The poet Kazim Ali posted this to his Facebook page, saying that he thought it “had to be a myth,” and that is what it sounds like at first, but the Dove World Outreach Center is indeed inviting people to burn a Quran on September 11, 2010. It’s easy to dismiss this as quackery, as not worth giving the attention that it got through CNN’s coverage, but the truth is that if we don’t pay attention to it, if we don’t call it out for what it is–and it’s gratifying to see that the Facebook page protesting the event has close to twice as many fans as the Facebook page announcing the event–it will spread. More than that, though, it will become–it already has become, actually, and this is kind of frightening–part of the way perceptions of Islam are framed by our national rhetoric. Here’s the video:
Rick Sanchez, I think, proves himself to be a particularly inept interviewer here–I don’t watch him, so I don’t know if he’s usually better than this–but one of the things that disturbs me about the way he tries to respond to Terry Jones, Dove World Outreach’s pastor, is his but-there-are-moderate-muslims-out-there tone, as if those “moderate Muslims”–and more about that phrase in a moment–are somehow the exception to the rule. Or as if they are, you know, out there, but really well hidden, and so you have to know the secret code or something to get them to reveal themselves. Equally troubling to me, though, is the way the phrase “moderate Muslims” has taken on the same descriptive weight and authority as, say, Orthodox Jew or Evangelical Christian, as if “moderate” were somehow actually a sect of Islam. Well-meaning as it may be, the phrase actually contributes to rather than deconstructs the way in which Islam is being defined as a profoundly hostile theologically-informed, we-want-to-rule-the-world political stance towards the West, broadly speaking, and the United States in particular, rather than as a religion. This is to me–and I’d be interested to hear what other people think of this–very similar to the way in which the antisemitic rhetoric of Europe framed Judaism from the 18th century, and certainly the 19th century on, and it is certainly one of the underlying assumptions–i.e., that the Jews want to rule the world–of the “World Zionist Conspiracy” theories.
It’s also worth noting that Jones and his group also declared August 2 “No Homo Mayor” day, a day to protest Gainesville’s openly gay mayor. Both groups–Muslims and homosexuals–are godless according to Jones, a logic similar to the one that created the association between being Jewish and homosexuality, to mention being communist, Jewish and homosexual, that was an important point of antisemitic rhetoric in this country during 50s, 60s and even 70s.
It’s easy to dismiss Terry Jones and his church as a bunch of nuts, especially when his arguments for why Islam is a devil’s religion, as quoted in the text accompanying the Rick Sanchez video, include doozies like this:
“I mean ask yourself, have you ever really seen a really happy Muslim? As they’re on the way to Mecca? As they gather together in the mosque on the floor? Does it look like a real religion of joy?” Jones asks in one of his YouTube posts.
“No, to me it looks like a religion of the devil.”
The problem is that Jones and company are only giving expression to the logical conclusion of what an awful lot of people in the United State., consciously or not, already believe. The term Islamophobia may be relatively new, but the (often racialized and racializing) hatred of Muslims has a long history in this country–and that is something I will perhaps write about in another post–a history that predates the September 11th attacks not by decades, but by centuries, and its assumptions, its images, its rhetoric is/has been as much a part of our culture as the assumptions, images, rhetoric of, say, racism.
I am not an alarmist, though I do think there is a comparison to be made between the way in which antisemitic rhetoric was deployed so as to make the Nazi’s campaign against the Jews and the way Islamophobic rhetoric has been more and more making its way into our public discourse. Indeed, I think this comparison would probably work with the rhetoric of any genocidal campaign, though I do not think and I am not implying that this is the beginning of some kind of anti-Muslim government action. Rather, I think, plain and simple, that those comparisons should make clear to us how imperative it is not to let the actions and the rhetoric of people like Terry Jones go unanswered.
Cross posted on It’s All Connected.
Yes. Have you seen jihadwatch.org? It’s devoted to eradicating even the notion that Islam is capable of being “moderate” (however so defined) and contributes to the Islamophobia this church is engaging in. I have a couple liberal atheist friends who cite it often as a reason to condemn Islam in toto and doubt the inter-faith purposes of the Park 51 community center — a.k.a., “Ground Zero Mosque” (sic).
This is not a clear line, but a very murky one. In fact, linking religion and politics is probably as old as religion itself; while it’s not accurate to say that all politics is religion, it’s arguably true that most religious worldviews can affect one’s political stance. So it’s not “rather than” which you should use, but “in addition to.”
That is not a problem inherent to Islam. The Vatican is a political entity which is entirely ruled by religion. Israel is a political entity which is not entirely ruled by religion, but which is becoming more and more in that category as the rabbinate grabs power. There are other countries out there as well, but those two should suffice to demonstrate that the link between religion and politics isn’t a “Muslim problem.”
However, Islam is different that Judaism or Christianity, which are also different from other religions. There’s no point in taking the “all religions are the same” angle, given that they have been killing each other for millennia over their differences.
So you have a lot of different religions, and you have a pretty decent link between religion and politics.
As a result, some of those religions’ followers are likely to be more pro-US, and some are not. You can get into arguments about what category islam falls into, but I don’t think you can categorically refuse to acknowledge that it may be in the category of religions whose believers are generally more hostile to the U.S.—unless you think there are NO SUCH religions at all, or unless you think that religion isn’t linked to politics.
Jews don’t want to rule the world. But to the extent that one’s religion has an affect on one’s stature and abilities in life–which was more pronounced in those centuries–it is certainly reasonable to believe that Jews would prefer things to be better for Jews, rather than better for non-Jews.
The odd thing to me isn’t the concept that the Jews would have wanted to have more Jews in power. Why wouldn’t they? Jews are just as self-interested as everyone else on the planet. If I was a blue-skinned alien, i’d rather have the world leader be one as well; chances are less that they would screw over us blue-skins. No, the odd thing is that people forget (or pretend) that the Church (and many other religions) were IN FACT doing the exact same thing that the Jews were only rumored to be doing; the Jews weren’t powerful enough to actually do it.
The other issue with the comparison is that, at the time you discuss, Jews were a relatively persecuted minority who were in many instances there “by the grace of _____.” Even now Jews make up fewer than 20 MILLION people, and the one solidly-Jewish country in the world has been under threat or attack since the day of its inception.
Muslims make up 1.7 BILLION people worldwide. There are a variety of countries which are majority Muslim, and in fact there are a variety of countries in which Muslims are functionally favored to the same (or greater) degree as other religions are favored in other countries. It’s also a rapidly growing religion and has been for quite some time.
I don’t think the comparison is apt.
Although I suspect this is a Phelps-style publicity stunt for these bozos more than anything.
Gin and Whiskey:
Of course religion is linked to politics, and of course politics can very easily “get religion.” Nonetheless, we do not call Judaism or Christianity (or Buddhism or whatever) political ideologies; we recognize that they are religions and that politics and religion interact and that there are, in fact, differing political positions within any given religious tradition. My point is that the anti-Muslim rhetoric in the US is moving in a direction that defines Islam as wholly political, as being precisely not a religious tradition that has a complex relationship with politics, history and so on.
As to the second part of your response, I confess I have a hard time following what you are trying to say.
On a lighter note, what is up with all these right-wingers stealing their names from Monty Python?
What is this guy talking about? I’ve seen plenty of happy Muslims. Has this preacher man even seen a Muslim in real life?
Just proves that racism = ignorance. Any truly well informed, worldly person cannot be racist.
There’s a happy muslim in my former lab. I’ve seen him laugh dozens of times. One of my fellow students who worked with me on a Master’s project was a Muslim. She was one of the happiest, politest people I have ever met.
This Terry Jones is insane, and its so easy to prove him wrong. Just look around you.
I’m an atheist. I had no trouble getting along with Muslims. They didn’t press the issue with me, and I didn’t press the issue with them, and BAM, no problem. They were fine, upstanding scientists, they did their work well and they were no threat to me or you.
To all those scared of muslims – TRY TO TALK TO THEM FOR ONCE. Until you do that, until you genuinely make an effort to talk and get to know Muslims and work alongside them, you’ve no right to condemn them at all.
And again, I was in Malaysia for a few months last year and this year. I saw people smiling. I saw plenty of happy people.
And Malaysia is a Muslim-Majority Nation.
I also saw plenty of Churches. I saw plenty of Buddhists. No one was burning the Bible over there when I was there.
Ah HA – so it seems that Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and Atheists (and a fair few Hindus) CAN get along and live along side each other peacefully after all. They did it in Malaysia, there’s your proof.
Now Malaysia isn’t perfect – they still criminalize homosexuality, but I’ll point out that the US did the same thing until very recently. Malaysia is a shining proof that multiple religions can co-exist. So is the US for that matter. But Malaysia is also proof that Muslims can be tolerant. If the 10 or so quite large catholic churches I saw in Sabah were anything to go by.
This is not true.
Malaysia has a LOT of issues with its religious minorities; non-Muslims and especially apostates suffer significant legal discrimination, and Hindu and other non-Muslim temples have been forcibly closed down and demolished in recent years. Smiling faces don’t always tell the whole story.
Kind of like in the US!
Could you post some links, please? Thanks!
I can certainly see where a non-Islamic religious leader could and would take issue with the doctrines of Islam. But I take exception to an act of this nature. I don’t think it is going to convince anyone of either his arguments in particular or of his religion in general.
Regarding freedom of religion in Malaysia, Wikipedia has an article that (despite a caution given a few years ago) seems to have a number of citations indicating that sharia law is applied in Malaysia and that religions other than Islam face numerous restrictions.
Mythago, what are you talking about?
Mythago, what are you talking about?
I’m not Mythago but it seems to me that non-Christians face a fair amount of discrimination in the not officially Christian US. Being non-Christian (and even non-Protestant) is considered suspect in many places, politicians who are non-Christian have a harder time getting elected, there is substantial anti-minority-religion violence (especially anti-Islamic but people of other religions have faced hate crimes as well). Additionally, only the Christian holidays are legal holidays (ie Christmas but not Rosh Hashanna), people get weird about where non-Christians can or can’t build community centers and places of worship, wearing a t-shirt with writing in Arabic (associated with Islam in the American popular mind) is enough to get a person denied entry onto an airplane, etc. I’m not sure how many actual laws that discriminate are still on the books, but there is certainly a huge amount of prejudice still around. How much compared to non-Muslims in Maylasia I couldn’t say, having never been to Malaysia or studied the culture and laws.
Dianne, are you equating a bunch assholes acting on their bigotry to a government in power suppressing minorities? Because on one hand you have criminals defacing mosques and on the other law enforcement destroying churches that dare build too high. On one hand you have store owners refusing service to godless ‘ethnics’ and getting sued, and on the other mobs killing converts from Islam, and getting patted on the back by the police.
And no, I am not going to bother providing links. Are you unaware of what Sharia is, and how it is tolerated, if not outright applied in many, many, many countries with Muslim majorities? Are you unaware that in the States most people, and definitely most law enforcement agents at least publicly condemn those who transgress against minorities?
I am not saying is that we, the West, should take the way Muslims in power treat other religion as an example to follow, or even as an excuse to engage in our own bigotries. But saying that US, or all places, is comparable to Malaysia is ridiculous. Here, the law protects religious minorities, and those who persecute them can be prosecuted. As for Malaysia…
1. Sharia courts have legal authority, and non-Muslims have no legal standing in them. They can be represented by a Muslim.
2. Non-Muslim are still subjects to ruling by Sharia courts, but can appeal to a federal court.
3. Federal courts are limited in overturning Sharia courts if the decision ‘touches Islamic matters’.
Are you going to tell me with a straight face that the above is in any way comparable to ‘people getting weird’, and idiots engaging in anti-Muslim violence (and having the book thrown at them for it)? Do you know how those arrested for the dozens of church burnings in January or in the yearly killing around Christmas get treated in Malaysia?
Listen, I will be the first one to admit that we, the West, are guilty of intolerance and bigotry. But I claim that most of us are at least ashamed of it, or at least that _I_ despise those who are not. I will also give you that a lot of the Muslims’ anger toward the West is well justified by the meddling some countries have been engaging for a long, long time. I will even state that there was a time in history when all Muslim states were more tolerant and inclusive than most Christian states of that time.
But I challenge you to find one Western country that comes close to being as intolerant and discriminatory toward other religious minorities as any Muslim country but Turkey… And the only reason that I am excluding Turkey is because they are trying very hard to be a modern secular country, and at least until recently they mostly came down pretty hard on those Muslims who broke the laws protecting minorities. Most Muslim governments do not even bother to prosecute those to think that the laws of their country do not go far enough in making non-Muslim second hand citizens.
Because on one hand you have criminals defacing mosques and on the other law enforcement destroying churches that dare build too high.
How is this different from asshats attempting to use the law-and mobs-to prevent the building of a mosque and community center too close to an office building that they aren’t planning to use?
On one hand you have store owners refusing service to godless ‘ethnics’ and getting sued, and on the other mobs killing converts from Islam, and getting patted on the back by the police.
A fair number of lynchings happened after 9/11 that were ignored by the police. Guiliani was considered gutsy or possibly foolish (or, by some, a traitor) for declaring that he would punish lynchings and other acts of violence against Islamic people. Worked too: relatively little violence occurred in NYC. In places where the head of the government didn’t set such a good example…things happened.
I’m not saying that the US is better or worse than Malysia. I don’t have the information to make that call and you haven’t provided it. As you pointed out, at various times Islamic countries have been far more tolerant than Christian countries. However, this is probably not the point since it is clear that secular countries are the vast majority of the time more tolerant than either and any theocracy, no matter what the underlying religion is likely to lead to intolerance (at best.) All the more reason to encourage increased secularization-but NOT increased Christianity or Judaism or any other religion. And certainly not a simple conversion to a different theocracy.
However, this is probably not the point since it is clear that secular countries are the vast majority of the time more tolerant than either and any theocracy, no matter what the underlying religion is likely to lead to intolerance
First of all, as an atheist, I would hardly be pushing a theocracy over a secular government. Second, now that you have brought it up, the communist countries of the 20th century were not known for religious tolerance. Third, I personally think that the religion of a person is quite relevant to how likely that person is to want to oppress other faiths. I have trouble following the reasoning of peoples who think that Muslims can at the same time want Sharia law and be tolerant to other faiths.
Maybe you should check the percentage of British Muslims who would like Sharia law to apply to non-Muslims in predominantly Muslim areas in Britain. And wasn’t there a case of US police dispersing Christians who tried to proselytize at a Muslim gathering? (Which I think is great, but should be applied to everyone and everywhere, especially to any place where I eat my lunch)
A fair number of lynchings happened after 9/11 that were ignored by the police.
Are you stating that mobs in the US put people to death and the police ignored it? If you believe this, I do not think that I want to discuss this further, or at least not with you.
But because I do believe that nonsense should be challenged, I’m going to go to the trouble of showing that the above statement is disconnected with reality.
Here are the first ten murders that I found which seem to be directly related to 9/11.
1. Adel Karas, 48, an Egyptian-American grocer – I am putting him first, because that crime is one of the few still unsolved and my best friend was interviewed by the police as a possible witness. The victim was Christian, but the police was investigating it as a hate crime. My friend said he was surprised at the resources SGPD was throwing at it.
2. Ali Almansoop, an American citizen from Yemen origin. The crime was solved, the murderer convicted of first degree murder.
3. Jawed Wassel, an Afghani American from Queens. The crime was solved, the murderer is serving a 25 year sentence.
4. Balbir Singh Sodhi from Arizona. The murderer is on death row.
5. Waqar Hasan and Vasudev Patelfrom from Texas. The murderer mutilated at least one other victim, and is on death row.
6. Abdo Ali Ahmed from California. The family claims that there were deaths threats, but notes were discarded, and the police was not informed before the accident. The police investigated the crime both as a hate crime and as a botched robbery. They didn’t get anywhere in one year.
7 . Jayantilal Patel from Florida. The two murderers were arrested and are still in jail.
8. Mohammed Omary from Texas. The murderer was caught a whole five years later, and is serving a second-degree murder sentence. The prosecution seems to have botched it.
9. Amar Singh Sachdeva from Connecticut. The crime is unsolved, it is unclear whether it was a robbery or a hate crime, but there was no witnesses and the security camera had been not properly maintained. The crime was most certainly investigated, but not as a hate crime.
Does this look to anyone as the police ignoring 9/11 lynchings?
Now, is there anyone who would kindly post a similar list of the 2009 Christmas murders in Malaysia and the results of Malaysia’s law enforcement investigation and prosecution of the crimes? Or any year really, it’s not as if this year was any better than any. Or maybe you would prefer to do the same for Egypt or Ethiopia?
I will accept the defense that Christians are not murdered, but executed around Christmas for the crime of not concealing their celebration well enough. After all, they are breaking the law. But please do not claim in the same breath that Muslim countries are tolerant of other faiths.
Sebastian, sorry to nitpick, but Ethiopia is majority Christian. Perhaps Turkey would have been a better suggestion? Of course, Turkey, despite being mostly Muslim, is proud to be a secular state. Apparently Muslims can be in a country and not impose sharia. Who would have thought?
Richard – may as well start with Article 11 of Malaysia’s constitution:
So basically, non-Islamic religious practices can be shut down or banned in areas where Muslims – any Muslims – reside, but the reverse is distinctly not true. So it’s difficult to get a permit to build a non-Islamic place of worship; historical Buddhist and Hindu temples have been demolished; Chinese and Indian schools get shut down; there have, briefly, been bans on publishing the Bible in Malay and Iban but due to international attention these have been rescinded.
Here’s the wikipedia list of Bumiputra policies (Bumiputra = legally designated Malay Muslims); after they gained their independence from colonial powers a system of ‘Malay First’ laws were created to help further the mostly poor Muslim majority (they’re about 60% of the population) in order to counteract the discrimination they’d suffered under colonialism. After five decades of economic improvements and an increasing Muslim middle class, these laws are still in place.
Malays are automatically considered to be Muslims according to Article 160 of the constitution and are therefore subject to Sharia, which non-Muslims are not; they are also required to be buried according to Muslim tradition and can’t apply for civil marriages, so generally can’t marry non-Muslims. It’s very hard to become legally apostate because conversions are judged by Sharia courts. (see Revathi Massosai, a Hindu who was separated from her Hindu husband and sent to a rehabilitation camp when she declared herself to be non-Muslim.)
(I first learned about Malaysia from a roommate I had in college; she was both highly intelligent and a talented athlete, and she’d left Malaysia because it was very hard for her to pursue either athletics or academics due to the favouring of Malays over Chinese people in the application processes.)
(I would also like to point out that this is kind of a massive derail, and I apologise.)
What kind of country that has no tolerance at all. Look at us. Even we all have different beliefs, we’re just the same. Humans. They have good deeds and bad deeds. People have their own perspectives. As we can see, greenhouse effect will damage us all. Maybe in the next few days, months, years? God knows. Even if we all have different social status, we’re humans. Humans are created to live peacefully, not to create any certain damages that may harm other humans. All living humans around the world, we are brothers. If we all fight against each other, it won’t solve anything..
I just want to live peacefully. I love all my friends. Even they have differences, but we tolerate each other :’)
Dianne, let’s try this again.
In the United States you have people peacefully protesting the building of an Islamic community center (at least) near a site where Islamic terrorists committed a mass murder. Not one act of violence has occurred, the builders have received the approval of the local community, the legal processes have all favored the people seeking to build the center, and the President of the United States has (properly, in my opinion) reminded the nation that these folks have every legal right to do as they intend.
In Malaysia, law enforcement officials acting in the name of the State have destroyed already-built Christian churches at sites that have no particular association with any event.
You don’t see a difference between the two?
My use of the term “‘splat’ terrorist” means that said terrorists announced that they performed their act on the basis of their belief in or support of “splat”, not because they belong to a group “splat”. So if a Buddhist blows up a Jewish temple for the greater glory of the 8-fold path, she’s a Buddhist terrorist. But if a Muslim blows up a government building because the IRS audited his chain of restaurants and told him to come up with $1.2 million or he’s going to jail, he’s not an Islamic terrorist.
N.B. If I screwed up “Moslem/Muslim” here I apologize in advance.
Alexis, first of all, I specifically excluded Turkey. Not that Turkey does not have its share of oppressing religious minorities, but because it is actually illegal and the perpetrators are often punished. As for how proud they are… do you know how long secular Turks have been engaged in a battle with those who want to establish Sharia and turn the country into a Islamic state? A battle that turns violent at least once per year in any major university, and which, at least at the national level, the Islamists are winning. Thanks, Bush, but thanks also EU morons.
As, for Ethiopia, it is an example of Muslims killing Christians for Christmas in areas where their militia is de facto in power and Sharia is applied. Sometimes, the federal courts get involved, but it not always politically expedient to do so…
My point was that wherever Sharia is established, minorities are second hand citizens by law, and that Muslims are supposed to want it applied. The Christians who would be happy to bring the Inquisition and its tools back into vogue are a bit less vocal, and I hope fewer in proportion than the Muslims who proudly work toward bringing Sharia rule everywhere they can.
So if a Buddhist blows up a Jewish temple for the greater glory of the 8-fold path, she’s a Buddhist terrorist.
So a Christian who blows up a federal building or an abortion clinic because of his belief is a Christian terrorist and no churches should be built within X miles of a federal building or abortion clinic because of him, right? Also it’s ok to burn bibles because of him.
Sebastian, I was referring to the ‘smiling faces’ line – of course the fact that discrimination and de facto Christianity (what Robert referred to as ‘civic religion’) exist in the US doesn’t mean that it’s just as bad as, say, Saudia Arabia.
But it’s also mistaken to pretend that Islam = oppression, everybody else = freedom. Turkey is a very large exception to that. (I don’t know what you’re referring to re police breaking up a Christian protest; are you saying you’re aware of an incident where police in the US broke up such a protest because they were pro-Muslim rather than because the protesters were disorderly?)
RonF, except that if a Christian blows up an abortion clinic or kills a gay man, he’s not a “Christian terrorist” and only bad people would suggest that any other Christian shares his views. The issue isn’t that there are “Islamic terrorists” – the issue is the pretense that Islamic terrorists are proof that all Muslims are secretly terrorists and terrorism is integral to Islam in a way it isn’t to any other faith.
The Christians who would be happy to bring the Inquisition and its tools back into vogue are a bit less vocal,
Are you sure?
Oh, the Inquisition, probably not. But the US has plenty of evangelicals who would like to bring about a Christian theocracy and do not respect or care about the rights of minority faiths.
I’ve often felt that a lot of right-wing Christian anger at Islam is that they get away with it. Christian theocrats preach the submission of women to men, but it’s the Muslims who actually get away with forbidding women to drive or to travel without a male relative or husband, while the Southern Baptist Convention is stuck advising women to ‘gracefully submit’ to their husbands. Here, Christianists are stuck with the ACLU and have to limit their domination to lobbying and whining about the ‘war on Christmas’ every year, but Saudia Arabia really does impose dhimmi status on minority groups. It’s like oppression envy.
Islam needs a stronger moderate and intellectual voice. That is not going to happen in oppressive countries. So we need to foster those communities here, and support secular countries like Turkey. Unless we really want to let Iran control the debate?
There are laws in the US at national, state, and local levels (such as the one prohibiting “partial-birth abortion” and various blue laws, off the top of my head) that enshrine the beliefs of specific Christian sects into legislation that affects a lot of people who don’t share those beliefs. Then there are the little issues that don’t involve laws, exactly: having to use vacation time to observe non-Christian religious holidays, having to depend on the generosity of teachers not to schedule exams on those days, public facilities that are open or closed based on Christian calendars that take no account of the calendars of local non-Christian populations, etc. And don’t forget the repeated attempts (in some parts of the country) to convert non-Christians, which are not coupled with a willingness even to hear anything about non-Christian religions. And the “War on Christmas” huffiness that attacks non-Christians for not participating in Christian holiday seasons.
This is hardly comparable to overt persecution. But it adds up, and it makes me suspect that the reason Terry Jones has never seen a Muslim smile is that he’s a jerk who doesn’t even realize the extra lengths they have to go to to get through their days in his neck of the woods.
The Christians who would be happy to bring the Inquisition and its tools back into vogue are a bit less vocal,
Are you sure?
Did you see the the ‘Kooks’ tag on the page you linked to? Did you notice that even these jokers come a bit short of what is enshrined in Sharia, or what was practiced by the Inquisition? Do you know that the moron is an entertainer appearing on Catholic TV, and thrives on attention? Do you think 40% of Catholics in the US would say that they would approve of Catholic dictatorship and disenfranchisement of everyone else?
I’ve often felt that a lot of right-wing Christian anger at Islam is that they get away with it.
You know, I think that you are right. But my anger at Islam is also that they get away with it, and I am no right-wing Christian. I would hate to see a Catholic dictatorship, but I have seen, with my own eyes, the gendarmerie clean up after Sharia rulings, and fear that in places where Sharia is accepted, no one bats an eye at the oppression of minorities… while some people talk about the number of lynchings happened after 9/11 that were ignored by the police.
So we need to foster those communities here, and support secular countries like Turkey.
Absolutely, but is there another country like Turkey? Hell, Turkey of 2010 is not the Turkey of the 1990, and that’s thanks to the way the US treated sensibilities of the religious factions and the EU treated the ideals of the secular factions in the last 10 years. (Poorly)
But it’s also mistaken to pretend that Islam = oppression, everybody else = freedom.
No, I am not claiming this. On the scale of oppression, Christians and Muslims are definitely on the same side of the scale… but the Muslims are in my opinion way, way further to the end. As I said somewhere above, most Western Christians at least speak against anti-minority bigotry. But many Muslims, even those born and in living the West, see nothing wrong with Sharia law.
Wait, isn’t this the blog where we don’t have to deal with massive derail fails and the concern trolling?
Richard–it reads like a derail to me–what’s your feeling?
So what? “Many” and “most” are qualifiers that conveniently can’t be nailed down. I can play, too. Most Western Christians don’t see anything wrong with Christianity as a state religion or enshrining Christian doctrine into law; many Muslims, even those born and living in Islamic countries, have serious disagreements with Sharia law.
So the question is, do we point to oppressive Islamic regimes as an excuse for being shits ourselves, or do we point to secular Islamic countries like Turkey and say “we want to encourage more of that”? Screaming about an Islamic community center near Ground Zero is the former, not the latter.
I am only catching up on this thread right now (apologies) and I think Whit and Mandolin are right. The fact that there are Muslim countries where religious minorities are oppressed neither justifies nor ameliorates the increasingly visible Islamophobia here in the US as expressed by Terry Jones and others. Please stop that line of discussion.
First you made a post which involves Islam and in which you made other references (both specific and general) to other religions, via comparisons.
Then a lot of people took issue with your comparisons. We think that you’re lumping together things which are different, and that those differences are important.
Then as part of taking issue, we talked about those differences. People started pointing out all the ways in which Islam is different. Other people started raising defenses to the differences.
Now you are saying not to talk about it.
So, what’s the point? If we assume that Islam is equivalent to all other religions, and that therefore Muslims are equivalent to all other believers, then of COURSE we should treat everyone the same. If there are no differences, then everyone who treats people differently must be an intolerant, uneducated bigot.
But that’s because you’re defining the differences as irrelevant, not because the differences are actually irrelevant.
If you want to talk about why people in the U.S. host “burn the Koran day” and not “Burn the Torah day,” you’ve got to talk about differences. If you want to talk about why popular perception of Christians’ adherence to Christianity is difference from popular perceptions of Muslims’ adherence to Islam, you’ve got to talk about differences. Some of those are imaginary and some are real: you need to sort out the two in order to decide what makes sense.
If you don’t want to talk about those, what is the conversation supposed to be? Do you just want to limit it to people who already have bought into your apparent worldview?
You brought up Jews, and Christians. You specifically discussed the treatment of Jews historically. How should I respond? Am I allowed to compare Muslims and Jews? Is it a derail only if I agree that they are similar, and your comparison apt?
I will shut up, if you think that was I said is derailing your thread. But before I do so, I will point out that I joined because I thought that hateful, inflammatory, false statements like “A fair number of lynchings happened after 9/11 that were ignored by the police.” should be challenged. I also found distasteful that someone should equate criminals defacing mosques and being prosecuted with law enforcement agents oppressing minorities in full compliance with Sharia law.
I went to the trouble of searching for 9/11 related murders, and showing, at least to my satisfaction, that the police did not ignore them but investigated in every case, and put the criminals in jail/on death row in many cases.
I never said that the mosque should not be built. I never said (I actually stated the opposite) that what Muslims legalize in their countries is an excuse for engaging in bigotry. I never supported the bigots who wanted to burn the Koran. I was accused of each of these.
Hell, I despise religious fanatics no matter Who they think authorized the abuse in which they engage, but I think that different religions show, today, different degrees of restraint once they get their hands on power, and I tried to support that view. How can I challenge a statement that says ‘The US oppresses Muslims just like Islamic states oppress Christians” without bringing up Sharia?
Gin and Whiskey:
Actually, no, that is not what my post was about; nor did I compare religions. Rather, I discussed Islamophobic rhetoric and similarities I see between that rhetoric and antisemitic rhetoric–and, by implication, other rhetorics of oppression–and that is why the conversation that started after Dianne, in comment 12, put her own spin on Mythago’s kind-of-like-in-the-US comment is a derail. The differences, historical and otherwise, between and among Judaism, Islam and Christianity, and how they are or are not practiced in different countries of the world, and what the relationship between church and state is in those countries, do not matter when that kind of rhetoric and its potential consequences are at stake, except when the purpose of bringing those differences into the discussion serves the purpose of opposing the oppressive rhetoric. Nowhere in this discussion have I seen that happening, not in your comments and not in Sebastian’s, each of which appears to me at least to imply, if not to state outright, that the root of Islamophobia in the US, if not elsewhere, lies in Islam’s “difference,” as you put it, and not in the people expressing Islamophobic ideas and feelings.
I don’t entirely disagree with this, though I doubt I agree with what I think you mean by it, but that is neither here nor there, since it is not what my post was about. If that’s what you want to talk about, write a blog post and tell me where it’s posted. I will be happy to read it and see if I think it’s worth pursuing the discussion with you. In this thread, however, that kind of discussion is derailing and, frankly, offensive since it takes the focus off Islamophobia in the same way that a discussion, say, of all the countries in which there are or have been despotic Black political leaders–to show just how bad Black people can be–would derail a discussion of racism.
The problem is that no one actually made that comparison. If you go back and read the conversation, no one said that. All Dianne said, using mythago’s statement as a jumping off point, was that religious minorities in the States do suffer discrimination. She did not say that such discrimination here is equivalent to what goes on in, say, Malaysia. I can understand, in context, how you arrived at the reading you did, but it’s just not what she said.
So, just to be clear, I am not blaming anyone in particular for this derail, but it is a derail and I’d like it to stop.
Richard is being very kind and graceful, but I want to make this absolutely clear–he’s a moderator, and what he says goes. If you have difficulties with his moderation, you should probably go to an open thread to talk about it (although there are occasionally contexts in which it’s appropriate to discuss mod decisions in the original thread).
If you wouldn’t fight with Amp, don’t fight with Richard.
Chookooloonks has an excellent response to this particularly awful display of human douche-baggery (my words, not hers): she is hosting a photobomb, wherein readers send in messages/photographs of peace to her, and she is sending them on to the church. There’s still time to participate!
I am not an alarmist, though I do think there is a comparison to be made between the way in which antisemitic rhetoric was deployed so as to make the Nazi’s campaign against the Jews and the way Islamophobic rhetoric has been more and more making its way into our public discourse.
Before I get back on topic, I want to apologize for my part in the derailment.
Back on topic, I think you’re right: this is the langauge of genocide and the actions of genocide. The Nazis didn’t start rounding people up and sending them to camp as soon as they got into power either-there was a long period during which minor harassment and things like, well, Torah burning occurred before the genocide started.
That having been said, I don’t think the US is going there. Historically, the US has liked to flirt with disaster. But when disaster gets too fresh, the US is generally pretty good at slapping its face and stomping off. If McCarthyism didn’t result in a dictatorship or massive killings, the current obsession with blaming every ill in the country on “Islamic terrorists” probably won’t either.
If, at least, we keep talking. The Milgram experiments demonstrated that if people have an example of resisting immoral acts (ie if before the subject is told to “shock” the actor s/he sees someone resisting that order) then the majority will resist instead of complying as well. So, keep pointing out that burning any book is wrong. Keep pointing out the historical parallels. You’ll be called alarmist when nothing happens-but nothing will have happened in part because of you.
I think that Dianne has a point. When book burning were held in Nazi Germany, what happened to people who protested the book burnings? How widely publicized were the protestor’s words and actions? Compare that to what happens here.
Nazi Germany didn’t have a First Amendment (or, if it did, it’s wasn’t effectively enforced). We do. That’s a huge difference.
Nazi Germany didn’t have a First Amendment (or, if it did, it’s wasn’t effectively enforced).
Actually, the Weimar Republik, under which the Nazis first came to power, did have a constitution that protected freedom of speech, etc. It also appears to have had an equal rights amendment. Looks reasonably good on paper. Enforcement, on the other hand…
Ok, well, I look forward to the moment wherein RonF stops centering white people in these conversations.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to phrase this, and I apologize if I flub it. I can’t say I have a particular issue with a church burning the Koran per se. What I have an issue with is the fact that Islam and Islamic people are the frequent targets of hatred and bigotry. I don’t have a problem with the burning of holy texts in and of itself, whether that’s the Koran or the Torah or the Bible or whatever. I have a problem with the reasons behind the burning.
I expect most people feel the same way–that it’s not the sign they’re objecting to, but what it symbolizes–it’s just that I wanted to voice that, because I dislike the idea that people who don’t belong to a given faith must respect its sacred objects and boundaries. Burn the bible; draw cartoons of Mohammed; pointedly eat cheeseburgers; nail the cracker–but never use these things to advocate for discrimination against people or groups. You might be an asshole for doing it, depending on the circumstances and the pov, but I don’t think you’re acting immorally. (And certainly not illegally.)
I don’t have a problem with the burning of holy texts in and of itself, whether that’s the Koran or the Torah or the Bible or whatever.
In the case of the Torah burning alluded to earlier, this wasn’t simply buying printed copies off the shelf and setting them on fire, but burning the Torah scrolls themselves. It’s the difference between buying an American flag and burning it, vs. breaking into the home of a veteran’s family, stealing the folded flag that had covered the veteran’s coffin and burning that
“In the case of the Torah burning alluded to earlier”
Yeah, I wasn’t responding to the specific incident, just the general idea. Sorry.
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Open letter to: Terry Jones of Dove Outreach Ministries
“Do you want to burn the Quran?”
If you want to burn the Quran I invite you to read it first.
Then it is your choice to proceed; You will figure out that:
You will be burning Adam and Noah, Abraham and Issac, Jacob and Josef, David and Salomon, Moses and John….and all prophets and saints
You will be burning Jesus and his saint spirit ….
You will be burning Mary and her baby ….
You will be burning the Torah and the Bible ….
Burn the light to satisfy your darkness….
Burn the love to satisfy your hatred….
Burn the peace to satisfy your anger….
Burn the compassion to satisfy your cruelty….
Burn the knowledge to satisfy your ignorance….
Do all the above in your heart only….
Oh wait; would you still have a heart after the above?! Would you be Christian or Jewish, would you be even human?!
The Quran won’t be affected of what you would do, because the creator said about it:
“Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian.” 15-9
You would burn the papers of the Quran, but even by burning it, it will show light… to all man kind.
It will keep saying: “Their intention is to extinguish God’s Light with their mouths: But GOD will complete His Light, even though the Unbelievers may detest (it).”61-9
And it will keep saying: “And the servants of the Beneficent God are they who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace!”25-63
Hassan Yaghi, Seattle, Wa
Aug 26, 2010