Friday, February 3

Watch your head

Either chunks of sky or pig shit could be falling soon.

Editor's Note: I'm not in a charitable mood at the moment (I've got a raging headache and the Tylenol I took is stuck in my throat, taunting me), so please forgive the following very rude and incendiary things I'm about to say about religion. This disclaimer is sitting here to remind you that I cast a skeptical eye on all religions and don't claim any of them as my own, but that despite my personal distaste for most of what organized religion has to offer, I think people should be able to practice religion however they like as long as they don't trod on other people's freedoms. That said...

Guess what, kids: Michelle Malkin is right about this.

CNN and other networks and news outlets should not shrink from printing the inflammatory cartoons depicting artists' interpretations of Mohammed that have sparked so much recent controversy in Europe.

Malkin is right when she alleges that CNN is witholding the images from the public not out of respect for Islam -- their official explanation -- but out of fear.

I'm not usually one to decry rampant political correctness, but in this case, it's total bullshit to not show these images.

And it's total bullshit for Muslims to be rioting and burning things and throwing grenades and threatening lives. Don't like the content? OK, protest. Cancel your subscription. Write a letter to the editor. Start a blog and talk about how much your local paper sucks. But shut the fuck up with your constant talk of killing the infidels who insult your precious leader.

There is no religion whose idols or gods or prophets are more sacred than the free exchange of ideas. Not one. And if your religion's ideals are so very fragile that a two-dimensional depiction of your prophet threatens complete upheaval of your very consciousness, then perhaps you ought to seek a better god or belief system. There are plenty to choose from, and you can hop around, if you'd like, until you find a religion that makes you feel warm inside with love, not rage.

I know that it's a required caveat to say, "Islam has been hijacked by fanatics who do not represent the vast majority of Muslims." So there, I'll say that, because I'm holding on to the belief that that's true. But I can't help but get more and more fed up with much of the bullshit lobbed into the air by radical Islamic assholes. I want a vast, overwhelming number of Muslims to come out and denounce the assholery purpotrated by these egomaniacs. They are crazy, they are murderous, and they are a cancerous rotting boil on the hip of civilization.

They are outraged by cartoons, but the horrific violence and jackbaggery bandied about on a nearly daily basis (beheadings of civilians and children, bombings, shootings, your average everyday oppression of women, etc.) is either ignored or treated as mildly unfortunate speedbumps on the road to getting the world to finally take their stupid religion more seriously than any of the other stupid religions.

We've all heard it by now, but it bears repeating: The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.


Blogger John Sobieski said...

I read a long (about 10 pages) analysis of Islam today as a prosecutorial summation.

Islam on Trial: The Prosecution’s Case against Islam By Amber Pawlik

For those who don't want to bother reading the Quran, I recommend it. Who wants to read the Quran? If you don't, this is pretty good.

Sat Feb 04, 01:11:00 AM  
Blogger -+-Enamorada-+- said...

me myself i'm a muslim .. & i dont think that going out on protests would help in anyway ..

but the rage muslims have in them is because of the idea people have about islam thanks to actions done by very few people that you can count!

you can't just go on by saying muslims are ... & Islam is.. !!!!

u have to KNOW what is islam for you to talk about it .. & all u know about islam is what those ppl do!
if a muslim hijacked a plane, that doesnt necessarely mean that THIS is what all ISLAM is about can just mean that he's a bad person!

& not all muslims are bad!!! do u really believe that all muslims are bad people?

i'm not here to change anyone's opinion, & i'm not entitled to do that ... but i just thought i had to say something, cause while reading what u say about muslims in general .. u were refering to me !

but my whole point is that there are bad people everywhere .. & there are ignorants also everywhere..

Sat Feb 04, 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger phallicpen said...

You're a racist, Linds.

Sat Feb 04, 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Thanks for your comments. But please reacquaint yourself with what I wrote. I'll quote:

I know that it's a required caveat to say, "Islam has been hijacked by fanatics who do not represent the vast majority of Muslims." So there, I'll say that, because I'm holding on to the belief that that's true.

It's kind of a duh at this point to have to say that. We all know it's true. I'm not talking about all Muslims as crazy bomb-wielding fanatics. I'm talking about the crazy bomb-wielding fanatic Muslims. I hold fast to that assumption that most Muslims are good, peaceful people because I know there are people like you out there who do not condone the extreme actions purpotrated by these idiots in the name of Islam.

I never once said I thought all Muslims were bad people. I thought I made that clear. What I do think, however, is that the silence of good Muslims encourages the rest of the world to question just how complicit they are with the horrific actions done by the extremists. Can't you understand that concern? Aren't you outraged more by the assholes doing things in the name of your religion than by some stupid chick with a blog venting about how frustrated she is with the outrageousness of Islamic fascism?

So my question is, how do we stop it? And why are we stuck on being tolerant of intolerance?

I knew I'd be going out on a limb saying this shit, and risk looking racist or intolerance myself. But it has nothing to do with race and everything to do with unacceptable barbarism of a few going unchecked by the masses.

I am usually tolerant to a fault. I'm just really fed up with the extent to which Islam is being abused by fascists, and how seemingly complicit with its takeover many normal Muslims seem to be. I could say the same thing about the crazy Christians hijacking Christianity, but this post is not about that. It's specifically about Muslims. Not all Muslims -- just the vast numbers of Muslims who are apparently batshit insane.

Sat Feb 04, 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Sedna said...

I once read a post about how it is just so easy to notice the negative and ignore the positive. I wish I could find it now, but the author was saying: that we often find faults in people's actions and we cannot help but comment and condone what they do, but the good often goes unnoticed - well words to that affect. Just thought I'd mention that :)

Anyway, I see where you are coming from. The riots and threats are really upsetting me as a Muslim. I do understand the anger and maybe the resentment, but I don't think violence is the answer. They are accomplishing nothing but bad publicity. Islam is often under pressure to be portrayed as "perfect". It promotes peace and tolerance and the message terrorists are sending totally contradicts the religion's mission.

I've been thinking about the going ons..and for me, economic sanctions do seem like the logical response. Nations throughout history have used that technique to make their stance clear - why don't we?

I also encourage people who feel offended to pick up the pen instead of the sword - and NOT to criticize but to educate. Let people know how they offended and why. Maybe they'll make amendments if you present convincing arguments!

P.S. Verbal violence IS a type of aggressive behavior - how come we resort to cussing to show frustration? Why the hypocrisy?

Sat Feb 04, 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Sedna, Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I'm glad you can see where I'm coming from for the most part.

First, though, if you're talking about my cussing, I have to defend it. I cuss when I'm happy, angry, and indifferent, so please take no offense. It's just my way. Blame it on an under-developed vocabluary and a flair for the meloramatic.

Second, I understand that the perceived negative aspects of Islam often outweigh the positive by sheer virtue of news value alone. That is unfortunate, and I recognize the reality of that. But I don't think it wise to ignore the bad -- which is undeniably rampant and depraved these days -- just because there's a chance that the good might be out there, too. The bad is having an obvious effect on the good, and skewing reality for the rest of us. We have to work to eliminate the bad.

This is a global problem, with ramifications for all of us. But the healing has to begin from the inside out, no? So I'd like to see the Muslim community really take this on, and start to aggressively marginalize the radicals and extremists until they can no longer credibly use violance and intimidation in the name of Islam. I don't see a better way, really. Your thoughts?

Sat Feb 04, 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Sedna said...

No offense taken, but I'm glad you got the hint ;)

There are two ways to address this problem. The first is to eliminate the bad, as you put it, by literally removing the bad apples from the bunch, aiming for the good of the whole. Yet this way in itself is aggressive. Why wage war on the terrorists? It's like stooping down to their level and speaking their language - which is known to be the highest form of acceptance. Do you really think that we can stop them by violence? And if we do, does that change how they feel?

I really believe in using subtle ways in dealing with those who are degrading our religion. Their feelings stem from ignorance, they might know the holy Qura'an better than me, but they fail to see the message. Again, I advocate education and freedom of speech. We need to hear what they have to say, in order to address it.

A final point I want to make, is that we should be trying to broadcast positive images of Islam. The good that goes unnoticed is precisely what Islam is, and though our religion prohibits us from boasting, in this case it will do more good than harm. They need to know how to use Islam not as a weapon but as a tool, to gain people's trust and friendship.

Sun Feb 05, 02:32:00 AM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Sedna, Thanks again for your thoughts on this issue.

I want to work backwards through your comment.

First, asserting that "we should be trying to broadcast positive images of Islam" is problematic for me. I don't know if you're talking inclusively, like "we" as society, or talking about "we" as Muslims, or "we" the media, or what. I also don't know if you're talking about positive images getting out here in the West or in the traditional Muslim world. Either way, I don't like how closely this assertion leans to propagandizing or manufacturing fluffy PR pieces in order to do some tidy image-building, because that's what it could easily become. While I agree that the good news deserves to get out, I question the notion (I'm not saying you advocate this) of forcing the good and downplaying the bad when the bad is so clearly indicative of deep, pervasive problems within much of the Muslim world that are affecting the rest of the world community.

You also say that the good that goes unnoticed is precisely what Islam is. I would argue that it's not what Islam is, but what it should be. Or what it is ideally. Or what it is to you. Because I think the thousands of people rioting in the name of Islam would argue that Islam is something different entirely -- something far more rigid and, I think, sinister. Something that values absolute faith and compliance over freedom. And the problem is that their more radical views are intimidating and influencing the populace when they should be marginalized.

Like any other religion, Islam can be whatever it wants to be as long as it can play nice with the rest of the world and not demand that we live by its tenets by threat of intimidation or violence or laws, etc. I think this is something ALL religious moderates should stand up for.

You say you prefer subtle ways of dealing with the radicals of your religion. I'm curious -- what do you mean by subtlety, and how does it help?

I have never advocated violence and I don't now. I'm not quite a pacifist, though I like to see conflict and aggression avoided. But I also very much value life and freedom over any religion's taboos and belief sets. And I value freedom from intimidation and tyranny enough to know that when a large group of Muslims lashes out in violence and aggression to intimidate and threaten, subtlety may not be the best path to take to remind them that they don't have the right to kill and destroy just because their feelings are hurt.

There is a middle ground between violence and what I'm proposing. I'm proposing aggressive (not violent, just strong and decisive) distancing, strong words, and heavy-handed political and economic tactics if need be to illustrate to the radicals that their viewpoints are incompatible with a free, modern world. Their beliefs do not apply to me or you or anyone else in the secular world and they need to understand that.

Yes, education will help this along. But I feel like there is an unscalable barrier between fundamentalism and freedom. I just don't think the two are compatible. And I'm not sure that fundamentalist Muslims are willing to allow the rest of the world to live free from their demands. So I think we have a crisis of faith vs. freedom here, with no happy medium for fundamentalists. But how can I tell an entire religious faction that they need to water down their fervor or keep it to themselves in order to get along with the rest of the world? I don't feel like I have that right; it's presumptuous. But I also feel like it's the only way if their fervor posits danger for others. So I'm conflicted.

I refuse to condescendingly believe that these Muslims don't understand what freedom is and therefore do not appreciate it, which is an argument I've seen bandied about. Please tell me if I'm wrong. What I do believe, however, is that these Muslims understand perfectly what freedom is, but still choose to allow their allegience to their religion to trump any faith in freedom they may have. And while valuing your religion over your freedom isn't inherently a bad thing (I can't make that very personal judgment for people), it instantly becomes unacceptable when your anger over perceived injustice turns to violence and threats and you demand that the rest of the world follow the rules of your religion.

I'm sorry if it seems that I'm laying this on the shoulders of moderate Muslims. I shouldn't. I will admit I am partly (irrationally) trying to assign some blame because I feel like moderates may be the only people who can reach the radicals, because of the shared faith. But I understand that that's probably not the case. Crazy jerks are crazy jerks. What I do think, however, is that moderates could do quite a bit of image-building for Islam if they were more loudly critical -- in a very unified way -- of this kind of behavior. It won't solve the problem, of course, but it will help people understand that we're ALL up against this common frustration of fundamentalism.

I hope this makes sense. Of course I'm constantly working through how I feel about this issue and the responsible parties, but I do appreciate your input.

Wed Feb 08, 01:01:00 PM  

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