Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A somewhat more familiar "death cult"

Many other lefty and centrist bloggers have already expressed their outrage over a post made to the Western Standard blogs by RightGirl, as well as over the comments both on that post and on the post of the one Western Standard blogger who dared to disagree. I'm not going to add to the pile. But I have to admit, I'm puzzled by one thing. RightGirl's original post and her comments in the ensuing discussion state that Islam is not a "religion of peace" because:

  • many people have committed violent acts in the name of Islam
  • some of Islam's followers are told that if they commit those violent acts, they will be rewarded with a delicious fantasy
  • many people believe that Islam's ideals are supreme and are willing to fight for those ideals in various countries around the world
  • the only "good" Muslims (i.e., the ones who don't do the aforementioned terrible things) are those who don't follow the orthodox tenets of Islam, and orthodox Muslims don't consider them Muslims, which only proves that Islam proper is bad and dangerous
Her conclusions from these observations are as follows:
  • Islam is not a real religion, it is a cult/corrupt ideology that has been afforded the status of a religion
  • Islam should be banned
  • Islam's places of worship should be "turned inside out and upside down" and "shaken until the skeletons come out"
What puzzles me is this: By RightGirl's own logic, she should be making precisely the same arguments about Christianity. Because if you're looking for the commission of violent acts in the name of a religion, elders telling their followers that they'll be rewarded by a delicious fantasy if they commit those violent acts, a willingness to fight for their religion's tenets in many countries around the world, and people getting denounced as infidels for not adhering to the orthodoxy of their religion, you don't have to look as far afield as Islam.

I'm not saying she'd be right to make those arguments about Christianity, mind, but if she wants to be consistent, it would seem to follow naturally.

22 comments:

M@ said...

I haven't noticed self-examination to be among the Christian virtues.

Scotian said...

Oh, you hate Christians, after all Christ was a man of Peace not like that warmongering pedophile that created the death cult Islam.

That is the sort of response you will tend to get whenever you make the valid point/comparison your post makes to these sorts of "thinkers" Believe me, I have done so in the past and I gave you an example of the type of responses it can evince from these haters. There is a reason why I have always maintained that while zealotry is dangerous in any guise religious zealotry is the most dangerous kind of all, because everything your side does is sanctioned by being in the name of God (good) when done to the "enemy" and everything done by the "enemy" is always evil/bad, no matter what it is, no matter if even the side of "good" does the exact same thing.

I took one of the comments at the top of the original thread at the Western Standard in the original offending thread and replaced the word Islam with Jew and posted it back and none of them seemed to understand just how xenophobic and hate filled their responses were. Indeed, all I got was excuses that Jews were not like Muslims and therefore it didn't make any sense what I had done, as in it was an inaccurate comparison. They totally missed the point that the underlying structure of the comment was incredibly xenophobic and hateful, indeed was classic old style Jew bashing from prior to WWII in form.

These are the sorts of people that I truly fear, and that I see as the real threat to Western society, especially Canada, far more than bomb wielding terrorists. This kind of hate, demonization and dehumanization of the "other" (be it Muslims to L(l)iberals) always leads to atrocities when it becomes the driving mentality of a society. History is unfortunately replete with examples of this, which is why I will always say this mentality is dangerous and to be opposed regardless of the focus, even when the focus are terrorists. When you deny the essential humanity of other humans you make it easier to consider things up to genocide.

Well, I hope this post wasn't too strong in nature for your blog, if it was I'll understand if you feel it needs to be taken down. I have just about had it though with these hatemongers and their ability to be protected within significant Conservative institutions in this country, in this case the Western Standard.

This is what I find most troubling about Conservatives these days, not only is this strain of xenophobia and hatred present but it is not denounced by other Conservatives, rather it is at most excused by claiming every side has these sorts. Yet so many Conservatives will jump on anything they perceive as hateful by their political opponents and insist that unless all lefties denounce that person(s) and their comments then all lefties agree. Why is it for Conservatives guilt by association works where their opponents are concerned but never themselves. Oh yes, right, they are a bunch of hypocrites.

Toronto Tory said...

As for delicious fantasies..

Where are they getting all these virgins?

Annamarie said...

Good post, IP, and so is Scotian's comment.

I can only quickly add that this growing right-wing xenophobia and hate-mongering, war-mongering, etc. has me greatly aggrieved at the very obvious rightist shift among Canadians. Reading the daily 'Letters' section of the Toronto Star reinforces this feeling. You would not believe the numerous anti-Arab/Islam letters, filled with some very vituperative, war-mongering, hate-filled diatribe sent in by Canadians around the GTA.

Totally saddens me... We are sounding more and more like those of our neighbours to the south who are neo-con, bigoted, backward, hawkish, faux Christian (un-Christlike?) Bushies. I'd naively thought that we Canadians were more cosmopolitan, intelligent and evolved ... Obviously I was mistaken.

Scotian said...

Annamarie:

I’ve always understood that it can happen here, it is not so long ago in our own history that bigotry/racism was considered acceptable in social discourse, indeed legitimate political theory. This is one of the reasons why I have kept such a watchful eye on it's regrowth in our society over the last 15 or so years, especially in the last five . This is unfortunately something that tends to be all too common in human nature regardless of nationality and cultural values. This is why the strictures of the rule of law and that law applying equally to all citizens is something I am so passionate in defending, these are the bulwarks which prevent such thinking from becoming acceptable.

This is also why there is an attempt to attack any and all notions of equality when they are first being codified into our laws, women 80-90 years ago, aboriginals, and most recently gays. It is why this must be fought so strongly, especially in as multicultural a society as we have here, seeing as we do not use the melting pot approach but more a community of communities approach. This is also why I consider it such a serious concern that one of our political parties has within its base these sorts of xenophobes and zealots and worse, considers them a part of their mainstream base and not a fringe element to be properly distanced from the mainstream/core of the party. That this party is currently the government really worries me, even if it is with as weak a minority as it is.

This is something we cannot pretend cannot happen here. The fact that it has become so dominant in American society only leaves us that much more vulnerable thanks to the tight integration of our social cultures, thanks in no small part to the telecommunications interconnections between us. We absorb significant parts of their culture simply because we see so much of their television. We have many common interests as nations from economic to foreign policy, although I grant that latter has significantly changed in the past five years. So we are currently at a time in this country where we must be vigilant against this mentality taking hold wherever we see it, all it can lead to is suffering, pain, and the potential destruction of this nation.

Well I love and value Canada as it has been far too much to allow that to happen without a fight and I know I am far from the only one. All I fear is convincing enough other such minded people that it really can happen here, and faster then one would believe possible. This is one of those things where it is far better to overestimate the risks of such then it is to underestimate it.

ADHR said...

I find it odd that accusations of Islam being a "death cult" tend to come from those who follow a religion that nails icons of its founder's bloody demise all over houses of worship.

As a matter of sociology, I wonder if being in a majority position tends to incubate religious zealotry. Muslims in Arabic countries seem to be the same kind of crazy as Christians in the US.

ADHR said...

Sorry, that was inelegant. I meant to underline how moderate Muslims seem here, as compared to the terrifying nutbars that one can find in the Middle East; and how the latter aren't obviously distinguishable from leaders of the American Christian Right.

Adrian MacNair said...

I have been a vocal advocate of repressing and censuring Islam in Canada and around the world. It is a vile and murderous religion that is in the throes of causing a third world war.

As for the points you make, I would like to qualify them a little more clearly:

1. It isn't "some" Muslims causing violence, it is a lot of Muslims causing a lot of violence and bloodshed. Iraq is a bloodbath daily, and the single most dangerous region on the planet.

2. That Muslims can be so easily fooled by violent propaganda is a testament to the weakness of their faith

3. I would say that the only good Muslims ARE the orthodox muslims, who believe that murder is wrong, and under no circumstances is Allah served by that death. Unfortunately it seems orthodox muslims are in dire chances of extinction.

4. Christianity and catholicism is not currently ravaging the world and creating instability in the 21st century. Christians are 1000 times less likely to commit suicide bombings, or cut heads off of Nick Berg's.

I agree with her that Islam is in some serious trouble, and were I in power in Canada I would order the immediate investigation of mosques and foreign contributions to terrorist organizations. We cannot be tolerant any more with a religion that is inherently INTOLERANT of others.

Islam as a religion is a failure. It is a hateful, intolerant, violent, despicable faith that corrupts men's hearts, practices gender apartheid, and believes in assimilation or death. Islam is as close to fascism as one could hope for.

Adrian MacNair said...

Scotian, I am a socialist. Yet I fear the Islamic fundamentalists because they dwell in darkness and hatred. And their numbers grow. Your philosophical views on hate-mongering and xenophobia are non sequitur; in fact, I feel that the only logical thing to do is to be vigilent and careful among a religious group that has demanded Sharia Law in Canada. Sharia Law, the same kind of religious barbarous doctrine that murders women for being "unchaste".

Xenophobia will not lead to the murder of Muslims, but the complacency of Canadians may lead to the reverse.

Adrian MacNair said...

annamarie, you are mistaken about one thing: that this sentiment is "right wing". It clearly is not. I am as far from right wing as is possible.

I do agree on one point: I am saddened by the sudden rise of the Western conservative and their hatred for all forms of government and social programs.

Famousringo said...

I'm going to have to dispute your four points Adrian.

1. If you're going to use the Iraq war as an example of how much violence Muslims can inflict, you would do well to remember who started that war. Hint: Saddam Hussein has never attacked the United States.

2. Fooled by propaganda, eh? Seen any WMDs lately?

3. Different people seem to have different definitions of what constitutes an "Orthodox" Muslim. RightGirl asserts that they are the ones causing all the violence, you assert they are the ones who would never commit violence. I honestly don't know which of you is correct, just wanted to point out how confused everybody is about Islam.

4. Indeed. Christians use armoured infantry and 'smart'bombs instead of homemade explosives and amateur videos. See point 1.

Adrian MacNair said...

Points reiterated:

1. Iraq is not the only source for Islamic tension in the world. In fact, Islamic nations have almost universally failed, and those that have succeeded, only do so under brutal authoritarian and totalitarian dictatorships.

2. You doubt the violent conviction of Muslims? Try making a joke about the prophet Mohammed and follow it up by posting your real name and address. See how long it takes before your belief in Islam is shaken.

3. I am not confused about Islam. As I said, it is a brutal, violent, despicable religion, where there is a huge demographic of supporters of terrorism and Jihad.

4. You can try and use the Americans as a case for Christianity against Islam. I don't buy it.

Janet said...

Famousringo, in answer to your point 4 - being a Westerner or an American does not make you a Christian, so this point makes no sense. Unlike Islam, Christianity is primarily a religion of the heart, not one of signing up to a particular church or belonging to a certain cultural tradition.

Adrian's point 2 is devastating in its accuracy. Several people here are posting disobliging posts about Christianity without giving a second's thought to possible fatal consequences.

And as somebody who is arguably more Conservative than Liberal, I would point out that Conservatives might not be denouncing those nutbars because we don't waste our time at the Western Standard blog and therefore weren't exactly aware that they were around to be denounced. Somehow, I have trouble believing they're anywhere near mainstream. Admittedly, I'm not exactly a card-carrying member, but it will probably take me an election or two before I could stomach voting for the Liberals again. When there's a very high percentage of turnover in the MP's and especially the leadership, I'll be willing to consider them again, but that's pretty much what it will take.

ADHR said...

(I know, I know, don't feed the troll....)

From Janet:
"Adrian's point 2 is devastating in its accuracy. Several people here are posting disobliging posts about Christianity without giving a second's thought to possible fatal consequences."

This is by far the most incoherent thing I've read in months. I don't know what the word "disobliging" is supposed to mean. "Fatal consequences" is simply laughable. Most Muslims don't kill people. Most Christians don't kill people. Most people don't kill people. Pretending there's some vast conspiracy of brown people plotting the overthrow of Western civilization as we know it has been a cornerstone of racist thinking for decades. (And, usually, agreeing with racists is a bad thing.)

Of course, Adrian Macnair is pretty incoherent, too (I'm loving the third world war rhetoric. Where do I enlist?):
"That Muslims can be so easily fooled by violent propaganda is a testament to the weakness of their faith"

Ignoring that faith is always a weakness, just for a moment, let me just point to the significant number of American Christians screaming for the deaths of Muslims, liberals, gays, people who wear hats in church, etc, etc. I'd wait for equally vociferous condemnation, but I'm simply too cognizant of reality to seriously expect it.

Is it really too much to expect vicious bigotry to at least try to mount the vaguest beginnings of an appearance of sensible arguments? (I suppose it is.)

Adrian MacNair said...

adhr,

Coherence is a two-way street. Perhaps we simply disaree. That you do not attempt to understand my line of reasoning does not speak well for your argument.

I don't understand how you can consider it racist to acknowledge Islam is in a very serious quagmire of problems in practically every nation that has a Muslim demographic in the world today. Iran, Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, not to mention their influence in Holland, Britain, and France. The hate literature coming from Muslim mosques is appalling.

I do not see how suggesting that Islam could be the cause for a Third World War warrants the label "incoherent". It is a prediction, not unlike millions made on the internet each day. Is it "incoherent" to suggest Iran may be seeking weapons grade uranium?

What do we propose we do about the presence of Islamic extremism throughout the world? Ignore it, hope the Muslims will take a chill pill, and praise our "diversity"? Speaking of incoherence... Mr. bin Laden wouldn't hesitate to erase you, and yet you think he has but a few supporters. A large percentage of muslims have confessed they actually agree with some principles behind Jihad.

Janet said...

ADHR, actually, I agree with you concerning my second paragraph. Rereading it, it makes no sense to me either. I can only plead that I was very tired when I posted it, which is pretty feeble, I know.

What I was trying to say, is that people can post negative things about Christianity without worrying for a second about having a fatwa issued against them, or death threats made. Danish cartoonists are considerably less sanguine about the possible results of insulting Islam than you are. I know full well that most Muslims wouldn't kill, but the pictures in the news of mobs world-wide calling for their death show that we're not just talking about a few cranks. Despite all the crazies who do and say despicable things in the name of Christianity, I have a hard time thinking of any Christian equivalent to those crowds, at least in recent history.

FWIW, I am not a racist. I've lived in neighbourhoods that were heavily Muslim and not only lived fearlessly and peacefully with my neighbours, but was actually quite popular with them. I saw them as human beings, period.

I'm also getting pilloried at another website for challenging some very stupid assertions made by some raving right-wingers who substitute insult for thought. Challenging their attacks on Muslims obviously makes me an extreme left-winger. Here, for agreeing with the idea that insulting Mohammed could be dangerous to your health, I'm labelled a racist.

It's so easy to leap to unjustified conclusions on the basis of a few words, isn't it?

ADHR said...

Adrian,

If we disagree, and there's a truth of the matter, then one of us is wrong. It's that simple. I find it odd that you claim I didn't try to understand your line of reasoning when there was really no "reasoning" to understand; rather, a string of unsubstantiated empirical claims.

It's not racist to say that there's a number of extremely violent Muslim groups. It is racist to ignore the equally violent Christian groups around the world. It is also racist to say all Muslims are violent because a distinct minority are violent. And it is racist (rather than plain ol' prejudiced) because most Muslims are not white. Let me know which part you didn't follow there; I'll try to elaborate.

It is "incoherent" to speak of World War III at this point because the world is not at war. A few countries in the Middle East are involved in armed conflicts. A few others have significant social groups engaging in violent rhetoric. That is all. Trying to inflate that into a world war is little more than jumping at monsters under the bed.

Incidentally, why shouldn't Iran have nuclear weapons? They surely aren't suicidal enough to use them, so what's the harm?

This is a prize of icoherence: "What do we propose we do about the presence of Islamic extremism throughout the world? Ignore it, hope the Muslims will take a chill pill, and praise our "diversity"? [I don't recall where I said violent extremists should be ignored. Perhaps you can show me where I said that? I also don't recall you saying anything about Christian extremism. Should we just ignore that?] Speaking of incoherence... Mr. bin Laden wouldn't hesitate to erase you, and yet you think he has but a few supporters. [I don't think bin Laden really cares one way or another if I exist. Don't personalize something that's impersonal.] A large percentage of muslims have confessed they actually agree with some principles behind Jihad. [If this is your evidence that there's more than minority support for bin Laden, it fails miserably. First, you have not substantiated the sociological statistical claim (such as with a link). Second, that "a large percentage ... agree with some principles" is sufficiently vague to be meaningless. How large a percentage? Which principles? Without that information, what you are saying is so imprecise as to be meaningless.]

Janet,

I disagree with your empirical claim about Christians. Members of the Christian Right in the US have called for the deaths of "liberals", homosexuals, and physicians who perform (legal) abortions.

You also have to remember that the Danish cartoons were deliberately inflammatory insults towards a figure Muslims consider holy. An aggressive reaction is hardly surprising. Indeed, what's more surprising (but largely went ignored by the corporate media, because it didn't fit their storyline) were the number of Muslim groups expressing rather calm outrage. I don't recall similar Christian crowds because I don't recall a similar insult being done to Christ. If you have an example, please present it.

Incidentally, I never called you a racist. I said it was a racist line of thinking to call all Muslims violent extremists. Since you've modified what you've said, acknowledging that it is a minority that are violent, then you've quite clearly distanced yourself from that view.

"It's so easy to leap to unjustified conclusions on the basis of a few words, isn't it?"

Since you acknowledge that people will draw conclusions from the "few words" you say (and, indeed, if people weren't doing that, I wonder what the point of writing them would be), why weren't you more careful and circumspect in your writing? It often strikes me as bizarre to complain that people have misunderstood one's words when one has not made oneself clear. You've explained your point admirably, so I find this little swipe rather gratuitous.

Adrian MacNair said...

It's not racist to say that there's a number of extremely violent Muslim groups. It is racist to ignore the equally violent Christian groups around the world.

How so? One has nothing to do with the other. The assertion is that Muslims are violent.

It is also racist to say all Muslims are violent because a distinct minority are violent.

I disagree that it's only a minority, and even if it were, this "minority" is doing the majority of the violence in the world today.

And it is racist (rather than plain ol' prejudiced) because most Muslims are not white.

I don't have a problem with their skin colour. I have a problem with their despicable, violent, intolerant religion.

Trying to inflate that into a world war is little more than jumping at monsters under the bed.

Large conflicts develop from small skirmishes.

I don't recall where I said violent extremists should be ignored. Perhaps you can show me where I said that?

Then what are we arguing about? The number of muslims that are violent?

[If this is your evidence that there's more than minority support for bin Laden, it fails miserably. First, you have not substantiated the sociological statistical claim (such as with a link)

It's not necessary to. Clearly there is a strong association and loyalty of muslims to the rationale behind Al Qaeda's actions. Clearly muslims are easily influenced by their violent religion. I don't need to prove anything here; the violence muslims inflict on the world every day is evidence enough to satisfy all but the most gullible people.

I'm not here to provide you with links and statistics. If I had to do that for every individual on the internet like yourself that doesn't believe Muslims are in serious trouble, I'd have to quit my full-time job.

Show me a Muslim nation that isn't violent, repressed, impoverished, and harbours terrorists. It would be a far more difficult job than proving whatever useless point you seem to be trying to make about the concept that Muslims are peaceful peaceful marred by the actions of the few.

Chris Taylor said...

I have no dog in this fight except to point out that neither Islam nor Christianity is a "race".

Not liking someone's religion can be many things (bigotry, bad firsthand experience, you name it) -- but it is, by definition, not "racist".

There's another word you're looking for there, I'm sure.

Janet said...

adhr,

I disagree with your empirical claim about Christians. Members of the Christian Right in the US have called for the deaths of "liberals", homosexuals, and physicians who perform (legal) abortions.

Those people are beyond contempt. Nonetheless, I don't see them out as mobs in the street. The very few of them who take action are more like the gunman in Seattle. The vast majority of Christians do not resemble them, and despite m@'s assertion, sometimes excessively given to self-examination.

You also have to remember that the Danish cartoons were deliberately inflammatory insults towards a figure Muslims consider holy. An aggressive reaction is hardly surprising. Indeed, what's more surprising (but largely went ignored by the corporate media, because it didn't fit their storyline) were the number of Muslim groups expressing rather calm outrage. I don't recall similar Christian crowds because I don't recall a similar insult being done to Christ. If you have an example, please present it.

How about The Last Temptation of Christ? Or artwork - and I use the term loosely - consisting of crosses in urinals? The examples are actually numerous, and if you can't think of any, it's because they don't attract much media attention because Christians don't often react much beyond wrinkling their noses in disgust. Please note that the Danish cartoons were commissioned because an author discovered to his horror that he couldn't find an illustrator for a children's book written to promote understanding of Islam because the illustrators literally feared for their lives. There is NO parallel in the Christian world. They also spawned a lot of anti-Christian and anti-Jewish cartoons in both the Arab and the western press which resulted in exactly zero mobs at embassies. In the western press they were often published primarily to show that no mobs would result. Think about it.

mikmik said...

4. You can try and use the Americans as a case for Christianity against Islam. I don't buy it.
--------------------

Pretty much sums up why informed debate isn't possible against racists.

mikmik said...

Clearly there is a strong association and loyalty of muslims to the rationale behind Al Qaeda's actions. Clearly muslims are easily influenced by their violent religion. I don't need to prove anything here; the violence muslims inflict on the world every day is evidence enough to satisfy all but the most gullible people
-------------------

Okay, racists, bigots, whatever, clearly they choose whether it is necessary to back up their opinion.

Yes, you do need to prove what you postulate as fact, or it is just opinion.
When you refuse to back up your opinion with feeble excuses, it becomes a very feeble opinion.

You ascribe certain characterisitics to a whole group of people based on the actions of a few when it suits your purpose. That is prejudice.
Then, confronted with an analogy pointing out your hypocrisy, you say that clearly you do not have to 'prove' your viewpoint.