s made Pharyngula a place I want to spend less and less time at.

  22. 22
    chimera

    There are a number of separate debates here. One about how to insult people properly or whether to insult at all and the implications of insult. Another about the value (or not) of all human life and a third about racism.

    I’ll address the third. To me the question of whether or not the post is racist could be judged by asking if we’d get the same kind of language if the killers and killed were all white Christians. I’m thinking in particular of that woman who was executed in Texas when George Bush was governor, Carla Faye Tucker. In prison she became a kind of ecstatic Christian mystic with a great many admirers. There were calls for clemency in her case but Bush had her killed anyway. This isn’t a parallel exactly to the mistaken beheading but is the closest thing I can think of. Also, in 1998, when she was executed, there wasn’t exactly an on-line atheist community to comment on it. But, in this case, seeing as the woman was a Christian evangelist from her prison, would atheists have written something to the effect of “another one bites the dust” replete with insults about her?

  23. 23
    cogito

    @ Caine #20
    I am sure you can’t wait to hear more of my thoughts. In the meantime, if you demand that posts only discuss this one topic and nothing else, why not try following that rule yourself?
    The fact is I respect PZ and usually agree with him, but I am not the only one who sees a double standard in these posts.

  24. 24
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I see CripDyke said what I was gonna say first. Don’t want anyone to think I didn’t notice, or that I’m accusing the entire commentariat of being oblivious.

  25. 25
    grandolddeity

    Don’t attack me or mine and I won’t kill you. People fuck up. It’s all in the deliberation. Pretty simple, I think. In the most basic sense, of course.

  26. 26
    ChasCPeterson

    Dehumanizing someone, whether as a bug or a disease, is something to be avoided.

    ooookay…
    New Rule: No Metaphors Allowed!!!!!
    (significant event: Josh and I are on the same page)
    (just kidding; it’s probably happened before…)

  27. 27
    Inaji

    Cogito:

    I am sure you can’t wait to hear more of my thoughts. In the meantime, if you demand that posts only discuss this one topic and nothing else, why not try following that rule yourself?

    I didn’t demand anything, Cogito. I noted that you have made your point, and suggested you take this to the pertinent thread if you weren’t finished. Now please, stop derailing, okay? If you missed them earlier, you might want to take a look at the new commenting rules.

  28. 28
    Inaji

    Chas:

    New Rule: No Metaphors Allowed!!!!!

    I’d like to epithet a metaphor right now…

  29. 29
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Chas, we should get a punch card like those ones you get for buying X cups of coffee. When we agree ten times or something, we get a prize!

  30. 30
    Menyambal

    Josh, I miss you. Please keep trying to make Pharyngula a better place.

  31. 31
    consciousness razor

    Chas:

    Dehumanizing someone, whether as a bug or a disease, is something to be avoided.

    ooookay…
    New Rule: No Metaphors Allowed!!!!!

    I suppose you already realize not all metaphors are dehumanizing a person. Perhaps you meant to quote something else which would’ve suggested that?

    (significant event: Josh and I are on the same page)

    Not necessarily. It wouldn’t mean they’re equivalent or that one is being blown out of proportion by comparison with the other, if the claim is simply that they both ought to be avoided.

    Anyway…. The bigger issue here is not the particular choice of language. If he had made it sound superficially more benign by calling him a balloon which needed to be popped, the message would’ve been the same.

  32. 32
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Anyway…. The bigger issue here is not the particular choice of language. If he had made it sound superficially more benign by calling him a balloon which needed to be popped, the message would’ve been the same.

    Do you mean to say you’d find that “just as bad” or much to be avoided, too? Really?

  33. 33
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    I think its fine to identify degrees of abhorrence, but that’s really what we’re doing here.
     
    My $0.02: Referring to Cheney as a “bug” is victimless. Cause Cheney could give a fuck, and no one get’s lumped in with him on that one–no splash damage or othering*. It’s not particularly kind to bugs, but like Cheney, the also do not give a fuck.
     
    *I wish we hadn’t verbed this term.

  34. 34
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    AE: correct. Getting to that requires actual ethical analysis of power gradients rather than relying on trite and insipid hand-wringing that only does the oppressor’s work for him by shutting up the pissed off underlings. But it ain’t that fucking hard, and there’s no one here that can’t grasp it.

  35. 35
    jenn

    Delurking to agree with Menyambal @30. Josh, I have missed your intelligence, your wit, and your uncompromising clarity. You’ve done more good here than you’ll ever know.

    /relurk

  36. 36
    Sili

    When we agree ten times or something, we get a prize!

    Nah.

    You have to make out.

    Licky style.

  37. 37
    Maureen Brian

    Not quite, cervantes @ 2!

    Atheism as a concept was discussed by both Christian and Muslim scholars during the Middle Ages. The word first appears in print and in English in 1566. Donne himself (1572-1631) was born well into the reign of Elizabeth I – she who said she would not make windows into men’s souls, in other words don’t rock the boat and no-one will ask what you really believe. That’s hardly surprising given what she had lived through during the reigns of her father and her two half-siblings.

    Within 10 years of Done’s death we are into the civil wars, assorted, where scepticism and atheism were certainly part of the intellectual action.

    So, no. There wasn’t an organised movement – there isn’t a very well organised movement now – but saying there was no atheism is pushing it just a bit too far.

  38. 38
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    In case Tony! is reading, I want to say that I agree with Caine @20 that my comment reasonably comes across as criticizing you.

    I apologize.

  39. 39
    Hank_Says

    Yup, I admit to some brief Darwin Award-esque schadenfreude – but then that was overridden by my far less brief membership of the fucking human race. You don’t advocate for murder, ever, for fuck’s fucking sake.

    I hope Hemant exercises better quality control in future.

  40. 40
    ChasCPeterson

    New Amended Rule: No Metaphors Or Hyperbole Allowed, Gang!!!!!

    (oops)
    (and oops)

  41. 41
    carlie

    New Amended Rule: No Metaphors Or Hyperbole Allowed, Gang!!!!!

    Know who didn’t like metaphors or hyperbole? HITLER.

  42. 42
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    New Amended Rule: No Metaphors Or Hyperbole Allowed, Gang!!!!!

    Such a rule would serve as an impenetrable dam against the dulcet currents of discourse at this site, resulting in a conflagration of malice feeding on our dessicated hyper-literal prose, leaving nothing but ashes and regret.
     
    I second with a friendly superamendment; No Metaphors (Mixed or Neat) Or Hyperbole Allowed.

  43. 43
    chigau (違う)

    What about litotes and synecdoche?

  44. 44
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    HITLER

    Ron Burgundy says, “Well, that escalated quickly.”

  45. 45
    MrFancyPants

    Hemant is off taking care of personal business, so I guess he didn’t notice this rather unpleasant guest post

    The post in question was made two days ago, and Hemant has subsequently posted on his own, and the awful one is still up. So it’s probably safe to say that he’s okay with it staying up.

  46. 46
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    What about litotes and synecdoche?

    It wouldn’t kill anyone to ban these as well, but I’m not sure that the literary long-hairs would agree.

  47. 47
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Antiochus Epihanes:

    I see the internet you won there…

  48. 48
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Antiochus Epiphanes, #42:

    I second with a friendly superamendment; No Metaphors (Mixed or Neat) Or Hyperbole Allowed lest poor literary choices incite the murder of the only outlet of creative atheism we are every likely to see hold the power to challenge wild assertions and baseless assumptions, thus dooming humankind to wallow in ignorant misery forever.

    FTFY

  49. 49
    chigau (違う)

    Antiochus Epiphanes
    oooh nice

  50. 50
    A Waterchapel

    I got into a much less real-world, but still very similar discussion with a few friends lately; one shared a short Q-and-A that set out to demolish the provocative-dress-deserves-rape saw. However, the respondent (though commendable to call out such apologia as wrong) said he’d kill the criminals parents if his daughter were victimized.

    I said (to paraphrase) “that’s messed up. Vigilantism isn’t going to help, and is actually quite in conflict with the principles of our country (the States, FWIW).”

    Most of the people who argued the point with me couldn’t seem to separate the emotional satisfaction of punishing a person who’s wronged them-and-theirs (by killing, admittedly hypothetical, people who committed no crime, in fact!) from the intellectual wrongheadedness of such an approach.

    It’s unfortunate how easily people discard the incorrectness of “wrong + wrong = right,” when it’s emotionally cathartic.

  51. 51
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    @Crip Dyke: Superseconded.

  52. 52
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @A Waterchapel

    It’s unfortunate how easily people discard the incorrectness of “wrong + wrong = right,” when it’s emotionally cathartic.

    Yet, it is exactly this tendency that led to the 8th amendment.

    I once read a critique of Dukakis’ response to the infamous question about whether he would still oppose the death penalty if his wife/daughter (don’t remember which) was raped and murdered, or if he would then want to gut the perp himself.

    The critique noted his bumbling deference to principle, saying the principle was important, but without noting that the very nature of the question went to support his position against capital punishment: It is a fact that the generous, the thoughtful, the merciful, and the wise may in times of horror wish torturous revenge on those who have harmed the avenger’s loved ones. This fact is not a sign that opposition to the death penalty is unsympathetic or opportunistically unprincipled. No: this fact is a sign that limits on the government’s power to punish are desperately needed lest the best of us in our worst moments, use the opportunity to restore justice to perpetuate injustice.

    I didn’t watch the Dukakis debate where it happened, though I’m horrified that this question was actually allowed at the debate (was that asked by Bush, does someone know? or was it asked by a moderator? If a moderator, I don’t see any reason why the mod should not have been fired, though I suspect that the question was too far out of bounds for any establishment politician to ask, thus I think it’s likely it was a slimy tactic of Bush). But, though I think that Dukakis **shouldn’t** have had to respond to such a question in a debate, it’s fair to say that from a political point of view, strictly in terms of what might have helped him get elected, that’s a good criticism.

    But regardless of whether or not the criticism should have been directed at Dukakis as if the source of the problem was his, the author of that critique had the substance right: those of us who oppose the death penalty, oppose torture, oppose cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, we do not do it because we know ourselves to be immune to the call of vengeance and haul by main force the rest of humanity up to our Vulcan plain of ethics. We do it because we are all too familiar with the real impact of the call of vengeance on the ability of humans to create just, peaceful, and safe societies for ourselves and our children.

    So, yes, A Waterchapel, I agree with you that it’s unfortunate. I would even say it is a source of literally unending tragedy. But only by recognizing it as normal, by recognizing the truly astronomical size of that phenomenon, can we use it as we should: as a level with which to move the world.

  53. 53
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    was that asked by Bush, does someone know? or was it asked by a moderator?

    It was the moderator, Bernard Shaw. It was the first question of the debate (asking about his wife), and played into the image of Dukakis as an unfeeling automaton. Truly a sickening moment.

  54. 54
    A Waterchapel

    @Crip Dyke

    An excellent response (especially mentioning Dukakis and that debate; I’m a little young to have it as an immediate reference point), and I don’t think I can disagree in any way.

    In fact, it’s roughly the point I attempted to make, although I doubt I did so quite as eloquently. I did my best, though, to stress that maintaining openness so that people will talk is far more important to change the positively abysmal reporting of sexual assaults. No amount of “make sure your kids know that if they rape, vengeance is mine” will go so far as providing an ear to someone when she or he has been victimized. The “silent tombs” these crimes are too-often heaved into do little but create restless ghosts.

    Making oneself available to others is not the whole solution, but it’s certainly part of the solution.

  55. 55
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I don’t know. It seems like there’s a conflict here with the value of autonomy and self-determination. If someone chooses to behave like a complete fucking monster, shouldn’t we respect their choice of self-identification?

    (Also, people who think we’re supposed to forgive no matter what and hold out endless hope of improvement or remorse? Fuck you.)

  56. 56
    rorschach

    I see that Terry has now doubled down on Hemant’s blog. I don’t think he is helping his cause here really. And one is curious as to how Mehta can allow this to go on. Or maybe he agrees with the guy.

  57. 57
    playonwords

    Just posted my 2c over there, not that it will do any good. The man is guilty of the nastiest case of schadenfreude I have seen in a long while.

  58. 58
    carlie

    Some people have such a PZ complex – no, don’t notice that another prominent blogger commented in his own comment section, don’t notice that other bloggers have written about his piece, they only notice PZ, so therefore he must be the “head” of all bloggers leading the way. What? They like to claim that somehow he’s “in charge” of all atheism, but conveniently ignore all those other people giving their opinion too.

  59. 59
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @carlie:
    not inconsistent at all: he’s our squidly overlord, and we his sockpuppets – or we would be, if one put socks on tentacles. Whenever I write anything, you can be certain that the words were projected into my brain by PZ’s direct influence over my brain. Pay no attention to the flesh behind the keyboard: there is one Elder God of Pneu Atheism, and individual Pneus are nothing but air:

    There be those who say that authors of comments and blogs have souls, and there be those who say they have not; I dare not say, myself, but I tell the will of PZ…

  60. 60
    Anri

    cogito @ 7:

    I agree. But why is it ok to call Dick Cheney (another disagreeable person) an “incurious, unempathetic, soulless dead-eyed bug”?

    Personally, I don’t have much difficulty distinguishing between “that guy is a real horse’s ass” and “those people deserve to be slaughtered”.

    Do you?

  61. 61
    Nathaniel Frein

    The comments on Terry’s followup post are horrible. I’m done w/ Terry, and I’m not sure I have any desire to continue reading Hemant.

    My problem is that, as Avicenna points out in his own post, these movements do not grow up in a vacuum. Young men do not, on a whim, decide to become Jihadis for shits and giggles, and a lot institutional anarchy in the middle east has been caused by the inability of western empires to leave well enough alone.

    I hear the excuse that “they’ve always been fighting, they always will be fighting”, but I think that’s bullshit. Any middle-eastern government that begins to show a healthy autonomy and stability becomes the next target for removal and replacement with a puppet dictator in order to protect western commercial interests.

  62. 62
    plutoanimus

    There is no such thing as Islamophobia.

    Phobias are irrational.

    Any sane person fears Islam and its followers.

  63. 63
    Sassafras

    plutoanimus @62 –

    Thanks! I’m sure none of us have ever heard those buzzwords before!

  64. 64
    chigau (違う)

    plutoanimus #62
    Do you have any plans to explain that?
    or are you yet another drive-by?

  65. 65
    stevebowen

    Actually I don’t think Terry Firma is “doubling down”. He is not attempting to justify his position. What he seems to be saying is that he’s not a humanist, doesn’t pretend to be and is just airing his opinion.
    Whilst I personally found his original post disturbing I don’t think it really justifies so much vitriol. Only that now we know not to judge him by humanist standards…

  66. 66
    Nathaniel Frein

    When toddlers are killing more people in the United States than terrorists, fearing an abstract concept such as “Islam” is quite irrational, thank you.

    Especially when you consider that the War on Terror is very, very, effective at making sure there will always be “terror” to wage war on.

  67. 67
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @plutoanimus:

    Wow, you should frame that statement since no one’s ever made it before /sarc

  68. 68
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    There is no such thing as Islamophobia.

    Phobias are irrational.

    Any sane person fears Islam and its followers.

    And what part of your screed doesn’t show an irrational fear, as there is no such thing as a rational fear here…..

  69. 69
    zenlike

    stevebowden #65:

    So as long as you don’t identify as a humanist you get a free pass on any vile shit you say?

    So we should also stop commenting on things said by conservative religionists, because they don’t identify as humanist, like, say, Islamists?

  70. 70
    abewoelk

    I lived in the Middle East for three years. I’ve traveled in over a dozen Muslim countries. The majority of Muslims I met were fine, decent human beings that I was proud to call friends. There is, however, a cadre of Islamic extremists that takes pleasure in slaughtering pregnant women, blowing up busses filled with schoolchildren, and sending suicide bombers into crowded marketplaces, and I’m not going to pretend anything other than that their loss is a good riddance. I may not jump up and down and cheer about it, but neither am I going to pretend that the world isn’t a slightly better and less violent place for this man’s death, gruesome though it was. It’s fine that you don’t want to kill them; it would be nice if they felt the same way about you. And sometimes, the only way to protect yourself from violent and irrational people is by using force.

    And I also have to say that I completely do not understand Western leftists’ love affair with a religion that oppresses women and gays and doesn’t tolerate dissent. PZ has his blog because he is lucky enough to live in a Western democracy that respects free speech; anywhere in the Islamic world, he’d have been killed by an angry mob, or jailed, long ago. American reaction to Islamic terror may be disproportionate to the threat it actually poses, but make no mistake: It’s a miserable, oppressive regime that nobody here would want to spend five minutes living under.

  71. 71
    Nathaniel Frein

    PZ has his blog because he is lucky enough to live in a Western democracy that respects free speech

    That western democracy is also responsible for helping perpetuate the environments in which jihadist movements thrive.

    There is no “love affair” with this religion. We have simply faced the sobering reality that the “cadre of Islamic extremists” are merely the most visible symptom of a very complex disease. The deaths are tragic, both of the victims and the extremists themselves, because they were not necessary, they were not a “given”. Jihadists are not some force of nature.

    There’s nothing here to be glad of. Draining an infection doesn’t solve anything until the underlying cause of the infection is fixed.

  72. 72
    abewoelk

    Nathaniel, jihadis have been killing each other, and non-Muslims, since long before there were Western democracies. I will grant that American foreign policy hasn’t helped. But if America, and Israel, dropped off the face of the earth tomorrow, I would predict that jihad would continue, because it’s in the nature of the religion. We are, after all, talking about a religion that achieved power in the first place through mass slaughter.

  73. 73
    Rey Fox

    And I also have to say that I completely do not understand Western leftists’ love affair with a religion that oppresses women and gays and doesn’t tolerate dissent.

    Excuse me, my eyes just rolled right out of my head.

  74. 74
    cogito

    Personally, I don’t have much difficulty distinguishing between “that guy is a real horse’s ass” and “those people deserve to be slaughtered”.

    Do you?

    No. But that is nowhere near what was actually said, so your comparison is completely irrelevant.
    This shouldn’t be difficult to grasp. Is it dehumanizing to call someone a soulless, dead-eyed bug? It clearly is.

  75. 75
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Is it dehumanizing to call someone a soulless, dead-eyed bug? It clearly is.

    Gee, I call it a good description of soulless, ugly, and hateful person.

  76. 76
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Is it dehumanizing to call someone a soulless, dead-eyed bug? It clearly is.

    Not good enough. I made a very clear post upstream about how it’s inapt to compare such an insult with what dehumanization really means. Not only *can* we distinguish the contextual and ethical differences between “dehumanization” as a part of murder and oppression and a rules-lawyering of “dehumanization” that merely adheres to the base, technical definition (calling someone a horse’s ass or a bug), but we *must*.

    It’s frankly insulting and degrading to the term that you continually conflate the mild insult with a serious case of evil actions. Why are you doing that?

  77. 77
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Plutoanimus:
    Ok, I can see you appreciate dictionary definitions.
    Now, are you aware that words and phrases can take on different meaning through everyday discourse? Look at homophobia for instance. Sure, by the dictionary definition, you could argue that it means “irrational fear of homosexuals”. As used by people, the term has grown more complex and describes a range of attitudes beyond “fear of homosexuals”. When we speak of David Barton or Rick Perry being ‘homophobic’, do you think they are simply fearful of homosexuals? That may be a component of their feelings, but I also get a sense of outright dislike, bordering on hatred. That hatred is irrational, obviously, but now we’ve added “irrational hatred” to the everyday definition of homophobia. We have done so because the words and deeds of certain individuals betray their negative feelings about homosexuals. ‘Homophobia’ is a term that covers a range of attitudes held by some people about homosexuals.

    You have to look beyond the dictionary definition and see how people with these attitudes talk and act.

    Apply the above to Islamophobia.
    Look at what actions people are referring to when the label ‘Islamophobe’ is used. Look at the underlying prejudices and the bigotry behind peoples’ comments.

    Dictionaries are not the be all end all of how words are defined.

    ****
    Crip Dyke:
    I just saw your comment and took it as you likely intended, so no worries.
    That said, Caine is likely right. For an outsider that doesn’t know that I greatly respect and trust you (such that I can be fairly certain you would never call me out in that manner) your comment might come across the wrong way.

  78. 78
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Plutoanimus:
    Of course somehow I glossed over your closing line. In the interest of adhering to the 3 comment rule, I will refrain from responding as I would like. However, you are deeply, massively, incredibly, stupendously, monumentally, WRONG.
    Know why?

    You have just suggested it is reasonable to be fearful of every Muslim on the planet.
    Do go away.
    Respond again with such bigotry and you’ll not be welcomed with any politeness.

  79. 79
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    cogito:
    Is it dehumanizing to call someone a ‘shitstain’ or ‘douchebag’?
    If so, I think you have an overly broad definition of dehumanization that significantly dilutes the true meaning and horror of the word.
    (Alternately, you could give some thought to Josh’s comments)

  80. 80
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Tony!

    For an outsider that doesn’t know that I greatly respect and trust you (such that I can be fairly certain you would never call me out in that manner) your comment might come across the wrong way.

    And I agree.

    Death’s FuckToy must be above reproach.

  81. 81
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    I would love to hear that spoken on the bigscreen…

  82. 82
    Nathaniel Frein

    Abewoelk, you can tell yourself whatever you want to continue to be racist. Islam’s history isn’t really any bloodier than Christianity.

  83. 83
    abewoelk

    Nathaniel, I wasn’t aware that Islam was a race. And I haven’t said a word in defense of Christianity. I will say that at this time and place, I consider Islam to be a bigger threat than Christianity, but that’s only at this time and place; 500 years ago I would have said the opposite.

  84. 84
    Nathaniel Frein

    You may not have mentioned race, but you’re basically treating the problems in the middle east as an “islam” problem. It’s not an “islam” problem, it’s a social problem that might have something to do with the fact that western powers actively try to sabotage any stable power that exists.

    Western business interests maintain the anarchy necessary for despotic religions to recruit followers and survive. But by all means, go on to dehumanize and feel relieved every time you hear a jihadist die. Don’t ever question what’s got him to fight in the first place. The drone strike that killed his son or mother or w/e has nothing to do with you, amirite?

  85. 85
    abewoelk

    But calling someone a racist is basically an emotional argument-stopper, much like invoking the Nazis, and maybe Godwin’s law should be extended to include it. From what I actually said, the only prejudice that might reasonably be laid at my doorstep is anti-religious prejudice, which, around here, I would think would be appreciated rather than denigrated. And if I had said what I said about Christianity rather than Islam, I doubt anyone here, including you, would have batted an eye. Which takes us full circle to my original question: Why do leftists treat Islam with kid gloves? Individual Muslims are not evil people (or at least no more so than individual adherents of anything else) but the religion itself is basically a horrible, horrible ideology.

    I will be the first to admit that Western foreign policy has often been despicable. The 1953 Iran coup, the installation of the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia, and our propping up of various scoundrels in Egypt were all inexcusable. All that said, however, if you look at the region before the Western powers started meddling there, it looked pretty much like it does now. Despotic and kleptocratic and bloody rulers have always been the norm there. All the West really did was to harness that dynamic for our own economic interests. But it’s not like we went there, found liberal democracy, and converted it to fascism.

    And the real root problems facing most of the Middle East won’t be fixed even if the West leaves. They will still have corrupt and bloody rulers, they will still have a vicious and bloody religion straight out of the Middle Ages, and they will still have unemancipated and uneducated women. None of that is the doing of the West. And at bottom, I think it is an Islam problem, just as the Dark Ages were a Christian problem. If and when Islam has a Renaissance, as Christianity did, then maybe there will be hope for the region. In the meantime, to bring this back to the original topic, I’m not going to mourn the death of someone who by all accounts was continuing to pour gasoline on the fire.

  86. 86
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Abewoelk

    I will say that at this time and place, I consider Islam to be a bigger threat than Christianity, but that’s only at this time and place;

    Unless you live in Saudi Arabia or another country with an Islamist government, which your comments make me doubt, this is incredibly stupid. In Anglophone nations (in on of which I strongly suspect you reside), the largest and most powerful religious beleifs are christian in nature, and are the primary sources of religiously motivated bigotry, violence, and oppression in those countries.

  87. 87
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Abewoelk:
    If you believe Islam is worse than Christianity, you’re paying too much attention to the activities of Islamic extremists (unless you live in a country dominated by an Islamic government, you are not in a position to make such a bold statement) and you are attributing the cause of their actions solely to religion.

  88. 88
    abewoelk

    Tony, No. 87, and Dalillama, No. 86, first, I didn’t say I thought Islam was worse than Christianity — one set of imaginary friends looks like another to me — what I said is that right this minute I think it is more dangerous than Christianity. Some Christians don’t think gays should be allowed to marry; most Muslims don’t think gays should be allowed to live. I was in Yemen a year ago, and one of the locals told me that there will never be gay marriage in Yemen because if someone is known to be gay, they kill him. As between not being allowed to marry, and not being allowed to live, if I have to choose, I’ll take the former. The other issue, as I’ve said here before, is that trends indicate Christianity has peaked and is falling; Islam hasn’t peaked yet.

    Comparing Christianity and Islam is like comparing Hitler and Stalin. Both of them are utterly horrible, but as a matter of tactics, sometimes the smart thing to do is align with one against the other. I think this is one of those times. As much as you chafe at things like prayer in schools and In God We Trust on the money, that’s nothing compared to how miserable you’ll be if Islam ever actually did achieve political power here. And I say that having spent three years living in a Muslim country and having extensively traveled the Middle East.

  89. 89
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    abewoelk #70

    The majority of Muslims I met were fine, decent human beings that I was proud to call friends.

    abewoelk #88

    most Muslims don’t think gays should be allowed to live.

    Either one of the above statements is untrue, or your idea of what makes people “decent human beings” is… disturbing to contemplate.

  90. 90
    theignored

    Sorry: I’m siding with Terry Firma on this.

    From the original article it seems that those people didn’t learn their lesson. They figure that allah with forgive them for their mistake. Which means that they’re not going to change the policy at all.

  91. 91
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    theignored #90

    None of which means we should be gleefully celebrating a person being killed—which was the aspect of his post being disagreed with.

    You appear to be siding with TF over a part of the story no one had picked sides over.

  92. 92
    Anri

    cogito @ 74:

    No. But that is nowhere near what was actually said, so your comparison is completely irrelevant.
    This shouldn’t be difficult to grasp. Is it dehumanizing to call someone a soulless, dead-eyed bug? It clearly is.

    Ok, since the first time was hard for you, I’ll make it more direct:
    Personally, I don’t have much difficulty distinguishing between “that guy is a soulless, dead-eyed bug” and “those people deserve to be slaughtered”.

    Do you?
    (Here’s a hint: the difference is in ‘that’ vs. ‘those’ and also in ‘bug’ vs. ‘killed’.)

  93. 93
    abewoelk

    At Daz, 89, not at all, I was talking about two different things.

    When I think of basic decency, I think of things like honesty, integrity, hospitality, the sorts of things that most people at most times and places consider to be decent human behavior. And if you read the full context, you’ll see I was contrasting most Muslims with the Muslim extremists who kill innocent people as a hobby. In my experience, most Muslims have the same opinion of the Taliban as the rest of us.

    Unfortunately, decent human beings can be indoctrinated into some pretty unfortunate belief systems. My mother, age 91, doesn’t think women should be allowed to vote, and so far as I know has never voted, but she’s a product of her generation and the religion in which she was raised, so even though I find that belief offensive, I’m inclined to cut her some slack because I know it’s her religious indoctrination talking. That doesn’t mean that she isn’t an honest, kind and otherwise morally upright human being. What’s terribly unfortunate is that an otherwise honest, kind and morally upright human being was given that religious indoctrination as a child and never recovered from it.

    The Muslims who engage in murderous rioting any time someone says or does something they consider blasphemous aren’t doing it because they’re bad people. They’re doing it because as small children, they received with mother’s milk the idea that that’s how they are supposed to behave. If they’d had better teaching, they wouldn’t do it. The same is true of Muslim men who treat their wives badly, who kill homosexuals, and who do other things that offend our liberal Western values. If they’d been taught better, they’d do better.

    Think of it this way: If someone takes a sweet, innocent puppy, and abuses it, so that it becomes a mad dog that attacks and bites every person it comes in contact with, it’s not the dog’s fault that he was turned into a mad dog. It’s the fault of the person who abused it. Unfortunately, it now is a mad dog, and sometimes protecting society means that it may have to be put down.

    All of which brings us full circle to the original point of this thread. I agree that dehumanizing people who are, in fact, the products of their environment mostly does more harm than good and should be avoided. By the same token, let us not be bashful about pointing out that Islam owns a large chunk of what made them what they are.

  94. 94
    Anri

    abewoelk @ 72:

    But if America, and Israel, dropped off the face of the earth tomorrow, I would predict that jihad would continue, because it’s in the nature of the religion. We are, after all, talking about a religion that achieved power in the first place through mass slaughter.

    …and, as the history of Western Europe clearly tells us, when left to their own devices, Christian nations live in endless peace and harmony.

    Wait.
    I’m pretty sure I just said something fantastically stupid in agreeing with abewoelk, but I can’t put my finger on it. Little help here?

  95. 95
    Anri

    abewoelk @ 93:

    Think of it this way: If someone takes a sweet, innocent puppy, and abuses it, so that it becomes a mad dog that attacks and bites every person it comes in contact with, it’s not the dog’s fault that he was turned into a mad dog. It’s the fault of the person who abused it. Unfortunately, it now is a mad dog, and sometimes protecting society means that it may have to be put down.

    All of which brings us full circle to the original point of this thread. I agree that dehumanizing people who are, in fact, the products of their environment mostly does more harm than good and should be avoided. By the same token, let us not be bashful about pointing out that Islam owns a large chunk of what made them what they are.

    (Uses mad dog as a viable metaphor for a group of people)
    (Thinks dehumanizing people is bad and should be avoided)
    Head -> *pop*

  96. 96
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    abewoelk #93

    Sorry, no. If, as you said upthread, the majority of Muslims actually do want to see homosexuals killed, then I would not, as you claim to, see them as good, decent people. I may understand the cultural reasons why they have that view, but I don’t cling to the idea that to understand is to forgive.

    I do, however, wonder how you know that a majority of people spread through many countries, with wildly varying cultures, want such a thing.

    I’d also note that religions tend to appropriate already existing attitudes and sell them back as revealed truth, rather than make them up from whole cloth. People just love buying into belief systems which reinforce their own biases: which is (part of) why religion is so bloody successful So, no, I don’t really buy your idea that “Islam owns a large chunk of what made them what they are.” (Same goes for Christian etc.) It’s more complicated than that.

  97. 97
    abewoelk

    Anri, the worst of Christianity was largely defanged by the Renaissance, and most European wars since then have been fought for reasons other than religion. What’s left of it is still nothing to brag about, but it sure the hell ain’t as bad as it once was. Unlike in Islam, where you still have murderous mobs whenever they think someone blasphemed. And the thing with an analogy, mad dog or otherwise, is that it doesn’t have to be perfect analogy in order to make the limited point it’s trying to make.

    Daz, I don’t believe in free will, which makes it easier to forgive even people who do despicable things. Doesn’t mean I don’t protect myself from them if need be. And yes, it is more complicated than that; I never said Islam was the __only__ factor. But it is a factor. And I continue to be bemused by leftists who seem to think that a religion that systematically dehumanizes women and gays and still smiles on religious violence should be treated as anything other than an international scourge. In fact, if you take a map of the world and mark the places that are the most violent, it’s almost all Muslim areas. Not completely, but largely.

  98. 98
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    abewoelk #97

    Daz, I don’t believe in free will

    Then why are you trying to change people’s minds on, well, anything?

    And I continue to be bemused by leftists who seem to think that a religion that systematically dehumanizes women and gays and still smiles on religious violence should be treated as anything other than an international scourge.

    Well, we don’t have free will, eh? Can’t blame us for thinking what we think, if we can’t make a choice to change what we think.

    More seriously, Islam is not a monolithic bloc. “Islam” doesn’t “smile on religious violence,” some Islamic groups and individuals do so.

    Seen the news from Christian Uganda lately?

    In fact, if you take a map of the world and mark the places that are the most violent, it’s almost all Muslim areas.

    I’ll even tentatively agree, for the sake of argument. So what? You have a correlation. Assuming there’s a causation involved, which way does the arrow point?

    (Hint: it’s most probably a feedback loop.)

  99. 99
    Anri

    abewoelk @ 97:

    Anri, the worst of Christianity was largely defanged by the Renaissance, and most European wars since then have been fought for reasons other than religion. What’s left of it is still nothing to brag about, but it sure the hell ain’t as bad as it once was. Unlike in Islam, where you still have murderous mobs whenever they think someone blasphemed.

    You make a good point – no war or crime against humanity since the 15th century has been justified by invoking the Christian god.

    Wait.
    I have this terrible feeling I’ve gone and said something fantastically stupid yet again. And, coincidentally I’m sure, I was agreeing with abewoelk again.

    And the thing with an analogy, mad dog or otherwise, is that it doesn’t have to be perfect analogy in order to make the limited point it’s trying to make.

    Yep.
    It is interesting, though, the metaphors people pick when they have free rein to do so.
    Don’t worry, abewoelk, I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything.

  100. 100
    chigau (違う)

    Anri
    You have won this thread.

  101. 101
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Abewoelk @88:
    Would you stop with the offensive generalizations?
    “Most Muslims don’t think gays should be allowed to live”??
    You really believe this?
    Based on what? The views of a select few radical extremists?
    Or have you spoken with the vast majority of Muslims, so you know for a fact that they call for the death of LGBT across the world?
    What in the everloving fuck is wrong with you?

    Take your fucking racist views elsewhere.
    I am sick of you peddling your bullshit in each thread you turn up in.

  102. 102
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Aaaand I am DONE with racist fuckwits like abewoelk.

    abewoelk: you just displayed the selfsame reprehensible attitude that most of us have condemned in this thread. You dehumanized a large group of Muslims by comparing them to mad dogs.

    FUCK OFF SHITSTAIN.

  103. 103
    Forbidden Snowflake
    Daz, I don’t believe in free will

    Then why are you trying to change people’s minds on, well, anything?

    No contra-causal free will is required for people to be able to change their minds given new input.

  104. 104
    jefrir

    Abewoelk @ 72

    We are, after all, talking about a religion that achieved power in the first place through mass slaughter.

    Abewoelk @ 97

    Anri, the worst of Christianity was largely defanged by the Renaissance, and most European wars since then have been fought for reasons other than religion. What’s left of it is still nothing to brag about, but it sure the hell ain’t as bad as it once was. Unlike in Islam, where you still have murderous mobs whenever they think someone blasphemed.

    I’m curious, do you actually know anything about the history of Islam? Or its regional variation, for that matter? Because you seem to accept that Christianity can change, but think Islam is exactly the same as it was in the 7th century. Which is, frankly, really fucking stupid.
    And to me, Christianity is definitely the biggest threat. If I’m ever attacked for my sexuality, it’ll almost certainly be by Christians. Attempts to remove my rights are backed by Christians. Muslims frankly don’t have the political power to affect me in any significant way – except by proxy, when politicians attempt to deal with the Muslim threat by restricting my rights.

  105. 105
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Forbidden Snowflake #103

    Yeah, even I’m not sure how I reached that conclusion. Twas 5AM, and all that implies.

  106. 106
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Jefrir:
    Not sure where you are from, but I live in Florida, and golly, those mean Muslims here are the ones fighting at the local and national levels to prevent marriage equality. Every time I turn around, Muslims are trying to push creationism into the classroom. And who can forget the very successful efforts by Muslims to turn womens rights back decades. Everywhere I look in the US, its Muslims fighting against progress. Christians have gotten so enlightened they pose little threat here.
    (The above was snark directed not at jefrir, but The Smugnoramus One, aka abewoelk, who inflates the threat of Islam and ignores the very real harm done by Christians bc you know, the followers of Islam are so much worse bc they kill people and we all know Christians don’t do that any more)

  107. 107
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Aaaaand Terry Firma comes along to show he’s a total asshat with his latest post.

    Friendly Atheist is out of my blog pool now.

  108. 108
    carlie

    Hemant’s take on it, from way down in the comments:

    I think Terry’s opinion was a valid one, even if I wouldn’t have necessarily come to the same conclusion (or written a similar post). Do I celebrate the death of anyone? No. Do I feel bad that a terrorist died? Not really. Does that make me a hypocrite? I don’t think so.

    In any case, when I began allowing contributors on the site a while back, the rule of thumb was that they would be allowed to post their opinions — even if they weren’t my own opinions — as long as they were backed up and made in good faith. All posts go through me before appearing on this site, so if there’s a big mistake, I take that personally and seriously and we’ll do what we must to fix it. In this case, Terry’s original post didn’t come off as mean-spirited when I first read it. Looking back on it, though, I can see how it could’ve been interpreted that way. That happens. Writing online has always been a big learning experiences, and along the way, you might rub people the wrong way, even if it’s unintentional. I don’t disagree with those people who think it’s wrong to make light of anyone’s death, but I don’t think it was wrong or malicious for Terry to, as he put it, “not lose sleep” over a terrorist’s death.

    This was after a long section of people gleefully pointing to a post PZ made in 2008 in which he poked fun of a priest who pulled an ignorant stupid stunt that got himself killed, although at the time of the post the source article was lightheartedly saying they expected to find him safe and sound. No mention was made of the fact that a lot of regular commenters disagreed with PZ in the post at the time.

  109. 109
    carlie

    Clarification/correction – the comments I was referring to were on Terry’s new post specifically about that 2008 post by PZ.

  110. 110
    abewoelk

    So Tony, you’re now claiming that Islam is a race? Because anti-Islam = racist only if Islam is a race. You’re aware there are white Muslims, aren’t you?

    My comment that most Muslims think gays should be killed is based on the Muslims I met when I lived in that part of the world for three years. Unless someone else here has actually lived there, I probably have more personal experience with them than you do. And the fact that in this country Christianity is the dominant religion, and therefore the religion most likely to be doing bad things to people, doesn’t change the fact that where Islam is in power it’s generally far more virulent than when Christianity is in power.

    Jefrir, I haven’t said that Islam can’t change; I’ve said it hasn’t changed. Nothing would please me more than for it to have a Renaissance and become kinder and gentler. However, so far that has not happened, and until it does, it’s the same violent and bloody religion that Christianity was before the Renaissance. Think Crusdades and Medici popes and all that.

  111. 111
    drm0

    abewoelk #88

    Some Christians don’t think gays should be allowed to marry;

    This is a terrible understatement. Most Christians think gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry. Some Christians think gays should be killed on sight. (You certainly have heard of Uganda, for the most glaring example.) I’m not saying that the treatment of LGBT folks is the same in the average Christian and Islamic country. But, if you’re trying to call out Muslim homophobes, I beg you to do so in a manner that doesn’t make light of what queer folks have to go through in those Christian countries where the separation between state and church is not at all clear.

    abewoelk #93

    it now is a mad dog, and sometimes protecting society means that it may have to be put down.

    Just, please, don’t…

    My father was once mistaken for a Muslim in Paris, and you know… It’s just impossible to know when such dehumanizing images will be used against any foreigner in the first world.

    jefrir #104

    If I’m ever attacked for my sexuality, it’ll almost certainly be by Christians.

    indeed

  112. 112
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @abewoelk:

    You’re an intelligent person, I would hope.

    Can you see why “Islam isn’t a race” is a stupid dismissal of the issue?

    “Muslim” is buzzword for “brown-skinned middle-Eastern (or Southeast Asian) person.” When people hate on Muslims, they tend not to actually care about a person’s religion, but that they look “Muslim.” The people who hate on Muslims also hate on Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists because – hey, those guys look “Muslim.”

    This is the issue. People have a hate-on for a huge swathe of people because they look like they belong to a religion that has a minority of proponents who believe in hideous things.

  113. 113
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @abewoelk:

    Also, I have issue with this:

    …where Islam is in power it’s generally far more virulent than when Christianity is in power.

    Nigeria?

  114. 114
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @my 113:

    Sorry, I meant Uganda.

  115. 115
    Anri

    *sigh* every single time, without fail. In every single thread about Islam, I have to make this point, because someone always says the same thing and someone always ‘defends’ themselves in the same way.

    So Tony, you’re now claiming that Islam is a race? Because anti-Islam = racist only if Islam is a race. You’re aware there are white Muslims, aren’t you?

    Ok, abewoelk, it’s not racism to hate a group of people based on a religion rather than some other signifier*. It’s bigotry.
    So, congratulations, you’re not a racist*, you’re a bigot.
    I hope the distinction makes you feel better.

    (*Of course, in the real world where the majority of us live, to your average bigot Muslim means “backwards brown-skinned foreign sand-******” and is therefore closely aligned with actual racism as well as religious and cultural bigotry. abewoelk, you might not feel that way, but you’re using the same arguments and fighting on the same side as people who clearly and openly do. Picking your battles also means picking your allies.)

  116. 116
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    abewoelk #110

    So Tony, you’re now claiming that Islam is a race?

    No, Tony is claiming that you are treating Islam as if it were a race. Is if it were a set of shared characteristics with no meaningful difference between sub-groups or individuals.

    My comment that most Muslims think gays should be killed is based on the Muslims I met when I lived in that part of the world for three years.

    Somehow, I doubt this constitutes a meaningful sample of the 1.6 billion Muslims on the planet.

    Jefrir, I haven’t said that Islam can’t change; I’ve said it hasn’t changed.

    There haven’t been predominantly liberal and radical periods, both overall and regionally? No schisms, no fractioning into sub-creeds? Really? It’s the same now as it was when Mo dictated it?

  117. 117
    abewoelk

    But the problem with conflating anti-religion with racism is that that highway runs in two directions. Traditionally, Christianity was the religion of white people (though I’m not sure how true that is any more), so one could equally claim that someone who is anti-Christian is really anti-white, and therefore racist. And yes, Uganda is an example of Christians run amok (in Nigeria most of the violence is Muslim), but one counter example doesn’t change my basic point that pound for pound, an Islamic government tends to be far more virulent than a Christian one, at least in 2013. I’ve already acknowledged that hasn’t always been the case.

    And now a sincere question: I understand this blog to be an atheist blog. What is with atheists defending religion? Even if I am being too hard on Islam, it is still a religion spreading woo, opposing science, and doing all the other bad things that religions do. I am absolutely stunned to come to an atheist blog, where I expect hostility to religion, and find everybody jumping to religion’s defense when I criticize it. Are you guys for real?

  118. 118
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I think I have a BINGO on my Islamophobia card.
    From “it’s perfectly rational to fear Islam” to “Islam isn’t a race”
    The result is shooting a Brazilian man in London because he looks swarthy.
    Or Sikhs being murdered.
    It completely negates the actual fact that those fighting hardest against Islamists and Jihadists, those most affected and making the biggest sacrafices are indeed muslims. I’m sure we’ve all heard about Malala Yousafzai, have we?

  119. 119
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    What is with atheists defending religion?

    We aren’t defending religion. We are criticizing your bigoted idea of what religion is. Bigots have that problem. So, since you show no redeeming intellectual thoughts, abewoelk –> hushfile for terminal idiocy.

  120. 120
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @abewoelk:

    Some people are anti-Christian and potentially anti-white – but those are usually in countries where white Christians are in the minority. I’m sure in a country like, say, Indonesia or Malaysia, some people see a white person and think they’re a Christian.

    I mentioned Uganda as an example because that’s a Christian country with a Christian government beholden to no laws preventing them from doing what they want. You cannot honestly believe that if the Christians in America managed to erect a theocracy that they’d refrain from more “virulent” measures to get what they want.

    We defend social justice issues, and as we’ve mentioned a few times, with “Muslim” being the buzzword for “brown-skinned people from the Middle East or Southeast Asia” we’re not defending Islam itself but the people who are maligned by the anti-”Muslim” people.

    Islam itself is a backwards religion based on fairy tales. I’m more concerned about Christianity since it affects people I’m very close to.

  121. 121
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    abewoelk #117

    But the problem with conflating anti-religion with racism is that that highway runs in two directions. Traditionally, Christianity was the religion of white people (though I’m not sure how true that is any more), so one could equally claim that someone who is anti-Christian is really anti-white, and therefore racist.

    I see very few people claiming that all Christians, under the banner of “Christianity,” hold any position on anything bar the teachings of Christ—and they vary in how they interpret even that, as virtually all anti-theists would agree.

    Christianity isn’t treated as if it were a race. Islam is.

    And now a sincere question:

    Did you ask any insincere questions?

    What is with atheists defending religion? … I am absolutely stunned to come to an atheist blog, where I expect hostility to religion, and find everybody jumping to religion’s defense when I criticize it. Are you guys for real?

    I’d rather criticise a religion and its varied exponents for things they actually get wrong and the bad things they actually do. At the same time, I will point out when they are being unfairly criticised.

    I call it “fairness.” It’s an odd concept, I know, but I’m hoping it’ll catch on.

  122. 122
    drm0

    abewoelk #117

    Traditionally, Christianity was the religion of white people (though I’m not sure how true that is any more),

    Around half of all Christians live in Latin America, Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s up to you guys to decide if Hispanics can be white, though.

    one could equally claim that someone who is anti-Christian is really anti-white, and therefore racist

    I’d be a little suspicious of the hypothetical person who claims anti-white racism if they live in a country where white people hold most of the power.

    Giliell #118

    The result is shooting a Brazilian man in London because he looks swarthy.

    Another thing that compounded in my mind to make the rabid dog comparison sound so chilling…

  123. 123
    D

    Thing about racism is it doesn’t require the Other to be of a monolithic race, but can simply have the Other to not be of the Self race. And even if someone isn’t coming from a racist perspective when they criticize Muslims, the context of racism in many places means the criticism is often going to fit into the racist establishment and reinforce it. Having said that, treating Muslims as monolith is always going to be racists either through intent or obliviousness, ie an active attempt to reinforce the othering or coming from a position where the othering is already ingrained.

  124. 124
    Sassafras

    Looks like Terry has decided that all the support he got from the PZ-haters means that insulting Muslims and anyone who defends them is his ticket to quick attention.

  125. 125
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Sassafras:

    And as long as Hemant gives that bigot a platform, TFA will be off my blog roll

  126. 126
    ChasCPeterson

    You’re aware there are white Muslims, aren’t you?
    My comment that most Muslims think gays should be killed is based on the Muslims I met when I lived in that part of the world

    The part of the world with the white Muslims?

    Traditionally, Christianity was the religion of white people

    Guess it depends on just how “tradtional” we’re talking.

  127. 127
    abewoelk

    But even if some people use Muslim as a buzzword for brown-skinned (and I’ve said absolutely nothing to indicate that I do), the real problem is with the sloppy use of language. And calling someone a racist who is really anti-religious is that it, too, is a sloppy use of language. You’ve basically made the term “racist” to be meaningless; it takes in everything and nothing. It’s like five year old boys calling each other faggot — they have no clue what the word actually means (in any of its dictionary definitions) but they just know it’s something Really, Really Bad. So, if and when I say something that actually is racist — i.e., something along the lines of I’m better than you because of my skin color — then please feel free to call mea racist. Until that time, racist has a specific meaning, and being critical of Islam isn’t it.

    In the meantime, if you are a woman, would you rather live in Texas or Saudi Arabia? (Hint: In Christian Texas, women are allowed to drive, don’t need their husband’s permission to leave the house, won’t find the law on their husband’s side if their husband beats them, and aren’t required to dress in full burka every time they leave the house.) If you honestly can’t see the difference between the two, then you have major perception difficulties.

  128. 128
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @abewoelk:

    Would you rather be a gay person in Uganda or Saudi Arabia?

  129. 129
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Kevin: No.

  130. 130
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    abewoelk

    Oh good grief.

    Being critical of Islam is not racist, in and of itself.
    Being critical of Muslims is not racist, in and of itself.

    Being critical of Islam because you perceive all Muslims everywhere to have the same negative characteristics by virtue of being Muslims, is the same as arguing that all people of a particular race share the same negative characteristics by virtue of their race.

    It is racist because it uses the exact same argument that racists use. But maybe you still think “racist” is the wrong word. If you’re that bothered about technicalities, substitute “bigoted.”

    Either way, it’s a problem you would seem to need to sit back and think on for a while and, hopefully, re-evaluate your position. Because, bigoted, racist, or whatever you want to call it, it is what you are doing.

  131. 131
    chigau (違う)

    abewoelk

    …racist has a specific meaning…

    Really?
    Let’s hear the one true meaning.

  132. 132
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Abewoelk:
    You cannot read for comprehension very well.
    No one is ‘defending religion’.
    We are arguing against your bigoted views.
    You’ve made comments saying most Muslims think gays should be killed, when you flat out do not know that. Why do you believe the opinions of *some* Muslims are indicative of the beliefs of *most* Muslims? You are making that statement based on an incredibly small sample of the worldwide Muslim population.

    As Kevin mentioned @112, a great many “critics” of Islam are referring to brown skinned sand*******.
    These people think Islam is a backwards religion that is so much worse than Christianity–based on the horrific acts perpetrated by extremists in several Middle Eastern countries, as well as 9/11.

    These so-called critics ignore the harm done by Christians in countries around the world

    These so-called critics ignore the fact that Islam, like Christianity, is not a monolithic religion composed of people who all think the exact same things.

    These so called critics, like you, make bigoted statements without mch thought, and in the process wrongfully malign a great many people.

    Not one person has defended Islam here. If you were not blinded by a series of irrational beliefs regarding Muslims and Islam, you would see that.

    We are opposing your bigoted views. These views are harmful because they have led to prejudice and discrimination of Muslims and anyone deemed to “look like a Muslim” (i.e. having a darker skin tone, similar to people from the Middle East).

    You ought to engage in some heavy introspection, rather than continue digging your hole.

  133. 133
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Abrwoelk @127:
    FFS, now its Dear Muslima??!
    At this point, do the blog a favor and Shut the Fuck Up.

  134. 134
    jefrir

    Abewoelk

    So Tony, you’re now claiming that Islam is a race? Because anti-Islam = racist only if Islam is a race. You’re aware there are white Muslims, aren’t you?

    How are you defining race? Because humans don’t actually have biological races, at least in the sense we use when talking about other species. All races are socially and culturally defined. And if we’re speaking globally, “muslim” makes about as much sense as a racial category as “black” does.

    In the meantime, if you are a woman, would you rather live in Texas or Saudi Arabia? (Hint: In Christian Texas, women are allowed to drive, don’t need their husband’s permission to leave the house, won’t find the law on their husband’s side if their husband beats them, and aren’t required to dress in full burka every time they leave the house.) If you honestly can’t see the difference between the two, then you have major perception difficulties.

    At my primary school, there was a group of children that were clearly marked out by their religious practices. The girls had to wear headscarves and long skirts. They were all forbidden from eating in public, using computers and TVs, and visiting people who were not of their religion. Girls were expected to marry early, within the religion, and have large families. They were my first introduction to religious extremism. And they weren’t Muslims – they were Christians. Plymouth Brethren, to be precise.
    A good Muslim friend at uni, on the other hand, was the first person I knew who identified herself as a feminist.
    You are making ignorant, bullshit generalizations about a huge group of people, based solely on one aspect of their identity. Cut it out.

  135. 135
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Jefrir:
    ::blinks:: no eating in public?? I thought I’d heard all the inane religious rules. Sheesh.

  136. 136
    abewoelk

    But prejudice based on someone’s ideology is not the same as prejudice based on race, even if I hadn’t already taken great pains to say, over and over again, that my quarrel is not with individual Muslims. My quarrel is with their ideology, and ideology is fair game. It’s not like someone’s skin color, which can’t be changed and which tells us nothing of value about a person. I view Islam as a fascist ideology, but to extrapolate from that statement that I am prejudiced against individual Muslims, or brown skinned people as you call them, is no more accurate than it would be to say that I am prejudiced against Italians because of my contempt for the fascists that ran Italy during World War II.

    And I do not for one split second believe that the reaction I’m getting is anything other than a leftist article of faith that Muslims are oppressed and downtrodden and therefore can’t be criticized. I think if I had shown up here and made the same types of statements about Christianity that I have about Islam, nobody would have batted an eye. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I would bet.

    Jefrir, in this country, Plymouth Brethren (and other religious) are free to dress and act however their religion dictates, but the crucial difference is that it wasn’t the state ordering them to do that. Anyone who wants to leave the Plymouth Brethren religion is free to do so, and nobody will put them on trial for blasphemy if they do. That’s a fairly critical difference.

  137. 137
    chigau (違う)

    abewoelk

    Maybe I’m wrong

    Yup.

  138. 138
    vaiyt

    Great, just what I needed, another StevoR and just as clueless.

    abewoelk: what I’m about to inform you might surprise you a bit, but Muslims are not Orcs. There are over 1 billion of them all over the world. They live, die, eat, love, hate, raise children, experience empathy, work every day, teach, learn, drive vehicles, operate technology, fight for social justice; they’re just like everyone else. There is nothing intrinsic about Islam that makes it MORE EVILER than any other religion. The Muslim world was once vastly more advanced AND tolerant than Christian Europe for some centuries, it’s only circumstance (and good PR from Christians, who hide their oppression and death toll better) that makes them sound worse off today.

    Here, in this corner of the world, the Muslims edge out the Buddhists for most peaceful religious community ever; you just come here and see how the “rabid dogs” behave when they’re treated like fucking people.

  139. 139
    jefrir

    Tony!

    ::blinks:: no eating in public?? I thought I’d heard all the inane religious rules. Sheesh.

    Yup, they had to go home for lunch – no eating in front of people not of the sect. They were really insular. At one point, the kids tried to convert the rest of us – not because of any particularly strong religious conviction, but because if we were baptised they’d be able to socialise with us outside of school. They also had their own private school at secondary age – even going to schoolwith us was problematic by that stage.

    Abewoelk

    Jefrir, in this country, Plymouth Brethren (and other religious) are free to dress and act however their religion dictates, but the crucial difference is that it wasn’t the state ordering them to do that. Anyone who wants to leave the Plymouth Brethren religion is free to do so, and nobody will put them on trial for blasphemy if they do. That’s a fairly critical difference.

    But it’s a difference in political power, not in the ideology itself. You seem to think that Islam itselfis uniquely threatening and violent, when reality seems to show that the differences are mostly a matter of historical contingency. You claim that Muslim countries are more violent, but ignorethat they are also poorer, and largely have a history of colonization by the European powers. It is facile to say something like “Pakistan is more violent than France, therefore the problem is Islam”. It betrays a complete lack of historical and social understanding. It also makes it significantly harder to do something about that violence, because you can’t solve a problem you haven’t correctly identified.

  140. 140
    anteprepro

    abewoelk says we would be fine with his remarks if they had been about Christians. Well let’s start from the start:

    There is, however, a cadre of Christian extremists that takes pleasure in blowing up abortion clinics, torture, using child soldiers, lynching racial and religious minorities, and sending bombers after first responders, and I’m not going to pretend anything other than that their loss is a good riddance. I may not jump up and down and cheer about it, but neither am I going to pretend that the world isn’t a slightly better and less violent place for their death. It’s fine that you don’t want to kill them; it would be nice if they felt the same way about you. And sometimes, the only way to protect yourself from violent and irrational people is by using force.

    And I also have to say that I completely do not understand the West;s love affair with a religion that oppresses women and gays and doesn’t tolerate dissent. PZ has his blog because he is lucky enough to live in a Western democracy that has been tainted by secularism enough to permit free speech; anywhere in the past, he’d have been killed by an angry mob, or jailed. American reaction to Christian terror may be disproportionate to the threat it actually poses, but make no mistake: It’s a miserable, oppressive regime that nobody here would want to spend five minutes living under.

    And now for something completely different:

    In the meantime, if you are a woman, would you rather live in Texas or Saudi Arabia?

    I’m sure that’s an apple-to-apples comparison, no doubt, indeed.

  141. 141
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Abewoelk:
    You embarass yourself every time you post.
    You still haven’t walked back your offensive comparison of Muslims to rabid dogs. Yet you sit here and claim to not be racist.
    I do not for a second believe-based on your comments here-that you are including people of other races in your “criticism” of Islam.

  142. 142
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    And I also wonder what the racist fuckwit means by “leftist”.

    Progressive is far more appropriate a term I would think. Though neither is an insult.

  143. 143
    anteprepro

    (The conclusion from the first Christianized quote, by the way, is even though Christianity has just as just as much violence and blood on its hands, even in present day, and just as many extremists, as far as we can tell, we sure as fuck wouldn’t say that we are warranted to cheer about the death of those violent extremists, or insinuate that we would justified to take violent action against this obviously dangerous subset of Them that will inevitably slit our throats when we sleep or something. So, yes, abe, you would have got a similar response if you came in here talking about Christians in that manner.)

    Tony!

    You still haven’t walked back your offensive comparison of Muslims to rabid dogs. Yet you sit here and claim to not be racist.

    Oh, it is fine! It was just an analogy, you see! An analogy about how it isn’t Islam’s fault that Islam needs to be taken out back and shot in the head! Nothing problematic about that! Especially when acknowledging that Christianity had been “defanged” while doubling down on the insistence that the only solution for the dangers of Islam is killing the fucking mongrel dead. Because Liberal Values!!!

  144. 144
    theignored

    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall at #91

    None of which means we should be gleefully celebrating a person being killed—which was the aspect of his post being disagreed with.

    You appear to be siding with TF over a part of the story no one had picked sides over.

    I was pointing out that the sad part was that those loons haven’t learned their lesson even after killing one of their own. I should have been more explicit. Yeah, I was glad that guy died. In my opinion, we don’t need people like that guy.

    I’m not saying muslims in general, but ones like that guy.

  145. 145
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    abewolek

    But prejudice based on someone’s ideology is not the same as prejudice based on race, even if I hadn’t already taken great pains to say, over and over again, that my quarrel is not with individual Muslims. My quarrel is with their ideology, and ideology is fair game.

    See, that’s the problem. You seem to believe that there’s ONE muslim ideology. Maybe you’re simply lacking the skills to form a more nuanced position.
    It’s like saying “Christian ideology” and not making clear whether you mean my liberal, gentle, all-around decent Lutheran pastor acquaintance or the WBC.
    Oh, wait, that probably wouldn’t happen. It’s apparently just people from the middle east who are one angry mob…

  146. 146
    chimera

    I support Abewoelk’s statements here.

  147. 147
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Bicarbonate

    I support Abewoelk’s statements here.

    So you also think that muslims are a monolithic block with “an ideology” who are best compared to “rabid dogs” (and we all know what to do with rabid dogs, don’t we?)?
    Sad.
    I thought better of you.

  148. 148
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    theignored #144

    Yeah, I was glad that guy died. In my opinion, we don’t need people like that guy.

    Much as I find it hard to imagine being glad that a person has been killed (I can see, maybe, that someone might be glad at the consequence—a murderer, once dead, cannot murder again), I will never understand how anyone could celebrate it, let alone call for it to happen.

    No, we don’t need more people like that guy. That guy evidently felt very comfortable with the idea of people being killed for the sake of expedience.

  149. 149
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @abewoelk:

    Read this paragraph. Re-read it if you have to. Tell me if you can see why you’re getting this reaction:

    And I do not for one split second believe that the reaction I’m getting is anything other than a leftist article of faith that Muslims are oppressed and downtrodden and therefore can’t be criticized. I think if I had shown up here and made the same types of statements about Christianity that I have about Islam, nobody would have batted an eye. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I would bet.

    Stumped? Let me help you:

    And I do not for one split second believe that the reaction I’m getting is anything other than a leftist article of faith that Muslims are oppressed and downtrodden and therefore can’t be criticized. I think if I had shown up here and made the same types of statements about Christianity that I have about Islam, nobody would have batted an eye. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I would bet.

    Muslims are people who follow Islam. Muslims are indeed oppressed and downtrodden in American society. Lots of people see brown-skinned people and think “Muslim” despite a lot of them being otherwise.

    Islam is a backwards ideology a lot like Christianity. Like Christianity, there are different sects. Like Christianity, most sects practice a kind of a la carte faith. Like Christianity, there are extremists. Like Christianity, there are moderates and progressives.

    Muslims are not Islam.

  150. 150
    drm0

    Okay.

    Let me try again. Calmly, and slowly.

    I’m not a Muslim. I come from a country with a smaller Muslim community than the United States, for example. I’m not straight. Yet, the “mad dog” rhetoric, used to attack Islamist homophobes makes me feel unsafe. Why’s that? Am I being irrational? You can judge by yourselves:

    While I do believe that not every inflammed discourse directed against Islam is racially-motivated, I think it’s beyond dispute that part of it is. (Consider far-right movements in France and England, for example.) Part of it is coded language: just like it’s more acceptable to cry “states rights!” instead of “slavery” or “segregation” it is more acceptable to say “I’m against an ideology associated with foreigners” than “I judge people because of the circumstances of their birth”.

    Now, I’ll not accuse anybody here of being a racist. For all I know, abewoelk and bicarbonate may have the best intentions of protecting people against sexism and homophobia. But, and there’s a big but… When you use dehumanizing language in this environment (which is not a vacuum!), I think you’re helping the racists.

    As mentioned upthread, a fellow countryman of mine was put down like a rabid dog in London. As mentioned upthread, I have reasons to believe Europeans would perceive me as a Muslim. I don’t think I look Muslim, mind you, but what I think is not important, what matters is how people from developed countries will read me, and over this I have absolutely no control. I can’t change my mind over “looking Muslim”. I can’t deconvert from “looking Muslim”. Just like a can’t will myself into being straight.

    So, I can only speak for myself, I don’t know how other LGBT folks from the global south feel about this. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive, I don’t know, I just don’t want to be seen as a mad dog who needs to be shot in the head. All I ask you is to take this in consideration before making this sort of comparison.

    Please, forgive my wordiness.

  151. 151
    Anri

    abewoelk @ 117:

    But the problem with conflating anti-religion with racism is that that highway runs in two directions. Traditionally, Christianity was the religion of white people (though I’m not sure how true that is any more), so one could equally claim that someone who is anti-Christian is really anti-white, and therefore racist.

    And one could argue that someone who approved of speaking of killing another human being as ‘lancing a boil’ is a horrible human being, regardless of their respective religions.
    Which is what’s happening here.

    And yes, Uganda is an example of Christians run amok (in Nigeria most of the violence is Muslim), but one counter example doesn’t change my basic point that pound for pound, an Islamic government tends to be far more virulent than a Christian one, at least in 2013. I’ve already acknowledged that hasn’t always been the case.

    How about in 1944?
    Or is that Pre-Renaissance in your opinion?

    And now a sincere question: I understand this blog to be an atheist blog. What is with atheists defending religion? Even if I am being too hard on Islam, it is still a religion spreading woo, opposing science, and doing all the other bad things that religions do. I am absolutely stunned to come to an atheist blog, where I expect hostility to religion, and find everybody jumping to religion’s defense when I criticize it. Are you guys for real?

    And now a sincere request: Please quote me in defending religion.
    Seriously, please try.

    I’m not defending religion, I’m criticizing bigotry. Yours, in particular.

  152. 152
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    dõki

    As mentioned upthread, a fellow countryman of mine was put down like a rabid dog in London. As mentioned upthread, I have reasons to believe Europeans would perceive me as a Muslim. I don’t think I look Muslim, mind you, but what I think is not important, what matters is how people from developed countries will read me, and over this I have absolutely no control. I can’t change my mind over “looking Muslim”. I can’t deconvert from “looking Muslim”. Just like a can’t will myself into being straight.

    I’m “German German*”, but I have dark eyes and dark, long hair. I only need to go shopping in the “wrong” part of town in the “wrong” shops and I have anti-muslim slurs thrown at me. What’s more, I’ve been politically active for almost 20 years now.
    I’ve witnessed the change in rhethoric from “dirty, swarthy furreiners” to “Muslims are a threat to free society”.
    The people supporting those positions have remained the same.
    The people targeted have stayed the same.
    The “proposed solutions” have stayed the same.
    The violence has stayed the same.
    To deny that “muslim” has simply become a codeword for “darkies we don’t like” is outright stupid and or racist.
    *Which means that ethnically I satisfy even the worst fascists.

  153. 153
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    Thing I actually saw/heard once:

    A woman with a brown skin tone being harassed by some d00d. He tossed various Muslim-related slurs her way. He stopped suddenly when a friend of hers, seeing the altercation and her obvious upset, rushed up and addressed her in Spanish.

    His slurs turned on a dime – she was no longer a terrorist, she should now go back to Mexico.

  154. 154
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Bicarbonate:
    You support abewoelk in hir racism?
    Xe has made blanket, racist (or bigoted, YMMV) statements throughout this thread.
    Xe has characterized Muslims as one monithic group who all believe the same things.
    Xe has made the inane, unsupported claim that Islam is the #1 bad religion bc xe lived in a country with an Islamic government. Yes, it was likely that many things were awful there, but you cannot ignore the many countries around the world that are Christian dominated and oppressive.

    This is not the first time we have seen a commenter spew racist opinions. I am saddened to see you agree with abewoelk’s irrational, unthinking bigotry.

  155. 155
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    doki @150:
    Well said.
    You’ve nothing to be sorry for.

  156. 156
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @dõki, #150:

    I’m with Tony! in thanking you. Great comment.

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