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The "Green Scare?"
Posted by: McQ on Monday, December 04, 2006

I grew up in the days of the Red Scare, or to be more precise, the second Red Scare (the first taking place immediately after the 1919 Russian Revolution). The one I speak of took place in the '50s and featured such names as Joseph McCarthy, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Alger Hiss. The world was going Communist, the Reds were everywhere and we were whipped up into a patriotic frenzy about the threat. Or so it seemed.

I sometimes wonder, reading some of the opinion columns of today if, in fact, we aren't into a third "Red Scare", or perhaps a better description would be a "Green Scare".
Following Pope Benedict's remarks on the relationship between faith and violence, a quiet conversation emerged. It highlighted a central question as the West increasingly attempts to engage the Muslim world: Is Islam especially prone to violence? So far, much of the conversation has focused on the violent reactions of some Muslims to the pope's previous comments. But, there's disturbing proof that a far deeper culture of violence pervades much of the Islamic world.

In a recent survey on global conflict, Monty Marshall and Ted Burr of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management found that of the 24 major armed conflicts taking place worldwide in 2005, more than half (13) involved Muslim governments or paramilitary groups on one or both sides of the fighting. What's more, among six countries with "emerging armed conflicts," four are predominantly Muslim and another, Thailand, involves a Muslim separatist movement.

Messrs. Marshall and Burr also rated 161 countries according to their capacity to avoid outbreaks of armed conflicts. Whereas 63 percent of non-Muslim countries were categorized as "enjoy[ing] the strongest prospects for successful management of new challenges," just 18 percent of the 50 Muslim nations included were similarly designated. In addition, Muslim nations (those with at least 40 percent Muslim population) were two-and-a-half times more likely than non-Muslim nations to be considered "at the greatest risk of neglecting or mismanaging emerging societal crises such that these conflicts escalate to serious violence and/or government instability."
I remember the hysteria the spread of communism provoked in some people. Reading the above, I could easily substituted "communist" for "Muslim" and, changing some of the dates, be talking about the post-WWII world. Communist movements and communist insurrections were everywhere. Greece. Malaysia, Vietnam, eastern Europe, China ... it was a very terrifying time for the West.

Communism was a very pernicious secular religion which put all of its faith in the power of the state and certainly didn't eschew violence as a means of spreading it's ideology. In fact, Chairman Mao, communist dictator of China, reminded us that true power comes from the barrel of a gun. Certainly if we looked at the number of armed conflicts which were taking place worldwide in any year of that period, we'd see numbers very similar to those cited about Islam. Communism with relatively small committed core cadres was able to enlist a significant percentage of the "masses" to its side with promises of a better life under communism. Certainly, at least within their promises, those they recruited believed what was promised did indeed seem a better life than the one they were living or had experienced.

Communism was indeed a threat, but it wasn't quite the threat we cooked it up to be. And, over time, we defeated it not because we were hysterical or bought into the Red Scare rhetoric, but because we were who we are and we lived like it. We defeated communism by being the West and actually showing those in communist countries the real alternative that existed in their lives. The rest has pretty much taken care of itself, human nature being what it is.
We simply cannot overlook extremist interpretations of religion as a significant part of the problem when terrorists yell, "God is great!" as they decapitate their victims or blow themselves up in a crowded market.

But the Muslim world's support of faith-based violence is not limited to governments and their non-state proxies. Consider a June Pew Global Attitudes poll that showed a majority of Muslims in Jordan, Egypt and Nigeria, as well as roughly a third in France, Spain and Great Britain, felt violence against civilians can be justified in order to defend Islam. Worse, a July 2005 poll found 22 percent of British Muslims said last summer's rush-hour bombings of London's metro system, which killed 52 people, were justified because of Britain's support for the war on terror. This included 31 percent of young British Muslims.

Some Muslims' appetite for destruction is not surprising given the ability of prominent Muslim leaders to foment hatred of the West. Following Pope Benedict's September comments, Imams across the Middle East and North Africa issued fatwas for his death. Similar threats were made in advance of the pope's visit to Turkey. Meanwhile in France, the Interior Ministry has announced that Muslims are waging an undeclared "intifada" against police, with attacks injuring an average of 14 officers a day. There are bright spots, of course. Several thousand Muslims in Kismayo, Somalia recently publicly protested the arrival of an al Qaeda-backed Islamic militia. But while experts assure us only a small percentage (perhaps 10 percent) of Muslims are willing to participate in terror, with 1.2 billion Muslims globally, that's more than 100 million jihadists.
The conflation of the "Muslim world" with it's extremists is dangerous for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it resembles the "Red Scare". Another is it doesn't make the important separation between those who do and those who don't believe the extremist Islamist message. It assumes, while actually pretending to deny it, that all Muslims are the same.

Again, like many did with communism in the past, the assumption is made that Islam is comprised of 1.2 billion Muslims who accept, as a part of their religion, the notion of spreading Islam by violence, just as there were those who were sure there were 1 billion rabid communists in China ready to do violent deeds to spread the ideology of communism throughout Asia if not the world.

That premise concerning Islam isn't at all true, just as it wasn't about communism. But the dynamic at work in articles like the one I cite is the same as that at work during the communist era, the only change being the ideology or religion in question.

Look, I'm not denying the problem or the threat. I'm not turning a blind eye to the possibility of the spread of a form of Islam by violent means. But I find it difficult to buy into the building hysteria against the "Muslim world". Yes, I understand how the spread of communism and the spread of Islam are different. I understand that, in effect, Muslims can effect a peaceful takeover of various areas / nations through nothing more violent than immigration. But I also understand the debilitating nature of fear-mongering and how it limits our ability to address a problem forthrightly and construct pragmatic solutions which actually identify the proper problem and address it dispassionately.

Making the entire "Muslim world" our enemy is both a mistake and stupid. For one thing it makes enemies out of many who prefer to be our allies and want to assist us in stopping the spread of this malicious form of the religion. Secondly, it grossly oversimplifies a complex problem and because of that oversimplification, severely limits our options about how to honestly address this real problem.

Resist those who write like the person I cite. This isn't helpful or necessary. We do have a problem with radical Islamists but not with the "Muslim world", and we need to keep that very clear and focus our weight and energy against the faction that threatens us, not the entirety of Islam.
 
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Of course it’s stupid and counter-productive to claim our problem is with "the Muslim world". But a certain percentage of Muslims see no problem with killing civilians "to defend Islam". There isn’t any special subset being sampled there, it’s a population consisting of those who practice Islam. It’s far too many and that’s a huge problem.

Now treating the rest of Muslims as if they are part of that percentage is likely to be self-fulfilling, no doubt. And I buy into the belief that sooner or later the Intertubes and Britney are going to dilute the hostility of Muslims toward the West. So we want to be receptive to Muslims who have no truck with violence.

But the numbers are what they are. If you strip away the Yellow Peril language in the piece and look strictly at the numbers, it’s fairly damning. I’d hate to look back and realize we were so busy feeling all superior to rabble rousers and Islamo-phobes that pop culture ran out of time and we dumped a world war into our children’s laps.
 
Written By: spongeworthy
URL: http://
Absolutely, McQ. I think we have a major problem with conflating ’problem’ with "worldwide wave of enemies bent on our destruction". We see the same thing in the anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric, when they make the "reconquista" movement look like a serious, significant threat, as opposed to the relatively fringe movement that it is.

At the end of the day, radical Islamists are a threat, but they are nowhere near the threat posed by Communism. They are a social problem with occasional military threats.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
I totally disagree with you Jon, Radical ie: devout Muslims are a worse threat than communism was. The communists couldn’t defeat the free world and knew it, so they backed down every time they were confronted. The Muslims do not back down. and they have a much better shot of at least conquering Europe, if only by demographics.

While I don’t see every Muslim as my enemy, I see every one as a potential problem, not because I want to, but because the evidence, and prudence dictates that I do so.

It all boils down to this. In my studies I do not see any possibility of peaceful coexistence between Islam, as practiced according to the Koran and the Hadiths, and a modern, free people. Now, you can certainly get along with a watered down version of Islam which emphasizes all the positive things the prophet said, but that is not true Islam. True Islam is quite simply; Sharia for all, Islam firmly on top, "people of the book" way on the bottom, and unbelievers get the sword.
You can choose to believe otherwise, but that’s the way it is.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
We see the same thing in the anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric, when they make the "reconquista" movement look like a serious, significant threat, as opposed to the relatively fringe movement that it is.
Oh? Aren’t we told that there are so many illegal immigrants that we cannot possibly get rid of them all? But that isn’t really a problem?

How’s the view from within the sand?
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
And, over time, we defeated it not because we were hysterical or bought into the Red Scare rhetoric, but because we were who we are and we lived like it.
You pointed thousands of nukes at them and told them that if they touched any of you that you would kill everybody on Planet Earth. Apparently this is just how you naturally are and not even slightly hysterical.


Pretty much agree that Islam is not a homogeneous religion of fanatics or potential fanatics. The Muslims are (in my estimation) people trapped in societies that deny advancement through business and politics and military to all but a select few cronies of the despot(s), but encourage advancement through religion; so all advancement occurs through the religion which becomes a very dynamic and diverse marketplace.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Oh? Aren’t we told that there are so many illegal immigrants that we cannot possibly get rid of them all? But that isn’t really a problem?
What has that to do with the Reconquista movement.
It all boils down to this. In my studies I do not see any possibility of peaceful coexistence between Islam, as practiced according to the Koran and the Hadiths, and a modern, free people.
If you define "Islam" narrowly enough, I’m sure you’re right. I’m also sure that something similar could be said about Christianity. Fact is, there are quite a lot of Muslims living peacefully, many of them in democratic nations. You might argue that it’s not "true" Islam, but I don’t think your definition of "true Islam" is really important.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Radical Islam leverages its threat through fanatical commitment and the proliferation of WMDs. One of the bigger threats they pose is not that they threaten to topple the USA and way of life, per se but that they force us to drastic measures against them after some huge incident.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Well, I’d feel a lot better about the general position in the post if I could see a couple of things out in the real world.

For example, I wish I could see a signficant faction of Islam that does not believe apostasy deserves the death sentence. Even Omar over at Second Hand Conjecture dances around the subject of apostasy. And I’d put him as firmly in the "moderate Islam" camp as we’re likely to see in present circumstances.

I picked this particular issue because it’s one in which a fundamental tenet of Islam, as accepted by the vast majority of its practitioners as best as I can tell, is in conflict with a fundamental tenet of modern Western Civilization, namely freedom of religion.

So, taking that into account, here’s the basic problem I have with the "let’s not overreact" position.

You can’t win a conflict you refuse to fight.

Much of the analysis of the relative power of Islam vs. the West is completely correct. It’s also completely irrelevant if the West refuses to use its power. What I don’t want to see is to have us reach a position (in some number of decades) where we have to violently and powerfully resist because the only other choice is capitulation, but we’ve allowed radical Islam to gain sufficient power that the butcher’s bill to beat it makes WWII look like small potatoes. I also don’t want to see us reach the point where our rallying point is a radioactive crater where Washington used to be.

That means that I certainly don’t want to see "they’re not that much of threat, really" get translated into endless repetition of "well, let’s give them what they want this time, because it’s no big deal". Given what I understand about Middle Eastern culture, that looks like exactly the way to encourage them to keep up the pressure. And increase it.

We need to believe that there is enough potential long-term threat to hold the Islamic people collectively to a high enough standard of behavior that reasonable co-existence is possible. And that will never happen if we don’t really think there’s much at stake, or if we put our hopes in a "moderate" Islam that does not have the power and influence to have any effect on the radicals.

My other problem, from a purely libertarian perspective, is that long drawn-out conflict with radical Islamists will continue to erode freedom in favor of security. The Communists were not randomly blowing up airplanes and train stations because they knew that if they did, it would move to a hot war in a hurry. The Islamists are not similarly deterred. So this time, there is a higher price of the "muddle through" strategy. Even resisting Communism had some impact (travel restrictions, secrecy laws, taxes to support NATO, etc.), but resisting Islamism for decades looks like it could have much more serious effects.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
If you define "Islam" narrowly enough, I’m sure you’re right. I’m also sure that something similar could be said about Christianity. Fact is, there are quite a lot of Muslims living peacefully, many of them in democratic nations. You might argue that it’s not "true" Islam, but I don’t think your definition of "true Islam" is really important.
Yes. In fact, for a long time the Islamic world was far more tolerant of Jews and Christians than Christians were of Muslims or Jews. It all depends on how the religion gets interpreted — and the Koran lends itself sometimes to radically different interpretations. Sufism is an example of how Islam can go in a variety of directions. The problem, I think, is that in the Hadith and early definitions of the Sunna a conservative form of Islam took root, one that essentially sees the early community at Medina as the guide for all Islam. The Ulama arose a conservative class of clergy which tended to want to stay as close to tradition as possible. I suspect we’re seeing the start of a major change as those traditions are under assault due to globalization and the desires of average Arabs (and other Muslims) for a better life. The extremists are part of an inevitable backlash against these changes. I wonder, though, if the Christian world had an advantage due to how Plato and Aristotle had been "smuggled" into the faith by Augustine and Aquinas, given the Greeks a "foot in the door" of the western world.

Seen though in this way, I have to praise Pope Benedict and his efforts. Perhaps he is an unlikely emerging hero in the so called ’clash’ between Islam and the West.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
McQ: Joseph McCarthy, . . . The world was going Communist, the Reds were everywhere and we were whipped up into a patriotic frenzy about the threat.
Seems Joe was right about the commies in Hollywood.
Communism was indeed a threat, but it wasn’t quite the threat we cooked it up to be.
If Soviet ICBMs were real, it was as much threat as I care for.
We defeated communism by being the West and actually showing those in communist countries the real alternative that existed in their lives.
It failed because it was a crappy system that couldn’t compete—the economic calculation problem and all that.
Kyle: The communists couldn’t defeat the free world and knew it, so they backed down every time they were confronted.


At some point or another, the Soviets figured that out. But there are quite a few cases where communists did not back down. Korea and Vietnam come to mind. Even the Cuban missle crises.
The Muslims do not back down.
Sure they do.
and they have a much better shot of at least conquering Europe, if only by demographics.
Well, the USSR took a big chunk in ’45. The Muslims only have some small parts like Kosovo and Bosnia—and that’s legacy, not new additions.

Granted, there are parts of France that are under effective Muslim control. That in itself suggests a serious problem. The other issue is that the Muslim threat in Europe seems unappreciated, perhaps due to reporting. At this point, IMO, the issue isn’t so much a "Green Scare" as it is a failure to recognize a danger.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Good post, McQ.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
First, it’s interesting that you’d characterize communism as “defeated” when it looks more and more all the time like the next big thing all over again down in Central and South America. Ortega, again. Chavez, again.

And remember those guys who popped up in their sub the other week to wave to the USS Kitty Hawk. Still commie. Like the crazy man – one of them – with the nukes.

And those people who are being implicated in the various shootings and poisonings of journalists and former prime ministers hither and yon. Still carrying on like they’re KGB, after all these years. “[H]uman nature being what it is,” indeed.

But, yes, the once creaking empire of the USSR did fall into an ungainly heap, largely because the US managed to push it often and hard enough. Motivated, rather than hamstrung, by the whole quite warranted Red Scare, it seems to me. Take away those concerns and the (at least recurrent) willingness to take the Russians at their chilling word, and I think the whole superpower act we grew up with would still be the same deadly duet to this very day. And so many still suffering people of Eastern Europe and Asia would be that much worse off for it.

As for the danger presented to us by the Muslim world, it is not necessary for every soul born to Islam to scream for our death; but it sure is helpful when whatever moderate and modern elements may exist somewhere in that world are scared into closed-mouth compliance by the radicals. Mild-mannered and thoughtful Muslims aren’t exactly free to speak their minds or to wander away from the fold. How many Muslim editors have been jailed just in connection with the Mohammed cartoons? We never even hear about the fates of less prominent Islamic people who are crazy enough to speak out or challenge what the hard-liners lay down as the law.

Even granting that 90% of the Muslims in the world are looking to be our buds but are too scared to say so, that wouldn’t make the world they occupy something for us to be less worried about. Forces that can cow so many millions on millions of people into silence (do you ever hear them?) aren’t to be taken lightly.

I can’t resist throwing out this link to a compilation of televised Islamic saber-rattling and Jew hating that I watched earlier today: http://tinyurl.com/yxz9tv. It gives, I think, a real good sense of the degree to which a lot of different folks out dar al-Islam way are out for blood. They ain’t kidding, and the various Middle Eastern media outlets ain’t shy about putting this stuff on the air year in, year out. Imagine any Western MSM playing anything remotely comparable here.

Radical hell-bent-on-Jihad Islam may not claim the heart and soul of each and every Muslim in the world, but it sure isn’t some isolated little cult being marginalized by some friendly moderate Muslim majority. And it is not to be taken lightly.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Yes. In fact, for a long time the Islamic world was far more tolerant of Jews and Christians than Christians were of Muslims or Jews.
Well, tolerance could be a word for it. However, they were subjected to rather rigorous restrictions on movement and living conditions and had to pay a tax based on not being Muslim. Of course, anyone not of the book were killed outright so I guess tolerance might be used to describe the actual situation. Not being dead is generally a good thing.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
You might argue that it’s not "true" Islam, but I don’t think your definition of "true Islam" is really important.
Unfortunately it is also the definition of thousands of religious and political leaders, are their definitions important enough?
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
McQ, I think this is one of the most insightful posts that you’ve written. It absolutely blows away the level of surface reporting that we get in the mainstream media. In particular, I’d like to highlight a few key points that you make:
The conflation of the "Muslim world" with it’s extremists is dangerous for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it resembles the "Red Scare". Another is it doesn’t make the important separation between those who do and those who don’t believe the extremist Islamist message. It assumes, while actually pretending to deny it, that all Muslims are the same.


These are absolutely vital issues to recognize. The "Muslim World" is about as homogenous as the "Christian World," which is to say, not at all. Just among the Arab groups are : Persian (Iranian) Shiites, Iraqi Shiites, Iraqi Sunnis, Baathist socialist Shiites (scattered throughout Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, etc.), Saudi Salafi Sunnis, Sufis (of all nations, and both Shiite and Sunni), pan-Arab nationalists (Sunnis and Shiites), Kharijites (known today as Ibadis), Druze (who sometimes consider themselves Shiites), Twelver Shiites, Ismailis, Zaidiyyahs, etc. This isn’t even considering tribal and clan breakdowns. Anyone who assumes that the "Muslim World" can be addressed as a monolithic entity is flat wrong.
Again, like many did with communism in the past, the assumption is made that Islam is comprised of 1.2 billion Muslims who accept, as a part of their religion, the notion of spreading Islam by violence, just as there were those who were sure there were 1 billion rabid communists in China ready to do violent deeds to spread the ideology of communism throughout Asia if not the world.
And this is another aspect of the same point. Why must the assumption be made that because, say 1% (and I’m simply pulling a figure out of the air for example here) of the worldwide population of Islam, are Islamists who want to conquer the world and re-establish the Caliphate, all Muslims must, naturally agree? Firstly, every single group that I mentioned above has a different goal, or no goal, in mind. Some want to join the Islamists. Some want to establish an Arab version of the EU. Some just want the world to leave them alone. Secondly, we seem more interested in a "sound-bite" approach to the "Muslim World," where we need large groups of quite diverse people to be lumped together into "terrorist" and "non-terrorist." Scarily, I suspect that that is the actual extent of the thinking that goes on in Washington, D.C. as well (even in the domain of the high and mighty know-it-alls at the State Department).
I understand that, in effect, Muslims can effect a peaceful takeover of various areas / nations through nothing more violent than immigration.
This statement can be applied to any number of ethnic or religious groups. I believe Jon pointed this out.
But I also understand the debilitating nature of fear-mongering and how it limits our ability to address a problem forthrightly and construct pragmatic solutions which actually identify the proper problem and address it dispassionately.
But we seem in love with the idea of "fear," McQ. The media feeds on it. Hollywood feeds on it. Pop culture feeds on it. If we didn’t have a "great menace" to face, we’d actually have to do something productive to occupy ourselves. Again, in agreement with Jon, this fear-mongering gets applied to illegal immigration, as well.
Making the entire "Muslim world" our enemy is both a mistake and stupid. For one thing it makes enemies out of many who prefer to be our allies and want to assist us in stopping the spread of this malicious form of the religion. Secondly, it grossly oversimplifies a complex problem and because of that oversimplification, severely limits our options about how to honestly address this real problem.
And that nails it. The more people in the "West" spin our currently small conflicts with terrorist groups into a Lewis/Huntington "Clash of Civilizations" between REASON (the "West) and BARBARITY (the "Muslim World"), the more likely it is to become exactly that. Currently, the problem is with a few hundred thousand hard-core fanatic terrorist extremists. Yes, they do hold sway over a few million, but the actual hard core are numbered in the tens or hundreds of thousands, not millions. We are barely managing to keep a lid on this problem. How exactly are we going to manage if this conflict spirals into war with 1.2 billion?
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
"Communism was indeed a threat, but it wasn’t quite the threat we cooked it up to be. And, over time, we defeated it not because we were hysterical or bought into the Red Scare rhetoric, but because we were who we are and we lived like it. We defeated communism by being the West and actually showing those in communist countries the real alternative that existed in their lives."


And because a lot of good men and women in a lot of different countries fought and died to defeat it. I would not call those such as Solzhenitsyn, Sharansky, and many other unknown people from other countries who offered (and still do in some places) their lives to oppose what they saw as a deadly menace hysterical. It required a little more than showing an alternative.

signed;
A hysterical anti-Communist.


"For example, I wish I could see a signficant faction of Islam that does not believe apostasy deserves the death sentence"

Well gee, Billy, that’s an internal family matter that really is none of our business. Yet.

"You might argue that it’s not "true" Islam, but I don’t think your definition of "true Islam" is really important"

Whose definition is important? Who gets to define "true" Islam? Which of the many "true" Islams do we base our actions on?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Unfortunately it is also the definition of thousands of religious and political leaders, are their definitions important enough?
If they can enforce their definitions, then they are important. That makes them the problem, though, and not the religion.

The problem in the Middle Ages was not necessarily the religion, but the people driving the catholic church. Obviously, as has been done in various predominantly Muslim countries, the "true" nature of the religion is not "sticky".
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
"For example, I wish I could see a signficant faction of Islam that does not believe apostasy deserves the death sentence"

Well gee, Billy, that’s an internal family matter that really is none of our business. Yet.

——

Yeah, its not like there should be some universal human right to freedom of religion.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Now, you can certainly get along with a watered down version of Islam which emphasizes all the positive things the prophet said, but that is not true Islam. True Islam is quite simply; Sharia for all, Islam firmly on top, "people of the book" way on the bottom, and unbelievers get the sword.
kyle, that’s how Osama Bin Laden and the Hez’bollah fanatics define Islam. Honestly, every religion has its weirdos and fanatics : take the Kahanists in Judaism or the Kingdom Identity movement in Christianity. It’s not how the MAJORITY of adherents define it. Heck, there are so many different groups of Muslims, for example, that about the only thing we agree on is the basic creed of Islam (the Shahadah).
The Muslims are (in my estimation) people trapped in societies that deny advancement through business and politics and military to all but a select few cronies of the despot(s), but encourage advancement through religion; so all advancement occurs through the religion which becomes a very dynamic and diverse marketplace.


There is a lot of truth in that unaha. Frequently getting buddy-buddy with the local religious authorities is an easy way to advancement (much like joining the party in Communist socieities).
For example, I wish I could see a signficant faction of Islam that does not believe apostasy deserves the death sentence. Even Omar over at Second Hand Conjecture dances around the subject of apostasy. And I’d put him as firmly in the "moderate Islam" camp as we’re likely to see in present circumstances.
Thank you, Billy. Actually the movement is building amongst significant legal scholars of Islam to end the apostasy = death idea. For example, Javid Iqbal, Javid Ghamidi, and Hasan al-Turabi have all written and spoken out against apostasy being punishable by death. The root of their argument (and I agree with this) is that the Qur’an specifies no punishment for apostasy. The punishments were added later in hadiths (the accuracy of which are in question) and in national laws (all man-made and thus fallible).
My other problem, from a purely libertarian perspective, is that long drawn-out conflict with radical Islamists will continue to erode freedom in favor of security.
To a certain extent, I agree.
The Communists were not randomly blowing up airplanes and train stations because they knew that if they did, it would move to a hot war in a hurry.
How soon we forget. See the following for a refresher on Marxist/Communist tactics.
Yes. In fact, for a long time the Islamic world was far more tolerant of Jews and Christians than Christians were of Muslims or Jews. It all depends on how the religion gets interpreted — and the Koran lends itself sometimes to radically different interpretations.
Yep. That’s exactly right, Scott. For example, in 1492, when Christian Spain was slaughtering Jews, the Ottoman Sultan sent his fleet to help evacuate Jewish refugees to Istanbul.
I wonder, though, if the Christian world had an advantage due to how Plato and Aristotle had been "smuggled" into the faith by Augustine and Aquinas, given the Greeks a "foot in the door" of the western world.
Such philosophies were also "smuggled" into Islam by al-Ghazali.
The other issue is that the Muslim threat in Europe seems unappreciated, perhaps due to reporting.
I disagree, Don. The various immigrant Muslim groups througout Europe all come from different nations and backgrounds and their views of life and religion are quite different. Turkish in Germany, for example, come from secular nation where Sharia is not the law. Why would they ever want to spread radical Islamism?
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Alger Hiss
OOOPS, guess there really was something to this "red scare" after all. You really shouldn’t undermine the point you were trying to make by tying it to an unsustainable comparison.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
The conflation of the "Muslim world" with it’s extremists is dangerous for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it resembles the "Red Scare".


Yeah.....except those extremists have important positions, such as the head of Iran. Kinda hard to minimize that sorta thing, no?
Again, like many did with communism in the past, the assumption is made that Islam is comprised of 1.2 billion Muslims who accept, as a part of their religion, the notion of spreading Islam by violence,
Until proven otherwise...that’s about right. The burden of proof isn’t on us. I’m sorry if "guilty by association" seems wrong, but that’s the way it is. The benefit of the doubt is earned by deeds, not by some guilt or fear to offend. I sometimes seriously wonder just how different this conflict could be if we had a real madman in office, one who the Islamonazis knew would blow them and their holy sites and countries to radiocative powder the second a hijacked plane crashed into a US building. That’s an extreme example, but it’s the plain fact that fear breeds respect. And they don’t fear us.....and seeing what we are as a nation, I don’t blame them.
Resist those who write like the person I cite. This isn’t helpful or necessary. We do have a problem with radical Islamists but not with the "Muslim world", and we need to keep that very clear and focus our weight and energy against the faction that threatens us, not the entirety of Islam
Ok, how?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
" Honestly, every religion has its weirdos and fanatics "

True, but the question is how many standard deviations from the mean these fanatics are. I have no idea what this "Kingdon Identity" thing is, but I will bet that OBL is known and approved of by quite a large portion of Muslims worldwide. I submit that the Muslim fanatics are closer to the mean, and, as with the Communist examples you cite, are quite often supported or excused or justified by the mainstream.

"Yes. In fact, for a long time the Islamic world was far more tolerant of Jews and Christians than Christians were of Muslims or Jews."

Well they are sure making up for lost time. If we want to live in the past, guess who has the better claim to Jerusalem?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Communism was a real threat, with real weapons of mass destruction and real villains willing to use them. Ask the 100 million plus people who were murdered by Communists in the 20th century, but of course they can’t speak, being buried in mass graves and all. You could say that communism itself WAS a weapon of mass destruction, Stalin starved a whole lot more people than died at Hiroshima.

The whole premise of this discussion is wrong on so many levels.

I don’t want to downplay the Islamist fanatics who are causing problems around the world but they have got to kill about 100 million more people before they can sit on equal footing with communists. Joseph McCarthy may have been a drunk, mean-spirited opportunist out to make a name for himself, but he wasn’t wrong about the communists who had held significant positions in the US government for decades. De-classified documents in the US and Russia have pretty much vindicated his conclusions, if not his tactics. And there WERE a whole lot of communists in Hollywood, many of them truly enemies of freedom, democracy and the United States.

The whole premise of this thread is way off base.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
Making the entire "Muslim world" our enemy is both a mistake and stupid. For one thing it makes enemies out of many who prefer to be our allies and want to assist us in stopping the spread of this malicious form of the religion. Secondly, it grossly oversimplifies a complex problem and because of that oversimplification, severely limits our options about how to honestly address this real problem
Fine.

So, where are all the objections to this radicalized Islam from inside Islam itself? If we accept that what we’re seeing by the "scaremongers" isn’t the real picture, then we must assume that there is somebody within the world of Islam who objects. Assuming that such people exist, it would seem crucial to support them.

However, we cannot do that until such time as they reveal themselves to us. A quick look across the landscape reveals but a paltry few were willing to do so. Granted, that there could be two reasons for that; The first one is that those who do object to this radicalized Islam have a tendency to be eating their reasons with Allah a little sooner than they’d planned.

The second is somewhat more ominous; there are none to be had.

If the situation is more represented by the former possibility then we have some hard questions in front of us as to how to encourage such dissension, without getting such people killed as examples.

If as I think the situation is the latter ; then we have but one choice. And that is one that I don’t think the party currently in power has the stomach for.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
First - Communism didn’t lose - The Soviet version did. Communism or its Socialist Cousin is in a state of relative limbo at the moment and with the continuing efforts of China, Cuba, Chavez and others will rise again. But ultimately to face what kind of opponent?

Second - Communism did not back down in the sense we normally understand. They didn’t "push the button" because they lost. They didn’t "push the button" because their own ideology did not allow them to. By "pushing the button" Communism would have admitted they had lost the ideological war and therefore they would have trully admitted defeat, regardless of the results of the Nuclear winter which would have followed.

Third - And this is the real difference - Islam feels it can’t lose. Either they push us to the brink and somebody "pushes the button" and all good Muslims go to paradise and the rest go elsewhere - and they therefore win. Or - they push us and push us and we ultimately kneel down and show them our necks in subjugation. Again, they win.

And even moderate Muslims understand this!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
For the heck of it, here’s a blurb about comparative moderates in one little corner of the Muslim world curbing the enthusiasm of the more radical imams: from http://tinyurl.com/wqcjv
ALGERIA: 10 IMAMS FIRED FOR INCITING VIOLENCE

Algiers, 5 Dec. (AKI) - The Algerian minister of religious affairs has fired ten imams in the past six months who were charged with preaching violence in their mosques, reports said Tuesday. According to Algerian daily al-Khabar, another eight clerics were fired for the same reason last year. The ministry has reportedly withrawn the imams’ licences to preach in the country and suspended their salaries.

According to sources quoted by the Algerian paper, the ministry approved the measure after receiving complaints from citizens and police reports.
It’ll be interesting to see how this works out for the folks in Algeria.

One other point: The whole Bush response to the terrorism of 9-11 has been predicated on the assumption that the Middle East is brim full of peaceable Muslim people who just need a bit of a helping hand to take over from the hot heads and let freedom and tolerance and diversity reign. None of the official US response has proceeded from any notion that all Muslims are bad guys.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Yeah.....except those extremists have important positions, such as the head of Iran. Kinda hard to minimize that sorta thing, no?
I agree, Shark, however do you honestly believe that President Ahmadinejad wants to conquer the world? Or is simply a regional player who wants to bully himself into position to dictate the course of history in Iran, Iraq, and the Gulf States? Also, the template you have provided here could just as easily be lifted up and applied to Venezuela, as well. Does Hugo Chavez honestly want to take over the world, or just become a major player in South and Central America?
Until proven otherwise...that’s about right. The burden of proof isn’t on us. I’m sorry if "guilty by association" seems wrong, but that’s the way it is. The benefit of the doubt is earned by deeds, not by some guilt or fear to offend.
This is just wrong on so many levels. Firstly, what "burden of proof" are you looking for here? What crime are you accusing 1.2 billion Muslims of? Secondly, "guilt by association" is always wrong. Not to fall back on an overdramatized situation, but have you seen "Good Night and Good Luck?" Also, if we are going to use the standard of guilt by association, then again let’s include Venezuela, Cuba, NoKo, China and every other totalitarian nation on our list of "Axis of Evil" targets.
I sometimes seriously wonder just how different this conflict could be if we had a real madman in office, one who the Islamonazis knew would blow them and their holy sites and countries to radiocative powder the second a hijacked plane crashed into a US building. That’s an extreme example, but it’s the plain fact that fear breeds respect. And they don’t fear us.....and seeing what we are as a nation, I don’t blame them.
Ah, so you’re a graduate of the Niccolo Machiavelli school of statemanship? Lovely. Fear does not breed respect. Fear cowers people while they seethe in anger. Eventually when you turn your back, they are quick to stick a knife in it and will embrace ANYONE who appears willing to stand up to you. Do we really want that? 1.2 billion people so afraid that the evil US will nuke them that they embrace any kind of nut who demonstrates the ability to hurt the US. If so, a certain exiled Saudi millionaire certainly comes to mind.
I have no idea what this "Kingdom Identity" thing is...
Please see here for an education on the dark side of Christianity. This is only one site of many out there that promote this sick, twisted vision of Christianity.
...but I will bet that OBL is known and approved of by quite a large portion of Muslims worldwide. I submit that the Muslim fanatics are closer to the mean, and, as with the Communist examples you cite, are quite often supported or excused or justified by the mainstream.
And I daresay some ignorant savages approve of Kingdom Identity, however they are neither mainstream, nor numerous. OBL’s supporters fall into the same category (notice that no one is offering up their place for him to crash while on the run from the fuzz). He’s a maniac with a few disciples running scared from cave to cave somewhere in Pakistan. Yeah, I can feel the love flowing from the Muslim community to him.
So, where are all the objections to this radicalized Islam from inside Islam itself? If we accept that what we’re seeing by the "scaremongers" isn’t the real picture, then we must assume that there is somebody within the world of Islam who objects. Assuming that such people exist, it would seem crucial to support them.
Well, bithead, there are quite few of us both in the West and in Muslim majority nations that are "moderates" and who oppose radical Islamism. Not all of us have websites, but some do. We’re out there.
The second is somewhat more ominous; there are none to be had.

If the situation is more represented by the former possibility then we have some hard questions in front of us as to how to encourage such dissension, without getting such people killed as examples.

If as I think the situation is the latter ; then we have but one choice. And that is one that I don’t think the party currently in power has the stomach for.
There are many moderates out there. The second two sentences here seem to boil down the rather unsubtle foreign policy of far too many on the right : either they (meaning everyone but the US) do things our way or we whip out the nuclear football. And we’d of gotten away with it too (in Iraq and Afghanistan) if it weren’t for those snoopin’ liberals and their dog.
...Islam feels it can’t lose. Either they push us to the brink and somebody "pushes the button" and all good Muslims go to paradise and the rest go elsewhere - and they therefore win. Or - they push us and push us and we ultimately kneel down and show them our necks in subjugation. Again, they win.

And even moderate Muslims understand this!
Darn it, I must be missing staff meetings again. Maybe you can explain to me the "Worldwide Muslim Conspiracy" plan, again.

As I and McQ and Jon have pointed out numerous times here, there is no one worldwide "Islam." Just as there is no one worldwide "Christianity." This isn’t football with the Muslims on one side and the "West" on the other. There are, literally, hundreds of teams in the Muslim world alone. Now, what you have described above may be the preferred gameplan of OBL and some of the more radical Islamists, but it certainly does not represent the views of the VAST MAJORITY of Muslims (including other known terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Hez’bollah).
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Seems I’m missing something - did the aliens just recently deposit all these dangerous muslims on the planet?

Let’s not confuse the ability to launch random terror attacks with the ability to conquer territory that isn’t already predisposed to some from of Islam.




 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I agree, Shark, however do you honestly believe that President Ahmadinejad wants to conquer the world? Or is simply a regional player who wants to bully himself into position to dictate the course of history in Iran, Iraq, and the Gulf States? Also, the template you have provided here could just as easily be lifted up and applied to Venezuela, as well. Does Hugo Chavez honestly want to take over the world, or just become a major player in South and Central America?
Omar- Different strokes for different folks! I’m reasonably sure that Ahmadinejad would be content with destroying sections of the world if/when he could. But even absent that, you can’t minimize it- if someone is basically THE mover and shaker of Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states is someone in a position to strongly "influence" the world in lieu of outright conquest. As for Chavez, yes I do believe he’s a nut who wants to rule the world actually but he’s going to have to settle for being the oil-rich leader of a regional socialista bloc.
This is just wrong on so many levels. Firstly, what "burden of proof" are you looking for here? What crime are you accusing 1.2 billion Muslims of? Secondly, "guilt by association" is always wrong. Not to fall back on an overdramatized situation, but have you seen "Good Night and Good Luck?" Also, if we are going to use the standard of guilt by association, then again let’s include Venezuela, Cuba, NoKo, China and every other totalitarian nation on our list of "Axis of Evil" targets
Not my problem Omar. It’s YOUR problem. And the problem of those alleged "moderate" muslims. And your specific problem is what do you all do about it before we get angry enough to take it out of your hands and do the good old "kill ’em all let god sort it out" shuffle. If you don’t think it can’t happen, you’re wrong. Luckily you still have time. So get cracking.
Ah, so you’re a graduate of the Niccolo Machiavelli school of statemanship? Lovely. Fear does not breed respect. Fear cowers people while they seethe in anger. Eventually when you turn your back, they are quick to stick a knife in it and will embrace ANYONE who appears willing to stand up to you. Do we really want that?
The question is do you moderate muslims want that? Cuz that’s what you’re going to get at the end of this road we’re all going down.
This isn’t football with the Muslims on one side and the "West" on the other.
Except that it is.

Again, it’s YOUR problem Omar.

Get to work. Don’t argue with us, because it’s not advancing your solution to the problem.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
If you don’t think it can’t happen

Hooray for my poor grammar!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Courageous post, MCQ, and one which I applaud.

In the search to identify the ’enemy’ of the day, we’ve got to understand that conflicts are political and religion gets drafted to serve the political agenda, not vice-versa.

If the populations representing Islam had been converted to tree-worship, the enemy today would be tree worshippers.

The anger of the Muslim world rises from social issues, and Islam is only its tool.
We are so aghast that anyone could hate us, but we never ask why. Understanding the anger and addressing it honestly is a necessary first step to any hope for resolution.


 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
First - Communism didn’t lose - The Soviet version did. Communism or its Socialist Cousin is in a state of relative limbo at the moment and with the continuing efforts of China, Cuba, Chavez and others will rise again.
Uh, it lost in China too.

And in fact, in Cuba and North Korea it is far removed from any true form of Marxism. In fact, it fails everywhere and usually mutates into an extreme form of fascism.
Let’s not confuse the ability to launch random terror attacks with the ability to conquer territory that isn’t already predisposed to some from of Islam.
Ahh—but in Europe they have been letting Muslims in without any real effort at assimilation to the national culture. There is a serious problem, the question is the magnitude.
In the search to identify the ’enemy’ of the day, we’ve got to understand that conflicts are political and religion gets drafted to serve the political agenda, not vice-versa.
That appears to be true of Christianity. I’m not sure it can be projected to other religions.
If the populations representing Islam had been converted to tree-worship, the enemy today would be tree worshippers.
Does that explain the problems in the Balkins, Chechnya, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines?

To put it another way, consider this quote:
In a recent survey on global conflict, Monty Marshall and Ted Burr of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management found that of the 24 major armed conflicts taking place worldwide in 2005, more than half (13) involved Muslim governments or paramilitary groups on one or both sides of the fighting. What’s more, among six countries with "emerging armed conflicts," four are predominantly Muslim and another, Thailand, involves a Muslim separatist movement.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Well, bithead, there are quite few of us both in the West and in Muslim majority nations that are "moderates" and who oppose radical Islamism. Not all of us have websites, but some do. We’re out there.
I don’t deny that, Omar. And of course there are always exceptions to general statements. (Except that one..LOL) But that they... and you apparently... are exceptions, rather bears heavy on all this, don’t you think?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
If the populations representing Islam had been converted to tree-worship, the enemy today would be tree worshippers.
————-
"Does that explain the problems in the Balkins, Chechnya, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines? "

==YES. It’s about power and indluence and unresolved grievances.
But these are not necessarily limited to geographical regions. Sympathy for groups in other countries also play a part.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
==YES. It’s about power and indluence and unresolved grievances.
The population in Thailand that is Buddist isn’t a problem. The population in Thailand that is Muslim is.

Why is it that the Muslim population has all the "unresolved grievances". Not just in Thailand, but basically everywhere.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
In a recent survey on global conflict, Monty Marshall and Ted Burr of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management found that of the 24 major armed conflicts taking place worldwide in 2005, more than half (13) involved Muslim governments or paramilitary groups on one or both sides of the fighting. What’s more, among six countries with "emerging armed conflicts," four are predominantly Muslim and another, Thailand, involves a Muslim separatist movement.
Don, that could be a case of mistaking correlation with causation. The underlying assumption here appears to be that Muslim nations are more violent than non-Muslim nations. This misses so many other vital factors. This conclusion cannot stand on its own.

From the article you quoted :

This evaluation reveals the glaring reality that violence is a fact of life in many Muslim nations. But is Islam itself the impetus? Consider that a recent Pentagon intelligence analysis found that most Muslim terrorists say they are motivated by the Koran’s violent commands. The September 11 hijackers and London transit bombers made martyrdom videos in which they recited the Koran while talking of "sacrificing life for Allah." British authorities also recovered martyrdom videotapes in the foiled transatlantic sky terror plot. Shamil Basayev, architect of the 2004 Beslan school massacre in Chechnya, referred to himself as "Allah’s slave." Meanwhile, Genocidal Sudanese dictator Gen. Omar Bashir recently swore "three times in the name of Allah" that he would never allow international troops to enter Darfur. And the list goes on.
So some radicals claim to be acting in the name of God and the conclusion reached by these policy wonks is that Islam is BAD.

The article continues :

While Western liberals often insist that foreign occupation is at the root of Islamic violence, they conveniently ignore the fact that when the U.S.S. Cole was attacked, and the World Trade Center was on two separate bloody occasions, no such occupation was taking place.
I’m in no way justifying the actions of lunatics like OBL and his Al Qaeda psychos, but to set the facts straight, US military forces were continuously present in Saudi Arabia from the end of the first Gulf War until 2003. Although not present as a hostile force or as occupiers as OBL claims, their presence was the justification used by OBL for the millenium attacks and for the later 9/11 attacks. Also, let’s look at just how "Islamic" most of the terrorist radicals are. OBL and his partner Aymay Al-Zawahiri regularly issue fatwas and other legal proclamations. This is clearly in violation of established doctrine and tradition which states that only legally qualified persons (as a rule imams and the ulema) may issue fatwas and other rulings. The millenium bombing plots included the site on the Jordan River where Jesus (PBUH) is said to have been baptized and Mount Nebo, said to be the resting place of Moses (PBUH). Faithful Muslims would never have targeted such sites as they are equally holy to us as they are to Christians (Mt. Nebo is possibly debatable). Why would supposed "holy men" blow up their own holy sites? Hmmm...

As I’ve said all along, terrorist radicals love to hide behind the language of religious extremism, but their actual ideologies are nothing so otherworldly. OBL is a pan-Arab nationalist, plain and simple. Other "Islamic" radical groups are motivated by ideologies as diverse as Marxism, ethnocentrism, and nationalism. Don’t be fooled by the facade of religion that they provide. They have no religious legitimacy.
The anger of the Muslim world rises from social issues, and Islam is only its tool.
We are so aghast that anyone could hate us, but we never ask why. Understanding the anger and addressing it honestly is a necessary first step to any hope for resolution.
Laime, I agree to a certain extent and I’d like to point out another study that was done showing some of the differences between radicals and moderates and what the radicals’ beefs with us are. Notice that the Radicals just want the West out whereas Moderates want to engage with the West and build cultural and economic ties. That’s what wins this war, not falling into the trap of raw military conflict that the Radicals have set for us.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
And your specific problem is what do you all do about it before we get angry enough to take it out of your hands and do the good old "kill ’em all let god sort it out" shuffle. If you don’t think it can’t happen, you’re wrong. Luckily you still have time. So get cracking.
and
The question is do you moderate muslims want that? Cuz that’s what you’re going to get at the end of this road we’re all going down.
AND
Except that it is.

Again, it’s YOUR problem Omar.

Get to work. Don’t argue with us, because it’s not advancing your solution to the problem.
Good grief, man! Please tell me that there is at least a measure of sarcasm or satire present in your statements, shark. Otherwise, I must assume that you are promoting genocide as a reasonable policy alternative.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Omar;

Not to speak for Shark, but one gets the impression that’s exactly the solution the radical Muslims are not only proposing, but enacting... and that’s the threat Shark seems to me to be reacting to. I can’t say I blame him much.

And again, for the record, I applaud your reaction. But you sir, seem more of a rarity than I think you’d like to admit.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
...one gets the impression that’s exactly the solution the radical Muslims are not only proposing, but enacting
But who are these radicals that you guys are referring to? Hamas and Hez’bollah are regional players, as is Iran. OBL and Al Qaeda, despite their psychotic rhetoric, are basically interested in the Middle East and South Asia, not Europe or the Americas. Although I agree that some of the rhetoric emerging from various radical terrorist groups does sound extremely hostile and aggressive, I can’t find any real push for genocide (other than of Israeli Jews, which is in and of itself criminal, but does not include the other 99.9% of the world population which is non-Israeli).

I feel that we assign far too much authority, capability, and respect to what are really two-bit regional gangs of misfits. Yes, Al Qaeda struck us on our own shores and we should guard against future assaults, no doubt. I don’t see how that makes them anymore than just a bunch of misfits in a cave somewhere in Pakistan, however. Our overreaction to them gives them far too much legitimacy. Instead of the sick man of the world’s terrorist organizations, they become the great and hallowed Al Qaeda who makes even the superpowers tremble.
And again, for the record, I applaud your reaction. But you sir, seem more of a rarity than I think you’d like to admit.
While I appreciate the compliment, bithead, I think you’ll find that moderates are quite a majority amongst Muslims. Think about it. If most or even many Muslims were really radicals in sympathy with Al Qaeda, OBL, etc., would we not see constant, ongoing terrorist attacks all across the globe (including the US)? Instead we see a lot of action in the Middle East (the traditional base of the terrorists) and a story once a month or so from the Americas and Europe. That, to me, shows a definite lack of enthusiasm for terrorism by much of the world’s Muslim population.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com

 
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