New York Times intimidated into suspending anti-Islam ad

As I mentioned recently, the New York Times published an awesome ad sponsored by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), urging Catholics to leave the Church. Now, however, the same paper has refused to print a very similar ad about Islam.  Here’s a video; sadly, it’s from Fox News, who won’t show either ad because they’re considered “offensive.”

Here’s the ad, from the Daily Caller (note the similarities to the FFRF ad):


As HuffPo reports:

But the Times didn’t shut the door to running the ad altogether.

“We have not made a decision not to publish the ad you refer to,” a letter to Geller said, according to Fox News. “We made a decision to postpone publishing it in light of recent events in Afghanistan, including the Koran burning and the alleged killings of Afghani civilians by a member of the U.S. military.”

Geller told the Daily Caller she doubts the Times will ever run the ad because, in her words, “when is it ever a good time to blaspheme under the Sharia?”

The answer is “never.”  Muslims have hit on the optimal strategy to promulgate their faith: riot and kill every time it’s criticized.

100 Comments

  1. newenglandbob
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    I could not watch the entire video from Faux News because they are so biased and wrong, as usual and the reporter is not even capable of reading a quote properly.

    Fox News is the offensive one in this piece of garbage reporting.

    • gdfalk
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:34 am | Permalink

      Oh, please. “Could not watch the entire video”? Try to be at least minimally rational. Plus, where *in that video* is Fox News “biased and wrong”?

      • newenglandbob
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:40 am | Permalink

        Did you listen to the words? There is no defamation of the RCC, only facts. Fox is the one who constantly tells lies, not the FFRF. Every adjective that the reporter uses is biased opinion. Fox has no relation to actual journalism.

      • Utakata
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        You have to be kidding us, right? Surely you must be joking.

    • Posted March 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      I liked “The fallout from running this ad now could put U.S. troops and/or civilians in the [Afghan] region in Denver.” (1:25)

      That’s be much safer, wouldn’t it?

  2. Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    It’s ALWAYS a good time to blaspheme!

  3. Gordon
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    In fairness the ad is a bit plagarised. They should come up with their own content. But shame on the NYT for giving in to bullies.

    • steve oberski
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery.

      It’s not as if the authors of the New Testament, Koran and the Mormon (as Mark Twain put it, it is chloroform in print) bables have a monopoly on cut and paste.

  4. Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    I think that this is a version of the “heckler’s veto”: “well, we know you have the right to say that but if you do, X will behave very badly and might injure/kill someone.”

    This would be a bit like refraining from putting a “you lost, get over it” sticker on your car (has the Confederate battle flag with an “x” on it) if you live in a rural area.

  5. Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    There’s no question about it: Islam is a rabid dogma.

    It can be reasonably asserted that the Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind. Of late, it’s Islam rearing its ugly head.

    It’s time to reform Islam. The religion must disown its legal (Sharia) and geopolitical (Jihad) offspring.

    As George Carlin pointed out: “I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.” But in the case of Islam, it’s THREE institutions.

  6. Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    “NYT REJECTS ANTI-ISLAM AD, BUT RUNS ANTI-CATHOLIC AD”

    The irony…the IRONY!

    Let us hope the RCC does not (re)figure out from that just what sort of behavior it takes to get unmitigated slack-cutting.

    ["Can you say FEAR? I knew that you could."
    -- Mr. Rogers]

    • Gluon
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      I always have this queasy feeling that maybe Christians are going to rediscover their roots in this negative way. Christianity seems to have been tamed from it’s most violent days, but what, really, keeps the lid on? Sometimes I get that same feeling one has when traveling in a poor foreign country. What keeps me from being there in poverty with them? I’m physically here. Is it just this passport? The barrier can feel flimsy at times.

      • Diane G.
        Posted March 25, 2012 at 1:08 am | Permalink

        “Crackergate” elicited death threats, after all.

    • PB
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Yes, this is the interesting fact.

      RCC is fair game, because it is lame & tame?
      Islam is off-limit, because it is wild, sick & rabid?

      Verily, it reflecteth realities!

  7. Boko999
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    I don’t blame the NYT for being wary of running an ad from Gellar and Spencer.
    It may not be fear of reprisal just a healthy reluctance to give attention to a couple toxic bigots.

    • Filippo
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      Shall they rather run an ad that says to us, for example, “Give Yourselves over – Submit – to the Religion of Peace and Non-Toxic Non-Bigots”?

      • raven
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        They probably have run many ads along those lines. Most newspapers have a whole section on religion that they run on the weekends.

    • Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      We’ll see I suppose. I know the AA has adds planned for use in Islamic and Jewish communities. THough they plan on doing billboards. I would like to see the AA offer their add, which is a bit less inflammatory than the one offered by Gellar and Co.

  8. Clay Farris Naff
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Yes, *some* Muslims employ violence and intimidation to promote Islam. But to suggest an equivalence between FFRF and Pam Geller is much like suggesting the New York Times and Fox News are in the same business.

    FFRF is a respectable organization with a coherent, principled opposition to the encroachment of religion — any religion — into public life. Pam Geller is a bigot, plain and simple. The object of her bigotry is not religion, but Islam. She makes no real distinctions, apart from Muslim/non-Muslim. Hence, the scare quotes around ‘moderate.’

    Fear of retaliation might be at work, but given the courage of the NYT and its journalists in reporting from the most dangerous places in the Islamic world, I think another hypothesis deserves consideration: perhaps it doesn’t want to soil its pages by selling space to hate groups.

    Clay

    • Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      I think that, if you read the Quran, it’s quite natural to come away from the experience in awe of how entrenched and self-reinforcing its fundamentalism is. It’s the most totalitarian religion I’ve ever looked into. To me, it’s THE most notable thing about the Quran.

      Many of us who have read the Quran are alarmed by it. It’s hard to see how there can even be such a thing as a “moderate” Muslim . . . unless he/she is simply ignorant of what is in the Quran (in the same way so many Christians are ignorant of what’s in the Bible). If I were to beat a drum against one religion, it would be Islam. No question about it.

      Islam engenders an intolerant, us-versus-them mindset. I don’t care what all those “religion of peace” liars claim.

      • Clay Farris Naff
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink

        With respect, Jim, “if you read the Quran” is no way to evaluate how Islam actually works in the world, anymore than reading the Bible tells us how Christianity operates. If it were, we would presumably see witch-burnings and fathers selling their daughters into slavery in Britain today. After all, it remains an officially Christian monarchy.

        Look, scriptures are magic mirrors. Religious authorities look into them and see what they want to see and rationalize their way around the rest. Religious followers accommodate themselves as best they can. In free societies, they generally shop around for the best fit, or leave altogether.

        Islam, as instantiated around the world, is problematic. But so is much of Christianity. Your concluding sentence is shockingly naive at best. Have a look at this and this and ask yourself if you want to come off sounding more like Geller or the FFRF.

        http://www.juancole.com/2010/03/jenkins-bible-far-more-violent-than.html

        http://www.gallup.com/press/104209/who-speaks-islam-what-billion-muslims-really-think.aspx

        If you have time, read Robert Wright’s The Evolution of God. Wright, a nontheist, offers great insight into the highly contradictory rise of theism.

        Best regards,

        Clay

        • Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

          I made no assertion about how Islam works. That would be silly. Islam doesn’t work in a specific way . . . that is something its adherents determine individually. I only stated that the Quran — on which Islam is based — engenders a totalitarian, xenophobic, mindset (if understood and taken seriously).

          Some adherents aren’t really practicing Muslims. Others just want to live their lives in peace, like most of us do.

          What concerns me is the demographics of Islamic regions of the world. Although education levels are climbing in most of these regions, the illiteracy rate is still alarmingly high and tends to accompany both a high poverty rate and a high birth rate. This is fertile ground for Islamists to pursue their extremist agendas and recruit Jihadis.

          But the most important thing in Islam is the Quran. And in the Quran, Allah repeatedly makes it abundantly clear that if you shirk the battle for Jihad, you’re a scumball in his omniscient eyes.

          This does not portend well for the West.

        • Posted March 24, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

          Just an afterthought . . .

          Let’s say that you’re an illiterate but Allah-fearing Muslim. Moderate Muslims tell you that Islam is a religion of peace. Fundamentalist Muslims tell you that Islam can only be at peace AFTER infidels are silenced (converted or killed). You don’t know who to believe.

          So you learn to read. You find some (but not many) commendable, tolerant suras in the Quran but you also read the unrelenting harangue exhorting believers to keep believing and vilifying unbelievers, misbelievers, nonbelievers and ex-believers. You read that you shouldn’t associate with, or give any credence whatsoever, to infidels. You realize that if you removed such harangues from the Quran, there wouldn’t be much left. Xenophobia is woven into and throughout the Quran.

          What do you do? What do you believe after reading the Quran for yourself? Prior indoctrination would surely play a large part in your response. Which is why the spread of extremism in Islam is so toxic. BECAUSE THE QURAN BACKS UP EXTREMISM. The Islamists, fundamentalists, militants, and even terrorists are actually practicing what the Quran preaches.

          The “religion of peace” is a propaganda ploy.

          • Scott near Berkeley
            Posted March 24, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            The Qur’an even sez it’s OK to lie to and deceive infidels, if it promotes the ultimate victory of the Islam religion.

            So when it comes to Moslems engaging non-Moslems, how is there any veracity possible??

      • raven
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        The bible is just as bad or worse.

        Xians have just become adept at over the centuries at skipping over and ignoring all the cuckoo and barbaric parts.

        The penalty for leaving Judaism in the OT is death. The penalty for blasphemy is death. The penalty for worshipping other gods is death. The penalty for adultery is death. Working on the Sabbath, death. And on and on.

        There is something like 20 death penalty crimes in the bible, the vast majority of which aren’t even crimes in our society.

        My favorite is how they are supposed to stone false prophets to death. If the xians would follow their own magic book, that would end the fundie problem. All their leaders would be dead under a pile of rocks.

        • Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

          I think the depths of depravity are actually greater in the Old Testament than in the Quran. However, as a percentage of text, hate and negativity is much greater in the Quran — far more pervasive — than the Old Testament. There’s really no question about that.

      • Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        That’s pretty funny. The Radical Muslim of today is not different than the Mainstream Christian from hundreds of years ago. What has changed, for various social and economic reasons, is what part of the Christian religion is emphasised today over what was emphasised three, four hundred years ago.

        Take the Fred Phelps clan… They’d be perfectly normal Christians in pre-enlightment Europe. Today they’re considered hopeless bigots on the fringe.

        Eventually, this particular form of Islam will go away. But they’ll have to do it on their own. And they probably won’t be to do it until we leave them alone. And the reason I say that is conflict and poverty seem to be the biggest drivers that push societies to, or keep them in, religious fundamentalism.

        • raven
          Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          What has changed, for various social and economic reasons, is what part of the Christian religion is emphasised today over what was emphasised three, four hundred years ago.

          A lot of that is because countless very brave people spent centuries putting xianity in a box. We simply got tired of all the bloodshed and took away their armies and heavy weapons.

          The xians still keep trying to claw their way out of their box. Fox News is part of that as is the Tea Party and the fundie xians.

          We are not done yet. They could get out of their box yet. Rick Santorum as president would do it, one election away from catastrophe. Without eternal vigilance, it could happen here.

        • Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:35 am | Permalink

          The fundamentalists are the squeaky wheels in religion. They get the most grease. They are more active in proselytizing and agitating. They often control the religious agenda even if they’re in the minority.

          One doesn’t need to be illiterate to be a Islamist. But it does help more sophisticated Islamists fill the ranks of “grunts” who do their bidding. Jihadi soldiers, suicide bombers and terrorists have to come from somewhere . . . what better place than from the poor and illiterate?

          • raven
            Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

            I do agree that Islam has held the Moslem world back. These are stagnant societies that haven’t really gone anywhere in the last hundred years.

            After the ME threw off colonialism, there was hope in the Arab world that they would follow the western model and develop. Never happened.

            Didn’t happen in Pakistan either.

            It did happen in Korea, Singapore, the Chinas, and even India to some extent.

            As to what can be done, who knows? IMO, the Moslems have to fix their societies themselves. No way can we do it for them. All we can do is provide some help and support along the way.

            • Posted March 25, 2012 at 6:59 am | Permalink

              Part of the problem is that the yoke of colonialism is not (long?) gone. Being under proxy dictators (Mubarak, Hussein, the house of Saud) is scarcely better than “direct” control. Iran is fiercely independent, as we know, but is also suffering from what happens at the end of colonialism too (see Charles Taylor) – overreaction and power vacua.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      The NYT didn’t say that: it said that publishing the ad would endanger people, i.e. the Muslims would riot and kill. Are you suggesting the NYT is lying? I suggest you take them at their word: they don’t want another “Danish cartoons” incident.

      Anybody who points out the dangers of Islam and oppression of women is doing a good thing, and I don’t care if she is Pam Geller. If hating the doctrines of Islam is “bigotry,” then call me a bigot. There is no reason to give those doctrines a pass any more than the doctrines, of say, Catholics or Southern Baptists.

      • drlsgc
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

        +1

      • Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Neither is mutually exclusive. However, as a publisher, I would no more publish anything she was associated with, as I would publish anything associated with the KKK, skin-heads, militias, white nationalist groups, Nazis, etc.

        And, as a business, I don’t have to. And I don’t have to ‘respect your 1st Amendment Rights’ either. That’s between the government and you, not you and I.

        I’d have just sent it back and said “We don’t publish advertisements by people who have a long history of racism and bigotry.”

        • Posted March 24, 2012 at 9:01 am | Permalink

          I should also add that I would publish it from an organization that didn’t have all these right-wing hate-group ties. It’s not the ad, per se, that’s the problem. It’s Pam Geller trying to legitimize her hate-group by toning it down.

          You give people like that a toenail in the door and it gets pretty bad, pretty fast.

        • Marta
          Posted March 24, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

          +1

      • SLC
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        There’s an old saying, one who gets down in the pen with the pigs may expect to emerge with a coating of mud. To aline oneself with an unhinged racist bigot like Pam Geller is to get into the pen with the pigs.

        Attached is a link from Ed Brayton’s blog about whackjob Gellers’ obsession with President Obama’s birth certificate which puts her in league with Orly Taitz (one could link to dozens of posts by Mr. Brayton on the subject of Geller).

        http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2011/05/gellers_illegitimate_idiocy.php

      • Nicolas Perrault
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        Jerry,

        I cannot agree more.

      • Posted March 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        Anybody who points out the dangers of Islam and oppression of women is doing a good thing, and I don’t care if she is Pam Geller.

        With respect, Jerry, I think you should.

        It’s not not just important that we oppose Islam (along with other religions), but why we oppose Islam. Hating the doctrines of Islam for irrational reasons is bigotry; doing so for sound reasons (and treating the hateful doctrines of all religions equally) is not. Your “then call me a bigot” stance isn’t necessary.

        But allying yourself with a bigot would certainly make you look like one – and would reflect badly on your rationalism and fairness.

        /@

      • jay
        Posted March 25, 2012 at 6:15 am | Permalink

        I tend to agree with you Jerry. Sure, Geller is an idiot, but the point she is making (this time) is basically correct.

        there is a bizarre and cowardly double standard and it is convenient for the fundies to do the screaming. (I am a bit put off by those who seem to feel that when we criticize Islam, it’s enlightened, but when others attack some of the same beliefs, they’re bigots. Fundies are mostly wrong but are occasionally right.)

  9. mrclaw69
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    All I would say, Jerry, is support *with extreme caution*.

    Whilst I am very critical of the foundational truth claims of Islam, many of its doctrines, and particularly the violence and intimidation tactics of various Islamic groups around the world, it’s also fair to say that the enemy of my enemy is not *necessarily* always my friend.

    Geller & Spencer are not my friends.

    Simply put, Geller is a right-wing, anti-Obama, Tea-Party maniac. She’s a ‘birther’, has endorsed white supremacists around the world (including the EDL in my country, the UK) and her blog is of incredibly dubious nature.

    Unlike the FFRF – which has entirely reasonable goals – Geller & Spencer have a (barely concealed) anti-Muslim agenda.

    I don’t want to offer a reductio ad Hitlerum here. In some cases, her criticism of Islam is entirely valid – in others it’s built on straw men, paranoia and deranged fantasy.

    However, I’d be unwilling to have my name associated with Geller or Spencer.

    • Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      This.

    • Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Agree.

      As Sam Harris often says, it’s possible to be right for the wrong reasons, and that this is a mistake just as much in need of correction as being wrong outright.

      Motivations matter.

  10. Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Oh no, what’s a rational educated liberal to do in this situation. Cheer along with Fox News and diss the New York Times?!? Identity crisis feedback loop…system overload…can not compute…can not compute

    • truthspeaker
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Rational, educated liberals should diss both the New York Times and Fox News at every opportunity. Fox News is a propaganda arm for the Republican party. The New York Times is a propaganda arm for whoever is currently in the White House.

      • Filippo
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        What is the propaganda arm for the private corporate tyrant community?

        • Achrachno
          Posted March 24, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

          They have many arms. Like one of those Hindu gods (Laxmi?).

        • Diane G.
          Posted March 25, 2012 at 1:18 am | Permalink

          Congress.

  11. tatsuoshimabuku
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    If the NYT isn’t a dhimmi rag, what is? Nothing new.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Care to translate that? I tried Wikipedia, but it throws back a religious and political non sequitur. (A non-applicable sharia concept.)

      Or is that your point?

      • Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        It’s Pam Geller’s generic muslim epitath. Put it in the round-bin with ‘nigger, wog, kike, redneck, slope, jap, chink, faggot…’

        • Posted March 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

          “epitath”?

          epitaph = headstone saying
          epithet = [abusive] descriptive word or phrase

          But it’s pleasant to combine the two and imagine Pam Geller’s tombstone with “BIGOT” on it.

        • AL
          Posted March 25, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

          “Dhimmi” isn’t typically used as an epithet for Muslims. It’s used as an epithet for people who are perceived as being defensive or apologetic on behalf of Muslims.

      • Achrachno
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        The idea is that under certain (many?) interpretations of Islam, “people of the book” (Christians, Jews)are essentially second class citizens in Muslim countries, but still have rights, unlike unbelievers, pagans, anamists, etc. who have none. “People of the book” are subservient but allowed to exist. The claim here is apparently that the NYT is being subservient to Islam, hence dhimmi-like. Yes, it’s an unproductive insult often used by the likes of Geller and which rational people should probably use cautiously.

        • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
          Posted March 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

          Thanks to both moseszd and Achrachno! That explains a lot, I was unsure if and where the joke was.

  12. tatsuoshimabuku
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Seriously, guys, who cares “where” the information comes from if it’s true. I hardly have anything in common with Spencer or Geller but a revulsion of Islam, but, so what? Geller and Spencer are hardly the “worst” of the Islam haters. And, why not be “bigoted” against Islam? It deserves more ridicule and bigotry than we’re even capable of producing. And, really, why would atheists be judgmental about someone being “bigoted” against Islam? I really don’t understand that at all, but I see it all the time. I think maybe you’re mixing “bigotry” and “racism” up. However, Islam is not a race. I see so many atheist comments reviling Christianity, Judaism and other superstitions, but when Islam pops its bloody little head up, those same people suddenly become sanctimonious and start apologizing and defending. Regardless of what you think about Spencer and Geller and or what political/ religious position they’re coming from, they are fighting our fight also. Remember, if Islam gets in control, this site won’t even be allowed to exist.

    • Achrachno
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      If Geller and Spencer, and their allies, get control this site may not exist either.

      The right wing has a lot more power, and are much closer to total control, in the USA than the few Muslims can dream of being. Islam is often very bad, but right wing Christians are hardly any better. And, the closer enemy probably needs more immediate attention than the threat that’s still on the horizon.

    • raven
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Remember, if Islam gets in control, this site won’t even be allowed to exist.

      Oh c’mon. This is cosmically silly, about at the space reptiles level.

      There are maybe 2 million Moslems in the USA out of 310 million people. A lot of those are over here to get away from their dysfunctional societies.

      There are 235 million xians. Even if we just take the fundies it is still ca. 75 million people.

      I don’t see any real difference between fundie xians and fundie Moslems. But who is the threat here, 2 million Moslems or 75 million rabid fundie xians.

    • AL
      Posted March 25, 2012 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Well, in this situation, Geller may be right but for all the wrong reasons. To us rationalists, the reasons are important.

      Moreover, for someone like me who values civil liberties, Geller is definitely not a friend simply because she is the enemy of the enemy. Remember she opposed the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” on the legally dubious ground that it was insulting and offensive. Isn’t insulting and offensive the same sort of dubious rationale that militant Muslims would use in Sharia-controlled countries to ban things?

  13. Graham Martin-Royle
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    While I may not agree with Geller on other matters, I have to agree with her on this, the paper should be consistant and should not give in to possible threats from other religions.

    As for the Fox news report, just how biased can you get.

  14. Adrian
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    In the UK we have people like this called the English Defence League who lead the far right against ‘islamification’ of Britain. They are a disturbing bunch with some decidedly dodgy pasts and links to people like Anders Breivik in Norway.

    By far their most disturbing tactic however is the adoption of what sound like perfectly sane secularist arguments in criticism of Islam. Their actions do I believe make it harder to make secularist arguments without being pilloried or labelled an islamophobe.

    Whilst the latter is a ridiculous label designed to closed debate and value criticism, I’m increasingly worried that secularists are being portrayed as racists.

    What is the best way to defeat this?

    • mrclaw69
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      Quite right. I’m a UK-dweller and loathe the EDL.

      Maryam Namazie & One Law for All wrote a good report on this, Enemies Not Allies: The Far-Right.

      http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/new-report-enemies-not-allies-the-far-right/

      Now, I am no friend of Islam or any other religion that I know of.

      In the case of Islam, the Qur’an and Hadith contain much vile barbarism, and the teachings and screeds of various Imams and Mullahs around the world is scandalous. Everyday we see violence carried out in the name of this faith.

      However, whilst I happen to agree with Geller that, for instance, the application of Qur’anic doctrine leads to the subjugation of women (it *is* mandated in the text), that is not the same thing as saying that I’ll support her.

      I happen to agree with George W Bush that Saddam Hussein was a vile dictator and a danger to the Middle-East; however, that does not mean I’d have happily slapped him on the back, called him ‘matey’ and endorsed the worst aspects of his presidency or his campaign in Iraq.

      As I said before, it is a dangerous fallacy to state that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

      • Adrian
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the link to the report, I’ll read with interest. It’s making ourselves distinct from these far right bigots that is the challenging bit, especially in these times were modern media is driven by soundbite and doesn’t typically do in depth analysis.

        An atheist friend of mine says he doesn’t care about how he’s perceived and I’m much too concerned about what others think of me. Whilst I believe at some level he’s right, I also think it’s our ideas that are being misrepresented by their appropriation by bigots. And it’s the ideas that matter most – we are involved in a hearts and minds fight when it comes to showing how totalitarian religions are. If our ideas and their power become tainted by association, we lose and ignorance and superstition win.

        I don’t know as much about Islam as I should, but I do find some of its adherents scary. The distinction between it and Christianity to me seems to boil down to the fact that Christianity was dragged kicking and screaming into modernity by the enlightenment and dealt the death blow by Darwin. The fact all this happened in Europe where the church itself grew to prominence may be telling. After these events, the inquisitions, the witch burnings and the crusades stopped. Perhaps we need to have an enlightenment in the classical home of Islam – the middle east. How we get it, I’ve no idea!

    • raven
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Psm Geller is a big supporter of the EDL.

      No surprise, she was a big supporter of the Serbian Milosevic and his genocidal activities directed against Moslems in Bosnia.

    • jay
      Posted March 25, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      “By far their most disturbing tactic however is the adoption of what sound like perfectly sane secularist arguments in criticism of Islam. Their actions do I believe make it harder to make secularist arguments without being pilloried or labelled an islamophobe. ”

      What exactly is an ‘islamophobe’? And how is it different from any other position against the barbaric behavior encouraged by so many religious leaders of this belief system? (hmmm shades of the Christian ‘hate the sin love the sinner’ mantra)

      It’s not good to be cowed into silence by the actions of these people. In doing that we are being played by the forces that would like to squelch criticism of Islam.

      The enemy of your enemy is not your friend, and you should not let them control your speech either.

  15. Steve
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I concur with the final statement.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 25, 2012 at 1:21 am | Permalink

      Definitely the take-home message.

  16. Posted March 24, 2012 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    You know, a privately owned newspaper, just like a privately owned TV news network, is under no legal obligation to be consistant with their views. You may not agree with the NYT’s decision, but there is no law saying they have to publish an ad to be ‘balanced’. Why are ‘liberals’ so timid about these things? The New York Times should just go tell Geller: It’s our paper, it’s our decision, go fuck off!

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      You are the first that mentions legalities, I believe.

      NYT labor under a journalistic ethos towards neutral reporting, and that often will (and should) spill over on a paper’s ad policies.

      Reversely, if they don’t take money from parties because they are too discriminatory they are bigot.

    • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      But see moseszd’s comment above. There is definitely fine lines here.

  17. Tim
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    FOX is, without a doubt, a propaganda arm of the GOP and is in no way a place where genuine “journalism” is practiced and Pam Geller may indeed be a vile bigot. (I confess, I don’t keep up with the pantheon of Tea Party scum.) But Pam Geller has still made her point, and it is a potent one: the NYT ran the anti-catholic ad, and won’t run the anti-islam ad.

    I didn’t find the adjectives used to describe the FFRF to be all that defamatory. Actually, I think the bias in the report was most evident in the short shrift given to the NYT’s explanation for their refusal to run the ad (whether or not you agree with it) and their so-called “refusal to make a comment”.

    • raven
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      The reason why Fox News didn’t show either ad is simple.

      Much of their viewership are fundie xians and fundie Catholics.

      And one of the owners of Fox News is ironically, a Moslem, a Saudi prince. I’d say that had a lot to do with it right there.

      • Achrachno
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Good point. I’d forgotten about the Saudi prince.

  18. Tim
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    FOX is, without a doubt, a propaganda arm of the GOP and is in no way a place where genuine “journalism” is practiced and Pam Geller may indeed be a vile bigot. (I confess, I don’t keep up with the pantheon of Tea Party scum.) But Pam Geller has still made her point, and it is a potent one: the NYT ran the anti-catholic ad, and won’t run the anti-islam ad.

    I didn’t find the adjectives used to describe the FFRF to be all that defamatory. Actually, I think the bias in the report was most evident in the short shrift given to the NYT’s explanation for their refusal to run the ad (whether or not you agree with it) and their so-called “refusal to make a comment”.

    (Jerry, sorry about the repost – the autofill on my computer keeps sticking in an obsolete e-mail address.)

  19. raven
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Obama’s Birth Certificate Forgery

    Pamela Geller, WND: An illegitimate child, an illegitimate …

    I don’t have a problem with the ad. It’s a pretty tame and reasonable message.

    Pam Geller though is a hate filled polykook. She appears often in the aptly named World Nut Daily and no idea is too far out for her to repeat. She thinks Obama is a Kenyan born, Moslem terrorist, a birther.

    • raven
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      wikipedia PG:

      Geller has also advocated against Islam elsewhere. She argued that the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest sites, should be removed because it was built on the same site as Judaism’s former First and Second Temples.[26] Geller also published an article defending Radovan Karadžic, indicted for genocide and other war crimes against Bosnian Muslims and Croats during the Siege of Sarajevo and Srebrenica Massacre; the article argued that the Muslims were not murdered but committed suicide to embarrass their enemies.[27] In addition, Stop Islamization of America has sponsored ads which carry messages such as “Fatwa on Your Head?” and “Leaving Islam?” in several cities including New York City and Miami, pointing readers to a website called RefugefromIslam.com.[8][28] Geller said the ads were meant to provide resources for Muslims who were afraid to leave the religion.[28]

      Pam Geller just babbles a lot. She doesn’t let facts get in the way of her hates. She really deeply hates Moslems.

      She defended the Serbian genocide in Bosnia because many of the victims were… Moslems.

      • Achrachno
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Geller is a standard issue wingnut and no friend of women’s rights. She’s been actively defending Limbaugh in his recent troubles, and in a particularly offensive way. Her pretended concerns about human rights are not sincere. She’s apparently just an anti-muslim bigot.

        http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/40023_Pamela_Geller-_Ive_Had_It_Up_to_Here_With_Sandra_Flukes_Obama-Endorsed_Vagina

        If FFRF wants to do another ad, this time attempting to convert Muslims to rationality, then I’d guess the NYT would publish it. As it is, the irrationality of the source bleeds through into the text (read the ad again, very critically) and given everything, I can well understand why the NYT rejected Geller’s ad.

        • tomh
          Posted March 24, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          Achrachno wrote:

          If FFRF wants to do another ad, this time attempting to convert Muslims to rationality, then I’d guess the NYT would publish it.

          Why would you think that? The NYT made it clear that that reason they didn’t publish the ad was because they didn’t want to provoke a violent reaction from Muslims. The source of the ad would not affect that.

  20. Neil
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    This ad is not for the purpose of provoking a much-needed war on religion. It is a transparent attempt to provoke a religious war. I can see why the NYT wanted no part of it.

    • Achrachno
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Yes, I think that’s correct.

  21. Posted March 24, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    It is a bit unfair to criticize the Times for treating the two ads differently, since they were not submitted at the same time. Free speech has its limits. Fair or not, anti-Islamic pronouncements come pretty close to being equivalent to crying “fire” in a theater, while that is just not true of anti-Catholic pronouncements. But in these cases, the ads are eminently futile. The faithful are not going to respond as desired.

    • raven
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Don’t be so sure.

      In the last few years, the RCC has lost 22 million members, 1/3 of them.

      This is a huge number.

      The RCC has just ignored it so they can launch another war on birth control. One that no one is going to pay any attention to again. 98% of Catholic women in relevant cohorts use birth control.

      • Posted March 24, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        I agree that church membership is declining. I just found a report that indicates this decline is greater than indicated in polls, possibly due to a “halo effect.”

        http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/139575-7-startling-facts-an-up-close-look-at-church-attendance-in-america.html

        I do not think there is much chance that we will have rioting in the streets in response to criticism of any churches in the USA. The danger of riot and mayhem is in areas where our soldiers are serving in close contact with muslims. Refraining from publication of that ad just might have saved some American boy’s life.

        august43.wordpress.com

        • Posted March 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          Here is a quotation from the article I referenced just above:

          “…Does declining attendance mean declining influence? If present trends continue, the percentage of the population that attends church in 2050 is estimated to be at almost half of 1990’s attendance—a drop from 20.4% to 11.7%”

          Whatever they tell pollsters, eople are voting with their feet.

          • Marella
            Posted March 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            Not necessarily, we have less than 10% of the population attending church in Australia but the religious are still winning battles like the School Chaplains program, which was introduced by Prime Minister John Howard, a believer. They always make more noise and claim more power than they deserve.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Sorry, but I don’t agree with idea that we should refrain from criticizing Islam because many of its adherents behave like homicidal children. That’s a recipe for any faith to behave the same way to obviate criticism.

      Perhaps those ads are aimed at bystanders, too–not just the faithful.

      • Achrachno
        Posted March 24, 2012 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        WE should not refrain from criticizing Islam. But, we should also not support or defend those who criticize Islam irrationally or out of pure hate or bigotry. Geller is in the latter class, IMO.

        So. Pov. Law Ctr.:

        http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/pamela-geller

        • tomh
          Posted March 24, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          WE should not refrain from criticizing Islam. But, we should also not support or defend those who criticize Islam irrationally or out of pure hate or bigotry.

          What an odd argument. Saying the NYT should run the ad has nothing to do with supporting the author of the ad. The content of the ad matters, not the motives of the author. Do you think the Times investigated the rationality and motives of the FFRF before they ran their ad? No, they ran it because they knew there wouldn’t be a violent backlash. Now, they’re allowing themselves to be blackmailed into not running the anti-Islam ad out of fear of a backlash.

          • raven
            Posted March 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

            The content of the ad matters, not the motives of the author.

            Not sure I buy this at all.

  22. squamate
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I do think there is a difference between these two ads, and the anti-islam ad made me much more uncomfortable. The reason is is that Islam is more closely tied to race and ethnicity that Catholicism (at least in America), and the ad attacks issues pertinent not just to the religion, but also regional politics. Many Muslims around the world have legitimate reasons and personal experiences that lead them to be angry with Israel, for example, and inserting that issue here strikes me as problematic. Laying all the conflict in the region at the feet of Islam I think is misguided, too simplistic, and inaccurate. Sure the religion doesn’t help, but this just encourages more hatred for an already marginalized group. The Muslim ad does has more of a potential to fuel bigotry and discrimination. Racism and bigotry are not really possible for Catholics in this country because they are part of the majority race/religion. I feel we should mock the religion of Islam, point out the hateful acts that it encourages, and encourage people to leave the faith without singling out an ethnic minority, undermining their potentially legitimate political views, and encouraging bigotry and discrimination. Because of this it is a much more sensitive issue, and needs to be written with more care and discrimination than Geller wrote her piece. I think the times was right to reject it.

  23. bernardhurley
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Nothing like Catholics when it comes to jihad envy. Oh for the days when we could torture and burn them!

    • Scott near Berkeley
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Brings to mind the early Portuguese voyages around the Cape of Good Hope in the 1400s. On the first foray of a single ship sailing in the Indian Ocean, the Portuguese came upon an Arab dhow on the trade route to Zanzibar…

      ….and promptly burned it and its crew!!

  24. Posted March 24, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Where I see this ad going wrong is the scope of it’s subject. Where the FFRF ad was focused on a single , albeit large,institution, an organization that has betrayed it’s own members among others, this ad is focused on an entire religion, one tied very closely with culture. It would be on par with the FFRF focusing on Christianity as a whole because the pope is an asshat and Fred Phelps a repressed homosexual. The FFRF wants Catholics to leave a church, but the ADI wants muslims to leave their religion and go where unless they become atheists? Oh yeah, into the arms of Jesus. If the ad, directed at more liberal muslims, was a call to speak out against the violence and oppression that they themselves reject, and to prove that Islam can be a religion of peace when tempered by enlightenment values then I think it would be better received. But, considering the source and the implications, I can see why the NYT would be squeamish about publishing this ad. That the ADI xeroxed the FFRF ad indicates mockery and hints that they expected this controversy.

    • Scott near Berkeley
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      I think this is an excellent analysis of the pertinent facts of this episode.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 25, 2012 at 1:27 am | Permalink

      + 2

  25. Red Mann
    Posted March 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I have been following this conflict since 9/11 and used to be a faithful reader of Jihad Watch among others. What drove me away from those sites were the crazy right-wingers who turned up all of the time. At the same time on most of the more rational sites I read including Austin Cline’s, Ed Brayton’s and PZ Myers’ sites, comments against Islam were given a short shrift and basically considered to right-wing bigotry. I even had a short email discussion with Spencer suggesting that by supporting such a right-wing view point, most of what he said that was true was being over-shadowed by right-wing crap and would cause more rational people to dismiss it, which seems to have been the case. He essentially told me I was full of it.
    I still see that most rational/liberal people have a hard time with flat out commendation of Islam, they want so badly to be fair and understanding, “not all Muslims are that way” is the common refrain. Certainly not all Muslims are that way, I know some, and they are MINOs, but like moderate Christians, they supply the ocean the sharks swim in.
    I worked closely with Muslims from Saudi Arabia for several years and spent some time in Jeddah. Islam there is a seamless entity covering religion, state, culture and politics. When I came back I told people that it was like living in a country ruled by thirteen year boys, with guns. I’ve read the Koran and some of the Hadiths and there is little beauty or human compassion in them, much like the Bible which was heavily plagiarized by the authors of the Koran.
    Oh, and attacks on Islam have nothing to do with race, however, attacks on Muslims can be racially or ethnically driven.
    In any event, Islam is certainly the most disgusting of the generally disgusting Abrahamic religions.

    • Marella
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      “it was like living in a country ruled by thirteen year boys, with guns”

      Remember, all that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good people do nothing.

    • raven
      Posted March 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Islam isn’t my favorite religion. But it mostly isn’t my problem.

      I don’t find much if any difference between fundie xianity, fundie Islam, or fundie Judaism. Except the fundie xians are over here where I live rather than other there.

      But I can’t do much about ultra-orthodox in Israel or fundie Moslems in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. Not from the USA.

      I suppose we could just fire up the aircraft carriers and planes and go in with our troops to save the Moslems from the Moslems. That worked so well in Iraq although two of my frinds were killed there.

      One of the reasons why I don’t spend a whole lot of time rambling on about the kludgy Koran and medieval stagnant Islamic societies is because, while it may make me feel better for 5 minutes, it isn’t constructive. It helps no one, solves nothing, and if it increases hatred, makes things worse.

  26. Posted March 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    “when is it ever a good time to blaspheme under the Sharia?”

    Always.


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. [...] Today, he’s pointed out that the New York Times, which did publish that great ad from the Freedom From Religion Foundation urging Catholics to leave the Church, has it seems been intimidated into rejecting the same foundation’s ad advising Muslims, especially women, to leave Islam. So Jerry has posted the ad. It’s terrific. Here’s the link. [...]

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