More on the kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenagers (and now a Palestinian one)

As I expected, there was a lot of contention about my post yesterday that accused Hamas of kidnapping and killing three Israeli teenagers. I was generally pleased with the polite tone of all the comments, though I had to ban several people for insulting the host (one even had the temerity to tell me that the topic had nothing to do with evolution!).  In the future, please stick to the topic and avoid saying things to me that you wouldn’t say in my living room, which of course is what this website is. And read “Da Roolz”, which you can find on the sidebar. And try to keep a lid on your anger.

My original claim that the kidnappers were from Hamas has not yet been verified, so, as I noted in an update yesterday, my claim is actually in limbo. Yet Israel has identified two men associated with Hamas, Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer Abu Aisheh, as suspects, and they’re nowhere to be found.

The Times of Israel reports, though, that Hamas doen’st really actually deny responsibility, nor do they seem too upset about the teenagers’ murders. In fact, they’re happy about it. Look at the palpable and sickening glee expressed by the head of Hamas about the murders (my emphasis):

Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal on Monday praised the June 12 kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers as a heroic act but denied having any information on the abduction

In a lengthy interview with Al-Jazeera on Monday evening, Mashaal insisted that Gil-ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach, abducted while hitchhiking in the Etzion Bloc south of Jerusalem, were “settlers and soldiers in the Israeli army.”

“No one claimed responsibility so far. I can neither confirm [Hamas’s responsibility] nor deny it,” Mashaal said, quickly adding that the circumstances of the kidnapping were more important than the perpetrators.

“Blessed be the hands that captured them,” Mashaal said. “This is a Palestinian duty, the responsibility of the Palestinian people. Our prisoners must be freed; not Hamas’s prisoners — the prisoners of the Palestinian people.”

The “disappearance,” as he termed it, took place in the West Bank, an area he said was considered occupied “even by the United States.” Secondly, the three were not “youths, as Israel calls them, but first and foremost settlers … and not even regular settlers, but armed ones.”

. . . Mashaal blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the abduction, lambasting his insensitivity to the plight of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.

“I ask the families of these three soldier-settlers: Had Netanyahu heard the voice of these hunger strikers … would the Palestinian situation be so stressed? … had Netanyahu not provoked us in Jerusalem by Judaizing it, would Palestinians be as angry?”

Contrary to Mashaal’s claim, these teenagers were not soldiers (they were going to school), and only one of them lived over the “green line,” in the occupied territories. Note, too that Mashaal blames Israel for the murders. He’s an odious man.

At least one website gives plausible reasons why Hamas would deny the kidnapping: because it was a botched operation, a kidnapping designed to ransom Palestinian prisoners, but one that went wrong when the kidnappers were forced to kill three victims instead of the one they intended to random. Hamas has apparently published handbooks on how to kidnap Israelis to facilitate prisoner exchange.

In another sickening twist on this story, a Palestinian teenager has been killed and his body dumped in a Jerusalem forest. It’s not yet clear whether this was done by Israelis to avenge the murder of the three teenagers (one source reports that it may have been an honor killing), but if it is a revenge killing, it’s as monstrous and brutal as the murder of the three teenagers. Israelis have no moral high ground if they, too, deliberately target and kill innocent civilians. We’ll simply have to wait to see what happened with all four of these murders.

But, as the New York Times reports, Israeli officials, unlike Mashaal, show no glee over this latest killing:

Mr. Netanyahu spoke before noon with Mr. Aharonovich, the internal security minister, and requested that “investigators act as quickly as possible to find out who stands behind the despicable murder,” according to a statement from the prime minister’s office. Mr. Netanyahu called on all sides not to take the law into their own hands, saying, “Israel is a state of law and everybody is obligated to act according to the law.”

. . . The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, condemned the killing of the teenager in a statement.

“This is a horrible and barbaric act which I strongly condemn,” he said. “This is not our way and I am fully confident that our security forces will bring the perpetrators to justice. I call on everyone to exercise restraint.”

Compare that to the Palestinian celebrations that inevitably follow the murder of Israeli civilians.

 

 

 

 

134 Comments

    • Posted July 2, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      I think maybe Da Roolz need to be updated to include a warning against posting links with no context or comment. I think it’s pretty rude. And I don’t mean to tell you what Da Roolz should be; I only suggest this because I know you don’t like it either.

      • Jesper Both Pedersen
        Posted July 2, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, but Obama is a moslem and the new caliphate is all part of his plan to make the whole world moslem.

        Something along those lines according to the comments on that page.

        I thoroughly agree with you, waste of pixels.

  1. Malgorzata
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    sub.

    • GBJames
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      sub

      • Filippo
        Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        sub

        • Mal
          Posted July 2, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

          Sub

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 2, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

            🐝 <— sub-bee

    • francis
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      //

      • VK
        Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        Sub

        • Diane G.
          Posted July 4, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

          sub

  2. Scott Reilly
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Have a read of what Raza Nadim from the Muslim Public Affairs Committee in the UK has to say about the murder of the Israeli teenagers. His organisation regularly appear on TV in the UK as spokespeople for the Muslim community. Awful stuff

    View story at Medium.com

    • The Moother
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      That’s pretty disgusting.

      But it’s a rather typical explanation a Muslim would spew to confirm the extent of their hatred.

      His excuse for being a disgusting apologist for murder is this: “The western media never mentions the names of Palestinian kids that Israel routinely murders but we know the names of the Jewish kids. Therefore I support murdering Jews.”

      Of course, this revolting excuse for a human being considers all Muslims blameless and all Jews guilty.

      Par for the course for the Religion of Peace.

    • reasonshark
      Posted July 3, 2014 at 12:10 am | Permalink

      This was an interesting bit:

      “Official statistics from the Ministry of Information in Ramallah reveal that 1,518 Palestinian children were killed by Israel’s army from the outbreak of the second Intifada, in September 2000, up to April 2013.”

      The site referred to is here, if you’re interested: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/6185-one-palestinian-child-has-been-killed-by-israel-every-3-days-for-the-past-13-years.

      About the site: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/about-us

      The first question to ask is: How reliable are these statistics?

      The second question to ask is: Where are the comparable figures for Israeli deaths to make a decent comparison?

      • Gerry
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 4:00 am | Permalink

        The general figure of Israeli deaths post-2000 seems to be around 15, not including those three teenagers, and probably not including any unsolved murders in “disputed” territories.

  3. Jesper Both Pedersen
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Here’s some numbers on how Israelis and Palestinians view the conflict:

    http://www.pewglobal.org/2013/05/09/despite-their-wide-differences-many-israelis-and-palestinians-want-bigger-role-for-obama-in-resolving-conflict/

    Worth noting is: http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2013/05/ISRPT03.png

    I have one basic question: How do you negotiate peacefully with an opponent who does not recognize your right to be at the table?

    And that goes for both sides.

  4. Jeffrey Jones
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that muslims often celebrate the killing of those they disagree with. They even celebrate when muslims kill other muslims.
    It gets even worse during Ramadan, which according to some muslims is supposed to be a month of spiritual contemplation.
    However it appears that muslims get more angry when they’re hungry when fasting and express this anger by killing and bombing. There’s something seriously wrong with Islam, everything seems to offend their sensibilities.
    I mean,really, you’ve offended me – KABOOM!!!

    • Moarscienceplz
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Rick Steves, who does a series of travel shows on PBS, did an episode in Iran. He tried to soft-pedal concerns about phrases such as “Death to America” by pointing out that that was a common response to frustration – his taxi driver actually said,”Death to traffic” when he was stuck in atraffic jam. Steves acted as though this was cute, but I found it chilling.

      • darrelle
        Posted July 2, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        A classic “Sorry, but your explanation doesn’t make it sound better, it makes it sound worse! Do you really not see that?”, kind of situation.

      • eric
        Posted July 2, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        I find it okay. Its perfectly possible that one culture’s hyperbole gets taken more seriously than it’s meant by another culture. In our culture, we spread around the “screw you”‘s and “f**k you,”‘s quite liberally. Does that mean our entire culture countenances rape of people who annoy us? No, obviously not. The slang use has nothing to do with the literal denotation of the words.

        Now, I don’t believe that’s all there is to the “Death to America” slogans for a minute. I think there’s probably plenty of times it is used in a more sincere, literal way. But I don’t find the fact that “death to…” is thrown around in aggravation to be either chilling or worse (than if it wasn’t thrown around).

        • reasonshark
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 12:24 am | Permalink

          Contrary to popular opinion, “screw you”‘s and “f**k you”‘s aren’t calls to have dirty sex with someone. Grammatically, they don’t fit the standard second person imperative, such as “Go kill yourself”, “Kiss my a***”, or “Eat sh*t and die”. They were simply rude words shoehorned into existing taboo exclamations, like “Damn you”, which might have had grammatical rationales prior to their contractions (if you think about it, “Damn you” doesn’t make grammatical sense either).

          • eric
            Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:00 am | Permalink

            Well, if you don’t think my examples are relevant, then your last two certainly are. Does “eat sh*t and die” chill you? If not, what’s the difference?

            • reasonshark
              Posted July 3, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

              I’m not disputing your wider point. I was just going off on a tangent. 😛

        • John Scanlon, FCD
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 2:24 am | Permalink

          “Does that mean our entire culture countenances rape of people who annoy us? No, obviously not.”

          Well, based on American cop shows and movies and pop culture generally, there’s a pretty high level of approval for rape of prisoners, seen as part of the punishment and used as a threat to suspects or witnesses; and sports, military and business discourse is very frequently expressed in terms of who owns whose ass.
          But “obviously not,” if you say so. Maybe it’s a Hollywood stereotype that doesn’t correspond to anything in reality. I don’t find it okay, myself.

          • reasonshark
            Posted July 3, 2014 at 7:45 am | Permalink

            It’s not pleasant, granted, but crude language never killed anyone.

            Not directly, at least.

  5. Brian
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    While I don’t doubt that there are plenty of zealots in Palestine that support these despicable actions, I think it is fair to point out that Hamas is far from universally loved in that region. In fact their support appears to be eroding.

    http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/07/01/concerns-about-islamic-extremism-on-the-rise-in-middle-east/

    • colnago80
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      The Hamas folks are certainly personna non grata to the Egyptian Government which is rather bent out of shape for the support for terrorists in the Sinai by denizens in the Gaza Strip. Egyptian soldiers and police officers have been ambushed and murdered by these miscreants.

  6. Moarscienceplz
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I wish there was some gas we could spray on both the Israelis and the Palestinians that would turn them all atheist – or, is this so much about scoring political points that they would just continue ‘othering’ each other?

    • eric
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      You’d still have the big problem of what to do with 5,000,000 people who demand the right to live on land that originally supported only 700,000 of their grandparents, and which now has an additional population living on it to boot.

      • Moarscienceplz
        Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        True, but without the impetus of religion, would all of those people still want to live there?

        • eric
          Posted July 2, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

          Yes probably. The US faced a similar problem with bikini islanders; we displaced them for nuclear testing in the ’50s, now there’s many more descendants than there were original population. And guess what? Pradically all of them claim a right to go back, even though it’s just ecologically unfeasable for that to happen.

          • Gordon
            Posted July 3, 2014 at 1:08 am | Permalink

            “displaced” meaning presumably forcibly removed. Just like the British did for the US at Diego Garcia.

      • Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        +1

        As much as I like to bash religions of all stripes, in regard to Israel and Palestine I cannot see past the issues of land, refugees and the political rights to occupancy.

        Add the lack of education and increasing poverty and the occurrence of violence seems inevitable. Sure, religion plays a role, but it seems secondary.

        I know very secular Palestinians who make a great case for an autonomous state and strict enforcement of green lines.

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        The rest of the Palestine mandate is mostly empty. They now call it Jordan.

    • Boris Molotov
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      You would still have cultural factors but would it be enough to elminate the current status quo?
      I think being Jewish is as much a nationality as it is a religion as is evident by existance of athiest Jews and you would still have Palestinian nationality, two langauges etc.
      At this point I am not confident it would make much of a difference as I feel it would be replaced with nationalism, as it is already a toxic mix of both.
      Interesting question, though.

      • Moarscienceplz
        Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        You may well be right, but many Israelis are recent emigrees, and thus not so tied to that land except for the religious history, and I suspect even some of the Palestinians wouldn’t fight so hard for a nasty piece of desert land if it wasn’t for the Islam vs. Judaism aspect.

        • Posted July 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          I am an Israeli Jew. I coukdn’t be more atheist, and yet, my connection to this land has nothing to do with religion, but wih history and culture.
          I also wish to say that if the murder of the Arab kid was committed by Jews on national grounds, then I find it despicable and hope that all measures available in the Iraerli law against terror (quite draconian, mostly inherited from the British mandate) will be employed.

        • eric
          Posted July 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          According to your logic, it wouldn’t make any sense for american indian tribes to stay, work, and live on semi-desert reservations either, since they can leave for better land and opportunities in the surrounding US any time they want. There’s no religious barrier stopping them from going – and arguably, the land off the reservations is equally ancestral to them. Yet they stay. Why? Because family land, passed down from granparents to parents to you and being part of your cultural interitance have very large psychological pulls. Why do you think the Palestinians would act any differently?

          Secondly, even after you wave your magic wand you’d still have the legal problems associated with Israeli immigration and citizenship laws, which strongly favor people of Jewish descent. We in the US had to fight a civil war to get half of our states to recognize that the ‘different’ people living in those states deserved citizenship. And, again, there was no difference in religion to blame the schism on. What makes you think that the current citizens of Israel would want to drastically dilute their power and influence over government by handing out citizenship to a larger immigrating population that has been at war with them for decades? Or think about Apartheid in South Africa; it didn’t go down without a fight either. It took decades of insurgency and massive international influence to get the small ‘citizen’ population to grant citizenship rights to the larger population that had been without those rights for decades.

          None of these cases had the religious war component of Israel/Palestine, but all of them involved conflict. Your magic wand might make some things better, but it would (IMO) definitely not make the conflict go away.

          • reasonshark
            Posted July 3, 2014 at 12:39 am | Permalink

            “Yet they stay. Why? Because family land, passed down from granparents to parents to you and being part of your cultural interitance have very large psychological pulls.”

            Which raises the question: Is this psychological pull really to be abetted, least of all by religious beliefs about homelands and so forth? It might not be the core of the problem, but it can’t be doing much good either.

            In any case, there was a religious difference between the US North and South. The North wasn’t using the Bible to justify slavery, for a start, despite technically being as “Christian” as the South.

            I don’t think there was any religious component for Apartheid, though. There was a pseudoscientific excuse for their bigotry, but that’s a different species of fish from thinking God justifies your actions (Nature justifies your actions, maybe?).

            • John Scanlon, FCD
              Posted July 3, 2014 at 2:28 am | Permalink

              Dutch Reformed Church is almost synonymous with Apartheid in South Africa, isn’t it?

              • Jesper Both Pedersen
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 2:55 am | Permalink

                I’d say the majority of the more durable religions more or less always have an uncanny ability to make their holy visions/scripture adjust to the power structure of whatever society it happens to inhabit.

                It’s almost as if these religions themselves are blueprints for power mechanisms that can be adjusted according to time and place while at the same time remaining static at its core….hence the pragmatic believer and the fundamental believer who read the same story in the same words and yet reach conflicting conclusions.

                Power, Religion, Money. It’s the holy trinity.

            • eric
              Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:16 am | Permalink

              That’s kinda getting away from what Moar and I were arguing about. He’s opining that an atheist-making magic wand would resolve the conflict. I don’t think it would, for reasons of human nature. You’re saying that human nature contains a lot of irrational or bad instincts that we should not encourage. Okay…but Moar’s magic wand still wouldn’t work.

              If I had a magic wand to wave over the situation, it would be a violence wand not a religion wand; removing (from all stakeholders) the desire to resolve the conflict violently and feelings that violence is justified. I’d frankly settle for a Hamas that still wants to remove all Jews from the area…if they stuck to nonviolent, judicially recognized, legal means of expression We have Klansmen who want to remove all blacks from the US. Its a very analogous situation in terms of belief (albeit not in terms of numbers): I don’t want the legal system to punish them or the army to attack them for their bigoted hatred. As long as those Klansmen stick to legal street marches and voting, I’ll support their right to reside here and vote and participate in democracy. If they dip into terrorism, violence, and extralegal acts, THEN we bring the hammer down. Likewise with the Israel-Palestine situation. I don’t think we should be trying to remove their religious hatreds. Its not only too hard, it probably wouldn’t lead to the ‘peace in the middle east’ solution we want. I think we should be trying to get them to give up violence, terrorism, and other extralegal acts as a means of expressing those hatreds. That would lead to peace, almost by definition, and is probably a lot more doable.

              • reasonshark
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

                Oh, I agree with you. The problem is essentially one of people resorting to violence to settle their disputes. I don’t want to lose sight of that. But at the same time, we can agree with a weaker version of Moarscienceplz’s point: that religion, directly or indirectly, plays a role in motivating said violence. It might, say, provide a combination of explicit premises that make violence seem justified, and appeals to emotions that make such violence come naturally. Waving a religion wand won’t wipe out the violence entirely, but it could reduce its incidence or severity, say, by defusing emotions or debunking rationales for the violence.

              • eric
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

                I’ll agree it (religion) contributes. Instead of a waving-wand metaphor maybe we can use a waving-cape metaphor; some humans are matadors, some humans are bulls, and the matadors wave religion in front of the bulls to get them to charge.

  7. Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    The difference in the pubic reactions between the Israeli officials and Hamas are pretty striking.

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the mostly civilized reaction by the Israeli officials and the mostly uncivilized reaction of the Muslem officials. I doubt the Palestinians even care for the dead Palestinian teenager other than as an excuse to riot.

      • Gordon
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 1:11 am | Permalink

        Better PR staff?

      • Quantumbee
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        Seriously? You “doubt they (the Palestinians) even care” about the dead Palestinian teenager? This statement is over the top.

        • NewEnglandBob
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

          In the past, Palestinians have killed other Palestinians because of a hint of collaboration or other reasons like different factions.

          They also don’t care and approve that some sacrifice themselves as suicide bombers.

          You may think my statement is over the top but facts support it.

        • The Moother
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

          No. They don’t. Not even for a millisecond.

          In fact, they are much more pleased to have another “martyr.”

          This kid is now receiving the reward of Allah as promised in the Koran. What could possibly be bad about that?

          On top of this disgusting view of the loss of a human life, they have another corpse to use to further incite hatred.

          Double whammy for Islam here.

  8. Anna
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    From the New York Times:

    “As the funerals were underway, hundreds of extreme-right protesters gathered in Jerusalem demanding that the government avenge the deaths. Chanting “Death to Arabs,” they tried to attack Arab passers-by who had to be extricated by the police. More than 40 protesters were arrested.”

    This is why Obama called for restraint. We now have a spiraling cycle of violence by extremists on both sides in which the innocent suffer the most.

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      “We now have a spiraling cycle of violence by extremists on both sides in which the innocent suffer the most.”

      But only one side, the Israeli government and police are trying to control their extremists.

      The Palestinians encourage their extremists.

      • brandholm
        Posted July 2, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        Are you seriously suggesting that members of Fatah encourage the activities of Hamas?

        As a simple fact check would reveal, Abbas (president of the palestinian authority) condemned the abductions and had their security forces assist the Israeli army in searching for the teens. This is a direct parallel to what you see now (and just credited) with Netanyahu for Israel.

        Making blanket statements regarding “Palestinians” is often erroneous. About the only common fact about them is that they are under occupation.

        • NewEnglandBob
          Posted July 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

          The Palestinian Authority and their security forces are paper tigers. Fatah is more in control in the west bank and Hamas in Gaza.

          • Posted July 3, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

            I agree with your description of the division of power between west bank and gaza. It is also arguably true to consider the PA paper tigers.

            None of that challenges my counterargument to your claims. You said only one side tries to control their extremists, and that “palestinians” encourage their extremists. Neither are true.

            • Malgorzata
              Posted July 3, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

              Just a few facts: today in Israel some soldiers who wrote about vengance on a Facebook were arrested for breaking the army code of behavior where the expressions of racism and vengeance are forbidden. Some 50 participants of anti-Arab riot were arrested by Israeli police. Not one participant of a much bigger demonstration of Israelis against racisms and against calls for vengeance was arrested.

              6% of Palestinians Authority budget goes to salaries for Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails. There is a moving scale: the graver the crime (depending on how many Jews a prisoner killed) the higher the salary. Abbas himself welcomed murderers (of Holocaust survivors, children, young students, women and men who were not soldiers), hugged them and presented as role models for Palestinian youth.

              You do not have to like those facts, but those are facts and these facts show who encourages extremism and who doesn’t.

              • NewEnglandBob
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

                Thank you Malgorzata for providing facts to counter the unsubstantiated opinions of brandholm.

              • Posted July 3, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

                I will accept for sake of argument that these are facts. They are however anecdotes, and do not include on the ground realities.

                Regarding the disparity in enforcement against violations of the law, who has a fully functioning government and who does not? You are comparing apples and oranges here.

                Did I say I liked Abbas? Or the PA? Or the entirety of what they do? No. My point is, remains, and is yet unchallenged, that the “palestinians” are not a monolithic group that can be painted with one brush, such that they all encourage extremism (please show me Fatah and Hamas embracing and encouraging each other’s actions) and that the entirety of their government have done nothing to restrain militant action.

                Answer this question, paper tiger or no, did the PA under Abbas assist the Israeli Army with its search for the abducted teens? Did they condemn it?

        • Posted July 3, 2014 at 6:58 am | Permalink

          ” the only common fact about them [the Palestinians] is that they are under occupation.”

          That’s a “fact” is it? May I direct you to the charter mission of Trans-Jordan? An area 4.5 times larger than current Israel was created specifically and only for Arabs displaced by the formation of Israel.

          Are you sure it is a “fact” that the Palestinians are ‘under occupation” or is it possible that that is just one of many possible political interpretations?

          • NewEnglandBob
            Posted July 3, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

            Thank you Gingerbaker. I brought up the fact that the Arabs were given 80% of Trans-Jordan/Palestine but attacked the Jews anyway.

            It really disturbs me that the Islamic apologists fabricate their ‘facts’.

            • Posted July 3, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

              NEBob, I am not an Islamic apologist. I’m an atheist and secularist and etc etc such that I am extremely opposed to militant Islam.

              I am also relatively knowledgable about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both you and ginger have cited a rather complex issue, as if it proves something about the present situation.

              Regardless of choices Palestinians and others in the region should or should not have made during and since the establishment of Israel, the fact remains that the territories are considered under occupation. Perhaps I am wrong?

              I have no dog in this race and so am open to evidence. From what I understand all legal bodies view it as such. From descriptions, it certainly meets the criteria I would set for occupied territories.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

                There is a very good video with a lecture by Professor Eugene Kontorovich, a specialist in international law about the problem of “occupation” or “no occupation”.
                The Legal Case for Israel

              • NewEnglandBob
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

                “Regardless of choices Palestinians and others in the region should or should not have made…”

                This is where you go wrong. I am responsible for choices I have made and so are they. They began by trying to annihilate the Jews even when given most of the territory and still call for the elimination. That uncivilized, sub-human behavior should not be tolerated. So yes, you are wrong.

              • Posted July 3, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

                Since I cannot seem to reply to Malgorzata directly, I’m replying to myself and hope he (or she) sees it.

                I will watch your video. I really don’t have a dog in this race and am open to evidence. Love it when my mind gets changed. It already has once on this subject.

                Similar situation for NEbob (hope you get my message), I think our discussion ends here. I said regardless of their choices. That means I am (very) open to the idea that the Palestinians (and others in the region) made many wrong decisions. That does not alter whether territories are occupied or not. You offer nothing but broad-stroked slander (including factually errant comments about myself) which is not conducive to discussion or resolution of the problems at hand. If it bears noting, I am against anti-semitism and whether I like Israel or not I am against attacks on its citizens and its physical destruction. Such things are agreeably uncivilized yet unfortunately I feel all-to-human behavior.

                You paint me as an enemy for merely fact checking. I submit that you aren’t helping the situation by remaining ignorant of the complexities of the situation.

              • NewEnglandBob
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

                It isn’t fact checking when you use 1% of the facts and apply it to all, ignoring the other 99% of the facts.

                Talk about remaining ignorant of the complexities of the situation, you have set yourself up as the poster boy.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 12:34 am | Permalink

                Explanation about delayed answer: it was night in Poland and I was simply asleep. All facts I gave you are easily checked and you do not have to “accept them for the sake of argument”.
                If Palestinian Authority paying murderers salaries according to officially approved scale that the more Jews you murdered the more you get, having a special ministry managing it and spending 6% of its official budget for it; giving a state celebration attended by President Abbas and all the highest Palestinian government officials to murderers whose release from prison Abbas demanded as a price for him coming to the negotiation, are “anecdotes” which does not include “on the ground realities” I do wonder what kind of “realities” you mean: Arab propaganda only?
                Abbas did condemn kidnapping of teenagers, adding that it was in no way Palestinian Authority responsibility as it happened in Area C.
                And what were the reactions:
                Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas is being roundly condemned by Palestinians for speaking out against the abduction of three Israeli youths in the West Bank.
                The attacks on Abbas were not only coming from Hamas and other radical groups, but also from within his own Fatah faction, where some senior officials weresaying the time had come for the 80-year-old leader to retire.
                He was however defended by, for example, such words:
                ‘Amin Maqboul, member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, said that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the abductions, if the goal is to exchange them for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.
                Defending Abbas’s stance regarding the kidnapping, however, Maqboul said that the PA president’s recent remarks were intended to “spare Palestinians the dangers of Israeli aggression and avoid international pressure.”
                Maqboul explained that this was the policy of Abbas, “who sometimes makes statements that are unacceptable to our people. But the purpose [of these statements] is to spare the Palestinian people the dangers of Israeli aggression and reactions of the international community.”’
                Nobody said that Palestinians are a monolithic group. I wonder if you know such Palestinians as Khaled Abu Toameh, Mudar Zahran, Muhammad Zoabi, Christy Anastaz? Each one of them represents different opinion from majority of Palestinians and each one got death threats from their compatriots. And what counts is the opinion of the authorities and of majority (this one you can get from opinion polls which are readily available).
                Palestinian Authority has its own government, own judicial system, own educational system, ambassadors and plenty of other attributes of a state. It demanded to be included among members of UN and got part of its demand fulfilled. It could have been a fully functioning state but when paying murderers is more important than paying teachers it really can be difficult. Though, however you look at it this is not a comparison of apples and oranges. It is a comparison of a healthy apple and a rotten apple.

              • Posted July 5, 2014 at 12:37 am | Permalink

                To Malgorzata, sorry for delayed response as I am busy and missed your reply. Let me start by thanking you for excellent replies with some very nice information.

                I did not mean “accepted for sake of argument” as an insult, or rejection of the info. It was late (same time zone as you) and wanted to move beyond questions whether they were true, to point out that it was anecdotal. I have seen similar lists toward the other side. I do not believe such lists of absurdities are useful in understanding the situation as a whole.

                We clearly do not have space to discuss all the (interesting) details you provide in this format. Some in your latest reply I agree with being important, and some not. So I will rush to your conclusion…

                “… is more important than paying teachers it really can be difficult. Though, however you look at it this is not a comparison of apples and oranges. It is a comparison of a healthy apple and a rotten apple.”

                We are nearly in agreement on this. Though I might adjust the analogy a bit. I’d view both sides as barrels of apples, with some bad apples inside that are progressively rotting the remainder. The Israeli side has less bad apples and some less severely rotten than the other. It will arguably be a more difficult task to clean up the Palestinian barrel. The fact remains that both require cleaning up if either are going to be “healthy” barrels to eat from.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted July 5, 2014 at 1:01 am | Permalink

                I still cannot understand how an official policy by Palestinian Authority’s government, a policy implemented by this Authority and its special ministry for many years now can be called “anegdotal evidence”. If I said that according to offical sources of PA there exist a ministry of education which spends xx% of the total budget for educating children – would you call it “anegdota evidence”? If not, why an official information that there is a ministry for prisoners which is spending 6% of PA budget on salaries to murderers (which is an information open to all and openly recorded and talked about by functionaries of PA, as well as available in their documents) an “anegdotal evidence” for you?

              • Posted July 5, 2014 at 1:57 am | Permalink

                Perhaps we are not agreeing on my use of the word “anecdotal”. Let me address your specific case.

                The 6% allocation by the PA is an absurdity, and agreeably offensive. I cannot jump from that to any specific conclusion regarding the PA or the Palestinians.

                It may have been a political move in order to get funding(they had to accept X to get Y). Or it may have been a tactical one. It may even be a principled one (in which case that would be troubling).

                It is less important of an issue, than if the PA (or any other cation) should be the organization you work through to try to fix the problems. Given the current state of affairs, I don’t think you are going to find any faction without some offensive elements.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted July 5, 2014 at 2:08 am | Permalink

                If an organization has a policy to reward violence by officially paying caught criminals salaries; if convicted murderers of innocent civillians (children included) are having a red carpet treatment when released from prison, with hugs from President and huge welcome ceremonies broadcasted by an offical TV, if they get a reward of 50,000 dollars (no anecdote – look at the official Palestinian documents proudly announceing this); if they are presented in official media as role models for youth; if schools, streets, summer camps are named after them – well, what is it if not promoting violence?

                With all this Israel worked with PA and tried to negotiate with them. Yes, they are less bloodthristy than Hamas. But now they united with Hamas. So who is Israel supposed to work with now?

              • Posted July 5, 2014 at 4:48 am | Permalink

                I agree that it is absurd, offensive and unfortunately will have the effect of promoting violence.

                Unless you are charging that that is their single intended goal, violence, and that it is from some principled position without political or tactical purpose then I think it is counter-productive to focus on such things to the exclusion of what else they are capable of.

                Regarding Israel’s work with the PA, that is a rather messy can of worms to open. Israel has been undermining the functional capacity of potential governments, basically pitting different factions against each other, and (with some irony) forcing some into bed with each other.

                From an outsider’s perspective, Israel has been actively destabilizing the Palestinians in order to delay negotiations as long as possible to solidify and increase its gains. In addition, destabilization makes life more miserable to soften them up for better terms in whatever negotiation takes place.

                This is of course what most nations do when faced with weaker, smaller populations in their way.

                So who do they work with now? I am honestly not in a well informed enough position to make such a detailed recommendation. But I think they are better off working with PA and Hamas, than throwing up their hands and demanding the best in working partners. Perhaps they should take an eye on helping improve conditions where more reasonable factions will be able to rise and function.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted July 5, 2014 at 5:08 am | Permalink

                Did you ever hear the word “normalization”? as understood by Palestinian and by Arab countries? To normalize relationships with Israel is forbidden – in Lebanon it is punishable even to talk to an Israeli (even outside both Israel and Lebanon). There were demonstrations in the West Bank against “normalization” with Israel. There are thousands of initiatives (almost always initiated by Israel) to co-operate, to help. Israel organizes training courses for farmers – both from Gaza and West Bank, Israel helps Gaza’s farmers to market their products in the West. If you ever heard about Gaza’s farmers new venture to grow spices which gives them much higher profit, you should know that both the “know-how”, the seeds and the marketing is done by Israel. Israel is training Palestinian doctors in Israeli hospitals. There are thousands such initiatives, very often disrupted either by PA and Hamas or by Palestinian radicals. Israel does not need Western “besserwissers” to tell it that co-operation is the way. But it is very difficult when official policy is “no-cooperation” (except in security) and when people who are willing to co-operate are branded traitors, and sometimes beaten or killed.

                The goal of such a policy? In a new survey 64% of Palestinians said that resistance should continue untill all of historic Palestine is liberated. 65% said that a two-state solution, if it were to be agreed to, should be a part of the “program of stages” to liberate all of historic Palestine. You can check the survey here: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/new-palestinian-poll-shows-hardline-views-but-some-pragmatism-too

                And the goal of Palestinian leadership – well Mr. Rajub, a very high functionary in PA and Fatah said (there is a video of him saying this): If we had a nuclear bomb we would obliterate Jews tomorrow.

          • Boris Molotov
            Posted July 3, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

            “The Occupation”, or “occupied territories” usually refers to the 1967 border agreement, UN resolution 242, (ie. “green line”) which was agreed to by all parties. It is also the language used several further UN resolutions.

            See this image.. yellow is considered palestinian territory the red and blue.. Israel ie. “The occupation”.

          • Posted July 3, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

            The short answer is yes I am sure they are under occupation. This is recognized by most legal bodies in the world. While I am open to counterarguments there is not enough space in this format to discuss the historical record.

            The long answer is that in trying to be brief I said something that lent itself to misinterpretation. I was trying to suggest one of the few (if only) commonalities among Palestinians. I suppose I should have said “the opinion that they are occupied.”

            I assume that you would not disagree with that statement as being a fact?

  9. The Moother
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Note, too that Mashaal blames Israel for the murders.

    Well, Jerry, if you know anything at all about Muslim/Arab culture, then you’d know that absolutely anything that goes wrong in a Muslim is blamed on a Jewish or Zionist conspiracy (more here and here and here).

    What I find most reprehensible is the extent of the hatred for Jews. They basically hate Jews so much that they are powerless to do anything to act like civilised human beings. Essentially they use Anti-Semitism as their excuse for their behaviour.

    It’s basically like, “I hate Jews so much that it’s their own fault that I hate them so much.”

    Sickening.

    • The Moother
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Typo, 1st paragraph should read, “anything that goes wrong in a Muslim *country* is blamed”

    • Quantumbee
      Posted July 3, 2014 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      The apologetics in this comment are so one-sided it’s ridiculous. You don’t think Jews absolutely HATE the Arab Muslims and they don’t promote propaganda against them in any way? Where does this stuff come from?

      This is one reason why this will never be resolved. For one, it all involves religion which definitely poisons everything, and two, many people have been fed the pro- Israel side of things so completely that they are blind to what is going on on the ground. BOTH sides are awful. The only difference is that the Palestinian side doesn’t have the PR advantages of Israel… especially in the US.

      What is changing in my view is that Israel has finally decided to come out with its monster instincts and doesn’t care if we all see it. They sent John Kerry home with cries of “messianic” ringing in his ears for trying to settle things. I have no more patience for Israel and have just about lost all sympathies for their plight.

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Do you have any evidence that Israelis spew hatred in their children’s puppet and cartoon shows? The Palestinians and other Muslims do. Google it, if you want to see it.

      • The Moother
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

        First of all, you’d do well to read the third link from that comment. It’s written by a Turkish Muslim journalist who confirms my standpoint.

        Unfortunately she ends her piece with the old and tired piece of nonsense that Muslims have lost their minds because they are interpreting the Koran incorrectly.

        To this I have two things to say. First, if it’s the perfect word of god it should need no interpretation. Second, Muslims are actually taking it literally. And that’s the whole point. Isn’t it? The Koran and Islam are full of reprehensible demands and commands and this is the source of their bad behaviour.

        Finally, if you really think that there is parity in the amount of hate from both sides then that’s probably because you’re blinded by your own hatred.

      • Malgorzata
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        There was a 200 strong demonstration of Israeli racists an thugs spewing hatred towards Muslim. There was 1000 strong demonstration Israelis decrying racism. You managed to notice only the first one.
        Israeli hospitals are treating thousands upon thousands Arab both from West Bank and Gaza. Even when rockets from Gaza are falling on Israel Israeli ambulances are taking gravely ill Gazans for treatment in Israel. When the whole Israel was holding its breath, still believing that those three teenagers were alive, Mahmoud Abbas’s wife was undergoing a surgery in an Israeli hospital.
        Israel is still providing electricity to the West Bank in spite that they are not paying (the debt is well over million shekels). Israel is providing electricity to Gaza – when rockets from Hamas destroy the traction Israeli workers go and repair it – always shielded by a huge steel plates because grateful Gazans just love to shoot to them.
        This may be nasty from me but I have a feeling that you are happy that now – thanks to a few Israeli thugs immediately condemned by the rest of Israeli society – you are allowed to say openly how much you dislike Israeli Jews.

  10. Posted July 2, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    The kidnapping and killing of the Israeli (and now Palestinian it appears) teenagers is an odious crime. However, as a materialist I submit there is a reason (other than innate badness or evil) why such actions are met with indifference and/or even admiration by some on the Palestinian side.

    The Palestinians have been living under foreign Israeli military rule since 1967. They have no prospects for an independent viable state. There are ten thousand Palestinians in Israeli prisons, an issue of great import to the families of the prisoners. Palestinian movement and land is often constrained by the presence of settlements, the vast majority of which serve no strategic purpose other than to entrench Israeli control over the west bank. Given the dire state of their national ambitions, and the heavy losses they have absorbed in their conflict with Israel, it is understandable why Palestinians have little empathy for the fate of their adversaries.

    Again as a materialist, I believe that Israel, the stronger party (by a long-shot) has the ability to steer the long-term trajectory of events on the ground towards a two-state solution, independent of what the Palestinians currently think or do. After all, there is really no such thing as “free will”.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      For almost 20 years now Palestinians (95% of Palestinian population of West Bank) have been living under autonomous Palestinian Authority. During those years they were offered their own state several times and every time they said “no” – first Arafat, later Abbas. Their everyday life is ruled by their own government. They have ambassadors, parliament, judiciary, educational system etc. – all that independent of Israel. If they wanted to, they could have had own state but somehow they do not.
      And you are so easily forgetting about the Arab states which support their “no”. This conflict is a conflict between the Arab world (350 million people) and Israel (8 million people), not between Palestinians and Israelis. In the latest round of negotiations Arab League informed Abbas (by a formal decision) that it will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state and, of course, Abbas once again said “no”.
      So this “Israel is stronger” is really very, very dubious claim. If Arab League decided that it is time for peace in the Middle East, Palestinian would follow suit. What Israel decides is for Arab League and Palestinian irrelevant, when it comes to peace.

      • Boris Molotov
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 3:21 am | Permalink

        Meanwhile, this “strategy” on the part of the Palestinians has coincidently provided Israel the opportunity to create a “Swiss cheese” out of the West Bank where the ever shrinking holes are de-militarized Palestinian outposts surrounded by security walls.
        If there is any Palestinian strategy to discern from this madness of a “Palestinian state” it can only be one that leads to to it’s own destruction.
        You have to wonder who’s strategy it really is. (If it is the Arab league, it is not the Palestinians who have benefitted from it.)
        Israel, has suffered this strategy quite well as born out in it’s fruits: a modern society with a stable government, relative security, a wealthy population, powerful military and a large modern economy with unseverable ties to the West. (I do business with Israeli companies and subsidiaries regularly.)
        Because of this disparity, it is increasingly Israel’s responsibility to take care of the welfare of not own population but also that if the Palestinian population. As an occupier, failure of this obligation makes it indistinguishable from a conquerer, who are generally not afforded the same arguments, whatever the historical/political justification may be.
        I completely agree that Palestinian and Islamic societies in general have issues with radicalism but this situation only serves to give it undue legitimacy which is not suffered by Israel alone.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 3:45 am | Permalink

          I have to admit that I’m a bit tired of always encountering the same “Israel is responsible” reaction, whatever atrocity is perpetrated by Palestinians. Always the same blame on Israel that they managed the almost unbelievable feat of building a democratic, prosperous, well educated society on the land which was mostly desert and swamp, with population to the overwhelming degree consisting of destitute refugees from pogroms, Holocaust and Arab states persecutions, while their neighbours, consumed by hate, spent their money and energy on attacking Israel instead of on building their own society. With all the money Palestinians got (many times over the Marshall Plan for the whole Europe) they should be at least as prosperous as Israel. But those money went into the pockets of their corrupt leaders and for weapon to fight the Jews. I absolutely agree that the fate of Palestinians is a horrible one. But I do not agree that the guilty party is Israel. Arab League, Fatah, Hamas, Arafat and Abbas and their ilk plus, of course, their imams, are the guilty party.

  11. brandholm
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Let me start by saying that I agree with you 100% that all of these killings are unjustifiable murders.

    I also dislike Hamas and am not surprised with what their leaders might say about the killings.

    That said, I think it is mistaken to paint the Palestinians or the entirety of their gov’t solely by the actions of that group.

    Like the Israeli government is doing now, the palestinian authority condemned the abductions and assisted in the search for the Israeli teens. You have not mentioned this.

    I would also note that Hamas has officially denied connections to the killings. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know. But your claim that they have taken credit seems to have been in error.

  12. Trophy
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Hamas is beyond redemption and they have been that way for a long time.

    I really don’t like Israeli politics and I think it is disgusting for a modern country to behave that way but honestly, who would you rather have as neighbors Israel or a country ruled by Hamas?

  13. madscientist
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    The news isn’t reporting anything from the PLO. I can’t help wondering if the PLO is becoming more like Hamas again. They certainly don’t seem to be doing anything to create peace and stability in the regions under their administration, which of course doesn’t help them one bit when negotiating with Israel. One item that always comes up in negotiations is whether the PLO is incapable or unwilling to police its territories; 20 years after they were granted many concessions, they still appear unwilling to enforce security. Now if they tracked down and arrested the murderers and handed them over to the Israeli authorities, then the PLO will have a better bargaining position. I doubt I’ll ever see that happen though.

    • The Moother
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Yawn. It’s been said so often it’s almost not worth repeating: Although there are plenty decent folks that would prefer peace with Israel there is, unfortunately, a majority too large and powerful to allow it.

      It’s far too dangerous to make a stand for real peace with Israel. There are two easy ways to get yourself killed in Palestine. Be a Jew or be perceived as supporting Israel.

      Cracking down on terrorists would be considered the latter.

  14. Nap
    Posted July 2, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    I am not sure, but I think you might not be viewing the articles written from the other side. I don’t think its a conspiracy theory to assume that the press coverage in the West might not always be impartial. Please try to check sites written from the viewpoint of Palestinian supporters, even if they are biased, because you will come across a lot of new information that you won’t find in American newspapers.

    Here’s a good article written in India’s “The Hindu” about the issue. At the end, there is a list of videos of Palestinian children being abducted at night and from schools too. Kindly give it a read.

    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-searing-hypocrisy-of-the-west/article6163918.ece

    Of course, nothing makes kidnapping innocents right, and I think a major error is that whenever, as a reaction to Palestinian excesses, similar (and more horrible) acts of Israel are pointed out, its assumed that people are trying to justify Palestinian excesses. Its not always true.. people are simply pointing out the disparity in the outrage that the crime of one nation generates vs that of the other. Also, condemnation for terrorist attacks by Muslims (and their scholars) are often not reported in the press. That’s a fact too.

    Also, going by the comments here, and on your previous article, I assume that you are being exposed to stories of how bad, violent and insensitive, people in the Middle East are. That’s generally false, but your passion to denounce stupid rhetoric has made you believe that even moderate Muslims aren’t actually moderate. While that might be true in the case of verbally upholding some tenets of Islam that might be disturbing, in practice, the vast majority are decent, caring people (and not just to fellow Muslims, as is wrongly made out). There is centuries of culture there, and culture automatically generates decency and a degree of open thinking.

    I understand that I might be wrong in understanding you, and I haven’t given evidence for most of the claims that I have made, but I just want you to look at the other side of the press too in order to have a more balanced opinion.

    • reasonshark
      Posted July 3, 2014 at 12:47 am | Permalink

      “There is centuries of culture there, and culture automatically generates decency and a degree of open thinking.”

      I might agree with the rest of your post to an extent, but this is downright inexcusable in its intellectual sloppiness. Centuries of “culture” automatically generates decency and a degree of open thinking? Really? I don’t even know where to start with this. If you’re trying to say something else, rephrase it now!

      • Nap
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 2:28 am | Permalink

        I meant culture in the sense of ‘cultured’.. these places have been in the past seats of ‘culture’. In places where there has been prosperity for a considerable length of time, open thinking and decency are inevitable after a period of time, because people would be less bigoted. Times of war and general unrest are when these things don’t get time to develop.

        Such aspects of Islam as are under criticism today were there even in the medieval times, but they were sparsely applied.. mainly because the attitude of people had mellowed down. (atheists, etc debated freely with each other) — this “mellowing down” did face criticism even then from orthodoxy, but it was largely overlooked.

        • Nap
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 2:51 am | Permalink

          I just meant to say these have been cultured people in the not-so-recent past, and the portrayal of the majority of them as barbaric, intolerant and even sadistic, doesn’t do justice to them. I just got pissed off at some of the comments here.. nothing more. All that “being cultured” doesn’t just vanish in a generation or two (and I’m not making a case for a faultless past).

          • The Moother
            Posted July 3, 2014 at 3:18 am | Permalink

            the portrayal of the majority of them as barbaric, intolerant and even sadistic, doesn’t do justice to them.

            If you’ve been reading the comments here then you would probably have read this one. Did that also piss you off?

            Does it piss you of more that people are called savages and barbarians or that people actually act like savages and barbarians?

            I think you should be less concerned about name calling and more concerned about the victims of Islam.

            Isn’t that the civilised and compassionate way?

            • Nap
              Posted July 3, 2014 at 3:51 am | Permalink

              Indeed this was one of the example that really pissed me off. This, and similar perspectives, often paint in our minds, the very picture I was trying to dispel. Is this all the Iraqi people really are ? Do you really think this is how the educated Iraqis populace think ?

              Don’t malign an entire people because of one-sided commentaries. Read others too.

              And yes, people do act like savages and barbarians, but the characterization of an entire people with these adjectives is the ONLY thing I am arguing against.

              Read the other side too. And read it consistently before forming opinions. And if you have formed your opinions after doing all that, then its fine.

              And by the way, name-calling is (in my opinion) the very reason that misinformation and ignorance persists. And we can worry about name-calling AND of persecution at the same time. Why to assume one is exclusive of the other ?

              • The Moother
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 4:04 am | Permalink

                Pakistan has a rate of violence against women that is astronomical – almost total. Some say it’s cultural but that is, at the very least, complete and utter bullshit.

                The koran has been instructing fathers/husbands/sons to beat their women (their property) for over a thousand years. The patriarchal edifice of Islam has ensured that the lot of women has remained unchanged for a thousand years and will possibly remain so for a thousand more.

                Women are trotted out to oppose domestic violence laws because they feel it’s better to get beaten regularly than to have a family split up by a husbands imprisonment. Others oppose it simply because it’s “westernisation.”

                If that doesn’t disgust you then, and I’m awfully sorry to have to say this, but you have let your brain soak in political correctness too long… To the point that you care more about name calling than you do about violence against – and murders of – women.

          • NewEnglandBob
            Posted July 3, 2014 at 3:59 am | Permalink

            “and the portrayal of the majority of them as barbaric, intolerant and even sadistic, doesn’t do justice to them”

            They are brought up hating the Jews and vilifying them from the cradle. The Koran has taught to not trust, not respects, not value the lives of non-believers for 1300 years. So yes, it DOES do justice to them. Their culture is uncivilized and barbaric.

            • Nap
              Posted July 3, 2014 at 4:10 am | Permalink

              Do google search for Jews in Islam, and read links by Muslims too. Read both sides of the argument that islam teaches anti-Judaism or not. I am NOT disputing the current anti-semitism, but neither is it in every Muslim culture, not is it necessarily based on Islamic teachings.

              See this too :

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

              • NewEnglandBob
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 4:21 am | Permalink

                I don’t care about a few benevolent kingdoms in the past. How many Muslim countries TODAY allow Jews to live openly? Saudi Arabia? Pakistan? Syria? Yemen? Maybe 2.

            • Posted July 3, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

              NEBob, while it is true that in certain Islamic countries anti-semitism (fear/hatred of jews) is commonplace, including within education, it is simply false to characterize all Islamic countries and all muslims as engaging in this activity.

              You claim that the Koran has been teaching this for 1300 years and then dismiss counterevidence by Nap because the nations mentioned are not recent. At the very least his point countered your claim regarding the intrinsic nature of Islam and length of such teaching.

              Have you ever met people from Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, or Indonesia? Not to mention muslims from western nations? There are of course many within these areas which are small-minded and bigoted to the degree you suggest. But there are many who are not, including secularists. Islam as a whole is diverse.

              If anything I might argue that there is no such thing as an Islamic culture, merely cultures within populations which happen to be Islamic. Like Christianity, Judaism, and other religions it is always hard to treat them as monolithic in ideas and practices.

              You might wish to upgrade your understanding of this issue.

              • The Moother
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

                Have you ever met people from Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, or Indonesia? Not to mention muslims from western nations?

                Yawn. Yes. All of the above. A very tiny minority will speak out against suggestions of another Jewish genocide. Of course, I never ask directly if they support it but when I mention that it’s on the top of my wish-list (it’s not!) almost all of them get the expected twinkle in their eye and respond very favourably indeed.

                We’re talking about the annihilation of the Jews here. Every.Last.One.Of.Them.

                If anything I might argue that there is no such thing as an Islamic culture, merely cultures within populations which happen to be Islamic.

                See above. Which also means that the root cause of Muslims behaving badly must be the Koran.

              • NewEnglandBob
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

                No one said ALL Islamic countries or ALL Muslims. That is simply you misinterpreting what you read here.

                You are greatly wrong, as is nap. You two are apologists who ignore the facts that have been presented here by the bushel load.

                Just like there are atheists who are apologists who say religion and science are compatible, you say Islam and civilized behavior and world peace are compatible, you live in a delusion.

                You might wish to upgrade your understanding of reality.

              • Posted July 3, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

                hmmm, there seems to be a limit to replies. so I guess the discussion ends.

                To Moother and NEbob, who I am beginning to believe are both trolls I am feeding…

                If what you say is true, why are we not facing a united Islamic front of a single caliphate?

                Why are there mass demonstrations of moderates and crackdowns against same in admittedly repressive Islamic nations?

                Sorry to Prof Ceiling Cat… I will bow out of further discussion with these individuals. Obviously we will not agree on anything.

              • NewEnglandBob
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

                Now you accuse us of being trolls and of using slander but the facts are with us. Not one of your arguments hold water. You are one piece of work.

              • The Moother
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

                If what you say is true, why are we not facing a united Islamic front of a single caliphate?

                Well, duh! Because Muslims are incapable of compromise. There cannot be a single Caliphate until there is only one sect of Islam remaining. You cannot honestly imagine Shia/Sunni power-sharing, can you?

                But you can imagine the ecstatic blood-letting that would happen if there was anything close to a Caliphate! Oh wait… Grab some popcorn and have a look at northern Iraq…

                Thanks for bowing out as I’m trying to keep to Da Roolz and not hog the thread but have not been able to resist showing your apologetics up for what they are.

                And, mostly, thanks for calling your civil and measured opponents trolls because, in doing so, you have struck the greatest blow against yourself.

    • The Moother
      Posted July 3, 2014 at 3:44 am | Permalink

      That’s generally false, but your passion to denounce stupid rhetoric has made you believe that even moderate Muslims aren’t actually moderate.

      Can you even define what a moderate Muslim was? Be careful how you answer that.

      If you could, would a Muslim who wanted Sharia to become the law of the land be called a moderate? If a moderate Muslim supported Sharia then they are supporting corporeal punishment for petty crimes. They are supporting the subjugation of women. The list goes on and on and on.

      News flash: <a href="http://www.pewforum.org/files/2013/04/worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-full-report.pdf"89% of Muslims polled in the Palestinian territories are salivating for Sharia.

      It’s obvious that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim. Unless you want to make the incredibly inane argument that the 11% that does not want Sharia somehow absolves the other 89% of being barbarians and savages.

      I have more examples but they all point in the way of savagery and barbarism. You want them?

      Have you ever had any deep discussion with more than a half dozen Muslims? Have your read their “holy” book? Do you understand the tenets of their faith?

      I’m guessing a big fat NO to all of the above.

      It seems to me that your reaction to people being exposed for what they are is petulant and nothing more.

      • Nap
        Posted July 3, 2014 at 4:04 am | Permalink

        All I meant was that by saying that most Muslims want the shariah, we are having a mental image of Muslims wanting to kill apostates, stone people to death, etc. This is patently false.

        Most everyday Muslims don’t even know these things are mandated by shariah. They are just imagining a utopian system under which there will be justice and peace, and since they believe that Islam is the truth, they sincerely believe that these things would be achieved by applying the will of God.

        My simple point is that just because Muslims want the shariah, DOES NOT make them savages and barbarians. There is MUCH more to Islam than this. There are several hadiths that exhort people to behave well with non-Muslims, to visit them if they are sick, and many such things. Of course, there are many that advocate bad behavior too. Muslims pick and choose, and this is where being “cultured” comes in.

        For a fairly fair understanding of shariah, do read Sadakat Kadri’s ‘Heaven on Earth’. Its not a Muslim polemic, and will make you appreciate the complexities of it.

        • NewEnglandBob
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 4:17 am | Permalink

          Yes, there is much more to Islam – more hate, more destruction, more intolerance.

          Islam spread by armies conquering and forcing coercion to convert or death to those who refused. You are just an apologist for Islam. Next you will tell us Islam is the religion of peace.

        • The Moother
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 4:23 am | Permalink

          Most everyday Muslims don’t even know these things are mandated by shariah.

          What a load of codswallop.

          If you were right (which you are not) then you could better spend your time travelling the world warning Muslims of the dangers of Sharia (especially the female half).

          Instead you choose to waste your time on this blog as an apologist for the savagery and barbarism of Islam.

          Priorities and logic. You don’t have any.

        • Jesper Both Pedersen
          Posted July 3, 2014 at 4:25 am | Permalink

          Most everyday Muslims don’t even know these things are mandated by shariah. They are just imagining a utopian system under which there will be justice and peace, and since they believe that Islam is the truth, they sincerely believe that these things would be achieved by applying the will of God.

          I think you’re very close to invoking “the little people”-argument here.

          That a majority of muslims ( do you have anything backing up that assumption btw? ) doesn’t know what violence their prefered system of governing mandates is not a mitigating factor.

          It only implies ignorance of ones own opinions and history which is a bit of an insult to muslims.

          If a majority of the population of a country wants sharia-law, then according to democratic principle that is what they should get. To accuse them of ignorance of its consequences is downright arrogant and, imo, not factually correct. If they have the right to impose it, they have the right to live with it.

          The point of conflict occurs when the majority imposes a set of laws upon a minority who simply do no believe in the foundation of those laws. This is what sharia does. It has no basis in reality and it imposes its more or less arbitrary rules and punishments upon other human beings of different beliefs.

          Freedom of/from religion is a core tenet in a democracy and that is simply not compatible with sharia-law. A courthouse is not a church. Full stop. Period.

          • Nap
            Posted July 3, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

            Why the assumption that I am defending the shariah (or am against democracy)? All my comments are simply to dispel the impression that certain guys who are commenting here have, that the majority of Muslims are barbaric, ill-mannered savages who want to fight their way into global power.

            Most Muslims are given a minimal amount of religious education that includes the bare minimum of shariah rulings that apply in real life like what is the exact way to offer prayers, how does a prayer become invalid, how much prayers are to be shortened when travelling, etc. Believe me, theses are other such details are the one that are most emphasized in the religious education of a Muslim, and remember a very significant portion of Muslims don’t even know Arabic, and as such, read the Quran without even understanding it.

            There is significant propaganda against democracy and emphasis of shariah as the solution to all ills of the society, and since it is held to be from God, people give in to that propaganda very easily. The aspects of shariah that are indefensible AND CLEAR are never emphasized because of obvious reasons. Only the social and economic justice that the system is supposed to provide, in emphasized. Several aspects of the shariah that are criticized today have already been debated and in certain cases, rejected by early Islamic scholars, and people are trying to revive those rulings in order to create the form of shariah that’s most palatable to the modern mind. Unfortunately, the endeavor falls short in many ways, and they have to hesistantly deal out apologetics for them.. but the attempt is there.

            I reiterate. Most Muslims are not even aware of these rulings when they say they want shariah, and when they are, they shirk it aside (which is wrong) saying that the system overall will bring stability and peace (after all the turmoil they have suffered).

            Its not my purpose to defend any religious views, just to state the situation there.

            • Jesper Both Pedersen
              Posted July 3, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

              My assumption isn’t that you’re defending Sharia, my assumption is that you’re defending those who wish to impose Sharia.

              Off course most muslims are regular peaceful individuals, but when they sanction atrocious violence in the form of cruel punishments knowingly or not, then it doesn’t matter how peaceful or modernminded they are. It is irrelevant what sophisticated imams have concluded regarding what rules are “modern” to follow.

              In this case the violence is directly sanctioned by the source of the law and that sanction will always be there regardless of secular progress. Unless muslims are open to re-writing the koran from a secular perspective.

              Muslims are not barbaric. Their religion is.

              Christians are not barbaric. Their religion is.

              Jews are not barbaric. Their religion is.

              What I fail to understand in your posts is the apparent need for trying to emphasize mitigating factors that might explain why so many muslims are in favour of sharia law. Why is it necessary?

              And frankly, I find your “they don’t know any better”-approach to the problem rather apathetic and condescending. If a majority of the world’s muslims are victims of Islamic anti-democratic propaganda, then what does that say about Islam as a whole?

              And where is the propaganda coming from?

              If a majority of my fellow citizens suddenly turned fundamental and demanded the justice system to obey their holy book, am I then going to excuse them by saying it’s because they don’t know any better?

              No, off course not and, I hope, neither would you.

              • Nap
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

                “What I fail to understand in your posts is the apparent need for trying to emphasize mitigating factors that might explain why so many muslims are in favour of sharia law. Why is it necessary?”

                Because a failure to understand the mitigating factors leads to dehumanization, and we all know where that leads to. I simply hate when an entire people are characterized as barbaric and uncivilized.

                “In this case the violence is directly sanctioned by the source of the law and that sanction will always be there regardless of secular progress. Unless muslims are open to re-writing the koran from a secular perspective.”

                I don’t deny that the Quran has some verses that can be interpreted in an extreme manner. And they have been in the past. But equally true is that there have been well-recognized interpretations of the scripture that interpret them in a very different manner.

                And much of what is objectionable in Islamic law comes from the hadiths. The Quran doesn’t need to re-written for a moderate interpretation of the religion. Its the hadiths that need to be re-evaluated (people have been doing that for centuries.. its legally acceptable), and by no means its an easy task, given the authenticity of certain of these hadiths is quite sound. But there is a growing number of people who, after seeing the absurdities in hadith collections, have begun to doubt the entire methodology itself. And don’t forget the Quranists – people who are essentially dependent ONLY on the Quran, and are extremely pacifistic.

                There are cases when the hadith themselves give a more moderate view than just the Quran. Just one example – wife beating is allowed in the Quran, but when combined with several, several hadiths that explicitly prohibit it, some of the traditionally regarded major scholars have essentially reduced it to hitting once with a miswak.. a small stick used to clean teeth, as token beating – which, in practice, means ‘not beating’. Again, I am not defending this.. just telling you about the ground realities. I am not saying that wife-beating doesn’t occur.. I’m just pointing out that strictly from the viewpoint of the shariah, it can ‘t be justified.

                Much of the problems (but by no means all) that you see about human rights in Islam will disappear when you see the variant (and legitimate) views on these by different scholars. Sadakat Kadri in his book “Heaven on Earth” discussed the ambiguities in shariah quite nicely, and how many different interpretation have already been held much much before the modern era. There is scope within the shariah for a fairly moderate interpretation.

              • Jesper Both Pedersen
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 1:07 am | Permalink

                Because a failure to understand the mitigating factors leads to dehumanization, and we all know where that leads to. I simply hate when an entire people are characterized as barbaric and uncivilized.

                And according to you the mitigating factor is that they don’t know any better because they’re being manipulated by worldwide propaganda. I’ll repeat my question which you left unanswered; Where is the propaganda coming from?

                And once again I feel obliged to correct your notion of entities; Islam is barbaric and uncivilized. Muslims are not.

                I don’t deny that the Quran has some verses that can be interpreted in an extreme manner. And they have been in the past. But equally true is that there have been well-recognized interpretations of the scripture that interpret them in a very different manner.

                It’s not merely a problem of the past as you very well know. This problem continues to breed violence on a grand scale solely justified on the basis of their holy scripture and it is possible because those nasty bits really are there. They are doing what the Koran tells them to do. That’s the fundamental problem with the religion and it will always be a source of violence. The same goes for the bible for that matter.

                The caliphate is not a long gone idea of the past. Far from it.

                And much of what is objectionable in Islamic law comes from the hadiths. The Quran doesn’t need to re-written for a moderate interpretation of the religion. Its the hadiths that need to be re-evaluated (people have been doing that for centuries.. its legally acceptable), and by no means its an easy task, given the authenticity of certain of these hadiths is quite sound. But there is a growing number of people who, after seeing the absurdities in hadith collections, have begun to doubt the entire methodology itself. And don’t forget the Quranists – people who are essentially dependent ONLY on the Quran, and are extremely pacifistic.

                There are cases when the hadith themselves give a more moderate view than just the Quran. Just one example – wife beating is allowed in the Quran, but when combined with several, several hadiths that explicitly prohibit it, some of the traditionally regarded major scholars have essentially reduced it to hitting once with a miswak.. a small stick used to clean teeth, as token beating – which, in practice, means ‘not beating’. Again, I am not defending this.. just telling you about the ground realities. I am not saying that wife-beating doesn’t occur.. I’m just pointing out that strictly from the viewpoint of the shariah, it can ‘t be justified.

                So according to you Sharia is moderate and reasonable because the size of the cane used for legal wife-beating has been reduced?

                Furthermore you’re contradicting yourself. Wife-beating is justified by Sharia, it’s just the severity of the beating itself that is up for debate.

                Forgive me for asking, but I’m genuinely curious here; Do you not as a human being find it fundamentally wrong ( might I add downright repulsive ) that a man has the legal right to punish his wife? Do you not feel a deep instinctive sense of injustice and outright discrimination?

                What in your view justifies the notion that men are above women in the eyes of the law and makes it reasonable?

                Much of the problems (but by no means all) that you see about human rights in Islam will disappear when you see the variant (and legitimate) views on these by different scholars. Sadakat Kadri in his book “Heaven on Earth” discussed the ambiguities in shariah quite nicely, and how many different interpretation have already been held much much before the modern era. There is scope within the shariah for a fairly moderate interpretation.

                I think our definitions of “fairly moderate interpretation” are somewhat out of whack, but so be it.

                When a majority of the world’s muslims are in favour of religious law/governing as prescribed by their prefered scripture it is fundamentalism. It is no different from American evangelicals who wants god in the courtroom.

                And that is not an isolated fringe opinion held by a few extremists. It’s the norm.

                Islam as a recipe for building societies is every bit as twisted and sick as any other fantasy/horror book would be.

                It simply doesn’t correlate with how the world and everything in it works in reality, and that will always remain the Achille’s heel of religions.

                Islam as a whole is in dire need of a reality check so let’s put on our boots, Nap.

                Enough with the excuses.

              • The Moother
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 3:20 am | Permalink

                scholars have essentially reduced it to hitting once with a miswak.

                I have a long list of adjectives for men (it’s always men) who discuss not whether to beat women but how to beat them but it would be a contravention of Da Roolz now that you have placed yourself on the side of the latter.

                You take your little “miswak” fairytale and go recite it over the graves of the tens of thousands of women that are murdered every year with a “miswak”.

                Go repeat it to the tens of millions that survive the “miswak” abuse – many of them receive it repeatedly.

                And then let the hundreds of millions that live in perpetual fear of the “miswak” know that you think they’re living in an enlightened world.

                It’s not only wives. It’s mothers beaten by sons. Sisters by brothers. Daughters by fathers.

                Women are second class citizens and reminded of that all the damn time.

                You’ve managed to dodge the accusations of being an apologist for the Worst Religion In The World™ but now you’ve exposed yourself as an apologist for the rape, abuse and murder of women.

                That’s a spectacular own-goal. Congratulations.

              • NewEnglandBob
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 4:12 am | Permalink

                1. People are dehumanized when they act sub-human, like so many Islamists and who are not chastized by the others by are approved by others and polls have proved this.

                2. The Koran and Hadiths together represent extreme reqirements for the most part and the few straws that people like you grasp at just make you an apologist.

              • Filippo
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 6:08 am | Permalink

                I wonder if Islamic scriptures say anything about wives beating their husbands.

              • Nap
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 6:36 am | Permalink

                This is with regards to your post on 1:07 am. I ‘m posting it here coz i couldn’t find a reply button there.

                “Forgive me for asking, but I’m genuinely curious here; Do you not as a human being find it fundamentally wrong ( might I add downright repulsive ) that a man has the legal right to punish his wife? Do you not feel a deep instinctive sense of injustice and outright discrimination?”

                I think I have gone out of my way to add disclaimers whenever I have been discussing such objectionable practices. I think u would observe that if you re-read the post. Criticisms of Islamic principles are justified, and should definitely happen, but NOT while dehumanizing Muslims for being associated with the religion. That’s ALL I am arguing about.

                And neither do I think that YOU are saying that Muslims are barbaric. So, let’s get that out of the way too. I am referring to people who make the correlation between a book that prescribes things that are objectionable to us and people who profess the religion derived from the book, and go on a diatribe against Muslims as filthy, barbaric lot.

                The last statement will make you cringe, I guess.. that a people should not be judged by the book they tend to regard as absolute truth. But so goes with the Bible. People who profess to follow the Bible (otherwise known as Christians!), they aren’t subject to the same hate as Muslims are. That is because we live with them on a daily basis, and we know that these are decent folks, in spite of their beliefs. We don’t live in the Middle East, and therefore, we tend to judge them by the fringe elements in the society that make the most noise.

                “This problem continues to breed violence on a grand scale solely justified on the basis of their holy scripture and it is possible because those nasty bits really are there. They are doing what the Koran tells them to do.”

                I don’t know if you read apologetics. That the killing of innocents is justified under Islam for ANY reason is entirely unfounded. Numerous scholars have categorically issued fatwas against it, but more need to stand up to say these things. There is some truth to what Muslims say that Islam is being hijacked by wrong people. This is not a fringe view (prohibition of killing innocents). You have several misconceptions about Islam. If you are honest, read the counter-arguments to claims about jihad and in general, anything you feel is wrong about Islam. Many a times, what you read will only confirm your previous opinions, but in others, you will be genuinely surprised. If nothing, you will appreciate its not all that simple-minded nonsense. Do try to read sensible blogs, there are enough blogs spouting nonsense in the name of apologetics. Place the verses in context, and more than not, you will find that they don’t really mean is apparent on a first read. The reason is that the Quran is arranged in a very very bizarre order, and verses come up out of a sudden with no apparent context, and this leads a casual reader to assume that they are general dictats.

                The rest of the point of your post, in my opinion, are a case against religion itself. I have nothing against people criticizing religion, its the associated dehumanizing of an entire people associated with that religion that I object to (as from the comments here, and other places, you are well aware, people do).

                Regarding your question about who is creating the propaganda, they are people who are aware of all the aspects of shariah, and want to implement it. These are people really worth criticizing because they disingenuously blame democracy for nearly every problem of the world. They also don’t go out emphasizing aspects such as the killing of apostates, the taking of jizya (a tax) from non-Muslims, stoning people to death from adultery (both men and women, if you thought it was specific for men). The reason they don’t go out emphasizing these points is that people will have second thoughts about shariah then, and they don’t want that. There was wide outrage in Iran when the stoning penalty was re-introduced. People were horrified to see this aspect. Most don’t want such things.

                Criticism of Islam is fine, and it should definitely be done, but critics should also make sure that people reading their criticisms don’t go away with a view of the majority of Muslims as being barbaric, unjust, unruly filth.

              • NewEnglandBob
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 6:45 am | Permalink

                You keep saying the same things over and over again but the overwhelming evidence is against what you say.

                As Einstein said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

                That is what your apologetics has earned. By the way, no one said Muslims are filthy.

              • Jesper Both Pedersen
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

                “I think I have gone out of my way to add disclaimers whenever I have been discussing such objectionable practices. I think u would observe that if you re-read the post. Criticisms of Islamic principles are justified, and should definitely happen, but NOT while dehumanizing Muslims for being associated with the religion. That’s ALL I am arguing about.”

                You keep claiming that, but then a few paragraphs later:

                “I don’t know if you read apologetics. That the killing of innocents is justified under Islam for ANY reason is entirely unfounded. Numerous scholars have categorically issued fatwas against it, but more need to stand up to say these things. There is some truth to what Muslims say that Islam is being hijacked by wrong people. This is not a fringe view (prohibition of killing innocents). You have several misconceptions about Islam. If you are honest, read the counter-arguments to claims about jihad and in general, anything you feel is wrong about Islam. Many a times, what you read will only confirm your previous opinions, but in others, you will be genuinely surprised. If nothing, you will appreciate its not all that simple-minded nonsense. Do try to read sensible blogs, there are enough blogs spouting nonsense in the name of apologetics. Place the verses in context, and more than not, you will find that they don’t really mean is apparent on a first read. The reason is that the Quran is arranged in a very very bizarre order, and verses come up out of a sudden with no apparent context, and this leads a casual reader to assume that they are general dictats.”

                Quran (2:191-193) – “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief] is worse than killing…
                but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)”

                Quran (2:216) – “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”

                Quran (3:56) – “As to those who reject faith, I will punish them with terrible agony in this world and in the Hereafter, nor will they have anyone to help.”

                To name a few.

                Imagine for a second that a worldwide movement of Christians suddenly wanted to impose laws based on the commands of the Christian god of the old testament.

                This is what you are trying explain away by referring to a minority as somehow universal mind-controllers of the majority.

                Your own words:

                “Regarding your question about who is creating the propaganda, they are people who are aware of all the aspects of shariah, and want to implement it. These are people really worth criticizing because they disingenuously blame democracy for nearly every problem of the world. They also don’t go out emphasizing aspects such as the killing of apostates, the taking of jizya (a tax) from non-Muslims, stoning people to death from adultery (both men and women, if you thought it was specific for men). The reason they don’t go out emphasizing these points is that people will have second thoughts about shariah then, and they don’t want that. There was wide outrage in Iran when the stoning penalty was re-introduced. People were horrified to see this aspect. Most don’t want such things.”

                For Pete’s sake, Nap. Your line of reasoning basically postulates that a worldwide conspiracy of Islamic Sharia indoctrination is taking place and that it is successful.

                1.6 billion people are being mislead into thinking that not only is religious law the answer ( although many of them have already been there and done that ), but furthermore the west is to blame for the ills?

                In that case, where are the ones who are aware of what sharia entails, but still believe it is the answer? ( I assume the ones you are referring to are being manipulative on purpose ).

                “And neither do I think that YOU are saying that Muslims are barbaric. So, let’s get that out of the way too. I am referring to people who make the correlation between a book that prescribes things that are objectionable to us and people who profess the religion derived from the book, and go on a diatribe against Muslims as filthy, barbaric lot.

                The last statement will make you cringe, I guess.. that a people should not be judged by the book they tend to regard as absolute truth. But so goes with the Bible. People who profess to follow the Bible (otherwise known as Christians!), they aren’t subject to the same hate as Muslims are. That is because we live with them on a daily basis, and we know that these are decent folks, in spite of their beliefs. We don’t live in the Middle East, and therefore, we tend to judge them by the fringe elements in the society that make the most noise.”

                This might sound insensitive to you, but I don’t give a donkey’s butt what they really believe in. People are free to believe in whatever they want, but when they want to elevate old stories in a book to objective truth and make that the law of the land, then f*ck no, I’m not going to rationalize that away by appeals to their “real” intention. No matter how kind-hearted that intention might be.

                I think your disposition enables the status quo and does very little ( that is none ) to address the core of the problem. The religion itself.

                “Criticism of Islam is fine, and it should definitely be done, but critics should also make sure that people reading their criticisms don’t go away with a view of the majority of Muslims as being barbaric, unjust, unruly filth.”

                A criticism is not obliged to take into account what emotions people might walk away with. It is obliged to take into consideration what is true: As far as we know the majority of 1.6 billion adherents of one particular brand of religion are ready to elevate that religion to law for everyone else.

                Let me end with this point once again: The majority of muslims are no more barbaric or uncivilized than the majority of any other demographic.

                But their religion is one vile stinking big ol’ pile of shit.

                No amount of apologetics can remove the stench and explain away the completely unreasonable stories about how things came to be.

                The prophet muhammed should’ve been institutionalized not praised, and trying to build your society upon his “teachings” is doomed to fail.

                The violence is right there in the book. You know, the absolute truth book. That will always remain innate in the faith unless….well, you know, a secular re-write and all that.

                I hope you’ll one day re-think your perception of muslims as a whole. They are not mindless numb little drones being controlled from the shadows. They are every bit as human as everyone else and your post-colonialist view that they don’t know any better is condescending as hell.

                Religious or not.

            • Jesper Both Pedersen
              Posted July 3, 2014 at 10:54 am | Permalink

              Oh, and off course I’m not assuming you’re against democracy. Why on earth should I? 🙂

              • Nap
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

                Quran 2:191-193 – This was relating to the breaking of the treaty of Hudaybiyah by the people of Mecca. The verses in question were revealed to exhort Muslims to fight against the Meccans who had banished them from Mecca for declaring their belief in a single God. Its not a general verse relating to all times.

                Similarly, the 2.216 is on the same lines.. God wanting people to fight so that the armies of the enemy are overcome.

                3.56 relates to God’s punishment in the hereafter. It has nothing to do with inciting people to violence per se.

                Read the commentaries around verses please. As I said, the Quran is arranged in a very strange sequence, and contains verses that were revealed for particular events. This is the majority view.

                Consider this :

                “And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (9.5)

                From this, a casual onlooker might infer that this is a call to arms against all disbelievers. But if he reads a few verses up and down, he can easily get the context, but in certain cases, yes, the context can’t be found unless you see the commentaries.

                The very next verse says

                “And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah . Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know.” (9.6)

                Not only should the person who doesn’t wish to fight you be given protection, he should be guided to a place of safety.

                I can give you verses upon verses, and hadiths upon hadiths that counter the view that Islam encourages killing of innocents. Of course, there are several that indicate the exact opposite. Its the interpretation of the scripture that’s relevant, and the prohibition of killing of innocents is a central aspect of shariah. Don’t take my word for it. Search it yourself (from Islamic sources, for a change).

                If you are sincere, you should read the apologetics and commentaries before deciding what Islam preaches and does not.

                There are still several aspects of Islam that are unpleasant (jizya for non-muslims, expansion of the Islamic state by means of war, etc etc). I don’t wish to defend either of that, or say that this is a religion of peace.

                THE ONLY REASON I AM GIVING YOU AN EXPLANATION FOR THESE IS TO CORRECT YOUR UNDERSTANDING THAT THESE ARE APPLICABLE FOR ALL NON-MUSLIMS.

                I won’t argue on the remaining points because I feel I have made myself as clear as I could. CRITICIZE ISLAM EVERY BIT YOU WANT, BUT CRITICIZE IT AFTER KNOWING IT (and that doesn’t mean looking it up on anti-islamic sites only)

                Keep in mind that this very Quran is the document on the basis of which many Muslims are trying to invite people to give up violence. The same verses, the same commentaries are being used to make two very different arguments. Stop treating (real) apologetics as filth, and you might be surprised at what you find.

                Honestly, people who know the bad aspects of shariah try to brush it down under the carpet, and by doing that, they never allow the ugly parts to come out in open discussion. I can’t really defend these kind of people, but I tend to regard propaganda as a mitigating factor. You are right in some sense, but I stand by my opinion that most of those polled for shariah law don’t really know what it actually would imply in practice.. they have some kind of utopia in mind, which is not difficult to imagine since they believe the shariah to be from God, and most of them have little knowledge of the actual principles.

                An analogy would be what the average American knows about the Bible. He would blindly say that its a source of morals, and good behaviour, having never read it in detail to know what it actually says.

              • NewEnglandBob
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 10:50 am | Permalink

                Quoting religious scripture whether it’s the Koran or the Bible is childish and offensive. Anyone can make any case from Scripture. That is not what people believe in practice.

                Your all caps show that you are throwing a temper tantrum. This is because you can’t get your way. 99% of the people here disagree with you.

              • Jesper Both Pedersen
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

                There’s plenty more about violence, but let’s continue with some other goodies in random order and see how you respond. Apologetically, of course. 😉

                Misogony:

                “Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.” Qur’an 4:34

                Violence:

                “As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands. It is the reward of their own deeds, an exemplary punishment from Allah. Allah is Mighty, Wise.”
                Qur’an 5:38

                Treatment of those of us who oppose Allah and his prophet:

                “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;”
                Qur’an 5:33

                Misogony, again: ( How come it’s only the men who get to marry four spouses? )

                “If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.”

                Pedohilia: ( If in doubt, wait three months and all that ).

                “Such of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the prescribed period, if ye have any doubts, is three months, and for those who have no courses (it is the same): for those who carry (life within their wombs), their period is until they deliver their burdens: and for those who fear Allah, He will make their path easy.”
                Qur’an 65:4

                I can keep digging up troublesome passages, but for the sake of our sanity and Da Roolz, I’ll let you get busy with these until further notice.

                We’re fairly used to dealing with Christian apologetics, so I’m a bit excited to see how Islam stacks up.

                Apologetic away, my dear Islam connoisseur.

              • Nap
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 10:42 am | Permalink

                However, I can’t absolve them of all responsibility of wanting the shariah in place. I can only point to mitigating factors, which in my opinion are quite important too. So, I do agree with you in some respects. Lack of critical thinking can be justified only to THAT MUCH extent

              • Nap
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

                I don’t know how I can make more clear that I am not here to defend Islam. I have stated multiple times that there are unsavory things in the religion (and I even pointed them out multiple times). As I capitalized in my last response, the only reason I was stating an explanation of the verses was that I was under the impression that you were that these were blanket instructions without any context.

                Sorry for ruining all the fun 🙂

                Perhaps there is a misconception that I might have inadvertently allowed to gain ground, that I am absolving people in Muslim countries of everything that’s wrong in their culture by making excuses for their behavior. I am only trying to point out mitigating factors that are important in order to explain the situation there. These cannot be wished away by by saying that we are being condescending. The environment plays a major role in shaping your views.

                People in the US were not all barbaric, backward idiots 60-70 years back when discrimination against black people was rampant. We can blame them for sure, but can we really judge them by the standards of modern times ? Had you (or a person with your exact genes) been born 100 years back, how likely he would have been to denounce the discrimination against blacks.

                Criticism of the human rights record in these countries is required, but so is the understanding that we have to consider mitigating circumstances when describing their situation. Western nations have been lucky to have followed the path that they have, but others haven’t, and to blame the religion or culture there ONLY for this is quite naive, in my opinion. There is the western interference in these countries to consider, and the non-so-benign hand they have been dealt with to consider, and the Western attempts to keep governments there that were dictatorships, etc etc.

                And, as for pointing out verses and hadiths, you can point to dozens and dozens that support human rights, and which, in a way, counter-balance the ones you can dig up. Islamic law sources are contradictory, and shariah is an attempt at reconciliation between these, keeping in mind what situations these verses were revealed in, and whether the changing of contexts require a change in the rulings. There is even a name for it in Islamic jurisprudence – ijtihaad.

                Islam is also followed in Turkey and Indonesia, but there people have found ways to reconcile the traditional teachings with democracy, although their human rights record needs more work.

              • Jesper Both Pedersen
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

                “I don’t know how I can make more clear that I am not here to defend Islam. I have stated multiple times that there are unsavory things in the religion (and I even pointed them out multiple times). As I capitalized in my last response, the only reason I was stating an explanation of the verses was that I was under the impression that you were that these were blanket instructions without any context.

                Sorry for ruining all the fun :)”

                That’s alright although I must admit I’m a bit disappointed.

                “Perhaps there is a misconception that I might have inadvertently allowed to gain ground, that I am absolving people in Muslim countries of everything that’s wrong in their culture by making excuses for their behavior. I am only trying to point out mitigating factors that are important in order to explain the situation there. These cannot be wished away by by saying that we are being condescending. The environment plays a major role in shaping your views.”

                And what decisive environmental factors are to blame for the religious views 1.6 billion muslims around the globe hold?

                “People in the US were not all barbaric, backward idiots 60-70 years back when discrimination against black people was rampant. We can blame them for sure, but can we really judge them by the standards of modern times ? Had you (or a person with your exact genes) been born 100 years back, how likely he would have been to denounce the discrimination against blacks.”

                Of course they were barbaric backwards idiots regarding basic human rights/racism.

                Why are you afraid to call them that?

                And am I to understand that Islam and muslims in the present somehow are to be judged based on what their forefathers thought and did?

                “Criticism of the human rights record in these countries is required, but so is the understanding that we have to consider mitigating circumstances when describing their situation. Western nations have been lucky to have followed the path that they have, but others haven’t, and to blame the religion or culture there ONLY for this is quite naive, in my opinion. There is the western interference in these countries to consider, and the non-so-benign hand they have been dealt with to consider, and the Western attempts to keep governments there that were dictatorships, etc etc.”

                Again, with the post-colonialism.

                What exactly is it the west is doing, that is preventing these countries from implementing and following basic human rights?

                “And, as for pointing out verses and hadiths, you can point to dozens and dozens that support human rights, and which, in a way, counter-balance the ones you can dig up. Islamic law sources are contradictory, and shariah is an attempt at reconciliation between these, keeping in mind what situations these verses were revealed in, and whether the changing of contexts require a change in the rulings. There is even a name for it in Islamic jurisprudence – ijtihaad.”

                And the fact that these contradictions are present at the supposed core of the absolute truth doesn’t tell you that they might be on the wrong track?

                And that the problem with elevating religious belief to objective law is fundamentally incompatible with religious freedom?

                And how the hell, pardon my french, do you find it reasonable to base your society and judicial system on a source that requires “balancing out” in order to, depending on your belief, accommodate basic human rights?

                It’s like keeping a paragraph allowing slavery in the US constitution because it balances out other human rights.

                “Islam is also followed in Turkey and Indonesia, but there people have found ways to reconcile the traditional teachings with democracy, although their human rights record needs more work.”

                Yeah, if they want it, they’ll get it.

                But it’d be pretty interesting to see how many women actually vote for these religious discriminative measures against their autonomy.

                I bet it’s more than we expect. Religion; Wandering into the dark on a wing and a prayer since day one.

                So sad we never learn. 😉

              • The Moother
                Posted July 4, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

                People in the US were not all barbaric, backward idiots 60-70 years back when discrimination against black people was rampant. We can blame them for sure, but can we really judge them by the standards of modern times ? Had you (or a person with your exact genes) been born 100 years back, how likely he would have been to denounce the discrimination against blacks.

                Yes, I reserve the right to judge them by modern standards.

                But what you are trying to argue is quite insidious. You’ve done it before in this thread by insinuating that Muslims are all ignorant and gullible rubes and can’t really be held responsible for their savagery and barbarism (more on that presently). Yet, now, you are arguing that they are also backwards.

                You are the worst type of apologist. The type that tries to make people unaccountable for their own actions.

                That’s revolting. It’s like the Catholic Church telling us that their Child Raping Priests™ were simply ignorant of their crimes and needed to be protected from prosecution for this reason. That probably doesn’t disgust you either. Correct me if I’m wrong.

                You’re essentially arguing that Muslims are entitled to barbarism and savagery because they are, well, savages and barbarians.

                If an Iranian Mad Scientist were to detonate an atomic bomb in Tel Aviv and kill tens or hundreds of thousands of Israelis, what percentage of the world’s population would rejoice?

                What percentage of these would be Muslims?

                And what percentage of Muslims would be congratulating each other, dancing in the streets and handing out sweets?

                And what percentage of these profess to enslaving half their population? And that beating them is an acceptable form of discourse?

                And what percentage of these may I call Barbarians and Savages™ with your approval?

                I’ve said it before: You really need to redirect your efforts. Your time would be better spent trying to drag Muslims into the 21st century than whining petulantly that I’ve been a Naughty Little Boy™.

                (I would like to apologise to our Host for taking a dump on his living room couch. I am not as eloquent as Malgorzata or Jesper but simply cannot let inanity like this get a free pass. Sorry)

            • The Moother
              Posted July 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

              Most Muslims are given a minimal amount of religious education that includes the bare minimum of shariah rulings that apply in real life like what is the exact way to offer prayers

              I reiterate. Most Muslims are not even aware of these rulings when they say they want shariah

              Its not my purpose to defend any religious views, just to state the situation there.

              Wow. On a scale of one to infinity, just how disingenuous can a person be? Don’t answer that.

              Aside from the fact that you are insinuating that Muslims are ignorant and gullible rubes, you’re saying that they are ignorant of the only thing many of them are taught anything at all about.

              Your average Muslim is taught this for sure:
              1) The Koran is the perfect word of god as dictated to Mohammed
              2) Islam is the One True Religion™ and it will take over the world
              3) Women are worth less than men

              And by “average Muslim” I’m talking about 100%

              Like Jews are taught that Moses led the Children of Israel™ out of the land of Egypt, Muslims are taught about the infallibility and superiority of their faith and also the inferiority of women.

              But your assertion that Muslim education is just a crash course is so patently false that I could knit a jumper and matching scarf with it.

              a very significant portion of Muslims don’t even know Arabic, and as such, read the Quran without even understanding it.

              My gast is flabbered. I guess nobody in 1300 years has managed to translate a Koran? Evar? And even with translations, countries like Pakistan have had literacy rates as low as 50% as recently as the turn of the century. So it’s really irrelevant what the Koran or Sharia actually says but it matters what people are taught, what they believe and how they act.

              Speaking of how they act, those pilots from a few Septembers ago who failed to land their planes safely, they were educated, well-to-do types? Weren’t they?

              The depravity of Islam extends to every last cranny in Muslim society and you shouldn’t be making excuses for it or excusing the people that have their minds infected with these whacky ideas.

              You should be criticising it. Because it has real-world consequences. Consequences that mostly Muslims bare the brunt of.

              • Posted July 3, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

                Sir or Madame (hard to tell), here are your own words…

                “Your average Muslim is taught this for sure… And by “average Muslim” I’m talking about 100%”

                Beyond the first point of the koran being the perfect word, none of your points are taught much less held by 100% of muslims. And on that first point there are so many different interpretations of what that perfect word means that it becomes itself meaningless.

                This is of course the reason for so much internecine warfare. In fact, if what you said were true there would not be so many different Islamic countries but one single caliphate across a very large swath of the world.

                There isn’t, and it is because you are wrong.

                I have no love for Islam, or any of the Abrahamic religions. But I happen to like accuracy and dislike ignorance which is likely to lead to bad decisions on solving problems. If Islam is a problem that needs to be solved, we need to up our understanding of its nature. Please revise your stance.

              • The Moother
                Posted July 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

                And on that first point there are so many different interpretations of what that perfect word means that it becomes itself meaningless.

                If you really want to take my accuracy to task then you shouldn’t follow said criticisms with bizarre and sloppy assertions like this.

                How can the central tenet of Islam be meaningless? How can Islam mean anything at all unless this tenet is upheld?

                As for the other two, well, if you say that there can be interpretations of the first then there most certainly can be interpretations of the the second and third.

                So, in light of the distaste we share of the Abrahamic religions, let me ask the question again: Why are you here making excuses for the worst of them instead of either criticising it vociferously or warning its adherents of its dangers?

              • Posted July 5, 2014 at 12:03 am | Permalink

                Answering your last post for clarification…

                “How can the central tenet of Islam be meaningless? How can Islam mean anything at all unless this tenet is upheld?”

                When there is little agreement on what a prophet says, the idea that it is the word of god which must be followed becomes meaningless in a practical sense.

                “Why are you here making excuses for the worst of them instead of either criticising it vociferously or warning its adherents of its dangers?”

                If you search through this thread you will find posts written by me explicitly condemning all of the murders, and mentioning Hamas in particular as an organization I do not like. I even held out the very real possibility suggested by Prof Cat that Hamas may have been involved in the murders, regardless of their denial.

                The problem with what you are asking for is that I am not seeing anyone from such organizations promoting their beliefs on this thread. If I did, you would see me criticizing what they said.

                Since it appears most of us are already in agreement on this matter, I am taking to task statements from people generally on my side which I feel are inaccurate and so not helpful in resolving the problems at hand.

  15. Gerry
    Posted July 3, 2014 at 4:15 am | Permalink

    A fascinating insight into this conflict is given in this blog post by the superb British documentary maker Adam Curtis > http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/posts/save_your_kisses_for_me

  16. Posted July 3, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    This article titled, How Israel Is Punishing Ordinary Palestinians For Three Murdered Israeli Students, is an interesting read that is germane to the subject at hand.

  17. NewEnglandBob
    Posted July 4, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    “Associated Press in Lagos
    Thursday 3 July 2014 11.51 EDT

    A Nigerian atheist released from a psychiatric unit to which his Muslim family committed him by force has said he is getting death threats for blaspheming against Islam.

    Mubarak Bala, a 29-year-old chemical process engineer, said he is in hiding in predominantly Muslim northern Nigeria where sharia law holds and some interpretations deem blasphemy punishable by death…”

    THIS is what Islam and Sharia law is about.


%d bloggers like this: