Circling the drain, the New York Times labels the Texas cartoon exhibit “hate speech”

It’s a sad day when the New York Times, a bastion of free speech during Watergate and the publication of the Pentagon Papers , tarnishes its image by sort-of-excusing the Muslim attack on Pamela Geller’s exhibit of Muslim cartoons in Texas. And that sad day was yesterday.

In their Thursday op-ed, “Free speech vs. hate speech,” the Times, like many good liberal organs, has traded off its unwavering support for free speech against a misguided sympathy for the underdog. At least that’s the way I see it. Here are the first two paragraphs of the piece, evincing the boilerplate we’ve now come to expect on this issue since the Charlie Hebdo murders. The first bit pays lip-service to the First Amendment, and the second begins with the inevitable “but” that can mean only “they shouldn’t have riled up Muslims.”

There is no question that images ridiculing religion, however offensive they may be to believers, qualify as protected free speech in the United States and most Western democracies. There is also no question that however offensive the images, they do not justify murder, and that it is incumbent on leaders of all religious faiths to make this clear to their followers.

But it is equally clear that the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland, Tex., was not really about free speech. It was an exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom.

They go on to point out that while Charlie Hebdo satirizes religion and politics, Pamela Geller is different because, well, she hates Muslims.

Charlie Hebdo is a publication whose stock in trade has always been graphic satires of politicians and religions, whether Catholic, Jewish or Muslim. By contrast, Pamela Geller, the anti-Islam campaigner behind the Texas event, has a long history of declarations and actions motivated purely by hatred for Muslims.

It’s not crystal clear to me that Geller hates Muslims; what is much clearer is that she hates Islam and its doctrines of subjugating women, killing gays and apostates, and so on. Yes, I deplore her political conservatism, dislike her belief in God, and even on religion she’s too strident for me, for her anti-Islam crusade sometimes takes ugly turns (like the battle against the Muslim center in lower Manhattan). She is clearly afraid of what will happen to the U.S. if too many believers in Islamic doctrine (yes, they call them “Muslims”) gain political or civil power. She may be misguided, but one cannot simply dismiss her, or try to muzzle her, simply because she’s motivated by intense dislike—hatred if you will—for Islam.

In fact, I hate the more extreme forms of Islam, too: it leads to demonization of half the population as well as gays, to murders of apostates and cartoonists, to schoolgirls being shot or maimed for trying to get an education, and so on. And a large proportion of “moderate” Muslims support these stands, though they don’t engage in violence themselves. How can you not hate what that religion has done to people, or not hate believers who stone people, shoot Christians and atheists, behead journalists, and engage in the multifarious thuggery of jihadism. The creation of cartoons, whether they be by Charlie Hebdo or Geller’s artists, is to stand up to that thuggery. Geller has that right, and there should be no “buts”.  Did any of her cartoons demonize Muslims as people, like Der Stürmer did to Jews, or were they simply depiction of Muhammad? If the latter, why the double standard toward Charlie Hebdo and Geller? What the New York Times is doing here is simply flaunting their love of the supposed underdog. trying to look like nice liberal people.

So while Charlie Hebdo is lionized because it satirizes religion and politics, Geller is demonized because of her supposed hatred of Muslims themselves. But a cartoon of Muhammed does not express intent: it expresses a willingness to stand up against the doctrines of an extremist and oppressive religion. Who is the “hater” here? Geller, or the Muslims who stone adulterers and hang gays—and their “moderate” fellow Muslims who quietly approve of such actions?

And then the Times—to its shame—expresses sympathy for the feelings of those poor Muslims offended by the depiction of their Prophet (murder be upon him). In fact, they not only compare Geller’s actions to anti-Semitism (surely the Times knows the difference between hating Jews and hating Judaism!), but come this close to saying that, by being provocative, she brought the violence on herself:

Whether fighting against a planned mosque near ground zero, posting to her venomous blog Atlas Shrugs or organizing the event in Garland, Ms. Geller revels in assailing Islam in terms reminiscent of virulent racism or anti-Semitism. She achieved her provocative goal in Garland — the event was attacked by two Muslims who were shot to death by a traffic officer before they killed anyone.

Those two men were would-be murderers. But their thwarted attack, or the murderous rampage of the Charlie Hebdo killers, or even the greater threat posed by the barbaric killers of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, cannot justify blatantly Islamophobic provocations like the Garland event. These can serve only to exacerbate tensions and to give extremists more fuel.

Note: “blatant Islamophobic provocations.” I don’t think Geller’s goal was to provoke a murderous attack. Perhaps verbal attacks, but of course that’s Charlie Hebdo’s goal, too, for the reaction to its mockery of all religions was absolutely predictable. Charlie Hebdo existed to mock and provoke. By all means, says the Times, let’s not publish cartoons of the prophet, for whatever one’s motivation, it will “serve only to exacerbate tensions and to give extremists more fuel.” That goes for both Geller and Charlie Hebdo. What is the newspaper saying here? Apparently, that we should keep our hands off religion, at least those faiths whose adherents become murderous when offended.

Their final paragraph leaves me no doubt that that’s indeed what the Times is saying. DO NOT PROVOKE HATRED AND VIOLENCE BY SATIRIZING RELIGION:

Some of those who draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad may earnestly believe that they are striking a blow for freedom of expression, though it is hard to see how that goal is advanced by inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism. As for the Garland event, to pretend that it was motivated by anything other than hate is simply hogwash.

And so the New York Times goes down the Leftist rabbit hole. But one could turn the trope on other faiths as well. “It is hard to see how Andres Serrano advances freedom of speech by putting a crucifix in a glass of his own urine, inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Catholics.” And why anger millions of Republicans who don’t oppose abortion by mocking the Party’s stand on abortion? Perhaps those “devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism” might examine their views to see if they secretly sympathize with the terrorist’s aims, and, if not, to do something about adhering to a faith so delicate that everyone’s knickers get twisted when they see a picture of Muhammad.

Yes, you op-ed writers, Geller’s exhibit did advance the freedom of speech, and in two ways. First, it made fun of a faith whose adherents become deeply offended—and sometimes murderous—when they see a goddam cartoon of their Prophet. The deep offense and riots are not a rare event. Such reactions surely deserve mockery and contempt, not the tut-tutting of the Times. it’s just a cartoon! And indeed, “millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism” are nevertheless deeply offended by such cartoons, and support other invidious beliefs (see the survey data here and here). It’s time that we realize that millions of Muslims who aren’t violent are nevertheless, in their everyday life, throwing Enlightenment values under the bus.

Second, by showing that we have the right to mock religion without interference, Geller is also striking a blow for freedom of expression. Much of what she has to say about Islam is sensible. Some of it may not be. But that doesn’t matter. If we are to have a democratic public discourse aimed at winnowing the true from the false, we must allow all speech, and not be too quick to dismiss criticism of one’s cherished values as “hate speech.”. As I always say, every controversial statement is somebody else’s “hate speech.” How sad that the New York Times doesn’t see that.

________

UPDATE: Just as I pressed the “publish” button on the above, I got an email from reader Cindy calling my attention to a good new piece by David Frum in The Atlantic, “The right to blaspheme.” It, too, takes the NYT editorial to task for failing to understand the difference between “affront to people and dissent from doctrine.” An  excerpt:

We owe equality and respect to persons. Ideas and beliefs have to prove their worth. Pamela Geller, the organizer of the Garland, Texas, “Draw Muhammad” contest, attracts criticism because she so often pushes up to and over the line separating criticism of ideas from vilification of groups of people. She’s an uncomfortable person to defend. But that’s often true of the people who test the rights that define a free society.

. . . When vigilantes try to enforce the tenets of a faith by violence, then it becomes a civic obligation to stand up to them. And if the people doing the standing up are not in every way nice people—if they express other views that are ugly and prejudiced by any standard—then the more shame on all the rest of us for leaving the job to them.

How sad that this obvious lesson has to be taught over and over again in these days of identity politics.

See also a piece in Politico by Rich Lowry, “Why won’t Pamela Geller shut up?” An excerpt:

Yet scurrilous, scatological and, yes, hateful speech and cartoons — many of them involving religion — have featured in Anglo-American history going back centuries. They are part of the warp and woof of a free society. In this context, a drawing of Muhammad is mild.

The only reason it seems different is that there is a small class of Muslim radicals willing to kill over it. Which is exactly why Pamela Geller’s event wasn’t purposeless.

The event was placing a stake in contested ground, in a way it wouldn’t have if it had offended Quakers or Roman Catholics, who don’t massacre people who insult them. It was a statement of defiance, of an unwillingness to abide by the rules of fanatics. . .

For better or worse, we live in a society in which nothing is sacred. If we are to accept the assassin’s veto, the only exception (for now) will be depictions of Muhammad, which would be perverse. A free society can’t let the parameters of its speech be set by murderous extremists.

Give her this: Pamela Geller understands that, whereas her scolds don’t. Some of them can’t even tell the difference between her and her would-be killers.

And, apparently, the New York Times doesn’t grasp the consequences of letting assassins have vetos.

288 Comments

  1. art
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    The NYT should now go back and decry the civil rights leaders of this country for “provoking” the good citizens of the deep south in the 1960’s. The freedom riders provoked a good deal of anguish on those poor white southerners and by golly that got what they deserved in high pressure water treatment, dog bites and bashed skulls.

  2. Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The NYT should revise their stand on history and go back and decry the provocations of the civil rights leaders of this country in the 1960’s. After all didn’t the freedom riders provoke a great deal of anguish on their white brethren in the deep south? Didn’t they get what they deserved in high pressure water treatment, dog bites and bashed skulls?

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      sorry computer problems; thought first one was deleted

  3. eric
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    I find myself mostly agreeing with the NYT’s on-face description, even while I disagree with their implied proscription. No, I don’t think Geller’s motives are pure. But OTOH the NYT’s “something must be done about it!” implication is both wrong-headed and wishy-washy.

    No, nothing must be done about it: Geller is and should be free to spew her nastiness. What’s more, you (the NYT) do the public a disservice by leaving the what should we do part hanging in the breeze. If you’re going to write an Op-Ed like that demanding we do something about Geller’s efforts, then you should at least have the cajones to tell us what you think we should do.

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Excellent point.

    • nightglare
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      They are doing something about it. They’re offering comment and criticism. I don’t know why you take them to implying that anything else needs to be done.

      This seems to be a common reaction these days when people criticize parts of culture. People offer criticisms of video games or films or books or drawings or whatever, and they’re accused of secretly wanting to ban the things that they find offensive, when no one’s called for any such thing.

      • eric
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        I don’t know why you take them to implying that anything else needs to be done.

        Because they say this (my bold): “…their thwarted attack, or the murderous rampage of the Charlie Hebdo killers, or even the greater threat posed by the barbaric killers of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, cannot justify blatantly Islamophobic provocations like the Garland event.”

        The NYT is saying the event cannot be justified. That’s pretty much a call of ‘something must be done’ or ‘people ought not do such things’ in my book.

        • nightglare
          Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

          They definitely think that Geller and co ought not to have behaved in the way they did — that’s a moral judgement that they hope to persuade their readers of. But I don’t see how they’re calling for any further action other than further criticism. Saying that some action can’t be justified is not tantamount to calling for legal action or a change in the law on speech. I think they just mean it can’t be morally justified.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            It can’t be morally justified? That’s quite a claim. Even if you had a direct line to Pamela Geller’s mind, and were utterly certain that her criticism(and that’s all it is) is motivated by a deep racism I find it hard to see how drawing a bunch of cartoons of one of civilisation’s most significant figures could possibly be seen as so beyond the pale as to be morally unjustifiable.

            My fundamental bone of contention with other liberals comes down to free-speech, as it’s the one issue that stands in for all others. It’s the freedom from which all other freedoms flow.

            It frustrates me, really frustrates me, that something as crucial as freedom of speech, that has served as a tool for oppressed people ever since liberals first codified it, is more and more being dismissed by liberals now that it’s being used by people they don’t like.

            One of the most wonderful things about the concept of free speech is that it was a gift for everyone. It’s not something liberals can junk as soon as we’ve no more use for it. The tide seems to have been turning ever since the middle of last century, as progressive values have begun to dominate in the media and in politics. The default positions on race, gender, sexuality, etc. are essentially liberal. A lot of battles have been won.

            For the first time, arguably ever, liberals have something to lose. They are arguing from a position of power and freedom of speech is naturally corrosive of power. It challenges orthodoxies. And it’s the central indictment of a confused, complacent liberal west that, now that free-speech is no longer solely ‘in their corner’, and now that it might be used to challenge liberal dogma as well as support it, it’s suddenly become part of the problem. If this is a test, then many, many liberals have failed it. I’m only thankful that a few progressives like Jerry, Nick Cohen and others, haven’t chucked their principles out the window.

            • Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

              For the first time, arguably ever, liberals have something to lose. They are arguing from a position of power and freedom of speech is naturally corrosive of power. It challenges orthodoxies. And it’s the central indictment of a confused, complacent liberal west that, now that free-speech is no longer solely ‘in their corner’, and now that it might be used to challenge liberal dogma as well as support it, it’s suddenly become part of the problem.

              +100

            • Marella
              Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

              Yes, I am afraid you have hit the nail on the head. It turns out a lot of people, who used to be for free speech, were in fact only in favour of their own speech, and were just as keen to sensor others as their opponents. They just disagreed with what should be censored, rather than the idea of censorship itself.

              • Filippo
                Posted May 11, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink

                sub

          • eric
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

            Nightglare, the title of their entire article is “Free Speech vs. Hate Speech.” This naturally implies they don’t think what Geller is doing is free speech; that there is a distinction between free speech and hate speech.

            Now, I’ll concede to you that the op-ed sends wildly mixed signals. The title is inconsistent with the first paragraph (which reverses the title’s sentiment and seems to say “is too free speech!”). The first paragraph may be inconsistent with the last couple, though we seem to disagree on that.

            And I will stand by my charge of wishy-washiness. The mixed signals were either unintentional (i.e., poor communication) or intentional i.e., we want to send a message that this speech should not be allowed while not looking like authoritarian hypocrites). Either way, it’s a bad opinion piece from the perspective of a reader who wants to know “okay New York Times, how the frak do you think the public ought to respond to Geller’s event?” If you are right and they are just heaping moral opprobrium on Geller, then they could’ve at least say “and that’s why we think people should boycott her events – because while she has a right to speak, we don’t have to listen” or something similar.

            • nightglare
              Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

              Their point is that Geller defends her actions by saying she is out to defend free speech, when (in their opinion) her motivation is one of hatred.

              I agree with this op-ed, to be honest. Geller and others absolutely have the legal right to make and display Muhammed cartoons, but they’re doing it to provoke a reaction, so as to justify their anti-Muslim stance. Most Muslims, of course, will not react as the gunmen did, but in the minds of people like Geller their actions taint all Muslims.

              • Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

                I agree with this op-ed, to be honest. Geller and others absolutely have the legal right to make and display Muhammed cartoons, but they’re doing it to provoke a reaction, so as to justify their anti-Muslim stance.

                So fucking what?

                Everybody who speaks out does so to provoke a reaction.

                Dr. King was hoping to provoke a reaction when he led his marches.

                The Nazis were hoping to provoke a reaction when they marched on Skokie.

                Gay pride marchers hope to provoke a reaction.

                When Ms. Namazie marched naked in Paris, she was hoping to provoke a reaction.

                And Ms. Geller most recently hoped to provoke a reaction.

                Provoking reactions is what speech is all about!

                If the only speech we should tolerate is that which isn’t intended to provoke a reaction…well, I’ve got a few choice words to say about that contention, many of them short and of Anglo-Saxon origin, beginning with, “Fuck that noise!”

                Cheers,

                b&

              • Anonymous
                Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

                I agree with your point. But the article at best takes a very long, oblique way to say that, if it says that at all.

                Moreover, its something of a tu quoque attack given that we don’t really hold anyone else to a noble standard before we say they are ‘defending’ a first amendment principle. The NYT defends freedom of the press because it wants to sell newspapers, but we accept that despite this self-serving motive, their actions really are in fact a defense of freedom of the press. Most religious sects defend freedom of religion because they want to make converts, but when they come out in favor of freedom of religion, we accept that it counts as a defense of freedom of religion. So when the NYT points fingers at Geller and declares that her actions don’t count as defending freedom of speech because she’s got a (gasp!) socio-political motive other than speaking freely, its hard for me to take that seriously. Pot, meet kettle. OMG, you mean to tell me she’s speaking freely for the purposes of her own agenda?? Wow, that never ever happens. Next thing you’ll tell me is that Larry Flynt was no free speech advocate either, he just did it to sell dirty magazines. Couldn’t he be doing both at the same time? Can’t the NYT defend freedom of the press while trying to sell newspapers? Can Geller use speech to attack muslims while defending freedom of speech? Yes, yes, and yes.

              • Marella
                Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

                If it’s all about judging motives, (which the right to free speech has nothing to do with) then we really get into a bear-pit don’t we. How can anyone know what someone else’s motives truly are? It’s hard enough to know our own motives much of the time. It is also perfectly possible, indeed common, that people have more than one motive for their behaviour, as indeed this op-ed shows. They want to both support and attack free speech at the same time. How are you going to judge those motives? Judging people’s motives is proclaiming thought crime, it’s impossible in practice and evil in theory.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

                Everything you say is probably true. And yet it’s utterly, utterly irrelevant. If you haven’t imbibed the central power of free speech, its neutrality, then you haven’t grasped how important it is at all. It is not a tool for the use of right-wingers and religious fundies, clearly – history attests to that – but nor is it a tool for the liberal left either. It is neutral, and it’s not okay to junk it simply because it starts protecting opinions we find ugly or offensive.

                What also bugs me is that the NYT have the structure of their op-ed piece the wrong way around, and it’s a structure that’s popped up in countless editorial apologetics for authoritarian Islam – what these illiberal left-wingers do is get their half-hearted defence of free-speech out of the way first and then, after the inevitable ‘but’, criticise the speaker, making the ‘offensiveness’ of their views the most important thing, rather than their freedom to speak them.

                This is exactly backward – the criticism of Gellar, or Charlie Hebdo, or whichever luckless fool happens to blunder into the illiberal left’s sights, should come at the start. The NYT’s feelings about the person or group in question should be set out, defended if they feel it necessary, but recognised as essentially irrelevant, and then it should be followed by a staunch reiteration of the importance of free speech. What we should come away with is that, whatever their concerns about the speaker, in the end it’s an irrelevance.

                The neutrality of free-speech is everyone’s safeguard against future vested interests throttling opinions that aren’t to their liking. Like secularism, that other great liberal invention, its power and its value is predicated on its neutrality, and like secularism it’s rendered toothless once publications like the NYT chip away at that neutrality.

                The last few days have been deeply depressing for a British liberal like myself. The craven, unprincipled reaction of the left to Islamic conservatism is symptomatic of something that’s been happening in western liberalism for decades now – a dissonance between the desire to support ethnic minorities no matter what and the desire to uphold liberal values. And the latter desire is losing.

                All that should matter is liberal values. That’s what should define liberals, and what should unify them. This general election is what the liberal left gets when it compromises its commitment to liberalism. How can I ally myself with someone who calls themself a liberal, how can I call myself part of a greater liberal whole, when all around me(WEIT and a few others excepted) I see liberals defending far-right conservative Islam? I don’t see anything changing either, and I see not a hint of contrition on the part of many liberals about things like the Charlie Hebdo smears, or the Lutfur Rahman fiasco in Tower Hamlets London(apologies for the parochialism, but if you google this story you’ll see the delusions of the left epitomised perfectly).

                I can only hope the left’s annihilation on Thursday serves as some kind of wake-up call to a liberal-left that’s drifted so far off course, but I doubt it.

  4. rickflick
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Well stated. I hope the Times publishes your essay.

  5. Malgorzata
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    sub.

  6. Ken Pidcock
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    You should have credited David Frum for the Atlantic piece. He’s a conservative writer whom many here would enjoy.

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      I thought I credited both authors. Somehow I didn’t. I’ll fix it now.

    • Andrew B.
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Yes, I agree. Although not conservative myself, both David Frum and Jeffrey Goldberg have been excellent on this issue recently.

      • colnago80
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Jeffrey Goldberg, a diehard defender of Obama is hardly a conservative.

        • Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

          *Obama* is a conservative. (Except relationally.) I don’t know about his followers, though.

  7. Taz
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Some of those who draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad may earnestly believe that they are striking a blow for freedom of expression, though it is hard to see how that goal is advanced by inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism.

    I’m amazed the NYT writers were able to peruse every single Muhammad cartoon ever drawn, evaluate their context, and deem them all worthless. What time management skills they must have.

  8. dg
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I hope this mini-essay is widely published…..

  9. Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    It is crystal clear to me that Gellar hates Muslims. I’ll use the example of Sam Harris as a contrast to Gellar. Harris is often accused of bigotry against Muslims, and I believe those accusations are unfair and unfounded. The same cannot be said for Gellar.

    First, consider the so-called “Ground Zero mosque”. Harris was opposed to that construction, but he was also careful to add that it was covered under freedom of religion, and the government could not and should not have the power to block it. Pam Gellar, on the other hand, actively campaigned to prevent it from being constructed. Sam Harris hates Islam. Pam Gellar hates Muslims.

    Second, Harris comes under a lot of fire for his views on airport security. He thinks we should profile Muslims and anyone who could be a Muslim (or, to be more precise, he supports “anti-profiling”, whereby we give less scrutiny to people who clearly aren’t Muslims). Pam Gellar, on the other hand, simply wants to restrict immigration from Muslim countries. Harris wants to stop terrorists. Gellar wants to stop Muslims.

    Pam Gellar is a bigot.

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Also, I do think it was Gellar’s goal to provoke a violent attack. Absolutely that was her goal.

      • Linda Grilli Calhoun
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        On what basis have you decided that violence is an appropriate response to provocation? L

        • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

          What makes you think I’ve decided anything of the sort? No, violence is not an appropriate response to non-violent provocation.

      • JohnW
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        I totally agree. She could not have scripted it better for her goals. A good summary of Gellar’s other opinions can be read here

        [http://www.jewishjournal.com/rob_eshman/article/pamela_geller_youre_no_charlie_hebdo].

        She’s no freedom champion. Sometimes the messenger does make a difference.

        • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

          So you think that Geller wanted such an attack? Do you think she’d be even happier if they’d killed a dozen or so of the artists and attendees?

          • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

            I don’t. I think the result she got, wherein no innocent people were killed, was probably ideal from her perspective.

            • Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

              Well, then she didn’t plan that or want that, then. Do you seriously think she wanted to provoke an armed attack but one in which nobody innocent was killed? That’s not even a realistic expectation!

              • Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

                Isn’t it? There was security on hand specifically because of the risk of attack, and that security functioned as intended to protect the participants. I don’t think it was realistic to rely on such a result, which is why I think the contest was irresponsible.

                Of course, none of that takes anything at all away from the culpability of the shooters. Not even a little bit. They chose to resort to violence, and no one is responsible for that except themselves (and any co-conspirators they may have had). That’s why I’m adamant that Geller’s contest is covered by the 1st amendment, and why I don’t question her right to organize such a contest. I question the wisdom of organizing such a contest.

              • Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

                I don’t think it was realistic to rely on such a result, which is why I think the contest was irresponsible.

                So we’re all supposed to live according to Sharia because the Islamists might cut our heads off if we don’t?

                Fuck that shit.

                I say you’ve got it backwards.

                We all should go out of our way to piss off the Muhammad fellatiators as much as possible. And the louder they protest, the cruder and more disrespectful our blasphemies should be until either they grow up or flee from our righteous laughter.

                I will not live in fear of the Islamist’s sword, and shame on you for so cravenly conceding the high ground to them.

                b&

            • Kirth Gersen
              Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

              At the risk of sounding cynical, the outcome was pretty good for everyone. There are now two fewer jihadists, with no cost in innocent lives. Conservatives, liberals, and all jihad-disavowing Muslims should all view that as a net win.

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:51 am | Permalink

              You keep using your obscene extrapolations to justify your mere, rigid opinion.
              Of course there would be security.
              But, the security was very mild, and obviously not set up for armed attack.
              It was one guy.

          • JohnW
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:42 am | Permalink

            Well PCC, with all due respect, I think she’s a paranoid nut with a scorched earth zionist agenda and while she would express regret, yes, I think she would be privately pleased that her narrative of not just criticism of Islam but Muslim vilification seems justified.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted May 9, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

          That article is mere opinion.

      • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Being a bigoted ass doesn’t preclude one from 1st amendment protections.
        Your statement that a violent attack was “absolutely her goal” is speculative.
        However, that’s not really the point.
        If we accept that Pamela Gellar is a racist, that still does not make it a good idea to allow those most opposed to free speech to set the standard for free speech and when some people draw some cartoons and some other people respond to those drawings with bullets, the opprobrium, all of it, belongs to those wielding the assault rifles.

        • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          No one, including the NYT op-ed, is denying that Geller is entitled to 1st Amendment protections. I don’t know why this keeps coming up.

          The standard for free speech is not in question. It has been set by the constitution and the courts, and terrorists don’t get any say in the matter.

          You can direct your opprobrium wherever you like, but by the same token I can criticize two different things for two different reasons at the same time.

          • darrelle
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

            When you comment as you did on an article such as the OP you can’t reasonably blame people for responding as bobsguitarshop and I did.

            Because, yes, many people clearly are saying that they think free speech rights should be more limited than they are in the US. That is pretty common actually.

            Absolutely, I wouldn’t criticize anyone for criticizing Geller. She is a fairly nasty piece of work.

          • Xuuths
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

            It comes up, because the NYT is trying to say that what she did wasn’t “free speech”, but “hate speech”. If you accept that, which I do not, you can take the next logical step being that it isn’t covered by the 1st Amendment. Otherwise, why try and distinguish it from “free speech”? Just call it “offensive free speech”.

            No, this is a way of telling people that “hate speech” doesn’t deserve 1st Amendment protections.

            • Posted May 9, 2015 at 5:00 am | Permalink

              Your interpretation of the op-ed is explicitly contradicted by the text of the op-ed. “There is no question that images ridiculing religion, however offensive they may be to believers, qualify as protected free speech…”

              You can pretend the op-ed doesn’t say that, but you can’t expect me to join you.

              • Nick
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 5:48 am | Permalink

                Those protections go beyond freedom from prosecution. They also mean that citizens exercising lawful freedoms should be protected by the state against violence from other citizens. You miss that as you provide cover for murderers and would-be murderers.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          And if there were Muslims she hates it might be because some are quite hateful.
          Say Anjem Choudry who called for her death directly to her face on tv.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:54 am | Permalink

          What race is she bigoted against, please?

          • Barney
            Posted May 9, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

            Against people with faces that look “more Middle Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian”:

            http://thinkprogress.org/security/2011/08/01/284011/pam-geller-race-mixing-breivik-right/

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted May 9, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

              Are you serious. You think a jew would ‘racsist’ against people more middle eastern looking than Norwegians, who are traditionally, pretty white.
              That description would fit herself and any number of jews, so it can not be true.
              Thanks for trying though.

              She was commenting on the anti Israel political nature of left politics in this area.
              You are being typical.

              • Barney
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

                Of course I’m serious. She did it. She was judging people by the colour of their skin and their looks, and talking about ‘pure Norwegians’. It can only be racist.

                Yes, a racist Jew can say that Arabs look different from them; whether they’re right or not doesn’t really matter to them, it’s that they think they’re right. A friend of mine went to Israel, and was told he looked Arabic; in Egypt, he was told he looked Jewish. His father was a central European Jew, and his mother was Anglo-Saxon.

                “She was commenting on the anti Israel political nature of left politics in this area.”

                No, she was talking about “the genocidal leftists”, “the jihad-loving media”, “antisemitic war games”, “a Communist/Socialist campground”, “Norway’s antisemitism and demonization of Israel”, ” a summer indoctrination camp run by Norway’s ruling Labor Party for up-and-coming children of the ruling elite”, “Glen Beck was not far off when he compared it to the Hitlerjugend or Young Pioneers”, “the future leaders of the party responsible for flooding Norway with Muslims” and more. It’s a paranoid rant designed to spread her fear and hatred to other people.

                “You are being typical.”

                Good. I’m not sure what you want that to mean, but I think it distinguishes me from you, and I’m happy about that.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted May 10, 2015 at 3:16 am | Permalink

                Barney.
                You are being typical in that you have a knee jerk assumption of racist (or whatever the SJW topic at hand might be) based on nothing but a mere mention of or reference to, the word.
                The judgment she was making, as you so aptly describe was a political one. The criticism is not based on their skin colour but there politics.
                Her views on this may be too extreme but they are clearly not racist they are against an ideology.
                Your little anecdote about people looking different may be true but is irrelevant. You said “faces that look “more Middle Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian”:” which clearly applies to her and many others.
                That is what you said. Nice try.
                Again what race is she racist against?
                Thankfully you most certainly are not like me.
                The left and liberalism has become a joke.

              • Barney
                Posted May 10, 2015 at 3:37 am | Permalink

                No, these were her words:
                “Note the faces which are more MIddle Eastern or mixed than pure Norwegian”. Here’s the link to the screen shot:
                d35brb9zkkbdsd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/geller.jpg
                That’s about their skin colour. It’s racism, not politics.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:47 am | Permalink

                Barney, I looked at the picture and read the article before replying.
                There is nothing about race there.
                You are typical in that the notion of context alludes you.
                It is the simple minded literalism devoid of deppth or breadth of understanding (and in particular a refusal to try that depth and breadth lest it upset you narrative) and a inability to comprehend context that is what has made the left the joke it is.
                She said the word “brown” therefore rascist.
                Simple easy confirmatory.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

                Are you a fan of the Sharia courts in Britain.
                It is their culture after all. Some girl wants to be an atheist or humanist, hmm, bad luck I suppose.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

                Also Barney, some years ago I had the pleasure of being involved with some of that type of socialist anti Israel stuff that she refers to.
                While she is extreme, there is some truth to it.

          • Michael Waterhouse
            Posted May 11, 2015 at 5:16 am | Permalink

            I have to put this somewhere.

            Barney, I’ve watched Geller explain why she organised that event in Texas.
            As a counter to a Stand with the Prophet, propaganda effort by some Islamists shortly after Carlie Hebdo.
            Everything she says indicates political opposition. Including an awareness that not all Muslims a extremists.
            She has valid reasons.
            You, my man, can take the prophet and stick it sideways, where the sun don’t shine.

          • Posted May 11, 2015 at 9:24 am | Permalink

            I dodn’t say she was a racist, I said she was a bigot. A homphobe is not a racist, but a homophobe ios a bigot and I think some of the things that she has said about islam are unfair.

          • Posted May 11, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

            Furthermore, how does a pedantic, parsing out of my language further this debate?

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        “Absolutely that was her goal.” Absolutely he. You can not be so sure of that.
        Neither of those other examples prove anything except a distaste for Islam.
        Your certainty on these things is .. interesting.

        • Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

          You’re right. “Absolutely” goes way too far.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Okay, but none of that has, or rather should have, anything to do with the issue raised in the OP. People that think it should are really missing the point of free speech. It isn’t worth spit if you can pick and choose who gets it (free speech) based on perceived ethics or lack thereof.

      With regards to the free speech aspect of this incident, it doesn’t matter if her intent was to bait Islamic terrorists into attacking. Is it nice to do that? No. In the context of free speech, so what?

      In the context of who is responsible for the attack, that is really easy. Or at least it should be. The terrorists are to blame.

    • Kirth Gersen
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      So what if she is? Fred Phelps is worse, and we can (hopefully) agree that, in a free country, he’s allowed to have his say regardless. In the same way that it’s not OK to murder a murderer, so it’s a losing cause to resort to ad hom arguments against someone like Geller who is, essentially, guilty of using ad hom arguments.

      • Barney
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        I think (because of the first sentence) that response was in reply to PCC’s “It’s not crystal clear to me that Geller hates Muslims”. It’s not ‘ad hom arguments’ to present the evidence that she does hate Muslims.

    • Barney
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      The point about immigration is important, I think; it’s clearly aimed at all Muslims regardless of their social or political opinions:

      SION calls for an immediate halt of immigration by Muslims into nations that do not currently have a Muslim majority population.

      http://freedomdefense.typepad.com/sion/

      That would, for instance, mean that Malala Yousafzai and her family wouldn’t be allowed to settle in Britain. Or a perfectly typical person who just happens to have the wrong belief on the subject of a supreme being.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:59 am | Permalink

        She has reasons for that stance. Possibly reasonable reasons given the political reality of the world today.

        As far as laws and regulation go, it is often a generalised principle that may not apply to outliers.

        Any, she has reasons independent of hatred for Muslims but consistent with hatred for Islam.

        • Barney
          Posted May 9, 2015 at 7:19 am | Permalink

          No, banning everyone from a religion cannot come from a ‘reasonable reason’.

          “As far as laws and regulation go, it is often a generalised principle that may not apply to outliers.”

          What she wants to do is look at the behaviour of outliers, and extend it as an excuse to discriminate against the general population. You would not say “there are a significant number of racists in the USA; therefore no country should allow any American to migrate to their country”.

          “she has reasons independent of hatred for Muslims but consistent with hatred for Islam”

          They may be ‘consistent with hatred for Islam’, but it is still hatred for the Muslims, since it would be every Muslim that gets discriminated against. The fact that she hates Islam does not excuse her hate for Muslims.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted May 9, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          It most certainly can be reasonable if that religion or belief system threatens the values one holds dear.
          Especially if that threat may actually be physical and brutal.

          Why do you think discriminating against equals hatred?

          Given the problems that are apparent in majority muslim countries it is reasonable to want to restrict the encroachment of those problems with an increasing muslim population.

          It is not just a few outliers that are the problem with islam either, as polls show a significant number of so called moderate muslims believe in some of the more barbaric aspects of islam. It is not outliers it is a core problem.
          See what Anjem Choudary actually proposes as his goal for islam to see what you are siding with.

          US racism is not enshrined in a book that forms the core of us culture, quite the opposite, unlike islam. The fact is that if US rascists were identified they could be excluded.

          The point is that it is reasonable to oppose that, Islam, without saying anything about individuals or hatred for them.

          Until Islam gets its house in order it is more than reasonable for a woman concerned with keeping her western values, to be concerned.
          How you translate that into a hatred of muslims is beyond me. (not really, you have your narrative)

          I just had a quick look at her site. She gives reasons for her opposition. It is obviously refering to the encroachment of special treatment and sharia the like, not hatred.

          I don’t know whether I agree with that position but it is certainly worth thinking about.

          • Barney
            Posted May 9, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

            Like Geller, you are taking the behaviour of an outlier, and trying to paint a large group with it: “See what Anjem Choudary actually proposes as his goal for islam to see what you are siding with.”

            Of course, I’m not siding with him at all, and it’s silly of you to argue like that.

            You are proposing discriminating against individuals because of a label, rather than what they each think or do. Your fear of a Muslim population is irrational. Geller hates Muslims, and it seems she has successfully induced you to irrationally fear them too.

            • Posted May 9, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

              The problem is that Mr. Choudary’s position is both a very common one for Muslims and, frankly, uncontroversial amongst the Muslim community…and that damned few “liberal” Muslims will vocally contradict his.

              There’re videos out there with example after example of “liberal” Muslims, prominent in the “liberal” Islamic community, being called upon to denounce death for apostasy and homosexuality or mutilation for petty thievery or what-not. And, time after time, they refuse to do so. All say they yearn for a global Islamic religion (no different from Christians, to be sure), and either openly state that these are necessary and desirable properties of such a world, or refuse to condemn them as uncivilized barbarianism.

              Nor is this some abstract theological discussion!

              In hellholes such as Saudi Arabia where Islam is the official state religion and Sharia the law of the land, exactly as Muslims are ostensibly supposed to publicly yearn for…such barbarism reigns supreme. The West hasn’t seen such brutality and horror since the Catholic Church enjoyed a similar position of power before the Enlightenment.

              So, yeah. Somebody says Islam is a good idea deserving of respect…that person is not good and deserves no respect. We’ve run that experiment — indeed, we’re still running it. How many more must we brutalize before we figure out that Islam is evil and has no place in the modern world?

              b&

              • Barney
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

                That’s rubbish. Choudary is one of the few Muslims in Britain currently awaiting trial for incitement to terrorism. He is in no way mainstream in Islam. Muslims complain that interviewing him gives him publicity:

                Muslim organisations are to ask the director general of the BBC to explain the decision to broadcast an interview with an extremist preacher with close links to one of Lee Rigby’s killers.

                Shunned by the Muslim community, Choudary’s views are condemned by all of its leading organisations.

                “It was a massive error of judgment and it does so much damage,” said Julie Siddiqui, vice-president of the Islamic Society of Britain. “Why him? He has no legitimacy in the Muslim community.”

                “Somebody says Islam is a good idea deserving of respect…that person is not good and deserves no respect. ”

                Whether you give a Muslim respect is up to you. I’d hope you’d do it based on that Muslim’s opinions, not a false generalisation such as “Muslims don’t condemn Choudary”. But anyone who wants all Muslims automatically blocked from migration is bigoted. They are prejudiced, and advocating discrimination based on that prejudice.

              • Barney
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

                OK Ben, your links:
                Link 1: “Muslims all over the world came out in absolute condemnation of ISIL long before Obama asked them too”
                Link 2: “Muslims across the political and ideological spectrums have been condemning Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State for as long as these groups have existed”
                Link 3: “And they are also part of a long tradition of similar groups, ideologies and individuals who ultimately were met with defeat because they just were not sustainable because they were not representative of the principles, beliefs and spirit of Islam”
                Link 4: “a campaign launched by British Muslims called #notinmyname”
                Link 5: “Al Azhar will not judge ISIS or its Islam as un-Islamic”
                OK, that’s an argument saying they won’t call them apostates; we better check what they did say:
                Al-Azhar: The Islamic State (ISIS) Is A Terrorist Organization, But It Must Not Be Accused Of Heresy”

                What is your point? That many Muslims are pissed off at being asked repeatedly to denounce violence when they already have? That many don’t go in for “they are not Islamic” proclamations of the No True Scotsman kind, but instead say the violence is terrorism and wrong?

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

                That many Muslims are pissed off at being asked repeatedly to denounce violence when they already have?

                Awww. Poor babies, being put to the terribly onerous task of condemning the barbarism of their coreligionists who cite their shared religion as the inspiration for the atrocities they commit.

                And, yet, they still, at least in my experience, almost always refuse to…you know? Actually condemn the barbarism? Ask them if they will unconditionally condemns death for adulterers and apostates and the rest, even if the Sharia conditions are met, and they’ll do anything but condemn Sharia.

                Or pull out one of the many truly vile quotes from the Q’ran and ask them if they agree with it, and they’ll again bob and weave and do anything and everything they can think of to fail to stand with civilization and against evil.

                YouTube videos of such displays abound, by the way.

                b&

              • Barney
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

                So why did you post those links? You incorrectly claimed Choudary’s position is “uncontroversial amongst the Muslim community”; I posted a link disproving that. In reply, you posted links, not about Choudary, that you are now criticising because of their tone. Is that your beef with Muslims? That they whine on the internet? Jesus, the whole world does that.

                You then claim Muslims end up refusing to condemn the barbarism. But we’ve seen them condemn it, while whining, in your own links. You’re not even getting to the stage of over-generalising. You’re asserting something against the evidence you’re providing yourself.

                As for your other reply:

                “Christians have quite a tradition of, as we here tend to call it, “Lying for Jesus.”

                Muslims have a spectacular track record of the same.

                Again: would you trust a Nazi who wore a Swastika on his arm?”

                Ben, just lumping Muslims in with Nazis is a crappy, thoughtless, knee-jerk argument. I’m sure you know that.

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

                Ben, just lumping Muslims in with Nazis is a crappy, thoughtless, knee-jerk argument. I’m sure you know that.

                No, it’s the entire point of the anti-Islam argument.

                Islam is every bit as reprehensible and violent as Nazism. Worse, in fact, if such a thing is possible…Hitler was a piker compared to YHWH / Allah.

                People who swear allegiance to Muhammad on the Q’ran are every bit as misguided, at best — and, most commonly, despicable — as those who swear allegiance to Hitler on Mein Kampf.

                People stuck in the system and looking to escape deserve our sympathy and assistance. Those looking to reform the system…need our help in escaping it; the system is waaaaaay beyond reform. And those who are happy as part of the system have themselves professed to be our enemies, in exactly that language.

                What I will not do is pretend that Islam is a “religion of peace,” or that it might be if you squint at it in just the right way. Islam is horror, cruelty, insanity, the very worst of the worst of all that mankind has dredged from the lowest depths of who we once were. And nobody deserves any credit for aligning themselves with Islam, only for distancing themselves from it.

                I hate the ideology. Despise it. Have nothing but the utmost contempt for it.

                How on Earth can a sane member of the civilized world not hate Islam?

                b&

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

                The problem is, Barney, how much you can trust what apparently reasonable Muslim representatives say. And basically you can’t. Mouthpieces for Islam like Mehdi Hasan are practising da’wa, trying to introduce sharia while ostensibly engaging in a rational debate.

                The Council of ex-Muslims of Britain, the leaders of which have to watch their personal security day and night, produced this report:

                //ex-muslim.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/EvangelisingHate_Report_Web.pdf

                I strongly suggest you read it, before you think that you can take them at their word. Then spend 30 minutes following internet links on the people mentioned in the report and your eyes will be opened and your jaw drop. And you’ll find the fraud Mehdi Hasan being just as disgusting as Anjem Choudary.

                Dermot C x

              • Barney
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

                If you assume the typical Muslim is lying to you and cannot be trusted, then you are pre-judging them. You are prejudiced, and there’s nothing we can do about that until you drop that assumption. You’re lost in a world of “well, they would say that, to lull us into a false sense of security.” I try to stay away from conspiracy theories, especially the “group X is plotting to take over the world, the lying bastards” variety.

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

                Christians have quite a tradition of, as we here tend to call it, “Lying for Jesus.” It’s quite common, for example, to hear a Christian claim that Jesus is the best-evidenced historical figure from antiquity when, in fact, the exact opposite is the case.

                Muslims have a spectacular track record of the same.

                Again: would you trust a Nazi who wore a Swastika on his arm?

                b&

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

                Barney, this is a long, structurally complicated thread but your last post is evidence that you are apologizing for Islam and refusing to read the evidence from as authoritative a source as you can get in the UK. You assume a political conservatism and illiberality in the majority of WEIT commenters: and I’m almost certain that is untrue.

                Instead of oleaginously blaming the victim for the attempted butchery by the God-crazed psycho, we should instead support the liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims who actually do face the threat of death for daring to question the last testament of God – the essence of a totalitarian mind-set. How a liberal or socialist can in any way defend that barbarous text is beyond me. And we can also note that goddists just make up their arbitrary deeply-held religious creeds – there is an ancient Shia tradition of pictures of the prophet.

                Why not support the real brave liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims? Like Maryam Namazie of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation, both of whom fear for their lives? Or Irshad Manji of Moral Courage in the U.S.? Or Ibrahim Eissa the Egyptian journalist? Or Dr. Noha Mahmoud Salem, the Egyptian feminist? Or Dhiyaa al-Musawi, the Bahraini blogger. Or the queue of sceptical bloggers in the Muslim world who regularly get hacked to death for the mildest of criticism of the religion of their fellow-countrymen? Or Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Or ibn Warraq? Or the St. Petersburg, Florida declaration of 2007 of the secular Muslims?

                Islam needs at the minimum a reformation and those liberal Muslims need at least to continue the dialogue. In order to salvage some way in which Islam can reconcile itself with democratic norms and a peaceful, stable, progressive future. They really have their work cut out, and I’m sceptical, given the 109 verses in the Koran which sanction violence: and that’s not to mention the Hadith, the Wannsee Conference to the Koran’s Mein Kampf. But the project must be undertaken.

                Until they seriously address the moral problems of living by the Koran, the difficulty in the umma of even raising issues about the last testament and come to terms with the absence of any concept within the Dar ul-Islam of a separation of religion and state, they will make no progress.

                We started with a post describing an Islamo-fascist attack on some cartoonists. And they who defend the caricaturists are accused of fomenting religiocide. That’s the morality of the religious apologist and the reason why religion degrades, aggravates and renders infinitely more intractable every conflict into which it stamps its jackboot, points its gun and unstraps its belt.

                I see nothing in the ideas and practice of Islam which comports with Liberalism or Socialism. What matters is the defeat of the Islamic theocracies: how we label ourselves in that light is irrelevant. And the final push will come from Muslims in the Muslim countries. The debate has to run without a gun pointing at anyone’s head.

                Dermot C x

              • Barney
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

                ” your last post is evidence that you are apologizing for Islam”

                Bollocks. It is evidence of no such thing. What I am doing is opposing the automatic banning of Muslims from migration – which Geller is advocating. What I am doing it opposing the painting of all Muslims with the same brush, which several of you in this thread, including you, are doing. Your pathetic argument was “you can’t trust what Muslims say”. I’m not assuming things about WEIT commenters; I’m reading what you personally are saying.

                “we should instead support the liberal Muslims”; you don’t do that by asking “how much you can trust what apparently reasonable Muslim representatives say. And basically you can’t”. That’s prejudice.

                You posted the report on that organisation; yeah, there are nasty Muslims out there, and that group sounds bad. But your “the fraud Mehdi Hasan being just as disgusting as Anjem Choudary” is completely ridiculous. He’s got nothing to do with that report, so I presume you have some personal grudge against him. As I have pointed out, Choudary is an extremist condemned by the overwhelming majority of British Muslims, and awaiting trial for encouraging terrorism. He’s had links to hatred and terrorism for years, with his organisations being banned. Hasan is nothing like him at all. He’s a mainstream journalist. If you really thought he was, you’d be paranoid.

                I do support liberal Muslims – I approvingly pointed out Nawaz’s posting of one of the Jesus and Mo cartoons, just last Tuesday on a web forum, and was glad he was standing in the election (sadly he didn’t win, but barely any Lib Dem did). You say “I see nothing in the ideas and practice of Islam which comports with Liberalism”; Nawaz does.

                “We started with a post describing an Islamo-fascist attack on some cartoonists.” This sub-thread was a response to PCC’s “It’s not crystal clear to me that Geller hates Muslims”; I am putting forward evidence that she does (and is racist, for that matter), and I find people defending her bigotry as ‘reasonable’. Tell you what, let’s allow Maajid Nawaz the last word:

                Hebdo were anti-bigotry. Geller’s a bigot. Bigots have the right to be bigots, without being shot at. #DontBlameThePicture blame the gunmen

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

                What I am doing is opposing the automatic banning of Muslims from migration – which Geller is advocating.

                Yet all of us here, to the best of my knowledge, strongly oppose any such ban.

                What I am doing it opposing the painting of all Muslims with the same brush, which several of you in this thread, including you, are doing.

                If you’re a self-proclaimed Muslim, there are certain assumptions others should be able to make based on your proclamation. If you declare yourself to be a Catholic, you should expect others to think that you believe in one holy and apostolic Church with the Pope as the Vicar of Christ; if you declare yourself to be a Muslim, you should expect others to think that you believe that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet.

                And, just as we’ll readily admit that there are some nice people who would never rape a child but who just can’t bring themselves to distance themselves from the child-raping priesthood of the Church, we’ll also admit that there are some nice people who would never themselves behead an apostate but who just can’t bring themselves to distance themselves from the institutions of Sharia, including those in Saudi Arabia and other hellholes.

                If you profess membership in an organization as dirty as the Catholic Church or Nazism or Islam or the Mafia, you really don’t have much of a leg to stand on when you try to distance yourself from the very people you claim brotherhood with.

                If you don’t want people to think that you support pedophiles, don’t give money to pedophiles and identify yourself as a member of a well-known child rape criminal organization. If you don’t want people to think you’re racist, don’t call yourself a Nazi. If you don’t want people to think you want a global Caliphate and the worldwide imposition of the horrors of Sharia, stop bowing down several times a day in obeisance to the fictional character whose sole purpose in the story was to do exactly that. If you don’t want people to think you approve of breaking people’s kneecaps when they fail to pay extortion, don’t tell people you’re a member of the Mafia.

                It really is that simple.

                b&

              • Barney
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

                This:
                “you believe that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet”
                does not inexorably lead to this:
                ” who just can’t bring themselves to distance themselves from the institutions of Sharia, including those in Saudi Arabia and other hellholes”
                or this:
                ” If you don’t want people to think you want a global Caliphate and the worldwide imposition of the horrors of Sharia, stop bowing down several times a day in obeisance to the fictional character whose sole purpose in the story was to do exactly that.”
                It’s prejudiced to take one supernatural belief and then imagine that anyone holding it falls in with one set of violent interpretations and implementations of a few books. You’re saying there can be no such thing as a liberal or moderate Muslim.

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

                If you believe that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is his Prophet, it instantly follows that the words of the Prophet are the most important words ever recorded. Those words are the entire point of Muhammad’s prophecy, and the sole reason Allah told Gabriel to dictate those words to Muhammad.

                So, yeah. Damned hard to be a liberal Muslim when the entire point to Islam is the divine revelation that is the Q’ran.

                …as evidenced, once again, by the fact that every single fucking Islamic state is every bit as horrific as the one that’s adopted it as its name. The same week we were all up in arms over DAESH beheading some poor Western aid worker on YouTube…Saudi Arabia beheaded several equally admirable people for equally trivial non-offenses, justified by the same texts, with just as much support from the Islamic masses, and so on.

                You want my respect?

                Get the fuck away from Islam, at the very least. I’ll really stand up and salute you when you’re ready to come out and say that Muhammad was a fictional child-raping barbarian warlord who should be held up as an example of what evil looks like…but I’ll settle for something as simple as, “I do not consider myself a Muslim, nor do I believe that there is truth to be found in the teachings of Islam.”

                Yes, of course. Saying that gets you a death warrant on your head.

                WHICH FUCKING PROVES MY POINT ABOUT HOW DESPICABLE ISLAM IS!

                I mean, really. Just how blinkered do you have to be to defend a religion that sends assassins after those who dare leave the fold? The Jehovah’s Witlesses and Morons are bad enough with the way they ostracize their own apostates, but leave Islam and you’re a dead (wo)man.

                b&

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

                Barney, Mehdi Hasan: ““The kaffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Quran; they are described in the Quran as, quote, “a people of no intelligence”, Allah describes them as; not of no morality, not as people of no belief – people of “no intelligence” – because they’re incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God. In this respect, the Quran describes the atheists as “cattle”, as cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world.”

                hurryupharry.org/2009/07/24/medhi-hasan-exposed-part-i-%E2%80%93-atheists-and-disbelievers-are-%E2%80%9Ccattle%E2%80%9D-and-%E2%80%9Cof-no-intelligence%E2%80%9D/

                //www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPvW_A1w7W8

                There’s your proof for what a lying, duplicitous piece of work Hasan is.

                You say that I am painting all Muslims with same brush. That is a flat out lie and you should withdraw the comment. I have made it perfectly clear that leading Muslims, imams, clerics, ‘educationalists’ lie for their religion and I provided the evidence. I wrote “you can(not) trust what apparently reasonable Muslim representatives say.” You misrepresented that with, ‘Your pathetic argument was “you can’t trust what Muslims say”’. A representative is not all Muslims. You obviously are not seeking a reasonable exchange of ideas, but simply grandstanding in order to make demagogic points: and that says a lot more about your psychology than about my accuracy and honesty.

                Nevertheless, any glance at a Pew Research Centre survey on world-wide attitudes in Muslim countries will shock you. We are not talking about a small number of Muslims who agree with the more vicious tenets of Islam. Those are just facts.

                I am glad that you support Maajid Nawaz: I suggest that you put your energy into that rather than assuming that the Koran forbids lying to unbelievers. For it does. And here is the proof.

                thereligionofpeace.com/quran/011-taqiyya.htm

                Whether Geller is racist is beside the point. Even if she were (and I don’t know enough about her to know), there is still no excuse for the attack. You can’t pick and choose your Voltaire. This is an issue of free speech and the motivations of those who gun it down. If the organizer of the meeting had been Julius Streicher, we’d still have to condemn the attackers. And you know as well as I do, that they would find any pretext they want in order to kill. Pretty woman, uncovered hair, Jewish, it could be anything.

                Dermot C, Allele akhbar x

              • Barney
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

                So, Hasan once said something insulting about non-Muslims. Freedom of speech allows him to say that, just as it allows Ben Goren to say in this thread “People who swear allegiance to Muhammad on the Q’ran are every bit as misguided, at best — and, most commonly, despicable — as those who swear allegiance to Hitler on Mein Kampf”, which is also insulting, just about Muslims.

                In the same speech, Hasan also said:

                “we just follow the crowd, we are the cattle that Allah condemns in the Quran, and we can’t be. We can’t be.

                The Middle East, despite all its oil wealth…is an intellectually stagnant area of the world, where one in three Arabs, 65 million human beings, Muslims, are functionally illiterate, of which two thirds are women. 10 million children in the Middle East have never stepped foot inside a classroom, inside a school. That is the modern Muslim legacy. The Middle East…is now intellectually closed off to the outside world. … Closed off to the world – and let s not hear any of this nonsense about foreign literature, or foreign books, or foreign languages, being alien to Islam. It is the only way to learn, to open your minds to non-Muslims, to open your minds to other cultures, to learn foreign languages.

                It is no surprise then that when you look at the Muslim world you see that we 1.2 billion Muslims have just 10 Nobel prizes to our name….and our Jewish brethren who we spend so much time fighting and arguing with, 12 million Jews in the world, they have 150 Nobel prizes to their name….We are not under-armed, we are under-educated. We have lost our ability to think, to acquire knowledge, to advance intellectually, and then we wonder why our community is in such decay, why globally wherever you find Muslims we have such problems. It’s not a secret, it’s not a conspiracy, its clear to anyone who looks at the numbers.

                Just think about our priorities as a community, as a Muslim world, think about our priorities,: because when you look at our priorities….you look for example in the field of research and development…the West as an average spend around 2% of their GPD, their national income, on research and development…no Muslim country spends more than 0.5% of its national wealth on research and development…instead we spend the money on what? On killing, bombs, bloodshed, destruction, warfare, arms. Take Pakistan, for example, the “Islamic” Republic of Pakistan, with shamefully high levels of child illiteracy, and one of the world’s worst child labour problems, and yet it spends 20% of its GDP on its military and 2% of its GDP on education.”

                How is Hasan being lying and duplicitous?

                A few years later, when Peter Hitchens (Christopher’s right wing brother) brought it up again, Husan said:

                “In hindsight, I accept in this particular case that my phraseology was ill-judged, ill-advised and, even, inappropriate, but it is a bit of a stretch to claim I was attacking non-Muslims when the entire 45-minute speech is primarily an attack on Muslim extremists who try and justify violence against non-Muslims on an “ends justify the means” basis. But, I suppose, the whole point of a “gotcha” quote is to that it is totally and conveniently context-free.”

                You can go to that link for him pointing out where he condemns violence, apostasy laws, and Choudary.

                You think you talked about “leading Muslims, imams, clerics, ‘educationalists’”. No, you didn’t, you linked to a report about one highly controversial organisation, that doesn’t ‘lead’ anything. You said you can’t trust “apparently reasonable Muslim representatives”. Are you saying there is some point at which a Muslim becomes a ‘representative’, and at that point they suddenly start lying as you allege? That would be a pretty weird hypothesis, but it seems to only way for you to claim your permanent assumption of lying applies only to ‘representatives’, and that all representatives (because they appear either reasonable, in which case you say they’re lying, or unreasonable, in which case we’re definitely not going to listen to them) must be bad.

                If you think I’m going to withdraw my remark after you have come up with such a contorted attempt at explanation, you can dream on. You accused me of “apologizing for Islam”. You’re in no position to demand withdrawals.

                Geller’s racism fits with her hating Muslims in general, rather than the ideas of Islam. She’s a bigot. Someone asked what race she hated, and I replied, with a link. No, there’s no excuse for the attack; but this sub-thread started about whether she hates Muslims in general. She has worked for years to get people to hate Muslims, and it sadly seems she’s succeeding in unexpected places.

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

                OK, Barney, thank you for the link. I’ve read the content and you just proved my point. The name of the site says it all – ‘Liberal Conspiracy’. Now I know that you’re an apologist for Islam, this is exactly an example of da’wa which I mentioned earlier. Seeking to establish the Caliphate, world domination by Islam, by whatever means.

                Every quotation from Hasan which you provided is consistent with the Islamo-fascist idea of establishing a global Islamist theocracy. Hasan merely differs in his tactics and in his ability to look facts in the face about the cultural, scientific and intellectual deficit across the Muslim world. Dawkins has observed exactly the same problems and has been accused of being racist for it – what an incoherent slur about a proselytizing, multicultural, multi-ethnic, multilingual and multicontinental religion. Hasan wants world Islamic domination through education (in a western and not a Boko Haram sense) of Muslims, not as most Imams want through their rote-learned stupidity.

                Hasan is merely voicing the common Islamic self-pity about being left behind in modern world. He thinks that it can be rectified by catching up with western education: he is wrong. The spread of free ideas within Islam would lead to its collapse, just as the rise of the universities in the west contributed to the dissolution of the marriage of Christianity and the state.

                There are 2 explanations for your posts. One is that you genuinely don’t know what you’re talking about and the other is that you are an Islamist. I now come to the conclusion that you are the latter. The reason is this. I could give you so many links to the genuine, revolting ideas of Islam that even I might accuse myself of doing a Gish Gallop, but it would make no difference to your view of Islam.

                I have attempted to be the good cop to Ben Goren’s bad cop. But Ben is right. You are an apologist for the most pernicious odious little vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the face of the earth. He asked you to agree to factual propositions about Islam. And even gave you a get-out clause with the most gentle of criticisms of the faith. And you didn’t take it up. I am minded, in view of my earlier recommendation that you expend your energies in supporting Maajid Nawaz’s project, to warn him of your quisling nature.

                A writer should never start a sentence with the phrase, ‘Words fail me..’ but they almost do when I contemplate the contempt I feel for your ideas.

                Dermot C Allele akhbar.

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

                There are 2 explanations for your posts. One is that you genuinely don’t know what you’re talking about and the other is that you are an Islamist. I now come to the conclusion that you are the latter.

                Dermot, I do believe you’ve nailed it.

                Barney, if you’d like to convince us that you’re not an Islamist, it’d be trivial for you to do so.

                First, please read:

                Surat 4:79 What comes to you of good is from Allah , but what comes to you of evil, [O man], is from yourself. And We have sent you, [O Muhammad], to the people as a messenger, and sufficient is Allah as Witness.

                4:80 He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah ; but those who turn away – We have not sent you over them as a guardian.

                4:81 And they say, “[We pledge] obedience.” But when they leave you, a group of them spend the night determining to do other than what you say. But Allah records what they plan by night. So leave them alone and rely upon Allah . And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.

                4:82 Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah , they would have found within it much contradiction.

                4:83 And when there comes to them information about [public] security or fear, they spread it around. But if they had referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority among them, then the ones who [can] draw correct conclusions from it would have known about it. And if not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have followed Satan, except for a few.

                4:84 So fight, [O Muhammad], in the cause of Allah ; you are not held responsible except for yourself. And encourage the believers [to join you] that perhaps Allah will restrain the [military] might of those who disbelieve. And Allah is greater in might and stronger in [exemplary] punishment.

                4:85 Whoever intercedes for a good cause will have a reward therefrom; and whoever intercedes for an evil cause will have a burden therefrom. And ever is Allah , over all things, a Keeper.

                4:86 And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet [in return] with one better than it or [at least] return it [in a like manner]. Indeed, Allah is ever, over all things, an Accountant.

                4:87 Allah – there is no deity except Him. He will surely assemble you for [account on] the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt. And who is more truthful than Allah in statement.

                4:88 What is [the matter] with you [that you are] two groups concerning the hypocrites, while Allah has made them fall back [into error and disbelief] for what they earned. Do you wish to guide those whom Allah has sent astray? And he whom Allah sends astray – never will you find for him a way [of guidance].

                4:89 They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah . But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.

                That text is vile, repulsive, and inexcusable. I condemn it without hesitation nor reservation. The author of that text was a barbarian and an enemy of civilization.

                Will you join me in condemning this call to global murderous jihad?

                b&

              • Barney
                Posted May 10, 2015 at 3:12 am | Permalink

                Sure I condemn that, Ben. It looks like it says apostates from Islam (the ‘hypocrites’) should be killed, and that is awful; one of the worst things about Islam is the sizeable number of people in many Muslim countries who do believe in that barbaric idea (the support among many for punishments like stoning for adultery is also really bad). I don’t know why you call it ‘global murderous jihad’, though.

                I think you have a basic misunderstanding of definitions if you though I could be an ‘Islamist’. An Islamist is someone who advocates social and political control according to the rules of Islam. I’m a liberal atheist (yes, I know Dermot C hates the word ‘liberal’; I don’t know if you have a knee jerk reaction to it as well) who has been pointing out that a society with any hope of qualifying as ‘liberal’ cannot ban enter classes of immigrants purely on their religion. I might even be an ‘anti-theist’ – I do think the world would be better off without religion – but I don’t think you can achieve that by discriminating against religious people.

                Freedom of thought extends to religion too. In the USA, the first amdendment prohibits making laws about religions too, so the same thing that says it doesn’t matter if the cartoons were offensive says that Geller’s ideas are absolutely rules out.

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

                Sure I condemn that, Ben.

                Good.

                Now: how many “moderate” Muslims can you think of who would similarly condemn it?

                …and now you have your answer of why Dermot and I and Jerry and, yes, Ms. Geller and the rest have a problem with Islam.

                who has been pointing out that a society with any hope of qualifying as ‘liberal’ cannot ban enter classes of immigrants purely on their religion.

                Jesus Tittyfucking Christ on a Pogo Stick, man! What will it take to get it through your skull that that’s Ms. Geller’s bullshit nonsense and something the rest of us oppose!?

                b&

              • Barney
                Posted May 10, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

                Hundreds of millions of Muslims oppose saying apostates must die. Mehdi Hasan is an example.

                “that’s Ms. Geller’s bullshit nonsense … something the rest of us oppose”? Then why have people told me on this thread that her conclusions are rational, that her saying the problem with the Norwegian children was the presence of ones with Middle Easteran and mixed, rather than pure Norwegian, faces wasn’t racist, and that Muslims are worse than Nazis?

                I don’t think you realise how much you are coming across as wingnuts. It’s as if I’ve strolled into a Tea Party meeting.

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

                You have serious and profound reading comprehension problems.

                I’m not going to take the time to re-type all we’ve written in this very thread that puts the lie to your accusations. You didn’t read what we wrote the first time ’round, nor the second nor third nor fifteenth, so why should I expect you to read the fiftieth incarnation?

                b&

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

                Barney, these are the figures. Comment is superfluous except to point out that, contrary to your assertion, millions (and that’s a low estimate) of Muslims do support the death penalty for apostasy. So you’re just wrong

                2012 Pew Research Centre.

                Laws should strictly follow the Koran: Pakistan 82%, Jordan 72%, Egypt 60%, Tunisia 23%, Turkey 17%, Lebanon 17%

                2013

                Median % of Muslims who favour enshrining sharia: South Asia 84%, South-East Asia 77%, Middle East/North Africa 74%, Sub-Saharan Africa 64%, Southern-Eastern Europe 18%, Central Asia 12%

                Among sharia supporters, median % of Muslims who favour executing those who leave Islam: South Asia 76%, Middle East/North Africa 56%, South-East Asia 27%, Central Asia 16%, Southern-Eastern Europe 13%

                Check on Pew Research Centre website for accuracy and search for Muslim social attitudes.

                Dermot C Allele akhbar.

              • Barney
                Posted May 11, 2015 at 4:54 am | Permalink

                Hundreds of millions do, and hundreds of millions don’t, as the Pew figures obviously show. I was asked “how many “moderate” Muslims can you think of who would similarly condemn it”, not how many wouldn’t.

                This is what’s wrong with Geller’s logic – because she sees something wrong with the attitude of one group of Muslims, she thinks that can be used to discriminate against all of them. I wish people would learn how to treat people according to their own actions and beliefs, not stereotypes of vast groups.

              • Posted May 11, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

                I was asked “how many “moderate” Muslims can you think of who would similarly condemn it”, not how many wouldn’t.

                When 82% of a population respond that they want Sharia to be the law of the land, you know that, at absolute most, 18% would condemn the passage I quoted. And, in reality, we can be damned sure that damned few of that 18% would condemn that passage; rather, the overwhelming majority of that 18% would praise Allah and Muhammad, most would explain that the passage is noble but not necessarily something to be literally followed in all circumstances…and basically zero would outright condemn it.

                If you disagree…show us the evidence. Find for us a “moderate Muslim” who is on record as condemning passages in the Q’ran such as the one I quoted.

                You won’t be able to, because all those “moderate Muslims” are apostates with death sentences over their heads who daren’t appear in public without security detachments.

                Now, might there be Muslims who’re closeted atheists who wish they could condemn all this bullshit but who don’t out of fear? That’s a damned certainty. But the problem is…so long as they remain closeted, they continue to praise and otherwise support the horrors of Islam. And that’s a really big fucking problem.

                b&

              • Posted May 12, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

                In the barney between Barney and Ben and me (and how I wish in that context my name began with the letter B), I omitted to defend the integrity, honour and honesty of the CEMB in their well-documented and withering exposé on the Islamic Education and Research Academy (IERA) and the covert Islamo-fascism of its leading members.

                Barney responded that those Islamists were peripheral and by no means representative of Islamic opinion. I should have responded that the purpose of the CEMB report was to present evidence of concern to the UK government body, the Charity Commission. This is the body which vets and approves charities registered in the UK. The IERA was registered as a charity with an annual budget of around £850,000.

                This is a proselytizing, deeply dishonest, not impecunious and wicked organization, which, yes, presented itself as mainstream, moderate Islam and obtained the imprimatur of a British government body. The Charity Commission, the last I heard, is investigating its affairs. I do apologize to CEMB for not defending its bona fides properly.

                Dermot C Allele akhbar.

              • Barney
                Posted May 10, 2015 at 3:24 am | Permalink

                So, you feel contempt for my ideas, and for the word ‘liberal’, do you? Oh, boo-hoo. Yes, I’m a liberal, Dermot. So, of course, is Maajid Nawaz – when you see the party name ‘Liberal Democrat’ do you think that ‘says it all’ too? The party led by an atheist, with a higher percentage of its vote from people with no religion (44%, according to the Ashcroft post-election poll) than either Labour or the Conservatives? (the Greens had even more, at 61%. This election, I happened to vote Green. They’re still ‘liberal’, of course).

                You accuse Hasan of voicing self-pity. You are voicing immense self-pity – you imagine the evil Muslims are all out to get you, and everything they say is a lie! Oooh, hide behind the sofa, the evil journalist is coming to get you! And in the mean time, better listen to that wise Pam Geller, and ban all immigration by any Muslim.

                Like Ben Goren, you don’t seem to know the meaning of the word ‘Islamist’. Hint: it does not mean “anyone who doesn’t want to discriminate against Muslims”.

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

                So, yeah. Somebody says Islam is a good idea deserving of respect…that person is not good and deserves no respect.

                The problem with that sentiment is that all Muslims would say Islam is a good idea deserving of respect, thus by your reckoning all Muslims are bad, and undeserving of respect. I know that that’s a very unpopular opinion. almost the epitome of what many would call bigotry. Personally I’m not sure how I feel about it. Can you call people bad for supporting an ideology they were born, and indoctrinated into? Can you say all those people are bad when they don’t understand why Islam is bad, and undeserving of respect?

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

                Islam is every bit as evil as Nazism.

                There were quite a few lovely people who just happened to be Nazis because they had the misfortune to get swept up in that tide. It would be reasonable to have sympathy for Germans in the ’30s who were members of the Party but who wanted nothing to do with it…but respect?

                Such respect should be reserved for those who actually do something to stand against the evil.

                Maryam Namazie, Salman Rushdie, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali deserve that kind of respect.

                I’ll be buggered if I can think of a single imam who does.

                b&

              • Malgorzata
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

                I can give you a name of an imam who deserves highest respect: Sheikh Hassan Chalghoumi, the Imam of Drancy. There are more, but unfortunately, “liberal” Western media are not interested.

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

                A bit of searching suggests that he’s probably not so bad…but that he’s nearly unknown, and generally reviled by other Muslims who do actually know him.

                Rather a good example of the exception the proves the rule, in fact….

                b&

              • Malgorzata
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

                There are more. Of course, they are the rather tiny minority, but there are Muslims (not necessarily imams) who are fighting against the Islamic barbarism, who are trying to reform Islam, like Christianity was reformed. Quite a lot od them are now dead – murdered by “real” believers. The fact that these people are unknown in the West is a disgrace. Politicians, journalists, opinion leaders of the West prefer to have contacts with, for example, CAIR (connected to Muslim Brotherhood) than with those reformers. And this is a scandal and a stain on the “liberals” of the West.

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

                Islam is every bit as evil as Nazism.

                There were quite a few lovely people who just happened to be Nazis because they had the misfortune to get swept up in that tide. It would be reasonable to have sympathy for Germans in the ’30s who were members of the Party but who wanted nothing to do with it…but respect?

                I mostly agree with that, but maybe it’s the idea of one issue, though admittedly a big one, defining a person that I find problematic. What if the guy who “says Islam is a good idea deserving of respect” is a member of Doctors without borders and risks his life caring for Ebola victims. Is he still a bad person undeserving of respect?

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

                There are certainly times for compartmentalization. There’s a reason why religion and politics are often considered off-limits for polite discussion in many settings.

                b&

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

                Reply to Ben. Where to reply on the thread is confusing me.

                People who swear allegiance to Muhammad on the Q’ran are every bit as misguided, at best — and, most commonly, despicable — as those who swear allegiance to Hitler on Mein Kampf.

                That’s essentially the argument I find compelling. As a voting age tax paying American the argument could be made that I share responsibility for it’s constitution, and laws whether I approve of them or not. The factor that frees me from that responsibility is the fact that paying taxes, and living here are not really a matter of choice. I can’t refuse to pay taxes without being imprisoned, and can’t afford to move. Even if I could move I’d find the same circumstances in any country.
                Religion on the other hand is a matter of choice. I can choose to withdraw my allegiance to a religion if it’s tenets are ones I don’t support. If a Muslim says “I am a Muslim” he is choosing to support the religions ideas about women, homosexuallity, opostasy, and so on.

              • rickflick
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

                Mike, “Religion on the other hand is a matter of choice.”
                I certainly agree with your main point here, except that, as much as we feel it true of us her in the Western World, religion is often not a matter of choice exactly. First, because children are indoctrinated into their parents faith, and also, within a culture, religious confession is often completely obligatory. Sometimes on pain of death. A West hating Islamist somewhere in the world is not a totally free agent. She does not decide for herself what makes good moral and political sense unless she has access to all the objective facts. This is probably, often hard to come by.

              • Posted May 9, 2015 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

                That’s somewhat reasonable for those in the Islamic world, but entirely inexcusable for those who immigrate to Western nations.

                And, we need to make it perfectly crystal clear that those in the Islamic world who continue to hew to this barbarism will never be welcome in the West.

                Our home, our rules. And not killing apostates is one of the first and most important rules there is.

                b&

              • rickflick
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

                Agreed. This suggests reeducation camps for Muslim immigrants. How would that work exactly, I don’t know.

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

                I don’t think Muslims need any different treatment for immigration than any other group, and “reeducation camps,” unless held at a comfortable downtown hotel or a luxury resort or an university campus the like, are anything we want to even hint at considering acceptable for anybody.

                b&

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted May 10, 2015 at 4:01 am | Permalink

                Barney. I don’t know where this will fit into the thread but,
                Given all this discussion it borders on the self evident that a western woman has every right to be concerned with potential outcomes.
                That it is possibly reasonable to be concerned. It is not irrational as there is mountains of evidence to consider that says the opposite.

                To be bigoted you a touch of irrationality.

                As for the racism, you still completely fail to make a case, here or at the other comment, that was a feeble attempt.

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted May 10, 2015 at 10:01 am | Permalink

              I was cogitating on these matters many a moon before I knew anything of Geller.
              I

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

                “Ditto.”

                Before I even was all that familiar with The Hitch, too, and he was a firebrand that makes Ms. Geller look like a pipsqueak.

                b&

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Harris wants to stop Muslims, and Christians and Jews and any other irrational superstious group yhat might pop up.
      You are very good at knowing what other people intend.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 11, 2015 at 5:14 am | Permalink

      Your crystal clarity comes from believing in your own imagination.
      Barney, I’ve watched Geller explain why she organised that event in Texas.
      As a counter to a Stand with the Prophet, propaganda effort by some Islamists shortly after Carlie Hebdo.
      Everything she says indicates political opposition. And an awareness that not all Muslims a extremists.
      She has valid reasons.
      You, my man, can take the prophet and stick it sideways, where the sun don’t shine.

  10. W.Benson
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Jerry, the New York Times is your newspaper, not mine.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:04 am | Permalink

      What do you mean by that?

      • rickflick
        Posted May 9, 2015 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

        Good question. I think it means W.Benson does not like the NYT. Maybe he likes the WSJ?

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 10, 2015 at 1:33 am | Permalink

          In lieu of hearing from WB himself, I guess your suggestion is as good as any. 😉

  11. eric
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I’ll quibble with the Atlantic piece on this point:

    The way to deal with such provocateurs [people who say mischaracterize an ideology to oppose it] is to refute them from experience

    Well, that’s one valid way to deal with them. But I think an equally valid way is to ignore them. The US writ large does not have a holocaust denial problem. Very small subsets might be deniers, but it is not widespread. Why is it not widespread? Is it because, like the Atlantic suggests, deniers have been refuted in the public arena? No. The reason its not widespread is because most people just choose to ignore such cranks. Paying attention to them, “lending them your ear,” in some ways gives them power.

    I think the larger muslim community had absolutely the right answer to Geller’s event: ignore it. Let her ‘speak,’ through such art, but don’t waste your time ‘listening’ to it. Its the attackers that made Geller’s event a big deal. Had they not attacked, it likely would’ve been just one more right-wing failed march, failed protest, where they predict its going to Change National Minds while in reality, 20 cranks show up and the entire event drops down the memory hole without even leaving a ripple.

    And in a big sense, ignoring the provocateur is a win-win, for both them and us. After all one of the goals of the provocateur is probably to make criticism of the idea socially acceptable even to the believers. When they are ignored by the believers, that’s pretty much a sign that the believer group socially accepts the provocateur’s right to criticize them.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Ignoring odious entities like the Westboro Baptists is a valid strategy to a point, and of course the problem is deciding when that point has been reached, but when it gets to the point of killing people over images (IMAGES!) there should be no question that the point has been reached.

      There’s also the example that most biologists ignore creationists. When I was an undergrad nearly 50yrs ago, they seemed to relics from the past, ever shrinking in numbers, supporting the approach. But then the Reagan Republicans came along an fed them some ATP. Were it not for a few horsemen like Dawkins and PCC, they’d have even more traction.

  12. Bob
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. (Thomas Jefferson)

  13. Jeff Rankin
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    From the op-ed:

    It was an exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom.

    Which qualifies as free speech. It’s just, in this case, free speech you don’t like. Still free!

    And why can’t it be both? The motivation may have based upon bigotry, but it did illustrate a problem with a group of people who clearly have difficulty with free speech.

    inflicting deliberate anguish on millions

    Oh FFS! Am I really supposed to believe this? And, again, too bad – still free!

    From PCC:

    And so the New York Times goes down the Leftist rabbit hole.

    Well, they have some deniability: “Hey, it’s an op-ed and doesn’t necessarily represent the views of the NYT.” *wink*

    And my favorite bit from the Lowry article:

    The event was placing a stake in contested ground, in a way it wouldn’t have if it had offended Quakers or Roman Catholics, who don’t massacre people who insult them. It was a statement of defiance, of an unwillingness to abide by the rules of fanatics.

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Ack – some blockquote fail there, sorry!

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Jeff, the op-ed never denied that Gellar’s odious contest was covered by free speech. Quite the contrary:

      “There is no question that images ridiculing religion, however offensive they may be to believers, qualify as protected free speech…”

      • Jeff Rankin
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Yes, but there’s always a “but”, isn’t there? In this case, it’s of the “it makes people feel bad” variety.

        The implication being, I guess, free speech but shut up because it makes people feel bad (subtext: they’ll try to kill us).

        • Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          The “but” is that just because speech is protected by the 1st amendment doesn’t mean that it is above criticism.

          I’m not concerned about making people feel bad. I agree with you about that “inflicting deliberate anguish” nonsense. I doubt that much anguish was inflicted, anyway. I don’t think it’s really about that at all. It’s about pushing Muslims to choose between Islam and western liberal values. The Islamists want to convince Muslims that they are not welcome here, and that religious pluralism is impossible and/or unacceptable, and Geller helps them make that point. Geller wants to convince us that Muslims are dangerous and must be driven out of the west, and Islamists help her to make that point.

          I’m tempted to say it’s a symbiotic relationship, but I’m not too confident about using that particular metaphor on a biologist’s website. So I’ll just say that they are useful to one another.

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      This is really important (your point). It’s not just protecting speech that you happen to like. That’s the whole point of the principle.

      We have to protect the free speech of those with whom we disagree, even if we disagree in the extreme.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        +1. Freedom of speech is the basis of all other freedoms, and of democracy. The only way to counter speech you disagree with or oppose is with your more speech. You can ignore it too, of course, except if everyone did that, agreement would be assumed.

  14. Malgorzata
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I have real trouble with understanding the argument, repeated so often here, that Pamela Geller “provoked” the violence. Undoubtedly, if Malala Yousafsei didn’t provoke with her desire to be educated, nobody would shoot her. If Copts, Yazidis etc. didn’t provoke by having a different religion than Islam, nobody would murder, rape and enslave them. If Jews in Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen didn’t provoke by being Jewish, nobody would murder them. If those three thousand people didn’t provoke by being Americans, the Twin Towers would still stand (possibly with Al-Queda or ISIS flag above them).

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      The crucial difference is intent. Gellar intended to provoke violence.

      • Malgorzata
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        How do you know that this woman wanted to expose herself and all her guests to violence? And now to have a death sentence hanging over her (there is already a fatwa) 24 hours per day, 7 days per week? Did she tell you that?

        • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

          It is my opinion.

          • Malgorzata
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:32 am | Permalink

            Of course, you are as entitled to your opinions as Pamela Geller is to hers.

          • Michael Waterhouse
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:35 am | Permalink

            It is indeed merely your opinion but you are stating as a certainty.
            You can not know her intent.
            You are accusing her of something quite serious on no evidence, but as you have clarified, it is merely you opinion.

      • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Yes, please tell us how you are able to discern this. Did Geller (spelling) say she WANTED to provoke violence. Or are you just guessing that. Give us your evidence, please.

        • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

          Thanks for pointing out my spelling error. That sort of sloppiness bugs me more than it should.

          It’s my judgment based on what I know about her from her media appearances and various commentaries about her. It’s an opinion.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

            It’s certainly possible your opinion is correct given Geller’s history, but (and I hate myself for using this phrase) so what? That doesn’t mean the principle of freedom of speech doesn’t apply to her.

            You can’t just judge such things on the character of the person involved. It could be equally argued that Raif Badawi was provoking violence in writing his blog in Saudi Arabia, but I hope none of us would say he deserves the consequences.

      • eric
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        No, that’s not a crucial legal difference. If I say “aggle blaggle kerblabble” to someone intending to provoke violence, I have not committed a crime. To be criminal, the content of the message itself must be inciteful, not just the intent.

        Pictures of a bearded guy is not a message inciting violence. Such pictures do not command someone or suggest someone do any specific course of action. So, Geller’s event is protected speech and not incitement (IANAL, IMO, etc.. caveats apply).

        • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

          Where did criminality enter into this? I haven’t seen any suggestion that Geller’s contest is, or should be, illegal. It isn’t, and it shouldn’t be. It’s just odious, contemptible, and irresponsible.

          • Mike
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

            Black activists in the south in the 60s…definitely intentionally provocative. Also irresponsible in your mind?

            • Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

              I didn’t say that all intentional provocation is irresponsible. I said that this intentional provocation is irresponsible. I don’t think you can reasonably characterize all black activists in the south in the ’60s with a single binary judgment. It’s kind of a case-by-case sorta thing.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted May 8, 2015 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

                That’s the problem as I see it. It’s NOT a case by case thing. It’s a universally applied principle. It cannot be applied case by case or it loses all meaning.

          • Michael Waterhouse
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

            No it is not. It is a reasonable event, made to demonstrate reasonable values and how those values are being sold out. It was neither odious, contemptible, or irresponsible.
            You may cowed by the buts but a lot of us aren’t.
            Just my opinion.

            • Posted May 9, 2015 at 7:08 am | Permalink

              but bbut bbbut bbbuuuutttt BBBBBBUUUUTTTTT BBBBBBUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTT.

              Their but(t)s are getting bigger as they osculate the rump of faith.

          • eric
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

            Okay, when you say that’s a crucial difference, crucial for what? The law? No. Determining who is morally culpable for the attacks? No. So…for what is her intent crucial?

            • Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

              Crucial for whether or not I think criticism directed against her (such as that found in the NYT op-ed) is fair or appropriate. Malzorgata was arguing by analogy that criticism of Geller is like criticism of Malala Yousafzai. I disagree. The difference, as I see it, is the underlying moral status of the alleged provocation, and intent is relevant to that determination.

              • Malgorzata
                Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

                Do you mean that if somebody rapes a prostitute there is no need to to be too hard on him? You would take into account the “underlying moral status” and deem it not up to your standards.

              • Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

                …beat me to it.

                Justice, including free speech, is for all, especially those who somehow don’t deserve it.

                And that’s because justice is all about being civilized and has nothing whatsoever to do with just deserts.

                b&

              • eric
                Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

                Wow, I don’t know where you got the idea that everyone here is defending Geller’s political positions. There seem to be a lot of people here fairly and appropriately criticizing them. As I read it, folks here are defending her right to hold such events even with a venal motive for doing them.

                And frankly, again, motive wouldn’t much matter to me. She could have the noblest motive for her art show in the world and I’d still call her out as being wrong to oppose building mosques in perfectly legal areas, wrong to oppose muslim immigration. Wrong to support the English Defense League. And laughably wrong in a more humorous fashion for claiming Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz are “political supernovas.” She’s wrongity wrong wrong wrong. And there is nothing morally or legally wrong with her putting together a ‘draw Mohammed’ art show, whatever venal motive she may have had for doing that.

              • Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

                Malzorgata:

                “Do you mean that if somebody rapes a prostitute there is no need to to be too hard on him? You would take into account the “underlying moral status” and deem it not up to your standards.”

                No, of course not. Where did that come from? I haven’t said anything about going easy on criminals in any circumstances.

                Ben Goren:

                “And that’s because justice is all about being civilized and has nothing whatsoever to do with just deserts.”

                Really? What do you think the word “just” means in the context of “just deserts”? It doesn’t mean “only”. But allow me to repeat once again that I have never disputed Geller’s right to free speech. There is no question, as the NYT op-ed pointed out right off the bat, that Geller’s contest is covered by the First Amendment. I’m not questioning Geller’s rights. I’m questioning her motives and her judgment.

              • Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

                I’m not questioning Geller’s rights. I’m questioning her motives and her judgment.

                Her motives are pretty plain: she really doesn’t like Islam and those who adhere to it.

                And how dare you question her judgement?

                Had the Islamists attempted not to shoot her but rape her, and not because of her speech but her attire, would you still question her judgement?

                And, no. This isn’t hyperbole. Such rape is the common and expected reaction in Islamist territories to women dressed as Ms. Geller typically does, just as murder is the common and expected reaction to anybody who speaks as she does.

                If you must exercise “judgement” before speaking, and not out of concern of expressing yourself in the most effective manner possible…your speech is not free.

                b&

              • Posted May 8, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

                eric:

                “Wow, I don’t know where you got the idea that everyone here is defending Geller’s political positions.”

                I don’t know how I’ve given you that impression, but I don’t think that at all.

              • Paul S
                Posted May 8, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

                Ventzone
                I’ve read your comments and they all pretty much boil down to “she has the right to free speech, but…” and then you bring up what you believe her motives to be and what she’s said previously.
                I’d like to know why you think her motives have any bearing at all. It shouldn’t matter why she held the contest, whether you think it was in bad taste or if it was deliberately provocative is beside the point. Like much of the media coverage, it seems you are attempting to shift the focus from a violent attack on against people at a draw Muhammad contest, to what you don’t like about Ms Geller. Not only is it unwarranted victim blaming, mentioning her politics and previous comments she’s made only serves to justify the attack. If you want to criticize her, feel fee, I don’t doubt she has some odious views, and I’m sure there are several venues where you can discuss them at length, but they have fuck all to do with this attack.

        • krzysztof1
          Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

          To be criminal, the content of the message itself must be inciteful, not just the intent.

          There are some Supreme Court decisions that seem to reference that. A couple quotes:

          Resort to epithets or [Cantwell v. Connecticut, 1940, 310 U.S. 296, 310] personal abuse is not in any proper sense communication of information or opinion safeguarded by the Constitution, and its punishment as a criminal act would raise no question under that instrument.

          . . . [Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 1942:] There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention [315 U.S. 568, 572] and punishment of which has never been thought to raise any Constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or ‘fighting’ words-those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality. [emphasis added]

          So the question seems to turn on the idea that “hate speech” in order to be subject to law must be devoid of idea-content. When you use the word ‘content’ I’m inferring you refer to what is actually said, rather than whether it contains ideas.

          A further question could be raised: Do cartoons communicate ideas? Drawing Mohammed could be done to provoke violence, or it need not be. Intent is hard to discern in that case, I think.

          • eric
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

            ‘Fighting words’ laws in the US are interesting, because yes we still have them, even though they would seem to be a clear problem for free speech advocates. I’m guessing a lot of free speech advocates (me included) would have no problem scrapping the exception altogether. But regardless of how we feel about them, fighting words are not the same thing as hate speech.

            When the courts talk about fighting words being devoid of content, they really mean that its just personal insults. Your momma wears combat boots; your son couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Moreover, you see again how the courts say that there must be an immediate incitement to violence. You have to be basically in someone’s face, talking highly personal trash about them, for it to count. Casting racial dispersions against an entire group through art isn’t that. Insulting a world religion isn’t that. As a general rule of thumb, if some person has to get in their car and drive to an art show in order to make their attack on an artist, then the art wasn’t fighting words.

      • Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Ventzone, you have provided NO evidence that she wanted or intended to provoke violence. So stop stating that like it’s a fact. I’ve asked for your evidence showing that this is what she intended, and you haven’t given any.

        Do you know the difference between your opinion and fact?

        • Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          Yes, I do. “Geller intended to provoke the attack” is a fact which is either true or false. There is some uncertainty as to whether it is true or false, which leaves us free to reach an opinion based on whatever we know about her. It’s hardly unusual to make inferences about intent based on behavior, and that’s all I’ve done.

          As you wish, I won’t repeat my opinion.

      • Kirth Gersen
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        And the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, as they say. (Even if metaphorical, it’s still a good saying.)

      • Henry Fitzgerald
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Even granted you’re right about Gellar’s intent, it’s not a crucial difference.

        Others have drawn an analogy with the American Civil Rights movement, and it’s a good one – because Martin Luther King’s intention and strategy was also to provoke violence, on the part of his opponents, to demonstrate to the wider community how bad they were. He didn’t want to provoke too much violence, of course; but he also didn’t want to provoke too little.

        It was a noble goal, and in any event it worked, ultimately one leading to less violence overall.

        So I can’t fault Martin Luther King for his intent to provoke a certain amount of violence on the part of opponents he knew in advance to be violent people. Maybe we can still fault Pamela Gellar for doing so – if that is indeed what she was doing – but not without a thorough examination of the details.

    • muffy
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Well said.

    • eric
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      I have real trouble with understanding the argument, repeated so often here, that Pamela Geller “provoked” the violence.

      That’s because there’s at least two ways to use the work ‘provoke’ – descriptive (because A, B) and normative (the person who did A bears responsibility for B happening). People often mix them up or don’t clearly say which one the mean. In this case, I think it is inarguable that the gunmen chose to attack that event because of the sort of event it was (because A, B). The event’s drawings of Mohammed provoked the attack in the descriptive sense. But at the same time, I don’t really see any of Jerry’s commenters making the normative argument – none of the commenters here seem to be saying that Geller bears some responsibility for the attack happening. She doesn’t; the attackers bear full responsibility for their actions.

      • eric
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        And I see now that ventzone has proven me wrong. But still, Malgorzata, I would say that most of Jerry’s posters would agree with you in defending Geller’s right to host such events, to speak such speech.

        • Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

          No, you misunderstand me. Geller is not at all responsible for the attack. Not even a little bit. I mean provoked in the descriptive sense. The only addition I’m making is that I believe she intended to provoke the attack. That doesn’t make her responsible for it.

          • reasonshark
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

            I’m not sure what you mean. In what sense can you claim a person intended to provoke someone else, took steps to provoke someone else, and then wasn’t responsible – in part or in total – when they succeeded? It seems to me you’re trying to eat your cake and have it.

            • Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

              Good question. It does seem kinda inconsistent. The way I see it, Geller’s responsibility ends the moment those terrorists decided to attack the contest. That’s their decision, and they alone are responsible for it. No one forced them to take up arms against a bunch of cartoonists. Even if Geller did intend for someone to make that decision, it’s still their decision, and they are responsible for it, not her.

              • Diane G.
                Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:16 am | Permalink

                ventzone, I understand what you’re saying and agree.

          • Michael Waterhouse
            Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

            She claimed that she did not want to provoke a violent attack.
            She may have wanted to provoke a verbal attack, which is the idea of free speech.
            And, given your statements, if she does get harmed by Islamic extremists you will be the first to say she deserved it.
            And then you will probably say, “let that be a lesson to you”

            • eric
              Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

              Personally, I’d say she intended to provoke media attention. As nasty and bigoted as I think her political position is, I can’t imagine her desiring the visitors and artists hurt.

              • Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

                I don’t imagine she did desire the visitors or artists hurt. You say she desired media attention. Ok. She wouldn’t have had much without the attack.

                And no, if she were to be harmed by Islamists, she wouldn’t deserve it. To the extent that you anything I’ve said seems to suggest otherwise, I have been unclear and/or misunderstood.

              • eric
                Posted May 8, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

                She wouldn’t have had much without the attack.

                Complete baloney. There could’ve been many other reasons the media would’ve paid attention to it. Not least of which is simply because Pam Geller has a reputation for saying clickbaity type things.

                Ventzone, look, it’s just like the Florida guy who burnt Korans on his lawn. Or PZ Myers and the wafer. They did it (at least in part) to get the news media to run stories about them. Saying that in no way implies that any of those three ever wanted someone with a gun to show up on their doorstep, or that the only way they would’ve got attention was if someone did show up on their doorstep with a gun. The latter is patently false, as I’ve just given you two examples of somewhat similar ‘expositions of blasphemy’ where an attack was neither the planner’s goal nor was it necessary to get media attention.

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      I’ll go a step further.

      We should all strive to be provocative in our rhetoric, else what’s the point?

      The fault lies in those who see violence as an appropriate reaction to provocation. The poor schmucks are clearly too fucking stupid to think of any way to reply with words and so start flailing around with fists and bullets like a two-year-old trapped in a comic book superhero’s body.

      So I wholeheartedly approve of Ms. Geller’s attempts to provoke. I don’t approve of all the substance of her provocations; her aim isn’t quite perfect. But that’s no “but”; hers is a voice that needs to be heard, along with the voices of the poor butthurt Islamists who’re most offended by her words.

      Their own voices, not the voices of their gunpowder-fuelled phallic substitutes.

      b&

      • dodger
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        Yes, everyone should draw everywhere. Let’s cut to the chase. The issue is free speech. If there is a problem with who used the speech this time because she is unsavory for some reason, then let’s everyone do it and eliminate that objection.

  15. darrelle
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    “. . . though it is hard to see how that goal is advanced by inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism.”

    That is just freaking disgusting.

    I was watching OST episodes on Netflix last night (the digitally remastered episodes are really nicely done), and one of them was A Taste of Armageddon. In it there is a society that has been at war for centuries and has evolved a method of warfare in which it is basically a computer game in which no real weapons are used. When they and their enemies score hits on each other their respective computers tally up the casualties and designate who dies. Those people so designated are then obligated to report to a “disintegration booth” to be disposed of.

    They are arrogantly proud of how civilized their system of warfare is and the citizens proudly report to die to maintain their self image of a highly civilized people. Whoever wrote that disgusting line in that op-ed is a perfect match for that civilization.

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      Note that aToA can be used to make us worry about drones and such too – by taking the human out, we make war too easy by making the nastiness fail enter our heads.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:05 am | Permalink

      That was a Star Trek episode too wasn’t it?

      • darrelle
        Posted May 11, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Yep. OST = Original Star Trek. I am getting a kick out of watching the whole run on Netflix, all digitally remastered. Visually, it is like watching them for the first time.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Even if you believe cartoons about Muslims are in bad taste, it is in !*far worse taste*! to employ the occasion of murderous attacks to say so!

    • reasonshark
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Yes, I think what bothers me about these responses to Charlie Hebdo et al. is not that they criticize the cartoonists at all – though they do produce some arguments I find unconvincing – but that they seem way too interested in talking about the wrongness of the cartoons than about the wrongness of the murders.

      “Yes, I agree it doesn’t justify murder, but here’s several paragraphs explaining why they were wrong to publish those cartoons and why it’s understandable that such violence occurred.” It feels like they’ve got it all backwards. I would have expected, “Yes, the cartoons and the people were in bad taste (or whatever else was wrong with them), but here are several paragraphs explaining why the murders were unacceptable responses and what factors contributed to the murderous outrage.”

      I add that last part in because I think it’s fine to at least try and explain why they behaved the way they did. After all, explanation is not exculpation. Knowing the psychology of such violent people could be valuable in preventing and tackling such crimes.

      • darrelle
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

        I concur. It is irritating.

  17. krzysztof1
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, wrote an op-ed on May 5 that is more how I feel about it.

    Nationalreview dot com and paste this in after:

    /article/417903/americans-have-right-insult-islam-rich-lowry

    • krzysztof1
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      HA! I should have read Jerry’s whole piece before commenting. He already quoted Lowry!

  18. rickflick
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Amid the clamor over Geller lets not be too quick to condemn the cartoon show’s contents. The Times and others seem to be saying it was completely valueless exercise aimed only at provoking a response. But I noticed that the cartoon show, separate from the “contest”, included cartoons of Mohamed throughout history. Meaning, there have been Islamic cultures which permitted such depiction. I think making that point is an excellent way to edify the public and confront the stupidity of modern imams incensed by the idea.

  19. Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Yup, those rape victims deserved what they got, strutting around like that, looking luscious. That’s why in Muslim countries they have the women cover up. If you want to protect yourself, don’t inflame the nuts. Darned tootin.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:11 am | Permalink

      Yep, just ask Anjem Choudary.
      Also, here is an example of the vile views being presented over and over, actually calling for Gellers death and worse, without repercussion.
      Is she allowed to hate this muslim?

  20. Alex Shuffell
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Here is a fun exercise in ad libs. Replace the name “Prophet Muhammad” with another name like “Revolutionary Stalin/ Martin Luther King Jr./Ghandi” or “Dear Leader Kim Jong-un” and the words “devout muslims” with “devout Communists/Americans/British/North Koreans” because of course most of the devotees are good and decent people, they are our friends. But criticising these leaders and revolutionaries or the criticisms they themselves made incites violent and hatred therefore is defined hate speech.

    Some other words will have to be changed for the geographical and historical context.

  21. Mike
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    If no one could criticize the Catholic church without the threat of death, could we ever have put a stop to the rampant sexual abuse of minors in that church?

    Maybe I’m crazy, but I see a direct connection between getting away with drawing a humiliating cartoon of the Pope in a funny hat and being able to expose heinous, institutionalized sexual abuse within the RCC. If you can’t even draw a cartoon of someone, you obviously can’t get away with calling them out for truly abhorrent crimes.

    Muhammad cartoons and the violent reactions to them to me are symptomatic of our inability to criticize the social problems within Islam (forced marriage, death to apostates, death to gays, death to adulterers, death to atheists, etc.) without being killed for it.

    When people ask “Why do you want to upset Muslims when you know depictions of their prophet anger them?”, I wish I could explain it’s because all powerful human institutions (including governments and religions) must constantly face criticism or they wind up harming the most vulnerable sectors of society.

    • eric
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      -If 7th-8th century Islamic art upsets just by being seen…

      -If some stone statues in Afghanistan upset you just by existing…

      -If women just walking around in western garb unaccompanied by a man upsets you…

      Then at that point I say: the problem isn’t in our behavior or our motives for acting, its in what you choose to get upset about.

    • rickflick
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Which gives wings to the idea that Geller is motivated by political concerns. If she merely went around criticizing Islamic bad behavior, how many talk shows would invite her on. How much coverage has such criticism been getting in the past? Mostly the issue is swept under the rug by politicians and the media. (religion of peace, remember?) By creating a controversial contest which blurs the boundary between responsible and irresponsible speech, she is opening up an opportunity to educate the public about the evils of Islam as an ideology. I can see this as a reasonable strategy.

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

      Your general point is well taken. I would only quibble that we have no evidence that rampant sexual abuse of minors by the RCC has been put to a stop.

      The RCC does not hand over accused abusers to the secular authorities. They generally don’t appear as willing witnesses for the prosecution. Rather, we see them digging in their heels and hiding diocese funds where their victims cannot confiscate them.

      I would assume there are still places on this planet where RCC Bishops and Priests still wield political power and bad things happen to their accusers.

      • Mike
        Posted May 9, 2015 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        Agreed. For brevity, I conflated exposing the abuse scandal with putting a stop to it. Still lots of injustices from the RCC to address, none of which would be possible if every critic was silenced violently.

        “The RCC does not hand over accused abusers…”
        Exactly. That’s why we had to go after them through legal channels and could with no fear of being labeled racists for it. Similar legal tools do not exist to confront Islam without being called islamophobic, and cartoon-inspired violence is the proof.

        “…still places on this planet where RCC Bishops and Priests still wield political power and bad things happen…”
        I live in Spain. We have RCC scandals no one has even heard of outside southern Europe, e.g. single pregnant mothers being told their children were still born, actually given out for adoption to good Catholic families. Tens of thousands of cases.

        In this particular case, the Mohammed cartoons suffered from poor messaging imo. The contest was relevant because it shows us that getting Muslim leaders to accept real criticism is impossible when extremists will still kill over cartoons. Like many people here, I am displeased this difficult task was left to someone like Geller.

  22. Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    ” inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims”

    Nope, they don’t have to look at the cartoons. No one is making them look at them and be offended.

    No one is telling them they have to draw Mohammad or look at others’ renderings of him.

    They don’t get to tell everyone else what they may do.

  23. Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Yes, she was raped. Terrible, terrible.

    But … she was dressed provocatively and therefore she brought it on herself.

    They threw Glen Greenwald off the roof of his hotel. Terrible, terrible.

    But … he was openly gay and that offended the tender feelings of them as Muslim men, therefore he brought it on himself.

  24. Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    My mind is blown…Sean Hannity as the voice of reason!

    How the fuck can Faux News get this right, and the Times not!?

    b&

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      As they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

      • eric
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Yep. They get free speech right when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of white Christians. Do not mistake that for “getting free speech right in general.”

        • eric
          Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          I should probably amend that to “Judeo-Christians,” as Geller is not in fact Christian but rather Jewish.

    • Chris P
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      This is one of those rare instances where Fox News truly shines as the voice of reason, though I must admit I feel a little nauseous just saying that. Ordinarily I can’t stand Fox News!

      It’s depressing the extent to which the Left has dropped the ball on this issue, attacking Pamela Geller for flaunting herself in a very short skirt and nearly getting raped. The Left’s excessive pandering to Muslims is idiotic and very short-sighted; it seems to be based in part on their own “bigotry” against the Christian right. They see Muslims as an ally in their struggle against them.

      The Left would change its tune overnight if the Christian right and Muslim Right(or whatever you call it) became close allies in their struggle against the secular Left.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      I was going to point this out too. Hannity ugh.
      That guy, Choudary actually called for her to be killed, after a sharia trial of course.
      He also calls for the deaths of all the usual suspects.
      You could see his hatred for her quite clearly. I could not see her hatred for him, though, just his ideas.

      Much as I dislike fox and Hannity, I am being forced to side with them because the so called left has dropped the ball.

      For those wondering why she may have a point, check out this Choudary guy and exactly what he stands for.
      If you are not totally opposed to these ideas, and supportive of stands taken against them, you are sick.

    • gluonspring
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      Tribalism. Attack the other tribe, defend your tribe. Geller is in the Fox tribe. Therefore Fox turns on their brains to deploy reasons to defend her. Geller is not in the NYT tribe, therefore NYT deploys their intellects to attack her. Both sides deploy their “principles” only when it’s convenient for them. It’s really quite depressing how predictable it all is.

      OTOH, it’s a cheering thing when you can bring yourself to agree with someone from your out-group. It may be hard, holding your nose and all of that, but it at least shows that we aren’t total slaves to our tribe.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted May 10, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        It is depressing.
        Both sides, all sides? have the cababilty for intelligent discussion, but it is so tribal.

    • rickflick
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      da dit da da, da dit da da,…
      *Twilight Zone theme*

      • rickflick
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        You’re traveling through another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination…

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      I’ve tweeted this video.

      Actually, they’re mostly pretty good at free speech full stop. Not all of them though – Bill O’Reilly thinks Pam Geller shouldn’t have done it. He and Megyn Kelly have had a big argument about it – that’s on YouTube too if you want to look. I won’t post it here.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted May 11, 2015 at 4:45 am | Permalink

        I just watched it.
        Megan Kelly can be pretty good. Very very good at times.
        Pity about some of her associations.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted May 11, 2015 at 4:50 am | Permalink

        Also it is unsurprising that the Catholics, like Donahue and O’Reilly are against it.

  25. Anthony Paul
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I was interested in Frum’s examples of hate speech under French law. Had there been a similar US law, I’m wondering if the comments attributed to Bush the First during his 1987 presidential campaign, re atheists not being considered citizens or patriots, would constitute hate speech.

  26. Bernhard
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Rushdie’s reaction to the inevitable “But”: “The moment somebody says, ‘Yes I believe in free speech, but’ — I stop listening. ‘I believe in free speech, but people should behave themselves. I believe in free speech, but we shouldn’t upset anybody. I believe in free speech, but let’s not go too far.’”

  27. Emerson
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    “…a bastion of free speech during Watergate and the publication of the Pentagon Papers” yes and we should be happy that when this scandal happened the NYT journalist quality was much better. Today probably Nixon could argue that he was being target by hate speech and both political process and discussion could have lasted until his mandate…

  28. Sastra
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    “. . . though it is hard to see how that goal is advanced by inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism.”

    Why are Muslims sent into paroxysms of horror, anger, and anguish when they see someone else violating one of their religious beliefs?

    Because they’re coming from the mindset of an honor culture.

    In an honor culture, there’s a very high value placed on purity, hierarchy, group identity, and obedience. Status is jealously guarded and insults are to be avenged. The Psychology Dictionary defines a “culture of honor” as “a cultural standard in an area, country, or ethnic people wherein brutality is recommended as the favored response to an affront or other menace to one’s dignity or reputation.”

    An honor culture is inconsistent with human rights. It’s inconsistent with the goals of an enlightened, tolerant, modern civilization. The sacred is held too high: go after it and you’re always punching up.

    Whatever pain the simple, average, ordinary Muslim feels when he sees his holy works treated without deference is not like the pain people feel when they see a small child hit in the face. It’s like the pain people feel when they see gay couples getting married. Their tribal honor system is being defiled by impurity coming from barbarians.

    In the larger picture, it is neither tolerant nor kind to further the effects of an honor culture mentality. It’s not good for either Muslims or nonmuslims.

    • AJC
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      This is a fascinating analysis. I don’t think I’ve come across a similar view regarding Islamic culture and not necessarily the religion itself as “the problem.” There is a lot of food for thought here.

      On another note, this whole Geller situation reminds me of a different reaction to hateful speech:

      Elwood: Illinois Nazis…. pffffft
      Jake: I hate Illinois Nazis

      • Sastra
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Of course, there’s also the question of how deeply honor culture mentality is imbedded into specific religions, or religion in general. It seems to me that the Abrahamic ones need a lot of fast footwork and sleight of hand to escape it, given that the basic world view seems so ideologically focused on purity, hierarchy, authority, submission, honor, and vengeance.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:27 am | Permalink

        To find out more about Islamic culture, do, do read Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s latest book, Heretic.

    • Mark R.
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      It seems the modern Republican party can be depicted as an honor culture. They too look down on the goals of an enlightened, tolerant, modern civilization. Their hatred of gay-marriage, “other’s” ability to vote, and easy access to women’s health care (or any health care) is inconsistent with human rights. They are also sent into anger and anguish when someone violates their religious beliefs. It is ironic that their honor is dishonorable.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:27 am | Permalink

        Good point!

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      That is a good point. There was a paper that I can’t quite remember or find to cite properly, but that analysed the Arab Israel situation in terms of honour culture, which showed why it is so seemingly intractable.
      A proper analysis of honour culture is necessary to get a good understanding of these things.

  29. Malgorzata
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    What bothers me is the amount of criticism of Pamela Geller, the amount of analysis of her intention, character, history etc. But the perpetrators of this (luckily failed) crime are of no interest to anybody. It was exactly the same with the poster on New York buses with the quotation of Hamas: “Killing Jews is worship that draws us closer to Allah”. She was accused of “hate speech”, not the authors of these words, her intentions were analyzed, criticized etc. Nobody said a word about Hamas. Silence about the hatful ideology which is spread by jihadists (and Hamas is a jihadist organization) makes that decent people go marching under the slogan “We are all Hamas” on the streets of London, Paris, Brussels, New York etc. and feel righteous. Maybe a bit more discussion about this murderous creed (and less criticism of its victims) would stop them.

    • Mark R.
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Excellent point. And if the perpetrators were actually successful in killing some people, their religious motivations would still be of little interest (my opinion, of course). Geller would just be seen as an even greater hate-speech provocateur.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:29 am | Permalink

      + 2

  30. jay
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    It”s a sad thing that too many ‘progressives’ want to check a commentator’s ideogical purity before defending free speech. If the person does not have the right ‘cred’ then they can be dismissed as a nutcase or presumed ‘bigot’.

    The truth is that people from various parts of the spectrum have valid points to make and that should be the basis of our judgements. Alas I think a lot of people are afraid of accidently agreeing with a conservative on some salient point. It threatens their world view.

    When people find the need to go through paragraphs and ‘fact checking’ the original language to determine if something is ‘racist’ or not, it should tell us that such binary good/bad dichotomy is not fully applicable to our many shaded world. One person could see racism where another sees simple humor.

    That’s why free speeech needs to transcend such silliness.

    • jay
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      For those of you who might want to do a little ‘slumming’, here is a fairly hardline conservative making similar ponts to Jerry’s

      http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/05/free-speech-vs-hate-speech.php

    • gluonspring
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      “Alas I think a lot of people are afraid of accidently agreeing with a conservative on some salient point”

      This is true on both sides. Team identity destroys thought.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:31 am | Permalink

        Happens all the time on internet communities, too.

        Ahem.

  31. Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    You know, the “free speech butters” could solve all their problems just by simply rearranging their sentences.

    Compare:

    “Ms. Geller has a right to free speech, but I think she’s a poopyhead.”

    v

    “I think Ms. Geller is a poopyhead, but it’s her right to speak freely.”

    b&

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Not bad.

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:32 am | Permalink

      Nice. 😉

  32. Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    This is all becoming rather tiresome. And not the first time that the third or fourth estate from the great city of New York has unearthed the wheedling god-strokers, in its midst: in many cases, severalth generation Paddies, Catholic-left in policy, Tammanic judiciary and heroic defenders of the Constitution’s free press. Until some Monsignor or Imam, some Cleric whose job it is to hide the bodies, to deny the evidence, to spirit away the accused, Bond-villain style, to a secret part of the Empire, decides.

    An arbitrary campaign of vilification. Whom to pick? It really doesn’t matter. What justification to go with? There is an infinite regress and capricious concordance of exegeses, immoral theology and hellfire righteous indignation to pluck from religion. To deflower.

    Now it might be Bertrand Russell. To let loose the yellow press, the God-soaked politician, the Irish judge – one of us. This guy will never work in this town. Unleash every stupidity, every insult, every inaccuracy, any lie, any libel, any slander with promiscuous bliss and hope that some of the shit sticks for some philosophers do not deserve the compliment of rational opposition. Because he offends us, because he opposes our moral system, the very root of our power, now is the time to bring not the pen but the sword. And, with God’s help, blessed brethren, we might make a few converts along the way.

    ‘Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago.’ No, not an Islamic text but the words of Pope Urban II, the ideologist of the Crusades. But any Islamic intellectual, expert on Koranic interpretation or bogus pulpit bully could have made the same statement, and probably has.

    Again, invent the offence. Ignore the ancient Shia tradition of picturing the prophet. Sweep it under the Persian carpet. Weep and ululate, simulate and fake outrage and indignation. Unbridle practiced shame and humiliation and maybe you will win victory in this war against the infidels which should have begun long ago. And maybe, just maybe, some of the unfaithful will be dim enough to become dhimmis – willing slaves, quislings, Lord Haw-Haws and second-class citizens in the dystopic hell they trumpet, eyes wide shut. X

    Dermot C

  33. gluonspring
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    What an excellent quote, maybe the very best quote I’ve seen on the Garland episode:

    “When vigilantes try to enforce the tenets of a faith by violence, then it becomes a civic obligation to stand up to them. And if the people doing the standing up are not in every way nice people—if they express other views that are ugly and prejudiced by any standard—then the more shame on all the rest of us for leaving the job to them.”

    It deserves to be repeated over and over.

  34. Posted May 8, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    An idea must stand on its own, and is independent of the person expressing it, making it either perfectly fine to draw Mohammed or not. The author of that piece in the NYT makes it about the blasphemer, Pamela Geller, apparently an odious character, and tries to persuade the readers that the blasphemy was similarly odious, too, by using the “Horns Effect” — a cognitive bias which describes the tendency that some action is viewed more negativily when the actor is disliked (it’s the negative twin of the “Halo Effect”): When we don’t like the blasphemer, we are more prone to dislike the blasphemy as well. Very well.

    Let’s reverse engineer what the faithful and their secular helpers are demanding. With all elements in place, the requirements to “properly” criticize the Islam have been increased to such a height that nearly nobody can leap over it: you can’t dislike Islam for your critique can’t be a rejection or provocation, yet you still must be willing to criticize it honestly. You must be part of the muslim community or otherwise appear friendly to it, or you’re “Islamophobic”. We can conclude, you must be a moderate muslim, or faux liberal to do it properly, that is, of the very group that hardly finds a word of critique of Islam and if they do, are the mildest. The request, in the New YorkTimes is very clear: don’t criticize Islam, at all.

    Another thing. I found this passage telling…

    Those two men were would-be murderers. But their thwarted attack, or the murderous rampage of the Charlie Hebdo killers, or even the greater threat posed by the barbaric killers of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, cannot justify blatantly Islamophobic provocations like the Garland event. These can serve only to exacerbate tensions and to give extremists more fuel.

    Emphasis added. This asserts, unwittingly, that expressing our western freedoms would motivate extremists to undo them. Of course! Their religion and culture are fundamentally at odds with our values, and it would be as moot as foolish to cherish our values only theoretically and in utmost privacy (if cartoons can’t appear in obscure Danish newspapers, they can’t appear anywhere). The NYT article suggests to betake ourselves into a prison for running around free would motivate the jailers to capture us. Surely, the New York Times is joking. The authors should be ashamed of themselves.

  35. Mark Joseph
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Here’s Ted Rall channeling Martin Niemoller to try and wake up the liberals.

  36. Graham Martin-Royle
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Every time the “free speech but” meme gets put out, those proposing it are effectively saying to the extremists, violence works. In other words, they aren’t, as they like to make out, trying to damp down the violence, they are actually encouraging more of it.

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      Excellent point.

  37. Michael Michaels
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t matter what the organizer of the event’s politics or views are, what matters is the specific event.

    Drawing Mohammad in the USA is legal. Threatening people with violence if you draw Mohammad is not. It matters not one whit why it was done, those who want to draw him have the right to do so.

    What if a group started killing people for playing any kind of music? Or drawing any picture? This is also banned by some Islamic countries and areas.

    Perhaps still some liberals would say we are just trying to annoy the poor Islamic extremists by insisting on playing our music in our own home, on the bus, or at work.

    No matter if it’s music, all pictures or a single drawing of a particular profit, I have the right to do it, and nobody has the right to commit violence to stop me.

    On a related topic, I wonder how much of the Britain’s Labour Party’s brutal defeat was the result of the badly timed and poorly thought out intention to make Islamophobia a harshly punished crime?

    • Barney
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      On the Labour party question: I’m confident in saying it had no measurable effect on the result at all. There was very little about it in the media; and it’s not the kind of topic that interests British voters.

  38. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    ‘The first bit pays lip-service to the First Amendment, and the second begins with the inevitable “but”…’

    Yep, whenever an apophatic introduction(telling the reader what something is not or, in the case of the Times editorial, what there is “no question” about) is followed by the “B”-word coordinating conjunction, then — as sure as the arrest for solicitation in a public restroom comes hot on the heels of the homophobic rant — what follows will contradict what preceded.

    I don’t have a problem with calling something “hate speech” so long as the term is employed purely as a descriptive label — so long, that is, as no adverse legal consequence flows from it being so labeled, that the label furnishes no basis for censorship, that “hate speech” is not conflated with “hate crime” and no penalty (civil or criminal) is imposed as a consequence. Certainly, there is speech that deserves the label, speech that conveys no content beyond abject hatred for its subject=matter (whether or not P. Geller’s antics so qualify).

    Speakers who believe they’ve been unfairly maligned with the “hate speech” label should, of all people, understand that their remedy for this wrong is more speech, speech aimed at convincing the marketplace of opinion that they are not trafficking in hate, that their underlying ideas have merit.

  39. Michael Michaels
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Your next door neighbor is offended by your Leonard Nimoy doing Black Sabbath albums and other music. Your neighbor tells you to stop playing music or he will kill you, even if you do it in your own home with headphones on. If he finds out, he will kill you, because you disrespect the Profit Ozzy Osbourne.

    I assume you would stop playing it, but just long enough to get him carted away by the police, or for you to move away from the lunatic.

    Because it’s religion, some say the demand is reasonable. But it’s not.
    It’s still crazy.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      Unless your neighbor is an Atlas-Shrugged-style Randian capital-accumulation fetishist, he or she probably meant to call The Oz a “prophet.” Ozzie has turned a tidy sum as a media celebrity, but seeing how he was treated by his wife and kids on their TV show, he seems to have been a prophet not without honor, except in his own home.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:47 am | Permalink

        What a lovely way to point out a typo (actually it’s more of what Ben would call a braino.) 😉

        • Michael Michaels
          Posted May 9, 2015 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

          I see I did it twice, once in each comment. How embarrassing. What a shame I’ve already entered an embarrassing story in Dr. Coyne’s contest.

          Looking at religion, I think profit may be close to synonymous with prophet.
          I suppose profit is more suitable in the case of Ozzie Ozborne.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted May 9, 2015 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

            And so it came to pass, then, as it was foretold in Scripture, that this man Osborne was a prophet not without profit, especially in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

          • Diane G.
            Posted May 9, 2015 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

            Michael, congrats on being the first here to attain meta-embarrassment!

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Wait — Nimoy did Black Sabbath covers!? WHERE!? And why did nobody tell me about this before!?

      b&

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

        I can’t keep a straight face listening to Ozzie sing Iron Man or War Pigs, let alone Nimoy.

        Anyway, I thought it was Shatner’s gig making this kind of gag record. (I’m convinced all this crap springs from a single befouled source — MacArthur Park. Richard Harris & Jimmy Webb have a lot to answer for. They can start by sticking that soggy cake, the one someone left out in the rain, where the sun don’t shine.)

    • rickflick
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      That’s putting the issue in terms anyone can understand. Extortion is extortion.

  40. Shwell Thanksh
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Gellar’s first public stunt that I remember was when she thought it would be hilarious to raise money on a rightwing blog to have pizzas delivered to the IDF troops who had just crushed a peace protester to death under a bulldozer. Bulldozer, pizzas are flat, get it? Ha ha?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachel_Corrie
    R.I.P., Rachel.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:27 am | Permalink

      Could you provide a link to support that assertion please.

  41. Marella
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    “She is clearly afraid of what will happen to the U.S. if too many believers in Islamic doctrine (yes, they call them “Muslims”) gain political or civil power.”

    Ahh, well, yes! I am afraid of the same thing, any rational person would be. I don’t expect it to happen any time soon, at least not in Australia, but I am still worried about what would happen if they did get the power to do what they tell us they wish to do. I don’t want to live under Sharia law, and I don’t want my daughter to live under it either. Fear of Islam is far more rational than fear of communism ever was. It is a far more oppressive and destructive collection of ideas altogether. I know very little about Ms Geller but for a Jewish woman to fear living under Islam is just common sense.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      AFAIK, that’s the first time “Ms. Geller” and “common sense” have ever appeared in the same sentence — or at least in a sentence that didn’t contain negation and expletives.

      • Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:30 am | Permalink

        If she remained Jewish, she wouldn’t have to worry about “living” under Sharia law. (dark humour snark).

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:31 am | Permalink

      I agree completely and hinted at that elsewhere.
      I, like a lot of people have been trying to fight the influence of religion in government and life.
      It is consistent to continue that fight to a group that place religion front and centre.

  42. Pluto Animus
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    I spent much of last Wedensday in a couple of back-and-forth discussions in the comments sections of a story on RawStory (Liberal news website). Never cussed, insulted or threatened anyone, just forcefully defended Geller’s right to stage the event (though she seems like a hate-filled fascist).

    Boom. All comments removed as of Thursday; banned from commenting.

    I expect this kind of finger-on-the-scale bullshit from Conservatives, but it’s very disheartening to see Liberals censoring a free exchange of ideas because they disagree with the ideas expressed in their forum. (My opponents could only splutter insults like ‘asshole,’ so bereft were they of rational arguments.)

    The basic argument that I kept hammering home was this:

    If a Most Jesus Cartoon Contest were held in Texas, should similar violence from Christians be anticipated? If not, why not?

    After all, for every Muslim in Texas, there are hundreds of well-armed Christians.

    Pitiful, cowardly, tragically Liberal RawStory just couldn’t cope with someone pointing that out.

    I used to call myself a Liberal; now I consider it an insult. (I now refer to myself as left-wing.)

    • rickflick
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      You have my deepest sympathy. That must have been a disappointing experience. Perhaps it’s an indication we should all abandon labels of any sort.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 3:34 am | Permalink

      Yep, I have nominally left liberalism, the left left, the left and feminism because of this swing to argument free doctrinaire certainty, that is wrong.

  43. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 8, 2015 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    If I really, really tax my imagination, I can conjure a circumstance where I would make common-cause with Pamela Geller. But it would require a much more immediate existential threat than this. And even then, I’d need a facemask, a heavy dose of Dramamine, and a the promise of a CLR wash-down when it was all over to get through it.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

      Otherwise, she is to me as the Nazis marching on Skokie — a noisome-yet-tolerable nuisance, whose rights are to be defended absolutely and Voltaire-like, in support of the greater cause of free speech.

  44. Posted May 8, 2015 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    Tommy Smith offended an awful lot of people at the 1968 Olympics by his Black Power salutes.

    He even received death threats.

    According to the logic of the New York Times, Smith should be slammed for being deliberately provocative.

    And don’t get them started on ‘The Life of Brian’.

    The BBC used to offend lots of people – Mary Whitehouse in particular.

    The BBC’s response to offending her was to create a satirical programme called ‘The Mary Whitehouse Experience’ , just to show that they enjoyed being deliberately offensive to her.

    Guess what? The BBC would never run a programme called ‘The Islam Experience’.

    It appears you are not allowed to be offensive when the people you are offending have AK-47’s. If they have automatic weapons, then if you offend them, you are guilty of ‘hate speech.’

    Why doesn’t the New York Times simply say that they don’t want to offend Muslims, because they are scared of being murdered?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 5:20 am | Permalink

      John Carlos was there on the medal stand in Mexico City with Tommy, giving the salute with his fist in the left glove from Tommy’s set.

      (Avery Brundage, the old-fart, crypto-fascist who had run the International Olympic Committee since — I don’t know, seemingly since the Ancient Games in Greece in the 8th Century BCE — got all hot-&-bothered by this “political statement,” so tossed Tommy & John off the US team and forbade them to return to the Olympic Village. Brundage had never said a word at the 1936 Games in Berlin when some of the German athletes gave the Nazi salute.)

    • Barney
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Mary Whitehouse was not in favour of free speech; she launched a private prosecution for blasphemy against ‘Gay News’, the last in Britain before the law was repealed over 30 years later:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/july/11/newsid_2499000/2499721.stm

      The last time the British state had prosecuted someone under the law was 1921.

      And her penchant for suing meant that what was just a throw-away joke (several years are her heyday as the nation’s scold) nearly didn’t happen:

      “The show’s title was merely a collection of unconnected words (in the spirit of Monty Python’s Flying Circus), although the inclusion of Mrs Whitehouse’s name perhaps hinted that the show would wear its controversy on its sleeve. In fact, the use of the name aroused genuine fears at the BBC that Whitehouse may take legal action; so much so that, in one early show, Baddiel recorded an alternate version of the theme music and end credits as ‘The William Rees-Mogg Experience’. Steve Punt shrugged off the fears, telling the audience that ‘basically, she hasn’t got a case’, but Bill Dare was unconvinced, confessing that ‘I’m more scared of Mary Whitehouse than I am of Steve Punt’.”

      http://web.archive.org/web/20050210102157/http://corpses.comedynetuk.com/archive/marywhitehouse.html

  45. Posted May 9, 2015 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Hi guys I’m a (born) Muslim living and studying in London. I have absolutely no problem reading Jerry’s posts and have been for the past year or so. He makes some valid points, and I do accept the issues that unbridled faith brings.

    My main point is, despite it being obvious Islam is an ideology having salient flaws which make it incompatible with enshrined ‘enlightenment’ (lol) values how do we know that Muslims are inherently more criminal than say, Atheists, or Christians? It seems plausible to me that there are confounding factors in place such as mental stability, quality of upbringing, etc. Perhaps potential Terrorists, i.e. people with the qualities for it gravitate towards the ideology, rather than the ideology inducing them into terrorism? I don’t know, from my experience amongst thousands of Muslims I have only ever known one to potentially hold harmful views.

    If anyone has any literature on the Islam/Terrorism phenomena please tell me, I’d also like to see conclusive proof that Atheists are less dangerous than Muslims, as I see faith in the non-existence of a super-entity as a belief in itself.

    • rickflick
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      “how do we know that Muslims are inherently more criminal”
      I’m not sure if the main issue is criminality of the average Muslim. Certainly cultural constraints on violent behavior are in place throughout the world, including Muslim societies. The issue has to do with culture and ideology. If, overall, most Muslims subscribe to Sharia, then that automatically puts them at odds with Western culture. Violent outbursts caused by Muslim extremism is an issue, but it really entails a concern with basic cultural values. Muslim cultural values, as I have seen them described, are not in the interest of Western democracies. Yet Muslims have made significant advances into the West, and are affecting basic understandings.

    • muffy
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Related:
      http://www.tmt.missouri.edu/

      Terror Management Theory

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      What literature do you need. How about newspapers reporting a never ending stream of atocities commited by Mulslims.
      You do not have a proper understanding of what it is to be an atheist. Although there are really many ways to be one.
      “Faith” in the non existance of an entity is not a property of atheism.
      We are in general talking about evidence based beliefs.
      There is no reason to belive in a super entity. It is not a matter of faith but evidence.
      Atheists don’t have a text book for behaviour that calls for violence against certain classes of people, unlike islam.
      Also, the call for conclusive proof is a weak diversion.
      Conclusive proof is not necessary, just the weight of evidence.
      Also, we are not necesarily talking about criminality, but harmful oppresive ideas.
      Ideas like women being the half the value of a man and and needing to cover up. Or death penalties for leaving the fath. And so on.

      Scaninavian countries are the closest to atheist societies and they seem to have a reputation for peace and openness and fairness.
      Given the never ending stories of muslims behaving badly, do you have any examples of atheists behaving badly, in the name of atheism?
      I, unlike Muslims (and other religious) am willing to change my beliefs based on sufficient reasons. That is why I am an atheist as you do not belive certain things nether do I, no faith required.

      What do you have faith in, Bhudda?

      • Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        1. Two words Mikey, publication bias.

        2. Atheism is but one aspect of a humans characteristics, religion in my eyes is most definitely not the defining one. Furthermore, irrationality and atheism are not mutually exclusive. If your atheism is suspended judgement then yes it is evidence based, but if it’s a forceful assertion of nonexistence I will go as far to say it requires some degree of belief.
        3. Conclusive proof is the weight of evidence, I’m not going to rely on newspaper publications which can make the rarest event ubiquitous. What do you think they say about Atheist’s in highly religious countries?
        4. Yes ideas can be oppressive, but you have to think how much of the ideology’s harmful component is seeping into behaviour. I’m skeptical, that’s why I’m asking for more conclusive evidence.
        5. I’m sure there are instances where atheist’s have behaved badly, I haven’t got data though. I’d like to see per capita data on it.
        6. Yeah bla bla evidence guides my beliefs, get off your high horse son. If we tried to base every single action we make on truthful computations we’d explode, which is why we have heuristical behaviour. Truth isn’t necessarily morally superior to its opposite in my opinion.
        6. What about Fermi paradox? I mean in this big wide world I find it hard to believe there isn’t a entity out here more intelligent than us.
        7. Lol I don’t know what your point is about Buddha, but I have faith in many things. Every time I cross the road I have faith that I won’t get run over. Every time I walk outside I have faith I won’t get mugged. Faith is something we use everyday to prevent our brains exploding from exhaustion, half of our actions are performed on auto drive. Some people believe in God to combat the sheer uncertainty of life, and they aren’t as privileged as you guys who don’t need that fundamental belief. I think you guys need to calm down, there’s most likely more murders from disagreements at bars over sport or over the results of politicians squabbling over politics than the marginalised and profoundly depressed young man who turns to Islam or a street gang or whatever belief for comfort.

        Regards,
        Safa

        • Posted May 10, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

          If your atheism is suspended judgement then yes it is evidence based, but if it’s a forceful assertion of nonexistence I will go as far to say it requires some degree of belief.

          If you can offer a coherent definition of the word, “god,” relevant to this context, that isn’t already absolutely ruled out by science as fundamental as, “The Sun rises in the East,” and that doesn’t also make you and me gods relative to some other entity, then I’ll concede the possibility that there might be one or more lurking somewhere.

          As it is, in all my years, I’ve yet to encounter anybody who can come remotely close to clearing even that low a bar, so I’m quite comfortable in forcefully asserting the nonexistence of gods.

          There are, in other words, exactly as many gods as there are married bachelors.

          b&

          • Posted May 10, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

            Ben,

            We live in a world with more empty space than not of a incomprehensible size. We’re bound by our cognitive faculties and we exist for not even a nano-second of the universe’s lifespan. For me that is the equivalent of not even beginning to search for a more intelligent being. I would take at least a couple of million years of investigation before concluding something with the power to control us does not exist.

            Furthermore, in many cases it is as if there is a God, a de facto God that regardless of physical existence still commands millions of lives and demands fear and respect or neither. You atheists claim a nonexistence, but what guides you is still a belief. I have seen atheists infuriated to the point of irrationality just as I have seen theists on the matter. Both suffer some form of confirmation bias to me.

            Safa

            • Posted May 10, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

              We live in a world with more empty space than not of a incomprehensible size. We’re bound by our cognitive faculties and we exist for not even a nano-second of the universe’s lifespan. For me that is the equivalent of not even beginning to search for a more intelligent being. I would take at least a couple of million years of investigation before concluding something with the power to control us does not exist.

              If something “with the power to control us” is a god, then we are gods, as we have the power to control others. And your space alien gods could well be but pawns in some bigger galactic empire and have gods of their own. Worse…Toxoplasma gondii, a microscopic protozoan parasite, is also a god, for it controls rats by driving them to their doom at the claws of cats as part of its reproductive cycle.

              Congratulations! You’ve just made basically every living thing in the Universe a god.

              Care to try again?

              Oh — and there’s no need to search for millions of years before concluding that there aren’t any married bachelors, either. Us poor wretched mortals have at least enough intellectual firepower to figure that one out — or, at least, most of us do….

              b&

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

                Yeah my reasoning is fine as long as the chain ends somewhere

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

                So you think you’re a god?

                b&

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

                Haha of course not, I have absolute power over something but its likely that something has power over me in the same way. If the chain ends somewhere then that would be a God by many people’s definition.

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

                But that’s a chain that can’t possibly end. And we know this with absolute certainty, as much certainty as we know that 2 + 2 = 4 and that no solution exists to Turing’s Halting Problem.

                First, all you’ve really done is invent a paranoid conspiracy theory. Like all good paranoid conspiracy theories, I can’t absolutely disprove your particular theory. There could, indeed, be your super-powerful aliens orbiting Earth in invisible flying saucers controlling our thoughts with their mind rays — exactly as you described. And there’s no way I can absolutely rule out such a possibility.

                …but, the thing is…your aliens themselves have no way of ruling out the possibility that all this, including them and all their superpowers is but a minor subroutine of the Matrix. And the Matrix could be part of Alice’s Red King’s Dream, and the Red King could be part of Zhuangzi’s Butterfly’s Dream, and so on ad infinitum, with not a single entity with even the theoretical possibility of discounting the existence of all those other conspiracies. Worse, as knowing conspirators themselves, they’ve got powerful evidence that such conspiracies are real; it’s not just some hypothetical thought experiment for them.

                So, feel free to persist in your paranoid conspiracy theory…but, if you really and truly think you’ve found the One True Conspiracy, might I suggest?

                Seek professional medical help.

                Cheers,

                b&

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

                How do you know that with certainty? I’m not paranoid I’m just having a civilised debate. Seek professional help? I’m sorry but demeaning language won’t convince anyone of anything. All I did was state a possibility and all you’ve done is reply with assertions and ad hominems.
                What you’re doing is proving to me that regardless of whether or not religion is a part of your life you still have the capacity to be an unpleasant person. But unlike what you have done to theist’s I will never paint atheist’s with the same brush.

                Safa

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

                As I tried to explain, even if we posit that there’s some godlike entity conspiring to secretly control our lives, that godlike entity could itself secretly be under the control of some other super godlike entity. If you’d like a formal treatment of the matter, again, read up on Alan Turing’s famous Halting Problem.

                And I’m sorry that you’re upset by my description of your conspiracy theory as a conspiracy theory…but, really, how else is one to characterize what you’ve put forth? You’ve claimed that you think that there’re aliens out there more powerful than us who control us. Or, at least, you’ve made plain that you think that’s a reasonable claim and one that shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. That’s a textbook example of a paranoid conspiracy theory, and the sort of thing that, if you’re serious about it, is a strong indication that you really do need professional medical care.

                b&

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

                It’s conspiracy if I let it dictate my life. As far as I’m concerned whether or not it is true it doesn’t affect me due to my ostensible volition. It’s a possibility and if you thought about it you’d agree.

                All I’ve said is that there isn’t really a burden of proof for the problem I expressed for either side of the debate so I’m going to suspend judgement.

                As for medical care, lol I couldn’t care less what you think sir, I wanted a debate not a diagnosis.

                I’ve witnesses your type millions of times on the net, magnificent behind the keyboard and shielded by anonymity it’s just sad to know that even on the blog of a clearly quite intelligent author there exists that type.

                Regards,
                Safa

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

                It’s a possibility and if you thought about it you’d agree.

                …and you thereby provide the refutation for your own argument.

                If I’d agree that it’s a possibility that there could be space aliens controlling our thoughts with their mind rays, as you suggest — and I do agree that there’s no way to perfectly eliminate that as a possibility — then it should be blindingly obvious that the space aliens themselves could be subjected to some even bigger conspiracy, and the perpetrators of that conspiracy themselves victims of another, and so on.

                And if even the gods themselves can’t even theoretically be sure of their own power, let alone have even the slightest clue about the true nature of reality, of what sense does it make to call them gods?

                At absolute best, your argument is one of special pleading. There could be a man behind the curtain, but you don’t want me to pay any attention to him…and my suggestion that, even if there is a man behind the curtain, he himself could be but a marionette himself…well, that’s clearly something you’re not even willing to consider.

                All I’ve said is that there isn’t really a burden of proof for the problem I expressed for either side of the debate so I’m going to suspend judgement.

                Do you also suspend judgement about the existence of married bachelors?

                I doubt you do, and rather hope you don’t.

                When you understand why you cling to the possibility of the existence of your childhood imaginary friends but dismiss out of hand the possibility of other fanciful characters, you will no longer find it necessary to suspend judgement.

                b&

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

                Married bachelor’s are by definition an impossibility, whereas what I have said isn’t. I will suspend judgement because I don’t have the hubris to think I can know with absolute certainty what or what isn’t out there.

              • Posted May 10, 2015 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

                Either you’re defining, “god,” as, “bigger than us,” or, “the biggest thing there is.”

                If the former, then we ourselves are gods to those entities that are lesser than us. If the latter, then what you propose is, indeed, every bit as nonexistent as married bachelors.

                In neither instance does the definition resolve to anything real deserving of recognition as anything special.

                It might help you to understand what the gods really are.

                They are, in short, stock characters in a certain type of fiction. Their primary purpose is to lend their authority to the author of the fiction, and the gods establish their own authority by doing that which is truly impossible. It is not enough for the gods to do something difficult and impressive; rather, they must do that which actually can’t be done. We know that Jesus is a god, for example, because he walked on water, and it is impossible to walk on water. But if somebody in the real world actually walked on water, that would not make that person a god; rather, it would demonstrate that walking on water isn’t impossible after all, and simultaneously demonstrate that Jesus’s act isn’t actually evidence of his divinity.

                As such, the gods cannot possibly exist outside of the pages of their holy texts. Any entities that are real aren’t gods, and no gods are real.

                And, again, the only reason the gods exist in the first place is so that those who write their stories can have the gods speak the words that nobody would take seriously if the authors themselves said them. Which, incidentally, is the reason why it is only through faith, through unwarranted confidence, that one can come to believe in any god in the first place. After all, you wouldn’t buy an used car on faith, so why on earth should you buy a god on faith?

                Cheers,

                b&

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted May 11, 2015 at 3:58 am | Permalink

          Your funny. Are you really asserting that if we had fair reporting that the endless stream of muslims behaving badly would either stop or be balanced by secular people behaving badly.
          Here are three examples for you to match, to counter publication bias.
          The Bali Bombing.
          The Madrid Bombing.
          The London Tube Bombing.
          Note that this not government action or other despicable type behaviours within a culture.
          Let us start there. Or, make any other case for publication bias. Just knowing words and phrases doesn’t mean anything.

          What do they say about atheists in religious countries?
          I’ll bet it is a lie or mistaken, like all religious crap.

          The other thing before it gets too long.
          The god thing. Postulating abstract logical possibilities to both undermine an atheist position or prop up a belief in a god is puerile.
          Check out Russell’s teapot example.

          The claims by religion, regarding god have actual real world claims and propositions that can be tested and examined. That is what we are talking about. Not some brain slug over the edge of the universe that may be more powerful than me, or whatever.

          None of the claims by religion come true, hence no god. Claims by various religions contradict hence no god. And so on. We are talking about here and now, not pretend land.

          Of course we have belief, what is wrong with that. Every one has beliefs.

          So you haven’t got any evidence that atheists behave badly but you are just going to assume it is true, typical. (Wrong)

          I’ll stay on my high ish, horse thanks, compared to roiling ignorance of the barely cognisant who think a magic sky oaf guides them, despite all evidence to the contrary, yes thanks.
          Once again you missed the point. That we can’t fully compute everything is self evident. We do use heuristics. Those heuristics still rely on evidence. On a valid belief set, else you get shit outcomes.
          Those shit outcomes are there for all to see when it is primarily based on ignorant primitive erroneous beliefs, especially when those beliefs are fixed.

          Your mixing up the meanings of faith.

          For the rest see above, Bali bombing et al.

          In the end if people want to believe stuff, ok. If it doesn’t encroach others ok. When it does it is up for scrutiny, when it is bad it is up for challenge.

          I don’t believe in god. I do believe there is no god.
          I believe this because I have looked and there is nothing there.

          What might be or could be is irrelevant, in the here and now, there isn’t.
          Obviously.

          • Posted May 11, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink

            I am in fact asserting that very thing. If you constantly demonize a proportion of the populace they will change their behaviour. Classical conditioning, priming effects, it’s all psychology. Look at the world banks latest development report, especially the study on the effect of labeling on behaviour in Indian caste’s. and you’ll find a very poignant example of the damages that marginalisation does to the cognitive faculties.

            Listen, until you provide me with conclusive evidence of the direction of causality from religion to maniacal behaviour I’m not going to take anything you say seriously.

            • Posted May 11, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

              Listen, until you provide me with conclusive evidence of the direction of causality from religion to maniacal behaviour I’m not going to take anything you say seriously.

              I’ve done exactly that. See my quotation of Surat 4:79-89 here. It’s a commandment to do exactly what the barbarians are doing. And the barbarians proudly go on record and cite that and other passages as justification for their acts of barbarism.

              If you don’t see how people doing as the Q’ran instructs them to do is a case of Islam causing maniacal behavior, you yourself are part of the problem.

              b&

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted May 11, 2015 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

              It would be impossible to give you conclusive evidence.
              There is none so blind as one who will not see.
              The evidence is there, clears as day

              all those features you so cleverly mention apply quite generally across the board.

              It is one of the pieces of evidence you seek. Others subject to those conditions manifestly ‘don’t’ behave like the violent lunatics groomed and primed by a violent religious belief system.
              You have virtually proved it for your self.
              Want conclusive proof, look around.
              And, what Ben said.

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted May 11, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

              Also, you have switched the horse and the cart. That poor me trope, that I am only violent cos you demonised me is rubbish.

              Are you asserting that it is only poor muslims that are being demonised. \

              It is wrong and anyway doesn’t explain the vile wretched behaviour going on in Muslim countries.

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted May 13, 2015 at 12:18 am | Permalink

              I think you have given up. As you should because your position was ridiculous, but,

              Check out Bangladesh and see which secular writer was hacked to death by an Islamist today.
              There is no shortage of this.

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted May 13, 2015 at 1:20 am | Permalink

              Even though you aren’t taking this seriously, do you find this funny?

              Islam, the religion of pieces. (Of people)

            • Michael Waterhouse
              Posted May 13, 2015 at 1:50 am | Permalink

              One last thing because I am angry about your mob hacking up someone in Bangladesh.

              Atheists are not less dangerous than Islamists. You are mixing up words and meanings again.

              Ignorant, dogma filled screaming fanatics armed with machetes ready to attack an unarmed man and woman are dangerous yes but mostly cowardly.
              I don’t know how true it is but I hear Isis hero’s run away from women with a gun because they think they won’t go to heaven if killed by a women. Ha ha.
              Run away, run away.
              There is zero courage involved in an action if that action is done believing it will get a reward like that.

              An atheists courage comes from within. A proper character trait. That makes atheists, when necessary, more dangerous.

              • Posted May 13, 2015 at 6:41 am | Permalink

                Lol u sound like you’ve been watching too many marvel films, pipe down son this isn’t a war

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 11, 2015 at 5:37 am | Permalink

      I just need to clarify. You say you are a born muslim.
      Does this mean you are a Muslim, that you believe in god and Mohamed and all that koran stuff, or are you just someone with a variety of beliefs who happens to have been born by muslim parents.

      Also, it is self evident that anyone holding muslim views or christian views or religious jewish views, holds harmful views.

      All those belief systems are littered with harmful nonsense.


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