The World Turned Upside Down: HuffPo publishes article blaming Islam for terrorism!

Zubin Madon is identified as a mechanical engineer from Mumbai, India—and an atheist. Just yesterday, in the pages of PuffHo, he published one of the best indictments of the Regressive Left I’ve seen: “Terror has no religion.” It pretty much dismantles the multifarious argument that Islam and its dictates have nothing to do with promoting terrorism. Of course Regressive Leftists will pay no attention, for theirs is a faith not subject to disconfirmation, and they’ve already decided that when Enlightenment values clash with religious doctrines, the latter win—but only when those doctrines are held by Muslims.

First, the title of the piece is clearly a play on two previous articles published at PuffHo. The first,  “Terror has no religion, ” was written by by Harun Yahya in 2013. Many of you will know that Harun Yahya is the pseudonym for Adnan Oktar, a sleazy Turkish creationist who produced the infamous Atlas of Creation. I doubt that PuffHo knew who he was. At any rate, Oktar’s piece is basically a “No true Muslim/Religion of Peace” article, claiming that no genuine Qur’an-following Muslim would commit terrorism. An excerpt:

Simply because various terrorists call themselves Muslims, who execute people by shooting them when they cannot get an answer after asking them about the “pillars of faith”, who resort to their guns when they hear the answer “Yes” to the question of “Are you a Christian?” and who ruthlessly murder innocents, does not make these persecutors Muslim.

. . . The essence of Islam is love, compassion and friendship. Muslims are obliged to defend and protect the freedom of thought and faith

. . . One of the reasons which lead some Muslims who embrace terror and violence as the “right path” — despite these explicit commands of the Koran — is that they drift away from the essence of Islam. When the bigoted mentality that embraces false hadiths (sayings of Prophet Mohammad) that conflict with the Koran is combined with ignorance, a structure of hate and anger emerges.

The only way to avoid this is to spread the true spirit and morality of the Koran, which is love and peace.

The second article, published in December of last year by “political pundit” Leslie Marshall, had the same name: “Terrorism has no religion.” It’s a combination of blatant stupidity and America-blaming, holding us accountable for all the terrorism committed by Muslims. The first two lines below are classic facepalmers:

The first time a radicalized Islamist committed an act of terrorism on U.S. soil was in 1993. Yet Muslims have been coming to this country since the 17th century.

Also, if ISIS members are Muslim, then why are their victims mostly Muslims?  [JAC: I guess ISIS isn’t Muslim, then!]

. . . The West also has some responsibilities to end the violence; it can be honest and take the first step by recognizing the pains caused by the policies they have followed since the beginning of the 20th century. When this is done, the West can also see that it is an irrational method to attempt to shape the Muslim world in line with their own interests. No doubt, every state first thinks about the welfare of its citizens and country; however, they must know that when they do this in a manner that ignores the rights of others and treats them callously, it will generate a backlash as surely as night follows day.

But enough. Madon’s piece is great—a worthy palliative for the No True Islam-ists and Neo-Chomskyites. I’d reproduce the whole thing, but that wouldn’t be fair: you should read it on his site. It’s garnered a mere 12 comments, and I can’t understand why. So tw**t it around. I love the way Madon describes the different camps of apologists.

Madon debunks six arguments against the religion-as-terrorist-inspiration trope: it’s due to a misreading of scripture, the “terrorist” verses from the Qur’an are taken out of context, it’s not religion but oppression, and so on. One point he makes is that if we give credit to Muslims for following the beneficent dictates of the Qur’an, like giving to charity, why don’t we criticize them for following the violence-promoting verses? That’s just hypocritical.

Here are two excerpts, but since this is a Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) recommendation, go over and read the whole thing.

The verses are misinterpreted!
So 20-plus translations of the Quran that are endorsed by the Ulemas, and the many dozen spine chilling verses in them are all misinterpreted? Reputed Islamic scholars such as Pickthall & Maulana Wahiduddin Khan got their arabic wrong, but secular Leftists whose knowledge of the text is restricted to sharing memes of verse 5:32 on Facebook have got it right? This is an argument from ignorance and incredulity, and is normally propounded by folks who have never bothered to read scripture.


It’s American Imperialism, western foreign policy & the Iraq Wars that are responsible; not religion. (The Chomsky defence a.k.a. Mehdi Hassan’s Fallacy):
Apart from 12-16 million Christians, there are thousands of Bahai, Zoroastrians, Yazidis and Jews living in Islamic nations. If terrorism were simply a reaction to American imperialism, shouldn’t these minorities also form a fraction of terror outfits? Or are they miraculously shielded from NATO bombs and American policies that affect the middle-east? Surely one disgruntled Zoroastrian would cross the Iranian border and join Hezbollah?

This favourite cliche of the Regressive Left fails to explain another phenomenon— the “everyday terrorism” faced by millions of Muslims in the Islamic world. Was the spontaneous and gruesome lynching of Farkhunda outside an Afghan mosque a product of colonialism? Was the stoning of Roxanneh, the killing of Noor Malleki, the murder of secular bloggers in Bangladesh a result of US foreign policy? What does the violence unleashed against homosexuals, apostates, ‘blasphemers’, against Ahmedi and Hazara Muslims of Pakistan & Afghanistan (who are murdered by Sunni supremacists for not being ‘Muslim enough’) and the systemic genocide of ethnic minorities throughout the Islamic world, have to do with George Bush’s Iraqi misadventure? At some point, Bronze Age belief systems must be held accountable for the atrocities inflicted on its followers.

It’s refreshing to see someone speak the truth without squirming, as one senses the Regressive Left often does. The conclusion?

By shutting down genuine criticism of Islamist ideology using the non-word ‘Islamophobia’, Leftists have failed the very people they claim to protect. The Left has actively shielded a totalitarian ideology (Islamism) by conflating it’s [sic] criticism with bigotry against a largely peaceful and diverse people (Muslims). By refusing to address the elephant in the living room, Leftists have unwittingly created a vacuum which is now filled by xenophobes like Trump and Farage. We only need to look at Brexit to understand how disconnected and vacuous the Left’s narrative has become, and how it has driven the masses towards the anti-refugee, anti-Muslim lobby on the far-right.



  1. Posted July 5, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    ‘Also, if ISIS members are Muslim, then why are their victims mostly Muslims? [JAC: I guess ISIS isn’t Muslim, then!]’

    Yes, Jerry, the implication is that it would be understandable if the victims were non-Muslims: shurely shome mishtake?

    • Posted July 5, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      I see the implication as the claim that ISIS isn’t really Muslim.

      • Posted July 5, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        I agree, Jerry, I see it as both, and I think Maajid Nawaz makes the same point.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted July 5, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      “‘Also, if ISIS members are Muslim, then why are their victims mostly Muslims? ”

      Because most of them are non-Sunni’s like the Shia and Sunni’s do not regard the Shia as legitimate Muslims!

      When a car bomb explodes in Baghdad it typically targets a Shia market or religious gathering.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 5, 2016 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

      The original author made the error of forgetting that there are two sorts of Muslims – the right sort (which for every individual Muslim, is “my sort of Muslim”), who are incapable of sin ; and the wrong sort (everyone else, where being a non-Muslim might earn you a slightly less painful death, if you’re lucky).
      Of course, this is fundamentally the same as other religions. And political parties. And sports teams. It’s basic human tribalism and xenophobia. Really, one would hope the species would learn from past mistakes, and rise above it. Damned little evidence for that concept though.

  2. Posted July 5, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Noam Chomsky is a prolific commentator, and like any other person with some output can be criticized for several things, but he is not of “Regressive Left” variety and is mischaracterized by Sam Harris and others (like Sam is himself mischaracterized by true Regressives).

    Noam Chomsky has repeatedly argued that extremists and fundamentalist strains of Islam have been promoted and funded by the west, which is true. At the core of the argument thus lie — as often — different conceptions from “has helped” and “has caused” and “has not prevented”. In my view, Chomsky’s take is thus a reasonable one, even if he usually doesm’t bother with the concrete tenets of religion (e.g. the Harris argument that if Islam were like Jainism, deadly radical strains would not exist).

    Chomsky is not a Regressive, because he is not a postmodernist, neither of the academic, nor crypto, nor folk-tumblr variety.

    • Posted July 5, 2016 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Where in this piece does it say that Chomsky is a Regressive Leftist? And even given what you say, that doesn’t completely exculpate, as you seem to imply, Islam as a factor in terrorism.

      • Posted July 5, 2016 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, you know I don’t exculpate Islam, I agree completely with you, and Sam Harris (who see it as one motherlode of bad ideas) on this matter. Islam is a religion that didn’t went through taming of humanism, and is by design more immune from it (last word of god, saviour is a warlord, authority is both strong yet decentralized etc)

        I merely point out that Chomsky, like Harris, is often mischaracterized in the heat of the action. And I referred to “Chomsky Defense” in the quoted bit. It depends on what is meant by “responsible” — funding Saudis, Taliban and Al Quaeda, and creating vacuums (and opportunity) for them through wars make seem his position is reasonable — provided we keep in mind that a religion like Islam is a willful counterpart that has such deadly strains and allows its followers to have higher self-sacrificial purposes (which wouldn’t be the case if they were all Quakers).

        • Posted July 5, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          Aneris, there is no evidence that the US funded al-Qaeda. See Peter Bergen (OBL’s first western interviewer), Jason Burke of the Observer and dozens of reputable western sources.

          Yes, US foreign policy was partially responsible for creating spaces for the Taliban to thrive (along with 33 other countries, two of which were Switzerland and China for goodness sake, sanctioned by the UN) as also for the KSA. But the Taliban and KSA are agents. The problem with Chomsky’s analysis is that it stops where one ought to ask what did the Taliban, KSA, AQ, ISIS actually do to get themselves in the position in which they are in and how far did geo-political circumstances and their own ideology affect that.

          He, and Pilger especially, overstate the power of the west to determine the circumstances and understates to a vanishing point, the influence of ideology on the ability of Islamists and jihadists to put their ideas into practice.

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted July 6, 2016 at 7:39 am | Permalink

            I agree with your analysis, especially the final paragraph.

        • somer
          Posted July 6, 2016 at 2:24 am | Permalink

          Whilst I do recognise its important to be taught about and be aware of the oppressive side of western doings, Chomsky assumes that the west has never faced great powers that actually did (and do) want to control geopolitics around the world no matter what and which assiduously and aggressively use poorer countries as proxies – whether by engineering coups, destabilisation/support for the corrupt elements you find in all traditionalist societies) – i.e. Russia, USSR and Mao’s China, or sometimes outright invasion. Yes the modern west has done this but always in response to some totalitarian threat – moreover the level of corruption and violence in most of these countries frankly is nothing to do with the west. So for example Pol Pot was not because to the west, altho the bombing of Cambodia no doubt contributed to the phenomenon. The US and west may have been overly paranoid (nay imperialist) in some places but they also faced ruthless great power opponents willing to use proxies and subversion ruthlessly in most cases

          The other thing about Chomsky is that – he fails to recognise that all cultures have and do behave aggressively and exploitatively given a chance – this is not a western thing. The west needs to be kept in line about the exploitative things we do but also there really are things that happen to have first evolved in the West that are really worth defending in the face of efforts to crush modern western culture. Modern science and liberal humanist values are those. Traditional values and religions are ultimately anti science and anti humane values in the long term – for them tribal authoritarianism, high principle, and usually maximum reproduction trump likely overall outcomes in term of material well being and freedom from/reduced exploitation and oppression for most people. They are suited to an era (not so long ago e.g. early 20th Century Australia), where a married woman had to have at least 7 children to keep the population stable. We don’t want that, but we are stuck with the aggressive behaviours defending such values. Intention matters – if a seemingly cynical action is done to ensure good outcomes in humane terms or if the person’s track record indicates they are acting for humane outcomes – that is far better than high minded behaviours informed by completely inflexible high principle that have really bad outcomes in the long term

          I think Chomsky is a regressive leftist – very much a critical theorist.

          • Posted July 6, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

            “he fails to recognise that all cultures have and do behave aggressively and exploitatively given a chance” – wrong – he says so repeatedly that all power systems have that danger and even gives examples. The US and the UK before have simply been the power systems with the most power, and hence the most dangerous. Also, the one he has the most *control* over, as an American.

          • Filippo
            Posted July 6, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

            “Yes the modern west has done this but always in response to some totalitarian threat . . . .”

            Was the 1899-1901 Philippine “Insurrection” in response to a totalitarian threat?

          • somer
            Posted July 7, 2016 at 3:47 am | Permalink

            Re Filippo. No. I should have clarified – Im talking about the post WW2 era

            Re Keith Douglas – the US and UK post WW2 faced USSR and Maoist superpower. Sure bad stuff and some unnecessary behaviours (e.g. Vietnam) but are not comparable to other tow. Mao admired Stalin and was responsible for deaths of tens of millions by starvation. USSR led by Stalin til 1953 who was also directly responsible for the deaths of 10s of millions. Even today China deals with the harmless Falun Gong, other political prisoners and criminals by vivisecting them for organs – yes vivisecting

            • Posted July 7, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

              So? I don’t understand how this justifies anything. If you’re going to compare yourself to Mao’s China, that’s a pretty low bar – and the US *is* responsible for the thousands dead in many countries. (Apply the “but for” test.) All that Chomsky and others do is point out how to apply the test.

    • Posted July 5, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Chomsky’s obsessive emphasis on American war crimes and unilateral acts of aggression (which we are ethically obligated to acknowledge) invariably overshadow equally significant discussions related to endemic violations of human rights and other forms of cultural dysfunction that are mutually exclusive (before, or in spite of, any covert funding occurs) from Western provocation. All forms of culpability have to be addressed regardless of their etiology.

      • Posted July 6, 2016 at 5:24 am | Permalink

        Which “American war crimes” do you mean? How where they accounted for, and was anyone held responsible for them? Does the average American know of these war crimes? Did anything change? I mean, there’s a reason for having a humongous war industry. The US even has thousands of miles of water on either side, and yet still outspents everyone by far (and with no change since cold war). Hence, the US is always at war and the propaganda threat narrative is always kept high. Contrast this with other nations, and it becomes grotesque how overinflated the sense of insecurity is.

        I have largely the feeling Americans have no idea what is going on. It’s unknown to them that e.g. Good Guy Kennedy was wiliing to annihilate humankind to have his american way (of course the US had placed their nukes in Russia’s front-lawn — goes without saying).

        Same today, despite agreements otherwise, the Nato was expanded just right in front of Putin’s garden shack and again, Muricans see no problem. At all. This makes the bizarre asymmetry most obvious. Russia doesn’t have thousands of miles of water around them.

        What would you think would happen would Mexico join the Chinese and build military installments? Or nonchalant Russian submarine maneuvres off the coast of California (mirroring US submarine shenanigans in Cold War Sweden). The same situation reversed is unthinkable. Americans had freaked out and would have killed us all.

        I am happy with the West, and that’s to do with fundamental values we share, but it is annoying how there is zero awareness, nothing to be seen anywhere and the one lone guy Chomsky is already deemed too much. It’s made his thing, like the village-idiot were everyone knows that he has his one thing nobody takes seriously. (the Regressives don’t really care, either, for them its the evil “West” and it is more a thought terminating cliché to defend regressive attitudes in Islam).

        The term “obsessive” makes me smirk, because it’s a keyword Regressives use for types of criticism they don’t like, i.e. they can be occupied with Patriarchy all day, or making videos about Christians Behaving Badly, yet when it is something they don’t approve of (e.g. Islam-criticism, criticism of Intersectionality-believers etc) it’s instantly “obsessive”.

        • Eric Grobler
          Posted July 6, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

          “I am happy with the West, and that’s to do with fundamental values we share, but it is annoying how there is zero awareness, nothing to be seen anywhere and the one lone guy Chomsky is already deemed too much”

          You make some valid points, unfortunately it does not help when the “lone guy” is so self-righteous and lacks any sense of humor.

          • Filippo
            Posted July 6, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

            ” . . . unfortunately it does not help when the “lone guy” is so self-righteous and lacks any sense of humor.”

            I’d think most anyone has trouble speaking seriously and with conviction and confidence in public and not running a risk of seeming self-righteous. Is there any speaker whom you would suggest Chomsky observe so as to glean helpful hints on how to be more non-self-righteous? In this regard how does Chomsky compare to Romneyesque/Trumpian Masters-of-Mankind private corporate tyrants?

            it’s fine by me that he immediately launches into the substance of his talk (or debate position) and dispenses with the introductory, prefatory remarks (blather?) many speakers indulge in, apparently feeling it necessary in order to “engage” (“entertain”?) listeners. (I’m reminded of the not infrequently fatuous piffle one must wade through in the first couple of paragraphs in too many NY Times stories.)

            (Hitch was the fairly rare exception in this regard.)

            Every once in a while during post-lecture question time some twenty- or thirty-something (from my recollection usually male) presumes to lecture Chomsky on how he could do better in the rhetoric-and-oratory department. (Of course, Chomsky doesn’t have the verbal spring in his step he had 30-40 years ago.) Chomsky dismisses such pearls, stating to the effect that his goal is not to emotionally persuade and cajole but to clearly, objectively and rationally inform (and perhaps enlighten?).

            • Eric Grobler
              Posted July 6, 2016 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

              Did you read the letter exchange between Chomsky and Harris?

            • Posted July 7, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

              Note that the worry about “rhetoric-and-oratory” is close to a “tone trolling”, for example.

        • Posted July 6, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          “Despite agreements otherwise, the Nato was expanded just right in front of Putin’s garden shack and again, Muricans see no problem. At all. This makes the bizarre asymmetry most obvious. Russia doesn’t have thousands of miles of water around them.”

          These agreements are alleged often, but without any specific reference.

          You, and other commentators thinking like you, don’t take into account the wish of the people who do not belong to either superpower. We are nothing more than pawns that could and should be sacrificed to appease Russia and achieve the cherished “balance”.

          My country used to be in the Warsaw Pact, now is in NATO. We are in NATO because we wanted to, and older NATO members agreed. I do not think Russia should have had a veto power on the subject. I do not understand how you can implicitly claim that small poor nations like mine should be left defenseless at the mercy of Putin or whatever other aggressor comes by, because our acceptance in NATO could hurt the oversized, hypersensitive ego of imperial Russia personalized by Putin. As for the “bizarre asymmetry”, I see it not where you see it, but in the ever-spreading military invasions and land grabs of Russia, and the refusal of the USA even to sell arms to the victim countries such as Ukraine.

          • Filippo
            Posted July 6, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

            “As for the ‘bizarre asymmetry’, I see it not where you see it, but in the ever-spreading military invasions and land grabs of Russia, and the refusal of the USA even to sell arms to the victim countries such as Ukraine.”

            Well for sure, how one “sees” something is affected by ones interest.

            Re: to “even” sell arms: are you saying that, in your view, to sell arms to Ukraine is the LEAST the U.S. ought to do? What would you ideally like the U.S. to do? Shall the U.S. (permanently) place 40,000 or more troops just outside of the western border of – if not just inside – Ukraine and/or one or more other countries bordering Russia? If so, what persuasive words would you utter to prompt the U.S. public – fatigued (to say the very least) with Afghanistan and Iraq – to cheerily acquiesce to your perspective?

            Do you have in mind some maximum level of U.S.-provided arms and/or other military build-up, beyond which Russia could be justifiably provoked? Or is that there can be no such high-enough level to provoke Russia?

            (I’m reminded of the U.S. being sufficiently “provoked” to invade Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989. Doesn’t take much to provoke the U.S., eh?)

            • Posted July 7, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

              About Grenada – from Wikipedia:
              “On October 19, 1983, Bernard Coard… led a coup against the government of Maurice Bishop… The overthrow of a moderate government by one which was strongly pro-communist worried the administration of US President Ronald Reagan. Particularly worrying was the presence of Cuban construction workers and military personnel who were building a 10,000-foot (3,000 m) airstrip on Grenada… On October 25, 1983, combined forces from the United States and from the Regional Security System (RSS) based in Barbados invaded Grenada… US troops withdrew from Grenada in December 1983.”

              About Panama – again Wikipedia: “The United States Invasion of Panama… was the invasion of Panama by the United States between mid-December 1989 and late-January 1990.”
              This invasion seems to have been little more than a costly in all respects operation by the USA to clean their own shit, after having had the drug-trafficking thug Noriega as their protege for many years.

              I emphasized parts of the quotes to stress that the US forces eventually pull back. The problem with Russian invasions is that they are land grabs, or planned as such. If Putin intended ever to pull back from Transnistria, Abkhazia, Crimea etc., I would have a somewhat different view of his policy.

            • Posted July 7, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

              “What persuasive words would you utter to prompt the U.S. public – fatigued (to say the very least) with Afghanistan and Iraq – to cheerily acquiesce to your perspective?”

              I know that the US public is fatigued. Plus, I know that it has little empathy to the Ukrainians. They are a historically oppressed nation, and members of a larger historically oppressed group (the East-Europeans). Moreover, they have already suffered a genocide at the hands of Russia (then at the helm of USSR) – the Holodomor.

              If a group of people has been oppressed in the past, this somehow becomes a justification to continue the oppression in the future. You can see the same with other nations such as the Kurds and, most clearly, the Jews. A substantial part of Western public does not see these people as full-right human beings.

              So I’d stick to Program Minimum: the USA to sell some weapons to Ukraine, after it is selling them to just about everyone else. Where is the alleged omnipotence of the military-industrial complex when we need it?

        • Posted July 6, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

          “Russia doesn’t have thousands of miles of water around them.”

          Poor Russia. It tried to correct this unfortunate historico-geographical accident by taking up all Europe in WWII and then enjoying the thousand of miles of the Atlantic. But those bad ‘Muricans prevented it by their damn Normandy landing.

          Do you know what East-Europeans used to say about the Soviet Union? That Soviet authorities feels safe only if their borders: 1) keep expanding and 2) are guarded by Soviet troops from both sides. True for today’s Russia as well.

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted July 5, 2016 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      “Noam Chomsky has repeatedly argued that extremists and fundamentalist strains of Islam have been promoted and funded by the west, which is true. ”

      Yes it is true, but is seems like humans are predisposed to take sides. One would think it should be easy to despise American foreign policy and Islam at the same time! Perhaps the leftists are a little racist, these poor third world peoples cannot have any agency – they are always manipulated by the clever white man.

      • Posted July 5, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Yet there are modern exceptions to the Sunni/Shi’a enmity. Shi’a Hezbollah trained Sunni al-Qaeda in suicide bomb techniques in the early 90s.

        With the regular transit in the early 2000s of Sunni insurgents from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan to al-Qardawi’s ‘AQ in Iraq’ to Northern Iraq and vice versa across the Persian landmass, the Iranian theocracy has questions to answer about their role.

        • Posted July 5, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          Apologies, Eric. My comment above in the wrong place. It is in reply to your post of July 5, 2016 at 4:09 pm

        • Eric Grobler
          Posted July 5, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

          Valid and interesting points.

          I think I also heard that Iran gave Hamas (Sunni movement) support at one point.

          • Posted July 5, 2016 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

            Yes, Eric, there are Iran-Hamas links, here:

            Thereis evidence of weapons going from Iran to Gaza.

            Amazingly, there is an Iran-Hamas link in the technology of tunnel-building. Here:

            The Israelis have been stunned at the extent of the Hamas tunnels under Israeli land and have seen it before: in its use by Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanese proxy, in 2006.

            The Shi’a Imad Mughniyeh, according to this report, directed those Hezbollah tunnels and was the Hezbollah liaison to Iran and to Hamas.

            • somer
              Posted July 6, 2016 at 4:01 am | Permalink

              Yes even if the sectarian extremists cooperate occasionally their theme is utter supremacy – by overtly military means. Better Islam than anything else. Below that better their brand of Islam than anything else.
              Of course they get the end times teleology and evangelism from Christianity Im afraid only the evangelism is its on another level of aggression. For 1000 years violent jihad was sacred law. The medieval scholars said only Islam had a mission to convert the world by force if necessary. So much of the Quran is full of war against unbelievers. 10 chapters of the Hanifi law books (Hidaya guide to the Islamic laws) are addressed to the absolute obligation of constantly waging war on non Muslims, how to wage jihad, how to divide spoils and how to treat the conquered.

              Hence the bizarre military martyrdom cult that you don’t find equivalents of in Christianity and the obsession with “everyone is born a muslim but only their parents deform them to become a Christian or something else” bukharih hadith that islam is natural yet only Allah can determine if person is damned or not independent of their will.

    • Zado
      Posted July 5, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Chomsky is not a Regressive, because he is not a postmodernist, neither of the academic, nor crypto, nor folk-tumblr variety.

      True, Chomsky is not a postmodernist. What he is is an anarcho-syndicalist who believes nation states shouldn’t even exist.

      He also believes, along with the rest of the left, that the U.S. military cannot, by definition, act as a moral agent in the world; that U.S. military force cannot provide a means to any moral end. That’s the one piece of pacifistic dogma that leftists like Chomsky never will disown, Kuwaitis and Bosnians and liberal Iraqis be damned.

      • Posted July 5, 2016 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        Zado, the high point of the ideology of anarcho-syndicalism was just before WWI. Yes, it derived from the anarchist utopian movement of the eradication of the capitalist state and the imagined establishment of anarchism. But Sam Harris is historically wrong when he assumes that it was merely the idea that capitalism would be replaced immediately by an anarchistic non-state.

        AS was a sort of synthesis between Marxism and Anarchism. Classical Marxism assumed the overthrow of capitalism and whatever governmental form it had within the nation-state and its replacement by the socialistic means of production, distribution and exchange as well as a state structure lead by the working-class organizations: to get there you needed a working-class political party working in its own interests.

        By 1914, AS only differed in this idea in that they thought you could get to the transitional state lead by working-class groups without the need for a revolutionary party. The transition would occur organically through a general strike which would naturally lead to the collapse of capitalism and the governmental order: for the AS’s there would still be the need for a state structure in the immediate aftermath. In that sense they were not anarchists, but in the sense that they did not envisage building a party structure dedicated to the program, they were.

        • Zado
          Posted July 5, 2016 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

          …for the AS’s there would still be the need for a state structure in the immediate aftermath.

          No doubt. I don’t think anyone could accuse Chomsky of being a revolutionary. Still though, in his ideal world, nation states–or “institutions of violence,” as he described them–would not exist.

          Unfortunately, I don’t have the imagination to conjure and contemplate that ideal world, and I don’t see capitalism going under anytime soon. In the meantime, those “institutions of violence” are the only thing keeping our civilization from succumbing to real violence, the reactionary-utopian kind we see emanating from Salafist Islam. I can’t take anyone seriously who thinks our empire is more detrimental to the world than an ideology like that.

          • somer
            Posted July 6, 2016 at 4:06 am | Permalink

            Chomsky just doesnt recognise material realities in history or the fact that any group requires some territory to survive and reproduce in and it needs some degree of certainty about this. Historically war has involved changes of territory and more organised, more populated regions have ALWAYS been states. Moreover pre state societies are violent too. A few thousand years ago in modern day USA was hunter gatherer, but the males were much bigger than the females and incredibly violent. Despite the fashionable attacks on Chagnon about the Yamamoto his findings have held true about violence in pre state societies.

        • Posted July 6, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

          My criticism of Sam Harris here is slightly unfair. He affirms, rather, that is is difficult to distinguish between Anarcho-Syndicalism and Marxism. I hope I showed how they differ.

    • Jeff J
      Posted July 6, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Chomsky has repeatedly explained his obsession with US foreign policy and his relative silence on the crimes of other states. As a citizen of the US, he feels he has the ability – indeed the obligation – to change it for the better. That is not true of Russia or Cambodia or any other state.

      I agree with Chomsky, in that the focus of criticism should be US foreign policy rather than Islam, for the simple reason that we stand a far better chance of actually changing the former. We all know damn well that if the Middle East were dominated by Christians of Hindus, we’d be talking about Christian or Hindu terrorists. If it were dominated by Jainism, then the Jainism would have changed into something more extreme after Western imperialism and colonialism.

      To summarize:
      Extremism is a function of religion AND desperate conditions. We can realistically change one of these two things.

      • Posted July 6, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Moreover, desperate conditions *breed* the religion, and it isn’t *just* economic. Sweden (say) is a more successful place (in the various human capabilities) not just because it is richer than Iraq (say), but also because it isn’t repeatedly smashed up by (say) Russia. Sanctions, bombing, etc. do have an effect.

        It is very easy to say “oh, but we’d act different”, or “look at places where they didn’t act like that”. Well, they did in many of these places while they had the chance. For example, Vietnamese of various kinds *fought back*. Sure, the Vietcong, for example, were bastards, but can you blame people wanting to manage their own affairs and not France or the US messing around?

        The native Americans *also* did the same as the US expanded into the current territory. But they aren’t violent (usually) because there are so few of them left – the killing was more complete, horrifyingly.

        Finally, there is a fair bit of stuff available on what people *actually* want, both elites and otherwise. Even if one thinks the complaints are unjustified to whatever degree, simply ignoring them (as greater powers do – China ignores them in Tibet, largely, for example; Canada, no great power, doesn’t pay much attention to what it did to Haiti, etc.) is not a recipe for success and living together.

  3. Posted July 5, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    “By refusing to address the elephant in the living room, Leftists have unwittingly created a vacuum …”

    And that elephant clearly isn’t Ganesha.

  4. kall
    Posted July 5, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    “HuffPo publishes article blaming Islam for terrorism….”

  5. Brent Meeker
    Posted July 5, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    There are plenty of exhortations to violence in the Quran. But there are some in the Bible too. So when some Imam says the terrorists are not truly following the Quran and Islam, that’s what we want to hear. It’s poor tactics to slam the Imam as just trying to whitewash Islam. That’s why the State Dept avoids referring to “Islamic terrorists” – even though that’s what they are. Ultimately Islam needs a reformation from within.

    • Posted July 5, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      I think that every Christian minister should say that it is not truly Christian to attack abortion doctors, and every imam must say that violence is “un-Islamic”. This is their job, and a way to (hopefully) prevent more members of their congregation turning violent. However, other serious people should not say such feel-good untruths.

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted July 5, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        “and every imam must say that violence is un-Islamic”

        You mean that Imam’s should by be forced by law to lie and pretend that Islam is non-violent? Perhaps someone should re-write the biography of Muhammad.

        • jeffery
          Posted July 5, 2016 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

          The reason they don’t say, “Violence is un-Islamic” is that violence ISN’T “un-Islamic”. Read the book!

          • Posted July 5, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

            Jeffery, I know next to nothing about Eric, but I could reasonably infer from his comments that he has read at least the Koran, to be fair.

            Anecdotally, I read it ooh…in 2005, was it, in Brittany during the canicule, heatwave, which killed loads of older people in France? Lying on the beach under a baking sun as the Atlantic washed towards me, waiting for the beautiful, poetic parts, as wave after wave of barbarity ruined my holiday-euphoria equilibrium: similar to my previous bad idea of reading Goldhagen’s ‘Hitler’s Willing Executioners’ on a gulet off the aquamarine Turkish coast – a load of baloney as it turns out, but not conducive to fun in the sun, sun, sun.

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted July 5, 2016 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

            Hi mayamarkov, are we misunderstanding each other?

            The Koran (and the leading protagonist) is obviously violent.
            I do not realy understand what you are proposing – that the state should control what is preached inside Mosques?

            • Posted July 6, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

              Most of the time, the state should stay away from religious institutions. However, if a religious leader becomes an instigator or recruiter of terrorists, the state must intervene of some point.

              I have a (faint) hope that some Muslim congregations will insist themselves on “peaceful” Islam, and others will follow the lead, seeing that the former groups are more successful.
              This, of course, is unlikely to happen while the aggressive Muslims are rewarded at every opportunity and winning, and the peaceful ones are considered Uncle Toms.

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted July 5, 2016 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

            > Read the book!

            I read 60% of it back in the 1980’s. I have no plan to finish it.

        • Posted July 6, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

          Not by law but by, let’s say, the ethical code of their profession.

          I agree with the essence of your comment. My favorite essay on the subject is David Wood’s “Islam Beheaded”.
          But relatively few people of Muslim heritage are atheists today, and not all can be atheists tomorrow, though I’d wish it.

          Today, there are a lot of nice and sensible people who nevertheless, by a cognitive dissonance, are sincere believers in Islam. And even those who no longer believe may need the mosque for social gathering and for rituals such as weddings and funerals. So there is a need for imams; and what should those imams say?

          One day, if asked about Islam, an imam might answer, “Well, I am a keeper of Islamic cultural tradition by job description, but we in our age cannot really believe those tales and praise that deranged 7th century warlord, can we?” In the meantime, I’d welcome imams who cherry-pick the peaceful Koran verses.

    • Historian
      Posted July 5, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Yes, a former CIA operative in this VOX article explains why both Bush and Obama avoided the use of the term Islamic radicalism. The essence of the article is this:
      The decision to avoid “radical Islam” is a strategic one.

      In short, both the Bush and Obama administration officials have refrained from using “Islamic radicalism” and its variants not because of “political correctness” but because of their nuanced knowledge of the diversity of Islamic ideologies. The term doesn’t enhance anyone’s knowledge of the perpetrators of terrorism or of the societies that spawn them, and it might hurt us in the global war of ideas. Policymakers refer to members of al-Qaeda and ISIS as “hijackers” of their faith in order to signal their support for mainstream Islamic leaders in an alliance against minor radical offshoots, not because they are unaware that some members of al-Qaeda and ISIS are theologically “sophisticated” (or “very Islamic,” as the Atlantic provocatively put it).


    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 5, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      There is a big difference between the Bible and the Qur’an. The Qur’an is (supposedly) the revelations given to one man over a period of years. There are peace-loving verses and commands to war for Islam that seemingly contradict each other. However, there is clear instruction that where there are contradictions the later verse should take precedence. This means that the instructions to kill infidels etc and die for Islam take precedence over the verses most often paraded out by apologists because they all come from later in Muhammad’s life.

      Relying on cherry-picking of verses is not the way to go, but rather recognizing that it’s no longer the 7th century and the world is a different place. Reformers talk of things like remembering that there are now dozens of Muslim countries, that Islam’s existence is not currently threatened, and making your career your jihad and leaving military jihad to the standing armies of states.

      • Eric Grobler
        Posted July 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        “The Qur’an is the revelations given to one man over a period of years.”

        More correctly; Muslims believe that it was dictated by Allah through the Angel Gabriel to Mohammed. In other words, the Koran is the actual word of Allah.
        That leaves little room for interpretation.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted July 5, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          As I said in another comment on WEIT recently, Muhammad was the original Joseph Smith. There were rather a lot of revelations that were very convenient for him.

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted July 5, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

            I think even Ashia herself made a sarcastic comment about his self-serving ‘revelations’

            • Posted July 5, 2016 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

              One of the hadithat tell the delightful story of Aisha, Mohammed’s favourite wife, slipping out of the house, against the Prophet’s wishes, to follow him. He found out. Her punishment? He punched her in the chest.

              • Eric Grobler
                Posted July 5, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

                Apparently he married her when she was 6, practiced some mufa’khathat until she was 9 when he finally “consummated” the marriage.

      • somer
        Posted July 6, 2016 at 5:10 am | Permalink

        I read very little in the way of peace loving verses and a great deal of the opposite
        Granted, a lot of it could be interpreted differently – tho the prophet’s life doesnt help – maybe the earlier part could be emphasised
        Many verses would just have to be reinterpreted or simply ignored

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted July 5, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      “Ultimately Islam needs a reformation from within.”

      How familiar are you with the differences between Islam and Christianity? Like many in the West I also assumed that Islam is just the teenager that needs to grow up.

      In Christianity the violent and schizophrenic OT is replaced by the NT, but in Islam the peaceful Mecca period is abrogated by the violent Medina period. Muhammad was also psychopathic warlord. Because of these unfortunate traits, many ex-Muslim’s are very skeptic that Islam can be reformed. As a matter of fact, there was a reformation, it is called Wahhabism!

      • jeffery
        Posted July 5, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Judging by the effect that Christianity’s own “reformation” has had (a lessening in mass murder between Christian sects, but still the promulgation of irrational beliefs that block progress in modern society, discriminate against women, encourage resistance to scientific and critical thinking, etc.), it seems to me that “replacement” is a better term than “reformation”, in the case of BOTH religions!

        • Eric Grobler
          Posted July 5, 2016 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          I assume most of us reading this blog are atheists but that is not the default human condition.

          I think it is normal to believe in spirits & demons, the afterlife etc because we cannot erase 500K years of evolution. It is perhaps just bad luck, an accident of history that the abrahamic religions became dominant.
          A psychologist can easily design a more healthy religion for mankind.

          My first commandment would be: do not destroy biodiversity.

        • somer
          Posted July 6, 2016 at 3:44 am | Permalink

          Christian reformation was just totally different. For a start Western Christianity never insisted that Christian scriptures (or church) are a source of law – from Paul they accepted separation of church and state. The RC had started to encroach on this and sometimes the pope had a small state – but the pope never claimed to literally rule Europe – Christianity never insisted it was an empire whose law was both religion and physical rule.
          “God’s Rule : Government and Islam: Six Centuries of Medieval Islamic Political thought – Patricia Crone”

          the protestants although they were literalists – they rejected the church institution and allowed lay people to interpret scripture for themselves – however they always luther included – believed in letting the State do the physical law of the land. They relied on Protestant states to support them against the catholic church but they did not interfere in the state. They accepted that the supremacy of conscience. Some extreme modern sects that challenge the state are not in the Western christian tradition.

          After a century of religious war the two churches got over it and the enlightenment happened partly in response against religious violence. Islam has had sectarian violence and open war literally since 20 years after the death of the prophet. The puritan part of protestantism is only part of it and I would argue its much less extreme than in Islam and its softened – like Christianity has long ceased to teach that its a sinful attention to the body to wash oneself – which everyone still believed into the eighteenth century.

          Wahhabists and Salafists are only superficially like the reformation – they are using some modern features to STAY in the 7th century whereas in Europe the reformation led the great bulk of christianity on to greater acceptance of science and humanism

          Wahabbists and Salafists on the other hand have sectarianism in mind (Ibn Tammiyya medieval scholar) – Some are so extreme they take the hadith that there are 99 types of Islam and only one the true islam – that most muslims are not true muslims. Both Wahabs and Salafis hate sufis and mysticism. The Salafists because arose in 19th Century as movement against colonialism and they felt that modern military technology and centralised western style state would overwhelm an Islam based on mystic traditions focussed on personal piety. This was ok in a world of basic technology and communications in a secure empire. Indeed a lot of the sufis were in fact posted to guard the frontiers of empire – or led campaigns. The mysticism was a bit like Zen for the samurais. Even the Ottoman empire tho militarised was loosely held together as all ancient states were compared to modern services and communications

          Salafis believed they had to be organised had to be forward thinking and worldly about their mission and means – with educated leadership, relied on bourgeois for their (salafist) financial support – but they used this educated leadership to push backward schools teaching literalist scripture and familiarise the masses with traditionalist Islam and puritan life. They themselves are puritan.

          • Eric Grobler
            Posted July 6, 2016 at 8:00 am | Permalink

            Thank you for the very interesting post.

            “the protestants although they were literalists – they rejected the church institution and allowed lay people to interpret scripture for themselves”

            I believe the Sunni tradition has this in common.

        • somer
          Posted July 6, 2016 at 6:57 am | Permalink

          Probably not possible for any Abrahamic religion!

          I think modernisation of the humanist kind is required for Islam and it needs strong and consistent intellectual encouragement to do so – not whingeing from regressives that everything is the fault of the west.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 5, 2016 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Very nice. Listening to Madon is like hearing Harris, or Coyne, or Tayler. Maybe it’s just common sense. Wake up lefty…

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 5, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Yeah – it’s nice to read another common sense voice.

  7. Stackpole
    Posted July 5, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink


  8. Damien McLeod
    Posted July 5, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    On the side of “non-sense”, what is needed is for an Alien Death Star to blow the Earth and all humanity to smithereens before we escape and spread our stupidity and religious nonsense throughout the Galaxy. Belief in sky-fairies, discussing, with great intellectual profundity the tenets, opinions, teachings, commands, and politics of sky-fairies can be likened to the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin problem. It is complete asininity. Religion, all religion is belief in something that isn’t true, (it just ain’t so to quote Samuel Clemens for the hundredth time) and lending it the respectability of deep and lengthy discussion is ridiculous. There are no gods, there are no demons or angels, there is only physics (matter and energy in all its breathtaking and beautiful permutations) Religion often kills people, and will kill our entire species and perhaps our planet (capitalism is also in the running along with religion) just as surly as overdosing on heroin or speed kills individuals. Rationality and Science are the only way forward if we truly wish to continue our existence. {my opinion on this subject for better or worse}

    P.S. Is it really any surprise we haven’t heard from Aliens yet?

    • Eric Grobler
      Posted July 5, 2016 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      I agree with your sentiments, however I think humans are superstitious baboons.

      We will have to artificially engineer ourselves to become non-religious.
      But it sounds risky, we might become super rational psychopaths!

    • Tod
      Posted July 6, 2016 at 12:53 am | Permalink

      Any aliens watching us, will have seen us willingly poison the air we breathe and pollute the waters we drink and defile the land our food grows from, and (with regards to the Christian belief anyway :)) when a God came down to help us we nailed him to a cross… Those aliens are probably thinking don’t mess with those crazy psychopaths!

  9. Chukar
    Posted July 5, 2016 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Can someone supply a link to a good, succinct explanation of why “islamophobia” is a phony word? I run across it daily in the Los Angeles Times and have written to them several times about it, but I’m getting tired of sending the same comment or trying to re-write so it makes more sense.

  10. Merilee
    Posted July 6, 2016 at 12:11 am | Permalink


  11. Bruce Gorton
    Posted July 6, 2016 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Well, that did it.

  12. Tom
    Posted July 6, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    The way certain “left” groups have snuggled up to radical Islam in Britain is similar to the way that some of their predecessors snuggled up to Communism. It seems any cause will do as long as it is against the Western powers. Once the latest ranting has run its course we can expect the next “cause” to be how terrible is the way Western powers treat…… ? (sigh)

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