Us and Them

February 19, 2006 at 6:10 am (Benjamin Franklin, Religion)

Behead those who insult Islam

-Muslim street, 2006


“…if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.”

Benjamin Franklin, 1771


See the difference?



  1. TSS said,

    If you or I went to a mosque we would take off our shoes and not make fun of women in burlap sacks (I’m assuming women are allowed in the same mosques that non-Muslims are permitted to enter). Basically in general we would act in accordance to their customs as a sign of *respect*. But when they try to topple one of the most sacred pillars of our democratic secular culture by outlawing free speech, they may be asking for "respect" in name, but in reality they want submission. They demand submission to their culture but mainly to their religion.And the knee jerk impulse to accomodate these fanatics is appallingly disgraceful. I’m shocked by how bent over backwards so many people are to appease them. I’m pretty sure that if Osama bin Laden came and raped their sister, these apologists would find a way to say the whore asked for it.The good from this cartoon incident is that it shows pretty clearly where people stand.Are you willing to fight for freedom of speech? We may have to (for real this time).

  2. LogJammin said,

    Jalalablog has really become the new ‘No Spin Zone’. I’ll spell it out: Muslims – 99.8% good (maybe 88.8% good) people. Fantatics – 100% bad people. All I’m saying is Hate the Playas, not the Game.

    • Eredar Giblet said,

      Sorry but the game sucks too.
      Islam commands its followers to dominate the world whatever it takes including robbing, raping, terror, killing, beheading.

  3. TSS said,

    No one here paints with such a broad brush as to lump all Muslims into the "fanatic" category, but when very few of them speak out against their own fanatics it causes one to wonder. The majority are good people.I’m offended that you thought we needed the reminder. So anyway, we’ve established that Muslims are being represented by fanatics who burn down churches, embassies, and light Christians on fire ( ). We can also see that the majority are good people who *do very little* to stop it, much like Germans who looked the other way in the 1930s. Which is all a build up to… what?… that’s why we should censor free speech? I can’t imagine that’s what you meant. So where is this going? Did you just want to put JB, or most likely me, on the defensive for not offering up the "most Muslims are not fanatics" cannard?I will say this, people who react to cartoons in such a way are not people whose opinions I value. And a culture of repression and slavery is not one I respect. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s a fringe element or mainstream Muslim society.

  4. jones said,

    first of all, jb, that post is remarkable for its logical consistency. comparing a rich, articulate, educated founding father of a country which held the principles of freedom of religion as basic tenets to some random fanatic is very fair to the population each to regular muslims speaking out against radicals, i think that, just maybe, regular people might be scared by radicals? and wait, they don’t have the best police forces in some of these middle east countries, do they? so maybe they’re right to be scared, because the rule of law isn’t quite in ascendence? didn’t something happen in iran in the 80’s, something that led to the current regime? and in afghanistan that led to the taliban? wasn’t some bin laden dude trained by the us there?all i’m saying is, there are some crazy violent people out there right now. do you think there would be so many of them if they’d lived in peace, prosperity and stability all their lives? and killing people NEVER makes those that they leave behind happy with the killers.

  5. JB said,

    I assume the first part of your statement was sarcastic. I wasn’t comparing Benjamin Franklin to a particular uneducated disillusioned Nigerian. I will refer you back to the title of the post. We, the royal we, here in America, tend toward tolerance of different opinions, viewpoints, etc., and also tolerate, expect, in fact demand, a little goading of important figures from time to time. A few blips notwithstanding, we have been advancing that cause for hundreds of years. Those under the flag of Islam clearly do not share those values. This has been going on for weeks now, and is only spreading and getting worse. Is it really the act of an "extremist minority?" Or is much more indicative of the underlying philospohies of these societies than the politically correct multiculturalists among us are willing to admit? I don’t want to believe that either, but actions speak much louder than words, and it is a question I am seriously starting to ask myself.

  6. jones said,

    a lot of good has come about because of the u.s., but its reductive to apply those values to the entire country. especially under this regime, who’s next war will be titled "finish off the brownies." just like its reductive to apply the values of a portion of islam to the whole. its also logically inconsistent to compare a religion with inumerable possible interpretations and disparate sects to a state with a codified sytem and an interest in uniform interpretation. there are few stable muslim countries, which is at least partially our fault, and we’re ticking off all of them. i was in turkey over thanksgiving (go ahead), and it is by far the most friendly country i’ve ever visited. there is a lot of freedom of speech in turkey (though writers are still prosecuted for speaking ill of the country), but this is what they’re using it for:’ve been holding off, but if you want to make a fairer comparison to judeo-christianity, i remind you of the crusades and the christian influence on national socialism (mentioned above).

  7. rock creek rambler said,

    Hey all we have to do is publish these cartoons and the wacko muslims start killing each other. It’s great. Allow me be the first to commission Bill Watterson to do a "Calvin Peeing on Mohammed’s Head" cartoon.

  8. JB said,

    I agree that Christianity was violent hundreds of years ago. In fact, that kind of reinforces my point. And wasn’t there some sort of resistance to Nazism? Some kind of war or something? Where is the FDR of Islam? That’s what I want to know. You were in Turkey over Thanksgiving? (Turkey was in me over Thanksgiving…hooah!) But I will point out that none of these riots are taking place in Turkey. I assume that your answer to my question about this being indicative of larger trends is ‘no it isn’t.’

  9. booyah said,

    <blockquote>i’ve been holding off, but if you want to make a fairer comparison to judeo-christianity, i remind you of the crusades and the christian influence on national socialism (mentioned above).</blockquote>Sure jones, compare them. Wahabism is just as much an expansionist religion as christianity ever was. Both religions are evil and suck. Fine. But the problem we’re seeing is that islam has a tendnency to be the state religion of some seriously violent places. Is this all our fault? Hardly. Look at this list: me which places you would like to live. Is it really reductive to say that on the whole, the safer, more tolerant places are agnostic (including Turkey)? What does this say about the role of religion in all this mess? Politics and religion are very intertwined. Saying that it’s not the fault of islam that so much violence occurs in islamic countries seems a bit narrow. Then look at this list: is simply not a religion of tolerance, which I think was JB’s original point. Sure, in the agnostic countries it is, but is that out of desire or necessity? There is ONE historically Islamic country that is agnostic by rule of law (the only one your parents would let you visit).I guess what I’m saying is this. Fine, let’s not start by comparing religions. Or religions to countries. Let’s compare countries. Countries that are agnostic are far and away more stable, and less violent on the whole than countries with state religions, particularly when that state religion is islam. Sure, it’s chicken before the egg, but if these citizens really desired peace, they would stop threatening beheadings, stop burning people and get relgion–any religion–out of the rule of law. Period.

  10. jones said,

    booyah! (i was wondering if this discussion would eventually draw the gallery.)okay, i know about sharia and shame rapes and the like (not to mention that the female half of the workforce can actually contribute to an economy) and that second list was pretty damning. islam is definitely the most rigorously conservative major religion right now and can help to stifle development. my point in bringing up earlier religiosly-affilated unrest was that a religion and its development is driven by its believers and their conditions. just as catholicism during the inquisition and in early colonialism, islam is serving those who claim it, not the other way around. and, as that list shows, whats driving muslims is desparation, poverty, and lives full of strife (except for the oil barons – there do seem to be a lot of oily countries on that roster). obviously there are a lot of reasons for this – resource(s), colonialism, yes, the domininant religion of the region – but the fact remains that these people for the most part have it less than half as good as we do, and our foreign policy and their puppet leaders keep screwing them out of their oil. and now we feel justfied in getting mad at them because they’re mad? its like a bully getting pissed because his victim hits him.anyway, i’m not agitating for changing our values, i’m recommending we actually work from them. your point, jb, about people opposing evil-doing religions is a good one. but the most effective opposition to such a threat is objective, not reactionary and emotional (though both is concert is probably pretty effective too). what i dislike is people getting mad about it without consideration of the surrounding factors.

  11. JB said,

    "there are a lot of reasons for this – resource(s), colonialism, yes, the domininant religion of the region – but the fact remains that these people for the most part have it less than half as good as we do, and our foreign policy and their puppet leaders keep screwing them out of their oil." You begrudgingly cite religion among a laundry list of self-reproachment: "our" foreign policy, "their" puppet leaders (presumably propped up by the US.) Perhaps. But if the US didn’t prop up Egypt, Ayman al-zawahiri (al qaeda’s COO) would have assassinated Hosni Mubarak 20 years ago and Egypt would be even worse then it is now, for us and its citizens. If we didn’t prop up the Saudi regime, something even worse would be in place there (yes such a thing is possible). I am not advocating our aggressive foreign policy; I am in fact an isolationist. But I am disturbed by the Blame America First posture. Colonialism simply can’t be the catch all for the third world’s problems. Sure, borders were incorrectly drawn, but African nations have been free for half a century (except SA) yet conditions in most places are as miserable as ever. Is the Dutch East India Trading Company really responsible for Darfur? When will the mirror get in the way of the excuse? Corruption is a major, major factor that you didn’t mention. And that is not a uniquely American trait. The bottom line is Middle East nations NEED anti-Americanism; they are as addicted to it as we are to oil. If we cut and run, developed fuel cells, stopped funding Israel’s military, what would the party-line excuse be for the failed states that exist over there? How valid is it now, really?

  12. A. Bierce said,

    With regard to the cartoon controversy, I believe that a significant fact is often overlooked. I have been told that the Koran proscribes any likeness of the prophet Mohommad (spelling butchered, but fit to sound. . .). At any rate, if any representation of a sacred figure is a violation of one’s inviolable tenets, then what is the multiplier for an offensive representation? In this way I think that the riots can, at the very least, be contextualized, and perhaps explained. This is not Maplethorpe’s Piss Christ. . . .

  13. jones said,

    i’m not blaming the west for the woes of the third world, i’m saying we contributed to their situation. some more reasons states fail: some cultures are set up so differently from the modern democratic model that its a struggle to adapt, corruption (maybe the biggest reason, true), disease, democracy itself (its a system designed for torpid change, after all), unstable neighbors, uneducated populace… and hardline islam is not a workable system upon which to build a modern state. no doubt. i’m saying we are THE first world country, and it feels wrong for us to get so pissed at people who have it worse than us (and have at least SOME justification for their anti-americanism, you have to admit). how many days have you gone hungry? heard shots at night? worried for your family? i have no problem with decrying the violence done in the name of islam. i have no problem with people getting mad at those who perpetrate violence. but it really has nothing to do with their religion, because there are plenty of reasonable muslims who don’t deserve hate and have it much worse than us, just as there were plenty of regular catholics during the inquisition. but the more we lump them in with the fanatics, the more of them become fanatics.policy wise, the war in iraq is the pinacle idiocy and, i feel, the gasoline that fed the fire. afghanistan is justifiable, though not by much, because of its instability, tyrannic government, the role it played in 9/11 and the fact that it was a u.n.sanctioned invasion. i don’t think there’d be nearly the contentiousness over islam if we’d stopped there (not to mention that we’d be more successful if we’d kept more troops there). but iraq is totally unjustified. you don’t violate another countries sovereignty without international support using trumped up excuses if you want to avoid backlash. it even seems stupid strategically at this point – who knows how long we’ll have troops dying there in a guerilla war, unable to respond to other threats? in that regard, i do blame the u.s. for the current problems with islam, for elevating the us and them mentality, for fueling anti-americanism. i blame bushco.

  14. quasimod said,

    "their" oil? Wow. As an American, I want me some reparations for all of that oil, natural gas, gold, gems, coal, timber, etc. that I’ve been missing out on. Sure, I didn’t do anything to produce any of it, but what the hell, that’s my right, right?I suppose I should get a cut of Microsoft, while we’re at it. That so-called "Intellectual Property" was produced right here, on my land!I deserve it!

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