ISIS claims responsibility for Manchester bombing; toll rises to 22 dead and 59 injured

As the New York Times reports, the toll at last night’s post-Ariana-Grande-concert suicide bombing has risen to 22 dead and 59 injured, many critically. I weep for the families of these people; it was an act motivated by pure hatred, unconcerned that the targets were young people (indeed, that may have been why they were targeted).  As for who was behind it, this is the report:

The British government did not make any immediate comment on the claim by the Islamic State, which said on the social messaging app Telegram that, “One of the soldiers of the Caliphate was able to place an explosive device within a gathering of the Crusaders in the city of Manchester.” The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militants’ communications, also provided a translation of the claim. The Islamic State statement did not identify the bomber.

Matthew Cobb, who lives in Manchester, thanks readers for their concern and expressed his own sorrow about the affected families. He and his own family are all right, though Matthew had been in that very arena the night before attending a science presentation by Brian Cox. I asked Matthew about the ISIS claim and he said this:

Yes but [ISIS] clearly know nothing about what happened (their declaration says it was a planted bomb, suggests perpetrator escaped; he didn’t, plus they call it “a meeting of the crusaders”, which may either show their contempt for most of humanity or their ignorance of where it actually took place). They may have inspired it, but they don’t seem to have planned it.

The bomber lived not far from my house, apparent accomplice arrested by my local supermarket by armed police in masks; police helicopter hovering about…

The recriminations will follow, as will those characterizing this as “no true Islam”. I have no wish to engage in these, but of course we have to do something to stop this unpredictable slaughter of innocents.

103 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    I’m afraid the slaughter is all too predictable.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Moderate Islam is innocent of this act in precisely the same way that parents who leave their teenage sons alone for the weekend with a refrigerator full of beer and the keys to the Corvette are innocent of the subsequent carnage.

      As long as Muslims teach their children to revere their disgusting Book, their feeble exhortations to ignore the majority of its content ring hollow. The responsibility for this lies squarely on the parents and on the majority culture that plants that book in the heads of their children.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        Yet, Christians teach their children to revere their equally disgusting Bible. And every now and them one of their offspring goes and shoots up a school.

        Or how about the Irish ‘troubles’, fuelled by competing tribal versions of ‘Christianity’?

        So aren’t moderate Christians just as equally culpable when that happens?

        cr

        • GBJames
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

          I would say so, yes. Of course “when it happens” kind of masks a significant difference in scale between the two(ish) communities in the early 21st Century.

          • somer
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

            absolutely. I think the vast bulk of Christianity has changed since reformation or been neutered to relative powerlessness in society. Islam has not changed, has less intrinsic points of change (starting with the closer more clannish nature of the umma) and does not have the tradition of Church state divide in the Western church from St Paul or the respect for things Graeco Roman including that tradition of debate. Despite all the horrors of dark ages and middle ages christianity, western Christianity higher clergy always felt a need to maintain some classical debate about the scriptures (Edward Grant: A history of natural philosophy)

            • nicky
              Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

              Since the Reformation, yes. But I would not credit the Reformation as such (just read Luther, an execrable ayatollah and dispicable antisemite, not to mention Calvin)
              It is the decades of protracted, destructive and horrible religious wars (and some absolute monarchy) in Europe that led to the Enlightenment, I’d think.

              • somer
                Posted May 24, 2017 at 12:31 am | Permalink

                Yes Luther was a zealot and the initial split was always going to be nasty but the effects of the reformation were that the Protestants emphatically deferred to protestant state leaders – and very much deepened the official separation of church and state. They operated on a decentralised church basis and not as an international authority. There is no looking to the Pope for guidance on moral matters and Anglicanism with its state church in England is semi catholic but in time was forced to become much more committed to Church state separation and secularism. The protestants deferred to personal conscience and the state on way more things than the catholic church because they were against overarching authority that could crush them. (Spierenburg, The Broken Spell – on early modern European social norms and mentalities, Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy) some Modern american churches seem to have forgotten that.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

            Oh, conceded. And there is not (fortunately!) a rabid terrorist organisation preaching on the Internet to young disaffected male Xtians that the way to salvation is to go and kill as many young sinners as possible.

            cr

        • Ken Phelps
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

          Yes. As it happens at this particular moment in history, their folly leans more toward the election of idiots to school boards and presidencies. That has not always been the case, nor will it necessarily remain the case.

        • Tom
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

          There was a joke going round during the troubles.
          A man in Belfast was stopped by an armed group wearing balaclavas.
          They demanded to know what side he was on.
          He said “I’m an Atheist”
          The men looked carefully at him then finally demanded, “A Catholic or a Protestant Atheist?”
          No, you cannot equate the Troubles with what is going on now, there were 800 years of a love hate relationship behind this sort of joke and our similarities far outweigh our differnces.

          • somer
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:29 am | Permalink

            Yes the troubles were bitter but the scale and nature of the religious component is different. The IRA let off some devastating bombs – but they were not designed to kill maximum civilians in very high concentrations of humanity in confined spaces – the biggest ones levelled buildings at odd hours of the day. Nor did they use suicide bombers. And they had political aims that could be negotiated

            • Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

              As much as I disapprove of the IRA, somer is correct to note their choice of targets. Another example: when Britain was dragging its feet during the Good Friday Agreement negotiations, the IRA lobbed several dud mortar shells onto the roof of Heathrow. At the end of the day, there is no comparison to the wantonness of the Boston, Nice, Paris, or Manchester carnages.

              Further, although the sides in The Troubles fell along religious lines, the IRA fashioned itself as a belligerent resisting a military occupation, and with a political, not religious or ideological, goal. So also in this aspect not comparable.

              Also, the SJWs must be working off the same TPM to all be bringing up the IRA so quickly.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 23, 2017 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

                Agreed, the IRA campaign was on the whole carefully calculated to cause the maximum disruption, (without which no change in the political situation would have happened – in their view) to the point where the British public demanded negotiations from their politicians; without alienating the same public by excessive violence. It was a fine line they were trying to walk.

                The ISIS-inspired murderers (like school shooters in the US) have no such restraint – the more spectacular and atrocious and repugnant they can be, the better from their point of view.

                cr

              • Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

                Exactly. The IRA were wrong but not crazy. See Hitchens’ brilliant essay* on bin Laden, The Enemy, for just how completely delusional the jihadis are.

                * Is “brilliant Hitchens essay” redundant?

          • Posted May 23, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

            I have extended family on both sides of the sectarian divide – that’s why Protestant grandfather and Catholic grandmother left Belfast for England.

            The centuries of conflict were rather more complex than contraception or whether crackers turn into Jesus-meat or not,

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

            Ah. The one I heard –

            A fellow was walking through Belfast one night when he feels something hard in his back and a voice says “Catholic or Protestant?”
            So he thinks quickly and says “Neither, I’m Jewish”.
            “Oh, bad luck, ye just met the only Arab in Belfast!”

            cr

        • Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

          “Disgusting” is not a term I’d apply to the New Testament, and it certainly is in no way equal to the hate- & violence-filled koran, hadith, or sunnah.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

            Well, I’m sure Ben could supply examples of disgustingness in the New Testament. But I concede, it is mainly the OT which is appalling. And which, I note, many ‘moderate’ Christians carefully ignore.

            I think even fundamentalists (or many of them) carefully choose not to notice the worst bits, except when it suits them.

            cr

            • rickflick
              Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

              The OT is thick with violence, yes. But remember Christ in the NT said he was there in support of the old texts. That kind of puts a chill on the warmth of the NT.

              • Brujo Feo
                Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

                rickflick’s reference is to Matthew 5:18; as the KJV has it:

                “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

                Always fun watching Xhristers tie themselves into knots trying to explain that one away.

            • Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

              I think Mike Pence would like to use a lot of them, in fact.

              When considering Christianity, one does need to keep in mind the Pauline liberation from Mosaic law.

              It’s interesting that biblical scholar Robert Eisenman traces the origins of Islam back to the radical, revolutionary, & violent jewish messianic movement of the First Century AD.

        • Jimbo
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

          Wow, there’s a false equivalence.
          In theory, you may be correct but just do a body count of innocent lives claimed by Islamic suicidal terrorists vs Christian suicidal terrorists and then consider whether they even remotely pose a comparable risk to civilized societies.

        • Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

          But the Christian parents no longer really believe and the children sense it.

    • rickflick
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Yes, and I can’t really see much that can be done about it. Measures that can help are to push for revision of British laxity in allowing Islamic extremism to flourish there. The government, in the interest of inclusion, seems to have been reluctant to eliminate support and encouragement of religious schools. Briton should declare itself a secular state as the US does in it’s constitution. Perhaps then they can find the courage to eliminate the madrases that teach hate.
      But, all that is long term. I think we can look forward to more of the same tragedy for a very long time to come.

      • darrelle
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        If a madras in the US were a private school it would be permitted.

        • rickflick
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

          I guess so, but it shouldn’t be. Private schools in the US should, by law, be prevented from brainwashing kids – at least without providing a decent overall education through which the children can filter the dogma. I think the Brits may have a more difficult situation with a higher percent of Muslims and their relative isolation. I think in the US there is attempt by Muslims to assimilate.

        • Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

          I don’t recall ever hearing about the teachers at Choate urging their preppies to slaughter us public education kaffirs.

    • Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately, yes.

  2. Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  3. Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Yes but [ISIS] clearly know nothing about what happened (their declaration says it was a planted bomb, suggests perpetrator escaped; he didn’t, plus they call it “a meeting of the crusaders”, …

    “Crusaders” is a general ISIS term for any Westerner. And “planting” a bomb doesn’t necessarily imply the perpetrator escaped.

    In addition, there are reports of Tweets by a pro-ISIS account that mention “#mancesterarena” several hours *before* the attack.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Well the Mail are deceiving bastards so far as their headline goes – “Twitter REFUSES to explain why tweet ‘predicting’ Manchester attack was not passed on to police.. because of ‘PRIVACY concerns’.”

      In fact all Twitter gave the Mail was their standard boilerplate ‘no comment’. It says nothing about what Twitter may have noticed or what they may have told police. Note that the Mail’s headline deliberately manages to imply the tweet wasn’t passed on because of privacy concerns, whereas Twitter is only citing its policy as to why it won’t comment to the Mail – a quite different kettle of fish.

      Note also the police gave the Mail the exact same cold shoulder – “Greater Manchester Police would not comment on whether the ‘speculative’ tweets were being investigated.”

      Refusal to tell the Mail all about current investigations is not a crime.

      More to the point, I wonder how many threatening Tweets come to nothing? That is to say, whether the tweets threatening violence, had they been noticed, would have stood out from the noise of ISIS-inspired bullshit threats, sufficiently to be useful? I don’t know the answer to this.

      cr

      • yiamcross
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        What could you possibly do to stop this madness? So long as there are morons who believe in gods and paradise there will be a reason to try to buy a place paradise with the blood of unbelievers. I suppose we could try to wipe Islam off the face of rhe earth but that”s never proved effective in the past so I can’t see why it would work any better now.

        • GBJames
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

          Stopping it isn’t a realistic goal, IMO. We can, however, hope to reduce it. But this will happen only if people, both within and outside of the Muslim community, stop pretending that religion is irrelevant. Islam must reform. Liberal Muslims like Maajid Nawaz should be encouraged and non-Muslim liberals should stop equating Islam with “peace”. The voices of ex-Muslims should be amplified.

          We can reduce the influence of faith. But only if we are willing to be honest about faith.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

          I wasn’t asking that. I was just wondering whether the tweets in question, if they had been noticed (and maybe they were, we don’t know) would have stood out sufficiently to provide a warning.

          cr

          • Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

            I don’t think anybody is observing such things on social media.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted May 24, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

              Well, we don’t know. The NSA and GCHQ are trawling millions of phone calls and feeding them through computers looking for keywords (or so we’re led to believe). They could very well be doing the same with tweets. But of course they won’t tell us if they are.

              cr

        • Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          There are imams in mosques in the West, preaching hatred & jihad and ‘radicalizing’ young, second-generation moslems like the Manchester bomber. These imams must be surveilled and the full force of the law brought down upon them.

          Decades of tolerating or even encouraging isolated, backwards moslem enclaves hasn’t helped.

      • Tom
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        Please also see the Guardian where Jonathon Romain primly tells us not to lash out, Owen Jones patronises us with the Manchester spirit and Hugh Muir takes the opportunity to have a swipe at Katie Hopkins as if she was the big issue.
        I despair.

    • Wunold
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      It may have been a wrong Twitter time stamp, just like this tweet by Ariana Grande seems to have been sent at May 22th, 18:51 BST/UTC+1, if you’re not logged in. I see it as 19:51, being myself in CEST/UTC+2.

      If that doesn’t convice us that Ariana also knew something several hours up front, we should be careful to believe that about other tweets.

    • eric
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      In addition to it probably being a generalized term, it’s clearly spin intended to make their action more palatable to non-ISIS Muslims. It’s not exactly dehumanizing (since crusaders are humans), but it serves the same purpose as calling your enemies “cockroaches” or “dogs.” We didn’t attack teens at a concert, we attacked crusaders.

    • somer
      Posted May 24, 2017 at 3:29 am | Permalink

      Quote from Guardian Article
      Salman Ramadan Abedi named by police as Manchester Arena attacker, 24 May

      Isis’s claim of responsibility for Abedi’s crime was posted in Arabic and English on channels that the group uses on the encrypted Telegram instant messaging service.

      The English version said the bombing in the “shameless” concert arena was “in revenge for Allah’s religion, in an endeavour to terrorize the [infidels], and in response to their transgressions against the lands of the Muslims”.

      • Eric Hayman
        Posted May 24, 2017 at 4:09 am | Permalink

        “in response to their transgressions against the lands of the Muslims””

        What about the transgressions of Muslims in any land apart from the area around Mecca and Medina? Mohammed and his followers have spent 1400 years trangressing the lands of Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc,etc. ISIS/ISIL need to look at history before spouting such nonsense.

        • Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          Apparently, to them, any piece of dry land still populated by non-Muslims means a “transgression against the lands of the Muslims”.

  4. Frank Bath
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    There are those in islam who see western values as a threat to the integrity of their religion and are prepared to push the west away from their faith and its followers at any price. Spurred on by the glories of the promised life to come, after the incompleteness of this one, I can’t see how we can stop them in the short run. These people are not mad only committed.

  5. Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    From news reports, security at the event was very lax. People were allowed to take in bags unsearched, etc. I am surprised this would happen in a country and a city with long experience with terrorist attacks, but if it is true, there is a place to start “doing something.”

    • GBJames
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      The report I saw last night said it went off outside the venue. Bag searching probably wouldn’t have made much difference if that was actually the case.

      • somer
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        Yes I understood it was in the foyer/entrance as people were starting to leave – this is a relatively constricted space attached to Vic station presumably for max blast effect

      • Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        I understood it to be in a foyer outside the concert hall but inside the arena. Still sounds like security issues to me, but I guess we will found out. Let the recriminations begin.

    • Posted May 23, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      The foyer area where the bomb went off is a public space. – MC

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      From news reports, security at the event was very lax. People were allowed to take in bags unsearched, etc. I am surprised this would happen in a country and a city with long experience with terrorist attacks,

      I too wondered how someone got a bomb into the venue, and you’re right in your implication that, for a time, public venues will go back to searching all baggage at the door. I remember that into the 1980s, courtesy of the Christian septs of Ulster.
      I’d also hazard the guess that the bomb makers chose this venue for this reason. A rational, if evil, choice.
      Even back in the 1970s and early 80s when bag-searches were routine, it was normally done in the foyer of the building because when it was pissing with rain outside, people would reject the buildings that forced them to queue outside.
      When baggage searches are re-implemented (they probably have been already, and now would be a good time to own an “office table” making company) the next cell of plotters will move on to somewhere that large bags are allowed. Railway stations or shopping centres would be my guess for the next attack.

      • Posted May 23, 2017 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        There was no bomb in the venue. The bomber set off his bag-bomb in the foyer, outside the doors of the venue. This is a public space where anyone can gain access, 24/7, linked to the railway station. Only draconian security checking everyone everywhere all of the time could have stopped this.

        • Posted May 23, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          Then I don’t know how we can defend against this sort of heinous act except to use other securable venues. I thought there were security cameras everywhere in Britain, but perhaps I watch too many British mystery shows.

          • Colin McLachlan
            Posted May 24, 2017 at 4:17 am | Permalink

            Security cameras can only help after the event. Even if they were constantly monitored, it would not be possible to prevent someone detonating a suicide vest just after walking in to the monitored area.

            • Eric Hayman
              Posted May 24, 2017 at 4:35 am | Permalink

              Why should anyone who will be killed when his or her own bomb is detonated bother about cameras? Think on.

          • Mike
            Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

            The truth is we can’t defend against it, only if we are very lucky, prevent it.

        • Posted May 24, 2017 at 6:03 am | Permalink

          Some ex-Security Minister was on the telly yesterday: she made an interesting point that had never occurred to me.

          The problem in establishing bag-checks etc. is to decide on the perimeter. Wherever you put it, there will be a queue outside it and therefore another security issue.

          Obvious, once you think about it.

  6. Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Here in Bristol, no one has mentioned Manchester. It is too tender. I brought this up in a group meeting a few minutes ago, and then we sat in a thick haze of sadness and silence.

  7. somer
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Isis use the term “crusaders” to mean “westerners”. Also in most ages of human existence the option was for society to replicate – there wasn’t much option for the great mass of people – and often even the leaders to have interesting intellectual opportunities, and material comfort. Many children died young. Social groups, led by a leader committed to their faith, fought each other for (mainly land) resources to spread into. Organised Religions were designed to ensure stable family groups and maximum reproduction and commitment to the defensive (and sometimes expansionist) norms of the group.

    What I’m suggesting is that for those who still adhere to very rigid forms of religion, the aim in life is not that one’s children do well in careers, opportunities and material well being and help to build a fairer world etc. The aim is that the children are very religious so they don’t go to hell – meaning they have (or try to have) many children and they push the influence of the religious “kin” group by any means they can – either by keeping the religion super strong in the community or by spreading it beyond the community.

    Islam is particularly aggressive and evangelical and shares the heaven hell eschatology with Christianity – no limit to the stakes. But it doesnt have a classical debt (originated in Roman empire, protected and often enforced under Constantine hence Rome, Greece) it doesnt have church state split and it doesnt hold that the scriptures are directly from god (the Church from the beginning hoped it could use classical works to help justify the logic of scripture and wound up, post Reformation, with historical scholarly analyses of the scripture that eventually exposed scripture as stories.

    Prof Wymanns course on Global Problems of Population Growth online to my mind brilliantly illustrates this (tho he doesnt mention religion it is relevant because it explains how societies in different parts of the world at different times balance population demands/constraints and resources
    http://oyc.yale.edu/molecular-cellular-and-developmental-biology/mcdb-150The evangelical religions

    • somer
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      sorry “it doesnt have church state split and it doesnt hold that the scriptures are directly from god:
      islam Does hold that the scriptures are directly from God

    • somer
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Also Salafists are often -or at least originated as modernists in the sense they were middle class and well educated but also literalist and highly religious believers in returning to the direct example of the prophets time. But this was because they originated late 19thC as a reaction to Western colonialism. They saw the Sufi mysticism as unable to confront western military/technological clout and western dogmatic clarity. So they combined modern professional skills in teaching, medicine, engineering with clear cut dogma and allied with the merchants to teach the population a narrower version of the faith. Later they joined up with Wahabbis at least on the dogma side of things. They are not of course, naturally research oriented or creative as this naturally leads to questioning so they would stick to applied sciences hence the book “Engineers of Jihad” – very bright but (still able to reconcile with their faith). However, most educated people in Muslim countries more likely to be in cities, not be tribal, be more moderate – so its dual thing.

  8. Paulo Augusto Franke
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    When will Americans understand – or accept – that the Saudis support and fund ISIS terrorists?

    And that it is wrong to support and sell arms to the Saudi dictators?

    And that it is absurd to be an ally of human rights violator Saudi Arabia?

    When, Americans??

    • GBJames
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Good question. (I’m an American who wonders the same thing.)

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      You ask those questions as if we here on this site who are Americans can answer or correct those issues for you. Absurd you say but just as absurd to be asking us here. Or maybe better yet, you think that we are responsible for Islamic terrorism, more so than the religion itself?

      We all have to live in the reality of the conditions that exist and do the best we can. To throw your hands up and say, there is nothing that can be done to stop this is wrong thinking but can you stop it all, no. This type of event can most likely, only be prevented with prior intelligence work that finds and stops the terrorist before they act. To think you can stop it at the gate or by some kind of policing at the event – highly unlikely.

      • Tom
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        Although there is an historical precedence; the complete suppression of the Classical Pagan gods and their Temple worship was successfully achieved.
        It began in the reign of Constantine and continued for hundreds of years in a world without Tv, Internet, Aircraft or 100 megaton bombs.
        I’m pretty sure if we put our minds to it we could at least reform Islam in say 20years?

        • somer
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          true but it spread to various pockets of scholars before they could wipe it out.

          The Arian Visigoths allowed the old Roman elite to run some of the institutions of rome until Justinians forces ruined the city in the (successful) attempt to force the Visigoths to convert to regular Judaism. The Visigoths were crushed and the city infrastructure remaining roman political culture lost but other European tribes started coming in. the remaining Romans fled to Constantinople. After Constantinople finally lost Italy again a couple of generations later, Roman culture still had cache in “Rome” and the Western church wanted to argue the logic of its Western Chalcedonian faith to the barbarians.

          In the East much of the classical learning was saved by the Syrian Nestorian Christians who were monophysites and the relevant clergy then took it to Iran and elsewhere fleeing war – some on not so good transcripts were even taken to the British Isles in the early dark ages. Various others outside Athens (Plato’s school) and the Library of Alexandria (destroyed in the 600s) preserved it too. Despite the odd over zealous Byzantine emperor, classical learning was highly valued – engineers and architects relied on it to defend Constantinople and other cities in time of war with inventions like Greek fire even after the Arab conquests. Justinian was not able to wipe out that pagan learning and it came back into fashion with the Arabs for a while and then back to Europe.

          • somer
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

            until Justinians forces ruined the city in the (successful) attempt to force the Visigoths to convert to regular Judaism.
            … err “until Justinians forces ruined the city in the (successful) attempt to force the Visigoths to convert to regular Christianity

          • stephen
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

            The Visigoths,led by Alaric sacked Rome in 410 A.D. but moved on and settled in what is now Spain.It was the Ostrogoths who resisted Justinian’s attempt to reconquer Italy.

        • somer
          Posted May 23, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

          But worship of pagan gods was different from pagan philosophy, rhetoric and science – particularly in Plato and Aristotle – which the early Western church (after emergence of Islam and final loss of Constantinoples western territories apart from parts of eastern europe) wanted because the idea of the trinity owes a lot to Platonic ideas and these two philosophers were valued for their ideas on the soul (plato who was in many was very un-pagan) and a primitive model of the natural world that could accommodate a creator in an apparently logical form (Aristotle who was also famous for his treatises on logic)

        • Posted May 23, 2017 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          Christianity didn’t oppress pagans so much as incorporate pagan beliefs and festivals into Christianity. Hence saints and Christmas. I’m not in favour of incorporating Islamic beliefs into secularism.

          • somer
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

            Yes justinian (almost) wiped it out in the east, but further west that wasn’t already christian, it was pagan. Those areas were peacefully converted later (in some areas with duress)

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 23, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

            ‘Embrace, extend, extinguish’ as a noted software company put it.

            But in the present case I’m not sure the ultimate prospect of extinguishing those beliefs would be worth the pain of embracing them 😉

            cr

        • Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          “If we put our minds to it.” This is the key.

    • somer
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Partly because otherwise Iran would conquer it and likely replicate the sunni shia bloodbath between Assad and Sunnis all over the ME. Also Iran is allied with Russia. Iran has been pushing Assad to keep killing sunni civilians and Assad has supported terrorists – including Isis because they fight everyone and divide the sunni opposition but the democratic /moderate sunnis only want to fight his regime. The US supports the Kurds, and a bit of the free syrian army (most are extremists now) but not with heavy weapons which it stops at the border in Turkey – to prevent Isis getting hold of them. Assad fights the sunni extremists but barely touches Isis – which keeps separate – because the Free Syrian Army is near the eastern border with Lebanon – where all the cities are and where Assad and his shia Alouites escape route to Lebanon, Hezbollah allies and the sea is if anything were to go really pear shaped. On Memri the sunni sometimes talk about exterminating the Alouites in revenge.

      However what the Saudis are doing in Yemen is unspeakable.

      Yet overwhelmingly the problems of the middle east are due to the sectarianism and extremism of Islam not the West and I think Muslims need to hear this if they are to be motivated to reform Islam rather than blame others and dream of a return to the caliphate. In 2006 The University of Maryland and World Opinion Dynamics surveyed around 4400 Muslims from Morocco and Egypt, Pakistan and Indonesia. In each country 1100 people were questioned in a face to face interview spoken in the local dialect. When asked about the Caliphate, 65 per cent were in favour of a traditional Caliphate that would impose “strict Shar’ia law” in all the Islamic countries. Nevertheless the same sample in each country responded even more strongly against jihadist attacks on civilian populations. However this could change over time especially as the region has been plunged in instability and sectarian war since and even Indonesia has become quite intolerant. Islam encourages dictators who uphold rural tribes and nationalist interests at the expense of liberalism followed by open religious strife between shia and sunni sectors within countries which involve other sunni and shia countries.

      • Tom
        Posted May 23, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        I agree with much of what you say with one observation, I doubt Iran could safely turn her back on Russia and project her army into a Saudi Arabian bloodbath.
        The Iranians know to their cost that in the past the Russians have never missed an opportunity to snatch bits of Iranian territory.

        • Posted May 23, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

          Paulo, KSA does a lot of horrific things but IS generates its own money: from extortion, taxes, embezzlement, trade in oil and gas with Assad and smugglers, ‘charitable donations’ and intially with start-up money from AQ in 1999. That’s a strategic decision by IS: to be financially, and therefore ideologically, independent.

        • somer
          Posted May 25, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          Maybe but I don’t think Iran would need to do any wholesale invasion. In the modern technological era long term antagonistic states need access to large amounts of modern armaments available from big powers. The ME is naturally fractious (the rural areas are tribal) and antagonistic (its called sunni shia divide) Call me cynical but I think the Iranians just want to extend their power thru shia proxies in the region and theres always a great power willing to give arms when it suits them – most likely russia in this case though Russia also supported specific sunni powers whenever it suited their interest. But it doesnt need any big war that would leave it vulnerable to territory grab. The Saudi royals are always insecure about their rule – their mostly uber conservative population resent that they depend on infidel great powers to survive – be it the US or Russia – and resent any hint of reform. It wouldn’t take too much of foreign power (including Iranian) meddling to get the Saudi dynasty overthrown and chaos ensuing. Divided sunnis mean influence for Iran and shias who are found in every country in the region. The Iranians via Assad were happy to train and support sunni extremists when it suited on their way to Iraq (extremists were later used to destroy any democracy movement in Syria and empower natural fractiousness amongst the sunnis). Saddam kept this fractiousness of both his own sunnis and the Shia majority at bay with his ruthless state regime backed by great power armament supply until a great power moved against him.

          Look at the absolute mess when the dictators of Iraq and Libya fell and what Assad has done to divide the Sunni majority in his country and keep them from driving out (and possibly exterminating) his Aouite shia regime. If the saudi royals fell and chaos ensued, Iran could extend its influence through Shia proxies with russian backing – further entrenching the violence and uncertainty

          • somer
            Posted May 25, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

            Iran is the only country in the region with (soon) nuclear power (thanks to N Korea via China which is also keeping its hand in the power stakes). Turkey’s new need to keep sweet with Russia and that nuclear threat against Israel could give Iran big clout in an even bloodier region. Admittedly its all uncertain.

  9. Kevin
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Part of doing something is simply convincing people, one at a time, across the entire planet, that religion is poison and it poisons everything.

    I anticipate my own disappointed in the millions of moderate Christians and Muslims around the world who will not take this even to move away from their faith. If apostates inundate the earth, the faithful will run out of benighted hallways to hide.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Because the ‘moderate’ faith of the moderate Muslims and Christians does not involve killing innocent people without cause*.

      So they see no need to move away from it. Their version of their religion is not the problem, so far as they can see.

      cr

      (*Whole lotta questions being begged there, I know).

      • Eric Hayman
        Posted May 24, 2017 at 4:13 am | Permalink

        “Because the ‘moderate’ faith of the moderate Muslims and Christians does not involve killing innocent people without cause*.”

        There is no “moderate” Islam – only Muslims who choose to ignore parts of the Koran yet fail to condemn the parts they ignore.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 24, 2017 at 5:00 am | Permalink

          You’ve repeated that claim about ten times in the last few hours on several threads.

          Do you have anything more constructive than “kill ’em all” ?

          cr

          • Eric Hayman
            Posted May 24, 2017 at 5:25 am | Permalink

            Yes – ban all face coverings, infiltrate mosque prayer meetings and record what the imams are saying and prosecute them for anything seditious. Ban the Sharia-based “advice” organisations that are taking the place of the usual “inclusive” counselling centres. And ban all indoctrination of all children into religions. It is the worst sort of “grooming”. Let youngsters make up their own minds when they are old enough to choose for themselves. I have a sister-in-law who became a Jehovah’s Witness well into adulthood.

            And why not do the opposite of Saudi Arabia and ban the open practice of Islam in the UK? If Saudi Arabia can ban open Christian worship, why not do that to Islam in the UK?

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted May 24, 2017 at 5:43 am | Permalink

              “If Saudi Arabia can ban open Christian worship, why not do that to Islam in the UK?”

              Precisely because the UK is NOT Saudi Arabia. In fact very few countries are sufficient of a theocracy to ban any different religion.

              “And ban all indoctrination of all children into religions.”

              That’d be nice, but politically impossible to achieve. It would also be Unconstitutional in the USA, for example.

              And some of your other measures have serious implications for individual liberty. You can’t really ban an organisation unless it’s proved to be actively promoting violence.
              Not only that, but it could well be ineffective – just drive it underground.

              Banning face coverings is not only an interference with individual liberty but could result in many Muslim women being confined to their houses – just making them more cut off from society.

              There are arguments both ways.

              cr

              • Eric Hayman
                Posted May 24, 2017 at 6:26 am | Permalink

                “Banning face coverings is not only an interference with individual liberty” – just where do you stand on what you call “individual liberty”? If France can ban it, whyu not the UK?

                To me, it is pathetic and wimpish to say a ban on face coverings is an interference with individual liberty. How about everyone else’s liberty to know the identity of everyone else in any public place? Why should a customer in a bank or shop be allowed to hide her identity from the bank or shop staff or other customers?
                Or on public transport? If full face crash helmets can be banned, then all face coverings.

                There have been robberies by men dressed as Muslim women with face coverings. To call hiding one’s identity part of individual liberty is totally irrational. Do you say my “individual liberty” permits me to go about naked without my being prosecuted? If not, why not?

                Face coverings – along with both male and female genital mutilation – have no rationality in 2017. All three have religion-based dogma to say they should not be banned, but all three are basically ancient cultural practices. You oppose banning the first. Why not oppose banning all three. Think what was said about the abolition of slavery and how people had the “right” to keep slaves.

              • Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

                I fear that, in the foreseeable future, the UK and many other countries will become Saudi Arabia.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted May 24, 2017 at 9:59 am | Permalink

                I’m not going to debate it, it’s been argued at length on this site before now. I have some sympathy with the French ban, those spooky burqas give me the creeps, but then if I was dictator I’ve got a list of 1001 other things I’d arbitrarily ban. Except (I hope) I’d have the wisdom to realise that my cherished beliefs are someone else’s anathema.

                cr

  10. busterggi
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    This wouldn’t have happened had Trump been elected – he campaigned on having a secret plan, better than all the generals combined, that would destroy ISIS within thirty days.

    • darrelle
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Must be yet another thing that was harder than he thought. Wouldn’t surprise me. I’m pretty sure that Trump does not have much experience with hard thinking.

  11. Brujo Feo
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    “…but of course we have to do something to stop this unpredictable slaughter of innocents.”

    While I agree with the very first comment above, by GBJames, I suspect that PCC meant something rather different by this statement (and he can correct me if I’m wrong).

    GBJames seems to mean that the referenced slaughter is going to happen somewhere, at some time; it’s predictable in that sense. I read PCC to mean that the where and when is hard to predict.

    It would, of course, be possible to at least trade one slaughter for another. All religion is a disease, but not every disease is smallpox. And yet we managed to put an end to smallpox. Time to get used to the new normal, as we’ll never have the stomach to treat Islam like smallpox. For IS to refer to the West generally as “Crusaders” is ridiculous; the apologists for “moderate Islam” were on their talking points within minutes of the event.

    • GBJames
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      I expect your interpretation of predictable/unpredictable is probably correct. It is on my side of the question.

    • Posted May 25, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      Yes, indeed very ridiculous to call westerners in general “crusaders”. Talk about living in there own little bubble that has no connection with reality and all of its nuances.

    • Compassio Veraque
      Posted May 27, 2017 at 5:00 am | Permalink

      “but of course we have to do something to stop this unpredictable slaughter of innocents.”

      What do you guys think can be done? Is there anyone trying to “get in between” and catch the minds who hasn’t already gone too far down and still can be talked to?

      I guess there is, but I was thinking about writing this text (or texts) asking how they can be certain it isn’t them who are possessed by the devil. Having “soldiers” attacking defenseless civilians, including children. Judging people they don’t really know. Killing people not knowing what/who the victims might become or what relation to God they have and might have in the future (even God can’t know that, right? Otherwise there’s no need for a “test chamber”). Looking at a complex and nuanced world with a black and white mindset. Etc.

      Is this really the will of God? Rather sounds like the very definition of diabolical, if anything.

      Anyone would like to collaborate on writing some text on this topic? Text(s) that hopefully can get spread and translated and being read by someone who might think a second time. I can invite to Google Docs. It might be a futile endeavor, but as long as it doesn’t make things worse I think it’s worth trying. We are all shaped by our surroundings and that includes what we read, right? 🙂

      • Wunold
        Posted May 27, 2017 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        I was thinking about writing this text (or texts) asking how they can be certain it isn’t them who are possessed by the devil.

        I always found it presumptuous from a believer’s perspective to do “God’s work” for him. If God wants a person to be rewarded or helped, he certainly could (and would) just do that himself.

        The same goes with any punishment up to killing. If God wants someone dead, why wait until some zealous believers may do it? A heart attack, stroke, or accident certainly wouldn’t require much effort by the all-mighty creator of the universe, you’d think.

  12. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    unconcerned that the targets were young people (indeed, that may have been why they were targeted).

    Oh, I’d be pretty sure it was deliberate. If you’ve only got limited resources (explosives, which you may have spent months making ; detonation system, the complex bit), then you would be irrational to not get maximum “bang for your buck”.
    While these terrorists may (or may not be) be clinically psychopathic, and certainly have chosen to switch off their empathy, there is no reason to think that they’re irrational, and indeed thinking that may lead you to underestimate them.
    I note that MC posted up-thread using his “liberation of Paris” account. Well, I assume it was Matthew, and I deduce that he’s working on another WW2-France book. But if he’s been working on “the Resistance” he’ll be full of situations where, for completely different motives to ISIS-wannabes, the Resistance freedom fighters faced exactly the same issues of getting maximum result from limited resources. No one, as far as I know, accuses the Resistance of being irrational.
    It’s a safe bet that the bomb-carrier was muscle and the bomb-builder is who the police are trying to track down. That’s certainly how the IRA operated, and I’ll bet the Resistance too.

  13. nicky
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Horrible, callous and tragic as these terrorist attacks on youngsters (well not only the ones on youngsters) are, they are not my main concern about Islam in the ‘West’.
    It is the desired ‘take over’, the Dawah, that I fear most. I fully agree with Ayaan Hirsi Ali there in her new book ‘The Challenge of Dawa, political Islam as ideology and movement and how to counter it’

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34665685-the-challenge-of-dawa

  14. Eric Hayman
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Why the emphasis on the fact that most of those killed were “young people”. Age is utterly irrelevant in this act of mass murder. Had the mass murderer been killed as a child or young person, would those emphasising the young age of many of the Manchester victims have also felt especially sorry for the mass murderer’s early death? No one can say how any person will turn out.

    • Craw
      Posted May 23, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      I think it should be obvious why the mass slaughter of its young people would affect a community more than the mass slaughter of its geriatrics.

      • Eric Hayman
        Posted May 24, 2017 at 4:16 am | Permalink

        Why “geriatrics”? Why not mature adults? It is the heart-string tugging that is at work again. Think of the number of news reports that say “including xxxxx children”. What happened to equality?

    • Posted May 24, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Taking all future life away takes more from a young victim than from an older victim.

  15. somer
    Posted May 24, 2017 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    A very moving speech and a very moving gathering in Manchester

    Claire Lehmann on Twitter has great comments. The issues are integration, immigration, Islam. And whilst I don’t believe the UK can simply “hold leaders to account” without flatly refusing to talk to the Muslim Council of Britain and big majority of clerics thereby causing alienation – it should be reprimanding its own clerics who include extremists in multi faith programs and ban travel of grossly illiberal (let alone jihadist) clerics – domestic and foreign, to and from britain. And it needs furious Rational debate – against regressives as well as the illiberal majority in Islam to highlight its need for change. And look at travel for arranged marriages etc – even dual citizenship for the second generation from say 16 on a bit harder.
    *Morrissey statement was brilliant* Morrissey is from Manchester
    Abdul Satar Khan of Rawstenstall was cited as saying “We Muslims need to take a long, hard look at ourselves …. How much longer can we tolerate @*! child rapists in Rochdale and Halifax? Drug dealing “Bros” ravaging communities from Birmingham to Burnley? Idiot drivers Blackburn to Rusholme?[presumably ones that wont take Guide dogs]. And now @*! suicide bombers…. Entire towns have become ghettos and communities from Batley to Bradford think it is acceptable to just live from cradle to grave without any interaction with the wider community.”

    There are only so many pressures any society has within it to deal with simultaneously. Naivety will only mean we become a very conservative more religious, divided and poorer society further down the track.

    Islam needs reform and atheists to push it. The spectrum of illiberalisms within Islam always produces a small minority of violent extremists in every generation in the west. And clannishness of the religion replicated in things like Biryani networks and the whole shame culture imposed by families on individuals and communities on families. Sorry thats the evidence and is common sense from everything exmuslims say. Most of the globalised and liberal society we live in doesn’t want to admit this or is sometimes afraid to call the illiberalism out (its a spectrum of degrees of illliberalism all the way to support for public violence). Muslims live in liberal democratic society that (rightly) grants them freedom and expression. Outside the West, political islamists and certainly Violent extremists amongst them are brutally shut down in most of the authoritarian Muslim homelands. Even democratic islamic countries are barely so – and their islamism is rising.


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