10s of millions of Muslim fundamentalists perpetuating intolerance (speech, religion, gender, orientation at the least) and violence across generations on one side of the scale, and Bill Maher-being-a-jerk and American meddling in the Middle East on the other (post hoc ergo propter hoc, amirite?)
How does that balance out in your minds, when the conversation is about whether extreme beliefs are mainstream Islam?
"Mainstream Islam isn't extremist because the CIA blah blah blah blah I'm cosmopolitan and open-minded"
Also, for all the fucktards who say "what about Indonesia?", when's the last time you looked at what's illegal there and what the fucking punishments are? Blashphemy: 5 years of your life in an Indonesian prison. Sack-beatings along the way, I'm sure.
Why do so many American liberals see the tension between 'supporting liberal values' and 'tolerating wholly different value systems' and choose the latter, apologize for it endlessly, and work in as much anti-Americanism as they can along the way? These are the same types of 'liberals' who CAN'T STAND mouth-breathing conservatives and can't believe how tendentious they are.
Tolerating wholly different value systems for the sake of cultural understanding is a minor virtue if ever there fucking was one. It can go Godwin's law in one move. It's not an important thing to defend.
I'm reminded of the Islam apologist who came to speak at my history of religion class, who started off as a wise and gentle man and told us about Islam around the world for 15 minutes. As I asked him questions, he would not strictly say (I shit you not) that clitoridectomy is wrong, full-stop. He honestly made the "*I* think it's horrible, but who are we to say about other people's traditions?" argument. Given that it was the 90's at a University of California school, and day 1 of the class was all about not-ever-judging, how many people in that 200 person lecture crawled up his ass and shouted him down after I cornered him rhetorically? Fucking no one, because he wasn't a straight WASP. Liberal values are as healthy as you keep them in practice, and that practice is NOT about carving out teams and putting on jersies ("never judge other cultures, and brutally judge your own" is just inside-out xenophobia, it's no better).
Be the kind of liberal that is vigilant about liberal values, and stop shitting on your own doorstep just because Western society is imperfect and sometimes just plain wrong.
If you whole-hog champion dummy-equalities at first glance, and forsake liberties, as in "Westerners vs Muslims?? Muslims are underprivileged in that equation, so I'm on their side!" you're just the Joker to conservativism's Batman. Have some nuance.
The conservatives want to define dummy-liberties and forsake equalities exactly how they want "freedom to eat trans fats, freedom to be a wage-slave, freedom to not have gays marry in mockery of Jesus". It's fucking stupid when they dip all the way off the end of the spectrum, isn't it?
You didn't like it when they tried to make flag-burning a crime here, right? You're defending that x1000 in Muslim countries by downplaying the shit out of it at every turn.
Don't fucking defend center of Islam if the evidence isn't there, because you want them to like us. They don't. So many of the emigrants to the West SIMPLY want to remake the West in their image. So that shit cuts both ways, too. What doesn't cut both ways is human rights. The HR record through those parts of the world in the present make the HR trespasses by the West look like fucking pats on the back.
The stripes of Christianity that need a reform movement the worst tends to be the stripes of it that are bible-literalists and fundamentalists. Islam's not a fucking exception to that. They don't get a free fucking pass because the West has done wrong at times, and some Westerners are sometimes prejudiced toward them. That doesn't wash it out. Prejudice is not the same as judgement, either.
I don't care if Maher is lame sometimes, fuckin' Ben Affleck is a piece of shit.
He defends gnarly foreign ultra-conservatives, in the name of open-mindedness, by saying there aren't that many of them, in defiance of the crime & punishment facts in practically every last Muslim country.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 Exactly how many Muslims who do not wholly and absolutely oppose clitoridectomy do I need to punch until you accept that I can both oppose oppressive Islamic culture while *also* taking issue with the way we present Islamic culture as a monolithic entity? Because I'm happy to punch those Muslims -- right in their Muslim faces.
Yes, when it comes to calling minorities out on reprehensible shit, liberals are -- on the whole -- way less effective than conservatives -- because liberals like to be on the side of minorities. You've taken this very simple, very important problem and tried to make it an exclusively 'Islamic' thing -- but liberals have the same exact goddamn problem with *all* minorities.
You can criticize these practices -- the people who commit them -- and the cultures that support them -- *without* taking a shit on every single Muslim out there. You can even get Muslims to help you criticize these practices. You just have to be reasonably clever.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 Indeed, if you're at all interested in *ending* these practices, you need to be able to make this distinction -- because you're going to *need* Muslim help to end them.
Unless your solution consists of 'bomb all the countries that perform clitoridectomies until they stop performing clitoridectomies'. In which case -- uh, good luck with that.
EvilHomer - 2014-11-03 Sorry, sort of off-topic, but I love the way this video appears in the Recent Activity sidebar:
"The Great Hippo replied to That guy discussing Bill Maher Responds to Criticism Regarding Islam Comments"
The long and short of it is, clitoridectomies are most common in central Africa and are practiced by Christians there as well as Muslims. It's still wrong, but as with the other "evils of Islam", it's entirely separable from Islam itself and has everything to do with the practitioners rather than the religion.
That guy - 2014-11-05 I'm not shitting on every Muslim out there, nor is Maher. I'm saying it needs reform badly because the center of it jails people for blashphemy, shits on women and gays. etc.
I don't know what the word minority means in this context. It's fucking nonsense dipshit-equalities talk in this worldwide question.
I am not splitting off Islam into parts of the world here. "clitoridectomy is mostly African" means nothing when it's also practiced in other places. Bullshit apologetics.
Lastly, although I'd separate practitioners from each other (the center from reformists) I would not separate practitioners from the theology/religion.
You'd have to have pretty wild metaphysical ideas for something like that to be true. We're nit talking about 1 practitioner in 1,000 here.
And I do hold other religions to the same standard. Religion can be pretty ugly, and they are not all equally ugly in a given time and place.
That guy - 2014-11-05 And by calling out bullshit-equalities, I mean that the values battles are just as real as the "haves vs have-nots" battles between the West and the Islamic world. The West is not predominantly responsible for the problems in the Islamic world, Israel-Palestine aside.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-05 'I'm not shitting on every Muslim out there, nor is Maher. I'm saying it needs reform badly because the center of it jails people for blashphemy, shits on women and gays. etc.'
'Center' is a weasel word. What you mean to say is 'the majority of countries where it is the majority religion'.
'I don't know what the word minority means in this context. It's fucking nonsense dipshit-equalities talk in this worldwide question.'
Liberals *in America* have a problem calling out Muslims for reprehensible shit because Muslims are a minority *in America*. The same goes for the UK. Obviously, Muslims aren't a minority in Iran.
'I am not splitting off Islam into parts of the world here. "clitoridectomy is mostly African" means nothing when it's also practiced in other places. Bullshit apologetics.'
Someone else reading this discussion might have made the mistake of presuming clitoridectomies are exclusively a Muslim practice. Taking a moment to make sure a reader doesn't make that mistake isn't bullshit apologetics; it's being a responsible adult.
'And by calling out bullshit-equalities, I mean that the values battles are just as real as the "haves vs have-nots" battles between the West and the Islamic world. The West is not predominantly responsible for the problems in the Islamic world, Israel-Palestine aside.'
I don't care who's at fault; I care about how those problems get solved. They get solved by working with Muslims. They don't get solved by not working with Muslims.
Does Bill Maher strike you as the sort of person who thinks we should work WITH Muslims, or AGAINST Muslims?
That guy - 2014-11-05 I don't really know how Maher's mind works, and I don't think I want to.
I think that positive interaction can do the job in some times and places, absolutely. On the other hand, I think it's important to not buy into any argument that says "a few fringe Islamicists are the problem, and then there's a clear air-gap between them and a world of culturally Muslims who are reformists, etc." This is basically what Affleck wants to be true.
Discussing this on the heels of the needless invasion of Iraq complicates the conversation.
If there are clitoridectomies practiced outside of the Muslim world, that's news to me.
By "center" I did mean that if every or most every Muslim majority country has huge problems with speech, religion, gender, orientation, etc. then it's not a fringe belief. I'm not sure that the word is a weasel word in that context.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-05 Affleck is a political moron, but that's fine. He's an actor. I don't need him to understand political nuance.
Maher is a political commentator/talk show host; Harris is a moral philosopher and neuroscientist. I need them to understand nuance. I *want* them to.
I agree there is no reason to imagine an air gap between radical Islam and the rest of Islam, and I can see why Affleck would piss you off for implying otherwise. He's wrong; he just doesn't bother me because I kind of expect him to be wrong. I expect more out of Harris, and -- God help me -- I expect more out of Maher.
And yes, the barbaric practice of female castration is not an exclusively Muslim phenomenon. So one of the people Bort's post help enlightened was you.
That in no way implies it is somehow justifiable, okay, or less evil. It's just something else to keep in mind during discussions like this.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-05 Also, I called center a weasel word because when we use it, we can go back later and say we meant it in a different way than how it was taken. It's vague, which leads to people being weaselly about it.
I did not mean to imply that you were being weaselly, and apologize if I did; just that, in this context, it does not serve us well.
Pillager - 2014-11-03 Women ought to be able to retain their clitorises. Driving & abortion rights are also paramount. So, count me in with Bill Maher.
EvilHomer - 2014-11-03 Dr West nails Bill at 6:00; it's a pity he didn't press the attack.
Also, wouldn't Mr Maher's statements in regards to Tunisia *undermine* his own position? If Tunisia really is the region's most "cosmopolitan" society (read: worldly, pro-Western, "liberal"), then wouldn't the fact that Tunisia is all-in with ISIS seem to suggest that the driving factor behind the Islamic State is NOT Islam, so much as regional power politics?
rural - 2014-11-03 How is Tunisia "all-in" with Isis though? Because Tunisian citizens who are jihadists are joining Isis? But so are British citizens. All it means is that liberal democratic governments are less willing or less able to check the development of radical ideologies among their populace and reluctant to stop them from traveling abroad, even if it means that they might join up with foreign armies. Perhaps the states that have fewer citizens joining Isis are the more authoritarian ones.
EvilHomer - 2014-11-03 I don't know, Bill said it; I'm just giving him the benefit of the doubt, for sake of argument.
Old_Zircon - 2014-11-03 Indonesia's not really a shining counterexample here.
baleen - 2014-11-03 I wish the universe would stop giving this hack comedian blowhard money. I hate him, I hate the way he talks, I hate his tiny brain, and I hate his sleazy Palm Beach motherfucking face.
Old_Zircon - 2014-11-03 He was the worst part of Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, and that's saying something.
EvilHomer - 2014-11-03 Wait, was he IN Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death?!
EvilHomer - 2014-11-03 (I've never watched the movie. I only know of it because that old cougar from Detroit Rock City had the film on her IMDB resume, and the name stuck with me because it sounded like the best name for a movie ever.)
EvilHomer - 2014-11-03 Oh wow, Karen Mistal was in it! How could that NOT be good?!?
Adham Nu'man - 2014-11-03 So, Bill Maher's solution is to bomb every Muslim country?
Also, his racism clearly shows up when the guy talks about Indonesia and Bangladesh and Maher's response is "but they're not Arabs".
EvilHomer - 2014-11-03 He probably is a racist, but we must remember that being racist doesn't necessarily make him wrong. It's the classic ad hominem problem; a racist may still be correct, in spite of the fact that he is (to many eyes) "evil" and abhorrent.
Of course, Bill Maher is an entertainer, not an intellectual; the finer points of critical thinking are of little concern to him, and may actually work *against* him, owing to the fact that his audience (by nature or design) tends to be more receptive to sophistry than they are to reason. Bill flounders about spluttering "I'm not a racist!" because he feels he has to, when intellectually speaking, he'd probably be better off facing Ben Affleck's accusations with a simple "So what?"
Adham Nu'man - 2014-11-03 Islam has a lot of problems, and as a nonbeliever I tend to think most all religions do more bad than good. I think most muslims are "backwards" in some way or another (either they are homophobic, or believe women should dress and/or behave a certain way, etc.).
However, I must also be objective and admit that these Problems in Islam are not inherent to the religion or its sacred texts anymore than any other religion. The Bible has some pretty nasty shit in it, and Christianity has committed a fair share of monstrosities in its past. The same applies to Mormonism. Things change, people change, religious leaders change.
Comments and opinions are not emitted in a vacuum, and Bill Maher, as someone who has a show whose only job is to spout opinions, should be very aware of that. Once you have identified these problems within the Muslim world, you need to figure out what to do with them. Do you wipe out the whole muslim world? Do you ban every muslim from entering the U.S.? Do you ban the religion of Islam? These would be very racist, drastic, draconian measures with huge implications. Simply spouting out stupid shit like "Islam is the worst religion in the world" and then sitting back with a shit-eating grin on your face is the kind of thing you'd expect from a youtube commenter.
Finally, before aggressively pointing fingers against the whole muslim world, remember that the rise of fanaticism in Islam is a direct result of the C.I.A. financing religious nuts to fight the Russians during the cold war. For fuck's sake, even ISIS wouldn't be a problem right now if the States hadn't "brought Democracy" to Iraq. So, if you go into the muslim world, shit all over the floor and walls, and then muslims covered in shit come back into your country, the very least you can do is try to find a constructive way to help the muslim community and world leave the fucking mental stone-age they are in by building something with them, rather than just shooing them saying "Bad dog! Bad dog!".
There are some very old and deep wounds at play here, unless you are prepared for a full on genocide (and that's not going to happen), we need to figure out how to heal these wounds. Bill Maher is doing fuck all to help.
EvilHomer - 2014-11-03 In fact, I'll go one step further and point out that, if Mr Maher were truly committed to the sort of high-minded liberal ideals he professes to champion in that UC Berkeley video below (http://www.poetv.com/video.php?vid=139647), dismissing Mr Affleck with a casual "so what?" is PRECISELY the sort of thing he'd do!
He wouldn't flop around, nattering on with all this "I'm not a racist/ Some of my best friends are Muslims!" stuff. He'd say, look, Ben Affleck. Look, American people watching this broadcast. The content of my character is not the issue here. Play the argument, not the man. Critical thinking: "that's how it's done, kids". etc etc etc
But no, of course he doesn't do this, of course he stoops down to playing in the mud with all the other ad hominem-ers, Why? Because Bill Maher is NOT a "liberal in the truest sense of the word", interested only in reason and free speech! No. He's just a big fat smelly jerk who STILL beats his wife!!!
bongoprophet - 2014-11-03 5 stars for a summary which I would never have had the patience to write and which still is more succinct than it would have been.
EvilHomer - 2014-11-03 Some good points, Mr Nu'man! One thing...
"Comments and opinions are not emitted in a vacuum, and Bill Maher, as someone who has a show whose only job is to spout opinions, should be very aware of that ... Simply spouting out stupid shit and then sitting back with a shit-eating grin on your face is the kind of thing you'd expect from a youtube commenter."
Here we're diving headfirst into the Sarkeesian effect; a difficult issue which, as I've stated previously, I really don't want to get in the middle of. However, I think Bill's defense would be the standard one used by public intellectuals who wish to absolve themselves of broader commitments: "I'm just generating discussion! I'm not saying ban Muslims. *I'm* simply pointing out that they're all evil and sexist and dangerously violent. Do with that knowledge what you will."
EvilHomer - 2014-11-03 ^ there's really nothing you can say to a person who is using this sort of reasoning without making the discussion worse.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 While engaging in racism doesn't _make_ Maher wrong, it's a very likely contender for what _caused_ him to be wrong.
EvilHomer - 2014-11-03 Mr Hippo: Possibly. I think with Bill it's a combination of racism, his massive ego, decades spent hanging out with neo-liberal state-murder apologists, senility, career opportunism, genuine conviction, and maybe even a little boredom.
But still, one must be willing to set all that aside when it comes time to analyze his arguments.
Bort - 2014-11-03 Like I said in the other video, if you (you = Maher I suppose) want to say that there is a great deal of misogyny and intolerance in the Muslim world, very few liberals will disagree with you. It's when you start making like misogyny and intolerance are inherent or central to Islam that it starts making a lot of people uncomfortable, because you're saying there's no such thing as a good Muslim.
I don't buy the "but the Koran says" argument because, as every atheist knows, the faithful rarely read their own holy books cover to cover. Okay then, if you're following that observation to its conclusion, it means that you cannot reasonably claim the faithful believe every last jot and tittle of their holy books.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 Basically: If you think Islam is a magical spell that turns people into misogynistic, homophobic, violent troglodytes, well... that means you believe in magic.
So, yep: Bill Maher and Sam Harris believe in magic.
Rodents of Unusual Size - 2014-11-03 I think culturally you have a lot more brainwashing and general obedience to religion within the Muslim world than the West.
I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian church and I can tell you why it was morally reprehensible but at least it wasn't the government embodied. There is a very common thread with Muslim countries to intertwine religion and state in a way that just doesn't exist here, no matter how annoying the influence of right wing Christianity within its followers in government.
In the West there are safeguards to make sure people don't go to prison for not having faith in God. There is a willingness in Muslim societies to go along with the trend of combining religion and state, there is a willingness to punish people for not going along with those laws and obeying them, and the Koran, and it's because of this that Maher was making the point that the majority of Muslims have beliefs that are totally immoral. Because if the majority of Muslims believed in having a society that didn't have these horrible fucking punishments and beliefs THEY WOULDNT HAVE THEM TO BEGIN WITH.
Bort - 2014-11-03 "Because if the majority of Muslims believed in having a society that didn't have these horrible fucking punishments and beliefs THEY WOULDNT HAVE THEM TO BEGIN WITH."
Ah, the go-to excuse of why the oppressed deserve it.
Go do some Googling for images of Iran or Afghanistan in the 1960s. Those used to be places that were fairly Western, a lot more than they are today, in their attitudes towards women (for example). The women are dressed in Western fashions, they're not covering themselves up, they're even studying the sciences.
So what happened? Well in Afghanistan, after the Soviet invasion, the Taliban was able to take over, and impose a repressive regime thanks to the arms the CIA provided to them. So no, it's not as simple as there was a popular Taliban uprising; they just happened to be sufficiently crazy and armed to seize power.
Iran's a little more complicated: after decades of the Shah, about the only institution that hadn't been coopted by the West was fringe Shiite Islam, and that's where resistance to the West was able to form. So the rise of the mullahs did come with the blessing of the people (a lot of them anyway), but Iran has since been suffering massive buyer's remorse -- when you turn to one tyrant to depose another, that new tyrant is not going to hold the people's love for very long. The young people in Iran especially had little interest in ayatollahs, and had been turning increasingly to the West until some idiot started making noises about how Iran was part of an "Axis of Evil", and undid a vast amount of good will.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 Point being, RoUS -- one way or another -- the problem is with certain Islamic cultures (see: Taliban), not with Islam itself. You don't blame Karl Marx for Joseph Stalin. If you have to blame *somebody* for Joseph Stalin, then start with Joseph Stalin.
Also, you seem to grossly underestimate the ability for a tyrannical, radical minority to overwhelm a non-radical majority, particularly when they are willing to engage in all sorts of horribly twisted tactics that the non-radical majority isn't. See: The Nazi party.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 It also helps when the current political / economic atmosphere is very volatile; radicalism offers simple solutions for complex problems, which is very alluring -- and gives radical minorities the political traction they need to overcome non-radical majorities. Or, put another way: The shittier things get for you, the more that Hitler guy starts to make sense.
If America had to deal with the circumstances a lot of these Islamic countries dealt with, I guarantee you that in two generations, Christians would be instituting a theocracy where women get stoned and atheists are burned at the stake.
Three generations, tops.
Rodents of Unusual Size - 2014-11-03 Not to press the point too much but I'm not too big a fan of the source of Islam to begin with seeing as it was a fanatical cult that killed assloads of people. Mohammad equated killing his enemies as a sacred act so it's not really fair to equate it with other religions. Each religion has its own quirks but the roots of Islam are especially horrific.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 Dude, have you read the Old Testament? Judaism basically started as genocidal snuff-porn. There's good evidence that the God of the Old Testament was actually a God of War. And I've met and spoken with Christians who take the genocide in the Old Testament as rationale for the sacredness of killing Muslims.
Islam is not the Eye of Sauron; it's just another religion with a blood-soaked past. Treating it like it's a *particularly* dangerous idea is, in of itself, a dangerous idea. As an idea, it's no more dangerous than Christianity -- or communism.
The big difference is that Christianity has had the opportunity to evolve in an industrialized setting. But at their core, the fundamental idea remains the same: Magical sky-wizard punishes and rewards you based on His arbitrary ruleset.
Rodents of Unusual Size - 2014-11-03 I have often stated this but I don't believe Jesus was real and I ascribe to the theory that he was a fictional creation. The Old Testament is a bunch of cavemen making human sacrifices and shit and beating each other to death with rocks.
When people say "Islam has a problem" in that it is still attracted to these ideals it is important to note that whereas Christianity has a bunch of violent shit in the Bible, Jesus never gutted anyone. The fact that Muslims worship a man who was literally a murderer gives me chills. There's something especially distasteful about it and the religion desperately clings to calling itself peaceful but when has Islam ever actually backed that shit up? I mean in the West we established the Geneva Convention and various human rights groups and laws. These laws simply don't exist in Muslim countries.
When you compare Islam to other religions and the way it snakes itself into government like a parasite, you have to look at how many people support those ideals and the truth of the matter is that most Muslims don't consider themselves victims of those barbaric rules, they wholly ascribe to them and support them. That is the reason our cultures will never get along.
That guy's post was brilliant and he points out exactly what upsets me which is that emigrants to Western countries escaping the worst shit imaginable would have no problem propping up the same system of AWFUL SEXIST INTOLERANT PRIMITIVE BULLSHIT in Britain, Europe and the US. They are arrogant enough to come to our countries and want nothing more than to set up laws that make it illegal to mock their fucking caveman beliefs. They don't ascribe to free speech or expression in their own countries because MOST OF THEM DONT BELIEVE IN THOSE CONCEPTS.
This isn't a huge stretch of the imagination here. I've met Muslims whose company I've enjoyed but I think they're a bunch of fucking morons and I'm glad they don't run the country I live in, because I enjoy not living in a country where I can be executed for having sex.
Bort - 2014-11-03 "Not to press the point too much but I'm not too big a fan of the source of Islam to begin with seeing as it was a fanatical cult that killed assloads of people."
Have you ever talked to a non-fundamentalist Christian? Ask them what they think of Noah's flood, speaking in tongues, the slaying of the Jebusites, and particularly what those stories mean to modern man. The answer you're going to get is: not a whole lot. Even if you hold there was once a magical age in which angels and demons walked with man, that was then and this is now. Back then, if the Angel of the Lord commanded you to smite your neighbors, that's what you did; these days you find a doctor who can put you on the proper meds.
To those who ask, "isn't it ludicrous that Mohammed allegedly rode a winged horse to heaven?" I would answer: no, what would be fucking retarded would be if he rode a flying manta ray to heaven, because they don't even breathe air.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 'The fact that Muslims worship a man who was literally a murderer gives me chills.'
The Christians *also* worship a literal murderer. A guy who murders all the first-born of Egypt just to prove a point ('But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart') is pretty much as literal as you can get, murder-wise.
Yeah, I get it, Muhammad was a real guy and the Christian God is fictitious, but that's irrelevant: Christians *believe* God is real, and even if they didn't, by worshiping the account, they validate those atrocities.
Shit like God killing Job's family to demonstrate his faith -- destroying two cities because some old dude couldn't find enough nice people -- flooding the earth, calling for the slaughter of women and children -- worshiping THAT is okay; but worshiping Muhammad -- that's where you're going to draw your fucking line?
You're more troubled by the possibility of us worshiping a warlord who killed a lot of people than us worshiping an immortal madman who KILLED AN ENTIRE PLANET. If Muhammad is Hitler, God is fucking GRAND MOFF TARKIN: "I'll take your six million Jews and raise you TWO BILLION ALDERAANIANS."
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 Let me just say, RoUS: I realize you're trying to be reasonable about this, but I think you have internalized a lot of Islamophobia without realizing it.
In a previous comment thread, you mentioned how you believed that in every Islamic country, the practice of atheism would get you killed. Now, you're stating that your problem with Islam is that they worship a warlord who directly ordered the deaths of maybe a hundred people -- rather than a God who directly ordered the deaths of *millions*, if not *billions*.
I'm not trying to erode your credibility here or make you feel like shit. I'm just trying to get you to stop for a moment and re-evaluate why you believe the things you believe.
Islam is not the enemy. Islam is not special; Islam is not magical. If anything, by arguing otherwise, you empower radical Islamic fundamentalism -- because the notion that Islam is the most dangerous religion in the world is precisely what Islamic fundamentalists *want* to sell. They *want* to believe that Islam is especially dangerous. They *want* us to fear it -- and as a consequence, fear *them*.
Bort - 2014-11-03 My Little Hippo: Islam Is Not Magic
"If anything, by arguing otherwise, you empower radical Islamic fundamentalism -- because the notion that Islam is the most dangerous religion in the world is precisely what Islamic fundamentalists *want* to sell. They *want* to believe that Islam is especially dangerous. They *want* us to fear it -- and as a consequence, fear *them*."
There's an even bigger danger, namely that which can happen when you resolve to fight monsters. Let's take a reasonable guy like Christopher Hitchens, who had no use for the excesses practiced by Muslim fundamentalists. And I am with him as far as that goes. But Hitchens turned that into a hatred for Islam in general, which made him overly eager to cheerlead for a certain military exercise that started in 2003. Killed 100000 Iraqis in the first year alone, and the ongoing repercussions are costing thousands more lives every year ... top that, Mohammed.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 I love Hitchens but his position on the Iraq War (among other things) always made me sad. Also:
'When you compare Islam to other religions and the way it snakes itself into government like a parasite'
'...emigrants to Western countries escaping the worst shit imaginable would have no problem propping up the same system of AWFUL SEXIST INTOLERANT PRIMITIVE BULLSHIT in Britain, Europe and the US. They are arrogant enough to come to our countries and want nothing more than to set up laws that make it illegal to mock their fucking caveman beliefs'
On further evaluation of your post, RoUS, I rescind my attempts to be gentle on account of recognizing that your perspective is indistinguishable from that of any intensely anti-immigrant political party. I hope you one day grow out of your absurd jingoism and come join us at the grown-up table.
We have cupcakes.
EvilHomer - 2014-11-05 Hitchens' position on the Iraq War was fairly solid. He raised some very good points, whether you ultimately agreed with the war or not, and he kept his criticism confined to where it belonged: Saddam Hussein's Baathist regime. Hitchens never said all Muslims were evil, or at least never claimed that Muslim evilness would justify OIF. He said that THIS ONE minority group, composed of largely secular Arab socialists who actually fought against Muslims fundamentalists, were evil, and it was in everybody's interest for them to be removed from power.
Also, in RoUS' defense, I agree that everyone should be allowed to mock Muslims' "cavemen beliefs". I am adamantly opposed to thought-policing, and do not support ANY hate speech legislation - although I would ask that, as a matter of individual ethical choice, people refrain from being too unkind to one another. (such as by not calling Muslims "cavemen"; they had the most advanced civilization in the world until recently)
In Canada's case, however, I'd actually *support* the Muslim attempts to criminalize anti-Muslim speech, on the grounds that the Canadian legal system, if it DOES decide to criminalize speech deemed "hateful", MUST apply this protection equally across the board, regardless of whether the group being protected is considered to be in-line with the goals of the current political hegemony. Modern-day blasphemy laws are bad enough, but blasphemy laws applied arbitrarily to only those groups who harbour politically dissident beliefs, is nothing short of naked tyranny.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-05 I never took issue with Hitchens' problems with Hussein; I only took issue that he believed it was possible to intervene in Iraq in such a way that Iraq would be better off for our intervention. History tells us differently.
And while I take no issue mocking backward Muslim beliefs (or backward beliefs in general), I do take issue with RoUS' use of language, which implicates all emigrants as backward cavemen attempting to overthrow the country they've arrived at.
The rhetoric is inflammatory, and quite typical of such 'respectable' institutions like the BNP.
EvilHomer - 2014-11-05 Well, here again, I'd go back to my previous comments about racism and ad hominem. Whether RoUS is or is not a racist is not the issue here. (having read many RoUS posts over the years, I would say without hesitation that he is *not*, and that any resemblance he may bear to a BNP blackshirt is purely coincidental)
And anyways, when all is said and done, Hitchens was right: Iraq is better off without Saddam.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-05 I didn't accuse RoUS of being a racist. I find accusations like "you are a racist" to be boorish and pointless -- largely because they prompt people to say things like 'I've known him for years; he's no racist!', but also because I don't like the whole witch trial esque 'who are the racists among us' style of discussion such accusations lead to.
I accused RoUS of making what are easily interpreted as racist statements, and taking a position that is pretty much indistinguishable from the BNP's.
I'm sure RoUS is a wonderful person who smells nice. But if you're going to use phrases like 'emigrants', 'arrogant', and 'caveman beliefs' in close proximity to one another, you should take some time to think about how those phrases are being arranged -- and what that arrangement implies.
Void 71 - 2014-11-03 The problem with Maher is that he has the same blind spot that a lot of jewish leftists have. He's right about Islam, but he's wrong about Israel. It's intellectually dishonest and more than a little wormy to defend what Israel has done to the Palestinians, as Maher has done on more than one occasion, and then call out Muslims for similarly atrocious behavior.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 I'm sorry, you lost me at 'Maher ... [is] right'.
If this man is ever right about anything, it's by sheer coincidence alone. He possesses the critical thinking skills of a dead lemur. A dead lemur that voted *Republican*.
StanleyPain - 2014-11-03 The "we all have to apologize for Muslims" syndrome will eventually stop once what is happening in other countries eventually comes to the US, which it will. Things like Muslim religious leaders petitioning the government for special treatment and laws wherein you cannot even mock their beliefs publicly (which ALMOST happened in Canada) without possibly being charged with hate crimes, or the demand that Muslims be exempt from the rule of law so they can live by their own Sharia code.
I've come to accept the fact that we live in a culture right now that, for whatever reason, is filled with a deep, deep cowardice when it comes to Islam, probably because the threat of violent reprisals from their religious leaders and factions is a very real one and they have successfully intimidated even secular people into pleading with everyone else that we do not "wake the beast", so to speak. Feeble minded spiritualists, the same kind who went through their "you can just be into Jesus and not the rest of Christianity" phase, now want you to believe that Islam can totally be this awesome thing so long as you do the usual pick-and-choose buffet of ignoring all the terrible things about the religion and only focusing on the good things (all of which were, of course, plagiarized from Christianity, so it's a bit redundant).
We also like believing this myth that the extremist Muslims are somehow "out there somewhere" and don't represent the majority of Muslims, despite the fact the majority of Muslims still enforce primitive nonsense on their own people like the oppression of women right inside of first-world countries and fight any sort of cultural integration even when they have wound up fleeing other places around the globe because of the horrors of their own "faith" has brought on them.
If Muslims don't want to be perceived as being in the same group as people like Anjem Choudary (who as I write this is literally campaigning for ISIS in Britain) they should probably do something about it. As it stands, we still live in a world where people who criticize or mock Islam pay a public price for it in a way that people who mock most other religions do not. This imbalance apparently doesn't concern people who, despite not being religious themselves, feel totally compelled to help extremists tighten their grip around free speech and the idea of open forum.
Adham Nu'man - 2014-11-03 A few muslims have done something about it: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C5CHFA_e nCR507CR507&ion=1&espv=2&es_th=1&ie=UTF-8#q=nobel%20peace%20prize% 20winners
Adham Nu'man - 2014-11-03 poetv screwed up the link, just google "Nobel Peace Prize Winners" and count how many muslims are there.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 I hope to God extremist radical Muslims never find a way to weaponize the stupidity contained in StanleyPain's post. If they do, we might all be doomed.
Adham Nu'man - 2014-11-03 "As it stands, we still live in a world where people who criticize or mock Islam pay a public price for it in a way that people who mock most other religions do not."
I do agree with this statement.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 Are you fucking *serious*? How the fuck do you people even dress yourselves in the morning? Do you have handlers who help feed you?
Imagine what would happen if a politician in America came on television, held up a Quran, and started talking about all the inaccuracies in it. Depending on his or her state, his numbers might go *up*.
Now imagine what would happen if that same politician in America came on television, held up a Bible, and started talking about all the inaccuracies in it. It would be political *suicide*.
If you seriously think you pay a higher price in America for criticizing Islam than Christianity, then I'm sorry: You're a fucking idiot.
Adham Nu'man - 2014-11-03 Speaking only for myself. I don't have handlers. I even typed this on my own.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 I mean seriously, if all you mean to say is that liberals in America have this weird relationship with Islam where a lot of them are afraid to even talk shit about Muslims for fear of being categorized as 'racists', then yes: That is totally a true thing. It's also a stupid thing, and we should put an end to it.
But that's a whole world of difference from this bullshit narrative you're constructing where we live in a nation where Islam and its practitioners are somehow insulated from criticism or harm in a way other religions aren't. This whole 'We can't say nasty things about Muslims' nonsense is a strictly *liberal* phenomenon, and I don't know if any of you have been paying attention, but America is *not* a liberal nation.
I mean, you all realize that Muslims are still regularly attacked in America, right? That we've imprisoned people merely for *being* Muslim? That politicians and media personalities come on TV and say awful things about the Muslims, and no one really gives a fuck because, hey, it's not like they said awful things about *Christians*!
The funny thing is, I'm more than happy to talk loudly about my Muhammad / Harry Potter slash-fiction at all the parties I go to, but apparently in the Bizarro America you're describing, I'm going to pay some awful price for my obsession with Harry Potter sinking his 'Elder Wand' into Muhammad's 'prayer-hole'.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 Okay. I'm being an asshole here. I just get angry over a lot of this stuff because holy crap, it frustrates me. I know that my mockery and derision don't help the matter -- they're just old habits of mine I've not yet quite shaken.
Adham Nu'man - 2014-11-03 No problem, sometimes I type stupid shit then somebody else types something else and I go "hey, that makes sense. I think I typed some stupid shit before" and move on in my life with a tidbit of newfound knowledge.
John Holmes Motherfucker - 2014-11-03 I think the real problem is that most of us don't know dick about Islam. The Muslims I've encountered in real life have not only been good people, they've been, in many cases, EXEMPLARY. I had a landlord who was Muslim, and he turned a hotel that he owned into a place that welcomed registered sex offenders. He treated them decently, gave them supervision and a curfew. He even hired a few. It was the most "Christian" thing I've ever seen, and a boon to the community. I'm sure that we'll never know know how many men women and children never became victims because of this remarkable ministry.
And then there are the monsters on TV, beheading people. I get that muslims aren't above criticism, but I can't imagine anything that you could say about all my former landlord that you could apply to the beheaders.
What Maher usually says about Islam is that a majority of Muslims the world over believe that a person who leaves the faith should be put to death. Is this true? How the fuck do I know? For that matter, how the fuck does Bill Maher know? There seem to be real problems with Islam itself, but the problem is not all Muslims.
Jesus Christ, I don't believe I just said #NotAllMuslims
I know that I'm kind of obsessed, but did anyone else think of GamerGate? There are some parallels.
EvilHomer - 2014-11-03 Please don't go dragging that GamerGate monstrosity in here, Mr Holmes. Yes, I mentioned above how Bill's rhetorical tactics mirror those of Ms Sarkeesian, but they are two separate issues and also shut up.
Anyway, more to the point, Mr Maher is NOT saying that *all* Muslims are evil. I don't think anyone of Mr Maher's level of education and position within the popular discourse would make the mistake of relying on an absolute statement regarding social groups. NOBODY does that (cough cough), except for schoolchildren and Youtube commenters.
No, what Mr Maher has been saying is that *most* Muslims are evil, and that their evilness is causally related to their Muslimness. Your anecdotal "good Muslim" tells us nothing, except that you anecdotally know a good Muslim. Furthermore, your third paragraph suggests that you actually AGREE with Mr Maher ("there seem to be real problems with Islam itself"), so why argue against him?
FABIO - 2014-11-03 Seriously, man. Do you hang vagina scented garlic on your windows to keep out evil gamer spirits?
John Holmes Motherfucker - 2014-11-03 >>Please don't go dragging that GamerGate monstrosity in here, Mr Holmes. Yes, I mentioned above how Bill's rhetorical tactics mirror those of Ms Sarkeesian, but they are two separate issues and also shut up.
Excuse me? Can't finish what you started?
>>Seriously, man. Do you hang vagina scented garlic on your windows to keep out evil gamer spirits?
Hahahahaha Fuck you.
The parallel seems very real to me. The moderates claiming the extremists don't represent them, but the extremists still making themselves the public face, and causing a whole lot of trouble. Anyway, never mind, I got nothing more to say about that.
EvilHomer - 2014-11-03 John, if anyone could finish the discussion, I'd love to have it, but you know as well as I do - or at least, I *hope* you know as well as I do - that this discussion will lead us nowhere. Everything has been said already. The fagdance is scripted and stale. I also don't fucking care.
Anyway, since I know YOU like thinking about Anita, check Adham Nu'man above, specifically:
>> Comments and opinions are not emitted in a vacuum, and Bill Maher, as someone who has a show whose only job is to spout opinions, should be very aware of that. Once you have identified these problems within the Muslim world, you need to figure out what to do with them. Do you wipe out the whole muslim world? Do you ban every muslim from entering the U.S.? Do you ban the religion of Islam? These would be very racist, drastic, draconian measures with huge implications. Simply spouting out stupid shit like "Islam is the worst religion in the world" and then sitting back with a shit-eating grin on your face is the kind of thing you'd expect from a youtube commenter.
and my reply:
>> Here we're diving headfirst into the Sarkeesian effect; a difficult issue which, as I've stated previously, I really don't want to get in the middle of. However, I think Bill's defense would be the standard one used by public intellectuals who wish to absolve themselves of broader commitments: "I'm just generating discussion! I'm not saying ban Muslims. *I'm* simply pointing out that they're all evil and sexist and dangerously violent. Do with that knowledge what you will." There's really nothing you can say to a person who is using this sort of reasoning without making the discussion worse.†
So yes John, as I said, we've noticed it, it's been discussed. It also may explain why you seem so willing to side with Bill Maher on this. Who cares?
†(including this repost, I suspect)
NOW WHAT DOES BOXXY THINK ABOUT BILL MAHER?! Seriously, I like Boxxy. I would love to hear her opinions on Bill Maher, and on Muslims for that matter. Does she think they're WEIRD, GROSS, or BEAUTIFUL?
SolRo - 2014-11-03 Xtain terrorists just don't get as much press, and of course the xtains in media and government love to deny that xtians could even be capable of terrorism.
for example, an xtain commiting mass murder would be played off as having mental illness or political ideological motivations, while a muslim doing the same could only be doing it for religious reasons.
countvelcro - 2014-11-03 "Islam" literally means "submission" and I have serious philosophical problems with that. But fuck Bill Maher in his stupid fucking face. He's just an unintelligent shill.
Spaceman Africa - 2014-11-03 Its really easy to gauge what videos will have essays worth of text in the comments. 1 star for Bill Maher though, that guy sucks.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 Yes. Look: If *nothing* else, all of us -- Christians, atheists, and Muslims alike -- can unite behind the fundamental fact that if there *was* a God, he'd certainly hate the shit out of this smug, condescending, intellectually vapid chucklefuck of a talentless hack.
Sexy Duck Cop - 2014-11-03 A lot of self-righteous liberals up in here that will bend over backwards to defend values they would otherwise find deplorable in the name of putting on a progressive facade.
It's funny how 99% of the people here have no problem criticizing--and rightfully so--the barbaric passages in the Bible, or the heinous atrocities commit by Christians and Jews in the name of their faith. Yet when a very, very, very obvious pattern emerges in Islamic countries, they can't defend them fast enough.
You know guys, you should try talking to a woman who lived in a Muslim country sometime. Be sure to tell them how racist/sexist they are for criticizing their own culture. They'll love that.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 Have you taken the time to read what anyone above has written? Because it doesn't sound like you have.
No one's said anything like what you're claiming; indeed, I *have* spoken to a woman who lived in a Muslim country -- and I would never criticize her for criticizing her own culture.
The majority of Islamic countries are horrible places to live, and I -- and, so far, no one in this entire comment thread -- seems to have any problem with criticizing the laws and actions of those countries, nor opposing the terrible sort of cultures that support these insane and barbaric policies.
The problem is that in our desperation to oppose barbaric culture, we shut any and all Muslims out of the discussion -- like the women who actually live there. If you want to end these barbaric practices, you need to actually STOP, LISTEN, and RESPECT the people suffering from these barbaric practices.
And in a plot-twist that even M. Night Shyamalan couldn't see, a lot of those people are Muslims, too.
Adham Nu'man - 2014-11-03 Sexy Duck Cop: I'll humor you. Islam is backwards and filled with hate-mongering.
What do we do now? Where do we go from there?
Bort - 2014-11-03 "Yet when a very, very, very obvious pattern emerges in Islamic countries"
I think you mean "Islamic theocracies". Or, for the sake of brevity, "theocracies". Do you really think the Dominionists would be a whole lot better if they took over in the US? Sure, it'd take them a couple generations to beat people into forgetting the liberties they're used to, but once that was done they'd bear a striking resemblance to the most sphinctery parts of the ass of the Middle East.
"Mike Taliban Nelson" indeed.
The Great Hippo - 2014-11-03 I realize that this is an incredibly radical idea for most people, but: If you want to oppose barbaric practices, you need the support of the people suffering from those barbaric practices.
You can't treat Muslims who suffer under these practices as if they're operating under the cultural equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome. They're not ammunition for our arguments; they're real people who need real help. When we insist that Islam is a uniquely dangerous idea -- or a scourge on the world -- we invalidate their existence. We say, "Your only purpose is to serve as a justification for why Islam is so wrong". They're Muslims: If you oppose Islam, YOU OPPOSE *THEM*.
If you want to help them, you need to respect them. And if you want to respect them, you need to respect Islam -- or, at least, accept that it is possible to be both a Muslim and *not* a terrible person. And no, you don't need to be a 'nominal' Muslim to pull it off -- anymore than you need to be a 'nominal' Christian.
If all you want to say is that the majority of Muslim countries have terrible policies regarding the rights of women, homosexuals, and non-Muslims, then I'm with you. If all you want to say is that, according to some poll, a majority of Muslims have incredibly backward views regarding civil liberties, then I'm with you.
But if you want to insist that Islam is some sort of magical memetic thought-plague that's endangering the world, then you're an idiot, and you need to be stopped.
Binro the Heretic - 2014-11-03 Muslims do horrible shit. Christians do horrible shit. Jews do horrible shit. Hindus do horrible shit. Even Buddhists do horrible shit. And they ALL use their religion as justification. And back in the old days, all our ancestors used Odin, Osiris, Zeus or whatever other fantasies they came up with to justify their actions. You don't like what we're doing? Well, we have permission from a supreme being, so tough titty.
Religions, even when they have noble beginnings, are always coopted by those in power and used to justify the horrible things they do to stay in power. I look forward to the day when we look at all religions the same way we look at other idiocy like new age crystal and wiccan bullshit.
Adham Nu'man - 2014-11-03 And that day there will be peace...
I doubt it.
We find the ideology to justify our means, not the other way around.
Binro the Heretic - 2014-11-03 Yeah, but it will be easier to call assholes out when they do horrible shit.
As of now, they can say, "You've got to respect my culture!" or "If you criticize me, you criticize the non-assholes who share my beliefs!"
SolRo - 2014-11-04 I know some of you guys might have the western blinders on, and may not have noticed, but "freedom" and "democracy" are the replacement excuses for doing horrible shit to other countries/people.
That guy - 2014-11-05 so is "being a good Muslim" and "supporting our traditions"
Jet Bin Fever - 2014-11-04 5 star for the walls of text I just muddled through to get down here. I only stop in here for little breaks to watch silly movies, but then I get the bonus of reading long and surprisingly well-thought out diatribes. Sincerely glad to know you all.