Religion’s death toll mounts in Afghanistan

Today’s New York Times reports nine more deaths resulting from rioting in Afghanistan inspired by the burning of a Qur’an in America. (Yesterday’s toll of 15 has been changed to 12, bringing the total to 21).  One of the victims, all killed by bullets, was a police officer.

Oh, and the rioters didn’t neglect a religously inspired slap at women:

Zalmai Ayoubi, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the rioters attacked the Zarghona Ana High School for Girls, burning some classrooms and a school bus. The school is supported by the United States Agency for International Development. The Taliban have opposed girls’ education.

Why did Muslims not riot a week ago Friday (March 25), when the Qur’an had been burned by Pastor Jones on March 20? It turns out that Hamid Karzai announced it!

Both Afghan and international news media had initially played down or ignored the action of Mr. Jones, the Florida pastor. This Thursday, however, President Hamid Karzai made a speech and issued statements condemning the Koran burning and calling for the arrest of Mr. Jones for his actions. On Friday that theme was picked up in mosques throughout Afghanistan.

Karzai is not only corrupt, but malicious as well.


  1. Posted April 2, 2011 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    The can we/should we phlogiston conundrum continues…

  2. litchik
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Apparently we have not successfully versed Mr. Karzai on the concept of separation of Church and State. Perhaps Mr. Karzai should be arrested for incitement to violence.

    I am writing a check today to the Central Asia Institute.

  3. Posted April 2, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    “Religion of peace” my ass.

    Not that the religion of Jesus “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me” Christ is any better, mind you — it’s just not in quite so virulent a stage at the moment.



  4. Insightful Ape
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Cue Y the troll saying religion is not to blame because the imams/karzai/etc lie when they claim they believe it.

  5. Posted April 2, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    This is the guy we’re propping up, in an attempt to advance his country into, say, the late 19th century? (Further than that was probably always wildly optimistic). He’s Not Helping.

  6. Posted April 2, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Jeezis – I hope he’s proud of himself.

  7. Posted April 2, 2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting they have separate high schools for girls. Are Muslims afraid of females?

    We are wasting billions of taxpayer dollars and thousands of young American lives to defend the Muslim idiot Hamid Karzai who stole the election and who wants America to put Americans in prison if they don’t suck up to the religion of peace.

    • Diane G.
      Posted April 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      It’s interesting they have separate high schools for girls. Are Muslims afraid of females?

      Where have you been? (meant in good humor)

      Have I got a book recommendation for you:

      (And why does Amazon list the 2nd author first?!)

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, thought that would be just an url!

      • jwthomas
        Posted April 2, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        Because Amazon hates women too.

      • Steersman
        Posted April 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        One good book recommendation deserves another: Veiled Threat – The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan by Sally Armstrong.

        In some ways I’m not terribly happy, as a Canadian, at the thought of our troops – and your troops too – fighting and dying and being maimed there in Afghanistan, particularly in support of a corrupt politician – Karzai – and of some questionable American geopolitics motivated in part by some apocalyptic Christianity. But on reading that book of Armstrong’s – required reading I should think for, at least, all soldiers, politicians and diplomats involved there – I’m of the opinion that the plight of women in Afghanistan – actually all Muslim women who are not part of the problem – are worth the sacrifices. Although I think we should be apprehensive about the possibility that the cure, at least as it is being administered now, is worse than the disease.

  8. NewEnglandBob
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that millions of people around the world should start burning Korans, maybe on a weekly basis. Some of us could also throw in an Old and Nnew Testament to help burning to completion.

    • Scott near Berkeley
      Posted April 2, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      That’s what I was thinking, too.

      How about single sheets of paper, burning the image of Mohammed?

      • Filippo
        Posted April 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        How about threatening to dog-ear one page of a Koran somewhere on the planet?

        • Al
          Posted April 4, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

          Dog-earing for the win.

          What about going one step further and saying that there’s a bucket of water on a time-delay switch somewhere in the middle east suspended over a Qur’an, and we will only deactivate the timer once the muslim World painstakingly reassembles the Bamyan statues?

          1 day, 23 hours and 59 minutes, guys…

    • Diane G.
      Posted April 2, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Remember the controversy over Draw Mohammed Day? Bleah.

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted April 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        That is why I suggested every week until they are desensitized and wake up to the realization that they are acting irrational and sub-civilized.

        • Diane G.
          Posted April 2, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          Oh, I completely agree with you. The controversy I was referring to was the one from the bleeding hearts, some of them atheists, tut tutting over “being purposefully offensive.” Sigh.

  9. uzza
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    One year ago this guy passed the law legalizing rape and forbidding women to leave their houses.

    This is what we’re fighting for over there.

    • Marella
      Posted April 3, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, warms your heart doesn’t it?


  10. Badger3k
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Seriously – has the commenting policy changed? Is there a new word in the filters that Jerry doesn’t want brought in here? Can you tell me what was wrong with what I wrote that it gets flagged (and maybe killed, not sure how often the catch-bag is checked)? I just want to know so that I can avoid it if that is the case?

    Thanks, I hope.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted April 2, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      I have no record of any other comment you made and I don’t have a “word” filter. I have no idea what happened to any other post you made; try re-posting it.

      • Posted April 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        One thing I’ve noticed is that directly linking to the Squidly One often results in the post going into a black hole. Not sure what might be causing that….



        • whyevolutionistrue
          Posted April 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

          Yes, and another weird thing, one that may be related, is that for some reason P.Z.’s own posts never make it over here, so he’s given up on that. I have NO IDEA why this occurs. There’s certainly no filter eliminating them.

          • Badger3k
            Posted April 2, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

            Maybe it’s my connection, but I was referring back to a certain individual with the initials RJH, two had links to a post dealing with this issue, where (unless he is writing sarcastically) he says that Pastor Jones should be charged and convicted with murder. And yet nowhere in it does he go off on those who actually did the deed.

          • Badger3k
            Posted April 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

            Maybe it’s something with wordpress, although since the link now works, that may not be it. I use computers at school all day, and I’ve seen so much weird shite that I’ve given up trying to figure out why it acts the way it does. I’m sure there is some technical reason, but it’s beyond my pay grade. Thanks for the reply, and I’m glad you’re not filtering. Makes it more comfortable to come here.

            • Diane G.
              Posted April 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

              I’ve had seemingly innocuous posts not go through here. Since I saw no way to find them inflamatory, I chalked it up to some WP glitch. Frustrating, though!!

          • Marella
            Posted April 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

            I wondered why we never heard from PZ over hear, the interwebs moves in mysterious ways. 😉

            • Marella
              Posted April 3, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

              Nooooo, ‘here’ obviously.

  11. Bobbie
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    The NY Times is reporting that the pastor who burned the Koran is calling for retribution. He says he thinks he is not responsible for the deaths. I agree that it is strange that it would take so long for individuals to do something like this.

    • Badger3k
      Posted April 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Well, he did burn the koran in a deliberately inflammatory manner, not offhand like PZed, but he didn’t kill anyone. He bears some responsibility, as we all do in a world that has so many interconnections (society, the internet, etc – not new age woo), but the people who got so offended that they are willing to kill someone – they are the ones who bear the real responsibility.

      • Posted April 2, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        This is one case where “A pox on you both your houses” definitely holds. It’s not like Jones’ message was some high-minded protest in favour of free speech.

        • Miles McCullough
          Posted April 2, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          If you are only allowed to burn scripture in a high-minded protest in favour of free speech, then do you really have free speech?

          • Posted April 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

            Since no one here is talking about arresting or illegalizing Koran-burning, free speech is not at stake. But we can certainly question motives and call out hypocrisy when we see it. It’s possible to despise both Jones and the mobs. I blogged about this last Fall:

            • Miles McCullough
              Posted April 3, 2011 at 11:16 am | Permalink

              My apologies then. I’ve been involved in a long argument on over whether Koran burning should be criminalized and Jones charged with murder. Apparently, inciting a third party to commit a crime is itself a crime in the UK and elsewhere, where several people have been arrested for burning the Koran, including a 15 year old girl. Outrageous if you ask me, but that’s what the Brits seem to favor.

  12. Posted April 2, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I wonder… if you have a Qur’an in your Kindle, and throw it away, or dispose of it, is it blasphemous?

    Technology is the enemy of Islam.

    And BTW… We have the right to burn any symbol in protest, just like you have the right to burn a flag. Imagine if americans went on a murderous rampage for all the flag burning in the middle east?

    • Wayne Robinson
      Posted April 2, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      I’d imagine … No. Only if it were in the original Arabic. I don’t know if a book on a Kindle (or an iPad) actually exists in any real physical form. What you have purchased is the right to have access to the book. If your Kindle dies and goes to computer chip heaven, then you’re allowed to buy a new Kindle and download the book again.

      • Badger3k
        Posted April 2, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        What if it is in modern arabic? I’m sure the language has changed over the past 1200-odd years, if I remember when it was supposed to have been written. If it is not written in the original writing, is it ok? Silly, yes, but that’s what you get when you believe silly things.

        • Kirth Gersen
          Posted April 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          If I understand it correctly, the Quran is the basis of all officially correct Arabaic grammar — when it came into circulation, the language itself had to be retconned so that misspellings and grammatical errors in the Quran became the new standards of what was correct. I can’t think of any reason why this would have changed, considering how backward the Muslim world now is.

    • Penman
      Posted April 2, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

      “Murderous rampage…in the Middle East”

      Hmm. Some might say that’s exactly what our Middle East foreign policy has amounted to in the past 10 years.

      Facile, I know, but Bush did call it a “crusade,” and there was that one high-ranking general who thought the only good Muslim was a dead Muslim.

      Just sayin…

      • Miles McCullough
        Posted April 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        It’s basically the same thing as “asserting American dominance.” I bet more than a few Senators on both sides of the aisle would publicly support that too.

        It always astounds me how many politicians and voters favor military force when our economic interest is threatened. It sounds official and reasonable, but it’s the same rationale any mugger uses in a dark alley.

    • Diane G.
      Posted April 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Imagine if americans went on a murderous rampage for all the flag burning in the middle east?

      We only do that for flag burning here. (Well, maybe we don’t go quite that far, but there are places in the US I’d be loath to burn a flag…)

  13. Anonymous
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Dammit, Karzai.

    “Under a new law proposed by the country’s justice ministry and soon to be considered by Karzai’s cabinet, “garments contrary to Islamic sharia” will be banned.”

    “…according to drafts of the law seen by the Guardian, the government is also aiming to introduce various public morality provisions in yet another sign of the casual erosion of the small freedoms women have won since 2001.”

    • Marella
      Posted April 3, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      So now they’re going to have the ‘Wedding Police’, what an excellent way to spend public money! As well as paying for the lavish wedding, now they’ll have to allow for bribes to the wedding police or the whole party will be dragged off to gaol.

  14. raven
    Posted April 2, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    This is just appalling. Nothing else to say.

    Looks like we have the choice between one set of barbarians or what is probably a worse set of barbarians. Seems like Karzai is trying to out flank the Islamofascists.

    And they do pay a price. IIRC, the average lifespan in Afghanistan is 46, one of the lowest in the world.

    As to what they solution is, got me. After I set up peace between Israel and the Palestinians and Universal Health Care in the USA, I’ll work on Afghanistan.

  15. Daniel Schmuhl
    Posted April 3, 2011 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    I first saw this story on Youtube, and what really annoyed me were the apologists.I’m certainly not a fan of fundamentalist Christianity, but there is a false equivalency when comparing it with radical Islam.

  16. Posted April 3, 2011 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I’m ostensibly opposed to burning the Quran because it’s rather mean-spirited and also creates a little pollution, however when you see the crazy response like this, it makes me more sympathetic to Quran burnings.

  17. Jay Lee
    Posted April 3, 2011 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Burn more qurans! Throw a few bibles and torahs on as well! Drag these medieval clowns into the light. Religions are obsessed with two things; sex and death.

  18. raven
    Posted April 3, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    “I’m certainly not a fan of fundamentalist Christianity, but there is a false equivalency when comparing it with radical Islam.”

    Never noticed this. I’ve never been able to see any difference whatsoever. They both come from the same source, ancient middle eastern tribal cultures.

    The main difference: We in the west don’t let our religious kooks run around loose anymore. This process took centuries and many brave humans to do it. It isn’t even done yet. Just look at the Mormons or FLDS.

    A sign of a civilized society is not letting religious crackpots do whatever they want.

  19. Prashanth
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 3:57 am | Permalink

    While the connections between the rioting and the announcement is quite evident, I fail to see how you say that Karzai is corrupt. Anyways, I surmise that must be emerging out of some previous post?

  20. Patrick Simons
    Posted April 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I would like to submit one of my poems as a comment.

    © Patrick Simons

    I believe what I believe,
    Because I believe it,
    Because it suits me,
    Because I can,
    I’ve no need to think,
    I’ve no need to learn,
    Facts don’t matter,
    I know the truth,
    Because I know I’m right,
    And I know you’re wrong,
    I know this because I do,
    It’s you, who lives a life,
    Of self deception,
    Not me,
    I know this,
    It’s true,
    I know it is.

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