Posts Tagged ‘Islam’


Chris Hedges just put up a fantastic, fearless post on Truthout about the libeling of those of us who oppose Israeli brutalization and murder of Palestinians as “anti-semitic” (e.g., 200+ murders and thousands of deliberate maimings by Israeli snipers of protesters on the other side of the fence in Gaza during the ongoing “right of return” protests — and just ask yourself, how desperate must people be to deliberately expose themselves to murder and maiming, while the corporate press dishonestly excuses that slaughter — sniper shootings at hundreds of yards — as “clashes”? ). I just wish I could repost Chris’s piece here.

Hence an inadequate but claratory definition from The American Heretic’s Dictionary about what “anti-semitism” means currently in the U.S.:

Anti-Semitism, n. 1) A blind, unreasoning hatred of Jewish people by those who fear, with good reason, that they are inferior to Jews. (This is not to say that Jews are inherently superior to anyone else, even anti-Semites; rather, that Jewish culture encourages self-responsibility, social responsibility, learning, dedication to goals, and individual achievement—things sorely lacking in the mainstream of American culture. Hence Jews tend to be perceived as threatening “overachievers” in comparison with average, “fetch me another beer, Bubba” Americans.); 2) As defined in the United States for well over half a century, the unspeakable act of criticizing the oppression and murder of one Semitic people by another (Palestinians by Israelis). Needless to say, this leads to gross confusion of those who seek social justice with actual anti-Semites—which is precisely the intention of those who use the term in this manner. (Curiously, the ethnicity of all of these individuals is apparently Irish, as they invariablyh respond to the name “McCarthy.”)

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—from The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded)

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ISLAMOPHOBIA, n. 1) The unspeakable act of pointing out that acts committed in the name of Islam might have something to do with Islam; 2) The ever popular American mass participation sport of scapegoating and further victimizing an already victimized minority.

Unfortunately, while both definitions are accurate, those who accept one will never accept the other. This provides an example of yet another popular American mass participation sport, rejection of reality.

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–from the revised and expanded edition of The American Heretic’s Dictionary, the best modern successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary

 


QADIYA, Iraq — In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.

He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her.

When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion.

“I kept telling him it hurts — please stop,” said the girl, whose body is so small an adult could circle her waist with two hands. “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God,” she said in an interview alongside her family in a refugee camp here, to which she escaped after 11 months of captivity.

–Mauricio Lima, “ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape,” New York Times 8-13-15

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Before you begin spouting your canned response, “ISIS is a perversion of Islam” or it’s a “misinterpretation” of Islam,  please think about this: What kind of religious scriptures lend themselves to such “perversion” and “misinterpretation” on a mass scale?

And before you Christians start feeling too self-righteous about this, please consider that slavery flourished for over 1,500 years in Christian lands, with Christian scripture supporting the practice. Of course, Christian apologists use the same excuses as Muslim apologists: the practice of slavery resulted from “perversion” or “misinterpretation” of scripture (in this case Romans 13:1-2, Colossians 3:22, Titus 2:9-10, Exocus 21:2-6, Exodus 21:20-21, Leviticus 25:44-46, 1 Peter 2:18, 1 Timothy 6:1). Again, what kind of religious scriptures lend themselves to such “perversion” and “misinterpretation” on a mass scale?

Is this systemic “perversion” and “misinterpretation” evidence that Christian and Muslim scriptures “encourage morality,” or is it evidence that they encourage the worst types of immorality?

Is this mass “perversion” and “misinterpretation” evidence that Christian and Muslim scriptures were divinely inspired, or is it evidence that they were written by all-too-human savages?


McCARTHYISM, n. 1. The hurling of baseless, slanderous charges at political opponents, be they groups or individuals; 2. A common means of leveling such charges through the deliberate conflation of two unrelated things, such as anti-Semitism and criticism of the state of Israel, or racism and criticism of Islam or Muslims (who come in all colors).

How these distinct things are identical is never explained, though one suspects transubstantiation or a particularly perverse form of syllogistic reasoning. To wit:

Most Islamic believers are black or brown.
So, criticism of Islam (a religion) is an attack on black and brown people.
Therefore those who criticize Islam are racist.

Or

Most Israeli citizens are Jewish.
So, criticism of Israel (a political entity) is an attack on Jewish people.
Therefore those who criticize Israel are anti-Semitic..

One could just as well argue the following:

Most American child molesters are white.
So, criticism of child molesters is an attack on white people.
Therefore those who criticize child molesters are racists.

And there you have it. What passes for political discussion in the land of the free.

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–from the revised and expanded edition of The American Heretic’s Dictionary, the best modern successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary

 

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


Caliphate

(Caliphate, by Tom Kratman, Baen, 2008, 502 pp., $7.99)

reviewed by Zeke Teflon

With ISIS running amok in Iraq and Syria, committing mass murder in brutal, horrific fashion, it’s relevant to review probably the most direct sci-fi treatment of what a Muslim fundamentalist takeover would mean:  Tom Kratman’s Caliphate.

It’s in the form of a standard military/adventure sci-fi novel set a century in the future. But more than that it’s a political novel, concerned with a Muslim fundamentalist subjugation of Europe. Until recently, I’d have thought Kratman’s descriptions of the horrors inflicted by Islamic fanatics basically accurate but overdrawn. No more. Look no further than ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and Al Shabab, and the barbarities committed on a daily basis by the Saudi and Iranian regimes.

Kratman also rightly goes after politically correct multiculturalists/cultural relativists who decry “Islamophobia” as ISIS and Boko Haram commit mass murder, kidnappings, enslavement, and beheadings.  He rightly decries the multiculturalists’ willful blindness to the horrors of Islam. For instance, they routinely dismiss reports of the disproportionate number of Muslims involved in sex crimes in Europe as “Islamophobia.” It’s undeniable that some right wingers grossly exaggerate this problem–for instance, while googling the matter I found a page headlined “100 Percent of Rapes in Norway Committed by Muslims”–but it’s also undeniable that the more socially conservative and misogynistic men are, the more likely they are to commit sexual abuse. And no one is more socially conservative and misogynistic than a Muslim fundamentalist. (For instance, on August 27, 2014, an AP story by Danica Kirka reports the beating, rape, and sexual trafficking of 1,400 children between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham, England by, primarily, Pakistani Muslim men.)

One other praiseworthy aspect of Caliphate is that Kratman illustrates his description of the horrors of Islam with quotations from Muslim writers, whose own words condemn them.

Where Kratman goes off the rails is in ascribing head-in-the-sand multiculturalism to the entire American and European left. This is simply wrong. In the U.S., especially, most atheists (notably Sam Harris and Bill Maher, and in England Richard Dawkins) almost certainly reject this cultural relativism; and a good majority of atheists in the U.S. are on the left side of the political spectrum. (I base this on decades of observing and at times taking part in what passes for the atheist movement in the U.S.) A hell of a lot of us reject cultural relativism and self-flagellating multiculturalism. (For example, see The World’s Second Most Offensive Question.)

To his credit, though, Kratman is not entirely uncritical of the U.S. His description of the public reaction to further Muslim terror attacks and the subsequent fascist takeover of the U.S. is all too believable, as are his descriptions of atrocities committed by both Muslim and U.S. soldiers in the war he vividly describes. But strangely, given the overtly religious, theofascist nature of virtually the entire American extreme right, the American fascist government he outlines seems largely or entirely secular, though it’s hard to tell because of the sketchiness of the description; Kratman almost entirely ignores America’s Taliban–the authoritarian fundamentalists, conservative Catholics, and Mormons who want to turn the U.S. into a theocracy, the Christian equivalent of Iran. He seems to blithely assume that secularism will endure, even following a fascist takeover.

It’s also unfortunate that in the Afterword he equates the in-part unassimilable, authoritarian, misogynistic Muslims in Europe with Mexican and other Latino immigrants in the U.S. This is a terrible, inappropriate comparison. For over 20 years, I’ve lived in a neighborhood that’s roughly two-thirds Mexican, with a great many people here being first-generation immigrants. They’re not trying to impose a religious ideology on anyone. They’re not trying to set up religious courts. They’re not murdering people for religious reasons. They’re assimilating as quickly as they can. Overall, they’re hard working and do the dirtiest, most dangerous jobs simply to support their families. To equate them with authoritarian religious fanatics is highly offensive.

Still, despite its faults, Caliphate is worth reading.

Recommended, with reservations.

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Zeke Teflon is the author of Free Radicals: A Novel of Utopia and Dystopia. He’s currently working on the sequel.

Free Radicals, by Zeke Teflon front cover