Was the Pope Wrong?





Mr. Furnish, Ph.D (Islamic History), is Assistant Professor, History, Georgia Perimeter College, Dunwoody, GA 30338. Mr. Furnish is the author of Holiest Wars: Islamic Mahdis, their Jihads and Osama bin Laden (Praeger, 2005).

Back when it was still amusing, “Saturday Night Live” had a skit called “Bizarro World” in which conventional wisdom was turned upside down (my favorite—humorously, not politically—was one in which Ronald Reagan, far from being the somnolent buffoon of liberal legend, actually ran Cabinet meetings till others fell asleep and spoke on the phone in Arabic to Qadhafi).

But nowadays it seems that reality is imitating art (okay, popular culture) as Muslims engage in violence if anyone dares suggest…that Islam has a violent strain! Last spring it was attacks on Christians for the Danish newspaper cartoons caricaturizing Muhammad; now Muslims are burning churches in the Palestinian territories and India because the pope made a reference to Islam’s martial past. At his best, Al Franken could not have come up with such skits (not that he’d have had the courage to do so).

Last week Pope Benedict XVI lectured at the University of Regensburg, in Germany.1 His address is largely a continuation of the efforts by his predecessor, John Paul II, to bridge the gap between faith and reason that has developed since the Enlightenment in Western and, indeed, world society.2 Benedict believes that Greek philosophy is an integral part of the articulation of Christian revelation, especially its emphasis on reason. He spells out three phases in the attempted “dehellenization of Christianity:” the Reformation, liberal 19th and 20th century theology and modern “cultural pluralism” which wants to “return to the simple message of the New Testament…in order to inculturate it anew….”3 Each of these movements, argues Benedict, is dangerous because each threatens to jettison reason. On the other hand, “reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures.” Faith and reason are two sides of the coin of Christianity, Benedict in essence is saying.

So why are churches burning in Palestine? Because of the example the pope used to illustrate his point. He quotes the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus (d. 1425) who, in a debate with a Muslim, said

Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith that he preached….God is not pleased by blood—and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats. To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death….

Benedict goes on to gloss this passage, noting that the Islamic view of God’s absolute transcendence put Him above even the necessity for acting reasonably (by human standards)—a view foreign to Christianity, imbued as it is with the Greek respect for rationality. The pope concludes his lecture with “it is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures.”

One might think that Muslims would be offended because the head of the world’s largest Christian denomination considers them, well, unreasonable. But the rent-a-mobs in Gaza and Kashmir are proving the truth of his assertion in that regard. As for the numerous statements by Muslim spokesmen that the pope is “ignorant” of Islam and Islamic history—well, the reality is that they simply can’t handle the truth.

First, Muhammad was not just a man claiming that God spoke through him; he was also a political and military leader. Driven out of Mecca and taking the reins of power in Medina, Muhammad and the Muslims spread their faith not just via da`is (missionaries), but by the sword; in fact, Jews in Medina who refused to accept Muhammad’s prophethood (and who, to be accurate, were accused of plotting against King Muhammad) were killed or enslaved. The conquest of Mecca in 630 CE was accomplished at swordpoint, not by persuasion. The creation of a huge Islamic Empire by the first four caliphs, the Umayyads and the Abbasids (between 632 and the end of the first millennium CE) was carried out via conquest—not by handing out brochures. Granted, Jews and Christians within the Muslim-ruled territories from the Pyrenees to the Indus were not all forced to convert—but the relegation to second-class status known as dhimmah led, eventually, to the majority of people in North Africa and the Middle East converting to Islam.

The initial phase of Islamic conquests resulted in about half the territory of the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire switching hands. For several centuries the borders stabilized and the Byzantines ruled a state pushed back into Anatolia and the Balkan Peninsula. But in the 14th century CE a new wave of Muslim jihadists, the Ottoman Turks, were again moving on Byzantine lands. This was the situation facing Manuel II, and no doubt his view of Islam as “evil and inhuman” was in no small measure influenced by watching what was left of his empire disintegrating. (Indeed, less than three decades after his death Constantinople would fall to the Ottoman ruler Mehmet II.) One might ask how many Muslims setting fire to Christian churches, or to effigies of the pope, are even aware of this? I suspect that even if they were, it would make no difference.

For, in the view of some Muslims, it is not unreasonable to spread their religion by violence, for two reasons: 1) it is the final revelation of God to humanity and 2) the Qur’an enjoins it. To paraphrase Dr. Henry Jones (Indiana’s father): “goose-stepping morons like yourselves should be reading your holy book instead of burning churches.” If they did, they would discover that:

  • Surah Muhammad [47]:3 says “When you meet the unbelievers on the battlefield, strike off their heads….
  • Surah Anfal [8]:12 says “I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, strike off the tips of their fingers.”
  • Surah al-Nisa’[4]:74 says “Let those who would exchange the life of this world for the hereafter, fight for the cause of God….”
  • Surah al-Nisa’[4]:56 says “The true believer fights for the cause of God, but the infidel fights for the devil.”
  • Surah al-Nisa’[4]:101 says “The unbelievers are your inveterate enemies.”
  • Surah al-Ma’idah [5]:51 says “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.”

Only in a truly Bizarro world can those passages NOT be an incitement for some to violence, to “evil and inhuman” acts. Are there other passages in the Qur’an mitigating these? Yes.4 But many of these more benevolent passages are also considered by many Muslims to have been abrogated by the more martial ones.

Many, Muslim and non-Muslim, try to make the counter-argument that “all religions have violent passages.” Let us take one prominent example: the New Testament. There is really only ONE passage in the entire New Testament that can be construed as promoting violence—Matthew 10:34: “[Jesus said] Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” But, the following verses explain that Jesus was speaking metaphorically and not advocating a quick trip to the local Jewish armorer: “For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” The belief in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God will divide even families. Also, Jesus explicitly told his followers to turn the other cheek when struck (Matthew 5:39; Luke 6:29) and, for those of you who may not have heard the story, voluntarily allowed himself to be crucified by the Romans. Did his teaching later get twisted into a state ideology—beginning with the Roman Emperor Constantine? Indeed. But that is the point: Jesus’ teachings had to be forced to fit into a Roman (and later Carolingian, Crusader, etc.) suit of armor—whereas the chain mail of Islamic armies was fashioned directly out of Muhammad’s revelations.

Pope Benedict XVI is too smart a man not to have known what would be the repercussions of quoting an exasperated Byzantine emperor on Islam. By doing so the pope has thrown down the gauntlet to the Islamic world, subtly insisting that true “dialogue” between the world’s largest (Christianity) and second-largest (Islam) religions demands that the latter own up to its historical misdeeds every bit as much as the former has had to do for at least a century. Unfortunately, honest historical and theological reflection in the Islamic world would seem to be far too “unreasonable” to contemplate for many of the world’s Muslims

2 John Paul II, Fides et Ratio (Boston: Pauline Books, 1996).

3 Interestingly, regarding this last point Benedict XVI seems to contradict his predecessor, who in Fides et Ratio, p. 91, said “In preaching the Gospel, Christianity first encountered Greek philosophy, but this does not mean at all that other approaches are precluded.”

4 Surah al-Furqan [25]:65ff says Allah will be merciful to those who do good works; Surah al-Baqarah [2]:256 says “there shall be no compulsion in religion” (although the kidnappers of those two Fox newsmen seem not to have read this); and Surah al-Nisa’ [4]:19ff commands Muslim men to provide for wives and ex-wives.

Related Links

  • Daniel Pipes: Pope Benedict Criticizes Islam

  • Daniel Martin Varisco: Holy War over Papal Bull

  • Martin E. Marty: The Pope and Islam

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    More Comments:


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    So "occupation" is NOT violence, it is, according to the perverted logic of a Friedman, an amicable expression of love and frienship achieved by non violent means: friendly persuation and brotherly cajolment; by the same sick perverted logic!!
    How silly can one get?.
    ???
    Post occupation practices are also NOT violence inspite of the many crimes committed by the occupier if his friendly embrace is rejected. Violence , to be accepted as such by the Friedmans of this world, must exactly fit their sick perception of others; when confronted with their, or theirs, violence it becomes non violence...blindness is their malady and will be the cause of their eventual undoing.
    According to your interpretation of the word, Mr Friedman, there is one and only one form of violence:"other's".
    I note your comment that :" I was merely, for point of argument only, using your characterization."
    For argument does not mean to utter absurdities and inanities...thoufgh it seems to be so perceived!


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    "Prof" Eckstein!
    As usual you utterly fail to address the specific point of my post: is it that peculiar mixture of cowardice, intellectual bankruptcy and racist blindness or what?
    Address my point Prof then rant to your heart's content ..but first address it and then, only then, you can rant if that makes your day!


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    The interesting thing in both Friedman's and Professor Eckstein's separate rejoinders to my post is that their direct and indirect defense centerd solely on Israel and Israeli practices.
    My post cited cases of violence committed by Israel and the USA.
    Their defense was to protect Israel; to neither of them , presumably both are US citizens, did it occurr to defend the USA...
    Was that an indication of their approval and concurrence with what I said or nonchalance and indiference to what touches the USA?
    A point to ponder!


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Mr Ebbitt
    I do visit my homeland whenever possible ie allowed to by the occupation forces of Israel.
    However when ever I do I never, ever, frequent enemy establishments if I can avoid them. I am for 100% boycott of all enemy establishments.
    So, what do you mean with your statement:
    "Today is the 23rd and Mr. Baker is nowhere to be found. Maybe he is rigging himself up for a visit to a Tel Aviv Sbarro Pizza."
    Regards
    Omar


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Simon
    To tell you the truth I do not care one iota what you, "Prof" Eckstein or Friedman and Amitz think nor will I ever care about what people who consciously subscribe to and uphold the RACIST Zionist cause say and think.
    However looking back at things here at HNN you, Eckstein et all will never be able, no matter how hard you try, to attain 1% of the erudition,moral courage,frankness, intellectual honesty and a plain sense of justice and fair play of Ebbitt; being blinded by your self centerdeness ,your historical complexes and plain racial/racist blindness.
    For people like you to find fault with what Mr Ebbitt says or thinks only confirms my opinion of your cabal.
    Others could try...but definetly NOT YOU!


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Simon
    Not that we, Mr Ebbitt and I, always agree ,we did have our serious differences.
    But plainly he, Mr Ebbitt, is an honest man (morally and personally),has a live conscience, moral courage and plenty of objective knowledge and an alert mind.
    He is ready to listen, think over things then, fearlessly, say his mind.

    I only hope this will not create problems for him in his work and personal life for the Zionist reach is far too pervasive in the USA, where I presume he lives, for honest people to say publicly what they think about the pernicious Zionist creed and its vile racist offspring: Israel!


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Simon
    There are others than bigotted you and the rest of the cabal here at HNN.
    But you can see only YOU!
    I am not here for you nor for reading aversive,TV addicted "Professor"!!! Eckstein.
    I am here for the open minded,fair minded , truth and fact seeker, the objective non racist, anti racist reader which automatically disqualifies you!
    But ...You can see nobody else but You...understandable; blinded as you are with your pernicious racist Zionist creed!


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Mr Simon opines:
    "Mr. Clarke, your Jews/Germany analogy is apt because it highlights the difference between Jewish and Muslim populations."(#97751).
    So it :
    ".. highlights the difference between Jewish and Muslim populations."

    Any such generalization is bound to be utterly meaningless and ,if at all undertaken ,to be strongly racially imbued and tinted ... a sad course to follow in the 21st century , if at all or ever.

    That Mr. Simon indulges himself in such an approach does not however surprise me knowing, guessing, his racial/racist underpinnings and ideological background and mental/psychological formation.

    That however neither decreases the obscenity of his approah nor justifies it...but it DOES explain its prevelance in his blind and sick environmemt.

    It does also highlight a paradox of modern times:
    that the "people", "nation ",
    "community" that suffered most from racial/racist prejuidice and practices has, when attaining some modicum of power of its own, turned out to be no less racially centered/obssessed/driven ie "racist" as its evil tormentor and decimator thus confirming its tormentor's claims if not justifying it!
    To say "thus justifying its tormentor's practices" would be to go down the same ugly , dirty downward retrogressive racial/racist road ; a road we will never tread and leave it to him and his where a good some of them seem to be , at last, at home!


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Mr Simon opines:
    "Mr. Clarke, your Jews/Germany analogy is apt because it highlights the difference between Jewish and Muslim populations."(#97751).
    So it :
    ".. highlights the difference between Jewish and Muslim populations."

    Any such generalization is bound to be utterly meaningless and ,if at all undertaken ,to be strongly racially imbued and tinted ... a sad course to follow in the 21st century , if at all or ever.

    That Mr. Simon indulges himself in such an approach does not however surprise me knowing, guessing, his racial/racist underpinnings and ideological background and mental/psychological formation.

    That however neither decreases the obscenity of his approah nor justifies it...but it DOES explain its prevelance in his blind and sick environmemt.

    It does also highlight a paradox of modern times:
    that the "people", "nation ",
    "community" that suffered most from racial/racist prejuidice and practices has, when attaining some modicum of power of its own, turned out to be no less racially centered/obssessed/driven ie "racist" as its evil tormentor and decimator thus confirming its tormentor's claims if not justifying it!
    To say "thus justifying its tormentor's practices" would be to go down the same ugly , dirty downward retrogressive racial/racist road ; a road we will never tread and leave it to him and his where a good some of them seem to be , at last, at home!




    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Prof
    You have shown, alas not for the first time, that you do not understand what you read.
    Everything you read, when and if you understand it, has to be filtered trough your blind devotion, fanaticism, to the pernicious racist Zionist cause.
    What has what I have written to do with your comments, questions etc?
    I do note, however, that you have resumed your interrogatory tone; are you itching to go back, or for the first time, to Abu Ghraib and/or Guantanamo?
    Change of profession/career...NOT a bad idea considering!
    Re Hisb ALlah I do appreciate the amount of pain it has inflicted, and will go on inflicting, on your beloved Israel and on you!
    Too bad: C'est la vie, c'est la guerre!
    But to form an opinion on a major political/religious movement, based on TV shows, movies, musicals, cartoons and without ever reading, or referring to, their official publications and position papers is truly odd; and so much more so from a Prof...Prof!
    (By the way did you manage to read some of their official i.e. binding, incontrovertible documents?)
    When, and if, you do tell us and I will eagerly read carefully what you have to say...then!
    As for now hardly anything you say is worth careful reading.
    OK Prof?


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Mr Heuisler
    You have fallen, consciously or unconsciously, into the well prepared neocon-Zionist trap of equating all Moslems with those considered by some as "fanatics","terrorists" etc.
    I was reffering to Moslems ie all Moslems .
    I know, first hand, of many Christian Arabs that share my dismay, and suspicions, at this unfortunate speech.
    You know why they do?
    They can tell the difference!


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Or ask Simon to do it for him!


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    The Pope’s reference to Moslem violence did NOT unsettle me in the least.
    But this is as good an opportunity as any to say something about violence in general and in Islam in particular.

    The general contemporary perception in the Judeo/Christian world is that Islam is violent; that Moslems resort to violence more often than the followers of other religions.
    This perception is founded on two basic common misperceptions and/or ignorance;
    1- The definition of violence:
    This seems to be restricted by some, a majority, to certain acts by certain people (s)under certain circumstances.
    e.g. stressing the alleged violence of Palestinian resistance while totally ignoring that "occupation", per se, is a form of extreme violence, imposed by violent means, that it has been maintained by the most "violent" of acts and policies: political assassinations, collective punishment (demolition of homes ), bombing of inhabited residential buildings( Nablus ,Gaza , Beirut etc) and air raid shelters(Qanaa One) and the resort to the use of Abrams and Mirkava tanks, heilcopter gunships , F14 airplanes and the “prohibited”cluster bombs ( in Lebanon) when things really heat up .

    Few people, in JC world, note that these are violent acts and, if anything, are much more violent, and hence more reprehensible, if the amount of violence is gauged by the lethality of the means employed and the number of casualties inflicted.
    Or highlighting the "violence" of Iraqi and Afghani resistance while totally ignoring that the conquest and occupation of both countries were achieved through violent acts of war ( including the bombing of air raid shelters; Amyria in Baghdad) and maintained by some of the most obscenely violent acts and policies : the decimation and destruction of Falluga and the Abu Ghraib mode of prisoners treatment.Etc, etc,

    Equally fewer note ,and recognize and condemn as such, the violence perpetrated by these supposedly non violent but factually non Moslems nations(Israel and the USA&Co).

    I contend that has both of these countries, Palestine and Iraq, been populated by nonMoslems and subjected to the conquests and practices to which both were subjected the reactions of their inhabitants would have been no less violent than what is currently noted.
    So it is NOT a question of Islam or Xisim but a question of violent reactions to the much more violent actions that provoked them in the first place.

    Which brings us to the second point.


    2-Violence and Resistance to Violence:
    Several have noted that "violence" is much more prevalent in Moslem countries.
    True enough BUT that is only to be expected since Moslem countries seem to be the only countries under attack by Israel, the USA, the UK and targeted for attack, Iran, by the same unholy imperialistic alliance.

    When Japan attacked the USA at Pearl Harbour the USA responded with the most obscenely violent act of violence in modern history at Hiroshima and
    Nagasaki.

    So once more Islam has nothing to do with that nor did Christianity: when under attack you retaliate. Period.

    Many rejoinders will stress the supposed "roots" of violence as inborn in Islam and rest their case on their "own “,facile,” understanding", of Jihad , as demonstrated in many of their earlier posts, which is, if any thing, far from what Jihad really is.
    Enough of that has been aired before by plebian, intellectual, pseudo intellectual and “professors” alike.
    Can we restrict this discussion to the two highlighted cases of primary violence, counter violence and counter counter violence....!
    Can we limit our discussion, for once, to the “other” forms of violence to which Moslems( or others eg the Irish people, the Basque) were, are, subjected?
    Or is that, at HNN Forum, a call in the wilderness!


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Prof
    You can go on venting your anger at my disclosure of your TV addiction and antipathy to reading ( and understanding what you read)the way you like but you have shown nothing,proved nothing, you have said nothing of value on that issue or anywhere else for that matter.


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Prof
    You want me to name the names of my Christian friends and acquaintances?
    What use would that be?
    Except for a ...?
    I have asked you for sources not for names unless cited in a public source to which you refer .
    (Read Arabic newspapers on the internet and you would get plenty of names).

    Then you opine:
    "No doubt because they are afraid for their LIVES, Omar!"
    Is that NOT elementary school playground level?
    Can not you do better Prof...ask for Simon.
    Prof some of your students could be reading that....
    Ah the University of ...at one time "Professor" used to mean something!
    What are you doing to the profession with such replies?


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Ricardo
    I used the word "appreciate" in the sense of " know the amount of" not "enjoy"!
    OK?
    Tell us about your own feelings re Qanaa 1 and Qanaa 2, Deir Yassin, Bahr al Bakkar,Kufur Qassem,Qibia, Tantoura etc, etc, etc


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    "Arguments"...?
    not from you Prof!
    Fixation, obssession , TV addiction, aversion to reading primary sources is all that I have seen from you.
    Prof...there is a diference between naming names of friends and acquaintances and citing public sources ( books, newspapers, magazines etc)in which names are named...as you should know !
    Try to see the difference...it is NOT hard.


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007


    Prof
    your statement:
    "Your only response is to deny that these interviews occurred, "IS:
    False, untrue, incorrect, wishful,etc etc
    Show me where I DENIED these interviews ever occurred, I asked for specifics, sources, to check on YOU ...that is NOT DENYING!
    Truly shameful!


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Yehudi
    Stop sloganeering.
    Do you mind discussing the "other violence",the "primary violence"; would dearly love to hear what you have to say about it!OK!


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    At another juncture in history the speech of Pope Benedict could have been considered as one among the many inter faith skirmishes, though seldom undertaken at this level in modern times, in which major religions have traded “arguments” and “counter arguments”, accusations and rebuttals about their respective righteousness and divinity , deficiencies and shameful past records.

    Coming as it does in the 2000s with a “war on Terror”, barely camouflaging an anti Islam
    Zionist-neocon inspired and propelled drive, “IslamoFascism” a frequently used term verging on becoming a standard depiction of Islamist tendencies and Moslem/Christian relations at a very low point the unfortunate speech of Pope Benedict is bound to cause the furor it does.

    Moslems will inevitably look very suspiciously at this untimely and unwarranted pontifical utterance for two major reasons:
    1- That the Pope being, purportedly, infallible his immediate apology, together with anything that will come later, is bound to be heavily discounted. One would be at a loss what to believe!
    2- That, through this speech, the Catholic Church, hitherto markedly independent of Bush-neocon policies ( in Palestine, Iraq etc) has decided to join forces with American Zionized Fundamentalist( mainly Protestant) churches in a common “Christian Front”, have started echoing the hate message of the Grahams and the Pattersons of the American Evangelical scene and thus joined the US/Israeli anti Arab, anti Moslem/Islam alliance.

    Should (2) turn out to be the real message/significance of this speech then it will go down in history as a very sad turning point in the already tense Moslem/Christian relations in particular and a truly retrogressive demarche in world wide interfaith relations in general .

    A sad, bad day by any standard for everybody.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I am not going answer your irrelevant "questions," Friedman. The Pope WHO IS THE SUBJECT HERE was NOT talking about the West Bank or some vague and undefined "Jihadism," he was quoting a predecessor from 600+ years ago who said Islam (not your latest Likudnik paranoid distortion of it) was inherently violent and irrational. Subject to some important and unmentioned (by the Pope to his discredit) caveats I happen to agree with that view. That does not mean I endorse your Islamophobia.

    Notwithstanding their manifold faults (obscured rather than revealed by your hysterics, by the way), the mainstream Moslem clerics ARE at least consistent on this point: They respect Christianity and Judaism and predecessor religions and their leaders do not insult those other religions, despite your unproven claims to the contrary. They all to often say and do horrific medieval things about Jews, Christians, Americans, Europeans etc, but they don't badmouth the religions.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Christianity and Judaism AS predecessor religions


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I never made any "comparison between Guantanamo camp and Auschwitz," Mr. A.
    I did and do refer to your oft-uttered paranoia-based delusion about America being "complicit in the Holocaust" which appears from time to time under your name, amidst other irrelevant rambles, such as the one we are now on. This ridiculous insult of America is not quite as bad as Holocaust denial, but it is certainly a grotesque disotrtion of history.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Bin Laden, Nasrallah and hundreds of others are little Mini-Hitlers bent on organizing latter-day Auschwitzs.

    Unless we cower in fear and loathing of them every minute of our lives and post thousands of messages on HNN we are latter-day Neville Chamberlains

    I read Islamophobe books and I have seen the truth. 1938 is repeating itself. It is only a matter of time before 1 billion Moslems all sport the swastika, and shout Sieg Heil together and then you will all realize how right I was.

    We must kill as fast as we can so they "learn a lesson." This has worked wonders in preserving Israel's long run future, and since Israel is the greatest country that ever existed we must bow down and worship and emulate whatever their current policy is, and never ever ever allow a single critical remark against such policies to go unchallenged.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Friedman, Instead of berating me for the 100th time, like a kindergarten baby who screams 'til he get his rattle back, for not reading your Islamophobic books and for not misremembering them the way you do, how about reading what is written on this page?


    Impart your vast knowledge to us (#98037) by Peter K. Clarke on September 23, 2006 at 3:58 PM

    "When was the last time a major Islamic leader, such as Khamanei, spoke ill of Christianity as a religion?


    A MAJOR LEADER, not some obscure sheik probably mistranslated and certainly quoted with dubious fragmentation by Charles Cabbage-Head-Hammer.

    Speaking ill of the RELIGION, not its current adherents.


    Your sorry Google quotes (amidst this non-stop cut-and-paste internet diarreha over past months, why do we hardly ever get a quote, with a page number, from one of your hundred "books" ?) all fail to meet one or both of those two criteria. Which means that nothing, that you have been able to dredge up (so much for your knowledge) at least, indicates that major Moslem leaders are being inconsistent in criticizing the Pope for slamming their RELIGION.



    A MAJOR Islamic leader


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I think your comments are very much on the mark, Mr. Clifford. I also read the Vatican english translation text which can be googled,

    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20060912_university-regensburg_en.html

    and came away with similar impressions.

    At the opening of the speech, Benedict
    reminisces about the good old days when he was a professor. At the bottom is this statement

    "The Holy Father intends to supply a subsequent version of this text, complete with footnotes. The present text must therefore be considered provisional."

    Maybe that was a bit of pre-holy backside covering.

    But this guy is old, and he is a far cry from his brilliant and inspirational predecessor (albeit in style and worldly charisma more than in doctrine). It almost looks to me like he thought he was in amongst his old cloistered hangers-on in the ivy covered halls, and forgot that his job is to be a spokesmen for hundreds of millions of Christians, and a diplomat to the world.




    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Lacquer is/was a very good scholar and I have read some of his other stuff with admiration. This book sounds interesting, and when I have time I'll look at it. Needless to say, based on your proven reading comprehension "skills," I do not expect to find the slightest corroborattion for Amitz's paranoid delusions. There has been a shameful amount of anti-Semitism in America's past, and we did a lot of nasty things during World War (mostly not to Jews), but helping in the Holocaust is not one of them. It is certainly true that more could have been attempted in 1943-44 when the truth about the death camps began to be apparent, but whether it would have saved many lives of Jews in Poland is dubious at best, and America, to put it mildly, had a more a full plate of other monumental tasks to deal with at the time. If you want to convict FDR of negligent complicity in the Holocaust, then you have to regard Sharon as a direct accessory to mass murder in Lebanon in '82 -since he clearly could have easily not only tried but also succeeded in halting the massacres there- or you are a hypocrite.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Mr. Baker,

    First of all, there is plenty of condemnation of Israeli brutality, oppression, and asinine violence against Palestinians by Jews and Christians. Not by couch potatoes in Cheneyland or paranoid Israel-firsters on HNN for sure, but elsewhere in America, and in Europe, and even in Israel itself.

    Secondly, there do seem to be some specific tendencies amongst Moslems in the Mideast which are not common elsewhere. South Africans were long oppressed (indeed analogies to the West Bank is often made and not without some degree of justification) yet South Africans did not blow up cafes in Johannesburg, take hostages and chop their heads off with swords on TV, or try to crash planes into American skyscrapers.

    Your point is that there are different kinds of violence, and that is hypocritical of the kneejerk Hypocrite Likudniks here to ignore the whatever forms of violence are currently practiced by Israelis (e.g. different tunes are immediately whistled when the topic turns to Irgun). It is a valuable point, and you are right to raise it. But these guys have a point too, toward which you seem oblivious: that committing terrorism against civilians and glorifying it with religious edicts, treating women like caged animals (Taliban), and allowing religious leaders to have near-absolutist political power, for example, are horrors not equally distributed amongst the major monotheistic religions of the world. Things were certainly very different during the crusades, but a great deal has changed in world generally, and particularly in western "Judeo-Christian" countries since then. Where are the Erasmuses, the Benjamin Franklins and the Ghandis of the post-Crusades Moslem world ?


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    MEMRI is a notorious propaganda site.
    Surely, if you have a case (not about widespread unacceptable behavior by Moslems, but about something top Moslem leaders are saying comparable to the Pope's quote) you can do better than that. Those leaders, despite your prejudice, are like the rest of humanity entitled to a presumption of innocence, on this SPECIFIC AND CENTRALLY RELEVANT point.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    That does not apply. Hypocrisy is hypocrisy


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Friedman: I have not and do not criticize you for not having a perfect memory. I criticize you for being too lazy to double-check your more implausible arguments and whining when someone asks you to do so. If you think one of your books proves something that is otherwise unlikely or contradicts common sense or what anyone else might read in a major daily newspaper, then do your homework by looking up that matter in the index of the book before rushing to advance it based on faith. Or better yet, think first, and make a common sense double check that what you type is reasonable, plausible, qualified and consistent BEFORE hitting "submit".

    Meanwhile, anyone who thinks that the New York Times, Washington Post, and Economist "lack substance" does not know what he is "babbling" about.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    "The Pope, notwithstanding Omar's assertion, does not work to advance the place of Israel in the world. "

    Neither do you nor the current Israeli leadership. Your obsession, and that of Amitz, Eckstein, and Simon is to make endless excuses for the blunders and atrocities of that leadership, the rubberstamping of those blunders by the American government. And, in your case, to accuse others of your own faults e.g. "learn to read", "Tu quoque," etc.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    he parrots are squawking “refutation”, but have not convinced me, or anyone else here but themselves. To see whether these Islamophobes might manage to provide some factual information to substantiate their shrill claims, or show a microgram of honesty and admit that 100% of Moslems are not 100% wrong 100% of the time, I posed the question of whether there was any solid evidence of comparable Moslem leaders being guilty of the same faux pas committed by the Pope:


    “When was the last time a major Islamic leader, such as Khamanei, spoke ill of Christianity as a religion?”

    Mr. Friedman, replied with an example of a non-leader (a professor) and two examples of bigoted remarks against Jews, but not against their religion (which as we all know, only a minority of them devoutely adhere to). He also came up with jumbled quote, elided to the point of unintelligibility and taken from the propaganda site MEMRI.

    Mr. Eckstein, showing much more skill at logical reasoning and at reading (e.g. a modicum of skill at each) came up with a bonafide remark truly comparable to Benedict’s comments about Islam being fundamentally violent and irrational: “Christianity, this false faith,” but this also comes from MEMRI.

    Here is what Wikipedia says about MEMRI. It amounts basically to a fraud. An obvious propaganda site pretending to be purely informational:


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_East_Media_Research_Institute

    Middle East Media Research Institute
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    MEMRI was founded in 1998 by its president Yigal Carmon, a retired colonel from Israeli military intelligence, and the academic Dr. Meyrav Wurmser. The organisation became more prominent after the September 11, 2001 attacks, due to increased Western public interest in Arab and Iranian affairs...

    Notable donors include the Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation, $100,000 (for the "support of general operations"), the Randolph Foundation, $100,000; the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, (per annual report, for "Israel advocacy"); the Koret Foundation, $20,000 (per annual report: "for Israel advocacy and education"); the Ronald & Mary Ann Lachman Foundation, $7,500 [6]; and the John M. Olin Foundation, $5000 (for the "Jihad and Terrorism Project").

    ...Vincent Cannistraro, a former counterintelligence official with the CIA, said that MEMRI "are selective and act as propagandists for their political point of view, which is the extreme-right of Likud [...]. They simply don't present the whole picture." Cannistraro claims he was asked to join MEMRI, but he refused "because I saw this was capped by Israeli intelligence and because it was too political."

    William Rugh, former US ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, describes MEMRI as a service which "does not present a balanced or complete picture of the Arab print media. Its owners are pro-Israeli and anti-Arab. Quotes are selected to portray Arabs as preaching hatred against Jews and westerners, praising violence and refusing any peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue."



    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    The "Highjacking" ("sick") started by the taking of a limited and tangential (though probable deliberate and lamely so) Medieval anti-Islam statement quoted by the Pope, and trying to turn it into a deluging Islamophobic rant session led by professors of history abusing their own profession with asinine nonsense conflations such as "Islamofascist"


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    No, Eckstein. You obviously have a brain. Why not use it once in a while?

    The question here is NOT about "anti-Christian quotes."

    The question is whether remarks that were ANTI-CHRISTIANITY (not anti-Christian: kindly, for at least the third time, allow that crucial distinction WHICH HAS BEEN THE MAIN POINT OF ALL MY RECENT COMMENTS ABOVE, to penetrate your thickly-lined cranium) could be found from a souroce OTHER THAN the hypocritical propaganda site MEMRI.

    Hitler had a phrase for your style of debate: Big Lie. Make an outrageous claim and repeat it incessantly.

    Many Moslems have said and done terrible things recently (worse than what the worst Jews and Christians have) but no top leader comparable to the Pope has deliberately and directly criticized the religion of Christianity or Judaism as the Pope did of Islam. Or if they have, Eckstein and all his horses and men (e.g. high school dropout Friedman) cannot find credible proof of it.

    Why does this matter?

    It matters because the STINKING ROTTEN HYPOCRISY of neo-con chickenhawks like those running the Frat Boy Bush administration, and like the paranoid Islamophobes on this page, is a tremendous source of ASSISTANCE to Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic terrorism. But these egomaniacal unAmerican fools are so full of their own righteous arrogant fake Christianity and warped neo-Zionist fascist nihilism that they cannot acknowledge how their tantrums are actually aiding and abetting the forces they claim to be concerned about.

    Read today's New York Times:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/24/world/middleeast/24terror.html?pagewanted=1&;_r=1&th&emc=th

    Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat

    NEW YORK TIMES
    By MARK MAZZETTI
    September 24, 2006


    WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

    The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

    The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

    An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.

    The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official....

    Analysts began working on the estimate in 2004, but it was not finalized until this year. Part of the reason was that some government officials were unhappy with the structure and focus of earlier versions of the document, according to officials involved in the discussion.

    Previous drafts described actions by the United States government that were determined to have stoked the jihad movement, like the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, and some policy makers argued that the intelligence estimate should be more focused on specific steps to mitigate the terror threat. It is unclear whether the final draft of the intelligence estimate criticizes individual policies of the United States, but intelligence officials involved in preparing the document said its conclusions were not softened or massaged for political purposes...

    The estimate concludes that the radical Islamic movement has expanded from a core of Qaeda operatives and affiliated groups to include a new class of “self-generating” cells inspired by Al Qaeda’s leadership but without any direct connection to Osama bin Laden or his top lieutenants...

    In early 2005, the National Intelligence Council released a study concluding that Iraq had become the primary training ground for the next generation of terrorists, and that veterans of the Iraq war might ultimately overtake Al Qaeda’s current leadership in the constellation of the global jihad leadership.

    But the new intelligence estimate is the first report since the war began to present a comprehensive picture about the trends in global terrorism.

    In recent months, some senior American intelligence officials have offered glimpses into the estimate’s conclusions in public speeches.

    “New jihadist networks and cells, sometimes united by little more than their anti-Western agendas, are increasingly likely to emerge,” said Gen. Michael V. Hayden, during a speech in San Antonio in April, the month that the new estimate was completed. “If this trend continues, threats to the U.S. at home and abroad will become more diverse and that could lead to increasing attacks worldwide,” said the general, who was then Mr. Negroponte’s top deputy and is now director of the Central Intelligence Agency....

    The broad judgments of the new intelligence estimate are consistent with assessments of global terrorist threats by American allies and independent terrorism experts.

    The panel investigating the London terrorist bombings of July 2005 reported in May that the leaders of Britain’s domestic and international intelligence services, MI5 and MI6, “emphasized to the committee the growing scale of the Islamist terrorist threat.”

    More recently, the Council on Global Terrorism, an independent research group of respected terrorism experts, assigned a grade of “D+” to United States efforts over the past five years to combat Islamic extremism. The council concluded that “there is every sign that radicalization in the Muslim world is spreading rather than shrinking.”


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Thomas Friedman (obviously no relative) is an arrogant egomanical windbag. He says many brilliant things, but is so incurably and titantically full of himself that he is the world's expert at being right, wrong, insightful, and irrelevant all at the same point and raised to an exponential power. In other words, what he says is very often interesting and provocative, and worth reading, but nothing he says is ever reliable.

    You need to try harder (for a change).
    The evil inevitability of Islamic World Domination is YOUR obsession. Maybe if you were a bit less obsessed, however, you might realize the wisdom of coming up with unbiased support for your concerns, instead just endlessly regurgitating the scrambled confusion which your faulty memory concocts out the propagandistic and demogagogic broadcast beacons your anntennea are locked in tune to.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    This is a weird thread on a weird page of a weird website, but my two-bits, or five nickels, here are:

    1. We all have our frustrations.

    2. People who lost relatives in the Holocaust are frustrated at what seems to be another instance of people today (Moslems), like the "good Germans" of the 1930s-40s, repeatedly failing to forthrightly condemn the blatant evils repeatedly committed in their name.

    3. People whose families were robbed and displaced as a result of the creation of the state of Israel are frustrated at the endless rationalizing of those injustices, and the many less justifiable ones committed since, in the mainstream American news media, in the halls of the U.S. Congress, and by many article-writers and in many comment posts on this website.

    4. A fairminded person has to allow some leeway in conversations involving people subject to those frustrations concernings topics touching on those frustration.

    5. As an American, my greater sympathies extend to another kind of frustration. Mr. Ebbitt, a relatively frequent commenter to HNN in recent months, has not been "up to par" on this particular page. His usual wit and flair have been less evident than normal, and there have been a more than typical number of errors and false conclusions lept to. But the provocation here has been strong, even by HNN standards, and it comes atop five years of most outrageous unAmerican BS this country has experienced in a long long time.

    America under the Cheney administration has allowed the hope, spirit, ingenuity and inspiration which have made it the envy of the world [notwithstanding the gallery of horrors committed by it, from the unjust Alien and Sedition Act to the cowardly (but effective) bombing of Serbia in 1999] to be needlessly and stupidly trashed by the deceit-laden and massively incompetent antics of a small group of "neo-con" traitors driven by their predilections, ignorance, crookedness, and laziness to ape the most idiotic and barbaric practices of the most militarist and terrorist fringe elements of Israeli politics. Thankfully, a rise in Anti-Semitism is not a feature of this frustration, either with Mr. Ebbitts or among American patriots of his sort generally. And rightfully so, because the betrayal of America that has occured involves only a handful of Jews and even then only coincidentally for the most part. What I think galls Ebbitts, and many of us, is moreover not so much the juvenile blunders of our tongue-twisted president, or even the treason of his minders, but the incessant barrage of very narrow and purely selfish politically-motivated stinking BS that has been incessantly poured upon us, to rationalize these blunders and deliberate woundings of America's national security and long term future. And the cowardly willingness of too many Americans to tolerate these outrages, or to regard them as merely politics as usual.


    Anyway that is my two-bits with the mint markings and engravings thereto pertaining.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I think oil has been a central component of MOST American involvements in Moslem countries but certainly not in all instances.

    The most crucial and disastrous intervention to-date, Cheney's bungled occupation of Iraq, was mostly about winning the 2004 election and had basically nothing to with oil, except of course, that Saddam's "Republic of Fear," his Kuwait invasion, the Gulf War, and the failed sanctions which followed could hardly have occured as they did without it.

    At any rate, I think the reason Eckstein stopped signing his name and title is that he is on some kind of leave from his day job, and anyway way way out of his field of professional expertise. In any event, only one of his counter-examples works, sort of: Somalia. Bosnia has a Moslem minority but was and is not a Moslem country in the normal sense that Saudi Arabia or Indonesia are. Kosovo has never been, so far at least, a country.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    No idea whence Eckstein pulled that one, Patrick. Bosnia was raging already in 1992 but the Daddy Bush administration famously did "not have a dog in that fight."


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Friedman, why must you incessantly accuse otherwise of your worst faults.
    This behavior is discouraged in primary school students. What happened to you that makes you so incurably immature?

    According to your own BS propaganda website

    www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Area=sr&;ID=SR01002#_edn2

    Kufur means "an umbrella term for the ideologies and actions of infidels" NOT Christianity.

    Other than this cherry picked Likudnik BS website, that is evidently the only source of your currently exposited variant of Islamophobia, "Kufur" does not exist on Google.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    others instead of "otherwise" in my first sentence above

    I referred there, in case it is not obvious, to your constant and childish admonition to me to "read". Your last half dozen posts here have been based on a consistent failure to read my original query which asked for evidence of insults against Christianity (or Judaism) not against Christians or Jews. It is, of course, a fine line, but that is line which Islamists seem to take. While it is hardly generous, it is not inconsistent (in the minds OF POTENTIAL NEW RECRUITS TO AL QAEDA or any other mind) to criticize the Pope's speech on that point solely without saying any thing critical about the remarks of any Moslem.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Which Dept of History says its okay to quote selectively? Give us the full article.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Simon, Do you have point to make about the question of American interventions abroad, about US foreign policy towards Moslem countries, about US dependency on foreign oil, about where most oil reserves in the world are located, or about how Al Qaeda has flourished thanks to the Cheney-Bush administrations many blunders, or whether the foot-in-mouth Pope (remember him? - try looking the title of this page) has made matters worse, or any thing else related to History?

    Have you EVER posted a comment on the History News Network that made a point about History?

    You are in the running with Bill Heuisler for being the most blatant example of HNN's everlasting phoniness and disgrace.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    The words "proper debate" do not apply within ten leagues of this page


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I cannot take the time to reply to each and every post of yours, Mr. E. Just because some of them make incisive and reasonable points does not mean they all do.

    Pointing out the strange liabilties of many Arabs to discover the value of civil disobediance and non-violent protest is legitimate.

    "Islamofascist" is cartoonish bastardized Rovian doublespeak. The reasons were piled a mile high a week or two ago.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Patrick, You stumble as often as the rest of us but almost always find your feet solidly on the ground again in the end. "Winning" against pathological liars and cheaters is not the issue, in my mind at least. Exposing them for what they are, exposing what their mentality has done to America lately, and exposing how HNN (indirectly or otherwise) caters to their constant perversions of American History are worthy goals.

    Hang in there. Don't forget to vote in November (on a paper -e.g. absentee- ballot, if possible).


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Some of us have day jobs, Friedman


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Friedman, I KNOW you have deeply rooted reading problems. I think they have improved slightly from your early days on HNN when you had so little self control you posted your excessively numerous comments twice. Once before thinking at all. Then a 2nd time after thinking a bit.

    The problem here is distinguishing between (a) criticism of a religion and (b) bashing the adherents or tribal constituents of it, or a particular idelogical, geographic, and governmental subset of those constituents. Clearly, the more strident, articulate and influential spokesmen for many of the many branches of Islam make this distinction rather assidously. No doubt there are occasional exceptions, but not only haven't you found those exceptions with any credible substantiation, you are still utterly clueless as to the rule they are exceptions to, after my telling you, for about the 6th time, what that rule is:

    THEY ATTACK CHRISTIANS AND JEWS, NOT CHRISTIANITY AND JUDAISM. WILL YOU FINALLY GET THAT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL!!?

    So much for your crock of crap "knowledge" about Islam. Back to square one. Try it with an open mind this time.

    Meanwhile, you should really sign up again for that class in remedial reading you flunked out of so many times already, before accusing others of having your bizarre dyslexic or whatever they are problems.

    And stop quoting me MEMRI. It is as reliable as the tapes of Al Qaeda. These Likudnik charlatans obviously use the old stock swindler trick: Tell 1000 people a stock will go up, tell another 1000 it will go down. Repeat the exercise, using some other stock and 500 + 500 of whichever 1000 you made the correct call with the first time. Then with 250 and 250, etc. Then claim perfect success at prediction witt the final 20 or 30 or wherever you stop. Every statement you made to those 20-30 will be true, but you are not showing them the whole picture.

    That is the MEMRI trick with their translated quotes. Your gullibility or denial is no reason for the rest of us to accept this unAmerican deceit as a any valid indication of anything.


    Ever been in a court room?

    "The truth THE WHOLE TRUTH and nothing but the truth"?

    We Americans are not fond of Middle Eastern liars like those running MEMRI.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    You are right, Simon:

    You COULD have something "constructive or interesting to say about any of these matters."

    If a snowball tried hard enough, it COULD live in Hell.

    You are not trying that hard.

    And rarely ever try at all.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Without the full quote, it is impossible to determine whether your interpreation of the missing ...'s is correct or not. Since the quote comes via a notorious Israeli-terrorist website (actually just a propaganda site for those connected to extreme Israeli political factions but maybe that will force you to stop ignoring the full-of-crap sources you use) it is worthless anyway.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Simon is the absolute last person I could ever imagine apologize to on this website. I supposed it might have happened once or twice during past truces. He is a very intelligent guy, even if not very knowledgeable about history. A pity he is so arrogant. Worse than me, and I am worse than you, and you have room for improvement. Anyone, his utter disdain for ever making a relevant thread opening comment hardly makes criticism of him on that score off limits or "out of line." Even you and I do that from time to time.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    The FACT is that three of your four examples were REFUTED. There was no intervention in Bangladesh in 1992 and Bosnia and Kosovo are not "moslem countries." When push and comes to shove you are pitiful and silly as the rest of your followers here.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I cannot vouch for the validity of Mr. Amitz's website (listed in his post above: "What US and FDR really did and felt (#97869)"), but suppose, for sake of tagential argument irrelevant to the question of the Pope and 14 century Islam, that the website is actually based on historical fact and insight. The following is the "logic" which Amitz's paranoid fantasizing -evidenced in dozens of prior posts of his on HNN- derives from it:

    1) There was anti-Semitism in America in the 1930s and 1940s, including to some relatively minor extent within the administration of FDR.

    2) There were tough anti-immigration policies in force in the US in the 1930s and early '40s directed discriminatorily against practically every ethnic group in the world
    (including Eastern European Jews) except for Northwestern Europeans who happen to have made up most of American immigrants from 1620 to 1890.

    3) Evidence of systematic Nazi efforts to massacre Jews first reached FDR a full year after Pearl Harbor. He chose to focus on other matters. Such as leading the fight in the greatest war in human history, at a time when the ultimate American-led victory was far from certain.

    4) A campaign to bomb rail lines going to Auschwitz MIGHT have saved a few lives in 1943 and 1944, but was not seriously considered by the FDR Administration.

    5) Therefore, FDR, the American governmen, and the people of America collaborated in the Holocaust

    6) Amitz thinks he is living in a latter-day Auschwitz. Those of us who disagree with him on HNN for example, are "White Supremicist" Nazi prison guards.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    No Mr. Eckstein. You are as wrong as Furnish, even though it was Friedman (who evidently never took a college history course in his life) who confused the two of you.

    It was Furnish's quote. If he was not quoting out of context and is not now trying to cover his deceit or his sloppiness, he should have no hesitation about following basic history-profession procedures (for a change) and providing a proper citation or at least a link we can use to read the full article.

    This idiotic practice of making an outrageous claim and then crying like a baby when someone asks you to back it up might be the way Friedman learned to do history in 5th grade summer camp, but it does not have to be followed by the rest of us on this neo-history website where "professors" lead charge after charge down to the grade school playground fighting fields.

    It would be interesting to know what Cindy Sheehan really said. If in his machine gun campaign to spray commments all over the comment page of his own article, Furnish committed the sophmore error of cutting and pasting without making a citation not it is not someone's job to clean up after his sloppy incompetence.

    Go back to the CNS (whatever that is) website, Mr. Furnish or to Phonyconservativehistoryraper.nut
    or wherever you drudged up this comment having nothing to do with the Pope and find us the url, or consider yourself a proven BSer.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Proper debate at times gleans through the playground ranting and raving of some posters (not you, most of the time). But, there is no obligation of the non-ranters to tolerate the irrelevant prefab ranting.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    THAT is actually a GOOD suggestion, Friedman. There is hope for you.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Once again, what is "Eurobabble"?

    Do you know what the word "definition" means?

    Does your "reading" include the reading of a dictionary?

    Why do you insult your ancestry?


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    You are improving you url pasting skills, Mr. Simon.

    Now we know a bit about the biography of Wafa Sultan.

    She is evidently neither an authority on the Vatican nor a professor of history or of anything else, but she has some obviously and understandably deep feelings about Islam, and particularly about the brutality and hypocrisy of its lunatic fringe.

    I suppose she approves of Pope Benedict's Regensburg speech and is rather less approving of his subsequent apology for the speech

    Was that your point, or did you have something else in mind relevant to the topic of the page, in accordance with HNN rules and civilized discourse?


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    A similar line of thinking

    “says that, because words or thoughts about the ideas or behavior witnessed among” Israeli leaders “are hurtful to” Jews, and threaten their exaggerated and often irrational fears of 'existential threats,' that therefore we must always frantically rebut them, no matter what, and civility be damned and egomaniacal addictions rationalized to high hell, “forms an inherent disconnect.” If the Israeli government did "not behave in this way, we wouldn't see the violent reactions that are currently witnessed. If such behavior is a problem, however, then appeasing whatever self-deception which on their part is necessary to feel the pride and dignity they demand by not acknowleging it, is not the job of a rational West. People don't honor others by lying to them. It might as well be demanded that the reports of the violence now occurring be censored. But instead, ignorance of what these behaviors represent is demanded.”


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Simon, your link leads to a messy labyrinth. Impossible to figure out how it is supposed to relate to this thread or to anything else.

    The reductio ad absurdum argument most pertinent here is the one often heard in Cheneyland: that since some other group is Massively Barbaric of Order X, therefore our group is above any criticism as long as our evil deeds remain at or below Order X-1. Ultimately this kind of thinking amounts to little more than self-serving Hypocrisy. We see many examples on this page from people who will excuse anything done by the government of Israel, but have endless time here to excoriate the entire religion of Islam for the atrocities committed by a minority of its adherents.

    Meanwhile, I think you if study European History you will discover that Jews have not bombed German restaurants because most Jews in a position to do so considered themselves loyal Germans at the time. With your much greater knowledge of rhetoric you might also probe the etymology of the word "Yiddish".


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    ...but not convincing

    1) Where exactly does the Koran call all religions "all kind of names" ?

    2) Blood drips from many hands. Such as the massacre a few years back (can't recall the name of the locality) of Moslems by Hindus in India. If Non-Moslems are to prevail upon Moslems to reform their often backward ways, it will surely not be by aping their most biased and imflammatory propaganda.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    As noted on previous occasions of this type, there are professors and there are professors. It is, however, indeed a small non-exemplary minority whose members find it expedient or appropriate to engage in repeated trench warfare on the comment pages of their own articles. A even smaller minority (to my knowledge a minority of one) bothers to violate HNN rules, proscribing adhominen attacks, by slamming posters for comments they made on a different page from the one containing the slam.

    What this boils down to is that most professors display and observe a distinction between their remarks and those of the rudest commenters. But, after all, what are rules without exceptions?


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    You comment pertains to the topic of the page in which way, Mr. F.?

    I use Google from time to time. So Beeping what?


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Mr. Amitz: Nobody here gives a flying leap at Mars who you are voting for, which penny stocks you are trying to bail out of, what color you dye your hair, or which conspiracy theories about the American government colloborating in running the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp you cannot let go of. The subject here is the Pope's speech.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I plead no contest to the charge of "hijacking" the thread. My intention was merely to ring an alarm bell, but some people here cannot stand not being final utterer in a thread.

    Meanwhile, your long track record here, Mr. S. will not enable you to avoid conviction for attempted hijacking of entire comment page after comment page. After you have summouned the courage to make a (probably your first ever) initial post in your own thread, you may manage without looking ridiculous, to break glass walls by throwing stones at other posters.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    You have ignored the question of how Wafa Sultan is relevant to the topic.

    Why should I try find out or want to try find about Wafa Sultan, given that whatever her position ON THE TOPIC OF THE PAGE (the Pope's remark) her opinion is at best one of millions of informed and articulate views?

    You seem to assume (despite my pointing out the idiocy thereof again and again) that it is somehow my job to do yours or Simon's or any other lazy Islamophobes' homework whenever you clowns want to throw some of your half-baked demagoguery at at HNN.

    Get a life, Friedman.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    This document does not impress, Mr. Eckstein.

    No fair-minded informed humanitarian, liberal, human rights advocate, or little d democrat, could ever have seriously doubted the justice and the necessity of vigorously and assidously opposing Islamic terrorism, and its underlying causes, using any available and creatable civilized means.

    The real question has always been HOW to do so, not whether.

    There is a very strong argument, not quite ironclad, but solid enough to convince most historians -who are normally reticient to pronounce upon recent trends- and many other observers from across your fossilized archaic "left-right spectrum," that the unprecedentedly incompetent policies of the Bush Administration and its close-minded counterparts in Israel and elsewhere have had the net effect of strengthening and encouraging the long run growth of very dangerous, barbaric, and murderous Islamic extremism of the Al Qaeda variety.

    On the incompetency scale, the new Pope is much closer to our C-average History major Oval Office occupant than the previous pontiff. That change should be of greater concern, not to mention greater relevance to the topic at hand here, than another document in favor of motherhood, apple pie, and condemnation of terrorism excluding Irgun.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Your latest hodge podge of google-droppings about the West Bank or "classic theology" (which your ability to explicate is dubious anyway) is irrelevant to the question of the Pope's remarks.

    I see little practical difference between the Euston document and the Pope's speech except that the former seems to have been better thought out than the latter and to have been much less of a shot in the own foot.

    Since you again claim for the umpteenth childlishly repetitive time to be so much more vastly knowledgeable than me about all of Mideast history, based on my sources (including New York Times and Washington Post) being little more than "Eurobabble" compared to great historians such as Bat Y'eor and Ex-Commie-turned-crypto-fascist Horrorwitz, YOU TELL ME:

    When was the last time a major Islamic leader, such as Khamanei, spoke ill of Christianity as a religion?

    Go ahead Google away, and don't forget to forget most of what you read, except for most Islamophobic parts, to mangle even those words you do remember and misinterpret their meaning, and to obliterate any tracebable citations to the neo-con BS websites you rely on.


    DeWayne Edward Benson - 10/7/2006

    I've gotten so damned mad at writers of slander, those who twist PSYOPS to earn a buck, that I began writing my own refuting these people using items they are not aquainted... facts.

    Am I about to post them in this small space, not likely. Dealing with people that enjoy being misled and lied to, is like bashing of the head against a concrete wall.

    Totally counter productive...


    Sukan Gurkaynak - 9/29/2006

    There are no churches in Saudi Arabia and there are no Mosques in the Greek Capital City, Athens. Unfortunately there are a lot of narrow minded people on this world, so what does that prove?

    I wrote what is matter of fact about Islamic Empires which existed centuries ago. This is how people of the Islamic Culture view their history. HNN being a history site it should be legitimate to record this fact. It does not in my view prejudice the present conflicts.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/28/2006

    Mr. Crocker,
    Have you had your sense of humor (or perspective) surgically removed? I do indeed think that my teaching load MIGHT have something to do with how much time I spend on here (obviously, Messrs. Clarke and Ebbits seem not to have any other jobs).
    I don't even recall the points you raised now, and this string is so serpentine I frankly don't wish to track it back.
    I do admit that your memory of the characters in "Stripes" is admirable, exceeding even my own.
    But...I was commissioned, so don't call me "Sgt." Even Hulka.


    N. Friedman - 9/26/2006

    Peter,

    You write: "Without the full quote, it is impossible to determine whether your interpreation of the missing ...'s is correct or not."

    Before, you were sure that the quote did not say what I say it seems to say. That was fine until I showed that you were simply ignoring what the quote says.

    Now you say we cannot tell what it says. And, you chime in with the libelous contention that the quote comes from a propaganda site, as if that changes things. But, you have not shown that the quote is out of context. My bet, Peter, is that the quote is in context.

    Please provide some evidence - hard evidence - that the quote does not mean what it says. Also, please prove your unfounded allegations about MEMRI. I might add that while you are at it, consider Bernard Lewis' statement about vile comments about Jews in the Arab regions:

    The volume of anti-Semitic books and articles published, the size and number of editions and impressions, the eminence and authority of those who write, publish and sponsor them, their place in school and college curricula, their role in the mass media, would all seem to suggest that classical anti-Semitism is an essential part of Arab intellectual life at the present time…

    I know for a fact that the above quote is in context. It comes from Semites and Anti-Semities, by Bernard Lewis, and is one of his best books. I suggest you read it. It was published, if I recall correctly, in 1986.

    My suggestion to you is that if the Arab regions are so full of Antisemitic rhetoric, religious hatred is not something that should be unexpected. Such things go together like hand in glove. In fact, it would be shocking if that were not the case to the extent that you, who makes an outrageous claim, should prove your point.



    john crocker - 9/25/2006

    American businessmen organized the overthrow of the Hawai'ian government while the US military watched and within 5 years annexed Hawai'i. The US government may not have technically have conquered Hawai'i, but they were complicit in the overthrow of its government and moved in quickly to take advantage of its overthrow by Americans.


    J. Feuerbach - 9/25/2006

    Thank you Patrick. Reading and interpreting the Bible can be a very dangerous endeavor if you don’t follow some basic hermeneutic rules.

    What the author of this article did reminds me of a very devout Christian who had a very idiosyncratic way of reading the Bible. He would close his eyes, open the Bible randomly, place his finger on a particular text, open his eyes, and read the verse aloud. He would treasure that verse saying that it was God’s word for that particular day.

    He used this method for a long time and he was delighted with the results. One morning, as usual, he opened the Bible randomly and placed his finger on Matthew 27.5: “Then Judas went away and hanged himself.” He started to feel a bit confused. “What is it that the Lord wants to tell me today?” But so far the system had proven to be useful so he gave it another try. He closed his Bible, closed his eyes, opened the Bible again, and placed his finger on Luke 10: 37: “Go and do likewise."


    J. Feuerbach - 9/25/2006

    Thank you Patrick. Reading and interpreting the Bible can be a very dangerous endeavor if you don’t follow some basic hermeneutic rules.

    What the author of this article did reminds me of a very devout Christian who had a very idiosyncratic way of reading the Bible. He would close his eyes, open the Bible randomly, place his finger on a particular text, open his eyes, and read the verse aloud. He would treasure that verse saying that it was God’s word for that particular day.

    He used this method for a long time and he was delighted with the results. One morning, as usual, he opened the Bible randomly and placed his finger on Matthew 27.5: “Then Judas went away and hanged himself.” He started to feel a bit confused. “What is it that the Lord wants to tell me today?” But so far the system had proven to be useful so he gave it another try. He closed his Bible, closed his eyes, opened the Bible again, and placed his finger on Luke 10: 37: “Go and do likewise."


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    Are you also time challenged as well or just an unhinged emotional basketcase every time OB's name is mentioned? Like a hungry, angry pitbull who hears the word 'eat'. How pavlovian.

    Today is the 23rd and Mr. Baker is nowhere to be found. Maybe he is rigging himself up for a visit to a Tel Aviv Sbarro Pizza. Check it out won't you before it is too late.

    As for growing up look in the mirror. Reread what you have written here over the past (24) hours. It's the stylings of a man who is not quite right in the head. Your emotions and prejudices overwhelm your extremely high intellect to produce the most irrational rants.

    At least I maintain a consistent level of decorum albeit, at a low level and am emotionally sound. Go figure. The higher the IQ the less stable one seems to be. Make a note of that will you.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    Let's just kill them all. We have the technology and with men like you the level hate needed to carry out the crime is proportionate to that needed to get the job done and done right. They are nothing but crazed religionists anyway who will never bend to our wishes of subservience. The filthy animals! Primitive I tell you! Primitives!

    I say let's do it. Israel has shown us the way learned from the Nazi's carried out in that grand tradition to this day against their local Arabs. We need to just step it up. Extrapolate. Expand production. Ramp it up. Maximize return. With the Israel model as our guide it should be a cinch.

    Nuke 'em, gas 'em, cluster bomb 'em, starve 'em out. Rubber bullets, real bullets, crush 'em with tanks, bulldozers or trucks. Then we can take all their land without them being in our way. I can smell sweet success already.

    Kill 'em all. What do you say?


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    I was polite to you on two occasions. No more and that is Mr. Ebbitt to you.

    You come here expecting every poster to kiss your ring and for those of us who don't agree with your brand of American Jihad you dish out ad hominem better than all others combined. Look at Spence's post. Read it and read good. A polite gentleman and you found it in your heart to offend even him. Man of Christ my butt.

    You made a screwball statement and I called you on it. Get over it! Then you provided highly suspect information regarding Sheehan. You are now the epitome of intellectual dishonesty in my eyes. Take a walk and pack that silly book with you. I couldn't even find it tonight at B&N. Some bestseller. If that is your bread and butter the only meal you'd cop is at the Light Of Life Mission.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    Thank God your through with me. It was like an 'out damn spot' experience that I thought would never end.

    Just for the record was your question that absolutely ridiculous 'deal or no deal' proposition of, "if the choice is Omar's World or Israel, which will you choose."?

    Some choice. Would you bang Phyllis Diller or Joan Rivers?

    I would kill myself. Suicide would clearly be the preferred choice. I could not stand to live in your world of pure unadulterated hatred. I can barely take you all now so, this would be a no brainer.

    What a shame. A world so beautiful, as granted by the grace of God, despoiled by Jew and Arab equally alike. The burden and bane of all humankind.

    To bad you all can't just wipe each other out so as to spare the rest of us.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    I read every essay presented here at HNN and nearly all comments and yet, NO absolutely, positively, nowhere has any scholar or commentator made the claim wishing 'UBL is sitting in the Oval Office' and NO that it 'would probably be better than a Republican'. If so, please cite the essay title or comment reference number. I've got all week so don't bust a nut on my account.

    YES, it is the dumbest damn comment I've ever read here at HNN.

    YES, I called you a 'nincompoop' for making this idiotic comment even, if in jest as you claim, while spinning your well worn wheels in reverse when called to task. NO, I did not call you a 'dolt' but, those whom are unfortunate enough to have to shell out tuition to suffer under your tutelage and then be released out onto the world from the most noted Community College in the Old South.

    YES, I did take your idiotic comment personally because the War On Terror is the greatest military disaster in world history, bar none and you jokingly blame those of us who criticize this clusterfuck as being loyal to Usama bin Laden. Well, doctor why hasn't our boy in the Oval Office brought his valued business partner to justice? You know, Salem's brother and The Bush Family Evil Empire's CEO, board member and prized majority shareholder. As this joke on terror is blowing-up like an unexpected IED against our under appreciated troops your hope is that any aristarch would shut-up and go away so that this baneful blight can continue unabated and uninterrupted. Well get a clue Bud, we're not going anywhere!

    NO, I do not work for any college but, am a proud alumni of the above mentioned institution and NO we did not suffer the boorish likes of any professor such as you. I have a real job in the real world and do not hide behind the ivory covered walls of a third rate junior college.

    Finally, for what it is worth the Pope's comments were spot on and he should never have apologized. A small minority of Moslems are barbarians who in no way represent any God that I know. Muhammad may have been some sort of prophet in his own mind but, in reality was an inhumane thug, butcher and pedophile. If the local Mullah or cleric declares fatwa on me for this insult you'll read about it in the Guinness Book Of World Records as the fastest head chopping turned scimitar sword colonoscopy in recorded history.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    David Horowitz can add two more names to any revision of his "The Professors" work. That a pair of distinguished professors can park at HNN to spew venom from the right, incite hate, warmonger then continue to grandstand for a failed war, defend the indefensible atrocities committed by Israel, defend the unspeakable atrocities committed in all of our names under the flag of the United States skill fully/ willfully dictated/ manipulated by the unethical Machiavellian machinations of the Bush Administration, place full blame for the troubles squarely on the laps of 'primitive, extremist' Moslems without questioning 'why', fail to generate any solutions whatsoever for the current condition, back pedal repeatedly when solid evidence is provided that easily trashes their most simpleminded screeds imaginable i.e. 'long to place Usama in the White House as he would be better than a Republican' or ' that Islam is the only religion in the modern world that is violent' just to point out two of many, provide absolutely none or the worst/weakest possible evidence imaginable when called out for fakery, fail to refute any reasonable cross examination of the fakery, take at large ad hominem pot shots at gentile posters, then most remarkable of all bawl like neutered kittens when a nobody from nowhere with no credentials steps forward to provide much needed muscle to place the slap down.

    What are our young adults learning? A college education that is PAID for OUT OF POCKET with hard earned tuition dollars that most families do not have to place bread on the table of these two wingnuts? A college education that in my day was a privilege, that meant something special, that encouraged intellectual curiosity, that challenged convention, that brought foremost a keen discipline and sense of academic honesty into the lives of impressionable youth, that inspired, that rewarded, that created dignity, self respect and most importantly provided the foundation/ essential survival skills needed for the dog-eat-dog environs of the real world that these two professors deftly hide from behind ivory covered walls. Two professors whose work, along with others, is producing 'paperhat' workers who can barely articulate, read, perform simple math without electronic aid and sadly enough cannot think on their feet with any rapidity. Two professors who are preaching, not teaching and operating American madrases within our public college education system with the funding of our tax dollars.

    These are the sign 'o the times. The hijacking of the public college education system curriculum by radical rightists, fear mongers and haters to reshape America for the new fascist state that she is in metamorphosis from maggot to fly. All the while men of intelligence/good will are castigated/chastised for speaking out against such Hitler youth modeling.

    "A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him and a child cannot afford to be fooled." -- James Baldwin


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Yehudi,

    I am one of the friendliest, happiest men you'd ever meet with a permanent Cary Grant smile and good word for all except ignorant, lying, whining twits like you. Tell us why I mentioned the visit the Bellevue Asylum? The comment was made in jest when you first joined this community and insanely accused every poster from Hollywood to Tel Aviv of being a 'Jew Hater'. My mistake was making light in effort to hold a dialogue with the likes of you 'The World's Most Offensive Jew'. You make Borat appear refined.

    Again, for the last time the United States never aided and abetted the German Holocaust Extermination. This myth is made by self- loathing Jews looking for sympathy or an opportunity to turn a shekel promoting this baloney. You should vent your frustrations at them for mocking the sacred memory of the dead and exploiting their misfortune in this greatest of all historic human tragedies. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the best friend the Jew's ever had and your continued perpetuation of this fallacy is a disgrace to his good name and bravery in stepping up to the plate to defeat the Hitler menace.

    Read this to see just how wrong you are...

    http://www.americanheritage.com/immigration/articles/magazine/ah/1999/4/1999_4_34.shtml

    ... I await your unintelligible response and look forward with great anticipation to being called 'Jew Hater' once again.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Good for you Omar. A real man of conviction not, some phony lying hack who cannot manage his uncontrolled emotional rage to distinguish between fallacy and reality.

    Mental institutions are full of psychotics like Professor Spasticus Autisticus . Too bad our universities harbor them also.

    My poorly worded joke/ statement was in frustration not directed at you but at Professor Eckstein who has a paranoid hard on for you or anyone else who does not eat the Israeli Death Cookie that he tries vainly to serve up with each post he delivers.

    My apologies if I offended you or made a poor choice in words in your absence and defense from the unwarranted continual attacks of this psychotic.

    Take care...


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    Write me a book. The Professor who initially came to HNN posting name, credentials and university affiliation at the bottom of each post. 'Where did that go' he wondered aloud. Advised to drop it as his pro-Zionist leanings do not in any way represent that of the school he haunts, maybe?

    No need to reply to this short note Professor as I am through with you. You're dishonesty smells like sulfur. PERIOD.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    You've got some nerve calling me nutty then presenting a 'liberal Jew who converted to Islam, then became a radical Muslim and then changed his mind' as your source reference document.

    Your not helping your cause nor enhancing your already suspect reputation here at HNN by promoting the opinions of a mad man.

    The next time you want to present convincing evidence how about gathering a quote from someone who is at least sane.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    This debate began over three weeks ago. In that time I challenged the following assertions.

    1.) The alleged apologies of the Roman Catholic Church for abuses committed by the Church over the past 1800 years with a far greater number of very reliable sources of greater factual detail than my adversary that was both conveniently ignored and not ever challenged with reason by said doubter. That said doubter, for the record, provided ZERO, count them ZERO, resources to back his fallacious claims.

    I challenge any reader to debate sola Scriptura, Apocrypha, Canon Law or Doctrine of Papal Infallibility and the alleged apologies of the RCC.

    http://www.solagroup.org/

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/apo/index.htm

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/apo/index.htm

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm

    2.) That the United States has not committed our military for any reasons to protect Moslems for the sole purpose of protecting Moslems but, to either advance US interests or exploit oil resources or at the request of our close ally and benefactor oil rich Saudi Arabia. The Balkan Wars was portrayed by my adversary in the most simplistic of terms. To paraphrase, 'Serbs bad kill Moslems, US good kill Serbs save Moslems end of story, end of debate. Period.' Again, ZERO source reference documents were provided by the doubter.

    I challenge any reader to debate the myth of US benevolence in the Balkans War or any other Moslem state.

    http://www.monthlyreview.org/0203herman.htm

    3.) That a comment was made equating Patriots who question the Iraq War and the greater 'War On Terror' as seeking to 'replace the President of the United States with Usama bin Laden and asserting that bin Laden would outperform any Republican.'

    I challenge any reader to find this request on the pages of HNN and now for that matter the WWW as I am confident no one but, the author of both this threads essay and this obnoxious comment is unbalanced enough to even think up this day dream to promote as fact/ use as smear and the unstable doubter who rushed to his defense only to be immediately/ effectively rebuked.

    4.) That said adversary of debate topics 1. and 2. wildly claimed that the 'Moslem Religion is the only religion in the modern world that is violent'. I submitted eight (8) different reference points either in URL link format or points of referral that immediately debunked this fallacy including dozens of photographs of IDF troops in religious tallit (robes) praying prior to battle. This was wave of hand dismissed as a prayers of safety and the 1000's of Imans screaming messages of hate out weigh any acts of barbarity and promotion religious violence by the State Of Israel.

    I challenge any reader to defend that the Moslem religion is the only religion of violence in the modern world.

    To be continually attacked personally, which I do not mind in the least and give far better than I receive, while having the adversarial debater provide ZERO, again count them ZERO references, links or readings is the epitome of intellectual dishonesty and must not go unchallenged on these pages.

    To be honest and in all fairness said adversary did provide one source to prove that Moslems are violent and that was from a mentally unstable man who morphed from liberal Jew to Islam to radical Jihadist then gave it all up. The same type of resource comparable to that of a John Walker Lindh (the American Taliban) or Adam Yahiye Gadahn (the American al Qaeda).


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    To topic 1.) Apologies of the Roman Catholic Church the 'Canon Law' URL for reference checking.

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    This is serious now. No more jokes or insults or ad hominems will be issued from this end of the wire.

    Step up to the plate and debate each of the four points as outlined. It is that simple. Provide refutation and a minimum of one reference that beyond a reasonable doubt confirms your assertions for each point of contention and if you are convincing I will apologize, concede and retreat for each point you knock down.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    E.,

    Why fly the yellow colors of cowardice? I never suspected you and you're not a coward. I am right here and you are more than welcome to address me like a man. There will be no jokes or insults or ad hominem from this end of the wire. There will be no more game playing with the 'Israeli Uber Alles' ever again. You'll receive nothing but straight forward facts and rebuttal.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Yes, head on over to the local CITGO. Report to Karl Rove and await instruction.

    What an unsettling comment and members of the General Assembly chuckled and applauded.

    Although, there is a smattering of truth in every lie the fact remains that W. is the most disgraceful man ever to represent this great nation.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor.

    You addressed only one of four points. The point you did attempt to tackle lacks anything but your own generalized opinion ungrounded in historic fact.

    Please provide detailed rationale for the exact/ direct reasons why the United States entered each of these conflicts?


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    Bangladesh 1992. There does not appear to have been any armed conflict other than the normal political instability associated with this nation at least on the level of a war or where the United States is involved.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh

    A quick search of Wiki Bangladesh War 1992 provides no article.

    A Google bolean search provides similar results for Bangladesh+War+1992+US+intervention.

    I eschew sharing source references here unless forced to but, I feel sorry for any PhD. Historian who cannot get a simple date correct. This is not meant as an ad hominem but, a clear indication of my concern and mistrust in any information that said Historian may provide in future, I hope readers here take note and hold suspect any information provided by any like individual. If I am incorrect please accept my sincere apology in advance.

    The History Guy is an excellent resource that is unable to verify your claim of a war in Bangladesh circa 1992 nor US involvement in any such effort.

    http://www.historyguy.com/War_list.html

    Please correct date of omission so that I may research your claim.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    E.,

    At least you are man enough this time to face me. That is clearly a far better effort than you've made in the past on these pages hiding behind the shields of the others and running when called out on the numerous false and unsubstantiated claims you try to pass off as fact.

    The reason you do not take me seriously is that I don't buy what you are selling. I believe you to be a liar. That is not an ad hominem but, truth. I also believe you to be an apologist for the crimes that Israel has committed. Israel has done many great things but, you have failed to recognize even one fault. Therefore, I find you to be a a lair and an untrustworthy source of information.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Peter,

    One shouldn't forget to put some credence in the Oil For Food program that effectively shut out the US to the benefit of France, Germany, various high level corporate/ UN officials and of course the Hussein regime.

    The secondary issue of note is Saddam Iraq's desire to forego US dollars in favor of Euros on a closed trading bourse.

    By the way Peter, am I missing something in that a war occurred in Bangladesh in 1992 especially, one that involved US troops? If so, that is not like me as I have followed the US military since oh, about 1965.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    E.,

    You like the Professor are being dishonest and incomplete in your explanation. The debate was US intervention in foreign wars in particular, Moslem nations particularly Iraq. My full statement was that the US only commits our military for a reason and after frustration again with incompetency that should not be present from a PhD. History I made this generalization that is not very far of the mark.

    We know full well that generalization are not grounded in fact.

    Somalia 1992- US involvement was a reluctant/forced hand. The UN Hunger Relief Agency was under attack as were the UN troops sent to defend food distribution. The US committed 25K troops to protect UN troops and Relief Workers and were soon forced to vacate a unattainable situation. Being Moslem had nothing to do with this intervention.

    Bangladesh 1992- No war occurred.

    Bosnia 1995 & Kosovo 1999- Again, the US involvement was a reluctant/forced hand. These wars in the tinderbox underbelly of Europe (where did WWI start?) were in direct relief of beleaguered NATO forces and at the direct request of oil giant Saudi Arabia as I proved earlier. Read the posts above. 200,000 dead before any US commitment does not sound like a pressing effort to save Moslems. Being Moslem again had nothing to do with this intervention as I also proved.

    Now that you are involved pick up the slack for a Professor who has been clearly overmatched all weekend.

    I would be particularly interested in your opinion of IDF troop photos praying before battle.

    Even Mr. Friedman stayed away from all four of these debate points all weekend as he is bright enough to back only sure things.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    E.,

    It is not your job to be held to account for the few slip ups Israel has made. However, it is your job to be honest with all in recreating the history, truthfully assessing the situation, asking pointed questions and offering reasonable solutions.

    Not because you are Jewish but because you are a viable and valued member of the human race.

    I may be irrational but, look at who I am dealing with. You all. Outnumbered and overwhelmed with the four most irrational individuals Christ ever created who like pack animals cover for each other even when one is proven beyond a doubt to be wrong. I have also admitted being wrong here on numerous occasions many more times than anyone else and you know what, I am really seldom wrong and only do it so as to move on.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Thanks Peter. You're right it has been a tough week and I have felt almost overwhelmed by the 'Israeli Uber Alles' and Furnish Of Arabia. This whole thread has been one long drag and made me a little more irritable than usual. It is if history is secondary to generalization and unsubstantiated opinion. Plus, you just can't win with these guys. They are like pack animals. I should have hung out with Bradley Smith and Fred at the Holocaust denier thread.

    Oops sorry, I promised no ad hominems.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    In the words of the late great Andy Warhol, 'So what'. I am not one of your apple polishers who fawn all over everything you write regardless of how wrong or asinine it is. As far as your writing a book we all know it as you pimp it here on HNN with each and every long winded essay you submit. As for speaking Arabic, I have enough trouble with English so, knock yourself out. I am also not a Marxist unless, Harpo qualifies as a political theorist and Chomsky is as much a loon albeit, from the left as you are from the right.

    You did not answer nor address any of my points no matter how much of a donkey I may be especially, the first one as to where on HNN has any scholar or poster longed for Usama in the Oval Office or that he would outshine any Republican.

    As far as attacking the college where you teach or the students you serve that was wrong/stupid and I should have not gone there. I apologize for that gross error but, for that transgression only. All other points stand whether you like it or not.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    The question, as stated, is on HNN. You can't be that much of a nimrod. Or, are you?


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    N.,

    As always you are one of the most truthful / respected members of this community. I provide almost as many historic facts as you and more than any other poster here except you. Statistics, quotes, relevant links from respected sources not far out lunatics, videos, photos. Man, I've quoted the highly respected Charles Krauthammer on these pages more than CK has ever quoted himself.

    What has this site become? It appears to be more of a beauty contest and pissing match than a site for serious history. I spend more time expending energy sparring with posters... which I actually hate doing as it is demeaning to me and the recipient of my wrath but, I won't be pushed around, ever... who provide no grounding in anything they present including, scholarly Professors who should know how to point, research, formulate, reference, present, defend and counter argue.

    This site has really become tiring and is more suited to buffoons than those of us seeking answers.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Bangladesh is a Muslim country; in 1992 U.S. armed forces intervened in large numbers by helping against a natural disaster. U.S. Marines were involved. This is not a matter of opinion.

    TIME OUT... AD HOMINEM RULE TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED...

    My God man are you that daft we are talking about WAR HERE not TYPHOONS?

    You are WRONG... Bangladesh was NOT A WAR !!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE ???

    Something ain't right in your head boy !!!

    You are so dishonest that you should seriously consider whether it is in anyones best interest in you staying at this site.

    AD HOMINEM RULE BACK ENFORCE...


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    N.,

    Maybe you are right. I was under the obviously mistaken impression that I provided solid facts and proof for all my posts. Nothing was left unexplored or to chance. I consulted World Book/ Britannica and my voluminous book collection plus scoured the net religiously prior to each posting.

    Well at least I did not claim a war in Bangladesh in 1992 that involved US intervention. That is a really major league boneheaded mistake that only a pre-novice historian could make.

    Thanks again. I'll straighten it up in future.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    COMMENT REMOVED. HNN Editor


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    I did not ask for nor do I seek your courtesy or to be taken seriously especially, by a Professor whom the jury is still out on from this end of the wire. I am not an academic and from the debates in which I have participated in with you, it appears that you are not so much of one either. At least not yet anyway but, these little exercises will surely help you hone your debating skills.

    That Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is a confused nutbag in the mold of John Walker Lindh or Adam Yehiye Gadahn doesn't make him a reliable source. Two or more sources is always best. That the sources are balanced or even diametrically opposed is better. For a historian the center is always more advantageous/credible than left or right. The only thing I learned from your post was that 'take it seriously' equates to your back tracking to 'is it definitive' within your world view. I already knew that some Moslems are crazy. Conviction Professor, get some!

    To prove some academic weaknesses I'll address three points. One new, two old news.

    First the new as you write, ..."Muslims about the violence against innocents being committed daily in the name of their religion--a situation unique among religions in the modern world--"

    "Venerable Ellawala Medhananda, a famous Sri Lankan Buddhist monk, doesn’t mince words. Speaking to Reuters in February, he declared: “If Prabhakaran is dead, Sri Lanka is a better place. He is the stumbling block to the peace process. We should take his influence out of society.”
    Medhananda, the leader of a nationalist Buddhist political party, was calling for the assassination of Velupillai Prabhakaran, a chief architect of the religious and ethnic conflict that has killed more than 60,000 people in Sri Lanka."

    http://www.class.uidaho.edu/ngier/slrv.htm

    http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/History/Current_Affairs/Current_affairs.html

    So much for your theory Professor? Generalizations are not grounded in fact.

    If you are still not convinced we can always debate Church burnings or Abortion Clinic murders or the Christian thoughts of General Jerry Boykin or the religious leanings of the KKK from right here in the good old US of A.

    Or maybe we can debate IDF troops praying before battle. You know Jewish violence under the shroud of Israeli State sponsorship.

    http://www.chabadtexas.org/templates/photogallery/photogallery.asp?AID=410738

    This should be enough for now. Sorry to have to slam your hypothesis to atomic sized particles worthy of the Jewish holy bomb or at the least cluster size bomblets.

    Second, the first of the old. I am not anti-Catholic as I am Catholic. Raised, educated and at times practicing. Ask your friend N. Friedman on this as he can vouch for Jews who meet this level of religious conviction. I proved beyond a reasonable doubt with facts/ links that you obviously failed to read and proof from sola Scriptura to the Apocrypha to the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility to Canon Law. You know proof Professor as in PROOF, PROOF, PROOF which you NEVER, EVER PROVIDED that the Roman Catholic Church has apologized for any of it's acts of violence or any other transgressions. Remember, we are talking about the Church not individuals within the Church. If so, provide your refutation and not opinions or generalizations or perceptions but, HARD PROOF.

    Lastly, the USA never intervened in any Moslem area where oil was not involved. Well that's not 100% true on my part as we intervened to save Moslems from other Moslems. The story you tell is not even 50% true and you are the alleged expert. To save time and your embarrassment let's concentrate on the Balkans.

    You know where that is Professor? The underbelly of Europe. You remember the Republican response to Clinton's attempt at 'wag the dog' over a cum stain blue dress? Let's look further shall we. 200,000 genocidal deaths before any actions commenced why? Hint: Saudi Arabian oil kingdom request maybe.

    "Let us look at American policies. America conducted three wars in the 1990s. The Gulf War saved the Kuwaiti people from Saddam. American intervention in the Balkans saved Bosnia. And then we saved Kosovo from Serbia. What do these three military campaigns have in common? In every one we saved a Muslim people." -- Charles Krauthammer

    "Let us remember that America is not anti-Muslim and not anti-Islam. In fact, the last three military engagements of the United States were for the purpose of defending Muslim people. We restored the independence of Kuwait. We then went on to save the Bosnian Muslims from genocide. And then we bombed a Christian country, Serbia, because of what Serbia tried to do to its Albanian Muslim minority. And now American and NATO troops are engaged in Macedonia for the purpose of achieving a just result for the Albanian Muslims who are a minority in that country." -- (US Congressional Record 9/21/2001)

    One of three fought over oil leaves two. The former Yugoslavia the oil rich Islamic lands corridor to Europe. Interesting. Bosnia's former President Alija Izetbegovic indicted by the Hague just like Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes while UN Ambassador Mohammed Sacirbey charged with fraud/theft of thousands of dollars. The latter was Richard Holbrooke's buddy. Over 20,000 armed Mujahedin and their forced marriage Bosnian brides intact/living large. In Kosovo, America effectively handed over power to Usama bin Laden's KLA- Kosovo Liberation Army. So Tell us again Charles K. & CR who is saving whom?

    The US supports a militant Bosnian Moslem leadership that killed fellow Moslems who resisted it's policy. The US supports the KLA that killed non-Albanian Moslems as well as Serbs, Gypsies, Turks and Albanian Moslems deemed traitors/collaborators. The US sure did a piss-poor job of defending Moslem's eh, Professor?

    Who's side is the US on anyway? Defender of Israel or Saudi Arabia? Protector of Moslems or Christians? To protect Moslems we kill Serbs who committed genocide. Genocide is not an individual but, a state crime yet Croatians, Bosnian Muslims, and Kosovo Albanians all have motives to peddle their genocide programs/woes against each other and do so incessantly to garner US favor. Tell me again what Moslems did the US save?

    http://www.harpers.org/sb-kosovo-mis-1158344060.html

    I am sure this discussion will continue as you, like me, cannot get enough of the challenge afforded by political debate. Good luck with your rebuttal and this time provide some HARD DATA PROOF. I am not that unreasonable you know and am open to convincing when presented with fact.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Thanks again Peter. Enough said.

    Absentee ballot absolutely.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor & Professor,

    Show me where either Clarke or I or anyone else for that matter including, Art's nemesis Mr. Baker, here at HNN has called for Usama to be installed in the White House or that he is the tops over any Republican?

    Put up or shut up! It's that simple.

    If you two had paid any attention, that would be a first from two emotionally unbalanced/ distorted thinking/ prima dona's you would realize that I have been calling for Usama's capture or more preferably brutal death on these pages for nearly three years.

    Put your heads together boys, what little there is in them and prove it or get lost!


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    COMMENT REMOVED.--HNN Editor


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    E.,

    As always I am a numbskull. What am I looking for exactly at this Netscape message board you posted?


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    OK Art.

    I am sorry. I did not mean that slight.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Art,

    I let it go, this time. We were talking about WAR and you knew it. You were called on it and through deceit you decided to CYA and manipulate the facts as you've done countless times here since joining this community. Others have called you on this so there must be some truth to it. I've never been called a liar by anyone except the 'Israeli Uber Alles' here and you guys are psycho so those incidents don't mean much.

    You are a serial liar, that is a sin against God and that is something you'll have to answer for not me. You call allot of folks liar so I think you have a real hang up about your own honesty. Call it Freudian.

    Now answer the other three points and try not to lie so much. As it is part of your MO it is to be expected but, keep it to a minimum.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    The issue is as posted here at HNN, not some far left pinko commie blog where a ranter hawks buy this 'Worst President Ever' t-shirt and donate by PayPal to my beer and hash budget allowance.

    We are looking at the pages here specifically, of supposedly sane minded posters although, I am beginning to have concerns about you. When Clinton was President I frequented the Free Republic website/ comment pages until I was banned. The Freeper comments made anything written anywhere at anytime about by the current 'Boy Blunder' seem nursery rhyme tame by compare.

    I can easily go out into the world wide web and find anything to substantiate any foolish claim of my choice and then manipulate the data to boot including, Bush and his affairs with anyone from Condi to Jeff Guckert Gannon to Victor Ashe to a green one-eyed alien from Mars enough so, to make Bill and Monica seem absolutely harlequinesque.

    Come back in from the cold man to realize that here at HNN we try to have some balance not left wing 'moonbat' chatter or right 'calling all wingnuts' banter.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Art,

    You are still being totally dishonest as you are isolating 'sound bites' and refuse to take into consideration the whole thread and all relevant posts that lead up to the 'Oil' comment.

    You'd be great as Bush's Press Secretary. You're just a tad smarter than Tony Snow so you'd be a fit.

    Now answer the final three questions as I am ready for bed, work day tomorrow and I want to take my three games and go home with my well deserved 3-1 win. Your continued stall tactics on these three remaining questions prove just how weak your position is. My advice, play for the tie and argue the RCC question first.

    Let's go. The clock is running.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach,

    This is an excellent post, thanks. The issue is not what is written in the Bible or Torah or Koran but what the men of each faith do in actuality.

    Christians are just as violent as Jews are just as violent as Moslems are just as violent as Hindus are just as violent as Buddhists regardless of the book they pretend to read.

    Man unfortunately, are not all Mother Teresa clones.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Many Moslems saved? Yeah, right the KLA and Ceku a brutal mass murderer and agent of OBL who makes Slobo seem as peaceful as captain Kangaroo.

    Tell us some more dishonest Eckstein.

    It's great when Peter lays the smack down! Now I can go to bed and have a great nights sleep.

    Good night Eckstein. We'll have you hack up some more hair balls for us tomorrow.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Yehudi,

    You write, "the catholic church (and many other Christian denominations) have a violent past but in our days this is mostly past. Christian violence is mostly marginal in our days."

    The reason the Catholic Church in Rome is benign, as is most all other organized Christian faiths within the USA, is because the hardcore religious zealots from these denominations have infiltrated and usurped the USG and our military to fill the void.

    Our Commander-In-Chief/ compassionate conservative/ the born again George W. Bush is the prime mover of what he openly calls a 'Crusade' against his ill defined 'Islamofascist' enemy. Our warrior simpleton has divided the world into biblical camps of 'good and evil' then when asked if he ever sought advice from his earthly natural father Bush replied, 'There's a higher Father I appeal to.' This guy belongs in a sanitarium trading cigarettes for tricks not, as the head of the US Army.

    When Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni criticized the path of the Iraq War he was labeled as 'anti-semite' yet, Lt. General William G. 'Jerry' Boykin openly preached that we are a 'Christian nation battling Satan' and like a crazy man pushing all his worldly belonging down the street in a shopping cart yapped 'I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.' and 'Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army, they will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus.' and 'George Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters in the US. He was appointed by God.'

    I think if God was to actually select a leader of the greatest nation on earth he would be a little more selective than to choose this retarded heathen messiah. So, what happened to Pastor Boykin why, he was promoted of course. Assigned to the diocese of Iraqi Prison to administer communion and water boarding baptismal to Satan's spawn. Is it any wonder why they hate us?

    Christian's are more violent than ever. They just carry out their vile acts of death and destruction under the banner of the Pentagon instead of that of the Vatican.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    "I sometimes despair of SOME folks ever coming to their senses until UBL is sitting in the Oval Office. Actually, that would probably be better than a Republican for many of the useful idiots."

    This is the dumbest damn thing I have ever read here at HNN and it is from a college professor. Waynesburg College may have produced a few dummies but, thank God we never hired any nincompoops to teach in our classrooms.

    If the alumni is any reflection of the faculty the Georgia Perimeter College must be producing some real dolts. Should I come across them I'll be sure to place any resumes from this institution into the DNH pile.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    Your debating skills have boiled down to whatever you say 'period'. Nice. Your students must all be little Eckstein clones. Uninquisitive, uninterested, unenthusiastic and uneducated. Thankfully, you preach below the Mason-Dixon Line. Perfect. Should you not be granted tenure at whatever diploma mill whose halls you currently haunt head on out to Kansas as you'll be a genius there readily accepted by the local 60+ IQ set. After you've settled in you can make a serious mark by running for the local school board there.

    Well, no point in carrying on any further this dialogue with you per this topic as you've become an oblivious bump on the log to any point other than your own even, if it means your rewrite of history to suit your own naked fallacies is a failed exercise easily refuted by a novice layman such as I.

    Nonetheless here is a few items that clearly challenge your storytelling.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugoslav_wars

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten-Day_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_War_of_Independence

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croatian_War_of_Independence

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosovo_War

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Serbia_conflict

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_Macedonian_War

    And to think Wiki is more learned than a PhD. What does that say for those with doctorates and the institutions who freely hand them out to anyone who can crawl to matriculation.

    By the way, you also need to new glasses as I provided more than one reference to shoot down your idiotic 'Islam is the only violent religion in this modern world' spiel. I made a special effort to provide the photographs of the IDF praying in tallit with Rabbi at hand. It was my belief that picture books were more your speed and again I was right. No need to congratulate nor thank me. Anything to help a fellow seeker of truth.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    Couldn't get it out in one post. Brain farts are pretty difficult to purge when your constipated.

    Show me where I have ever written, "since you don't have time to read, as you've indicated." You have clearly confused with me with someone else. Figures. The old absent minded Professor ploy. Wasn't that Irwin Corey's schtick. Truth is stranger than fiction.

    I wouldn't read Daveed Gartenstein-Ross book anyway, not for lack of time mind you but, I just don't cotton to the literary stylings of lunatics unless, of course it is EA Poe. That this crazed individual is only part in parcel of a wider range of evidence I'll pass on that to. The laughter would be just to great for me to hold back and the insults unleashed far too brutal for these pages.

    Peace out, for now.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    You need to pay attention. This is not one of your classes where all the kids fall asleep while you drool on and on saying nothing of interest or value. The question was initially mine but, you became lost on that point a few posts back and it was clearly stated as to where one can find proof damn, there is that word again that you are so adverse to, as to where Furnish's nonsensical statement can be proved here at HNN.

    Being that neither of you two answered this question then, now have been thoroughly debunked by Mr. Crocker we can put this issue to bed as quickly as you do your students.

    You have your chance to challenge both the US involvement in the Balkans and the Apologies or lack thereof by the Roman Catholic Church in the other post we are currently running. Seeing as how absent minded you are let's keep things in one location.

    Again, please provide proof to your fallacious and highly suspect generalized talking points loaded with ad hominem to these two topics. Not that I mind the ad hominem's it's just that yours are not that witty or funny. Your another one who'll never make on the Borscht Belt Circuit.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    Again, please accept my clintonesque apology for I was unaware of the how to' of this webpage layout and posting design. As a staunch capitalist I would never stop anyone from earning an honest living especially, a family man.

    As to your credentials as a wingnut let's just say that if you were a NASCAR driver you'd be into the wall at the very first turn.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    N.,

    You used Wiki just last week and argued it's value. I don't fully recall but, I do not believe we were discussing pre-history.

    There is plenty of challenge in what I posted above excluding Wiki. Have at it seeing that the Professor is once again asleep at the wheel.

    How about those IDF prayer photo's to dispute the validity of Eckstein's absolutely asinine 'Islam is the only modern religion to promote violence' theme or some sort of generalized crap to that effect.

    That should be right up the 'ol Friedman's refutation alley. I must go out for a moment but, I'll be back. It should give you plenty of time to prepare for if you are picking up Art's banner you'll have your work cut out.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor & N.,

    Yeah Art, like I had to toss bread crumbs on the ground so you could find me.

    N. you know full well that there is other source material presented here excluding Wiki including, U of Idaho edu., UCLA edu.. ChabadTexas, Harpers then references to sola Scripture, Apocrypha, Papal Infallibility and Canon Law/ Papal Bulls. Wiki is swell when used in support of your usually solid responses but, not for anyone else. I see you took a pass on the IDF sing along around the 155M Howitzer mobile tracked gun in praise of Yahweh before blasting the goat herder to hell photo's. Fairly embarrassing and quite damning, eh?

    Well the KLA rules Kosovo now. From the sounds of Art it appears to be the first you've ever heard of Usama's Euro Brigade. The US supports a viable wing of bin Laden's Islamic fascists. There are more than Serb's who faced Hague Tribunals. They just suffered the brunt as they had the most guns being the former Tito army and were the target of US peacekeeping efforts. All wars need an enemy.

    Screbenica, never heard of it. However, I have heard of Srebrenica, Vukovar to. How about you all? Krajina maybe. Banja Luka.

    http://www.antiwar.com/orig/jatras5.html

    Moving on. Whether 1000 Iman's or 1 lone Rabbi the fact is that all religions, not just Islam, are currently perpetrating violence against another. To believe otherwise is to live with blinders on and that's no way to solve root causes to vital issues affecting the safety and security of all mankind. Well at least you two are looking at some of what's posted. That's a step in the right direction.

    And Art your right. Keep your kids away from Wiki. Make them dig, dig and dig some more and challenge everything they bring you to the Nth degree and then challenge it again even, if your position must be the opposite of what you believe and know to be true. It is in their best interest as it will teach them to think and never accept what someone else says at face value. An important survival skill builder.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    Thank's for the free lesson's in punctuation's. I've taken note's and didn't have to shell out $1500's a credit's.

    This is what is so amazing. I came to this site over three years ago prior to the onset of the Iraq War. I read all the essays and comments for months on end without participating. I was a fearful voyeur that an unintelligent, uneducated, inarticulate slob like myself could even fathom participating in a forum with such learned men. After a very longtime I made my first tentative posts and suffered either indifference or ignorant attack but, a valuable lesson was learned. That the highly educated are no brighter that those of us at the lessor end of the spectrum. The more learned the man the bigger the fool. Professor Eckstein you, my very learned friend, are a world class ninny and the model of my now watertight theorem. That's why a dope like me can give a run for the money to an alleged brilliant man such as you. Go figure!

    So a pacifist Rabbi praying for the safety of the pacifist sons of the Jewish Temple to go onward unto battle and play nice. How do you know what the prayer was? Were you there to hear it? Was it a prayer of safety, hope, kindness, care as you nonchalantly generalize/claim or one of death, vengeance, retaliation and annihilation? I believe it was a solid mix with the latter just a much prayed for as the former, Professor Apologist.

    During the recent Israeli-Lebanese War was also photo's of IDF soldiers painting slogans/messages on artillery shells. If you can read
    Hebrew tell me what was written? Was it "Hey Mustafa, how's the wife & kids. Bowling Saturday night?" or "You're the next winner of a one way ticket to 72 virgins Martyr Boy"?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaMqflqedJA

    First off, you have yet to provide one source document or link (You do know how to post URL's don't you? If not get one of your kids to show you. It's so easy that even a dingbat like me can do it.) to validate your rationale that the US entered non-oil producing Moslem conflicts as agents of mercy. Your repeated dishonesty to this question as for the why's of US intervention in said Moslem lands absolutely fails to provide any information as to 'why' the US entered these select frays. Not one shread of evidence, proof, conjecture or educated guesswork as to the 'why' on your part. When I posted the question, 'could it be at the bequest of oil giant Saudi Arabia' you ignored the posit. You are the least inquisitive and most uninspired Professor I've ever encountered and that is not an insult or joke but, sad reality.

    You did the same thing weeks ago when you had your adversary OB on the ropes with the rock solid New Yorker interview piece and the al-Manar (29) episode vile Jewish screed. You generalized about this and about that and bored the pants off all of us who eagerly awaited the knock-out punch but, what did you do? Tripped over your own two left feet and fell face first to the canvas. You did not produce any actual evidence. You could have put OB away with one punch by delivering the posted links but, because you miserably failed do so you are still trying to stir this long forgotten sugar into every cup of coffee you pour for Mr. Baker. So now, he owns you! Period.

    Get some links and evidence up Professor. Proof please. as I do not want to own you for I couldn't afford the upkeep. You know what they say about you guys? "'Those who can do. Those who can't teach."

    Later...


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    N.,

    Let's get off the Wiki kick. Address the other source documents. I am very interested in your position on the 'Islam is the only violent religion' statement presented by Professor Eckstein.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    That woman was louder than a fire truck. I turned the Macs Harmon-Kardons off and she still rattled the den windows. I shirk to imagine her in bed.

    BREAKING NEWS...

    FOX unconfirmed reports are that Usama bin Laden is dead. If true, thank Allah.

    Happy Ramadan Indeed.

    We'll keep HNN posted.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Peter.

    One thing about Professor Eckstein is that he is not 'cutting edge' nor ever 'ahead of the curb'. His lack of curiosity and inquisitiveness is a major handicap especially, for an academic who seeks respect. Tough road to hoe for this guy as demonstrated by his continued asleep at the wheel driving.

    Even I knew of the Euston Manifesto many months ago. It's a worthy effort but, we've seen how much play it has received to date. Nil.

    This is a man (Eckstein) who should be at the center of the academia world/ buzz line. One would have thought a periodical would've crossed his desk with this story last year.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    'Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot.' -- DH Lawrence

    We are new to each other as you are truly a welcome recent addition to this site and believe it or not I really respect you a great deal and very much like you as a person. You're a good man, I can sense it and I am certain without, any doubt whatsoever, an outstanding teacher. My insults are only to get and keep you motivated. Get the juices flowing and force you to think, think, think and dig, dig, dig... harder, harder, harder, faster, faster, faster... both inside and outside the box. You have all the tools that God was not kind enough to grant me. I also take opposite stands from what I know to be true and what I actually believe. Is this intellectually dishonest? Yes. Does it spur debate? Yes. Would you rather debate a friend or foe? I am looking for foes not like minded, congratulatory laundry washers.

    That a certain percentage of Moslem's are militant, brutal, inhumane barbarians who will kill you or I without warning is unquestioned from this end of the wire.

    The think, dig, harder, faster gyration for both of us is WHY ???


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Oh! by the way the bastard foe of Python's King Arthur was a killer bunny rabbit.

    When the holy hand grenade failed to kill the rabbit who laid siege to the knights 'that rabbit is dynamite' the brave ran away screaming 'run away, run away.'

    There is nowhere to run from the Moslem dilemma.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor Fishkill,

    Then please frame your posts Mister. You really need to take some lessons in the 'fine art of debate'. Tell us of your initial involvement at the projects inception prior to placing the body of text/ subject matter into play.

    This is my GD problem with all you posts. They are scattershot, lack foundation or premise, wander off, lack any proof whatsoever and lead to virtually nowhere.

    Now you can clearly see how an inane novice such as I can push you to the limits of your lackluster debating regiment. I may be a fish in the barrel but, this piranha has made road kill of any of a number of your efforts.

    Alas, a Ben Franklin you are not but, I expect marked improvement from you in this base competency in the very near future. Now shape up!


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    Yeah, after re-reading that post I almost gagged up a hair ball. Now that I have returned to my senses to look at the trash can you just kicked over my dismay with you has once again reemerged.

    You write, "primitive Muslim extremists". Define primitive? How stereotypical. What are you seeking out of people? Wake up, over half the planet have never, ever made a telephone call. What are you, the model of elegance and refinement sipping Pinot, savoring foie gras, playing croquet?

    You drive a gas guzzling Lexus SUV with oil pumped from my backyard loaded with kids, wife and dogs to haul groceries while I drive a mule pulled cart with a rusted Chevy rear end moving hay to feed my diapered goats. What's the difference between the two of us? When I wake up each morning the first thing I do is take a wicked piss. How about you? And you call me primitive! Until you gather some humanistic empathy and understanding you will continue to build impenetrable walls of isolation, mistrust and hate.

    Next you once again cloud complicated geopolitical relationships with simplistic 'good v. evil' Rovespeak. What are you drunk with indoctrination of Bush's 'fear' juice? Sunni and Shia are not only warring with the West but, with each other. Look at the specter of death currently engulfing Baghdad. It is two US soldiers a day mixed with 60+ Shia/ Sunni ethnic civil war murders. The Baghdad morgue is not overflowing with Westerners. Your more likely to be killed by lightning than by a 'terrorist'.

    Further, I would not so much as follow Victor Hanson across the street. That the US is not in Saudi Arabia... Why? Because Usama bin Laden clapped his hands to command it to be so and Bush complied. The US just picked up and moved down the road. Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq. Who needs Saudi Arabia when in Iraq I can have booze, porn, drugs, prostitution and all the vices the Saudi's frowned upon and that I enjoy on the streets of Fayetteville, NC at the gates of Fort Bragg.

    Look, the Moslem's do not want a Pan-Arabian state. This is pure fantasy created by the powers that be protecting their current interests. It is a false flag. The Arabs can barely manage what they currently got. What they do want is the West out of their backyard and 100% of the oil dollars that sits underneath. Can you blame them? Look no further than what is happening in Kurdistan, Iraq as my proof. The US doesn't move in Kurd territory. They are being effectively and systematically shut out.

    Listen, let's say you own a store. I come in, push you aside to set up shop, work you to death, take 99% of your profits and live large while you scrape by. Then I go on the street to hire a local as GM whom I ingratiate, make your slave driving boss and entrust him with carrying out abusive discipline when you slack off. Does this sound like a good deal to you?

    That Israel exists is a small problem but, did not have to be. That Israel is much like the abusive American shop squatter or the Arab dictator GM is the more troubling problem. I watched a 60 Minute Report years ago before the first intafada. Arab and Jew lived in perfect harmony in the one town highlighted by the report. But, The Knesset and PLO couldn't stand for that and they proceeded to piss in each other soup. The result have been catastrophic for the Arab street. The blowback now percolating to the top directed at Israel and the West.

    As for Omar, put yourself in his shoes for a day then call me with your tune. I am sure it will be markedly changed.


    Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/25/2006

    Professor,

    Reread your own posts. You jeer and attack with the best of them.

    3/4 of your posts wander off topic to attack Mr. Baker who has been absent this post throughout. Get a clue and quit being so self absorbed, defensive and tissue paper thin skinned.

    I can clearly imagine that any student who crosses the hair thin line to challenge your air of superiority/ authoritative demeanor/ bull headed beliefs/ self righteousness is in for a big fat 'F'. Well you can bet your substantial paycheck that I would be in the last row, last chair, pea shooter in hand.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX6DgAmoJSo

    NO APPLE FOR YOU.


    art eckstein - 9/25/2006

    Game over. You've been exposed for what you are.


    J. Feuerbach - 9/25/2006

    Apparently I missed the action! I'd just like to respond to the following paragraph:

    "Many, Muslim and non-Muslim, try to make the counter-argument that “all religions have violent passages.” Let us take one prominent example: the New Testament. There is really only ONE passage in the entire New Testament that can be construed as promoting violence—Matthew 10:34: “[Jesus said] Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

    I know that splitting the OT and the NT can be convenient when we are trying to make a point. But unfortunately, the Bible is one and we can't quote it selectively.

    It's true that there's no doctrine in Christianity or in Judaism which matches the Jihad doctrine. But what about the Imprecatory Psalms (#s 7, 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137 and 139)? These “Please zap them, Lord” psalms pose some ethical problems to say the least. Some Christians are even asking themselves: May we pray these psalms? The fact that these prayers were once lifted to God and that no one edited them out, proves the following point: the fact that something is written in your favorite sacred book or in any accompanying literature doesn’t mean that you need to embrace it.

    My 2 cents!


    E. Simon - 9/25/2006

    What does this "utter disdain for ever making a relevant thread opening comment" of which you accuse me have in any way to do with the tenor of your comment? Why would that even matter? It's like you're saying that someone's criticism of or elaboration on an idea expressed in a comment thread is irrelevant because they didn't do original research. We're all probably guilty on some level of that. And further, we're all, even with opening comments, merely intellectually critical "parasites" of the original article itself, so an opening comment can hardly claim to be somehow more original than a comment within one of the threads.

    As usual, you're making strange claims with which to validate your attitude toward me or things I say that don't even seem to make much sense. It's points like these where you lose me and my interest in maintaining any respect that you might have, beforehand, claimed to have displayed.


    art eckstein - 9/25/2006

    I've already proven with specific evidence that Ebbitt is a liar, and HNN has had to remove one of his posts for gross anti-semitism.

    There is no longer any reason to continue with this person.


    E. Simon - 9/25/2006

    Admittedly, the new Netscape format has gotten more unwieldly than ever. If copying and pasting won't work, I'll kindly supply the date, sponsoring site and author of publication (plus a short intro) and perhaps that might help you find the whole article.

    ABC News International

    September 24, 2006

    Why We Will Never See Democracy in the Middle East

    OPINION By STEVEN PRESSFIELD

    September 11, 2006— In the five years since 9/11, much looking-back has been done. The problem is we haven't looked back far enough. To understand the nature of the enemy in the Middle East and to evaluate the prospects for democracy and peace, we need to extend our gaze not five years into the past, but five hundred and even five thousand.

    I've spent the last four years writing two books about Alexander the Great's campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, 331-327 B.C. What has struck me in the research is the dead-ringer parallels between that ancient East-West clash and the modern ones the U.S. is fighting today — despite the fact that Alexander was pre-Christian and his enemies were pre-Islamic.

    What history seems to be telling us is that the quality that most defines our Eastern adversaries, then and now, is neither religion nor extremism nor "Islamo-fascism," but something much older and more fundamental.

    ...

    Historian Steven Pressfield is the author of the just-release novel The Afghan Campaign. He has written four other historical novels including "Gates of Fire," "The War of Art," and "The Legend of Bagger Vance."


    E. Simon - 9/25/2006

    Peter, I see that while Bosnia is not a country, Bosnia and Hercegovina are, having won their independence in 1992, before the intervention. Muslims form a clear plurality at 90% of the over 48% of residents who identify as "Bosniaks." Surely you are not protesting Mr. Eckstein on the basis of mere semantics.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnia_and_Herzegovina

    It is errors or oversimplified rushes to judgment like these that lead me to not even care to bother with checking out your second alleged refutation.


    art eckstein - 9/25/2006

    There was a humanitarian military intervention in Bangladesh in 1992 which involved thousands of troops and cost the U.S. taxpayer millions of dollars--a humanitarian military intervention in a Muslim country with no oil.

    Bosnia was a Muslim region of the former Yugoslavia. It is now the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. When Yugoslavia existed, B-H was theoretically a self-governing republic, and that was so since the 1950s. There was a large military intervention by the U.S. there in 1995. It has no oil.

    Kosovo was of course similar.

    Thousands and thousands of Muslims are alive today (and self-governing) because of these U.S. interventions in areas where there is no oil.

    You choke on a gnat and swallow a camel.


    art eckstein - 9/25/2006

    Now he's reduced to anti-semitism.

    As I just wrote abpve, anyone who wishes can compare his original question of Sept. 5--"Do you see the US intervening in Moslem countries without OIL?," in a posting he titled OIL OIL OIL OIL OIL OIL--with what today he CLAIMED (at *98109) the original Sept. 5 question was: namely, do you see the U.S. intervening in Muslim countries except "EITHER to advance U.S. interests OR to exploit oil resources"?

    That wasn't the original question he asked.

    He has attempted to mislead everyone today.

    He is a proven liar.


    E. Simon - 9/25/2006

    Peter, I would certainly not consider myself above apologizing to you in any manner that you might have felt intentionally or unreasonably wronged by me, were it my inclination that it would benefit reasoned discourse. Maybe I am arrogant on that score, then. Is that what you would like to hear? Ok, I am arrogant about sticking to earnest attempts to avoiding commissions of the most basic of fallacies. I am sorry about that, if it makes you feel better. But seriously, why can't we just try to avoid the need to so quickly jump to endorsements or dismisslas of conclusions that we would like to either root for and jeer against and actually entertain the process of figuring out how we get there. Surely everyone would benefit from this and the instances in which we would feel personally wronged by someone's remarks would drop precipitously.

    I am continuing to gain a deeper and deeper appreciation of the process of how history is done and expanding my collection of readings, sources, authors, etc. As the site says, appreciating the ironies of history is important and I think your appreciation for how the details unfold is important to note and, on some level, emulate. The narratives enrich us, but we should all be careful to not lose sight of how the arguments that define those narratives are considered, even if on the most basic, annoying and mundane levels of logical argumentation.


    art eckstein - 9/25/2006

    This was Ebbitt's question on Sept. 5 as HE defined it, not me:

    "Do you see the US intervening in Moslem countries without OIL?"

    Bangladesh is a Muslim country; it has no oil. Thousands of U.S. troops were sent there in 1992, and millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars were spent on the intervention. Yes, it was a humanitarian intervention but it was an expernsive military intervention in a Muslim country without oil. I know soldiers who served there; I was present at the Naval War College when the call-up of officers for Bangladesh occurred. It works for me.

    Still, if it makes Ebbitt so upset, I'll remove it from the table. Shows what a nice guy I am.

    That still leaves Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo.

    Ebbitt is totally refuted, as he now finally appears to acknowledge.

    BUT as for DISHONESTY: well.

    At #98109, posted at 3:39 p.m., Ebbitt claimed that the original statement he and I debated was about U.S. interventions: "EITHER to advance U.S. interests OR to exploit oil resources." Check it out. But I quoted the original question he asked me, which was much narrower. Here we can see that Ebbitt intentionally broadened his original question--"Do you see the US intervening in Moslem countries without OIL?", in the post he entitled OIL OIL OIL OIL OIL OIL, Sept. 5--in order to have a better chance in the argument with me.

    That wasn't the original question, and he distorted the original question today to give himself a better chance in his challenge.

    He is therefore a PROVEN liar.

    He's just angry because he got caught. End of story.




    E. Simon - 9/25/2006

    Although an apology would be nice and I appreciate Mr. Friedman's appeal to civility, I think we can unfortunately conclude that such a request is likely lost on Mr. Emotional.

    What I think is funny about his insertion of Mr. Heuisler into the thread is that when you combine that with Peter's unrestrained and illogical approach, I become convinced that American moderates like myself are more inclined than ever to believe that the best political defense of Western civilization, whether their motivations are reasonable, fundamentalist, ideological, tribal, commercial or whatever, will come from whatever side of the aisle people as unreasonable as Peter are NOT supporting.

    I think that while Peter has a deep appreciation for history and the undeniable observation that personalities and the allegiances that people may to give them matter, he seems to not understand that so do ideas and ideologies. Perhaps this is why he goes on such unhinged diatribes against any appeal to basic reason or argument in an idea itself if he feels that the person making it is not 100% in his corner. Self-righteously shooting the messenger, is what Eckstein rightly described it as. I saw it happen when Mr. Friedman first came here, refuted Peter's assertion that a war on tactics like terrorism could not be won (on the basis that chemical weaponry was largely abolished for quite some time based on widespread campaigns), and Peter went nuts. Absolutely nuts. This is the pattern he has followed in his rude treatment of Mr. Friedman ever since, and it repeats itself with his snide irrelevant shots against Eckstein whenever Peter feels it suits his purpose.

    People can only kill ideas with better ideas.

    Incidentally, I seem to remember that this article had something to do with the pope's comments on the differences between Islam and Christendom, and I seem to remember articulate, intelligent personalities, such as Harvard-educated Andrew Sullivan, commenting on how he was also speaking to the Western tradition of reconciling faith with reason, something many argued has not been attempted within Islam. I think given our attention to the pattern that Peter follows in his responses and defenses, that idea is all the more apt for us to explore. Here is a piece by historian Stephen Pressfield on how those distinctions were also manifested on a political level and the implications for other perennial "tangentials" often taken by Peter and crew on the course of American empire:

    http://www.netscape.com/viewstory/2006/09/24/-oped-why-we-will-never-see-democracy-in-the-middle-east-resubmitted/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fpolitics.netscape.com%2Fstory%2F2006%2F09%2F21%2Foped-why-we-will-never-see-democracy-in-the-middle-east&frame=true

    Maybe it's off-topic, but we can be sure than even if Peter were to find it undeniably on-topic, he would have rejected the source. Why would he reject the source?..., it must have been biased. How are they biased? What are the implications of this bias? Ok, was that wrong, can they be outright discredited? What about other corroborating sources? Should we assume to always discredit them? Why do you so instantly uncritically heap praise on arguments you like without having explored those sources? You know, you get the picture.


    N. Friedman - 9/25/2006

    Art,

    Peter needs to read a book before you forms opinions. It is easy to have opinions from reading The Guardian, The Economist, etc., etc.. The problem is that such opinions are from people who are reporters, not people who have a deep knowledge of the subject. So, it is the blind leading the blind.


    N. Friedman - 9/25/2006

    John,

    Christians and Muslims are rather vyercompetitive in the killing department.


    N. Friedman - 9/25/2006

    Mr. Simon,

    Peter should read a book and then form opinions.


    art eckstein - 9/25/2006

    Bangladesh was a U.S. military intervention. U.S. troops were involved--thousands. The U.S. spent millions dollars in this intervention. Bangladesh was a Muslim country. It has no oil. Yes, it was a humanitarian mission. Remember the question:

    "Do you see the US intervening in Moslem countries without OIL?"


    N. Friedman - 9/25/2006

    Peter,

    Re-read your comment. It is way out of line. You might consider apologizing to Mr. Simon, who is certainly an earnest poster.


    art eckstein - 9/25/2006

    Clarke, having been utterly refuted on the question of anti-Christianity quotes flowing from prominent clerics in major mosques in Saudi Arabia, now changes the subject.


    N. Friedman - 9/25/2006

    Patrick,

    I think if you read back through your comments on this page, you may have been a bit upset a number of times. In any event, you have not, at least on this page, exactly hoed the line of fact. In that I usually do respond to you, you should consider my point, which was not intended as an insult, but a comment about what has been said on this page.


    N. Friedman - 9/25/2006

    Peter,

    Again. This is the quote: "The idea of intertwining religions and the claim that the Jews and the Christians believe in religions of truth… are sinful claims and deceitful ideas unacceptable to the religion [of Islam]… It is forbidden to bring together Islam and the infidels, monotheism and polytheism… Allah's path of righteousness and Satan's path of Kufur."

    That comment is about Judaism and Christianity. Note, according to the quoted material, Christianity and Judaism are not religions of truth. Note, according to the quoted material, the noted religions make sinful claims that are not acceptable to Islam. Note that Judaism and Christianity are basically considered Satanic.

    I think you should learn to read and stop calling me names.


    N. Friedman - 9/25/2006

    Peter,

    No. The noted statement about Kufur attacks Judaism and Christianity. They are Satanic, in the view of the noted cleric.


    art eckstein - 9/25/2006

    In case people missed Ebbitt's point, here is the title of the post to which I responded by listing four places of U.S. intervention in Muslim countries where there was no oil:

    OIL OIL OIL OIL OIL OIL OIL OIL OIL (#96811)
    by Patrick M. Ebbitt on September 5, 2006 at 3:40 PM



    And to repeat, here is Ebbitt's QUESTION:

    "Do you see the US intervening in Moslem countries without OIL?"

    I've answered that question, he is refuted, and he and Clarke can twist and squirm all they want.
    Facts are facts.


    art eckstein - 9/25/2006

    On Sept. 5, Ebbitt asked this question, and note the wording, please:

    "Do you see the US intervening in Moslem countries without OIL?"


    THAT--THAT-- was the question Ebbitt asked.

    1. Bangladesh is a Muslim country; in 1992 U.S. armed forces intervened in large numbers by helping against a natural disaster. U.S. Marines were involved. This is not a matter of opinion.

    2. Somalia 1992 was an outright military intervention. Of course, the reason given was humanitarian, as in Bangladesh, but that's not the point. The point is that Somalia is a Muslim country; and Somalia has no oil; and the U.S. intervened. There were significant U.S. armed forces dead as a result. That is a fact, not a matter of opinion.

    3. Bosnia 1995 was an outright military intervention. Bosnia has no oil. This is not a matter of opinion.

    4. Kosovo 1995 was an outright military intervenion. Kosovo was a Muslim region of the former Yugoslavia. Kosovo has no oil. That is not a matter of opinion.


    Grant W Jones - 9/25/2006

    That should be "current Moslem aggression and intolerance."


    E. Simon - 9/24/2006

    Peter, I really don't think you believe that I could have nothing constructive or interesting to say about any of these matters, so I don't take your quip about me, Bill Heuisler and phoniness all that seriously - least of all in your defense of an institution that you've never not taken an opportunity to bash.

    And this changing of the subject does not mean that making points about the basics of rational argumentation (in which you've had to, in the most strident terms you could allow, cover for Mr. Ebbitt) is an illegitimate thing to do.

    Your hypocritically making this about personalities again rather than being topical rather deflates your proclaimed interest in the subject matter.

    But no, I'm not a phony. Or a pseudo-intellectual. Or unoriginal. I think you know that and just take offense when I point out the most basic of fallacies simply because you like the general thrust they make or like the general thrust of the person making them.

    Criticizing that gives opportunity to make those points stronger, not weaker, as you argue every week when it comes to topics relating to Israel and American political dissent.


    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Patrick,

    I contribute points where I can add to a conversation and where I am interested in what is being said. At this point, you do not always capture my interest because I do not think you hoe the line of fact. It is easy to assert opinions. It is more difficult to have them fit somewhat closely to the known facts.


    Grant W Jones - 9/24/2006

    Sukan, how many churches or synagogues are there in Saudi Arabia?

    Thanks for the standard apologetics for current Moslem aggression.

    P.S. Get the facts right, the U.S. did not conquer Hawaii.


    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Peter,

    The very quote you mention, about Kufur, was about Christianity and, if I recall correctly, Judaism. Learn to read.


    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Peter,

    Kufur means infidel but, in the context of the article, it meant Christians and, if I recall correctly, Jews.

    I am starting think you are not able read.


    E. Simon - 9/24/2006

    Mr. Ebbitt,

    I think that first, you should understand the problems that arise from our having different definitions of what it means to be factually wrong, assuming ONCE AGAIN that you are now being sincere in your approach. Your back and forth switching of tone is confusing.

    Second, you go on about dealing with irrational people, and then counter that by accusing four others of being more irrational. Irrational people cannot have a rational dialogue by definition, so it is difficult to see what kind of a point you are trying to make here. And while being irrational is one thing, being filled with hate just takes it to another level entirely, and if anything, it is that which I have a very significant problem with.

    Thirdly you make assumptions about me which I don't understand where they originated from, and I think that issues of personal identity really only have relevance in a discussion if that person comes out and decides to make some kind of relevant issue out of them. I don't see where I've done that.

    Being valued members of the human race is touching, and it is better to have a good tone in one's discussions than otherwise, but if we are to arrive at a meaningful understanding of history or current events I do think that dispassionate discourse is a reasonable aim, at least in the facts and context under consideration. Considerate tone between participants is preferable to not being considerate, but again, I think that is separate to making the analysis itself devoid of passions.


    E. Simon - 9/24/2006

    Debates (between mature people) consist of addressing points one at a time, not on denying the concession of a certain point so that you can claim victory on some nebulous generalization. When the former can't be accomplished, it is referred to as "talking past each other."

    As for my "opinions," you seem to take a lot of stock in them for someone who has so much trouble in the way of moving beyond emotion and ad hominem and on to addressing facts (regardless of who they benefit), reason, avoiding fallacies and the basics of depersonalized argumentation.

    I don't think that Mr. Friedman is intimidated by your artifice, nor do I think he feels that your opponent is in any way overmatched. I think the fact that you would delude yourself into thinking the both the latter AND the former says something about more than just the misreading of motives. I suspect that he, like myself, often gets a kick out of witnessing your being trounced, just not your inability to realize that it's happened. That part's just sad, if I may be honest with you about it.


    E. Simon - 9/24/2006

    I should clarify that if I am an apologist for anything it is Western civilization, of which both the Judeo-Christian tradition and the nation-state model of the international system are inextricable parts. My defense, every now and then, against what often amounts nowadays to campaigns of smear, hatred and ignorance against Israel, fit comfortably within that aim. Only someone unfamiliar with reasoned discourse would so much as suggest that this implies that I somehow believe Israel to be perfect.

    I also think that anyone who avers that they are in possession of "truth," period, comes closer to fitting a prima facie definition of a fundamentalist than any other kind of real-life situation that I can think of.


    E. Simon - 9/24/2006

    "Please provide detailed rationale for the exact/ direct reasons why the United States entered each of these conflicts?"

    A. Not Oil.

    What do you have against reading, against acknowledging what you wrote, asked for, and were answered on?


    E. Simon - 9/24/2006

    It is not my job to account for Israel's alleged crimes or to provide sources of information other than to correct whatever unbalanced or disreputable sources led to your misperceptions in formulating your ideas and diatribes about such "crimes."

    As I suspected, you weren't being sincere and are just looking for more posts to cover your gaffe. That's fine, but stop making my selective interest in posting corrective responses to your unreasoned and often irrational posts to be an issue of bravery. It has to do with making a judgment call on a participant's capacity for engaging in reasoned discourse and whether they are worth my time, not my courage. You're confusing my motivations with your own. Again.


    E. Simon - 9/24/2006

    Omar, I suggest you apologize to Ricardo, as it was your mistaking him for me, that - in all your "blindness" - led to your accusations of racism.

    http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=97751&;bheaders=1#97751

    However, given your rantings on HNN's Your Take in which you label Elie Wiesel a "racist", I wouldn't think any of us would be in bad company to have merited the accusation, at least if it was from you.


    john crocker - 9/24/2006

    Which religion has been the cause of more death than any other?


    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Peter,

    The quotes I provided were anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. You, evidently, did not read the articles carefully. And, you did not read what I posted carefully.

    From the Washington Post: When Sheik Abd al-Aziz Fawzan al-Fawzan, professor of Islamic law, says on Saudi TV that "someone who denies Allah, worships Christ, son of Mary, and claims that God is one-third of a trinity. . . . Don't you hate the faith of such a polytheist?"

    That is Anti-Christian.

    And, from MEMRI: It is forbidden to bring together Islam and the infidels, monotheism and polytheism… Allah's path of righteousness and Satan's path of Kufur."

    Christianity is, according to the speaker, Satan's path. That says it all.


    E. Simon - 9/24/2006

    Or the "Die Judenstadt ist Unser Ungluck" hatred that you seem to be currently offer to couch.

    Give me an actual reason to take seriously your proposal that "(t)here will be no jokes or insults or ad hominem from this end of the wire" and I might change my mind, but as someone partial to empiricism, I rely on my observation that that sort of thing is what I've seen you resort to every time someone _has_ been straightforward with their facts and rebuttals.

    As for Omar's knee-jerk and nasty ad hominem response to me, I think it only shows the incredibly limited dialectical style I'm up against, and if your offer is truly sincere, it would have to take that setting into consideration, regardless of whatever motivations lie behind your current statement.


    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Peter,

    Again, MEMRI translates things accurately. No one claims otherwise, so far as I know.

    Wikipedia is not a basis to say otherwise.

    I might add: Calling Jews pigs and apes is based on a Koranic aya which indicates that exactly.

    Again: is the information recorded by MEMRI and cited by me incorrect? Is there any reason to think it incorrect? Saying a source is biased is not the same as saying they make things up. And, again, as far as I know, no one claims that MEMRI makes things up.

    Note: the same Wikipedia you highlighted also states:

    Thomas L. Friedman, a political opinion columnist for the New York Times, credits MEMRI with helping to "shine a spotlight on hate speech wherever it appears" and "presenting the voices of the...courageous Arab or Muslim intellectual, cleric or columnist (who) publishes an essay in his or her media calling on fellow Muslims to deal with the cancer in their midst.

    Is Thomas Friedman wrong?


    art eckstein - 9/24/2006

    On Sept. 5, Ebbitt asked this question, and note the wording, please:

    "Do you see the US intervening in Moslem countries without OIL?"

    My answers was: FACTS, FACTS, FACTS:

    Somalia 1992
    Bangladesh 1992
    Bosnia 1995
    Kosovo 1999

    That's the question he asked, and nothing else. These are the answers that show he doesn't know what he's talking about, and that is lying now about what he previously said.

    Period.


    art eckstein - 9/24/2006

    Here's another gem:


    Sheikh Adnan Ahmad Siyami said, "[Islam] believes that only Islam and the 'Camp of Kufur' exist, and that there is no way to reach Paradise and to be delivered from Hell except by walking in the path of our Prophet Muhammad and joining Islam. Any other way leads to Hell… In light of this, my believing brethren, how can it be claimed that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all paths leading to Allah?!…"

    "Several years ago, a sinful call arose, which unfortunately garnered support from some clerics and preachers of this religion, Islam… [a call] for the unification of the monotheistic religions. They flaunted an empty and false slogan of 'religious harmony,' Christian-Islamic friendship, and uniting the three religions into a global religion'…"

    "The call for the unification of the religions is a call for the abolition of religious differences among people: No more Muslim and infidel. All will come under the unity of human harmony… This accursed call has ramifications that most certainly will shake Islam in the hearts of its people, leading them to the lowest of the levels of Hell. This call will lead… to presenting the infidels' schools of thought as correct, and to silence regarding them."

    Does Clarke deny this was said, and in a major mosque at Friday services?


    E. Simon - 9/24/2006

    If he didn't care what we thought, he wouldn't be here, day after day, failing attempt after failing attempt, providing comaraderie to his fellow members of the Coalition of the Irrational with his assertions, labels, lies and the like. I suspect this self-deception is related to his self-deception over the meaning of Ebbitts' inability to suppress a bigotted, terrorist stereotype of him, which he admitted to only _let slip_ out of anger. But why let personally-directed hatred get in the way of expressing solidarity over a hatred of Israel? That wouldn't be the irrational thing to do.


    art eckstein - 9/24/2006

    The question is whether the anti-Christian quotes on Memori are real, and from important Muslim clerics.

    They are.

    Clarke is refuted. As usual.


    art eckstein - 9/24/2006

    These are all lies. As usual.


    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Art,

    I think that applies to all intellectual and professional endeavors.


    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Omar,

    I agree entirely here with Mr. Simon.


    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Peter,

    That is an untrue allegation made by people who do not like the fact that MEMRI collects the nasty stuff said by people in the Muslim regions. MEMRI collects quotes. The quotes are accurate. And they are by prominent people.

    Which is to say, you are, once again, wrong.


    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Peter,

    If you had looked, the Islamic leaders I quoted are major. And, the other source I quoted is recommended by the Saudi Arabian embassy of the US.

    Thus far, Peter, you are playing GAMES. The people I quoted are the equivalent of chief clerics in Saudi Arabia.


    art eckstein - 9/24/2006

    Amazing. Clarke's argument is, indeed, that these things were NOT SAID-- simple, straightforward denial. But these statements are from an official Saudi website, the address of which I have cited.

    In academia, what Clarke is doing is called "an argument from desperation." Such an argument indicates the proponent of it has no case.

    Clarke is totally refuted.


    E. Simon - 9/24/2006

    Friedman, I think what he is saying is that his role as a nanny/moderator absolves him of abiding by the procedures of a debate.


    E. Simon - 9/24/2006

    Omar,

    He is saying, in not such a subtle way, that you are likely to be a potential suicide bombing "shahid."

    I, for one, think it was a crude thing to say. But that is the level of thinking at which Ebbitts operates, even if the thrust of both his and your posts impels the two of you to proclaim friendship toward each other in other regards.

    Both I, and Professor Eckstein, on the other hand, understand that you merely SYMPATHIZE with suicide bombers and AGREE with their GOALS, and rightly criticize THAT stance, rather than lumping you in with every stereotype of a Muslim/Arab terrorist, while hypocritically name calling everyone else a racist, as some people (like Ebbitts) do.

    But I think this just reflects the kinds of internal contradictions in their impressions of others that are necessary when someone arrogantly spouts so much ignorance.

    I hope you have a good day and feel like neither blowing up a pizzeria (and I wouldn't have accused you of considering or feeling like doing so), but ALSO that you feel like not sympathizing with those today who would, or sharing their goals. But that is the distinction _I_ make, even if you might not appreciate it.


    E. Simon - 9/24/2006

    Peter writes:

    "They all to often say and do horrific medieval things about Jews, Christians, Americans, Europeans etc, but they don't badmouth the religions."

    Even if this were the case, is there any reason why anyone here should find this statement as remotely comforting a defense or clarification as Peter implies? I think it would make the case worse. Kind of astonishing, really, that Peter wouldn't see why...


    Andrew Seaton - 9/24/2006

    Harris says he doesn’t believe it’s about the war on terrorism but that “We are fighting a pestilential theology and a longing for paradise.” His views that we are at “war with those who believe that death in defense of the faith is the highest possible good”, are also the views of many liberals. It appears that he’s mixing huge numbers of common-sense liberals up with those of more extreme opinion. Then, the fact that Harris has received a lot of responses from his book and somehow analyzed that “liberals” are softer on crime is misleading. How did he arrive at this? It may appear obvious that “liberals” are soft on many things, just as it appears that “conservatives” are hard-asses in general. As if the political divide is all black and white. The “left” just as stupid as the “right”. The religion of Islam is just as childish and dangerous as Christianity once was. It’s time to end all the religious nonsense.


    art eckstein - 9/24/2006

    The grotesque diatribe above by Ebbitt is written mostly in response to the following exchange, which BEGINS by Ebbitt admitting that I was correct about the vile anti-semitism of Hezbollah. I post this not to respond to him personally--he's unteachable-- but so that other readers can see just how crazy he is.




    1. Re: The Holy Hand Grenade Of Antioch (#98022)
    by art eckstein on September 23, 2006 at 12:02 PM
    Ebbitt, I repeatedly gave Omar the name of the magazine and the exact title and date of publication of the article (Oct. 14, 2002). This article is available online through all sorts of search-engines.: all you have to do is Google "In the Party of God," the name of the article, or the New Yorker for that date. I told him this repeatedly. By telling him, I was telling everyone where to get the article. Period.

    Do you really think that if Omar read this, he would be convinced? HIS position is that any information that is disturbing to his primitive thought-world that appears in The New Yorker must be a lie. As for you, I repeat: it's The New Yorker for Oct. 14, 2002. Just how lazy do you have to be?
    The article, "In the Party of God", won the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting.

    Last Sunday morning (Sept. 17 2006), the only synagogue in Oslo, one of the world's most peaceful places, was sprayed with machine-gun bullets. Four men have been arrested. Guess what religion they were? Guess why they did? Hint: they weren't Methodists. GET THE POINT?

    You haven't given me any "run for my money," Ebbitt. I do this because I enjoy shooting fish in a barrel. It's a vice of mine.

    By the way, the correct spelling of the plural of photo isn't
    "photo's".



    2. Art, No Need To Convince Me! (#98029)
    by Patrick M. Ebbitt on September 23, 2006 at 1:49 PM
    Professor,

    'Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot.' -- DH Lawrence

    We are new to each other as you are truly a welcome recent addition to this site and believe it or not I really respect you a great deal and very much like you as a person. You're a good man, I can sense it and I am certain without, any doubt whatsoever, an outstanding teacher. My insults are only to get and keep you motivated. Get the juices flowing and force you to think, think, think and dig, dig, dig... harder, harder, harder, faster, faster, faster... both inside and outside the box. You have all the tools that God was not kind enough to grant me. I also take opposite stands from what I know to be true and what I actually believe. Is this intellectually dishonest? Yes. Does it spur debate? Yes. Would you rather debate a friend or foe? I am looking for foes not like minded, congratulatory laundry washers.

    That a certain percentage of Moslem's are militant, brutal, inhumane barbarians who will kill you or I without warning is unquestioned from this end of the wire.

    The think, dig, harder, faster gyration for both of us is WHY ???

    3. Re: Art, No Need To Convince Me! (#98033)
    by art eckstein on September 23, 2006 at 2:33 PM
    This is a strange new tone, Ebbitt, and I don't know what to make of it.

    I wil tell you that the gross insults that you've been throwing around are not amusing and are only offensive: it's just not the way to proceed in a serious conversation. So if you do not wish to appear juvenile, I seriously suggest you drop that sort of line and be more serious and less willing to resort to jeers when confronted with serious argument.

    If there are times when you are playing devil's advocate, then it is best to say so. That's my advice.

    Now assuming you are serious in asking me WHY these primitive Muslim extremists--who are, unfortunately, increasingly the "default mode" of Islam both in its Sunni and Shia variants--are at war with the West:

    U.S. policies are a factor
    The very existence of Israel is too--NOT because of any particular harshness of the Israeli state, which for long was socialist and secular and still IS the most secular state by far in the region.

    Here one can quote Victor Hanson: Muslim extremists seek to fool Western liberals through voicing a litany of perpetual hurts. Like the Nazis who whined about Versailles or the Sudentenland, for years Islamists have harped about U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia (they're gone now), or the U.N. embargo on Iraq (which caused hardship on the Iraqis because of Saddam and European corruptioon), or the "occupation." All of that is a cover: their goal (like the Nazis again) is universally aggressive, the imposition of totalitarian Sharia law in a pan-Islamic state.

    The tragedy is that so many Western liberals are willing to grant the validity of this litany of perpetual hurts, as many appeasers thought the Nazis, and are willing to give these medieval religious fanatics the legitimacy of "anti-imperialism" when they are the greatest and most ruthless imperialists in the world (just ask the Christians of the southern Sudan): the result is a comfortable anti-semitism and anti-Americanism, so that the liberals don't have to face the brutal enemy we actually all face.

    So the problem with Israel is not its harsh character (it isn't harsh, and especially for that neck of the woods it isn't harsh); the problem is that its very existence is felt by these medieval primitives to be an intolerable insult to God because it is a violation of the territory of the Muslim umma. The requirement is that that all non-Muslims be dhimmis and accept their inferior position of dhimmitude, and this the Israelis refuse to do. The Israeli military victories against very high odds only make the Muslim shame here more intolerable. Such shame can only be wiped out by violence.

    Similarly, U.S. power in the world is theologically unacceptable since the U.S. is not a Muslim state. Therefore, ANYTHING the U.S. does is wrong, deeply, deeply "wrong". So the list of complaints is endless.

    Similarly, the view is that Islam should be immune from all criticism, while Muslims reserve simultaneously the right to engage in the most vile slander of non-Muslim faiths. That's a theological position, and it's based on a sense of superiority (possession of the Truth), not a sense of injured oppression, except insofar as western refusal to recognize Muslim superiority IS viewed as oppression. When they say "we want respect", what they mean is the respect that dhimmis must pay to the superior. Don't be fooled.

    In sum, the hatred and violence we see, the hatred which piloted planes filled with screaming women and children into buildings filled with office-workers, the hatred that murdered Theo van Gogh for making a film, that hatred is above all THEOLOGICAL. Not rooted in socioeconomics, or geopolitics, but in THEOLOGY. NO other religion--I repeat this to you, though you don't like it--is like this.

    This is why it was okay for the Pope to call a spade a spade.

    As for Omar, it should be clear from the postings he made during the week that he is simply a primitive anti-semite. I suggest you avoid siding with him, even if it's "fun" to tweak some people's noses. Don't encourage this man.

    Well, I've done you the courtesy of treating your question with respect. I urge you to treat others with respect. You'll get farther than way.

    If you revert to your juvenile antics, though, expect me to go back to blowing your arguments apart with no quarter. As I said, I enjoy shooting fish in a barrel. My wife, who reads some of these posts, is the one who pointed out to me that it's a vice. But given what sometimes passes here for argument, it's not a vice I'm prepared to give up.

    [actually, regarding Ebbitt, I HAVE given up. AE]

    [It should also be clear to all who read this that in describing the theology of jihad, I am specifically talking about the increasingly powerful Muslim extremists, not all of Islam. That was said by me at the beginning.]


    john crocker - 9/24/2006

    I see that you have posted several times since this and have yet to answer for any of the inaccuracies that I pointed out to you. Does this mean that you have no answer for them?

    Look forward to hearing from you soon Sgt.


    art eckstein - 9/24/2006

    Clarke asked:

    "When was the last time a major Islamic leader spoke ill of Christianity as a religion?"

    Friedman gave Clarke several gross examples, these are major Muslim leaders, these are simply examples of what is said in Saudi Arabia by major clerics every week, Clarke is totally refuted.

    Yet he won't learn the lesson. His
    argument that these are just "cut-and-paste" quotations is worthless as a response. Is he saying these are false, that these things were never said? He wanted quotes, Friedman gave them to him.

    Here's another:.

    MEMRI, Sept. 26, 2002:

    Friday sermons delivered in the main mosques [NOTE, MR. CLARKE--MAIN MOSQUES] of Saudi Arabia are available on the Saudi-based website www.alminbar.net.[1] The following is a review and analysis of the major themes featured in these sermons:

    Part I - 'The Christians and the Jews are "Infidels," "Enemies of Allah"'
    The majority of sermons discuss Christians, Jews, or the "Camp of Kufur"[2] concurrently. However, some sermons specifically target Christians and Christianity. In a sermon delivered at the Al-Salaam mosque in 'Al-Unayzah, Sheikh Abd Al-Muhsin Al-Qadhi said: "Today we will talk about one of the distorted religions, about a faith that deviates from the path of righteousness… about Christianity, this false faith, and about the people whom Allah described in his book as deviating from the path of righteousness. We will examine their faith, and we will review their history, full of hate, abomination, and wars against Islam and the Muslims.


    Sukan Gurkaynak - 9/24/2006

    Islamic forces were conquering countries at a point in history, when that was what the powerful did. As Mr. Luker notices, the US conquered Hawaii long afterwards, this is historically nothing unusual or specifically islamic. The Islamic conquerors left the conquered more freedoms than say the Catholic Spanish, see the Christian Balkans which have survived 500 years of Turkish rule intact as opposed to Latin America where nothing was left surviving from the pre-spanish civilisation, not even a couple of books. They did not pay anybody money to kill native indians, as did the British in the then Colonies. They did not use artificial famines to break the conquered, as also the British in Irland and India.


    John Chapman - 9/24/2006

    Liberals, Conservatives, and Christian Liberals/ Christian Conservatives these days are nothing to emulate, what ever these terms are supposed to mean. And every time they are used, they are used loosely and ignorantly.

    Anyone who knows what Sam Harris stands for and has actually read "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason" will understand that he wants to get rid of religions altogether. And for good reason. Once again we see the effects of organized religion. - the drama between the Pope’s Christianity and Islam unfold which has shown them both to be unable to adapt to modernity.

    What is amazing is the that the idea of a cosmic, infinite principle “God”, is a mixed composite concept of the sublimation of the anthropomorphic, of deities and slave code religions and metaphysical abstractions and has a lot to do with the stupid conflicts between organized religions which are getting worse by the year.


    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Peter,

    Better still, read this MEMRI collection of sermons from the main mosques in Saudi Arabia: http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Area=sr&ID=SR01002

    Just one excerpt, to note the kind view taken by important Muslmi clerics:

    In a sermon delivered at the Manar Al-Islam mosque in Mecca, Sheikh 'Ali Muhammad Al-Baroum said: "The idea of intertwining religions and the claim that the Jews and the Christians believe in religions of truth… are sinful claims and deceitful ideas unacceptable to the religion [of Islam]… It is forbidden to bring together Islam and the infidels, monotheism and polytheism… Allah's path of righteousness and Satan's path of Kufur."

    Oh well. You are refuted, as usual.


    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Peter,

    This page from MEMRI includes a very good summary of a website on Islam that is recommended by the Saudi Arabian embassy to the US. http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Area=sr&ID=SR2303

    Note this passages:

    The IAD explains: "It is our opinion that whoever claims that any religion other than Islam is acceptable, such as Judaism, Christianity and so forth, is a non believer.

    That contradicts your view that "They respect Christianity and Judaism AS predecessor religions" [Noting your correction.] Rather, Judaism and Christianity are not even considered acceptable.

    Read the article. I might help you understand that your view is not correct. It is not even close.



    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Peter,

    I was reading The Washington Post when, lo and behold, I found this article: "Tolerance: A Two-Way Street," by Charles Krauthammer. According to Mr. Krauthammer:

    Where is the protest over the constant stream of vilification of Christianity and Judaism issuing from the official newspapers, mosques and religious authorities of Arab nations? When Sheik 'Atiyyah Saqr issues a fatwa declaring Jews "apes and pigs"? When Sheik Abd al-Aziz Fawzan al-Fawzan, professor of Islamic law, says on Saudi TV that "someone who denies Allah, worships Christ, son of Mary, and claims that God is one-third of a trinity. . . . Don't you hate the faith of such a polytheist?"

    Where are the demonstrations, where are the parliamentary resolutions, where are the demands for retraction when the Mufti Sheik Ali Gum'a incites readers of al-Ahram, the Egyptian government daily, against "the true and hideous face of the blood-suckers . . . who prepare [Passover] matzos from human blood"?


    But, of course, that is a drop in the bucket. MEMRI collects this stuff. There is more vile things said about Judaism and Christianity by prominent Muslim clerics than you can imagine.


    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Peter,

    Whatever you say, mien fuhrer


    N. Friedman - 9/24/2006

    Peter,

    On what possible basis could you agree or disagree with the Pope? What do you know about Islam? From what I can tell, nothing. That disqualifies your opinion as, on the subject, you have no knowledge even if, in this case, you have taken my hint that the Pope is on solid ground, both as to his overall statement regarding Islamic evangelism and his method of interpretting the Koran.

    Incidently, the Pope said that the Koranic provision that there is no compulsion in religion was abrogated by further revelations. That does not sound like respect by Islam of Christianity. It sounds like disrespect. But, then again, you are the expert here, Peter. You are the expert who does not read and knows nothing about the subject.

    My suggestion is that, since my questions were, in fact, fairly based on what the Pope said and your view that his approach is undiplomatic, what do you propose to do about the Jihadists?

    Peter, you write: "They respect Christianity and Judaism and predecessor religions and their leaders do not insult those other religions, despite your unproven claims to the contrary. They all to often say and do horrific medieval things about Jews, Christians, Americans, Europeans etc, but they don't badmouth the religions."

    State the facts that you rely on for that incorrect statement. The fact is that Islam considers itself to supercede Christianity and, as is commonly the case, they call Christianity a distortion of the truth. So, that hardly sounds like respect.

    But, again: you are not sufficiently knowledgeable to have that opinion. I suggest you read a book. Try one, it might help you. In fact, you are mistaken.


    E. Simon - 9/24/2006

    It is not a question of "one of millions of informed and articulate views". It is a question of being a part of a culture that has a strong tradition of safely encouraging political and intellectual dissent and allowing for, if not encouraging strong, vocal articulation and exploration of those views. This is why the Western tradition of religious reformation and of the enlightenment is an important consideration, even if Peter's poo-pooing of that, or of the role of culture, makes Wafa Sultan no less a theoretical "Islamaphobe" then it makes any Westerner who merely raises or researches the same issues that she does, along with supposedly "millions" of others. But I suppose that it would be condescending to point out how his antipathy toward such an obvious realization just exemplifies the same kinds of bashful internal contradictions in his own views that Wafa confronts on a more relevant playing field.


    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    Well, NF and I were right: you won't answer my question.

    Instead, you confuse--in your confused way--defending civilization from violent attack by mental primitives (YES), with calling for genocide. This is supposed to convince anyone?

    Sigh.

    The plural of Nazi is not "Nazi's".

    Sigh.

    I see my mistake was taking you seriously, and attempting a serious conversation with you. Ebbitt, I'm through with you.


    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    "3/4 of your posts wander off topic to attack Mr. Baker who has been absent this post throughout."

    Either "This post" means "Was the Pope Wrong" en toto, in which case my point about your irresponsibility and inaccuracy stands as is, or it means today (which you suddenly claim), in which case my focus has been on YOU, Ebbitt, YOU--not Omar. The posts are directed at YOU, and at what YOU said. So you're wrong there as well.

    In either case, you now compound your original inaccuracy with more inaccuracy and you just make yourself look even more like a CARELESS INACCURATE FOOL.

    "Low level" as you describe yourself--THAT at least is accurate.


    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    In case you've missed my point, Ebbitt: by falsely claiming that Baker never posted on our blog here concerning Furnish's article--I GUESS YOU DIDN'T CHECK THE FACTS BEFORE POSTING?-- when instead Baker posted vile anti-semitic slanders, which I have quoted, YOU HAVE ONCE AGAIN MADE YOURSELF LOOK LIKE A FOOL.

    "Shooting fish in a barrel."

    But two examples of this in three hours--first your false claims about me being ignorant of Euston when I was an original signer, now your false claims about Baker being absent from this blog when he posted quite terrible things here about Friedman and me--now even my vice on this is satisfied. I've given up on your ever growing up.


    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    Thanks, NF.

    But will Ebbitt even bother respond to this point, or respond to my question about where he'd rather live AS a Muslim (but gay or a woman), Omar's World, or Israel?

    btw, Ebbitt, I don't drive an SUV but a gas-efficient car. Put your anger where it belongs, like I said--face facts (not easy for you, I know).


    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    Ebbitt writes:

    "3/4 of your posts wander off topic to attack Mr. Baker who has been absent this post throughout."

    A straightforward statement, once again wrong. Here are some FACTS FACTS FACTS:

    1. Baker posted on Sept. 18, and SEVEN times on Sept. 20.

    2. ONE of those posts was this vile speciment of anti-semitism:

    by omar ibrahim baker on September 20, 2006 at 6:08 PM
    "The interesting thing in both Friedman's and Professor Eckstein's separate rejoinders to my post is that their direct and indirect defense centerd solely on Israel and Israeli practices.
    My post cited cases of violence committed by Israel and the USA.
    Their defense was to protect Israel; to neither of them , presumably both are US citizens, did it occurr to defend the USA...
    Was that an indication of their approval and concurrence with what I said or nonchalance and indiference to what touches the USA? A point to ponder!"

    "Absent throughout," was he? Here I am called a Jewish parasite when I am only a patriotic American. This was Omar's response to my response and Friedman's response to a post where his major explanation for violent Muslim conduct worldwide was the "Occupation." HE raised israel as an issue. So I talked a bit about that. HIS response was to call me a parasitical Jew, because at that point I didn't defend the U.S. as well You know very well--indeed all TOO well-- that I discuss U.S. policy too, when that is actually the subject (say, in Bosnia and Kosovo, where THERE IS NO OIL, REMEMBER?).

    But I've had it. I have urged you to grow up, and you refuse.


    N. Friedman - 9/23/2006

    Professor,

    You write: Your anger is directed at Israel but as I said these people are capable of infinite lists of grievances, of which israel's existence (NOT its character) is one, but which can never be satisfied because the REAL grievance is that they are not in power in the world when god commands them to be and in a rightfully ordered world they would be. This places them in a theological crisis, the outcome of which is violence. Direct your anger where it belongs, at the enemies of civilization.

    This is the sharpest point you have made on this cite. I could not agree more.


    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    Ebbitt, you refuse to face the theological issue, which I carefully explained to you.

    I defined what I meant by primitive a long time ago, listing the characteristics, in discussing the THOUSAND IMAMS calling for the death of the Pope.

    Even that idiot Omar (a Shia, if he's a friend of Hezbollah) wants a worldwide Muslim state under his totalitarian version of Sharia--care to live there, do you? Or--let me put it to you--if the choice is Omar's World or Israel, which will you choose. And for these purposes, pretend you are a Muslim, but (let's say) gay. Or a woman. Answer this question.

    You also refuse to face the inordinate power of ignorant clerics over the communities of the faithful--Wahabist clerics funded by the Saudis or crazed millenarian Shias funded the Iranians. The faithful have been trained to listen to them, just like ignorant Medieval Catholics were trained to listen to their priests. (Again, I have carefully defined "ignorant" previously.)

    Your anger is directed at Israel but as I said these people are capable of infinite lists of grievances, of which israel's existence (NOT its character) is one, but which can never be satisfied because the REAL grievance is that they are not in power in the world when god commands them to be and in a rightfully ordered world they would be. This places them in a theological crisis, the outcome of which is violence. Direct your anger where it belongs, at the enemies of civilization.

    And (sigh) the plural of Muslim is not "Moslem's"


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/23/2006

    Ebbitt, has it ever crossed your closed mind that the vast majority of your posts on here are nothing but ad hominem attacks and taunts? If you were nearly as smart as you think you are, you could go look up some Qur'an cites (even in English) and throw them back at me. Or give me examples from Islamic history of, say, Muslim leaders who were NOT bloodthirsty jihadist (Salah al-Din comes to mind). But you can't do that--because you're frankly ignorant.
    Go ahead, throw another personal attack at me that has nothing to do with my arguments in my article(s). It just makes you look even stupider. And meaner.


    N. Friedman - 9/23/2006

    John,

    I have not said all Europeans have particular opinions. I say that such opinions are typical of Europeans and the policies of most European Union governments. I trust you can see the difference.

    I think that the US and Israel are basically good countries. I have not said there are no other good countries. However, the US and Israel have shown a better understanding of Jihad than the Europeans have shown. And that includes Britain. I also think that India has also shown some understanding, as have, at times, China and Russia. However, I would not confuse the governance of China and Russia with good governance and would not want to live in such countries. I would not want to live in India either but that is because it is poor, not because its governance is particularly bad.

    As for the US, I think my view is the view of a small minority. But, I think it is a growing minority and will, because it best explains the facts, come to be the view of the majority - hopefully before things get much worse than they already are.

    It is possible to disagree with me and not be an appeaser. However, the dominant policy in Europe, as I see it, is appeasement - as in such is the actual government policy. And, I think the European governments who take that view are digging Europe's graves.


    N. Friedman - 9/23/2006

    Peter,

    Answer my question, which had nothing to do with the Euston Manifesto. I trust you have an opinion, Peter. Or, do you just like to opinion with no aim in mind.

    As for the answer to your question: Christianity is demeaned as a faith rather regularly in mosques and Muslim leaders in the Middle East. I have no intention of providing a Google citation. Go to the MEMRI website and you can find more examples of that than I bet you can count.


    john crocker - 9/23/2006

    So, who are the good nations in your world? Is it just the US and Israel against the world, or just the US? Is the UK allowed in, or does being home to the BBC and the Guardian eliminate them? How about Australia and Japan, are they shakey?

    Why is it do you think that a bit less than half of America understands so clearly what most of the world has such a hard time understanding?


    It is quite possible to disagree with you and not be an appeaser. This and other WWII analogies are useful in eliciting an emotional responses, but little else.


    N. Friedman - 9/23/2006

    Patrick,

    Classical Islam, in addition to being theologically violent, has been rather successful as an imperial theosophy. But, religion has often been used by countries to advance war aims, so that, historically, Islam is not alone. However, Islam is a rather paradigmatic example of a religion associated with violence.


    N. Friedman - 9/23/2006

    John,

    Because I think the Europeans are, by and large, in bed, unintentially and, for some, intentionally with the Arab League as a counterweight to the US. And, because that policy, which is really French policy, has stirred up Jihad, by appeasing violence from Muslims, and because it has stirred up Antisemitism, which is rampant among Muslims in their effort to demonize Israel and use Israel and hatred of Jews as a means to divide the West and, thus, advance the progress of the Jihad. And, because the Europeans in the recent 100 years have made a big mess of international things and have, more often than not, shown poor judgement. [Note: this is not an endorsement of Bush who has not done anything much useful, other than standing with Israel, which is one good thing among what are otherwise useless policy choices.]

    I take the European policy to be a slow motion Munich vis a vis Czechoslavakia before WWII. Whether the analogy is quite perfect, the policy is pretty much the same policy. And, given what the Jihadists actually say and seem to want, I think the Europeans are making war - as in a big war - more, not less, likely, as we are dealing with people who really do want to fight, not obtain justice. The Jihadists, by their own words, have unlimited, not limited, aims. So, a policy which appeases makes things worse as it convinces the Jihadists that what they seek is possible.




    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    Simply because I was posting something about Euston, that didn't mean I had to append to that posting my personal history with the organization. I just thought the story was some interesting information for people to have. But YOU then made up a completely phony version of my history with the organization, MADE IT UP OUT OF WHOLE CLOTH, a version in which, instead of being an original member, I knew nothing about it, which is why--you assumed--I was posting this Euston stuff today. You just guessed, as you often do--and you were wrong, as you often are. Moreover, this fiction about me was invented by you simply to demean and insult me as being "out of the loop". To repet: You JUST MADE IT UP AND PUT IT OUT HERE. Aren't you ashamed of such behavior?

    And since I could react to your irresponsible fiction by explaining that far from being out of the loop about Euston I was in fact one of the first to be invited in (and you might want to ask yourself why I know Norm Geras and all those people), all that your fiction did was to make you look--once more!!!--like an irresponsible idiot.

    Drop the jeering, Ebbitt. It gets you nowhere. Be serious, eh? Or to put it another way: grow up. I've urged you to do that several times, the last time in the long reply I did you the courtesy of giving you farther up the blog under your sophomoric rubric of "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch" at 2:33 p.m. today.


    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    This is a strange new tone, Ebbitt, and I don't know what to make of it.

    I wil tell you that the gross insults that you've been throwing around are not amusing and are only offensive: it's just not the way to proceed in a serious conversation. So if you do not wish to appear juvenile, I seriously suggest you drop that sort of line and be more serious and less willing to resort to jeers when confronted with serious argument.

    If there are times when you are playing devil's advocate, then it is best to say so. That's my advice.

    Now assuming you are serious in asking me WHY these primitive Muslim extremists--who are, unfortunately, increasingly the "default mode" of Islam both in its Sunni and Shia variants--are at war with the West:

    U.S. policies are a factor
    The very existence of Israel is too--NOT because of any particular harshness of the Israeli state, which for long was socialist and secular and still IS the most secular state by far in the region.

    Here one can quote Victor Hanson: Muslim extremists seek to fool Western liberals through voicing a litany of perpetual hurts. Like the Nazis who whined about Versailles or the Sudentenland, for years Islamists have harped about U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia (they're gone now), or the U.N. embargo on Iraq (which caused hardship on the Iraqis because of Saddam and European corruptioon), or the "occupation." All of that is a cover: their goal (like the Nazis again) is universally aggressive, the imposition of totalitarian Sharia law in a pan-Islamic state.

    The tragedy is that so many Western liberals are willing to grant the validity of this litany of perpetual hurts, as many appeasers thought the Nazis, and are willing to give these medieval religious fanatics the legitimacy of "anti-imperialism" when they are the greatest and most ruthless imperialists in the world (just ask the Christians of the southern Sudan): the result is a comfortable anti-semitism and anti-Americanism, so that the liberals don't have to face the brutal enemy we actually all face.

    So the problem with Israel is not its harsh character (it isn't harsh, and especially for that neck of the woods it isn't harsh); the problem is that its very existence is felt by these medieval primitives to be an intolerable insult to God because it is a violation of the territory of the Muslim umma. The requirement is that that all non-Muslims be dhimmis and accept their inferior position of dhimmitude, and this the Israelis refuse to do. The Israeli military victories against very high odds only make the Muslim shame here more intolerable. Such shame can only be wiped out by violence.

    Similarly, U.S. power in the world is theologically unacceptable since the U.S. is not a Muslim state. Therefore, ANYTHING the U.S. does is wrong, deeply, deeply "wrong". So the list of complaints is endless.

    Similarly, the view is that Islam should be immune from all criticism, while Muslims reserve simultaneously the right to engage in the most vile slander of non-Muslim faiths. That's a theological position, and it's based on a sense of superiority (possession of the Truth), not a sense of injured oppression, except insofar as western refusal to recognize Muslim superiority IS viewed as oppression. When they say "we want respect", what they mean is the respect that dhimmis must pay to the superior. Don't be fooled.

    In sum, the hatred and violence we see, the hatred which piloted planes filled with screaming women and children into buildings filled with office-workers, the hatred that murdered Theo van Gogh for making a film, that hatred is above all THEOLOGICAL. Not rooted in socioeconomics, or geopolitics, but in THEOLOGY. NO other religion--I repeat this to you, though you don't like it--is like this.

    This is why it was okay for the Pope to call a spade a spade.

    As for Omar, it should be clear from the postings he made during the week that he is simply a primitive anti-semite. I suggest you avoid siding with him, even if it's "fun" to tweak some people's noses. Don't encourage this man.

    Well, I've done you the courtesy of treating your question with respect. I urge you to treat others with respect. You'll get farther than way.

    If you revert to your juvenile antics, though, expect me to go back to blowing your arguments apart with no quarter. As I said, I enjoy shooting fish in a barrel. My wife, who reads some of these posts, is the one who pointed out to me that it's a vice. But given what sometimes passes here for argument, it's not a vice I'm prepared to give up.


    N. Friedman - 9/23/2006

    Peter,

    You write: "The real question has always been HOW to do so, not whether."

    Now, the US has been opposing Islamic terror for many years. So far, the attempts, by all involved - and not just the current nutty party in power - have not been impressive. Note also that the French approach has not exactly worked either, since the Jihadists now claim that France is a prime target. The same with the German approach, where Germans have also been targeted.

    Thus far, the various US approaches and the French, German and every other approach has done exactly nothing. Now, we have the Benedict approach - which calls the kettle black -. It is something new. A different means of attack, taking on Jihadism as a form of irrationalism. I am not a Catholic but I note that no one else's ideas have done a thing. So, why are you so negative about it? It is not exactly like nice diplomacy has helped.

    Perhaps you have an idea. Or, do you really think, despite all the efforts to settle the matter which, rather than coming to agreement, have brought more violence, that we go back to the tried and true method of appeasing Muslims by, among other things, demanding, for exampl,e that Israel cede land to people who make clear repeatedly that they have no interest in settling. See e.g., "Hamas refuses to recognize Israel but offers truce,' YNet News, September 22, 2006, at http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3307082,00.html .

    Queries for Peter:

    Do you think that YNet is lying?

    But, do you really think that it is possible, with the rise of Jihadism among Arabs, to settle anything by agreement, especially when a tenet of Jihadism is not to reach actual peace treaties?

    My view: HAMAS is offering what Islam traditionally offers to infidel, at a time when a party needs time to re-arm, and nothing more, namely, a hudna. And, at the end of a hudna, war must - as a categorical imperative, in classical Islamic theology - resume. Of course, to understand that obvious point, you actually need to read a book about Islam. Please answer these questions, Peter.

    A further question, Peter:

    Supposing that the Arab Israeli dispute could really be resolved, what makes you think that would actually abate Jihadism, rather than spur it on?

    I note this point in view of the notion that, in fact, Jihadism posits that no non-Islamic land can be allowed in land ever held by Muslims. And, if the dispute is settled, that is likely to irritate, not appease, the Jihadist. Or, if Israel vanishes, that would be taken as a great victory and thus spur more fighting.




    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    I guess this belongs HERE:

    Ebbitt writes:

    "Even I knew of the Euston Manifesto many months ago. It's a worthy effort but, we've seen how much play it has received to date. Nil.

    "This is a man (Eckstein) who should be at the center of the academia world/ buzz line. One would have thought a periodical would've crossed his desk with this story last year.


    Ebbitt, you assume, with absolutely no basis, that this the first time I'd heard of the Euston Memo. I was actually one of the first signers of the Euston Memo, just beyond the original folks who met on Euston Street.

    I was just calling the Memo to people's attention.

    FACTS FACTS FACTS

    "Like shooting fish in a barrel."

    Clarke, it's the fact that there are people who would rather demonize the U.S. and Bush because of his gross errors rather than face the REAL enemy--Islamofascism (for want of a better term)--that Euston people have not made as large an impact as they should.

    On the reason for that: Look in the mirror.


    N. Friedman - 9/23/2006

    Peter,

    If you are not sufficiently interested to find out about something posted, then why ask others to provide you information. That makes no sense at all.

    I am not, by the way, an Islamophobe. That I point out the violent strands of Islam does not make me an Islamophobe. My view, as I have said before, is that Islam is an heroic faith, not a bad or evil faith. However, like all religions, it is a collection of irrational and rational precepts that are not capable of proof. And, like most people raised in a society where science determines that which may be the case, I prefer the scientific way.

    I do, of course, oppose Jihadism as it does posit world conquest while I do not wish to be conquered. I think the scientific way supercedes Medieval ways.


    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    Ebbitt writes:

    "Even I knew of the Euston Manifesto many months ago. It's a worthy effort but, we've seen how much play it has received to date. Nil.

    "This is a man (Eckstein) who should be at the center of the academia world/ buzz line. One would have thought a periodical would've crossed his desk with this story last year.


    Ebbitt, you assume, with absolutely no basis, that this the first time I'd heard of the Euston Memo. I was actually one of the first signers of the Euston Memo, just beyond the original folks who met on Euston Street.

    I was just calling the Memo to people's attention.

    FACTS FACTS FACTS

    "Like shooting fish in a barrel."


    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    Ebbitt, I repeatedly gave Omar the name of the magazine and the exact title and date of publication of the article (Oct. 14, 2002). This article is available online through all sorts of search-engines.: all you have to do is Google "In the Party of God," the name of the article, or the New Yorker for that date. I told him this repeatedly. By telling him, I was telling everyone where to get the article. Period.

    Do you really think that if Omar read this, he would be convinced? HIS position is that any information that is disturbing to his primitive thought-world that appears in The New Yorker must be a lie. As for you, I repeat: it's The New Yorker for Oct. 14, 2002. Just how lazy do you have to be?
    The article, "In the Party of God", won the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting.

    Last Sunday morning (Sept. 17 2006), the only synagogue in Oslo, one of the world's most peaceful places, was sprayed with machine-gun bullets. Four men have been arrested. Guess what religion they were? Guess why they did? Hint: they weren't Methodists. GET THE POINT?

    You haven't given me any "run for my money," Ebbitt. I do this because I enjoy shooting fish in a barrel. It's a vice of mine.

    By the way, the correct spelling of the plural of photo isn't
    "photo's".


    john crocker - 9/23/2006

    Fascism carries with it much more baggage than violence and totalitarianism. You, I gather, are a history professor, surely you can find a more precise term.

    If it is violence and totalitarianism you wish to express, why not totalitarianist or militant Islam. Jihadist has also been suggested as a more precise term.

    This focus group tested buzz word is used to draw people into seeing this conflict as analagous to WWII. It is a means of short circuiting debate rather than furthering it.


    john crocker - 9/23/2006

    Why are you so disdainful of Europe and European thought?


    N. Friedman - 9/23/2006

    Patrick,

    To reiterate:

    It is fine to cite Wikipedia for a fact or two. It is not fine to cite Wikipedia as a definitive source on a topic. There is a big difference. You were relying on Wikipedia as a definitive source for your position, not for a fact or point that was non-contentious.


    N. Friedman - 9/23/2006

    Peter,

    I was - taking into account what had been posted above - responding to your comment "You are improving you url pasting skills, Mr. Simon" and "Now we know a bit about the biography of Wafa Sultan." You could have found out about Wafa Sultan by Googling.


    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    Martin Walker is a distinguished British news correspondent. Like Harris's article, and Applebaum's this article is worth reading and seriously thinking about:

    Walker`s World: The Left thinks again
    By Martin Walker
    Sep 21, 2006, 19:00 GMT

    PRAGUE, Czech Republic (UPI) -- Earlier this year, a group of 'small-l' liberals, left-wingers and progressives came together in Britain to produce a document called the Euston Manifesto. It was a statement of principles in support of democracy, freedom of speech and ideas, and firm opposition to terrorism, all forms of totalitarianism and all soft-headed apologies for it.

    Now it has found an echo in the United States, where a number of leading academics and intellectuals have signed the Euston Manifesto, and issued their own statement on American liberalism that endorses it. The original British document was the work of a small group of mainly leftist academics, swiftly joined by members of Parliament, including former Minister for Europe Denis MacShane, journalists and trade unionists.

    There are three interesting and significant features to this development. The first is that while the British group makes an absolute commitment to openness and free debate, it stresses that there are indeed enemies on the Left and that quislings and appeasers and apologists for terror should be called by their proper names.

    'Drawing the lesson of the disastrous history of left apologetics over the crimes of Stalinism and Maoism, as well as more recent exercises in the same vein (some of the reaction to the crimes of 9/11, the excuse-making for suicide terrorism, the disgraceful alliances lately set up inside the 'anti-war' movement with illiberal theocrats) we reject the notion that there are no opponents on the Left,' the manifesto says. 'We reject, similarly, the idea that there can be no opening to ideas and individuals to our right.'

    The Euston Manifesto seeks to make 'common cause with genuine democrats whether socialist or not....(and) drawing a line between the forces of the Left that remain true to its authentic values, and currents that have lately shown themselves rather too flexible about these values.'

    The American document echoes this commitment to openness, agreeing that its members often disagree, for example on the Bush administration`s decision to go to war on Saddam Hussein`s Iraq, and particularly on how to respond to radical Islamism.

    It says: 'Some of us view this ideology and its political results as the third major form of totalitarian ideology of the last century, after fascism and Nazism, on the one hand, and communism on the other. Others regard it as having a history in the Arab and Islamic world that eludes the label of totalitarianism. We all agree however that it fosters dictatorship, terror, anti-Semitism and sexism of a most retrograde kind. We reject its subordination of politics to the dictates of religious fundamentalists and well as its contempt for the role of individual autonomy and rationality in politics.'

    The second important new feature of the Euston group and their American cousins is not simply that it reflects the liberal-left thinking and taking ideas seriously again, but that their core principles include an utter rebuff of anti-Americanism and a parallel rejection of the currently almost fashionable form of anti-Semitism that lurks behind the label of 'anti-Zionism.'

    It stands firmly behind the U.N.`s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, rejecting those who suggest some people and regions may not be ready for them. It accepts U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan`s principle of 'a responsibility to protect,' which means they support intervention on the internal affairs of a sovereign state if it tortures and slaughters its own people. And it supports the expansion of world trade that comes with globalization, so long as the benefits are distributed as widely as possible. In this sense, it is a deeply centrist document, anchored squarely in the mainstream of the Anglo-American political tradition. Indeed, the American document stresses that 'In World War Two and the Cold War, liberals, centrists and conservatives found moments of commonality. Indeed, if those efforts had been borne exclusively by the left or the right they very well might have failed. For us, part of the Euston Manifesto`s importance lies precisely in bringing this insight to bear on our current dilemma and in recalling the traditions of American liberal anti-fascism and anti-totalitarianism that remain important today.'

    The third notable aspect of this Euston Manifesto and its American echo is that for many of the signatories, notably veteran American sociologist and progressive Daniel Bell, it carries a clear echo of the statements issued by European and American social democrats and left-liberals in the early years of the Cold War, when they drew a clear line separating themselves from Soviet Communism and Stalinism. Back in the late 1940s, and now again today, a return to clear and muscular thinking and an intelligent discrimination between free principles and their enemies was and is evident.

    Then as now, this group of American liberals includes a hearty contingent from The New Republic magazine, including its editor-in-chief Marty Peretz. It also includes Ron Asmus, who managed the enlargement of NATO for the Clinton administration and Will Marshall of the Progressive Policy Institute, the veteran political analyst and historian of terrorism Walter Laqueur, Yale`s Steven Smith, Harvard`s Dan Goldhagen and Georgetown`s Robert Lieber. One particularly interesting supporter is Michael Ledeen of the usually conservative American Enterprise Institute, who is usually identified as a fervent neo-conservative.

    The American document is outspoken in its criticism of the Bush administration`s mistakes, citing Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo as examples of errors 'that undermine the very values for which this war must be fought and won.' But at the same time its clearest call is to condemn those left-liberals who 'remain more focused on the misdeeds and errors of our own government in Iraq than on the terrorist outrages of Islamic extremists. Anger at the Bush administration, however justified, should not trump opposition to all aspects of jihadism.'

    The American echo of the Euston Manifesto comes at a heated political moment, when Republicans seeking re-election and edging away from President Bush and when the Democratic party may have decided what it is against, but has yet to coalesce around a policy on Iraq and on the war on terror which it can whole-heartedly support. The British, as the Labour party faces the challenges of Prime Minister Tony Blair`s succession, are in a similar fix. So it is significant that centrists and left-liberals in both countries are going back to the bedrock era and principles of the 1940s that solidified the Anglo-American relationship. They worked then; maybe they could again.


    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    Yeah, and it's Wahabi or Wahabist clerics: that WAS a typo on my part, not sheer ignorance as is Ebbitt's problem.


    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    Ebbitt wrote: " Whether 1000 Iman's or 1 lone Rabbi the fact is that all religions, not just Islam, are currently perpetrating violence against another."

    First of all, it's IMAM, Ebbitt.
    Also, simple plurals do not take apostrophes. The latter habit isn't a typo (those of course happen), because you do it all the time. Don't betray your lack of education so obviously.

    Second, to equate a rabbi who is praying for the safety of soldiers from harm during a real war (or do you REALLY think he's saying, "God commands you to kill all Muslims, now go and kill them"?) with THOUSANDS of Imams demanding that their followers kill the Pope in order to prevent any criticism of ISLAM (NOT to prevent an attack aimed at killing civilians), to KILL the Pope simply because he told historical truths--if you can't see the difference both in situation and scale, then you don't belong in a serioius discussion-group. Time and again these things have been explained to you.

    It is the vast and exceptional intensity and scale of Muslim violence for purely religious motives, and egged on by Wahbist/Salafi clerical (or in the case of Iran, Shia mullah) fanatics that is now the central threat to the survival of post-Enlightenment civilization, and freedom of speech. Period.

    Third, you claimed long ago that the U.S. never intervened in Muslim situations except for oil. THAT was your claim, made with the same empty bravado as everything else you write. You were wrong. Period. As usual, you were wrong on the facts. Period.

    I gave four examples of interventions in countries where there was no oil. You were just wrong historically and you can't win the argument by bringing up Wikipedia's discussion of American motives for intervention in those places. The interventions happened, and thousands and thousands of Muslims in those places are alive because those interventions happened, and they were costly (I know a paratrooper who was permanently injured in Kosovo), and there's no oil in any of those places, or anywhere near them. Period.


    N. Friedman - 9/23/2006

    Patrick,

    It is fine to cite Wikipedia for a fact or two. It is not fine to cite Wikipedia as a definitive source on a topic. There is a big difference. You were relying on Wikipedia as a definitive source for your position, not for a point that was non-contentious.


    art eckstein - 9/23/2006

    I don't allow my students to use Wikipedia, but I found this interesting in terms of what you are apparently claiming:


    Shortly after the start of the bombing, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milos<caron>evic´, along with Milan Milutinovic´, Nikola Sainovic´, Dragoljub Ojdanic´ and Vlajko Stojiljkovic´ were charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) with crimes against humanity including murder, forcible transfer, deportation and "persecution on political, racial or religious grounds".

    Further indictments were leveled in October 2003 against former armed forces chief of staff Nebojs<caron>a Pavkovic´, former army corps commander Vladimir Lazarevic´, former police official Vlastimir ?or?evic´ and the current head of Serbia's public security, Sreten Lukic´. All were indicted for crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war.

    Some five or so KLA leaders were indicted as well, but there crimes weren't nearly as large in scale, one was a case of mistaken identity, one was acquited.

    In any case, ever hear of: Screbenica?

    In any case, you asked for cases of U.S. military intervention for Muslims when oil wasn't involved.
    Kosovo and Bosnia and Somalia and Bangladesh all remain on the table.

    As for the image of rabbis and soldiers--SHOW ME where THOUSANDS of rabbis were DEMANDING their congregations go out and KILL for GOD.

    You can't. Show me IMAMS: well, I posted an example YESTERDAY OF A THOUSAND IMAMS doing just this.

    It took me a long time to find this thread. I was led to it by Ebbit's foul ad hominem attacks on me elsewhere.

    Attacks, however, are no substitute for FACTS.

    What a surprise to find that he's been kicked off other sites...





    N. Friedman - 9/23/2006

    Patrick,

    Wikipedia is good for some things. Recent history is not one of those things. I do not think you have shown a thing.


    N. Friedman - 9/22/2006

    Professor,

    The game of the apologists and appeasers is now being exposed and undermined by events. People, both liberals and conservatives, are starting to understand the Jihadists for what they are. As I suggested in #97961, liberals are starting to awaken.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/22/2006

    This is an interesting column, pointing out many of the things that Sam Harris pointed out in the article posted by Prof. Furnish this morning, though in a somewhat more modulated form, and seeking to include the Left in a defense of the Enlightenment value of freedom of speech.


    NEWS | OPINIONS | SPORTS | ARTS & LIVING | Discussions | Photos & Video | City Guide | CLASSIFIEDS | JOBS | CARS | REAL ESTATE


    Enough Apologies
    By Anne Applebaum
    Tuesday, September 19, 2006; A21

    Already, angry Palestinian militants have assaulted seven West Bank and Gaza churches, destroying two of them. In Somalia, gunmen shot dead an elderly Italian nun. Radical clerics from Qatar to Qom have called, variously, for a "day of anger" or for worshipers to "hunt down" the pope and his followers. From Turkey to Malaysia, Muslim politicians have condemned the pope and called his apology "insufficient." And all of this because Benedict XVI, speaking at the University of Regensburg, quoted a Byzantine emperor who, more than 600 years ago, called Islam a faith "spread by the sword." We've been here before, of course. Similar protests were sparked last winter by cartoon portrayals of Muhammad in the Danish press. Similar apologies resulted, though Benedict's is more surprising than those of the Danish government. No one, apparently, can remember any pope, not even the media-friendly John Paul II, apologizing for anything in such specific terms: not for the Inquisition, not for the persecution of Galileo and certainly not for a single comment made to an academic audience in an unimportant German city.

    But Western reactions to Muslim "days of anger" have followed a familiar pattern, too. Last winter, some Western newspapers defended their Danish colleagues, even going so far as to reprint the cartoons -- but others, including the Vatican, attacked the Danes for giving offense. Some leading Catholics have now defended the pope -- but others, no doubt including some Danes, have complained that his statement should have been better vetted, or never given at all. This isn't surprising: By definition, the West is not monolithic. Left-leaning journalists don't identify with right-leaning colleagues (or right-leaning Catholic colleagues), and vice versa. Not all Christians, let alone all Catholics -- even all German Catholics -- identify with the pope either, and certainly they don't want to defend his every scholarly quotation.

    Unfortunately, these subtle distinctions are lost on the fanatics who torch embassies and churches. And they may also be preventing all of us from finding a useful response to the waves of anti-Western anger and violence that periodically engulf parts of the Muslim world. Clearly, a handful of apologies and some random public debate -- should the pope have said X, should the Danish prime minister have done Y -- are ineffective and irrelevant: None of the radical clerics accepts Western apologies, and none of their radical followers reads the Western press. Instead, Western politicians, writers, thinkers and speakers should stop apologizing -- and start uniting.

    By this, I don't mean that we all need to rush to defend or to analyze this particular sermon; I leave that to experts on Byzantine theology. But we can all unite in our support for freedom of speech -- surely the pope is allowed to quote from medieval texts -- and of the press. And we can also unite, loudly, in our condemnation of violent, unprovoked attacks on churches, embassies and elderly nuns. By "we" I mean here the White House, the Vatican, the German Greens, the French Foreign Ministry, NATO, Greenpeace, Le Monde and Fox News -- Western institutions of the left, the right and everything in between. True, these principles sound pretty elementary -- "we're pro-free speech and anti-gratuitous violence" -- but in the days since the pope's sermon, I don't feel that I've heard them defended in anything like a unanimous chorus. A lot more time has been spent analyzing what the pontiff meant to say, or should have said, or might have said if he had been given better advice.

    All of which is simply beside the point, since nothing the pope has ever said comes even close to matching the vitriol, extremism and hatred that pour out of the mouths of radical imams and fanatical clerics every day, all across Europe and the Muslim world, almost none of which ever provokes any Western response at all. And maybe it's time that it should: When Saudi Arabia publishes textbooks commanding good Wahhabi Muslims to "hate" Christians, Jews and non-Wahhabi Muslims, for example, why shouldn't the Vatican, the Southern Baptists, Britain's chief rabbi and the Council on American-Islamic Relations all condemn them -- simultaneously?

    Maybe it's a pipe dream: The day when the White House and Greenpeace can issue a joint statement is surely distant indeed. But if stray comments by Western leaders -- not to mention Western films, books, cartoons, traditions and values -- are going to inspire regular violence, I don't feel that it's asking too much for the West to quit saying sorry and unite, occasionally, in its own defense. The fanatics attacking the pope already limit the right to free speech among their own followers. I don't see why we should allow them to limit our right to free speech, too.

    applebaumanne@yahoo.com

    © 2006 The Washington Post Company


    john crocker - 9/22/2006

    I notice that you highlighted his use of some in reference to folks, but not his later use of MANY in reference to "useful idiots" (which he later clarified to mean those on the left).

    Far from proving his point, he went to a right wing "news" site (run by the MRC's Brent Bozell) and copied someone's characterization of what she said rather than providing a quotation. He then to found 2 comments on blogs, not quotes from Democratic bloggers. The one blog he cites is not a prominent one. The only person he mentioned who is at all prominent is Sheehan and there he did not provide the quotation.

    Furnish's response was not cogent. I hope you are more demanding of your students argumentation.

    BTW using the Furnish standard of many, here are some characterizations,

    Many conservatives want to bring back segregation.

    Many conservatives want the NY Times building car bombed.

    Many Christians think "The Lord God Almighty killed [the people who died on 9/11], looked at them in the face, laughed and mocked at each one of them as he cast each one of them into hell".

    Do you think any of these are accurate portrayals of conservatives or Christians? I assure that I can back them up at least as well as Furnish backed up his.

    You backed the wrong side on this point.


    john crocker - 9/22/2006

    Your comment was that MANY (not some) "useful idiots", which here you confirm to mean people on the left would prefer Osama to Bush. A contention which is far from demonstrably true.

    This type of commentary is not only wildly inaccurate, it is offensive.

    Your article spawned an interesting conversation, but your subsequent contribution to that converstion has been long on this type of rhetoric and short on substance.


    john crocker - 9/22/2006

    Your comment was that MANY (not some) "useful idiots", which here you confirm to mean people on the left would prefer Osama to Bush. A contention which is far from demonstrably true.

    This type of commentary is not only wildly inaccurate, it is offensive.

    Your article spawned an interesting conversation, but your subsequent contribution to that converstion has been long on this type of rhetoric and short on substance.


    N. Friedman - 9/22/2006

    Tim,

    I note that there has just started to be an awakening from the liberal side of the political spectrum about the dangers that the Jihadist movement really represents and the extent to which it is the real face of Islam - at least the Islam of our era, whether or not Islam may have had a grander past -. The awakening is still too slow in coming but it is coming.

    One bit of evidence is this rather long article, in three parts, in The Observer - a British publication that is rather to the far left of the political spectrum - by writer Martin Amis.

    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329573009-102280,00.html
    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1868743,00.html
    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329573019-102280,00.html

    If The Observer is begining to see the light, there is hope. From the article:

    Until recently it was being said that what we are confronted with, here, is 'a civil war' within Islam. That's what all this was supposed to be: not a clash of civilisations or anything like that, but a civil war within Islam. Well, the civil war appears to be over. And Islamism won it. The loser, moderate Islam, is always deceptively well-represented on the level of the op-ed page and the public debate; elsewhere, it is supine and inaudible. We are not hearing from moderate Islam. Whereas Islamism, as a mover and shaper of world events, is pretty well all there is.

    So, to repeat, we respect Islam - the donor of countless benefits to mankind, and the possessor of a thrilling history. But Islamism? No, we can hardly be asked to respect a creedal wave that calls for our own elimination. More, we regard the Great Leap Backwards as a tragic development in Islam's story, and now in ours. Naturally we respect Islam. But we do not respect Islamism, just as we respect Muhammad and do not respect Muhammad Atta.


    Whether or not Amis' interpretation of events is correct, he recognizes savagery for what it is. And that is welcome.

    Note: as I have said before, I come to my conclusions from somewhat the left side of the political spectrum. But, unlike many on my side of the aisle - at least as of late -, I believe that facts are facts. And, what we face - and I think this is not a leap but basically a statement of fact - is a savage religio-political movement that cannot be appeased or wished away, but must be resisted - for our society to survive.



    Grant W Jones - 9/22/2006

    Always happy to help, Ralph. What does Hawaii have to do with the topic of discussion? Oh yes, nothing.

    It is a pity that there are Ph.Ds in history who seem to believe that history began in 1095. Try Warren Threadgold's "The Byzantine Revival: 780-842." You might also try reading up on Manzikert, hint that battle occurred before the First Crusade.

    In fact both Byzantium and the Latin West were subject to over four hundred years of incessant and unprovoked attacks by your Moslem "brothers." But don't let that countervailing evidence disturb your biases.


    john crocker - 9/22/2006

    "Actually, that would probably be better than a Republican for many of the useful idiots."

    In support of this you manage to find a right wing news site's characterization of a comment by Cindy Sheehan an anonymous comments on a blog and a comment by another unknown person. Even if we were to take these at face value, three hardly qualifies as many. It would be just as accurate for me to say that some on the right say, "America is doomed and cursed by God irreversibly". I can cite as many sources on that one as you provided. This is not any more or less a fair characterization of the right than your comment was of the left (useful idiots as you like to call them).

    CSNNews is an arm of Media Research Center. It is highly partisan. It is possible that Sheehan said something to that effect, but you need to cite a less biased source.

    Who is Julian Brizzi?

    Citing comments on sites that do not require verification tells us nothing.

    BTW I am still waiting for you to address the inaccuracies that I pointed out in your article and posts.


    Ricardo Luis Rodriguez - 9/22/2006

    Jason, it is obvious we disagree. If you want to take this the route of "no, YOUR views are fantasy, etc., etc" then just ignore this post as I will yours.
    If you are interested in hearing a different point of view and debating it on the merits of the argument itself, just say so.


    N. Friedman - 9/22/2006

    Peter,

    One. We are not doing history here. We are posting comments and opinions - occasionally informed one but comments and opinions nonetheless.

    Two. In all of the history and scholarly books I have read (e.g. classics such as The Guns of August to A Distant Mirror to Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law, etc., etc.), only rarely have I seen full documents copied. Such is rather helpful where the intention is to change the paradigm by which one examines an event or subject. But, in most instances, it is not necessary to regurgitate a document in its entirety.

    I note another reason why one might produce an entire document. Ephraim Karsh wrote a book challenging the revisionist historians who have studied Israel's origins. He claims that a considerable amount of the evidence used by the revisionists is not only stripped from context but, in some instances, the equivalent of the word "not" is removed from sentences, creating plans and intentions which are, if one hones to what the documents and the like actually say, do not exist. In my view, it is rather necessary to examine substantial portions of documents in such a circumstance since it is the documents that are at issue.

    Three. If you want to do some history, why do you not do some research and write a book instead of posting online? Better still, why not read some books so that your opinions and comments will be informed by scholarly analysis, rather than by journalists who have neither the time nor inclination to dig into what they report?


    art eckstein - 9/22/2006

    As for Daveed Gartenstein-Ross:
    1. since you don't have time to read, as you've indicated, you haven't read him book, and you have no position from which to conclude he is crazy, unless you are saying that anyone who converts to Islam is crazy. It's just hurling personal abuse against a source that says what you don't want it to say.
    2. As I said, Gartenstein-Ross was only one part of a much larger package of evidence, not the pillar on which I built a case. It is the case that HIS evidence FITS with all the other evidence.
    In that respect, you should read Ayan Hirsi Ali's autobiography, about HER experiences as a Muslim (which, unlike G-R, she still is). Gartenstein-Ross and Ayan HA tell similar stories about their experiences with radical Islam. Ayan HA has had to be put under armed guard for protection from vengeful Muslims in the formerly-peaceful Netherlands. The same people who murdered Theo van Gogh the film-maker are after her, because of her "INSULTS TO ISLAM." We're not talking about murdering military men engaged in a civil war here: we're talking about murdering intellectuals.
    Sound familiar?
    Instead of attacking the messenger, you might want to listen carefully to the message.


    art eckstein - 9/22/2006

    The Muslims of Bosnia were saved from genocide on the part of Serbs and Christians by U.S. intervention in 1995. The Muslims of Kosovo were saved from genocide on the part of Serbs in 1999. Period.

    You cite one Sri Lanka radical: we are talking about THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of Muslim clerics. (See my post on the demo by 1,000--not ONE, 1,000--clerics in Pakistan, posted yesterday afternoon at the bottom of this blog, with their claim that ANY "INSULT TO ISLAM" (as THEY, of course, define insult) must be answered with violence. We're also talking about radio and televisions stations with powerful world-wide transmitters that spew out the vilest abuse of non-Muslims day after day.. There's a difference in scale which should be obvious even to you.

    All this is elementary.


    art eckstein - 9/22/2006

    1. You challenged Furnish on a specific point.
    2. Furnish came up with prominent people (not just some crazies) whose attitude in comparing Bush v. Bin Laden was exactly what he claimed some prominent people's attitude was.
    3. You have thus lost yet another round of debate, and for the same reason you always lose: because you never have any facts to back your up. And it is irresponsible to respond with a shrug when people present you with specific facts that contradict you--"Oh, FACTS. ANYONE can come up with FACTS to support their thesis! That's just manipulation!"
    4. This is followed by your usual and instinctive resort to ad hominem attack.
    5. I've been patient with you, and have ignored your response of streams of personal abuse when I presented you with facts--not minor facts but BIG facts: Remember the massive U.S. interventions in Bosnia (1995), and Kosovo (1999), when you claimed here on HNN the U.S. only intervened in Muslim issues where there was oil? Remember the multiple Vatican apologies for actions in the past, when you claimed here on HNN that the Catholic Church--just like Muslims--never apologized?
    HOW MANY times do you have to be grossly wrong before you show a little modesty, Ebbitt? Now I tell you that you look like an infant when your reply to the presentation of facts and reasoned argument is a continuous stream personal abuse.
    You should be ashamed of yourself.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/22/2006

    HNNers,
    I am frankly amazed at this piece that ran in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution" today...by a LIBERAL!
    ajc.com > Opinion

    Liberal apathy fuels the rage

    By SAM HARRIS

    Published on: 09/22/06

    Two years ago I published a book highly critical of religion, "The End of Faith." In it, I argued that the world's major religions are genuinely incompatible, inevitably cause conflict and now prevent the emergence of a viable, global civilization. I have received many thousands of letters and e-mails from priests, journalists, scientists, politicians, soldiers, rabbis, actors, aid workers, students — from people young and old who occupy every point on the spectrum of belief and nonbelief.

    This has offered me a special opportunity to see how people of all creeds and political persuasions react when religion is criticized. I am here to report that liberals and conservatives respond very differently to the notion that religion can be a direct cause of human conflict.

    This difference does not bode well for the future of liberalism.

    Perhaps I should establish my liberal bona fides at the outset. I'd like to see taxes raised on the wealthy, drugs decriminalized and homosexuals free to marry. I also think that the Bush administration deserves most of the criticism it has received in the last six years — especially with respect to its waging of the war in Iraq, its scuttling of science and its fiscal irresponsibility.

    But my correspondence with liberals has convinced me that liberalism has grown dangerously out of touch with the realities of our world — specifically with what devout Muslims actually believe about the West, about paradise and about the ultimate ascendance of their faith.

    On questions of national security, I am now as wary of my fellow liberals as I am of the religious demagogues on the Christian right.

    This may seem like frank acquiescence to the charge that "liberals are soft on terrorism." It is, and they are.

    The true enemy

    A cult of death is forming in the Muslim world — for reasons that are perfectly explicable in terms of the Islamic doctrines of martyrdom and jihad. The truth is that we are not fighting a "war on terror." We are fighting a pestilential theology and a longing for paradise.

    This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims. But we are absolutely at war with those who believe that death in defense of the faith is the highest possible good, that cartoonists should be killed for caricaturing the prophet and that any Muslim who loses his faith should be butchered for apostasy.

    Unfortunately, such religious extremism is not as fringe a phenomenon as we might hope. Numerous studies have found that the most radicalized Muslims tend to have better-than-average educations and economic opportunities.

    Given the degree to which religious ideas are still sheltered from criticism in every society, it is actually possible for a person to have the economic and intellectual resources to build a nuclear bomb — and to believe that he will get 72 virgins in paradise. And yet, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, liberals continue to imagine that Muslim terrorism springs from economic despair, lack of education and American militarism.

    Extremism taints faith

    At its most extreme, liberal denial has found expression in a growing subculture of conspiracy theorists who believe that the atrocities of Sept. 11 were orchestrated by our own government. A nationwide poll conducted by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University found that more than a third of Americans suspect that the federal government "assisted in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East"; 16 percent believe that the twin towers collapsed not because fully fueled passenger jets smashed into them but because agents of the Bush administration had secretly rigged them to explode.

    Such an astonishing eruption of masochistic unreason could well mark the decline of liberalism, if not the decline of Western civilization. There are books, films and conferences organized around this phantasmagoria, and they offer an unusually clear view of the debilitating dogma that lurks at the heart of liberalism: Western power is utterly malevolent, while the powerless people of the Earth can be counted on to embrace reason and tolerance, if only given sufficient economic opportunities.

    I don't know how many more engineers and architects need to blow themselves up, fly planes into buildings or saw off the heads of journalists before this fantasy will dissipate. The truth is that there is every reason to believe that a terrifying number of the world's Muslims now view all political and moral questions in terms of their affiliation with Islam. This leads them to rally to the cause of other Muslims no matter how sociopathic their behavior. This benighted religious solidarity may be the greatest problem facing civilization, and yet it is regularly misconstrued, ignored or obfuscated by liberals.

    Blindsided by fury

    Given the mendacity and shocking incompetence of the Bush administration — especially its mishandling of the war in Iraq — liberals can find much to lament in the conservative approach to fighting the war on terror. Unfortunately, liberals hate the current administration with such fury that they regularly fail to acknowledge just how dangerous and depraved our enemies in the Muslim world are.

    Recent condemnations of the Bush administration's use of the phrase "Islamic fascism" are a case in point. There is no question that the phrase is imprecise — Islamists are not technically fascists, and the term ignores a variety of schisms that exist even among Islamists — but it is by no means an example of wartime propaganda, as has been repeatedly alleged by liberals.

    In their analyses of U.S. and Israeli foreign policy, liberals can be relied on to overlook the most basic moral distinctions. For instance, they ignore the fact that Muslims intentionally murder noncombatants, while we and the Israelis (as a rule) seek to avoid doing so. Muslims routinely use human shields, and this accounts for much of the collateral damage we and the Israelis cause; the political discourse throughout much of the Muslim world, especially with respect to Jews, is explicitly and unabashedly genocidal.

    Given these distinctions, there is no question that the Israelis now hold the moral high ground in their conflict with Hamas and Hezbollah. And yet liberals in the United States and Europe often speak as though the truth were otherwise.

    Unless liberals realize that there are tens of millions of people in the Muslim world who are far scarier than Vice President Dick Cheney, they will be unable to protect civilization from its genuine enemies.

    Iron Age madness

    Increasingly, Americans will come to believe that the only people hard-headed enough to fight the religious lunatics of the Muslim world are the religious lunatics of the West. Indeed, it is telling that the people who speak with the greatest moral clarity about the current wars in the Middle East are members of the Christian right, whose infatuation with biblical prophecy is nearly as troubling as the ideology of our enemies. Religious dogmatism is now playing both sides of the board in a very dangerous game.

    While liberals should be the ones pointing the way beyond this Iron Age madness, they are rendering themselves increasingly irrelevant. Being generally reasonable and tolerant of diversity, liberals should be especially sensitive to the dangers of religious literalism. But they aren't.

    The same failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.

    To say that this does not bode well for liberalism is an understatement: It does not bode well for the future of civilization.

    • Sam Harris is the author of "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason."


    N. Friedman - 9/22/2006

    Peter,

    Most of us do our own Googling. You can do that as well with well known personalities.


    N. Friedman - 9/22/2006

    Peter,

    I am placing your writing (i.e. babble) opinions where they fit (i.e. Europe). That is rather descriptive as your opinions are rather typical of European opinion, of The Guardian variety.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/22/2006

    Look at the nice love affair between Cindy Sheehan and David Duke, they both blame the Jews. You also use the anti-Jewish vocabulary with much delight. You are a good standing member of the anti-Jewish club and a disgrace to your profession.
    By the way David S. Wyman is a historian and a Christian:

    http://www.wymaninstitute.org/about/bio-wyman.php


    art eckstein - 9/22/2006

    Patrick, here's what Prof. Furnish originally said:

    "I sometimes despair of SOME folks ever coming to their senses until UBL is sitting in the Oval Office. Actually, that would probably be better than a Republican for many of the useful idiots."

    You challenged this characterization of the position of "SOME folks" and "useful idiots".

    Furnish in turn gave you three outrageous statements, one from Sheehan and two from Democratic bloggers in which Bush is "ten times worse than Bin Laden."

    Furnish has proven his point. Go back and read the quote--try to read carefully. Furnish never asserted that anyone ever literally SAID that they'd want Bin Laden as President. and sitting in the Oval Office. Never. He was talking about a GENERAL ATTITUDE in which people think Bush is far far WORSE than Bin Laden.

    You challenged him--and he came up with three quite significant public figures on the Left who have stated they believe that Bush is worse than Bin Laden. In fact, "ten times worse."

    But even on your own narrow and mindlessly literal terms, note that if the current occupant of the Oval Office is "ten times worse" than Bin Laden, what does that suggest would be an improvement? But you see, I suspect that THEY didn't mean that literally either.

    So Patrick, you can scream all you want, but on this issue as on SO many others, you are toast.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/22/2006

    These clerics are shrewd (which is practical intelligence) but what Professor Eckstein describes as "They live in a sea of medieval darkness, and they wish to spread it" represents exactly the level of their ignorance. Medieval darkness is their business.


    E. Simon - 9/22/2006

    When I linked (not merely _quoted_ as we can see he finds that context throws him off from his accusatory manner) Wafa Sultan, he responded thus:

    "Simon, your link leads to a messy labyrinth. Impossible to figure out how it is supposed to relate to this thread or to anything else."

    He then went on with drawing equivalences to supposed pro-Israel apologetics and contrasts to the "loyal(ty)" of German Jews that must have been what precluded them from engaging in suicide bombing.

    I think this is merely the level of otherwise intelligent discourse we should come to expect of Mr. Clarke. Wafa Sultan's experiences, ideas and statements are certainly worth considering in her own right. If al Jazeera thinks so, then you'd think at least Peter K. Clarke could consider looking seriously into it, but I suspect that the plea above was just an insincere piece of bait that he often throws out in the name of an evenhandedness that he demonstrably places upon a pedestal higher than critical, if not humane inquiry in its own right.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wafa_Sultan


    art eckstein - 9/22/2006

    NF, I'm glad you liked the posting. But note that I did NOT say these fanatical clerics were stupid--they're not stupid and they're very shrewd in the ways of power.

    But they ARE, precisely, ignorant (which is what I did say): profoundly ignorant of history, of culture, of science, of art, of music, and above all and intentionally ignorant of any point of view but their own very very narrow and stultified and totalitarian view of the world. They live in a sea of medieval darkness, and they wish to spread it.

    You are of course correct that it is THEY, not US, who have injected religion as in issue into the struggle now. This is another fact which many in the west prefer not to face: THEY injected religion into this, not the west.


    N. Friedman - 9/22/2006

    Professor Eckstein,

    I think you have written an important post. I have some minor criticisms.

    I note the following in response to the this comment in your post: "It is the increasing hold upon the Muslim public by these sorts of ignorant and fanatical clerics..."

    I do not think these clerics are ignorant. I think they are showing themselves to be rather intelligent, not to mention rather shrewd. They have, it would seem, found a rather good path by which to gain power, albeit by ruthless, mean spirited and manipulative means.

    There is one other point, in response to your comment "the demand that Islam be exempt from all criticism..." This is true, but note there is also the rather, in my view, understandable desire not to insult people's hopes - i.e. their religion - without good cause.

    That said, any reasonable observer who looks at all the violence from Muslims must surely note that the Jihadis have injected religion - and, to be more exact, their religion - into the fray. That makes Islam more than a fair point for discussion. It is, to be exact, a critical point.


    E. Simon - 9/22/2006

    With the futility of ruining an amazing week by bothering to contend with someone as unenlightened as Omar, I merely ask, if "such an approach" reflects Ricardo's "racial/racist underpinnings and ideological background and mental/psychological formation," since it was, uh, he that you were quoting and took offense to.

    Let's just complete this shortcut to thinking exercise and flat-out propose that everyone's a racist, Omar, from "blind and sick" environments, except, of course, those whose violent behavior and ungovernable societies don't prevent them from demanding that they get to rule others. Good thing the rest of us dhimmis can learn from them that culture doesn't matter, and that criticizing what's accepted in any specific culture is just a cover for "racism." Nevermind the fact that culture has nothing - to anyone's knowledge - to do with biology. If it did, Omar would have to therefore contend that being an irhabi-sympathizer must be written into his genes, but let's be clear, I've never argued that.


    Ralph E. Luker - 9/22/2006

    I always appreciate being instructed by Professor Jones. He lives, as I recall, in Hawai'i. It was conquered by whom? Not by Seljuks or Ottomans, as I recall. But never mind offering countervailing evidence to Jones's biases. They are impermeable to uncomfortable truth.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/22/2006

    Furthermore, I do not "pimp" my book since I do not control what goes onto HNN. The editor does. So why are you faulting me for that?


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/22/2006

    Well, getting to you even partially admit being wrong is edifying. Thanks for that clintonian apology.
    I myself prefer Zeppo. Or Richard.
    Interesting, however, that you've determined I'm a "loon from the right." On what basis? That I call violence for what it is, and actually READ the Qur'an and Islamic history rather than just opining about it?
    And I notice that you fail to deal with my pointing out three cites from prominent Leftists (Sheehan, and two Dem bloggers) who say that W is worse than UBL. It seems to me that in plain English--my native language--those cites refute your primary assertion.


    N. Friedman - 9/22/2006

    Tim,

    I think I was saying that Peter's demand for full quotes was rather nutty. The point asserted - at this point by both Professor Eckstein and you - is hardly contraversial, except to people who do not read. Then again: Peter, does not have time to read; only to post opinions.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/22/2006

    Don't hold your breath. It's so much easier for Clarke and Ebbitts just to name call: "nimrod," "nincompoop," etc.
    See, if you're going to do ad hominem--as I did on Ebbitts after his infernal churlish baiting--at least pull out some heavy artillery, like I did ("jackass").


    art eckstein - 9/22/2006

    How did I get involved in this???

    I assume these questions are addressed to Prof. Furnish, not to me, and in any case Furnish's procedure is quite correct:
    namely, Peter Clarke or someone else wanted evidence that prominent Lefties think that Bush is worse than Bin Laden; Furnish has furnished the basic evidence with a series of specific references (not full quotations of entire stories, but specific references and juicy quotes).

    Peter Clarke is perhaps hoping against hope that the "context" makes the statements Furnish quoted less outrageous than they are. If that is his hope, or his aim, then it is up to HIM to prove that Furnish has somehow misconstrued the meaning of what was being said.

    Go ahead, Peter--let's see you do it. I'm watching.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/22/2006

    Your line about "Prof. Eckstein...not taking a very controversial position."
    Did you mean him, or me with my demonstrably-true contention that some on the Left would prefet UBL to W?


    N. Friedman - 9/22/2006

    Professor Furnish,

    You write: "Did you mean mean rather that Prof. Eckstein?"

    You have lost me. What are you saying?


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/22/2006

    Did you mean mean rather that Prof. Eckstein?


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    Peter,

    Maybe you could do some of your own research. I might add: books tend to quote, rather than to post entire articles.

    In this case, Professor Eckstein has not taken a very contraversial position so I cannot imagine why he needs to post the entire article - possibly violating a copyright to boot.


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    Peter,

    If proper debate does not occur here, why do you not spend your time more properly and usefully by actually learning about the topics in issue?

    It is rather difficult to have informed opinions without actual knowledge.


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    Peter,

    And your opinion is a fine example of Eurobabble.


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    Peter,

    I am one of those people who work. I read before I go to bed.

    You clearly find time to post on this site. Maybe - just a suggestion - you might read instead of spending so much time posting on this website.


    art eckstein - 9/21/2006

    You have made your opposition to the term "Islamofascist" clear--but that doesn't end discussion! I have explicitly defended my use of it. It is intellectually inexact but to me it conveys the proper sense of totalitarianism and violence which the Islamists represent: namely, universal totalitarianism as a goal, ruthless violence as the method. That's good enough for me.

    Your opinion is not the only one that counts, and I am not convinced by your arguments. Let's move on, instead of your screaming at me about it.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/21/2006

    Here you go, Ebbitt:


    Sheehan Suggests Bush 10 Times Worse Than Bin Laden
    By Nathan Burchfiel
    CNSNews.com Correspondent
    January 31, 2006

    (CNSNews.com) - Echoing the accusations of musician Harry Belafonte and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan on Monday wondered aloud whether President Bush is "10 times the bigger terrorist than Osama bin Laden."

    George Bush is Way Worse than Bin Laden is
    Julian Brizzi

    What we do know is this: George W. Bush is terrorizing Americans more than bin Laden ever has.
    posted by The Ostroy Report @ 8:24 PM 25 comments

    There you go.....just three examples from some of your compadres, comrade Ebbitt. Sure sounds like those folks would rather have UBL in control than W.
    But I'm sure facts and evidence will fail to convince you....


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/21/2006

    Here you go, Ebbitt:


    Sheehan Suggests Bush 10 Times Worse Than Bin Laden
    By Nathan Burchfiel
    CNSNews.com Correspondent
    January 31, 2006

    (CNSNews.com) - Echoing the accusations of musician Harry Belafonte and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan on Monday wondered aloud whether President Bush is "10 times the bigger terrorist than Osama bin Laden."

    George Bush is Way Worse than Bin Laden is
    Julian Brizzi

    What we do know is this: George W. Bush is terrorizing Americans more than bin Laden ever has.
    posted by The Ostroy Report @ 8:24 PM 25 comments

    There you go.....just three examples from some of your compadres, comrade Ebbitt.
    But I'm sure facts and evidence will fail to convince you....


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/21/2006

    Ouch. Or should I say: "Me-OW."
    Just how much starch is there in that shirt of yours, by the way?


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/21/2006

    Ebbitt, I'd call you a jackass but that would be insulting to the donkey.
    Let me know when you're next book on the Middle East, utilizing Arabic sources, comes out? What's that? You..don't know Arabic? Oh, well, then....guess this poor, pathetic Community College prof has one up on you, eh?
    Go read some more Marx or Chomsky so you'll have more brainless drivel to depoist on HNN in the future.


    art eckstein - 9/21/2006

    The arrogant attitude on display here, the demand that Islam be exempt from all criticism, the taking of all dialogue unless it is submissive as an "insult", the simultaneous accepting in any response to criticism of the use of the vilest forms of violence against innocent people: this is what the west needs to confront. Note this was not a demonstration by 1,000 ordinary people. It was a demonstration by 1,000 CLERICS.

    I do not believe that this problem can be ignored.

    It is the increasing hold upon the Muslim public by these sorts of ignorant and fanatical clerics,--who have increasingly replaced more secular authorities--clerics who are listened to and obeyed: THIS is the chief source of the current malaise within Muslim culture, including the hideous oppression of women and the focus on Muslim victimization by others while total ignoring or denying (and indeed doing violence against anyone) who brings up Muslim violence.

    Here's the story, from the Associated Press:

    Pakistani Clerics Demand Pope's Removal
    By ASIF SHAHZAD, Associated Press Writer
    32 minutes ago
    LAHORE, Pakistan - About 1,000 Muslim clerics and religious scholars meeting Thursday in eastern Pakistan demanded the removal of Pope Benedict XVI for making what they called "insulting remarks" against Islam.
    Benedict "should be removed from his position immediately for encouraging war and fanning hostility between various faiths" and "making insulting remarks" against Islam, said a joint statement issued by the clerics and scholars at the end of their one-day convention.
    The "pope, and all infidels, should know that no Muslim, under any circumstances, can tolerate an insult to the Prophet (Muhammad)..."

    Folks, think about that last sentence. Where "insult" means simply recounting certain historical facts.


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    Professor,

    I have, with thus far no success, previously pointed Peter toward Patricia Crone. He does acknowledge that she is a scholar in the field. He just does not see fit to read her - or anyone else regarding Muslim history so far as I can discern. In any event, Crone's recent book, God's Rule - Government and Islam Six Centuries of Medieval Islamic Political Though is really quite good - and of the level of scholarship one might expect from someone like Bernard Lewis in his prime.



    Yehudi Amitz - 9/21/2006

    Check this:

    http://www.wymaninstitute.org/fdrcont.php


    art eckstein - 9/21/2006

    Since Daveed Gartenstein-Ross has far more experience within radical Islam than you do, Patrick I think his opinion is relevant. Is it definitive? I wasn't presenting it that way. I was presenting it merely as relevant. It has to be taken as part of the package of evidence which includes burning churches and murdered nuns and murdered innocents (Jews, Christians, Hindus) all over the world. It has to be taken as part of the package with Omar's instinctive and primitive anti-semitism.

    When you put all of this together, the picture emerges.

    Gartenstein-Ross's position is that being honest and straightforward with Muslims about the violence against innocents being committed daily in the name of their religion--a situation unique among religions in the modern world--is the only way to strengthen the moderates who exist within Islam and the best way to weaken the radicals' increasing grip on the religion. Being "polite" to them, or self-effeacing, or guilt-ridden or "apologetic" as they intentionally kill civilians and as they react to cartoons (Western free speech) criticizing them for violence by engaging in violent tantrums, burning down embassies, is not the way to do it. Such conduct in the west only increases the prestige of the radicals.

    This doesn't sound like a madman to me.

    This doesn't mean that a tougher stance in the west about honestly confronting Muslim outrages will automatically result in changes within the umma; Friedman is right that such changes have to come from within Islam and that the attitude of westerners can only effect the margins of that struggle.

    Patrick, I have done you the courtesy of taking you seriously. But your anti-Catholic bias is clear from previous posts. Given how often you have posted false information on HNN--remember "the U.S. has never intervened in Muslim areas where there was no oil"? remember "the Catholic Church has never apologized for violence"? (I have responded with posts labelled "FACTS FACTS FACTS")--I hope my treating you seriously is not a mistake. If I had published as much false information on HNN as you have done, I'd be more modest in what I say about others than you are.


    art eckstein - 9/21/2006

    I quote from Peter Clarke, last night:

    "....But these guys have a point too, toward which you seem oblivious: that committing terrorism against civilians and glorifying it with religious edicts, treating women like caged animals (Taliban), and allowing religious leaders to have near-absolutist political power, for example, are horrors not equally distributed amongst the major monotheistic religions of the world. Things were certainly very different during the crusades, but a great deal has changed in world generally, and particularly in western "Judeo-Christian" countries since then. Where are the Erasmuses, the Benjamin Franklins and the Ghandis of the post-Crusades Moslem world ?"



    art eckstein - 9/21/2006

    Peter, those questioning the heavy incidence of violence in the name of Islam--something that is occurring with no other religion (as you YOURSELF said to Omar!)--we're not the people who, in response to criticism of Islam as violnet, burned down churches and murdered nuns. We're just pointing out the facts. And I have offered an explanation for that disgraceful behavior, regarding to the obsession with Muslim "honor" and preserving "superiority"--an explanation which I am far from alone among scholars in offering. (You might want to read Patricia Crone, of Princeton.)

    Yet you refuse to see what the real problem is. You prefer to shoot the messengers. It's a lot easier than facing uncomfortable facts--or thinking about what kind of thought-processes go through the head of primitive anti-semitic fanatics such as Omar. EXCEPT you contradict yourself, because for just ONE time, at 8:44 last night, you YOURSELF asserted to Omar that we have raised very serious points to which he seems oblivious, .and you urged him to consider them. In your last posts, you seem to have forgotten what you yourself admitted.


    Ricardo Luis Rodriguez - 9/21/2006

    If citing historical facts and relating them to current events as a response to an article citing historical facts and relating them to current events is a "deluging rant session", then perhaps the entire field of history is nothing but a "deluging rant session".
    I think you prefer a more genteel and harmonious approach than that used by those who abuse their own profession with asinine nonsense.
    I am fully confident you will show us by example in your next posts how to conduct a proper debate.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/21/2006

    - First the violence against women, the honor killings, or the well known cases, In Pakistan, when the village elders ordered rape as punishment for women.
    - In 1915 the Turks killed more than 1,000,000 (one million) Armenians.
    - In September 1970 about 20000 Palestinians were killed in Jordan.
    - In February 1982 about 30000 Sunni Arabs were killed in Syria
    These are very few examples about the violence and the internal violence of the Islamic world.
    If you need more information about Islamic violence,check this:

    http://thereligionofpeace.com/


    john crocker - 9/21/2006

    I guess you don't remember the movie so well. It's a trivial point but here is the exchange that you referenced from Stripes. Note the name of the character.

    Psycho: The name's Francis Sawyer, but everybody calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis, and I'll kill you.
    Leon: Ooooooh.
    Psycho: You just made the list, buddy. Also, I don't like no one touching my stuff. So just keep your meathooks off. If I catch any of you guys in my stuff, I'll kill you. And I don't like nobody touching me. Any of you homos touch me, and I'll kill you.
    Sergeant Hulka: Lighten up, Francis.

    BTW if memory serves he was from New York not exactly a hotbed of "good-ole boys.

    How many classes you teach is entirely irrelevant to the current discussion.

    I look forward to you actually addressing the points I made.


    art eckstein - 9/21/2006

    Yes, it's best to return to the actual topic and not let things get highjacked.

    What is the central issue?

    As I see it, certainly A central issue is the burning of churches and murdering of nuns by Muslims over the past week (as well as calls in public demonstrations in London for the Pope's beheading)--in protest (how ironic) of the Pope quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor to the effect that Islam is violent.

    This is why I have continued to bring up the subject of Islamic "honor society" obsession--where any criticism of Islam past or present, and no matter how objectively true the facts presented, is viewed as an "insult" (not just to Islam but to God Himself) which can only be wiped out by violence. Muslims who believe this, and there are many Muslims who bleieve this (not all), instinctively and increasingly (because of Wahabism/Salafism) engage in violence and thus cannot actually engage in a dialogue with the West. They can view themselves as victims, or alternatively, as superiors to whom non-Muslims must perform the submissive function of dhimmis and above all not "insult Islam" by, e.g., pointing to obvious past and contemporary facts. But actual DIALOGUE (which inevitably involves honest self-criticism on BOTH sides) is not possible with such people.

    (Again, I do not say this is all Muslims, but if Omar is an example of a widespread phenomenon, then I shudder.)

    To me, the issue is not the Pope's WORDS. The issue is the vile, violent and above all irrational and self-destructive Muslim ACTIONS in response to his WORDS--not debate, but Muslims burning churches and murdering nuns, because they are accused of being violent (!!!). We must confront the implications here: it is a replay of the Cartoon Jihad of last February. How long will bien-pensant liberals continue to bury their heads in the sand in the face of this phenomenon? How long will they shelter this madness from the Dark Ages under the mantle of "anti-imperialism"?

    Even Peter Clarke momentarily recognized the problem, as his reproving remarks to Omar showed this evening.




    E. Simon - 9/21/2006

    "Perhaps, Peter will decide to address the actual topic rather than say his typical nonsense rant about Israel."

    Fat chance on that one.


    E. Simon - 9/21/2006

    It's interesting that you would come to the comment board for this article to "convict" me for the behavior that only you are currently engaging in. And your concern for my image is touching.

    Since all that this demonstrates is the very kind of irrationality addressed in the discussion, though, I'll at least hope that readers too disinterested or slow to follow those points will somehow appreciate the personalized direction in which you've, as usual, managed to have taken and hoped for an obvious end to this thread, as soap operas are not my thing. Perhaps you could have instead engaged Ricardo, but I can see that he is not your type of leading man.


    Grant W Jones - 9/21/2006

    Actually Ralph, the Seljuk and Ottoman Turks didn't need any "excuse" to conquer other lands. It's what they did.

    As for slavery, in what year did the Saudis outlaw it? I suppose that was also the fault of the Crusades.


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    Professor Eckstein,

    I do defend Israel. I do not think my defense is obsessive. I think I am defending a liberal democracy from a smear campaign - a campaign that exagerates Israel's sins; in many instances, simply lies; and, typically employs calumnies -. But, on this particularly page, where I have addressed Israel, it has been only in passing and in response to comments by Peter and, I believe, by Omar.

    In any event, I think this page should return to the topic of the article - a rather good article by a rather good scholar, Timothy Furnish (and, by the way, his book is worth reading). Perhaps, Peter will decide to address the actual topic rather than say his typical nonsense rant about Israel.


    Jason B Keuter - 9/21/2006

    Is there something we can torch in retaliation? And by we I mean Bush supporters and/or devil worshippers.


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    Peter,

    How would you know if any my arguments about the Middle East are crazy? You - to repeat for the, at this point, too many times to recall - have not picked up a book about the Middle East. You have no way to know whether an argument is or is not plausible. You are simply, on this topic, a person who reads nonsense in the papers but has no basis to form any opinions.

    As for Middle East, I happen to think that the NY Times, Economist, Washington Post, etc. do not know what they are talking about on that topic. People unwilling to wrap their minds around what religion is about and does and means, who find the secular where religion rules, perhaps because they are unwilling to explore the culture of the region as it is - a culture perpetrated, in a way no longer existent in the West, by religion and fantasia, not secular notions and, with respect to religion, notions, in any event, that are rather different from those in the West - are not where I would turn to learn about the Middle East. In fact, these papers are good at recording the occurence of events. However, their positions and analyses tell me almost exclusively about the authors but not about the Middle East.

    I note: if you want to understand the Middle East, pick up a book about Islam. You might start with Ignaz Goldhizer's classic, Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law. You might start with a Bernard Lewis book. You might, if you are too lazy to read a detailed book, start with a travel book about the region.

    So far, Peter, the breadth of your ignorance is rather extraordinary. But it is surely exceeded by your conceit.


    art eckstein - 9/21/2006

    Ditto. Peter, I defy you to show us any entry I have posted that has been devoted to defending either Israeli policy, or U.S. policy in the Middle East. Yet you not only say I have done this but that I have done it "obsessively."

    Oh, I guess I DID defend the U.S. policy of rescuing Muslims from genocide in Europe, and starvation in Africa. (This all happened under Clinton.) Do you object to these U.S. actions, then?.

    I AM concerned with confronting the violent, arrogant and utterly ruthless reality of jihadism which threatens us all. I AM concerned with confronting grotesque Muslim hypocrisy, outright lies, continual excuses for irrational violence, and base anti-semitism such as we see in Omar. I AM concerned with confronting those in the west who,a lso, instinctively allow Muslims to act like outrageous infants having deadly tantrums, and who defend this behavior instinctively by placing it wrongly under the mantle of "anti-imperialism"-- which fanatical monsters out of the Dark Ages do not deserve. That has been my focus, and it has stayed there, with hard evidence, specific facts, and logic of argument. In fact, I convinced you enough to warn Omar that he was being impervious to important issues. (See your own posting tonight at 8:44 p.m.)

    I'm talking about Jihadists, Islamofascists (of which Omar, with his yearning for some sort of Islamic totalitarian state, is one)--not, as I have made repeatedly clear, all Muslims.

    Peter, you, in turn, ought to be concerned about associating yourself in public with your anti-semitic friend Omar, though. Evidently his disgusting posts don't disturb you much. Is that what you wish people to think?


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    Peter,

    Stop mischaracterizing my position.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/21/2006

    Now you can click on it

    http://www.current.org/hi/hi409.html


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/21/2006

    The PBS production "America and the Holocaust" is very well documented.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/21/2006

    The answer is simple, anyone who would vote in 1940 for the acceptance of 40000 Jewish children into the US couldn't expect to be reelected. The love for Jews was great then?!
    Sharon was of course an accessory in 1982, but there is a big difference, the Christian Arabs killed Palestinians as a reprisal for the massacre perpetrated on Christians by Palestinian militias in Damour, the Jews didn't massacre Germans. In the Arab world killing and revenge is a way of life


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/21/2006

    I get it now, you believe you are Cary Grant.
    Anyway, check this:

    http://www.current.org/hi/hi409.html

    and you can find in your public library the PBS production "America and the Holocaust" on vidotape or DVD.


    E. Simon - 9/21/2006

    What the United States is allowing to happen in Darfur is certainly as shameful as what it allowed to happen to European victims of genocide during WWII, or what Sharon allowed to happen in Sabra and Shatila, if you like, and while the question of other priorities or feasibility is certainly, incredibly valid - at least in the case of the first two examples, so is the issue of absolute numbers. One thousand and ten million are enormously different quantities. And as for the number of Darfurians taken down, well assuming anyone's even paying attention anymore, we should only hope it is much closer to the former than the latter.


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    Peter,

    Uniformed people around the globe say all sorts of stupid things. Facts play little role in what people say, as they have little to do with why they say things. Israel, notwithstanding your anticipated protests to the contrary, is condemned, not for its behavior - which is, objectively, not terrible by world and, most especially, Middle Eastern standards, if not also European standards - but because Arabs have OIL and because certainly political ideologies have found it convenient to latch onto Israel to advance such causes.

    Now, the Israelis are certainly subject to a lot of criticism. Some of it is no doubt spot on. But, very little of it is shown in remotely reasonable context, which, were the criticism were honest, might occasionally note that, whatever the Israelis do - good or bad -, the Arab side does not want peace. And the Arab side is not looking for a territory along side Israel but, instead, in place of Israel. I suggest you ask Omar. This much, I have little doubt, he will admit.

    Now, occupation and violence are very different things. I remind you of the obvious. Occupation may employ violence but it is not the same thing as violence. And, in the case of Judea and Samaria, these lands are not exactly on the other side of the Earth from Israel. They are part of the land that, logically speaking, could be claimed by Israel - consistent with the Palestine Mandate and consistent with the connection of the land with its population's history.

    That said, I certainly think that if ceding land would end the dispute, then Israel should cede the land. But - and this is a big but - that means that the dispute must end, not serve as a temporary truce, as HAMAS's - the party that rules in the Palestinian territory - policy calls for. And that means that Palestinian Arabs must accept that the war they started to prevent Jews from having political rights must end. And that means ending the demand that Israel take in the children and grandchildren of refugees - people who are not appropriately termed refugees in any event -, just as India, Pakistan and Germany have done for the refugees they took in during the late 1940's.

    But, again: our topic here is not Israel. The topic, whether or not Omar and you want to hear it, is the Pope's speech and the vile reaction stirred up by the Jihadists. That activity, whatever misinformation Omar and others may throw on it, has exactly nothing to do with Israel.

    The Pope, notwithstanding Omar's assertion, does not work to advance the place of Israel in the world. He works on behalf of Christians and, more particularly, the church he heads. His view, expressed on this page, is nearly delusional or intended, perhaps, as propaganda to distract attention from bad acts by Jihadists. Either way, you are playing by his play book: Tu quoque!!!


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    Peter,

    I was making my own assertions. And the book I cite details knowledge of others of what the Nazis were up to.

    I do not know if Mr. Amitz's assertions are shown. What is, however, clear is that the impact of US, British, etc., policy amounted, whether or not intentionally, to supporting the Nazi's policy. And Lacquer shows that there was considerable knowledge of Nazi behavior in the US government. That was true in the US and it was true in Germany and everywhere else. The information was even in the newspapers - although, like now with the Jihadist, denial of facts was probably at work -.

    I note this information about the book that I found online:

    Lacquer, Walter. The Terrible Secret: Suppression of the Truth About Hitler's Final Solution. New York: H. Holt, 1998. (D 810 .J4 L278 1998)
    Attempts to answer questions concerning Allied knowledge of the "Final Solution," evaluating documentation and personal narratives for the period between June 1941 and December 1942. Describes how disparate groups inconsistently shared information on the Nazis' plan, addressing the distinction between obtaining information and relying on it enough to share with others. Includes numerous appendices, notes, and an index.


    My own guess is that the US government acted indifferently toward Jews and that was likely due to a number of reasons, only one of which was lack of sympathy for things Jewish. Other reasons were perhaps electoral concerns and failure to recognize the facts staring in their faces. But, even when the government was asked to help, the government sat on its hands.

    Now, I read Lacquer's book many, many years ago - . I do not claim perfect memory of it. I do not, however, enjoy your constant accusation that I mistate or misread. I think, frankly, that I do better in that department than most people on this cite - and, surely, at least as well as you. I think you know that to be the case. So, stop doing that. I might, in exchange, stop reminding you that you assert knowledge about things - like the Middle East - without having bothered to read anything of substance.


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    He's deprived on account of his being depraved. Or, do I have Officer Krupke backwards.


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    Omar,

    One word is not another. Occupation - a legal term and, not always an accurate descriptive term, whether or not legally correct - may often be a bad thing and there may often be violence involved but occupation and violence are really very different things.

    Reading your comments, I think you deny these elementary distinctions in words out of hatred. Consider that when you hate, one of the first things you lose is the ability to make normal distinctions that are necessary to thinking clearly. Then, you become a brute.

    You are free to play the role of the brute. But note: I was not defending any country's "occupation." I was making a point that two words have very different meanings - something that is rather important if we - or any of us - are to have a conversation.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/21/2006

    NF, don't even bother to be defensive towards this man: yes, it was Omar who first brought up "the occupation" as his prime defense against our accusations that Islam is on the offensive, and now he turns around and accuses us of being "solely Israel focused", i.e., proving that we're just parasitical Jews, not Americans (or whatever), because we continue to debate "the occupation." He's overt and explicit about this: it's his "point to ponder."

    But the stunning and main thing is that Omar has now revealed himself to be not only hypocritical and self-contradictory in his argumentation (and perhaps intellectually desperate),--this we already knew--but now we see that his instinctive weapon of choice turns out to be the crudest sort of anti-semitism.

    I personally find this profoundly shocking.


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    CORRECTION:

    Substitute the word "conquest" for "consequence."


    N. Friedman - 9/21/2006

    Omar,

    The issue here is whether the Jihad is offensive or defensive. Your contention was that it is defensive. My contention is that such is a radical distortion of the facts. And that was my reason for noting that the Jihadis do not focus only or even primarily on Israel and, most certainly, not primarily on defending. Rather, they employ barbaric tactics to advance an offensive agenda of consequence premised on their understanding of Islam.


    Ricardo Luis Rodriguez - 9/21/2006

    "The Devil (westeners, israelis) made me do it" can be a valid argument for violence when fighting weterners and Israelis. It does; however, lose some of its persuasive power when accompanied by killing Balinese (Asians), Ugandans and Sudanese (Africans), Indians, etc., and even other correligionists. I must not generalize, as they have spared Antartica.
    The question then becomes, is there another reason for the violence? Or is the world full of Devils?


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/20/2006

    In September 1970 the Jordanians killed about 20000 Palestinians. In February 1982 Syrians killed about 30000 Sunni Arabs in Hama. Is this sloganeering or simple historic facts?


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006


    I urge all readers of HNN to read the following exchange.

    Art Eckstein




    Re: Islam and Violence./A Point to Ponder (#97813)
    by omar ibrahim baker on September 20, 2006 at 6:08 PM

    The interesting thing in both Friedman's and Professor Eckstein's separate rejoinders to my post is that their direct and indirect defense centerd solely on Israel and Israeli practices.
    My post cited cases of violence committed by Israel and the USA.
    Their defense was to protect Israel; to neither of them , presumably both are US citizens, did it occurr to defend the USA...
    Was that an indication of their approval and concurrence with what I said or nonchalance and indiference to what touches the USA?
    A point to ponder!

    [ Reply ]
    Re: Islam and Violence./A Point to Ponder (#97815)

    by A. M. Eckstein on September 20, 2006 at 6:18 PM

    WOW! And Omar denies that he is an anti-semite, or that the organization he's friends with, Hezbollah, is anti-semitic!

    Omar, the U.S.--as I have said and said on this blog--has saved thousands and thousands of Muslim lives. The U.S. saved the Muslims of Bosnia from genocide. The U.S. saved the Muslims of Kosovo from genocide. The U.S. tried to save the Muslims of Somalia from starvation. These were all not only expensive military operations, but U.S. lives were lost. In addition, the U.S. saved many Muslims in Bangladesh from starvation in 1992 (a military operation but not against opposition). The payback: 9/11 to the cheers of many Muslims, and the "understanding" of Omar.

    As I said, I've said all this before. Guess that makes me a proud U.S. citizen, which I am--and not a Jewish parasite, which Omar is so quick to suspect that I am. Says a tremendous lot about him.

    So it's not just that I enjoy shooting fish in a barrel, Mr. Friedman. It's that primitive fanatics such as Omar need to be exposed for what they are. He's sounding crazier and crazier to me. We must be getting to him with our facts and logic.

    Of course, Omar didn't bother to answer our specific arguments. What a surprise


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    WOW! And Omar denies that he is an anti-semite, or that the organization he's friends with, Hezbollah, is anti-semitic!

    Omar, the U.S.--as I have said and said on this blog--has saved thousands and thousands of Muslim lives. The U.S. saved the Muslims of Bosnia from genocide. The U.S. saved the Muslims of Kosovo from genocide. The U.S. tried to save the Muslims of Somalia from starvation. These were all not only expensive military operations, but U.S. lives were lost. In addition, the U.S. saved many Muslims in Bangladesh from starvation in 1992 (a military operation but not against opposition). The payback: 9/11 to the cheers of many Muslims, and the "understanding" of Omar.

    As I said, I've said all this before. Guess that makes me a proud U.S. citizen, which I am--and not a Jewish parasite, which Omar is so quick to suspect that I am. Says a tremendous lot about him.

    So it's not just that I enjoy shooting fish in a barrel, Mr. Friedman. It's that primitive fanatics such as Omar need to be exposed for what they are. He's sounding crazier and crazier to me. We must be getting to him with our facts and logic.

    Of course, Omar didn't bother to answer our specific arguments. What a surprise.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    NF: Yes, that may be more profitable than trying to talk to Omar. However, I do enjoy shooting fish in a barrel.

    Art


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    I have no idea which point you mean.

    But why should I answer your points when you refuse to give your sources for "information" you give out to the public--whereas I always do--or answer my points?

    (Never mind the points about descendants of German refugees or Jewish refugees not blowing up children--How many times have I asked you whether you have now researched the Mt. Scopas Massacre, which you originally tried to cast doubt on, and not gotten any answer?)

    Nevertheless, in the interest of comity, and to demonstrate my patience, if you tell me which point you're talking about, I'll answer it.


    N. Friedman - 9/20/2006

    Professor,

    That is fine with me. I understand that Gartenstein-Ross claims to be a terrorism expert and he may be correct. But, I think the key word is the margins.

    I might also note that I think our energy should be spent in (a) fighting (not necessarily war) Jihadists by making clear that they cannot beat us (i.e. we understand who and what they are) and (b) by educating our own people about Jihadism, today's barbarism.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    NF, we're not far apart, and you have a good point. It's quite up to the Muslim moderates, not us, and western action can only affect things on the edges. But Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, who WAS a violent Muslim radical and so he certainly knows about the internal Muslim world in detail, does say that it's the case that western apologizing in the face of irrational violence merely for stating historical or contemporary obvious truths about Islam certainly HURTS the prospects for Muslim moderates by strengthening the hand of the violent and fanatics. Because they get their way with the west and "restore the honor of God" from people who rightly recognize their "dhimmi" status. THIS we must avoid.

    Therefore, we must do what we can do, recognizing of course our limlits and that this is above all and primarily a Muslim cultural crisis, not a western cultural problem. But it is a western problem to the extent that the position of ignorant and primitive fanatics is strengthened by western moral cowardice and refusal to treat Muslims as adults by putting the facts straightforwardly in front of them.


    N. Friedman - 9/20/2006

    Peter,

    You should plead no contest also to committing a tu quoque.


    N. Friedman - 9/20/2006

    Professor Eckstein,

    You might address or reply to my argument that we are not in a position to help much by supporting moderates.


    N. Friedman - 9/20/2006

    Peter,

    I suggest you read Walter Lacquer's The Terrible Secret. While the US government was not part of the Nazi program, the US government was not uniformed and it fairly did consciously do essentially nothing, knowing pretty well what that policy meant to its victims.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/20/2006

    I stay by my provable historical fact that USA and UK worked very hard to keep the Jews close to the Holocaust perpetrators. No distortion here. You'll tell me that isn't true that in the 1930-40s US had places where "dogs and Jews" were not allowed or that the parents of Yehudi Menuhin couldn't rent an apartment in New York city at the beginning of the 20th century?


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    Unless of course Omar's definition of "defensive" violence is that the sheer existence of other cultures than Islam, cultures which violate Islamic codes or which simply do not follow Islamic codes, constitute in themselves such an awful offense to the "honor of God" that ANY attack on them by Muslims is "defensive." Is that your position, Omar: submit to Islam and its representatives, or face "defensive" war?

    I note that whereas the largest mosque in Europe is being built in Rome with tens of millions of Saudi dollars, the Saudi regime simultaneously ABSOLUTELY FORBIDS the construction of any Christian church in the Land of the Two Holy Cities. "Defensive" indeed. They get away with this hypocrisy. Of course, perhaps it isn't hypocrisy: maybe the point is that the Holders of the Truth have a right to build anywhere they wish, AND the simultaneous right to FORBID the building of inferiors anywhere they wish. Is that it, Omar?

    Would the "violence" of this Muslim "occupation" of Rome justify a violent counterattack against Muslim civilians peaceably going about their business in, say, Mecca? Two can play at sophistry, Omar, and I suggest you drop that line of talk.

    I note, though, that in 1945, 2 million Germans were expelled by massive violence from East Prussia and Silesia, which became part of Poland. They became penniless refugees. You don't see them or their descendants blowing up children in Warsaw or even Danzig.

    Similarly, between 1945 and 1952 some 700,000 Jews were forced to flee Arab lands (this is about the same number as Palestinians who were forced to flee from what became Israel). These Jews lost everything--just like the Palestinian refugees did. Yet you don't see the enraged descendants of, for instance, Egyptian Jews who had to become refugees and lost everything blowing up pizza shops in Cairo in order to kill children.

    It's a difference. So I'd drop that victimization argument, Omar. History is filled with victims, on all sides (I fear this is something you absolutely refuse to recognize.) And FEELING victimized--or FEELING superior--doesn't give Muslims the right to respond to reasoned criticism about the recent trend to hysterical violence by...engaging in firebombing churches and murduring nuns. Or is that "defensive" too?


    N. Friedman - 9/20/2006

    Omar,

    I note a few points. "Occupation" is not violence in the normal sense of the word. No one automatically dies of being occupied. Those blown up do and that is a rather big difference.

    Now, there is the Koranic statement on this which is that persecution is worse than killing. That appears to be your argument but persecution is not, even in the Islamic tradition, the same thing as violence. So, even in an Islamic context, your argument is wrong.

    Now, do not take the above argument to accept your characterization of Israel's dispute with Arabs. I was merely, for point of argument only, using your characterization.

    Your second point is to posit a defensive war. I do not think that flies. The attempt - thwarted by authorities - to fly planes in the Eiffel Tower had nothing to do with Israel or the US. The attack on civilians in Bali had nothing to do with the US or Israel and was not, by any argument, in self-defense. Neither was the murder of van Gogh. The attack on the Indian Parliament had nothing to do with the US or Israel. The attack in Morroco on a synogogue was merely an act of savagery against tourists foolish enough to want to see something Jewish. The attack in Luxor had nothing to do with Israel or the US and was not defensive in any sense of the word. The attack in Jordan had nothing to do with the US or Israel. None of this was pure self-defense. All of it, however, was pure savagery by a movement with its head into barbarism.

    What these attacks had everything to do with is advancing an agenda of conquest. Now, I do not assert that such an agenda needs the ninth chapter of the Koran to proceed but that chapter surely helps with its calls to kill the infidel.

    My view, given the classical Islamic view and how Jihad has worked historically, is that Jihad is traditionally a justification for an imperial government policy, whatever Jihadi's actual Koranic meaning is. And, surely that is what Ibn Khaldun saw it as when he explained that Muslims have a collective duty - not an individual duty - to spread the faith and Muslim rule.

    But, that is another matter. Muslims have not always seen the matter as a collective duty and, historically, there are innumerable periods - running centuries long, in some cases - when Jihad was an individual matter. And, as David Cook shows, it pretty much, whether collective or individual, has ascetic significance for those involved.

    Now, there is no honest reconstruction of the events of the last 30 years or so which permits the view - unless facts are left out wholesale, as your presentation does - that the Jihad is wholly defensive in character. In fact, the aim is primarily offensive. And the aims, so far as I can discern, is conquest and domination of others.



    john crocker - 9/20/2006

    This is in response to #97768 below.


    john crocker - 9/20/2006

    I guess you don't remember the movie so well. It's a trivial point but here is the exchange that you referenced from Stripes. Note the name of the character.

    Psycho: The name's Francis Sawyer, but everybody calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis, and I'll kill you.
    Leon: Ooooooh.
    Psycho: You just made the list, buddy. Also, I don't like no one touching my stuff. So just keep your meathooks off. If I catch any of you guys in my stuff, I'll kill you. And I don't like nobody touching me. Any of you homos touch me, and I'll kill you.
    Sergeant Hulka: Lighten up, Francis.

    How many classes you teach is entirely irrelevant to the current discussion.

    I look forward to you actually addressing the points I made.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    Sources are sources, Omar: we need to know who said what in order to judge the value of the information. You made a fetish of this when you were denying that what was said by the Hezbollah leaders to that New Yorker reporter was actually said by them. I showed you were wrong. Now you refuse to name your own sources. There may be an explanation for your behavior--are you afraid your "friends and acquaintances" will be killed if it turns out they opposed Hezbollah anti-semitism?--but it is in any case very reasonable to ask: why do you REFUSE to name ANY sources, whereas you DEMAND this from others.

    You haven't answered this question. Merely to say "they are friends and acquantances" does not answer this question at all.


    Jason B Keuter - 9/20/2006

    You neglect to point out that most of the blood letting in Iraq now is being done by....gulp....Islamic sectarian extremists...not the soldiers from America who went there under no cross at all....I'll bet many of the American soldiers don't frequent chruch regularly and never feel in any way threatened for exhibiting disinterest in the Christian faith....I wonder how comfortable people living in areas controlled by Machine Gun toting Hezbollah Islamist feel being perhaps perceived as something other than devout?

    Get a grip. The United States is not a crusading, medieval society dominated by a Church. It is a modern secular society. And despite their routine rhetorical homages to God, so are its Presidents and almost all of their decisions.


    john crocker - 9/20/2006

    How is it that the mere mention of Bush invalidates my other, unrelated points?

    Don't use a mention of Bush as an excuse to not answer for your inaccuracies that I pointed out.


    Jason B Keuter - 9/20/2006

    Not only that, but the Pope is "conveniently ignoring" Christian behavior from the MEDIEVAL ERA that bears a striking EXACTITUDE to MUSLIM BEHAVIOR TODAY.

    Oh, and I mean "Medieval" pejoratively.

    Also, your understanding of the Reconquista is fantasy. It was a far from an exclusively religiously inspired period and often times, Christianity was entirely absent as a driving force at all.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/20/2006

    You guys sound like a couple of old women. Or maybe junior high schoolers.


    James Spence - 9/20/2006

    My comment was meant as a response to Peter's post (#97745)


    James Spence - 9/20/2006

    Exactly, I've ran into the same with Furnish some time ago. After a slam, sometimes a self-congratulatory tag team forms up and they wash their laundry.


    Jason B Keuter - 9/20/2006

    Okay, so if I pretend that the rent a mobs don't exist, then I'm not being contemptuous of Islam? Violent fanaticism (the kind that kills...say...hundreds of thousand in Darfur at the hands of a MUSLIM Sudanese government) is somehow okay. I prefer that it at least have the taint of some kind of financial renumeration. Otherwise, it's simple madness.

    The WHOA post is so reminscent of the "anti-communist" charge so typical of cold war apologists for brutality and Imperialism of the Soviet Union. To say anything truthful about what they're actually doing is to open one up to charges of being "anti-communist", which implies that you're on the lookout for communist misdeeds. One didn't have to look far then, nor does one have to look far now. Simply look at the sponataneous demonstrations against US Imperialism by Sudanese subje...uh, I mean, autonomous, free thinking citizens who themselves are committing unadulturated Imperialism in Darfur, much like Sadaam did in the South of Iraq...

    The use of the phrase rent a mob is accurate, as all of the "protests" are organized and supported by people who use brute violence to convince people to join their side. They are not the mythical protests of historical lore against injustice. They are shams.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    I gave all the specifics to you and you still expressed doubts that these occurred: "this may be sufficient for YOU" [as evidence that these interviews occurred] but not for ME". That's the quote. Stop lying, Omar.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    Omar,

    Did you ever bother to look up the Mt. Scopas massacre, as I requested you to do? Or any of the other innumerable intentional massacres of civilians perpetrated by the Palestinians and their allies? I guess not--too busy feeling like a victim to find out anythign else.

    And naming the missile "Kheybar" shows exactly what is intended, does it not?



    Yehudi Amitz - 9/20/2006

    Big difference! How do you explain the Moslem on Moslem violence, the biggest cause of death in the Moslem world?


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/20/2006

    Mr. Clarke,
    Mr. Furnish wrote "SOME liberals" but anyway I intended to show that there are many kinds of liberals and I don't give "a flying leap at Mars" about your opinion in this matter.
    I am sure that the revisionist "historians" writing here are very proud of your comparison between Guantanamo camp and Auschwitz


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    1. You refuse to name your sources--as is usual for you, though you demand it of others. I was speculating on why you don't name your sources.
    2. It's not playground to think that Christians might be in fear for their lives, given the firebombings of seven churches in the PA and the murder of
    Sister Leonella Sgorbita in Somalia in relation to this specific episode.
    3. Otherwise, you don't respond to my arguments.

    Shameful, once more.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    Nothing of value? I think I've proven that al-Manar (official Hezbollah TV) broadcast a vile anti-semitic show for 29 EPISODES during RAMADAN, Omar--despite your claim that Hezbollah isn't anti-semitic! That's not a "tv addiction" of mine; THAT IS AN OFFICIAL ANTI-SEMITIC ACT OF HEZBOLLAH.

    The same sort of OFFICIAL ANTI-SEMITIC ACT OF HEZBOLLAH that got al-Manar tossed off French airwaves a year later for broadcasting anti-semitic material.

    Do you really think that the official judgment of the French court on al-Manar's vile anti-semitism merely reflects AN ADDITION TO TV by the French court?

    Everytime you speak on this subject, you make yourself look ridiculous.

    As for not reading: I gave you chapter and verse on a long two-part article in the Oct. 14, 2002 New Yorker with personal interviews with Hezbollah leaders. Your only response is to deny that these interviews occurred, to claim it's all false--something that Hezbollah itself has never claimed.

    Oh--and you also prefer official Hezbollah self-serving propaganda as "evidence" of no anti-semitism in the face of INTERVIEWS AND ACTIONS.

    And, when pressed to name those in Hezbollah who were disturbed by the al-Manar tv show--Oh, wait, Omar, were these upset "Hezbollah liberals" just suffering from a TV ADDICTION too?--when pressed to give names, as you DEMAND that others do: you refused. You simply refused. You refused as well even to name the SOURCES you used for your claim here, though that is something you instantly demand from others.

    Shameful.








    Tim R. Furnish - 9/20/2006

    Francis, the guy who likes fast cars, was psychopath? I thought he was just a good-ole boy!
    I'll try to later--right now I have to teach one of the four classes I get paid to teach.


    john crocker - 9/20/2006

    Francis was a psychopath and I don't think refering to people who disagree with you as useful idiots is constructive either. I am not really offended and I remain calm.

    You have yet to address any of the inaccuracies I pointed out. Please be so kind as to address them.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/20/2006

    How did I know this would turn into a referendum on Bush?
    Sorry, not playing this game.


    John Chapman - 9/20/2006

    Yehudi,

    Yes I can go along with that and a bit further because it reminds me that both religions are failing to deal with modernity.

    Shifting more to the Pope’s comments: they are entirely consistent with his often repeated viewpoint that Islam is a religion that is not compatible with Democracy or susceptible to the Hellenic tradition of reason.
    In this context, the quotation he used is entirely in keeping. Considering his long experience of doctrinal issues and the Vatican's painstakingly careful use of words, particularly on sensitive contemporary topics, it is hard to believe this pre-written lecture was just a mistake or that he didn't measure the consequences. Had he ALSO mentioned the historic tendency of Christianity to evangelize at the point of a sword, then the comment would have been fair. Nobody disputes that he is right to criticize the use of violence and the abdication or reason in pursuit of evangelization, but to only point to Islam and it's Prophet to illustrate this is clearly a biased and inflammatory statement, designed I suspect to provoke the reaction which has followed.
    Now why would the Pope, a Man of peace, want to do that, I wonder ?

    In the 19th and 20th centuries, the RCC struggled to adapt to an increasingly educated and questioning faithful, now in the 21st century, it's in danger of failing the great challenge of how we forge new ways of accommodating difference in a crowded, mobile world. The Catholic church has to make a dramatic break with its triumphalist, bigoted past if it is to contribute in any constructive way to chart this new course.
    And I don't see that happening with a right-wing Pope, who has just quite consciously upended his predecessor's policy of dialogue with Islam.


    john crocker - 9/20/2006

    Again, the only part of my comments you have chosen to respond to are the final two sentences of my previous comment. Which as I have previously stated were meant as a parallel to the conclusion of your previous comment. My statement was no more inflammatory than yours.

    I believe the term I used in the comment you are responding to was theme not tone.

    If you would be so kind as to respond to any of the other points I made we can stop discussing whether or not you are indignant.

    All faith communities manifest irrationality. As for violence, Bush thinks he is acting out God's plan in his conquest and occupation of Iraq. I think there is plenty of blood on the hands of Christians, Jews and Muslims.


    N. Friedman - 9/20/2006

    Professor Eckstein,

    I posted this above but it may be also applicable here:

    Professor,

    The view expressed assumes that we have the ability actually to affect how Muslims perceive Islam and non-Musilms. I think that is overly optimistic.

    I have had numerous conversations over the years with my secular friends (and I consider myself secular also) regarding religion. I have found that secular people are usually both unable and unwilling to understand the religious mind. I think that works in reverse and converse, etc., etc., as well. That has bearing on our ability to be heard by Muslims.

    In the Muslim regions, we are also shut out because we are not them - which is a universal problem of communication -. We are also shut out because what we say is filtered through power sources which have political reason to shut us out, meaning that mosques are power centers that would see their power reduced if our message reached their audience. We are also shut out because most of them are illiterate and must have their information filtered. And we are shut out because those involved in the Jihadist movement are violent - like the brown shirts - and silence the opposition.

    Now, the moderates, to the extent they really matter - and I doubt that is so much the case -, side with us, when they do, because they do not see a future in returning to the 7th Century, mentally speaking, because they are not as religious (which, itself, shuts them away from the masses of people, as I noted initially) and because they gain no power, while risking their lives, by siding publicly against the religious elite.

    In Bernard-Henri Lévy's book, Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, he notes that Jihadism is not just a movement but a social support system and a business - a complete society, as it were -. Which is to say, this is a societal problem, not a problem that can be solved by giving moral support to reasonable people - which we should, of course do anyway, out of principle -.

    What will solve this problem is time and self-defense. We should stand for what we stand for - because that is the the right thing to do and because such is part of OUR self-defense. And note: the war by the Jihadis is advanced by gaining leverage over us and that includes forcing us to censor what we say.

    So, what we do for our defense is different from what we do to help moderates. Our self defense consists of undermining the will of the Jihadis so that they do not see a path to power in religion. And that means standing up for our own traditions and pointing out where our traditions and their traditions differ. Which is what the Pope, whether or not perfectly, tried to do. Standing up for our values takes away their ability to browbeat us when we we speak. Dialogue that acknowledges the actual teachings of Islam undermines the Jihad, as we stand for what we believe in, not an imaginary set of values that do not offend.


    N. Friedman - 9/20/2006

    Professor,

    The view expressed assumes that we have the ability actually to affect how Muslims perceive Islam and non-Musilms. I think that is overly optimistic.

    I have had numerous conversations over the years with my secular friends (and I consider myself secular also) regarding religion. I have found that secular people are usually both unable and unwilling to understand the religious mind. I think that works in reverse and converse, etc., etc., as well. That has bearing on our ability to be heard by Muslims.

    In the Muslim regions, we are also shut out because we are not them - which is a universal problem of communication -. We are also shut out because what we say is filtered through power sources which have political reason to shut us out, meaning that mosques are power centers that would see their power reduced if our message reached their audience. We are also shut out because most of them are illiterate and must have their information filtered. And we are shut out because those involved in the Jihadist movement are violent - like the brown shirts - and silence the opposition.

    Now, the moderates, to the extent they really matter - and I doubt that is so much the case -, side with us, when they do, because they do not see a future in returning to the 7th Century, mentally speaking, because they are not as religious (which, itself, shuts them away from the masses of people, as I noted initially) and because they gain no power, while risking their lives, by siding publicly against the religious elite.

    In Bernard-HenriLévy's book, Who Killed Daniel Pearl?, he notes that Jihadism is not just a movement but a social support system and a business - a complete society, as it were -. Which is to say, this is a societal problem, not a problem that can be solved by giving moral support to reasonable people - which we should, of course do anyway, out of principle -.

    What will solve this problem is time and self-defense. We should stand for what we stand for - because that is the the right thing to do and because such is part of OUR self-defense. And note: the war by the Jihadis is advanced by gaining leverage over us and that includes forcing us to censor what we say.

    So, what we do for our defense is different from what we do to help moderates. Our self defense consists of undermining the will of the Jihadis so that they do not see a path to power in religion. And that means standing up for our own traditions and pointing out where our traditions and their traditions differ. Which is what the Pope, whether or not perfectly, tried to do. Standing up for our values takes away their ability to browbeat us when we we speak. Dialogue that acknowledges the actual teachings of Islam undermines the Jihad, as we stand for what we believe in, not an imaginary set of values that do not offend.





    E. Simon - 9/20/2006

    Peter, your interest in excluding from a discussion on self-criticism within Islam, Jews or people who make arguments favorable to Israel on the false basis that they do not allow self-criticism, is not only un-intellectual in itself, but it proves your own one-sidedness in seeking self-criticism among only one group and not another. Your hijacking of the thread here to make this point which has nothing to do with the article, indicates that regardless of WHO brings up this point, you'd prefer not to hear it discussed. So keep up the gassy brain noises you sneak in here, assuming you want to make it a point to display no one's bias other than your own.

    I should add that it now seems Professor Eckstein's note below was somewhat prescient, even if it didn't predict whose facilitating of hypocrisy would prop its head first.

    Ricardo, I should have instead mentioned the point where she brought up not bombing churches.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/20/2006

    Mr. Clarke,
    Funny, I thought it was a dialectic I was involved in. At least I don't just opine on here and then refuse to participate in the resulting discussion. There are some, however, on here who seem to lack any sense of humour.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    Thanks for that info on the origin of the Kheybar rocket-name, Ricardo, which I've checked quickly via Google.

    Wow--just IMAGINE, just IMAGINE Omar's outrage if the Israelis named one of their rockets the Deir Yassin, eh? But of course they aren't that crude.

    One could hardly have a better example than this of the blatant hypocrisy of fanatics such as Omar-- and yet, simultaneously, their utter lack of consciousness about what they are doing and saying to others.




    Ricardo Luis Rodriguez - 9/20/2006

    Mr. Clarke, your Jews/Germany analogy is apt because it highlights the difference between Jewish and Muslim populations.
    As you noted, Jews considered themselves "Germans". Muslims in London, consider themselves Muslims first.
    Jews threatened with death in Germany did not engage in terrorism, whereas Muslims "insulted" in London do.
    Cheneyland has nothing to with these observed behaviors, except perhaps when wearing Cheneyland shades.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    Gee, Peter--you mean it was inappropriate of me to warn readers on one page that Omar was a proven liar on the basis of posts he had made previously on a different but closely-related topic?


    N. Friedman - 9/20/2006

    Omar,

    These heros of yours, Hezb Allah, are more than their position papers. They rule a territory, make speeches and operate media. The speeches and media are replete with hatred and desire for genocide. And for what? Over a strip of land the size of New Hampshire. What we have, frankly, is adults behaving like children in the interest of power - not justice, as you pretend.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/20/2006

    He proudly reminds us about his visits to the Bellevue rubber rooms.
    By the way, I am Ron Silver liberal. I am an independent with a solid record of voting for democrats. This year I'll vote for Lieberman and I very seriously consider voting for Christopher Shays, who's social agenda is much better than what the democrat in my district has to offer. Lamont is a republican in disguise on social issues.


    Ricardo Luis Rodriguez - 9/20/2006

    "Re Hisb ALlah I do appreciate the amount of pain it has inflicted, and will go on inflicting, on your beloved Israel and on you!
    Too bad: C'est la vie, c'est la guerre!"

    Curiously enough, Mohammed's first coup as a statesman was the takeover of the city of Medina by massacring a few Hundred Jews. The Kaybar rockets used to inflict suffering on Israeli civilians are aptly named for the city where Mohammed first subjugated Jews as Dhimnis, subsequently, his followers evicted the remaining Jews.
    Omar, do you really appreciate other people's suffering, do you really mean it when you say "Too bad, c'est la guerre?


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    John, it seemed to me (perhaps wrongly--perhaps you can clear this up) that you were in fact offering a rationalization for the Muslim violence in the alleged really-horrid insult of actually depicting an image of Mohammed. This is supposed to be such a big no-no that naturally there would be a huge Muslim reaction. It wasn't the possible implication of violence in the cartoons--it was the very presence of Mohammed in the cartoons, such a FUNDAMENTAL violation of Muslim practice that naturally there was violence.

    But IF that is your position, then this is to engage in "condescending anthropology" and to treat Muslims as children whose irrational tantrums are natural and therefore must be accepted with equanimity by us adults. I refuse to treaty Muslims as children.

    In any case that sort of reaction to the depiciton of Mohammed is only true of Wahabis and Salafis. If you look historically, you will see that there are plenty of Muslim paintings of Mohammed. So it's all a trumped up charge against the West in the first place.

    If, on the other hand, you really are trying to "explain" or "understand" Muslim anger at being portrayed as violent (the turban on Mohammed's head being turned into a bomb in one cartoon, for instance), then you must deal with the fact that the widespread Muslim reaction to having Islam portrayed as violent was...to become very irrationally violent, burn embassies, kill people, etc. (AND the fact is that NO MUSLIM OBJECTED TO THIS).

    And you must deal with the cultural problem this raises.

    Art Eckstein


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/20/2006

    Mr. Ebbitt,
    If you think this tongue-in-cheek slam at the apologists for Islamic violence is the "dumbest damn thing" you've ever read on here--then you must not have read many of the articles. I have indeed heard SOME liberals say, and read comments by them, that Bush is a greater threat to this country than Bin Ladin.
    So let's see--I'm a "nincompoop" and "dolt." Gee, you must have taken my comment personally.
    And trust me, I wouldn't want to work at a college where you do.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    Once more, Omar refuses to face the reaity of what is looking at him in the mirror. He says--as usual without naming names though he demands such specificity of others--that "even Christian Arabs" are disturbed by the Pope's speech. No doubt because they are afraid for their LIVES, Omar!

    Yes, Omar, read this--and note to yourself that I, as usual and UNLIKE you (as usual), give a specific source:
    :
    Some bloggers here believe that the Pope's remarks on the role of reason in religion, and his negative quotations about Islam, hurt moderates in the Muslim world. The author below, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a liberal Jew who converted to Islam, then became a radical Muslim and then changed his mind, offers a different perspective.

    I suggest everyone, including the moderate Mr. Mendez to whom this argument about whether to be direct or offer "respect" is mostly addressed, but especially the nutty Patrick Ebbitts and Peter Clarkes to the crazed Omar, read what Gartenstein-Ross has to say and take it seriously:

    How we strengthen Muslim radicals

    "But the fact that I don't think the radicals are inevitably right makes the current controversy over Pope Benedict's remarks all the more distressing. It seems that whenever a prominent Westerner voices strong criticism of Islam, two things happen: Muslims threaten violence in response and often actually resort to it, and in return the Western media and leading intellectuals condemn the initial statements rather than the violence....

    The violent response to Pope Benedict's remarks is indicative of the pathologies within contemporary Islam. Angry Muslims set fire to seven churches in the West Bank and Gaza. An Italian nun in Somalia who worked in a children's hospital was brutally assassinated. There have been calls to assassinate the pope. And Islamic leaders such as Yusuf Qaradawi have called for a "day of rage."

    But it seems the media would rather condemn the pope and thus place criticism of Islam off limits rather than focus on the pathologies in contemporary Islam. This Western response serves to undermine Muslim moderates and strengthen radicals. It undermines moderates because one of the strongest big-picture arguments the moderates have is that Muslims need to act like adults, that they can't go off burning churches and killing people at the slightest provocation. Yet the signal we're sending is that we're willing to look the other way and create a ridiculous double-standard: that we're unwilling to hold Muslims accountable for unacceptable behavior and unacceptable actions.
    "The extremists are helped not only by the missed opportunity to examine the crisis in contemporary Islam, but also because it increasingly appears to them that if they want to use threats of violence to stifle speech, they will be helped in their cause by hordes of guilt-ridden Westerners who will side with them. We live in cowardly times, and it's sad to see that so many Westerners pick the wrong side in what is a stark choice between free speech and intimidation."

    I got this via Andrew Sullivan's blog. I imagine Omar's response will be: "Well, what do you expect from an ex-Jew?"

    Art Eckstein


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/20/2006

    Name-calling? Sheesh. Have you never seen the movie "Stripes?" I used a movie line to ask you to, ahem, calm down. Are you just hoping to be offended?
    Sir, mobs that burn churches and threaten to kill people JUST BECAUSE OF WORDS are indeed irrational. Perhaps unhinged. IF Christian mobs were doing the same, I would describe them the same. But they're not.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/20/2006

    Name-calling? Sheesh. Have you never seen the movie "Stripes?" I used a movie line to ask you to, ahem, calm down. Are you just hoping to be offended?
    Sir, mobs that burn churches and threaten to kill people JUST BECAUSE OF WORDS are indeed irrational. Perhaps unhinged. IF Christian mobs were doing the same, I would describe them the same. But they're not.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/20/2006

    Ah, here we go: the alleged tone of my responses has now become the issue. Even if I were "beginning to sound indignant," how is that relevant?
    All in all, however, better to be indignant that, say, blind--as you appear to be, sir. Look at what's happening in the world right now and tell me which faith community is manifesting irrationality and violence.


    john crocker - 9/20/2006

    OK, so now you resort to name calling and backtracking when it is pointed out that you made an inaccurate statement in your comment.

    A parallel for you. If I say that Christians are irrational, do I have to say ALL Christians are irrational for the meaning to be understood?


    john crocker - 9/20/2006

    Do you have a response to anything before the last two sentances of my previous comment?

    The last two sentances of my comment were intended as a parallel to the conclusion to your previous post.

    Your postings here do seem to have the common theme of Christians are rational and sparing in their use of violence, but Muslims are irrational and violent. This seems to me an argument for the superiority of Christianity over Islam. Dr. Eckstein's first (and all subsequent) comments have been indignant and your comments are beginning to sound indignant.


    john crocker - 9/20/2006

    Actually the cartoon was brought up by Dr. Furnish.

    "Your assumption in this quotation, John, is that the violent Muslim reaction to the expression of freedom of speech in the west was somehow rational"

    No, it was not.

    Each of your responses has been a recasting of your Muslims are childish and violent argument that touches only peripherally on what I actually said. Again please respond to what I actually say not what you feel that I think.


    Vinod Gupt - 9/20/2006

    It is about time Christians spoke -- Hindus in India have completely surrendered. The koran calls all relgions all kind of names but others cannot even call Islam for what it stands. If Christians don't wake up now they might as well go the Hindus way -- abject slaves of Islam. I am deeply disappointed in Pope for expressing regrets. He should have stood up to what he quoted and ask about the verses of the Kran, the massacre of Beni Koreiza, Asma bint Marwan, Abu Afak, Arshad bin Kab etc etc. History of Islam is drippping with blood. It is about time to wake up.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/20/2006

    Some bloggers here believe that the Pope's remarks on the role of reason in religion, and his negative quotations about Islam, hurt moderates in the Muslim world. The author below, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a liberalJew who converted to Islam, then became a radical Muslim and then changed his mind, offers a different perspective.

    I suggest everyone, including the moderate Mr. Mendez to whom this argument about whether to be direct or offer "respect" is mostly addressed, but especially the nutty Patrick Ebbitts and Peter Clarkes to the crazed Omar, read what Gartenstein-Ross has to say and take it seriously:

    How we strengthen Muslim radicals

    "But the fact that I don't think the radicals are inevitably right makes the current controversy over Pope Benedict's remarks all the more distressing. It seems that whenever a prominent Westerner voices strong criticism of Islam, two things happen: Muslims threaten violence in response and often actually resort to it, and in return the Western media and leading intellectuals condemn the initial statements rather than the violence....

    The violent response to Pope Benedict's remarks is indicative of the pathologies within contemporary Islam. Angry Muslims set fire to seven churches in the West Bank and Gaza. An Italian nun in Somalia who worked in a children's hospital was brutally assassinated. There have been calls to assassinate the pope. And Islamic leaders such as Yusuf Qaradawi have called for a "day of rage."

    But it seems the media would rather condemn the pope and thus place criticism of Islam off limits rather than focus on the pathologies in contemporary Islam. This Western response serves to undermine Muslim moderates and strengthen radicals. It undermines moderates because one of the strongest big-picture arguments the moderates have is that Muslims need to act like adults, that they can't go off burning churches and killing people at the slightest provocation. Yet the signal we're sending is that we're willing to look the other way and create a ridiculous double-standard: that we're unwilling to hold Muslims accountable for unacceptable behavior and unacceptable actions.
    "The extremists are helped not only by the missed opportunity to examine the crisis in contemporary Islam, but also because it increasingly appears to them that if they want to use threats of violence to stifle speech, they will be helped in their cause by hordes of guilt-ridden Westerners who will side with them. We live in cowardly times, and it's sad to see that so many Westerners pick the wrong side in what is a stark choice between free speech and intimidation."

    I got this via Andrew Sullivan's blog. I imagine Omar's response will be: "Well, what do you expect from a Jew?"

    Art Eckstein


    E. Simon - 9/20/2006

    I see, Peter. By your telling of it, Jews react violently to insults against their "pride and dignity," which are surely equivalent to "fears of 'existential threats,'" your labelling of them as irrational notwithstanding.

    Methinks the reductio ad absurdum cultural relativist in you needs some more Wafa. Pay close attention to the part where she explains, in Arabic, the part about how not a single Jew has suicide-bombed a German restaurant, and what her fellow Arabs can learn from that, if your pride and dignity will allow you to:

    http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2006/09/one_womans_trut.html


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/19/2006

    John, YOU brought up the cartoon jihad, not me. You need to accept the implications of discussing it, nor can you argue that I am now off-topic by discussing it.

    John wrote:

    "The attacks provoked by the caricature were not because of the nature of the ccaricature, but because of the mere existence of the visual representation. This is not to say that those attacks were justified, but that it does not sit well in your analogy."

    Your assumption in this quotation, John, is that the violent Muslim reaction to the expression of freedom of speech in the west was somehow rational, and in any case understandable within their cultural context. This is what I meant, precisely, by the phrase "condescending anthropology."

    I refuse to treat Muslims as if they were children--children having tantrums. That is what I think you were doing by trying to "understand" violence that killed dozens which was provoked by criticism that Muslims were violent. It is even worse if they demand not only that THEY not depict Muhammed on pain of death, but that WE must obey that AS WELL, despite our own traditions of freedom of speech. That is an assertion of superiority which is unacceptable. As long as they indulge in a sewer of the vilest slander against Christians, Hindus and Jews, they must accept a little criticism in return.

    Muslims are adults, not children, and it is a huge mistake (indeed "disrespectful") to indulge their tantrums and try to "understand" them. Those violent tantrums are NOT to be indulged as if Muslims were children, but confronted and critized sternly because they are adults.

    Therefore their behavior can be subjected to rigorous, even critical analysis. That is exactly what I did. You offered one explanation of their behavior, which i think is condescending. I offered a different explanation--far more blunt and critical. Period.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/19/2006

    Lighten up, Francis.
    And I am often misrepresented on here in posts. Can you show me ONE line in my article where I said "ALL Muslims...."?


    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    Peter,

    To understand your point is to accept assertions that, to me, are simply wrong. A country the size of New Hampshire that is surrounded by 300 to 400 million people who want them to disapear faces an existential threat. Whether, today, Israel has the upper hand due to a temporary military advantage, the fact remains that the threat is existential.

    In that the discussion here concerns talking truth or being diplomatically nebulous, perhaps your comment should be more direct, rather than drawing the audience to accept assertions which make, frankly, no sense. But, of course, you no doubt can explain how it is that Israel's temporary military advantage will last and how, without that temporary advantage, Israel survives. Or, do you really think that groups like HAMAS do not mean what they say? Or, do you think that the Ikwan does not mean what it says? Or, do you think Iran does not mean what it says? Or, do you think that the Saudis do not mean what they say? etc., etc. In this, the burden is on you.

    Better yet: this discussion is not about Israel, in any event. It is about Catholic Muslim relations and the basis on which they might exist. Your comment amounts, with that in mind, to somewhat of a change of topic.



    Tim R. Furnish - 9/19/2006

    I'm not arguing for the superiority of Catholicism (in fact, I am NOT Catholic). I'm simply saying that it IS irrational to burn, threaten and kill just because of words. Christians did not burn down movie theatres when the insulting "Last Temptation of Christ" came out; Christians did not attack the publisher's office of "The DaVinci Code;" Christians did not attack the offices of "Rolling Stone" when last year they ran a cover with Kanye West as Christ; Christians are not threatening to kill Madonna for her mock crucifixion on stage.
    Can I make this any clearer?


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/19/2006

    The Bible (especially the Old Testament) is a very violent book but since the beginning of the 20th century this violence is only in theory. As far as I understand the Pope invited the Islamic world to a dialogue about violence but the Islamic world reacted wit real violence. The Koran is as violent as the Bible but the violence of the Koran is brought from the pages of the book into the every day life of the Islamic world.
    I hope I explained what I mean.


    john crocker - 9/19/2006

    "No matter how much I specify (I believe I have "SOME" both italicized and underlined, as a modifier of "Muslims") the useful idiots in our society continue to misconstrue and misrepresent my position."

    The full quote that was partially cited follows: "But nowadays it seems that reality is imitating art (okay, popular culture) as Muslims engage in violence if anyone dares suggest…that Islam has a violent strain!"

    Could you point the the qualifier some in the quotation (it doesn't even have to italicized or underlined).

    "I sometimes despair of SOME folks ever coming to their senses until UBL is sitting in the Oval Office.
    Actually, that would probably be better than a Republican for many of the useful idiots."
    That is an idiotic statement.
    To characterize people who disagree with you in this way demeans the actual debate and you with it.


    john crocker - 9/19/2006

    " But nowadays it seems that reality is imitating art (okay, popular culture) as Muslims engage in violence if anyone dares suggest…that Islam has a violent strain! Last spring it was attacks on Christians for the Danish newspaper cartoons caricaturizing Muhammad; now Muslims are burning churches in the Palestinian territories and India because the pope made a reference to Islam’s martial past."

    The cartoon in question replaces the turban of Muhammad with a bomb giving the message of Islam as violent. The response to the cartoon was, however not about the message of the cartoon, it was about the portrayal of Muhammad in the cartoon regardless of the message. The construction of the above paragraph implies that the response to the cartoon was a response to its message.

    Sorry if I am conflating your opinions and Benedict's, but the tone of the article was negative towards Islam and entirely positive in relation to Benedict. Because of this I made the assumption (apparently not false) that you agreed with the argument you presented in a positive light.

    The question on transcendence seems to be a difference in degree being treated as a diference in kind.

    The God of the Bible is not rational, but he is omnipotent.

    It is easy to insult a religion. One could say that a religion was inherently violent or that a religion caused its followers to be pedophiles, its not hard, but it is also not generally thought of as polite. It is easier to insult the followers of a religion, but if you insult the religion you also insult its followers.

    I have never argued for the rationality of fundamentalists.

    I'm tired of people arguing the superiority of one religion. I'm also tired of the people who make those arguments being indignant when a neutral party disagrees.


    Ben W. Brumfield - 9/19/2006

    Fine. But words have generally agreed-upon meanings, and while you may feel free to redefine them at will, don't be surprised when people don't understand you.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/19/2006

    I assume you mean the Muhammad cartoons? I simply remarked that they elicited violence. Is that unfair or inaccurate?
    I nowhere said it was MY contention taht Christianity is "based on reason." I was observing that that is the opinion of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. But, theologically, Benedict's observation about God's rationality being trumped by his omnipotence in Islam is quite accurate.
    I do not think Benedict was being condescending of insulting of Islam. I have never to this day, after 46 years of life, understood how one can "insult" a religion. One can perhaps insult practitioners of a religion, but the religion itself? Anyway, even if the pope WERE insulting Islam--are burned churches and dead nuns a logical, commensurate or--indeed, I will say it--RATIONAL response.
    Like Prof. Eckstein, I am quite tired of the Islamic world and Muslims expecting special treatment on the world stage, and employing violence against the rest of us when they do not get it.


    john crocker - 9/19/2006

    1. Your characterization of why the cartoon was responded to in the way it was, as detailed in the original post.

    2. Your charactization of Christianity in general and Catholicism in specific as being based on reason. (via Benedict)

    3. Your implication that the Pope was somehow not condescending and insulting of Islam. (I may be reading this into your essay. If so ignore this one.)

    Perhaps unfair was unfair, but I do think they were inaccurate.


    John Chapman - 9/19/2006

    Mr. B writes that “supersessionism is a statement about the past, not the future.”

    I am fully aware of the core beliefs on which supersessionism is based. I am using the word in a manner to describe the present, of the RCC in its relationship to Islam. If you can manage to break out of your rigid box for a second, you might understand what I was getting at. This word can be applied to almost anything. In this case it was a tongue in cheek expression to describe the attitude that RCC Christianity has over Islam, and vice versa. I gave you my version of the term, a meaning I feel is more distilled for my purposes, without the tedious encyclopedic definition you responded with and which I could have looked up myself.


    john crocker - 9/19/2006

    Once again I did not condone the violent reaction to the cartoon or the comments of the Pope. Please read the original comment and react to any point actually in it rather than reacting to something you choose to read into it.

    I don't see why you feel the need to emote to me about your dislike of Muslim culture when it was not a topic I was commenting on.


    John Chapman - 9/19/2006

    Well, Yehudi, I have heard of the theoretical perspective of violence against authority and the theoretical violence of a castastrophical strategy (read Foucault) but am not familiar with the term “theoretical violence” as something by itself or even associated with the destructive power of religious violence, unless people theoretically killed each other 2000 years ago. What do you mean?


    E. Simon - 9/19/2006

    Yes, precisely. This line of thinking that says that, because words or thoughts about the ideas or behavior witnessed among Muslims are hurtful to Muslims, and therefore we should refrain from them, forms an inherent disconnect. If Muslims do not behave in this way, we wouldn't see the violent reactions that are currently witnessed. If such behavior is a problem, however, then appeasing whatever self-deception which on their part is necessary to feel the pride and dignity they demand by not acknowleging it, is not the job of a rational West. People don't honor others by lying to them. It might as well be demanded that the reports of the violence now occurring be censored. But instead, ignorance of what these behaviors represent is demanded.

    No dice.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/19/2006

    All true.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/19/2006

    Mr. Spence,
    You may try to mix Dan Brown (and probably the 1982 "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln) and The Satanic Verses of Salman Rushdie during the Jerry Springer show and get away with it, but why try it in a history site? Did any of the authors questioning the official Jesus story have to hide being afraid for their lives? Salman Rushdie did hide being afraid for his life! Did anyone, in the last 25 years, blow up Atheist organizations or kill Atheists as a retaliation for questioning the Jesus story? Moslems did blow up churches and killed Christians for simple questions asked about the Koran!
    You mix without matching and this way you blame the victim for the violence of the perpetrator!


    Ben W. Brumfield - 9/19/2006

    Mr. Chapman writes To me it means: my religion is destined by God to replace yours.

    Supersessionism is a specific doctrine with a specific meaning, and is not synonymous with assertions of a religion's supremacy or eventual victory over others.

    What supersession claims is that while religion X was valid in its day, religion Y (which developed out of religion X) has taken its place. It claims to be 1) the legitimate heir of an ancestor religion, and 2) to have superseded that religion as the True one.

    The classical formulation of supersessionism is that the Church is the "True Israel" -- replacing the Judaism as the "People of God". You see the same doctrine at work elsewhere, however: Mohammed was the Last Prophet, replacing the Torah and Gospels with the Quran. The Restoration movement of 19th century Protestantism claimed to re-establish the True Church.

    Supersessionism is a statement about the past, not the future. It claims that a religion has already replaced another in theological terms. Because it portrays the replacement religion as heir to the ancestor, and because it accepts the ancestor's previous validity, the term is not applicable to the relationship between Christianity and any religion other than Judaism. A Muslim may claim Islam supersedes Christianity, but a Christian would never claim that Christianity supersedes Islam.


    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    CORRECTION:

    Please delete the following sentence: "But, there are very few voices and, more importantly, there is a lack of any serious, so far as I know, theological movement that has a wide following in which a sustained critic of Jihadism and the like are shown to be wrong."

    Substitute the following corrected version:

    But, there are very few voices and, more importantly, there is a lack of any serious, so far as I know, theological movement that has a wide following in which Jihadism and the like are challenged as being inherently wrong and un-Islamic.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/19/2006

    Unfortunately, Mr. Mendez, you got the position correctly, and you repeat this, so you clearly mean it:

    "Most Muslims do not participate in nor CONDEMN violence" of the grotesque type we are discussing

    Yes, that is exactly the problem I pointed out. You need to consider carefully the dreadful implications of your own statement.

    Mr. Mendez, you will not FIX this problem within Muslim culture by politely failing to point out to Muslims that the problem exists! Especially if the reason you are so "polite" to them is that you fear "insulting" them and alienating them even more--and thus indeed provoking more violence on a greater scale--simply by telling them the truth about their own behavior!!

    This is to treat Muslims as children, Mr. Mendez, as children who are subject to uncontrollable and irrational trantrums which we should accept with equanimity because, after all, they are indeed so infantile.. I refuse to do this. I prefer to treat them as adults. I prefer to treat them (as they would say) as men.

    best,

    Art Eckstein


    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    Mr. ,

    You write: Now, the question of course is how to help change the mindset of most of the islamic world, where fundamentalism is on the rise (which is very different to say than claiming is almost its dominant form).

    Why is it you think that we have the power to change the mindset of average people in the Muslim regions in relation to religion? That is rather beyond our ability.

    Another point: there is a religious revival among Muslims, or, to be more exact, particularly among the elite of the Islamic regions. I rather doubt that the man on the street was other than religious, for the most part, believing in the classical view of Islam, as such is what was preached in mosque.

    Now, we do have some limited power to affect the elite but such certainly requires speaking truth to the elite - not accepting the Andalusian myth of a perfect, harmonious and peaceful order under Islam's wings -. And that elite needs to be told that they are, in fact, peddling violence and that such is no basis to get along with the West but, instead, an invitation to war.


    Sergio Alejandro Méndez - 9/19/2006

    Mr Eckstein:

    First at all, lets make clear my point. My point is not that the mayority of muslims do not condem the acts of violence commited by some against christian churches. My point is that most mulsims do not participate in those acts, who are commited by a minority. There is a crucial difference there. I agree that muslim societies have clear conbservative trends, but that hardly means they are all dominated by fundamentalists or extremists, althought it is certainly true extremism or fundamentalism has being in the rise in the last 2 or 3 decades.

    Secondly, I am hardly making "romantic third-worldism" or "condescending anthropological explanations" excuses for the behavior of extremists. Fundamentalists have no excuse for their actions, and terrorists certainly should be persecuted. But of course, that gives not you or Mr Furnish the right to generalize that behavior to all muslims (yes profesor Furnish, when you use the term "muslims" you are generalizing, no matter how much you whine about how "misconstructed" your position is by us, "political idiots" who "will wait until Bin Laden is in the Oval Office"). Most muslims, from the moderate minority to the large conservative mayority, do not participate nor condem violence of that kind.

    Now, the question of course is how to help change the mindset of most of the islamic world, where fundamentalism is on the rise (which is very different to say than claiming is almost its dominant form). Well, certainly the actual policies of the "west" are not helping much in that sense, and they are producing the contrary effect.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/19/2006

    Yes, Prof. Furnish, this site does make me sometimes want to bang my head against a wall.

    But on the one hand, it is a useful and interesting conversation, too; and on the other hand, the kind thinking that we so often find here which ultimately serves to condone terrorism and ultimately wishes either for the murder or the suicide (self-murder) of the West and its ideals MUST be combatted at every step. Never give an inch.

    Also, one gets to meet some pretty nice and insightful people.


    E. Simon - 9/19/2006

    What Professor Eckstein states is a very concise and reasonable explanation of what is so farcical about the positions of so many bystanders, well-wishers, and not-so-well-wishers in how they go about framing their either one-sided or otherwise utterly uncritical calls for dialogue, understanding and reconciliation between West and Middle East.

    As such, I expect that few people will look into what he notes - at least at a pace that matters. But let's just hope that others, however, like Wafa Sultan, continue to brandish a pen and tongue that are mightier than any lunatic's sword, placard and molotov cocktail.

    http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2006/09/one_womans_trut.html


    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    CORRECTION:

    I should have said in the beginning, "I do note ..." and not "I do not ..."


    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    Professor Eckstein,

    Very well said. I do not that the definitive "No" is, perhaps, an exageration. But, there are very few voices and, more importantly, there is a lack of any serious, so far as I know, theological movement that has a wide following in which a sustained critic of Jihadism and the like are shown to be wrong.

    In this regard, I highly commend Professor Furnish. In his book, Holiest Wars: Islamic Mahdis, their Jihads and Osama bin Laden, he shows a sustained critic, on theological and every other imaginable ground, against the Mahdist phenomena, as early as Ibn Khaldun to as recently as today. Were that the same were true of Jihadism.

    Jihadism has to live with classical Islamic thought which, while not necessarily supportive of Jihad as a personal and group phenomena, supports Jihad by the collective Islamic world to expand the regions ruled by Muslims under Shari'a law. As explained by the famed Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun - in a well known quote -:

    In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the (Muslim) mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. Therefore, caliphate and royal authority are united (in Islam), so that the person in charge can devote the available strength to both of them (religion and politics) at the same time.

    And:

    The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty to them, save only for purposes of defense. It has thus come about that the person in charge of religious affairs (in other religious groups) is not concerned with power politics at all. (Among them) royal authority comes to those who have it, by accident and in some way that has nothing to do with religion. It comes to them as the necessary result of group feeling, which by its very nature seeks to obtain royal authority, as we have mentioned before, and not because they are under obligation to gain power over other nations, as is the case with Islam. They are merely required to establish their religion among their own (people).


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/19/2006

    Prof. Eckstein,
    Doesn't this site sometimes just make you want to hit your head against the wall? It does me. No matter how much I specify (I believe I have "SOME" both italicized and underlined, as a modifier of "Muslims") the useful idiots in our society continue to misconstrue and misrepresent my position.
    I sometimes despair of SOME folks ever coming to their senses until UBL is sitting in the Oval Office.
    Actually, that would probably be better than a Republican for many of the useful idiots.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/19/2006

    Mr. Mendez, I'm sure Prof. Furnish is capable of defending himself on this point, but I myself would say the following:

    Your point would have force ONLY if there were MANY Muslims, or even some prominent Muslim voices, speaking out strongly against the violence. But there aren't.

    There aren't. On the contrary, what you have are major politico-religious figures such as the political and religious heads of Iran calling for more of the same.

    Therefore, Muslims either are doing the violence, or they condone the violence emotionally, or perhaps there are some who are repulsed and ashamed but also afraid to speak out. But what does that LATTER possibility say about the situation today within the Islamic community, eh? In any case, the fact is that no Muslims are condemning the violence.

    Take a look at Omar--he has a pro forma condemnation of the violence "on both sides", yes, but that is followed by what amounts to a JUSTIFICATION for the Muslim response to the Pope's words. And what is that justification? that the Pope is part of a Zionist (!!) conspiracy. What can one DO when faced with a paranoid mentality such as that?

    In fact the cultural problem is that the EMOTIONAL fact of an "insult to Islam"--even if the "insult" simply consists of the recitation of obvious and incontrivertible historical facts about violent Muslim aggression and jihadism in the Middle Ages and early modern period--makes the repayment for the injury to "honor," and the re-establishment of Islam's fragile status through means of violence, far more important and pressing to what passes for "Islam"today than does engaging in rational debate.

    Yesterday there was a demo in London with people carrying placards saying "Those who insult Islam should be beheaded." They mean the Pope. No British Muslim group has condemned such placards so far. They're too busy playing victim.

    This is a fact about the current condition of mainstream islam that the West must face. To be sure, there are areas where this violent Wahabism does not hold such great strength. Britain does not seem to be such an area!

    There should be no romantic third-worldism to coddle these people, Mr. Mendez, no condescending anthropological explanations of their behavior, and above all no self-blaming in the West for free speech.


    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    Mr. Méndez,

    This is likely your best post to date and, while not addressed to me, deserves serious consideration.

    If I might be so bold to step in for Professor Furnish - who will no doubt address the point himself (but posting is such fun!!!) -, Christianity was, as you suggest, born in an imperial setting and, in part, at least acquieced in the violence inherent in that setting. And, there was no advocacy of violence to destroy the state. And, if my memory serves me correctly, there is considerable theological writing which did hoe the line of obedience to the state, with the hope of redemption for suffering for the ill-treated in the world beyond. So, I think you have a good point, so far as it goes.

    I do not, on the other hand, think that such point turns Christianity into the equivalent of Islam - assuming that is your alterior motive -. Islam is, as I see it, an heroic religion that sees salvation in acts of bravery - asceticism of a sort, as David Cook argues - and reward for fighting to expand Islam's reign of political power. Such is not necessarily a bad thing but, to note, it is not something that non-Muslims should deny (as many do today) in hope of dialogue. And that is certainly part of the Pope's message: dialogue, but dialogue honestly based.

    Further, the alluded to passages and others are capable of a different reading, namely, one directed not to acceptance of violence but, instead, to the view that reality is a veil of tears with salvation - escape from the suffering - to come in the hereafter. Which is to say, such passages are not favoring slavery, etc., but recognizing that such things were not going to go away in the setting in which Paul, etc. lived.


    James Spence - 9/19/2006

    Reason for this question is that I think the title is irrelevant. All the popes of the past have been saints and sinners, philosophers and theologians, actors, and some criminals but they were all politicians. When a politician does something, he doesn’t do it because it’s right or wrong. But because it’s expedient and because in these fullness of times it is necessary to make his stand. In this case, it was necessary because it has to do with the future of this largest of international corporations. The quiet little discussion he had at the university was sure to reach the world in the age of the Internet. He must have known that. His little comments based on a discussion between the Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and a Persian scholar during the siege of Constantinople has cost the life of a nun in Mogadishu and riots in Turkey. The insult was flung (probably not intentionally), the bait was taken; the context is out of place in today’s world where Church gets upset over Dan Brown novels or fundamentalist fanatics over The Satanic Verses of Salman Rushdie in the age of the neo-conservative right and Huntington's Clash of Civilizations. The Pope isn’t good politician. Maybe that’s good. The Pope has backtracked by saying what he said is “provisional”. Was the Pope wrong? It doesn’t matter. The damage is done.


    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    Professor Furnish,

    Well, I see nothing wrong with a Christian (or anyone else) quoting the Christian testaments (or any other source). That is perfectly reasonable and does not imply a rejection of the Jewish Scriptures in favor of Marcionism.


    Sergio Alejandro Méndez - 9/19/2006

    Mr Furnish:

    Well, of course Paul passage calling for obidience to the state authority does not promote violence against the state. But since the state -specially in the time paul lived, but by nature too- is based on violence and coertion, yes, Paul is certainly promoting violence. The same when he calls slaves to be obidient to their masters (unless you think slavery is not based on violence, AND I WANT TO SEE YOY ARGUE THAT).


    Sergio Alejandro Méndez - 9/19/2006

    Profesor Furnish writes: "... as Muslims engage in violence if anyone dares suggest"

    Well, no, not ALL muslims (as Furnish thinks he has the right to generalize) engage on violence. Muslims who burned churches in palestine or muslims who engage on violent activities are just some mulsims, not "mulsims" in general. Mr Furnish may argue that the mayority of muslims, then, engage on violence, but then again, I have to see yet proof of that.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/19/2006

    John, the Cartoon Jihad was provoked by the demand of Muslims not for "respect" but for superiority of religious status: what is permitted to THEM--an endless sewer of anti-western, anti-Christian, anti-Hindu, anti-Jewish--cartoons and articles of the most foul kind, is NOT to be permitted to the West. THAT is the point: because of their "sensitivities"--translation: their sense of superiority and immunity from criticism because they hold the TRUTH--they are entitled to respond to freedom of expression, not only in Muslim lands but even now in the WEST, with violence. What ARROGANCE.

    And so many in the West went along with it. This is not the cry of the oppressed . It is the shout and sneer of the superior. "What is permitted to ME--an endless sewer of attack on you--is not permitted to THEE, a mild comment on my violence."

    GET IT NOW? This is the attitude to which I object. The Danish newspaper runs cartoons of Mohammed disapproving (or, in one case, perhaps not disapproving) of violence--and the response is VIOLENCE at the "insult." Not debate--VIOLENCE. The Pope points out the history of violence--and the response is not debate but MORE VIOLENCE because of the "insult."

    John, what you see is not the cry of the oppressed. Let's have no romantic "third-worldism" here, or condescending anthropology. What we saw both last February and so soon thereafter now is the response of a culture obsessed with "honor", an arrogant honor society which, when it feels its honor has been "insulted" by ANYTHING, including justified criticism, responds with VIOLENCE, and feels it is ENTITLED TO DO SO..

    We in the West have a right--indeed, a duty--to point out the problem.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/19/2006

    Good points. Although I suppose one might accuse ME of neo-Marcionism by my usage of only the New Testament.
    So be it.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/19/2006

    Mr. Crocker,
    Please be so kind as to specify which of my "characterizations" were "unfair"--and HOW they were? Just because you do not like them does not make them "unfair."


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/19/2006

    Mr. Crocker,
    Please be so kind as to specify which of my "characterizations" were "unfair"--and HOW they were? Just because you do not like them does not make them "unfair."


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/19/2006

    There are some violent Christian fringes like the pro life killers of physicians but the majority (I guess between 98% and 99%) of Christians are reasonable people who prefer dialog and they don't condone violence. The main point is that in the Western world reasonable Christians are not afraid to criticize the violent fringes. In the Moslem world criticizing violence is punished with death. The rate of approval of the violent Islamic fundamentalist groups is very high through the Islamic world.
    In the Islamic world there are no groups or strong voices criticizing Islamic violence comparable to the groups and strong voices in the Western world criticizing the war in Iraq. Please prove me wrong, if you can!
    The only point of the critics of this article (Was the Pope Wrong? By Timothy R. Furnish) is: the Bible has violent passages and the Christianity was violent a few hundreds of years ago.
    The Islamic world isn't geared for dialog but for violent confrontation. The main cause of death in the Moslem world is Moslem on Moslem violence. During the Danish cartoons incident regular Moslems killed each other during riots. Salman Rushdie was in hiding for many years for writing a book criticizing Islam. During the last few days a call for dialog was rewarded by Moslems with killing and blown up churches. The main reason for the violence in the Islamic world isn't the Western world but the inability to deal with the political, social and economic problems of the Islamic countries. The main problem of the Islamic world is confronting the sexual revolution, their inability to free their discriminated women!
    The question is: can past violence be a balancing argument for clear and present Moslem violence?


    John Chapman - 9/19/2006

    Mr. Furnish,

    My remarks concerning the inaccurate passages I quoted in the Bible were quick and off-the-cuff. If I appeared polemical, it was not intentional. My apologies. What set me off was the general tone of what you had written, favoring the Christian viewpoint as well as the RCC, of which I am highly critical of. But then, as for favoring the Christian pov – why not? I would expect any number of Islamic native scholars to want it to go their way too.
    This time I actually looked into the Bible, both old testament (because it is still relevant) and the new, and found a few passages which I believe do promote violence. At least they certainly do not promote peace (and no, the majority are not on a level with the Qur'anic ones – I thought I’d made that clear when I said I agreed with your statements on Islam). I’m sure you know of them and have your own interpretation but nevertheless:

    The Bible’s severe laws commanded the members of the Hebrew religion to murder even their own children if they did not worship Yahweh (God). These Bible words can justify, to a fanatical fundamentalist believer, the killing of friends or family simply because they may fail to change their beliefs. No different from Islam fundamentalism. Basically, the word was out to kill all unbelievers (some explicitly extoll the killing of unbelievers): Deuteronomy 13: 5, 13: 6, 13:8-9, 13:15.

    …and there are many others of a less violent nature ( Luke 22:36, Matt: 24:6-7, John 18:36, Exodus 12:29, Deut 12:2-3, I Samuel 15:3, (Killing appears quite acceptable – Luke 19:27), Rev 2:23 - the red letter edition of the King James Bible has Jesus making a remarkable statement towards the killing of children.

    Of course, these quotes may all be useless for purposes of an argument. But certain fundamentalists read the Bible literally.







    Brumfield,

    You assert that I am “wholly ignorant of the definition of supersessionism,” well maybe you missed my point and you possibly said it half better than I in that it is a theory that “Islam may apply to Christianity and Judiasim, or that Christianity may apply to Judaism, but which none of them monotheistic religions apply to other faiths, as they do not consider themselves heir to.” I was discussing the attitude of Christianity toward other religions –and when I agreed with Mr.Furnish on his statements of the Islamic religion, I was implying Islam used the same theory against Christianity. Maybe you can give me your wholly informed definition of supersessionism. To me it means: my religion is destined by God to replace yours.


    john crocker - 9/19/2006

    I in no way condoned the violence that followed the popes comments, as you well know. Neither did I call the US violent barbarians.

    The title of the post addresses what I felt were unfair characterizations by the author.
    Did you address any of the characterizations or their accuracy or did you attempt to divert attention from them by pointing to the bad behavior of others?

    Why don't you respond to what I had to say rather than emoting about something I did not?


    Charles Edward Heisler - 9/19/2006

    "
    Moslems will inevitably look very suspiciously at this untimely and unwarranted pontifical utterance for two major reasons:"


    Mr. Baker, if Moslems are indeed reasonable people, then they will not be suspicious, surprised by the timing, or feel the Pope's comments unwarrented. If they are reasonable, then surely they have born witness to the continued threats and imposition of violence on the both the West and the Middle East by the fundamentalists amongst them.
    Are you suggesting that Moslems are capable of witnessing the many attacks by their extremist brethern and not understanding how those acts are tied to the religion that the extremists quote at every turn?
    Please, those of us that have heard enough of the infantile rantings of the "true believers" in this awful religion have become tired of both the impotence of the apologists for these madmen and the "moderate" members of the religion (if they really exist) who stand by while the fundamentalists steal the religion and the culture.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/19/2006


    Omar, you've already shown that you can't handle the truth, with your insistent denial of the vile sewer of anti-semitism sanctioned by Hezbollah, a debate with which we were regaled both in August and earlier in September.

    Is there anything in Prof. Furnish's account of Islam spreading by the sword that is inaccurate?

    Do you really think that Muslims burning churches and killing nuns (as happened in Somalia) proves that the Pope--or rather the Emperor Manuel II--was WRONG in pointing out the violent and aggressive tendencies that exist in Islam? Islam in whose quite specific NAME thousands of innocents have been slaughtered in the last decade (including thousands of "wrongly believing" Muslims in Iraq as well as the 2500 civilians in the Trade Towers?) Omar THAT is a record cannot be said for ANY other religion in the past ten years--or the past 300 years.

    Don't you see how murdered nuns and burning churches LOOK to the outside world? Do you really think they are EQUAL in violence to the "violence" of the Pope commenting on something said by the Byzantine Emperor when his capital--NOT a Muslim city but a Christian city--was under attack by Muslims in the 14th century? The city was, of course, finally taken by violence in 1453 and its churches forcibly converted into mosques.. Do you think that was a good thing? Do you think that this Muslim attack in the 14th century or the more successful one a couple of generations later was done by means of pamphlets? Do you think that an Ottoman army armed with massive cannon advanced to the gates of Vienna in 1683--less than a century before the Declaration of Independence--in order to hand out pamphlets extolling Islam? Or was to engage in aggressive and violent expansion and conquest, i.e., Jihad in its classic (if not only) meaning?

    Do you not understand that Jerusalem itself was taken from Christians in the 640s by violent Muslim attack?

    This is not to say that all Muslims are violent or irrational, Omar. No one is saying that. It is simply that the violent strain that exists within Islam has always been prominent and is today far, far more prominent than the one in Christianity (or Judaism). It is merely to say that Islam (like Christianity at certain times) has, historically, been spread through using the sword.

    Those are simple and obvious FACTS about the past. The question is whether you can handle them.

    Do you think that killing nuns and burning churches is a proper way of REACTING to the recitation of obvious facts about the past? Do you think violent riots and the murder of innocents and the torching of holy places convinces people that Islam is the religion of peace? Don't you see that such dreadful behavior CONFIRMS what the crudest anti-Muslim propagandists say? Or is it that you think think that Muslims are actually ENTITLED to respond with such violence when they feel that Islam is "insulted," whereas non-Muslims are NOT entitled to react to these acts, or to criticize Islam at all?

    Omar, you couldn't handle the FACTS about Hezbollah in the present. But perhaps you will able to handle the facts I present here about the past (AND the present) on this much larger question.

    Nor can you shift the subject by talking about the past delicts of Christianity. There are many, as I have said. And the Catholic Church has--as I demonstrated on another thread--apologized for them, especially about the violence. But when has Islam ever apologized to the non-Muslim world for anything? (I mean when have really, really prominent spokesmen, say Tantawi of the Sunni al-Ahzar university in Cairo, or al-Sistanti of the Shia, spoken out?). And in regard to the current controversy, when have prominent spokesmen for Islam apologized for the massive violence that carried the Flag of the Prophet as dominant politically as far as Gibraltar in the west and as far as the Indus in the east in less than 100 years after 632 A.D.? You think that happened accidentally?


    N. Friedman thought I should post these points here, rather than below as I first did, and I have taken the opportunity to (I hope) make my points elsewhere clearer here.


    E. Simon - 9/19/2006

    Or force of reason.


    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    Professor Furnish,

    It seems to me that the Pope's lecture addressed Christians as far as their efforts at dialogue with Muslims. The trend, as of late, has been toward a form of neo-Marcionism that not only eliminates the Hebrew Scriptures - itself a heresy (i.e. original Marcionism) - but embraces the Islamic position to the extent of remaking Jesus as a Palestinian (i.e. Palestinian Replacement theology). Such not only accomodates the Palestinian movement - which, itself, does not make it automatically objectionable to Christianity - but it also - and here is where the problem clearly is - undermines Christianity as Jesus becomes Issa, the Islamic Jesus. And that is a grave danger for Christianity as it has been known.

    Such issue has been brewing for quite a while and the rise of neo-Marcionism is an active issue in churches in Europe, more among Protestants than Catholics but a problem nonetheless.

    I take the Pope's speech as an effort to undermine the current basis for dialogue by noting substantial differences between Christianity and Islam. And, I might note: what the Pope said about Islam and violence and the dissassociation of Allah from reason - whether or the characterization of it as evil is proper being another matter - is rather indisputable.

    I might also note: It is about time that someone has pointed out that Muslims need to address their past and begin to reign in those, now - not in the past -, who revive the Jihadist tradition. That tradition is a grave danger, as it is the product of minds lost in the classical Muslim period of great Jihad conquest. It is a part, at the same time, of the third great Jihad, which we have the misfortune of living with.


    Ralph E. Luker - 9/19/2006

    And the prelude to that was Christianity's adoption by Constantine which put its future in the hands of an armed empire -- making it perhaps inevitable that any serious challenge to it would require a force of arms.


    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    Professor,

    You posted your argument regarding Omar after Yehudi's post. You might re-post it in the correct spot.


    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    Omar,

    Somehow, I do not think that the Pope's lecture had much to do with Zionism. It had, on the other hand, everything to do with neo-Marcionism and the prior interfaith dialogues that have occurred between Muslims and Christians in which Christians have made concessions, by overlooking the non-reformed Islam, while Muslims have done nothing to accomodate Christianity.

    Neo-Marcionism is a grave danger to the Church and the dialogue that has been occurring to date are, as this Pope sees it, bad for Christianity.


    N. Friedman - 9/19/2006

    Professor,

    Good point.


    Tim R. Furnish - 9/19/2006

    Let's look at these passages in the New Testament which allegedly sanction violence:
    Luke 3:14: "He [Jesus] replied [to some soldiers, probably Roman], 'don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely--be content with your pay.'"
    How is this pro-violence? Jesus us telling Roman soldiers to restrain their power vis-a-vis the civilian populace.
    Luke 22:38: "The disciples said, 'See, Lord, here are two swords.' 'That is enough,' he [Jesus] replied."
    Well, sir, if you read further on in that chapter, Jesus rebuked a disciple who actually used a sword (probably Peter). Pretty thin argument on your end on this one.
    Romans 13:1ff: "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established..."
    Well, actually, this is Paul arguing for OBEYING the law lest a NON-CHRISTIAN POWER--the pagan Romans--employ the sword against you!
    As for Revelation: please provide specific citations of the allegedly violence-inducing passages.
    Are you truly trying to argue that THESE passages are violent on a level with the Qur'anic ones that explicitly extoll beheadings and killing of unbelievers? If so, either you're incapable of reasoning or you are choosing not to for polemical reasons.


    E. Simon - 9/19/2006

    "It almost looks to me like he thought he was in amongst his old cloistered hangers-on in the ivy covered halls, and forgot that his job is to be a spokesmen for hundreds of millions of Christians, and a diplomat to the world."

    The problem or paradox is how to invite over a billion Muslims in to be part of a Western tradition, whose tolerance depends on the very secularizing, "Hellenized" nature with which the papacy continues to see itself in a state of mild yet still quite adversarial tension.

    It's hard for me as a Westerner to avoid seeing all of these delicate angles at play and as a non-Catholic, still sympathize with the pope's position, since if there is a more sophisticated and better, presumably less confrontational way to broach the need for how to address a realistic reconciliation between West and Middle East, I have yet to hear or see it.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/18/2006

    That makes it just fine to burn churches and murder nuns in order to show that the Pope was WAY out of line to quote a Byzantine emperor under siege as characterizing Islam as having a strong strain of violence and conquest.

    Yessir, call US violent barbarians will you?

    Seriously, since you would obviously argue that what occurred here in the P.A. and Somalia and elsewhere was savagely uncalled for as a response, John, you STILL have to deal with the question: where is this savage violence, torching of the holy places of others (did the Pope do that?), murdering of holy people (did the Pope do THAT?)--yes, you need to answer honestly, where is this savagery coming from?

    And you know what? I'll tell you where it's NOT coming from. It's NOT coming from the Pope's equating of Hellenism (or even rationality) with Christianity.

    Get real.

    Art Eckstein


    Ricardo Luis Rodriguez - 9/18/2006

    The Pope spoke, several churches burned, a nun murdered...


    Ricardo Luis Rodriguez - 9/18/2006

    " Professor Furnish knows full well that crusades by eastern and western Christians were the prelude to Muslim conquests in the 14th century."

    And the prelude to said crusades were the conquest by Islamic forces of previously Byzantine held lands.


    Ben W. Brumfield - 9/18/2006

    Mr. Chapman proves himself wholly ignorant of the definition of supersessionism, which is a theory Islam may apply to Christianity and Judiasim, or that Christianity may apply to Judaism, but which none of them monotheistic religions apply to other faiths, as they do not consider themselves heir to.


    John Chapman - 9/18/2006

    correction: Mr. Furnish has NOT stated this but it’s what his religion is all about.


    John Chapman - 9/18/2006

    My first comment about Mr. Furnish’s article is positive. I agree with 99 per cent of what he says about Islam but I haven’t forgotten Christianity’s record either. I believe in the essence of Jesus Christ but abhor Organized Religion because it’s what’s been causing all the troubles. If only the Middle East had been a hotbed of Buddhism – there might have been fewer problems.

    The Pope’s comment was certainly not a crude anti-Islamic polemic. It was carefully considered and yet it is obvious Mr. Furnish has a blind spot for Christianity, that “there is really only ONE passage in the entire New Testament that can be construed as promoting violence”. I just can’t agree with that at all. Only one passage. That’s incredible. But when one is of the faith it is easy to get lost in supersessionism (my religion is destined by God to replace yours) as the root of Christian violence toward Muslims. Mr. Furnish has stated this but it’s what his religion is all about. To me, the Vatican's recent declaration makes clear that supersessionism still marks Christian attitudes toward all religions. I would think that other biblical passages may have provoked more violence in the last 2000 years, e.g. Luke 3.14 which implies acceptance of military involvement unquestioningly, the two swords seemingly commended by Jesus at his arrest in Luke 22: 38, references to the centurions in the New Testament and especially Romans 13. What about the Book of Revelation, the apocalyptic struggles do suggest some violence. Many tenured Christians might prefer to sweep under the rug: the roots of violence and interreligious animosity that are found in the Bible and the Christian tradition themselves. It’s the old argument again; exclusivism (only my religion is true) and inclusivism (your religion may be true, but mine is truer and less violent).


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/18/2006

    Omar, you've already shown that you can't handle the truth, with your crazed denial of the vile sewer of anti-semitism sanctioned by Hezbollah, a debate with which we were regaled both in August and earlier in September.

    Is there anything in Prof. Furnish's account of Islam spreading by the sword that is inaccurate?

    Do you really think that Muslims burning churches and killing nuns (as happened in Somalia) proves that the Pope--or rather the Emperor Manuel II--was WRONG in pointing out the violent and aggressive tendencies that exist in Islam? In whose NAME thousands of innocents have been slaughtered in the last decade (including thousands of "wrongly believing" Muslims in Iraq? THAT cannot be said for ANY other religion.

    Don't you see how murdered nuns and burning churches LOOKS to the outside world? Do you really think they EQUATE in violence to the Pope commenting on something said by the Byzantine Emperor when his capital--NOT a Muslim city but a Christian city--was under attack by Muslims in the 14th century? You think that attack was done by pamphlets? Or by violence? Do you think that an Ottoman army advanced to the gates of Vienna in 1683, less than a century before the Declaration of Independence, to hand out pamphlets extolling Islam--or to engage in aggressive expansion?

    Do you not understand that Jerusalem itself was taken from Christians in the 640s by violent Muslim attack?

    This is not to say that all Muslims are violent or irrational, just that the violent and irrational strain that exists within Islam is far more prominent today than the one in Christianity (or Judaism), and that Islam (like Christianity occasionally) has, historically, spread through using the sword.

    Those are simple FACTS about the past. The question is whether you can handle them. You think that killing nuns and burning churches shows that Islam is the religion of peace? Don't you see that behavior such as this CONFIRMS what the crudest anti-Muslim propagandists say? You couldn't handle the FACTS about Hezbollah in the present. Perhaps you've changed on this larger question.

    Arthur M. Eckstein


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/18/2006

    Why didn't the Islamic world choose the dialog part of the Pope speech? It's Islam capable of any dialog?


    Kenneth R Stow - 9/18/2006

    No dispute on the claims of Muslim teaching. Norman Stillman"s _Jews in Arab Lands_ has all the texts in excellent translation, on just what Mohammed himself did.
    However, reason, just a minute. This is not the "reason" you and I understand. It is Thomastic reason which equates being reasonable with Christian belief and those who reject Christianity, read reason, or vice-versa, as inhuman. See Anna Abulafia Sapir's _Christians and Jews in the Twelfth Century Renaissance._
    Either way, somebody is not happy with the Jews, on which see also my own recent _Jewish Dogs_ Continuity in the Jewish-Catholic Encounter (Stanford 2006). The title is no put-on.
    Kenneth Stow


    Nicholas Clifford - 9/18/2006

    I wonder how many of the journalists and editorial writes (like those of the NY Times, for instance) actually took the trouble to read the text of Benedict's lecture, and to discover the context in which the remarks about Islam from the xiv century could be found. Journalists, even the best of them, can become addicted to sound bites, and thus a remark, made as an aside, can be presented by the news media as standing for a whole world view (or Weltanschauung, as they would say in Regensburg!). The lecture was not really about Islam, nor was it even about forcible convesion. Rather it was about what Benedict calls "de-Hellenization," and it raised the very interesting question of how far the Hellenization of the church is a matter of inculturation, and how far it is (because the NT itself is a production of Hellenized circles) integral to the Christianity presented in the NT.
    Still, the pope should be realistic enough to understand that sound bites, whether or not essential to the context, are what the media will pick up. If he still doesn't get it, then perhaps we should fly a sadder but wiser Larry Summers over to Rome to explain to Benedict, on the basis of his own personal experience, how the media work, and how even offhand remarks, made within the confines of a great university, can be distorted.
    And that is why a) Benedict should have dissociated himself from the views of Manuel II Paleologos, and b) why he should have pointed out that forcible conversion to Christianity is every bit as irrational and unChristian as spreading Islam (or anything else) by the sword.


    John D. Beatty - 9/18/2006

    This is the equivalent response from the Islamic world to a single public statement that Islam supports and even sanctions violence. But the FIRST reaction from these "scholars" is to say "you did it too!"

    This dosen't even approach any standard of reason.

    If you disagree with Benedict or with the article, refute it with evidence. If you have nothing to refute it with, other than self-righteous "I know you are but what am I?" schoolyard responses cloaked in liberal rage, at least be brief.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/18/2006

    Yes, the catholic church (and many other Christian denominations) have a violent past but in our days this is mostly past. Christian violence is mostly marginal in our days. We don't see Christian mobs blowing up mosques or killing imams. The Islamic world still has a long way till reformation and I hope it's not going to take 5-700 more years till then?!
    I am not especially supportive of a church headed by old men wearing dresses and still not letting women to become priests but the contemporary catholic church has a very wide range of social and ideological developments. There are South American leftist priests who joined guerilla movements and helped bringing down dictators and priests who organized grass roots movements for social change, many times paying with their lives for it. In Italy there are working class leftist priests who are very close to the trade unions.
    In our days violence isn't in 99% of the cases the way Christianity works. The former chaplain of the New York city fire department, who died on 9/11/2001 doing his duties in one of the WTC towers was an openly gay Catholic priest and monk.
    In the Islamic world violence is the main way of expression and the Pope and the Vatican bureaucracy submitted to the Islamic violence. The Pope called for a dialog and he received a Christian worker killed in Somalia, angry mobs and grenades, in exchange and the result was a reluctant "I am sorry".


    john crocker - 9/18/2006

    " But nowadays it seems that reality is imitating art (okay, popular culture) as Muslims engage in violence if anyone dares suggest…that Islam has
    a violent strain! Last spring it was attacks on Christians for the Danish newspaper cartoons caricaturizing Muhammad"
    The attacks provoked by the caricature were not because of the nature of the ccaricature, but because of the mere existence of the visual representation. This is not to say that those attacks were justified, but that it does not sit well in your analogy.

    The pope's claim of Catholic embrace of Hellenism and reason, while quoting 15th century christian emperors is puzzling. At this time and for quite a time after the Catholic Church persecuted people for following reason rather than dogma. Over 200 years after this quote the Catholic Church persecuted Galileo for following reason. The Catholic Church's embrace of Hellenism was not an actual embrace of Greek philosophy or culture but an embrace of a caricature of that culture. Christianity has not for most of its history been imbued with the Greek respect for rationality. Western society has embraced rationality largely in spite of Church policy rather than due to it. Any rational argument that ran counter to dogma was punished for most of the history of the Church. The ideas of the Enlightenment and its embrace of reason as a guide to truth were not easily reconciled with Church teaching.

    "Benedict believes that Greek philosophy is an integral part of the articulation of Christian revelation, especially its emphasis on reason."
    Revelation in the spiritual sense and reason in any meaningful rational way are not easy partners. There have been many attempts at a rational proof of God (ID being among the latest). All of these have been deeply flawed. This is largely because God, as defined by all current major religions, is beyond our understanding and so beyond or ability to rationally explain. This is not to say that religious people cannot employ rationality or even be otherwise rational people, but religious faith is not a product of reason.

    The pope held up his religion as rational and open, not only in the present but also historically. He pointed to irrationality and violence in Islam via the quotation. He then invites other religions to join him and Christianity in reason and dialogue. His formulation states Christianity's rationality and implies the irrationality of other faiths.


    Barrie Lambert - 9/18/2006

    I think the Pope was really attempting to make a major concession to ecumenism by quoting the Byzantine Emperor Manual II (as any diligent former Inquisitor will tell you Manual II, by virtue of the office he held as well as his Orthodox beliefs, was guilty of innumerable acts of heresy and heretical thoughts) to enable him to make the point that “spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable”.

    Of course, this conveniently ignores the behaviour of the Western Church when, say, Byzantium’s Christians were tortured, raped and murdered in Nicea during the People’s Crusade, the inhabitants of Jerusalem tortured murdered and raped in 1099, the persecution of the Cathars, the Muslim victims of the Reconquista, and the entire history of the Church’s systematic tendency to burn men’s (and women’s) bodies to save their souls from Eternal Hellfire, with of course a little bit of torture and rape thrown in to spice the entertainment even more. Perhaps Benedict has spent too much time contemplating theology and too little time with God.

    All in all, giving Bush and his collaborator Blair another justification to kill Muslims is not what I consider to be a very impressive day’s work for Christ's Representative on Earth.


    Ralph E. Luker - 9/18/2006

    Given the fact that Benedict XVI has apologized, it isn't clear that he has "thrown down" or "thrown up" anything except his lunch. To speak of "rent-a-mobs in Gaza or Kashmir" manifests the very contempt for Islam that the mobs believe they heard in Benedict's words. Professor Furnish knows full well that crusades by eastern and western Christians were the prelude to Muslim conquests in the 14th century. I'm always intrigued by the assymetry of scholarship and argument about these issues. I can find, for instance, estimates of the numbers of European Christians who were enslaved by Muslims as prisoners of war in the Crusades. For the life of me, I cannot find such estimates of the reverse -- of Muslims taken captive and enslaved by crusading Christians -- though we know to a point of certainty that many were. And it was that practice, the taking of prisoners of war as slaves, by both Muslims and Christians, that perpetuated slave bondage into the modern world. There's also plenty of evidence that slaves in the Muslim world sometimes experienced degrees of upward mobility unthinkable in the Christian west. Professor Furnish specializes in telling stories from a western Christian perspective that do no justice to the world of Islam and do terrible damage to the hope of dialogue among the western world's three great monotheisms.

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