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[personal profile] haggholm

I don’t really understand the furor over these recent events: The resistance to a mosque near Ground Zero, the rage at the Florida priest who wants to burn Qurans.

Of course it’s offensive to burn Qurans. It’s offensive to me because book-burnings are generally violent and anti-intellectual protests and seems to follow in the footsteps of some very nasty movements that we’d do well not to emulate. It’s offensive to Muslims because—well, I don’t think I even need to finish that sentence. Yes, it’s offensive. That’s the point—like it or dislike it.

But in a society with free speech, we never have the right not to be offended. This should be starkly obvious to everyone paying the least bit of attention to the current debate, because both ‘sides’—if we grossly oversimplify this into Christians vs. Muslims for the sole purpose of making this paragraph simpler—are obviously offending each other. The Christians down in Florida are offending the Muslims by threatening to burn Qurans. The Muslims who want to build a mosque next door to Ground Zero¹ are offending an awful lot of people, too. Is it not slightly curious that when these [particular] Muslims are offending people, the promoters of tolerance tell us that we must be tolerant and therefore let them go ahead; whereas when other people are offending the Muslims, the promoters of tolerance tell us that we must be tolerant and therefore shut the hell up? Doesn’t this seem a bit one-sided?

Not only do we have no right not to be offended; it is not possible to get through this, or most any heated discussion, without someone getting offended. Someone will get offended however any of these debates turn out. Accept it. Get over it. Move on.

Now, personally (as if this mattered to anyone else!), I would be happier if nobody burned any books, even blatantly offensive ones like Bibles and Qurans and the writings of Martin Luther. I would also be happier if nobody built a mosque near Ground Zero. Well—I would be happier if nobody built any mosques at all, but to place it there reeks of either a desire to offend or of blatantly poor taste. I’m not suggesting that these people² don’t have a right to build their mosque wherever they own land with the proper zoning; I’m aware of no reason to think that anyone has any right to prevent them from building it. Still, it seems in poor taste at best: In spite of the fact that the overwhelmingly vast majority of Muslims are not in fact terrorists, it remains true that Ground Zero was the site of a horrific tragedy promoted and powered by religious fundamentalism, and a mosque is a place to honour and celebrate that same religion. I would feel the same way about a cathedral at Béziers, a Lutheran church at Auschwitz, a monument to America in My Lai. If you belong to a group that was associated with something horrible somewhere, the proper thing to do is probably to distance yourself from what they did and avoid glorifying your movement on the site of the atrocity.


Let me digress for a moment. I’m not suggesting that all Muslims are aligned with terrorist action. Not only are most Muslims in no way involved in atrocity; there are (unsurprisingly) overtly Muslim organisations that openly, honestly, and vocally campaign against the various atrocities often committed in the name of their religion. A brief search will find, for instance, the Free Muslims Coalition, who [promote] a modern secular interpretation of Islam which is peace-loving, democracy-loving and compatible with other faiths and beliefs. But the lamentable fact is that even they write that

The Free Muslims Coalition is a nonprofit organization made up of American Muslims and Arabs of all backgrounds who feel that religious violence and terrorism have not been fully rejected by the Muslim community in the post 9-11 era.

The Free Muslims was created to eliminate broad base support for Islamic extremism and terrorism and to strengthen secular democratic institutions in the Middle East and the Muslim World by supporting Islamic reformation efforts.

The Free Muslims promotes a modern secular interpretation of Islam which is peace-loving, democracy-loving and compatible with other faiths and beliefs. The Free Muslims' efforts are unique; it is the only mainstream American-Muslim organization willing to attack extremism and terrorism unambiguously. Unfortunately most other Muslim leaders believe that in terrorist organizations, the end justifies the means.

This is laudable—and tragic in equal measure. Laudable that they stand up to do this. Lamentable that they feel that they are unique; lamentable that there is broad base support for extremism and terrorism (laudable though their efforts to combat it may be); lamentable that they feel that they are the only mainstream American-Muslim organisation willing to unambiguously oppose it. Hear what else they have to say:

As written recently by Khaled Kishtainy, columnist at Al-Sharq Al-Awsat Newspaper, "I place on the Islamic intellectuals and leaders of Islamic organizations part of the responsibility for [this phenomenon] of Islamic terrorism, as nearly all of them advocate violence, and repress anyone who casts doubts upon this. Naturally, every so often they have written about the love and peace of Islam – but they did so, at best, for purposes of propaganda and defense of Islam. Their basic position is that this religion was established by the sword, acts by the sword, and will triumph by the sword, and that any doubt regarding this constitutes a conspiracy against the Muslims."

The Free Muslims finds this sympathetic support for terrorists by Muslim leaders and intellectuals to be a dangerous trend and the Free Muslims will challenge these beliefs and target the sympathetic support given to terrorists by Muslims.

Would that the Free Muslims were the majority voice of Islam. Alas, this does not seem to be the case. There are imams condoning terrorist actions. There are imams and ayatollahs issuing fatwahs calling for the death of people like Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. There are uproars and uprisings at things like the Danish cartoons. Sure, most Muslims do not participate. But where are the voices decrying and condemning it? Why do I always hear Not all Muslims are like that; you can’t judge them all by those atrocities, rather than Not all Muslims are like that; you can’t judge us all by those atrocities—because we condemn them? Where are the counter-fatwahs and apologies to Rushdie and Hirsi Ali; where are the apologies for Theo Van Gogh and others like him; where are the imams standing up and saying Yes, I found those Danish cartoons offensive, but nowhere near as offensive as the reality that people are willing to kill and destroy merely because they are being teased?


Given that the majority voice of Islam is not the Free Muslims—given that the loud and clear speakers are the issuers of murderous fatwahs and not those who oppose them—I hardly find it surprising that people take offence to the erection of a mosque near Ground Zero. They have no right to prevent it, but they have a right to be upset—and they have a right to wonder (I certainly wonder) what is the motivation of the people who chose to erect it there. Who are the builders? Are they Free Muslims who wish to have a holy site to say, Look what happens when you take it too far, when you value holy writ over human life—these are our people, and we are here to apologise on behalf of Islam, to distance ourselves from it, to make penance? If so, good on them and build on, please. If not, then who, and why? —But again, people have a right to be upset but not to stop it. I think this is clear. I think this is an obvious consequence of a free society.

Is it not, then, obvious that the same must apply both ways? The Florida priest who wants to burn Qurans is offensive—in fact, deliberately offensive where I don’t know what the motives at Ground Zero may be. People have a right to be upset. But just as the Muslims behind the Ground Zero mosque have a right to build it, even though it offends people, so the Florida Christians have a right to burn Qurans, even though it offends people. Both actions are offensive to some. Both actions are offensive to me. Both actions should be subject to criticism—but, too, the right to commit both actions should be defended.

What is the nature of the protest against the Quran burning? It will offend people! Why, yes, but so what? It will exacerbate the crisis in Afghanistan. It will incite terrorist action. Indeed, I’m sure it will. But is that any reason not to do it? I thought that it was important to a free, constitutional democracy to stand up for the right of its citizens to be free, to express themselves freely. I thought the United States of America prided itself on doing this. This is why I think that the constitution of the United States is a wonderful, beautiful thing, and though I am not American and have never lived (and will likely never live) in the United States, I admire it greatly and applaud the foundation of a country upon its principles and amendments.

So the people who say You should not do this because it will incite the enemy have it backwards. The purpose of the military arm of the United States of America is surely to protect the safety and the human and constitutional rights of its citizens, to ensure that every American is free to exercise his right to free speech. You should not avoid offending terrorists (Muslim or otherwise) to protect your soldiers; your soldiers are there to protect you from terrorists who seek to prevent you from speaking your mind.

Is the plan of the Florida priest to burn Qurans offensive? Why, yes. It is both literally and figuratively incendiary. But what’s really offensive is that some people might treat this action—the burning of a pile of papers—as sufficient justification to burn buildings and murder people. If you wish to condemn only one of these, then please condemn the latter. If you wish to condemn them both (I encourage it), then please condemn the latter a thousand times harder.


Building a mosque at Ground Zero might make terrorists happy. They might regard it as an ultimate victory, the erection of a monument to their faith at the site of their victory. But they are wrong. Allowing anyone, even if they turned out to be terrorist sympathisers, to build whatever the hell they want at Ground Zero is a victory of the values of liberty. Let everyone who walks by that mosque cast dirty looks; let not one of them cast a stone or grenade or wrecking ball. (If you vandalise it, you aren’t fighting terrorists, you’re becoming terrorists.)

You know what’s really letting the terrorists win? Saying that someone shouldn’t be allowed to offend them. The people who say that the Florida priest should not burn Qurans because it will incense the terrorists are allowing those terrorists’ atrocities to constrain their actions and freedom of speech. That’s what terrorism aims to do. That is letting the terrorists win.


¹ I may refer to these people as these people or these Muslims. Please note that I am doing so in a context-aware fashion. I’m not saying this because I lump all Muslims in with them, or because I think that those people in a voice laden with contempt is an appropriate tone, but because I am talking about a particular group of people. Feel free to be offended by my post, but please try not to misconstrue it.

² See ¹.


Errata: The facility is not at Ground Zero, but near it. I have a few instances of each in the text above, and at was simple error on my part.

See comments: The applicability of the word mosque is debatable. Read the comments and decide for yourself.

Date: 2010-09-10 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kokopellinelli.livejournal.com
WELL SAID. Thank you.

Date: 2010-09-10 11:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] awriter.livejournal.com
The facility being built near Ground Zero isn't a mosque. (And even if it was, the fact that there are already two mosques near Ground Zero, as well as a wealth of other, ah, interesting places, makes getting riled up about putting another one there seem rather silly.)

It's called Park51. It contains the following:

* outstanding recreation spaces and fitness facilities (swimming pool, gym, basketball court)
* a 500-seat auditorium
* a restaurant and culinary school
* cultural amenities including exhibitions
* education programs
* a library, reading room and art studios
* childcare services
* a prayer space, intended to be run separately from Park51 but open to and accessible to all members, visitors and our New York community
* a September 11th memorial and quiet contemplation space, open to all

You can read more about it on their website: http://blog.park51.org/

I also noticed news lately about how the twin towers also had a Muslim prayer room with no trouble whatsoever. The Pentagon has a similar room.

Doesn’t this seem a bit one-sided?

Not from what I've been reading. There have been a number of protests regarding the book burning, including ones from the Vatican, Franklin Graham, Angelina Jolie, and even Sarah Palin, according to The New York Times. President Obama has been protesting as well.

All that aside, there's an enormous difference between burning a bunch of religious books and installing a prayer room near Ground Zero. Burning a bunch of religious books is a blatant act of hate. Building a facility with a Muslim prayer room in it is just that--it provides Muslims with a place to pray so they're not stuck doing it on sidewalks and things. Many who are offended by Park51 have labeled this as a "victory mosque" or some sort of pointed stab at Ground Zero, but the facility has made it clear that it's simply a community center that's open to everyone who wants to enter it.

where are the imams standing up and saying "Yes, I found those Danish cartoons offensive, but nowhere near as offensive as the reality that people are willing to kill and destroy merely because they are being teased"?

There are plenty who do protest killing and destroying. What's unfortunate is that, oftentimes, hate gets more attention than calling for peace does.

Speaking of that cartoon, fortunately, not everyone wants to harm others in their protests either, thank goodness.

Date: 2010-09-11 12:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petter-haggholm.livejournal.com

The facility being built near Ground Zero isn't a mosque.

Well, from what I read, the facility was going to contain a mosque, until they relabelled it a prayer space within the last couple of weeks. (It wasn’t originally called Park51, either.) Either way, it is a facility dedicated to religion X conspicuously close to a site where extremists adherents of religion X committed an atrocious terrorist act in the name of religion X which, whether you label it a mosque or not, seems to come largely to the same thing.

(And even if it was, the fact that there are already two mosques near Ground Zero, as well as a wealth of other, ah, interesting places, makes getting riled up about putting another one there seem rather silly.)

What was already there before doesn’t seem all that relevant to me. Before 9/11, there was no reason to think that anything connected to Islam would raise any special reaction in that area. After a bunch of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, there was every reason to think that some people would get upset by it. Even if you think that those people should be ignored—fair enough—it can hardly be said to be surprising.

Personally I’m not that riled up about it. I think it’s tasteless, but that’s about all, apart from lingering wonders of what the hell the planners were thinking when they cannot but have known that people would get upset. The imam reportedly behind it, one Feisal Abdul Rauf, does not seem to be very strong on condemning the crime. (I wouldn't say that the United States deserved what happened, but the United States policies were an accessory to the crime that happened.)

Even if, as you say, the facility has made it clear that it's simply a community center that's open to everyone who wants to enter it—so what? How they choose to brand themselves in press releases is not going to much affect how people view it. For all you or I know, some of the planners may indeed intend it as a victory mosque; they’re hardly about to come out and say so. For the reasons set out above, I think that the very idea of a ‘victory mosque’ is profoundly and ironically impossible—only in a country where it couldn’t be built would it truly represent a victory. (This is why it doesn’t terribly rile me up.)

Doesn’t this seem a bit one-sided?

Not from what I've been reading. There have been a number of protests regarding the book burning, including ones from the Vatican, Franklin Graham, Angelina Jolie, and even Sarah Palin, according to The New York Times. President Obama has been protesting as well.

I’m not sure where this is going. All those protests are still going in the same direction.

Date: 2010-09-11 12:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petter-haggholm.livejournal.com

All that aside, there's an enormous difference between burning a bunch of religious books and installing a prayer room near Ground Zero. Burning a bunch of religious books is a blatant act of hate.

Certainly there is a difference—and throughout my post, I repeatedly said and will happily repeat that I personally find that book-burning idea to be offensive and unpleasant and I’d rather not see it come to pass. What I don’t think is that it is the kind of hate speech that should be prevented. What I find especially offensive is the phenomenon of people saying that they shouldn’t do this because it’ll make the situation worse in Afghanistan, &c. If they stopped at saying You shouldn’t do this because it’s rude and offensive, that would be different.

There are plenty who do protest killing and destroying. What's unfortunate is that, oftentimes, hate gets more attention than calling for peace does.

I know they exist—I even cited one of them at some length. But that doesn’t alter the fact that even a Muslim organisation feels that the violent extremists have a disturbing broad base support. Several of the people on the list you cite express regret that support for these terrorist acts is unfortunately common. (The failure of Islamic movements is their inability to come to terms with modernity, to give modernity a sustainable home-grown expression. Instead of engaging with the abundant problems that bedevil Muslim lives, the Islamic prescription consists of blind following of narrow pieties and slavish submission to inept obscurantists. Instead of engagement with the wider world, they have made Islam into an ethic of separation, separate under-development, and negation of the rest of the world.)

Speaking of that cartoon, fortunately, not everyone wants to harm others in their protests either, thank goodness.

I’ve seen that before and it’s wonderful.

Date: 2010-09-10 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] renatus.livejournal.com
First: I'm really disappointed you're babbling on about a 'mosque at Ground Zero' when it's been well established it's neither a mosque nor at Ground Zero.

Second: Many Muslims died in that attack, both in the towers and on the planes. Many more Muslims lost friends and family in the attack. Muslims responded to the aftermath to help. It's disingenuous, snide, and a disappearing tactic to pretend otherwise, which you are doing by equating the Park 51 community center with a Luthern Church at Auschwitz or an American monument at My Lai.

Third: Religious/ethnic minority planning a building containing a prayer room near a site where extremists who claim their religion caused death and destruction of many people, including people of that religious/ethnic minority =! act of symbolic violence against religious/ethnic minority by religious/ethnic majority.

Fuck yes people are protesting the latter. I'm not sure where you're seeing stupid pearl-clutchers whining about the terrorists winning; I'm seeing a lot of people saying, "this is disrespectful, shit-stirring, and more silencing of a minority that gets an unfair amount of shit for the actions of their extremists members." These protesters are using their freedom of speech to counteract Jones's bad speech.

Something doesn't have to be illegal to be wrong.

See also: http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2010/08/please-forgive-me-for-the-actions-of-extremists-i-have-never-met-who-commit-acts-of-violence-that-i-.html
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/012540.html

On the whole, your fact-checking in this post is abysmal, you're making gross oversimplifications, and your conclusions are obviously based on your predetermined assumptions and biases, not any sort of logic at all.

Date: 2010-09-11 12:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petter-haggholm.livejournal.com

I'm really disappointed you're babbling on about a 'mosque at Ground Zero' when it's been well established it's neither a mosque nor at Ground Zero.

Re. mosque, see other comment above. Re. at Ground Zero, that is simply factual error. My post contains both near and at. The former was intended and, I gather, correct; the latter is certainly wrong.

Many Muslims died in that attack, both in the towers and on the planes. Many more Muslims lost friends and family in the attack. Muslims responded to the aftermath to help. It's disingenuous, snide, and a disappearing tactic to pretend otherwise, which you are doing by equating the Park 51 community center with a Luthern Church at Auschwitz or an American monument at My Lai.

I’d be surprised if no Christians died at Auschwitz. In any case, the basic point is that it was an atrocity committed by Muslim extremists in the name of Islam, and anyone who chooses to establish a Muslim anything in that area would do well to be aware of it. That does not mean that they should not do it, let alone that they should not be allowed to. As mentioned before, I find it tasteless, that’s all. But given the circumstances, the fact that it is going to offend was obvious from the outset.

Religious/ethnic minority planning a building containing a prayer room near a site where extremists who claim their religion caused death and destruction of many people, including people of that religious/ethnic minority =! act of symbolic violence against religious/ethnic minority by religious/ethnic majority.

I’m not sure where ethnicity entered the picture. (I also find the phrasing claim their religion curious. Why not the more straightforward belong to?)

Date: 2010-09-11 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildmage.livejournal.com
Re. "mosque", see other comment above. Re. "at Ground Zero", that is simply factual error. My post contains both "near" and "at". The former was intended and, I gather, correct; the latter is certainly wrong.

But you did say "at Ground Zero" twice in the second-to-last paragraph, and said "next door to Ground Zero" earlier. Both imply that a mosque is being constructed right on the location, while said center is still those two blocks away. And like it has been stated, lots of things are two blocks away.

The second-to-last paragraph rather confuses me, actually - it doesn't mesh with what you've written earlier. At first you oppose the building of a prayer room near the 9/11 site, but then you seem to suddenly support it?

I'm also confused as to how long a time, exactly, needs to pass before this sort of thing is no longer in "poor taste". And how you're totally fine with the existing prayer rooms/mosques in the vicinity, but somehow building another one within a large building full of all sorts of other stuff is bad.

I personally find it very unlikely that any eminences behind this prayer room have serious intent to cast some kind of an intentional insult towards the 9/11 event, but it's a total no-brainer that the Quran-burning is carefully calculated to be the most insulting thing the book-burners can possibly think of. A (remote, in my opinion) possibility of an insult compared to a direct, confirmed and intentional insult? That's unjust and wrongheaded!

Date: 2010-09-11 01:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petter-haggholm.livejournal.com

The second-to-last paragraph rather confuses me, actually - it doesn't mesh with what you've written earlier. At first you oppose the building of a prayer room near the 9/11 site, but then you seem to suddenly support it?

I certainly wasn’t thinking in terms of opposing or supporting it as I wrote all that. I was motivated more by various reactions in blogs and similar fora than to the events proper. I think it’s in poor taste to build it. I think it would be fundamentally wrong to prevent it from being built. I guess if I were to talk to a builder and a protester, I would say Please don’t to the builder and you’ve no right to stop it, poor taste though it may be to the protester.

I'm also confused as to how long a time, exactly, needs to pass before this sort of thing is no longer in "poor taste". And how you're totally fine with the existing prayer rooms/mosques in the vicinity, but somehow building another one within a large building full of all sorts of other stuff is bad.

The construction of a new one is a proactive introduction, an additional presence, from the status quo.

I personally find it very unlikely that any eminences behind this prayer room have serious intent to cast some kind of an intentional insult towards the 9/11 event, but it's a total no-brainer that the Quran-burning is carefully calculated to be the most insulting thing the book-burners can possibly think of. A (remote, in my opinion) possibility of an insult compared to a direct, confirmed and intentional insult? That's unjust and wrongheaded!

In any case, I’m sure that whatever some of the eminences may think, most of the people involved in the project don’t do it in order to offend. But I was not thinking so much of the intention as the effect.

Date: 2010-09-11 01:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] renatus.livejournal.com
Mosques aren't 13 stories tall and containing a bunch of community center functions, regardless of how you want to approach it. As for 'simply a factual error', please. That factual error played into your rhetoric very nicely.

I’d be surprised if no Christians died at Auschwitz.

Disengenuous again. I shouldn't have to point out to you that there's a massive difference in scale involved (a countrywide majority vs. a small sect) and that the extremists are extremists, whereas in Nazi Germany, the Nazis were the norm.

You really should know better than to keep riding that false equivalency train if you really want to make a case. Right now, you're just making the same bullshit case as all of the other people who aren't quite comfortable acknowledging that American Muslims were hurt just as badly by the WTC attacks as non-Muslims, because that puts a big dent in the butthurt cries of the community center being offensive.

I’m not sure where ethnicity entered the picture.

Seriously? Petter, you aren't that dim.

I also find the phrasing "claim their religion" curious. Why not the more straightforward "belong to"?

Because 'belong to' isn't the phrase I wanted.

There's a point of extremism where a sect's teachings part so far from the core that the belong to is in name only. Westboro Baptists are a good example re: Christianity; the Taliban are that example re: Islam. It goes in both directions; the extremists think the moderates have it all wrong and are only Christian/Islamic in name only, too.

Date: 2010-09-11 01:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petter-haggholm.livejournal.com

I’m not sure where ethnicity entered the picture.

Seriously? Petter, you aren't that dim.

Maybe I am. I read it as an implication that my post was racist; that by holding a strongly negative opinion of Islam I must necessarily hold a strongly negative opinion of…I don’t know—Arabs and/or Egyptians and/or Indonesians? Was that implication intended? If not, then I really did miss your point.

Date: 2010-09-11 12:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petter-haggholm.livejournal.com

See also: http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2010/08/please-forgive-me-for-the-actions-of-extremists-i-have-never-met-who-commit-acts-of-violence-that-i-.html

As a white male Baptist… I myself am not Baptist, but I am a white male. White males are, as you are far more aware than I, a priveleged group with a history of committing atrocities against pretty much everyone. Personally, while I sometimes take offence when I feel (right or wrong) that I am accused of being borderline evil because I am a white male, I think it is fair to expect me to do my best to distance myself from various evils widely committed by other such, e.g. by speaking out against sexism and racism. I’m not saying that I’m good at this, only that I think the expectation is fair.

As for Baptists, well—I’m not aware that Baptists have committed a huge amount of atrocities. They do have insane fundies like the Phelpses, but fortunately many Baptists do loudly condemn them. But if I belonged to a group which was becoming commonly known in some context for some crime or other, then I think that a firm official position against it would be appropriate. Catholics against child molestation. The Canadian government apologising for its terrible treatment of First Nations peoples a few decades back. The UK government apologising for its persecution of Alan Turing. Yes, I think it’s fair to say that it is only right.

The Baptist in particular, the one who wrote that post—I think we can let him off the hook. Not only is it extremely rare for Baptists to attack police headquarters, it is also something that’s pretty much never condoned by Baptist laymen and preachers around the world.

On the whole, your fact-checking in this post is abysmal, you're making gross oversimplifications, and your conclusions are obviously based on your predetermined assumptions and biases, not any sort of logic at all.

I had some factual errors, a few more-or-less typos, and probably many opinions you dislike, but—conclusion reposted below—what is it about the conclusion in particular that is biased and illogical?

Building a mosque at Ground Zero might make terrorists happy. They might regard it as an ultimate victory, the erection of a monument to their faith at the site of their victory. But they are wrong. Allowing anyone, even if they turned out to be terrorist sympathisers, to build whatever the hell they want at Ground Zero is a victory of the values of liberty. Let everyone who walks by that mosque cast dirty looks; let not one of them cast a stone or grenade or wrecking ball. (If you vandalise it, you aren’t fighting terrorists, you’re becoming terrorists.)

You know what’s really letting the terrorists win? Saying that someone shouldn’t be allowed to offend them. The people who say that the Florida priest should not burn Qurans because it will incense the terrorists are allowing those terrorists’ atrocities to constrain their actions and freedom of speech. That’s what terrorism aims to do. That is letting the terrorists win.

Date: 2010-09-11 01:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] renatus.livejournal.com
I... think you managed to miss the entire point of the Slacktivist post because you were so busy counting the trees.

I was too hasty -- your conclusion in and of itself I don't disagree with. How you got there, though, I do disagree with.

In making a point that it's important to uphold Freedom of Speech, even when it's bad speech, that it's important to not be terrorized by terrorists -- you repeatedly kicked actual American citizens in the ribs in getting there. You spent a lot of time on how 'tasteless' it is for American Muslims to build a community center focused on their needs near a site where their fellow Americans died, you went on and on about how 'most' and 'many' Muslims don't denounce the extremists, and you go on and on about extremist imams as if being an imam was this HUGE thing, when they are roughly equivalent to pastors, who are a dime a dozen. You spent a lot of time implying how dangerous Muslims are but, sigh! America still has to like, let them build their buildings on land they own, but they also have to let people burn their holy book! AHA! Even though it might OFFEND THE TERRORISTS -- after you just spent 2/3 of a post implying how dangerous Muslims are. It's weaselly, and the sum ends up undermining your conclusion.

Date: 2010-09-11 12:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petter-haggholm.livejournal.com
(I won’t pretend for a moment that I am not biased against Islam, of course. I think it’s a monstrous religion—maybe more and maybe no more monstrous than Christianity in essence, but monstrous all the same, and Christianity has been neutered and ameliorated by a few centuries of secular dilution, not to mention the democratisation of most of its stronghold countries. They are both religions with plenty of justification for evils most foul, repression, profound, institutional, systematic misogynism, and so forth. I find Islam scarier because some countries treat it as law, and movements in some other countries seek to make it so; and because it seems to have a much larger extremist fringe willing to murder in its name. So, certainly I am biased.)

Date: 2010-09-11 01:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] renatus.livejournal.com
I find Islam scarier because some countries treat it as law, and movements in some other countries seek to make it so;

What, you think countries don't treat much of Christianity as law and don't have people lobbying to make more Christian tenents into law? Because, First Amendment aside, the good old US of A is your first exmple of that.

and because it seems to have a much larger extremist fringe willing to murder in its name.

I'm going to raise that 'seem' with a 'cite please' and add a side of 'give a finer grained definition of extremist'.

Because as far as extremism goes, I'm a hell of a lot more worried about Christians. Their extremism is presented as far too normal.

Date: 2010-09-11 01:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petter-haggholm.livejournal.com

What, you think countries don't treat much of Christianity as law and don't have people lobbying to make more Christian tenents into law? Because, First Amendment aside, the good old US of A is your first exmple of that.

…Yes, and as you know, I have blogged about that far more frequently and far more vociferously than I have ever mentioned Islam at all.

I'm going to raise that 'seem' with a 'cite please' and add a side of 'give a finer grained definition of extremist'.

As a looser description of ‘extremist’—not yet a definition—I will say, people willing to riot and loot and murder people for harmless insults (like the Danish cartoons) or simple exposure of injustice (like Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s and Theo Van Gogh’s Submission), or just bloody literature (Rushdie). Knowing that there have been fatwahs and murders and riots, do we really need citations? The US has some Christian extremists murdering abortion doctors, but beyond that, people who murder in the name of Christ seem more often to be lone nutters than part of a murderous institution. In the last few decades, maybe century or so, anyway.

But if I am wrong, and Christianity has more murderers working for it than I believe, it doesn’t alter my opinion of Islam.

Date: 2010-09-11 06:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petter-haggholm.livejournal.com
Hadn’t seen that, but I like it. He’s wrong, of course—lots of Americans get worked up about desecrating Christian symbols. I liked PZ’s take, myself, from here (http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/07/the_great_desecration.php) (full Crackergate story here (http://www.crackergate.com/)). Note that while the debate was over communion wafers, he made sure to toss a ripped-out page from the Quran in there—as well as a page torn from The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

Image

Some books should be held dear; none should be held sacred.

Date: 2010-09-11 07:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vancouvermoose.livejournal.com
he desecrated The God Delusion?

I'M TOTALLY FLIPPING OUT !!!

Date: 2010-09-12 06:50 pm (UTC)

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