Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

Rotten to the Koran

A few scattered thoughts on the Muslim center in NYC, the Koran-burning in Florida, and related concepts:

“The Daily Show” nailed it pretty well — we’re calling Christians extremists for burning Korans, and we’re calling Muslims extremists for reading them.

On the one hand, there are similarities between the two controversies. Both involve legal expression of 1st Amendment rights, and in both situations a case can be made that it would be wiser to refrain from this particular exercise of those rights. But there’s also a false equivalency being drawn, as we can see from the number of Republicans who are speaking out against the Koran-burning (usually mentioning the Muslim center in the same breath). There’s a big difference between doing something that causes offense, and doing something *because* it causes offense.

And all along, the wingnuts have been saying that the “Ground Zero Mosque” is some sinister gesture, rather than merely moving to a new location because the congregation has gotten too big for the old location. Condemning both the Koran-burning and the Muslim center, and thus creating a false equivalency between them, plays nicely into the GOP narrative.

PZ says Obama’s a “damned fool” for condemning the Koran-burning, while declining to comment on the “wisdom” (or lack thereof) of the Muslim center’s location. I’m not so sure. I think he may be treating them differently, not in terms of their rights but in terms of commenting on their wisdom, because in fact they are distinctly different situations.

The Muslims didn’t pick the Burlington Coat Factory in order to make some grand and silly gesture of defiance, while the idiots in Florida did decide to burn Korans on Sept. 11 for precisely that purpose. It’s worth keeping that in mind, even as we (hopefully) all acknowledge that the Koran-burners and the Muslim center folks both have constitutional rights to act as they’re acting.

(pic via SodaHead)

Sunday Sermon: Less Mo

Yes, it’s Fox News via the New York Post, but I suspect they’re pretty much on the mark about Comedy Central wussing out on the whole Muslim thing.

Retroactively deleting the 2001 (pre-9/11) episode that actually showed Mohammed (to no discernible protest at the time) is bad enough, but now it seems they’re trying to tone down any discussion that might rile Muslims into pulling another stupid stunt in Times Square.

(Mohammed pic via

Sunday Sermon: Putting it in perspective

I take some digs at Christians in these little Sunday Sermons, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little perspective.

Christians can be ignorant, bigoted and laughably hypocritical, and they wield a scary amount of power and influence here in America and elsewhere, but they don’t generally go around trying to kill people just for blaspheming against their imaginary friend.

Sure, they’ll whine about a work of art that submerges a Jesus figurine in urine, or includes elephant dung in a depiction of the Virgin Mary, but whining is about all they do.

Muslims are a whole other ballgame, as the recent attack on cartoonist Kurt Westergaard demonstrates. However obnoxious Christians may be (and “pretty friggin’ obnoxious” is my estimate), it’s a lot worse in most places where Islam is the dominant religion. So if you live in a Christian culture, thank your lucky stars or whatever that the main threat they pose to your health is that you might bust a gut laughing at their idiocy — like Rick Warren calling it a “miracle” that parishioners coughed up money when asked (that’s called a “pledge drive,” Rick, not a miracle).

Note: The cartoons that caused all the controversy — including Westergaard’s, which is shown at right — can be seen here. I don’t think they’re especially good (even Westergaard’s), but the best way to respond to censorship attempts is to increase the profile of the thing being censored. So maybe click on the link to boost their hit counts or something.

Sunday Sermon: Muslim “miracle” mystery

muslim_miracle_babySo, apparently a Muslim baby “miraculously” is displaying red marks on his flesh with Koran verses on them. There’s a  discussion of the “miracle” on an online Catholic forum. Interesting how selective some people’s acceptance of miraculous apparitions can be.

Eventually some Muslims show up and the whole thread devolves into a “My God is better than your God” argument, but there are some curious comments earlier up:

“Pure nonsense! Just another hoax to keep Muslims mesmerized by Islam!” Yeah, it’s not like Catholics have divine apparitions every few years (or every few days if you count food products and building reflections) to keep their faith going.

And someone else seems a bit confused at the idea that a loving God would cause a skin rash, rather than something friendly like actual bleeding:

“Why would Allah let a baby suffer (they say it hurts him and he cries, with a high temperature) to bring conversion/reassurance to others? Wouldn’t it be better to do it with somebody’s permission once they’re older, etc?

Very interesting though. I am not sure if the stigmata hurt, but that’s the only comparable thing(that I can think of) in Christianity. But then even if it does hurt (which I don’t think it does) then it happens to a deeply prayerful adult, not a clueless child.”

I don’t recall any stigmatic (someone whose hands and/or feet bleed in imitation of Jesus’ wounds) who said anything about God asking permission before afflicting them.

It’s amazing how clueless people can be about the silliness and absurdity of their own religion, even when they see for themselves how silly and absurd (and downright harmful) religion can be.

Sunday Sermon: Dhimmi eat world


There’s a word that’s becoming popular among the more hysterically Islamophobic wingnuts these days. The word is “dhimmi,” and while it technically means people who are allowed to remain non-Muslim while living under Muslim law, it loosely refers to someone who gives in to the demands of Islamic extremists, or even enables them.

When someone on a Christian online forum suggests that maybe not all Muslims are evil terrorists, or that maybe they’re human beings with the same rights as other human beings,it won’t be long before some Christian fundie accuses them of Dhimmitude.

So, then, what does that say about American society, in which separation of church and state is enshrined in the Constitution, but where the Pledge of Allegiance describes America as “one nation under God,” and the legal tender includes the phrase “In God We Trust,” and our main legislative body opens its sessions with a prayer offered by a Christian minister?

Looks to me like Muslims aren’t the only ones capable of establishing religious rule, and “generously” allowing non-believers to tag along, provided they know their place.

(cartoon via Yoism)