It is a sad inevitability that some part of the American population will respond with bigotry whenever something happens like the Fort Hood shootings. Some of it is profiteering by right-wing political factions [see photo right], and some results from the background radiation of bigotry in the population.
One particularly egregious case is the remarks of televangelist Pat Robertson in a commentary on his 700 Club program as reported by several news outlets including the Arkansas Sun-Times where I picked up:
Pat Robertson, the televangelist, … said last Monday that: “Islam is a violent – I was going to say religion – but it’s not a religion. It’s a political system. It’s a violent political system bent on the overthrow of governments of the world and world domination.”
So Pat Robertson thinks Islam is not a religion? I don’t think Pat Robertson’s style of Christianity is one either.
[1 John 2:18 NASB] Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.
“It’s a violent political system bent on the overthrow of governments of the world and world domination.”
Like Germany in 1933? Like Iran in 1953? Like the Bay Of Pigs? Calley and his platoon were no better than the Einsatzgruppen.
I used to respect Pat until i heard a guest of his (& he agreeing)that to not support the iraq war was anti-semitic !!!! I couldnt believe it !!! So the Iraq war was God’s war ???
The American media, who used to be the envy and the admiration of the world, have become a joke, widely derided overseas.
Nothing pains me more as I grew up in the shadow of Woodward & Bernstein, when WAPO and the NYT were ideals we, in Europe, could only aspire to.
In 2005 a journalist from LE FIGARO told me they used to read WAPO to find what the US Government was hiding, and now they read it, like Pravda in the old days, to find what the US Government was thinking.
To some extent, the US of A is already a Versailles, whose population is woefully insulated from what’s going on in the rest of the world. But within that Versailles, Washington and its Press courtiers have erected another Versailles, equally insulated from what’s going on in the rest of your country.
This is sad beyond words and I don’t think it’ll end well.
I think you put it succinctly.
Sorry, I’ve never had any use for televangelists. They manipulate the vulnerable, take money from those least able to afford to give, (and even take credit card donations in the event you have no cash) and in my opinion just use religion to line their own pockets. They are basically nothing more than tax exempt con men/women.
Via John Cole’s Balloon Juice, this latest gem from WAPO’s David Broder, the dean of Versailles:
“It is evident from the length of this deliberative process and from the flood of leaks that have emerged from Kabul and Washington that the perfect course of action does not exist. Given that reality, the urgent necessity is to make a decision—whether or not it is right.”
And here is what the Ballon Juice writer writes:
“…to suggest that it is more important to make a quick decision than to make a correct decision, to suggest that an extra few weeks of reporters’ and civil servants’ time is more important than the the next six months of 40,000 American soldiers’ lives…the fact that a journalist can suggest this and still be taken seriously does not bode well for where we are headed as a country.
“It’s all part of the cult of the “tough decision”, the “gut decision”. It’s easy to laugh at that. But I just don’t see all of this stupidity ending in anything other than collapse.”
I couldn’t agree more.
I think Afghanistan is a lost cause. The corruption cannot be fixed. The CIA armed bin Laden when he was a mujahadeen. We helped him and his cronies drive out the Russians, and now we are getting it.
I also read on Global Post, how skimming from American contracts is funding the Taliban – so we are paying our executioners.
In fact, American foreign policy is set by oil companies and defense contractors – not the “Israel lobby.” It’s always the Jews control everything. Meanwhile, I’m eking out a living as a photographer.
Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex in his last address.
The problem is that this hate affects those not involved. Example: a 7-11 clerk, an Indian Sikh, a peaceful man, a peaceful religion, was shot by an bigot shouting “rag head terrorist”. This peaceful man died with an idiot calling him a Muslim terrorist while standing over his body. Birthers represent these kinds of bigots and they appear proud to be complete a__holes!
Don’t forget this:
i’ve been a follower of cole’s since his halloween 2007 transformation. he’s since become more right than wrong.
and his apology to his new alien overlords is worth reading as well.
Gee, Misha, you sound like a leftist.
“Gee, Misha, you sound like a leftist.”
One of the things that made me proudest after 9/11 was the lack of any large scale violence against the Muslim community in the United States. There were incidents of course, but by and large there was no large amount of violence against Muslims or Arabs. And there certainly could have been. It has happened in other countries.
This type of stirring of the pot- in essence inciting Americans to discriminate against Muslims (and by associations Arabs- most Americans really do not seperate the two) saddens and scares me.
I became aware of his site during the last campaign, I think around the time of Caribou Barbie’s nomination. I think it’s a wonderful site.
With all due disrespect to Pat Robertson, I do have to acknowledge that he has a bit of a point regarding Islam’s status as a “religion,” at least from Islam’s point of view.
Orthodox Muslims (both Sunni and Shi’a) would assert that Islam is not a religion. It is a “deen,” an all encompassing way of life that includes religion, politics, economics, culture, science and art. There is, in the Islamic view, no separation between any aspect of human life, let alone say between church and state.
In this way, the truly Islamic view would be that Roberston is correct to say that Islam is not a religion, but wrong to say that it is a political system.
It is both and more.
If the Iraq war were God’s war the quality of the intelligence would have been better.
When Pat Robertson said that Islam wasn’t a religion, I don’t think he had the distinctions you make in mind.
You use the phrase “Orthodox Muslims”. How does one define and “Orthodox Muslim”? I don’t recall hearing “Orthodox” applied to the Muslim religion before, though certainly to others.
Actually…. I am quite certain he had exactly those distinctions in mind.
The right wing’s Islamaphobic narrative has been refined in detail over the last eight years on fora like faithfreedom.com, and the “Islam is not a religion” line is boilerplate rhetoric based explicitly on the concept of Islam as a “deen.” Certainly Robertson’s version is a pejorative and calculated spin on that fact… but it does not derive from some rank fabrication.
Orthodoxy in any faith is defined by majority mainstream belief as driven by formally accepted core theology.
Orthodoxy within Islam is driven by the principle schools of shari’a of which there are (within the Sunni branch) four. From most conservative to liberal these would be Hanbali, Shafi’i, Maliki and Hanifi. But in many cases, the differences between them are splitting hairs. They are far more mutually similar than comparable Christian sects… which is why all four schools are safely within the single Sunni branch. The most liberal schools of shari’a remains shockingly conservative by western standards. This is because Islam has never had an equivalent to the western “Enlightenment.” It pump faked at one in the 11th-12th centuries under the leadership of brilliant Mutazalite (Shi’a) scientist/philosophers like Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd. But the Asharite (Orthodox) reaction lead by Al Ghazali strangled it in its crib. The Mutazalites were finally tagged as heretics and rejected… commencing the implosion of the Islamic Empire.
All of these schools of shari’a consider Islam a “deen.” Muslims that accept secular government are, frankly, heretical under any of them.
I read your post, and feel compelled to answer.
First, Muslims, like anyone, do not come out of a cookie cutter. When Jews were expelled from Spain, they were given refuge in Constantinople. They did not live in fear in Turkey, as they did in Europe. No Muslim country built a concentration camp. And most Crusades ended in pogroms. Among the Arabs I know, there is not one Jew hater. Here in the West, there are plenty of anti-Semites.
Turkey produced Kamal Ataturk. Yes, there is turmoil between the secularists and the Islamists, but we have Dominionists here in the States who are constantly trying to subvert the Constitution. John Anderson introduced the Jesus Amendment. Google it. And look what Bush did, or Kenneth Starr did, motivated by their beliefs.
Starr is active in the McLean Bible Church, a fundie church with wacko preachings. The pastor is Ron Solomon, who inveighed against Clinton. Solomon is a Jewish convert, who claims Jesus saved him from alcohol.
“I’m not Jewish anymore.” That worked out real well in Germany.
Let me preface that I am not picking on Islam. But since Islam is the subject of the thread that is where the discussion is centering so it might seem that way. Were this a thread on Christianity, you would find my discussion no warmer. There is nothing to be gained by soft pedaling truth under any circumstances. Political correctness may be fundamental to diplomacy, but it has no place in scholarship.
First… note that all of my comments were regarding “Islam” and not “Muslims.” I have lived in Turkey, and I have little problem making this important distinction. To point out that Muslims “do not come out of a cookie cutter” is frankly a red herring. The same could be said of the members of any group without telling us anything whatsoever about the group’s formal values and beliefs.
Second, do not be so anxious to swallow whole the received wisdom of superior Islamic tolerance. The golden days of Moorish Spain for example are punctuated with spasms of brutal repression (both anti-Semitic and anti-Christian) under rulers such as the Almohads and Almoravids.
Under the Ottoman Turks, toleration also came with the severe social and economic price of Dhimmitude. In fact for a while under the Ottomans it became illegal for Jews and Christians to convert to Islam because that depleted the coffers of the Caliphate replenished regularly by the oppressive and discriminatory jizya tax levied only on non-Muslims. They had no concentration camps you say? That is like saying it is better to be a dairy cow than a beef cattle. Neither is free.
I will not waste my time in dueling tu quoque. Were this a different thread, I would be the one pointing out Western anti-Semitism and the atrocities of the Crusades. I do not feel any need to make those evils look worse by pretending falsely that Islam is not what it is both theologically and historically. You cannot begin to understand how fortunate we are that the vast majority of Muslims are not Arabs and cannot understand Arabic, and thus read bowdlerized Qur’ans that do not carry the original depth of intolerance and brutality that suffuses the original.
Islam is 600 years younger than Christianity, and we all know what a kind and gentle faith Christianity was in the 1400s. Because of technology, travel and communications it is safe to hope that Islam will take less time than Christianity to abandon its fundamental and formal intolerance by doing what Christians did; pretty much abandon the faith as their genuine source of ethics and morality for something more appoaching reason.
But I for one do not expect it in my lifetime.
First let me thank you for your in-depth comments and say that I do not disagree with anything you said.
I would only add that Pat Robertson’s attempt to de-legitimize Islam as a religion (because to most people Islam is considered a religion) and to allude to its violent history incites intolerance in the same way that saying Christianity is also trying to turn the world into the Kingdom of God and point to the Crusades and the Inquisition does the same. It’s not whether these things are true or not, but the context in which they are said.
“All of these schools of shari’a consider Islam a “deen.” Muslims that accept secular government are, frankly, heretical under any of them.”
Historiandude, I certainly don’t have the depth of understanding of Islam that you appear to have. But according to your principles, most of the Arab Muslims I have met would be considered heretical then.
I have had two very close Egyptian friends- both about 20 years ago. At that time they described a society that clearly distinguished between secular and religious and both considered themselves devout Muslims. I have known a considerable number of Lebanese and Palestinean Arabs who expressed the same feelings.
They all looked at horror at the religious states of Saudi Arabia and Iran. Perhaps I am just meeting the Arab Muslims who have come to the United States and they represent a distinct heretical minority, but your viewpoint doesn’t match my experiences.
Again… it is VERY important to make the point that I am speaking of “Islam,” not of “Muslims.” I suspect your experience with Muslims is little different from my own… and I lived in the Republic of Turkey so my social experience with Muslims as individuals, as families, as friends is extensive.
But yes. Absolutely. Your friends are heretics. And we are fortunate for their heresy. This is why I spoke with hope that the Muslim world will mature faster than Christianity did… the exposure to the overwhelmingly attractive advantages of tolerance and freedom cannot help but create heretics in those with a good heart and genuine love for their fellow man.
But Christianity and Islam are both theologically “exclusive monotheisms”… an anomalous phenomenon among most world religions. To not be a “member of the club” is worse than merely being different. It means that you have been judged by God to be worthy of gratuitous eternal suffering and punishment. They are the ultimate in zero sum games. And all their atrocities across history devolve from this core dogma.
Note: There is a rather strong correlation between the deep and passionate study of the Qur’an and Hadith and Islamic terrorism. The average Muslim knows his own religion no better than the average Lutheran knows his. But those who immerse themselves in the faith are the community from which springs al Qaeda, and Hamas and Hizbullah.
The correlation is, in my opinion, a causal one.
From my perspective, the enemy of humankind is fundamentalism, whether religious or political.
Exactly, and the orthodox are ruining Israel.
Please mention the Klan, Aryan Nation and other Christian groups which are used by some to define Christianity. I think we often tolerate the intolerable within our own culture. Why I do not know. I would also add that Mr. Robertson and his followers are trying to make a case for treating Islam in a different manner than other faiths. Government could then regulate it as a political system.
HistorianDude – I loved your comparison of Islam and Christianity both being EXCLUSIVE monotheistic religions. As we have seen, there are radical Christians here who would have us live in a theological society in which Christianity sets the rules. Problem is, as with any religion, that the factions within the whole cannot agree on dogma and theology, much less trying to force those of a different faith altogether into submission. There is a newspaper I have seen called “The Free Magnolia” that is a Southern, Christian, Secissonist movement in which they have stated that they would force out all non Christian, non white persons, except for a “select few who would be heavily prosthelitized.” Scary.
I recommend this editorial from the Associated Baptist Press as a more mainstream view from conservative Christianity.