Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A cartoon too far

The Danish cartoon war against Islam has sparked a surprising show of spine among Euro surrender monkeys even as it provokes an unaccustomed case of weak knees among the normally hawkish American conservative blogotariat. Hugh Hewitt asks about the cartoons "Did their publication help or hinder the GWOT?".

I would have to say yes. Anything that can splash cold water in the face of a demoralized Europe and arrest the slow descent into cultural surrender on that continent can only help the struggle. Contrary to Hewitt's calculus, the GWOT will not be won only by US servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan. The GWOT is being fought on the ground in Denmark as well. If we win Iraq only to see Europe become the new base of operations for Al Quaeda, then we've only displaced the threat to a new location. A newly vitalized and confident Europe willing to put it on the line to defend it's rights as a free society is the last thing that the Islamist terror masters want or need.

Hugh Hewitt had a panel discussion on his radio show tonight to discuss the publication of the cartoons and their aftermath. He was joined by Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and blogger Joe Carter. Hewitt and Carter were highly critical of the cartoons and said that they would have the effect of radicalizing all those moderate Muslims who would be on our side if we only could avoid provoking them further. Medved and Prager would have none of it. Prager almost came unglued at one point over the thought that the cartoonists were to blame for inciting the violence. He made the excellent point that Islamic violence needs no provocation, and pointed to the many people in the world, including the Miss World contestant from Nigeria who are living in hiding for incurring the wrath of radicalized Islamic terrorists through no fault of their own.

The New Criterion published this excellent article by David Pryce Jones which provides a timely backstory on how Europe arrived at the situation it now faces with an unassimilated Muslim population. How Europeans handle this situation will make or break its future for centuries to come. I believe that it is a true turning point in Western civilization. The Danish Cartoon war of 2006 may prove to surpass the famous shot heard round the world of a century ago.

40 Comments:

Blogger Brit said...

I've said most of what I wanted to say on this on Think of England, but I completely disagree with your take on this, Duck.

When I read some things written about Islam and terror, I do often wonder:

1) Whether the commentator knows any Muslims or has any Muslim friends.
2) Whether the commentator appreciates that the War on Terror is emphatically not a War on Islam
3) Whether the commentator actually believes that those images you see of young male thugs burning flags and shouting death to the West represent mainstream Islam.

Let's cut all this nonsense about surrender monkeys and lily-livered Euros and look at the actual world we live in.

How does it make any sense to start a war with Muslims? Muslims are on our side in the War on Terror. Of course, you wouldn't know that from 99% of the output of the mainstream media, which is only interested in showing the loony fringe.

The piece I linked to in the TofE thread shows how even in Lebanon they have to bus the nutters in. These guys aren't pouring spontaneously out of the streets to yell death to Danes, as the images would suggest.

In the last few days we've seen the conviction of Abu Hamza - the Finsbury Park mosque monster - for inciting murder.

Who complained about Hamza in the first place? Local Muslims.

Read this reaction from the Muslim community to his conviction.

Of course all Islamic fundamentalist terrorists are Islamic. But if we're going to defeat them, we have to have the Muslims on our side. Cheap shots at Islam aren't part of any kind of progress.

I work with two Muslims, with one of whom I've spent many an hour talking about Premiership soccer or the fortunes of the England cricket team. He's not anti-modern Britain. He is modern Britain. Should I pop down there now and provoke him into either surrendering his religious beliefs in favour of modern secular rationalism or duking it out with me to decide a winner once and for all?

February 08, 2006 1:29 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Duck:

I have also hammered away at ToE.

But I must disagree with Brit that this is not a war on Islam, for precisely the same reasons I have stated in the Dawkins and Story of the Moral threads (sorry, to lazy to plug in links).

Brit, that you are able to easily work with Muslims only indicates that they, and most other Muslims, have been able to exercise selective amnesia regarding huge swaths of the Quran.

Similarly, that you, Duck, and I are able to live without fear of the stake (absent a blogger well known in these parts) is because Christians have collectively succumbed to the same selective amnesia regarding the Bible.

How did that happen? The Enlightenment was a war against perfect Christian belief.

The War on Terror is a war against perfect Islamic belief.

Unfortunately, moderate Muslims, by demanding a sanctuary from criticism for their selective beliefs, inevitably shield the perfect believers.

I agree with Brit there is no point needlessly annoying the vast majority of Muslims. Where I disagree is that the contents of these cartoons were clearly pointed at Perfect Believers, the very ones rioting.

February 08, 2006 5:12 AM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

Skipper:

What has your argument got to do with Islam? Why don't you just say you don't believe in blasphemy with respect to any religion or even secular values for that matter, and that the whole concept of a common duty to respect sacred or non-sacred space in the name of civility and dignity is a crock. Then, we can cartoon away against Mohammed, they can reply with mocking the Holocaust and other anti-Semitic bile, we can reply by equating the Koran with Mein Kamph, they can portray Christ and his followers as sluts and perverts...etc. After all, we'll all know where we stand--confused moderates of good will need not apply-- and I'm sure objective truth will rise out of the edifying exchange.

February 08, 2006 5:39 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

Skipper:

We're just going to have to agree to disagree on the cartoons. You think they're jibes aimed at the extremists. I think they're aimed at Islam in general.

(In fact, I've read that the cartoonists were asked to depict the image that came into their heads when they thought of Islam:

"Jyllands-Posten's culture editor, Flemming Rose, says he did not ask the illustrators to draw satirical caricatures of Muhammad. He asked them to draw the Prophet as they saw him." - BBC)

If you're right, I'll accept your argument but say that they of extremely low qaulity and it isn't obvious.

Brit, that you are able to easily work with Muslims only indicates that they, and most other Muslims, have been able to exercise selective amnesia regarding huge swaths of the Quran.

Similarly, that you, Duck, and I are able to live without fear of the stake (absent a blogger well known in these parts) is because Christians have collectively succumbed to the same selective amnesia regarding the Bible.

That's all correct, but you and I seem to draw different conclusions from the fact.

All along I've stated my theory that very, very few people actually believe in God or the actual literal tenets of a religion. That applies to Islam as much as Christianity. They believe in the idea of believing in it, but very few actually really believe it on a real, day-to-day basis.

Only a lunatic - a suicide bomber or an abortionist-killer - can really literally beleive in and act upon the words in the OT or the Koran.

Skipper, most people don't have your strict adherence to logical consistency and honest, rigorous following of arguments to their logical conclusion.

Most people are comfortable with double or treble-think, or more likely, they don't ponder it enough to realise how much double-think they engage in.

The vast majority of practicing Muslims, like the vast majority of practicing Christians, sign up not to a set of writings which they have considered and strictly adhere to, but to a way of life, a culture passed down the generations.

Most people want to get on with their neighbours and their lives, while also retaining the cultural heritage given to them by their parents.

Where the two clash, the loonies will be fundamentalists, but the vast moderate majority will engage in doublethink. I don't think that's a bad thing.

Given that religion ain't going to disappear any time soon, I thank goodness for doublethink.

February 08, 2006 5:42 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

Brit,

I apologize for repeating the "surrender monkeys" slur, just lazy riting on my part. I would never accuse he of the Stiffest Upper Lip of surrender or monkey-hood. You are obviously a chimpanzee, as are we all.

But the surrender part on behalf of European governments and much of the European populace I believe is well earned, in light of the Spanish capitulation in the wake of the 3/11 attacks and this latest law in Britain supported by Tony Blair, and only narrowly defeated, which would have criminalized the cartoons in question.

Brit, I agree with your description of the fuzzy logic of the typical believer. I'll say that we are not at war with Islam for the same reason that we are not at war with guns. As the NRA has made it clear here in the US, guns don't kill people, people kill people. Likewise with religions. There are no good or bad religions, just good or bad religious people. We are at war with the bad Muslims.

That said, the good Muslims can't be overly sensitive to the negative image that the bad Muslims have engendered of their religion by their atrocities. The good Muslims have to accept the reality that their religion has an image problem. If the bad Muslims were a tiny, insignificant minority of Muslims then the cartoons would have been a totally gratuitous and unprovoked insult. But that is not the reality. Yes, the newspaper editor asked readers for their impressions of Islam. What I don't understand is why anyone is surprised or shocked that the readers have the impression that Islam is a terrorist religion. That is the image of Islam that has been created by the actions of Muslims, it is not a slander invented in the heads of offense-minded Westerners with nothing better to do than to slander peace loving people.

It is not the obligations of non Muslims to profess a positive image of Islam just to avoid offending good Muslims. Islam's image problem is the problem of Muslims to fix, not the rest of us.

February 08, 2006 6:47 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

Duck:

In Britain we've had constant practice at this. We fought the IRA, not the Irish.

It is not the obligations of non Muslims to profess a positive image of Islam just to avoid offending good Muslims. Islam's image problem is the problem of Muslims to fix, not the rest of us.

I agree in part. Certainly moderate Muslims should seize this opportunity to decry the behaviour of the extremists in their ranks. It annoys me greatly that we don't see more Muslims coming out to condemn extremism, in the way that the Islamic Society of Britain has condemned Hamza in the story I linked to above.

But how much of this is the moderates being silent, and how much is the mainstream media weighting coverage absurdly in favour of the lunatics, I'm not sure. It needs investigating.

To the extent that it is the latter, the responsibility also lies with the West's media to give some perspective.

To the extent that it is the former, Muslims do have to look at themselves, and we have to look at why. As ever, there will be every shade of grey imaginable. No doubt things like the cartoons - which, whatever Skipper says, have been interpreted by even moderates as blatantly insulting their culture - force moderates to confront their own doublethink, and make it difficult to decide whether going with their conciliatory instincts is a betrayal of their faith.

Whatever the answer, the long-term Answer is certainly not to drive a big wedge between, for example, British Muslims and all other Britons.

It is so very, very easy to turn a minority into the Other. As you hint at, image is everything.

February 08, 2006 7:17 AM  
Blogger Bret said...

brit wrote: "We fought the IRA, not the Irish."

Took ya a damn long time to finish it too. We americans don't have anywhere near that much patience. If this ol' terrorist thing goes on that long it WILL morph into a war between Islam and the rest of the world.

February 08, 2006 9:30 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

Bret:

Well when you send Enola Gay to drop an H-bomb on Finsbury Park Mosque, I hope you'll have the decency to give me a couple of days warning, in memory of our happy days here at the Duck.

February 08, 2006 9:55 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

The transcript and audio of the aforementioned Hugh Hewitt show are posted at RadioBlogger. Read or listen, it is a very interesting contrast of opinions. Is it a coincidence that the two Christian on the panel are more critical of the cartoonists than the two Jewish panelists?

February 08, 2006 10:11 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

Brit,
We will raise a glass to your memory!

February 08, 2006 10:15 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

I wholly agree with Brit that hardly any person behaves as if he believes what his religious doctrine claims.

So what?

Who cares what reason a person has for blowing himself up in a bus full of little kids? Are there better and worse reasons for doing that, or are they all bad?

To argue that most Muslims are not nearly as crazy as the Koran requires is not to say that typical Muslim behavior is compatible with civilization.

The issue isn't cartoons. The issue is whether there are to be two standards of behavior.

Muslims, of course, demand that there shall be. All Muslims do this, not just the fringe.

We see this everywhere we look. Jesus of Nazareth is a prophet of Islam, too, but I don't recall any riots over depictions of him.

Unfortunately, you are correct that the GWOT is not being fought as a WOI. It should be, though.

February 08, 2006 10:18 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

Harry:

And when you've had your war on Islam, can you spare us Owais Shah and Usman Afzaal, or our middle order looks a bit shaky for the next decade.

February 08, 2006 10:49 AM  
Blogger Bret said...

Brit,
If we H-bomb Finsbury park mosque, I'm sure I'll be the last to know about it. Heck, I'll probably find out by reading The Daily Duck!

Hey, how come Brit's cartoon figure shows up next to his comments, but neither hey skipper's no duck's do? That's a nifty feature - makes it much faster to scan the comments.

February 08, 2006 11:47 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Bret:

I've been wondering that myself.

I'll bet it means Brit is more clever than Duck or me, but that is a conclusion I am not willing to face.

February 08, 2006 12:20 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

The war will be -- or ought to be, it's never going to happen -- to tame Islam. There's no chance Islam will go away and leave us alone, any more than there was with Christianity.

Christianity was tamed, barely, and with great suffering and difficulty; and it took over 300 years. With no guarantee that the old, bad Christianity won't come back.

The philisophico-political question thus is, are all religions tameable, or are some (is one) so structured that it cannot be housebroken?

History provides a partial answer. Islam is helpless against its own purifiers. I do not need to understand why, just to note that for 1,300 years every attempt to live a kinder, gentler Islam -- not that there have been a great many -- has been strangled in the cradle.

Setting aside history, which few people know or believe in, we can approach it as a current event.

There have not been many free elections in Islamic countries, but of the few, the terrorist slate has won 100% of the time. In landslides.

At some point, you have to stop counting on impious hopes and look around.

Muslims might contemplate the situation that the Japanese faced in 1945. We are told, by the revisionists and apologists, that the atomic bomb did not have to be dropped, that the Japanese were about to surrender. They could have saved everybody a lot of trouble by doing it on or before Aug. 5, 1945.

Moderate Muslims could save themselves and me a lot of trouble by getting their own house in order, but I see no serious effort.

If I end up cleaning their house for them, the bill is likely to be pretty high.

February 08, 2006 12:24 PM  
Blogger Brit said...

Harry:

What would you propose doing?

If they plan or commit acts of violence, there are laws designed to stop them. Toughen the laws up as far as you can go, certainly.

If Islamic nation states threaten us with WMDs, hit back hard, certainly.

But if Owais Shah wants to pray to Allah, who the hell am I, and who the hell are you, to tell him he can't?

In Europe, Muslims are everwhere amongst us. In Bristol, they are 3% of us, and they come in every shade and hue, from the born-again fundamentalist to the avowedly secular, gangsta-rap loving teenager, and everything in between. Just like Christians.

Are you proposing an Inquisition?

February 08, 2006 12:35 PM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

Brit:

Of course Harry isn't wishing for an Inquisition. After all, it only had a few hundred victims. There are 1.2 billion Muslims. Gotta set our sights higher.

February 08, 2006 3:12 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

Peter,
So the thousands of other Jews who were terrorized into fleeing their homes or converting to Christianity at the point of a sword weren't victims?

February 08, 2006 4:08 PM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

They sure were, Duck. Just as the Muslims some people have a bead on soon will be too.

February 08, 2006 4:13 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Long ago, at Orrin's place, I suggested that if I were a Muslim, I'd be wearing a pork chop around my neck and a Yankees cap and an ankh, a crucifix and a six-pointed star: anything I could think of to signal to the guys with the big battalions that I was on their side.

My suggestion remains what it has been since considerably before Sept. 11, 2001: declare war on Islam, defy Allah to back his boys and devil take the hindmost.

I don't recall that we distinguished between the good Germans and the Nazi ones in 1939-45. Muslims might want to meditate on that.

As a practical first step, I would send a Marine lance corporal to the head of government of each Muslim country and demand the handover of all antiwestern mullahs, imams, security chiefs, nutcases, political hotheads -- anybody that a reasonable man (or even a Muslim) would recognize as an enemy of western values.

Declare war on whoever didn't respond. Cut down their date trees and salt the earth. I don't give a hoot more about them than they do about me.

The Golden Rule is a knife with two edges, you know.

February 08, 2006 4:30 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

Peter,
Harry's fantasy war on Islam isn't going to happen. How many Muslims living in the West can we really say have been victimized by Western hatemongering since 9/11? Compared to Japanese-American citizens during WWII or German-American citizens during WWI the Muslims have been given the red carpet treatment.

Why are we equating a handful of offensive cartoons to warfare on a whole people? The extent that we are doing backflips to condemn these amateur cartoonists goes beyond the wildest extremes of political correctness. We have the President making proclamations of sympathy for people complaining about their suffering the equivalent of a papercut on their pinkie finger. I'm listening to Hugh Hewitt go further into the deep end of the loony pond, suggesting that at some point it may be necessary for the government to censor news operations to ensure that they don't give any more propaganda victories to the Islamists. He's actually wondering if the cartoon publication could have been engineered by an Al Quaeda info ops agent planted in the Danish newspaper. I've lost a lot of respect for him in the last two days.

February 08, 2006 5:30 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

The cartoons mean nothing. The reaction to them ought to be -- but apparently is not -- a revelation to those who think that Muslims are all Rodney Kings in a burnoose.

I already said that war isn't going to happen.

Because it will not, eventually there will be a different kind of war, much more unpleasant.

There is absolutely nothing -- aside from my bonifacian approach that no one believes in -- the infidel world can do to stop Islam from its career toward a violent, bloody end. Only Islam can save itself now, and I see not evidence at all that it has an tendency that way.

You will have noted that 100% of Muslim 'moderates' live outside Muslim states. And they punch way below their weight even in Infidelistan.

February 08, 2006 6:51 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Peter:

Why don't you just say you don't believe in blasphemy with respect to any religion ...

Okay, I'll say it. Conceptually, blasphemy is a nearly empty vessel.

The most common accusation of blasphemy against the cartoonists is their depicting Mohammed, something more or less forbidden to Muslims.

That is pure, barking mad, nonsense.

That particular stricture is no more applicable to non-Muslims than is the prohibition against lending at interest.

As for the "whole concept of a common duty to respect sacred ... space is a crock," Muslims have been the world champions at denigrating others religions. The Jewish blood libel and the Protocols of Zion are both alive and very, very, well in the heart of Islam. For Muslims to claim some unique injury here reeks of the same hubris as someone who killed his parents demanding mercy from the court because he is an orphan.

Religious beliefs are not some special sphere into which normal discourse, which includes mocking the effects of those beliefs, should not intrude.

Crude or not, everyone (okay, most; several I couldn't suss) of those cartoons made sense to any reader even occasionally conscious over the last 30 years. My particular favorite happens to be the self portrait of a worried cartoonist looking over his shoulder while drawing Mohammed.

Why would that be?

Well, because in Europe, having the temerity to criticize Islam is a good way to get killed, that's why.

If Islam is the Religion of Peace (tm), then a violent minority of Muslims have themselves profaned Islam, and the cartoons are merely a vehicle for pointing that out.

Hmmm. The Sudan. Bali. Madrid. London. Jakarta. Any number of dynamited mosques in Pakistan. Shiites and Sunnis killing each other when they aren't otherwise occupied tormenting Sufis.

Have I left anything out?

Oh yeah, 9/11.

Brit is right to say that these cartoons are impolitic. But they are neither blasphemous, nor off point.

February 08, 2006 11:09 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Brit:

To the extent you are suggesting the cartoons are impolitic with respect to Muslims, I think you are right.

However, they may have the beneficial effect of convincing the PC left of their nonsense, by having it thrust in their faces. As well, the spectre of Muslims dictating to Danes, or other Europeans, what they may see and read might well bring home to many just what the WoT is, in part, about.

All along I've stated my theory that very, very few people actually believe in God or the actual literal tenets of a religion.

A theory I completely agree with, regarding Christianity. Those that actually pass the true believer test are so few that they are self diagnosing nut jobs.

I don't, however, think that applies nearly as much to Islam. In the absence of Quran inspired terrorist outrages, there would be scarcely any. And who here is more worried about Iran getting The Bomb than the Norks already having one?

There is a reason for that.

That the vast majority of Muslims adhere to a way of life rather than hew strictly to the words in a book is absolutely true. But that still leaves a sizable minority who have strictly considered, and fully believe in the literal correctness of the Quran, a book that could stand toe-toe with Mein Kampf for evil content.

It may anger some moderate Muslims to point that out; but doing so does not amount to blasphemy, nor any particular abuse of free speech. And if they take it as an insult to their culture, then perhaps that is true.

But not all insults are wrong.


BTW -- the cartoons came about after a Danish children's book author couldn't, for fear of violent reprisal, find anyone to draw illustrations of Mohammed in a book encouraging tolerance and putting Islam in a favorable light.

Which means Muslims have started succeeding in imposing their religious strictures upon everyone else.

February 08, 2006 11:46 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Duck:

Thanks for the RadioBlogger link -- it was a very interesting read.



Harry:

While you make your point stridently (spikely?), it is one well worth making.

As long as terrorist outrages are relative pin pricks, then Islam has nothing to worry about.

However, should the apocalyptic strain of Islam that is in power in Iran ever gets its hands on nuclear weapons, then all bets are off.

And that fantasy war is going to become all too real.

February 08, 2006 11:57 PM  
Blogger Brit said...

Re: the cartoon thing, you can add an image url in your blogger profile.

That seems to be how mine got in the comments page, though I didn't know it would happen.

To get yours up there, you can do it by adding an image to your blog, eg. as a post, then opening it, and copying and pasting the URL into the relevant bit in your blogger profile.

February 09, 2006 5:34 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

Skipper,
I can upload the image file for your pic to the blog and send you the link if you like.

February 09, 2006 6:10 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Here are some political cartoons, most of which are pretty good, addressing this whole kerfuffle.

February 09, 2006 10:39 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Brit, how sure are you that your cricket batsmen really share your social/political views?

Have you asked them what they THINK should be the penalty for apostasy? Whether they believe in equality before the law? Whether they, if they had the say, would permit free expression?

We have plenty of examples of Muslims living quietly in western societies because they are too feeble, or cowardly or something, to be active, but who do not accept anything of the society they are parasitizing.

Mark Steyn, who I do not trust, cites some survey that asserts that 60% of Muslims resident in Britain believe Sharia law should apply.

I don't know if they mean (assuming this poll has any validity) Sharia should apply just to the Muslims or to you as well.

Either way, and even if the percentage is only half what Steyn claims, this suggests to me that Muslims have not bought into western values on any level.

February 09, 2006 12:24 PM  
Blogger Brit said...

Harry:

I've no idea how Owais Shah votes. i know he's proud to play for England, and strives to get into the team.

The previous national cricket captain was a Muslim, Nassar Hussein. He drinks pints.

I don't know what the numbers are either, but all I can tell you is that there are plenty of Muslims around, and I've never, ever met an extremist.

I've only ever seen them on the TV news. Usually in the Middle East.

Strewth, there was a guy I used to play 5-a-side football with who played in normal kit plus full beard and turban, and who used to have a drink (alcoholic) after the game. He was bloody great. As far as I know, he didn't give two hoots about Shariah law. I bet he didn't really know what the term meant, any more than the average Christian knows what's in the Bible. He just wanted to do his job and play football two evenings a week.

Maybe if he was polled he'd have said, "Sure, um Shariah law, whatever." I've no idea.

But never, never in life would I call him a 'parasite'.

Nick Griffin would though.

I think you read too many books.

February 09, 2006 3:18 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

My mother used to tell me that. 'Go out and play in the sunshine.'

One I read was 'Barrow's Boys.' You never can tell where you will turn up the telling fact.

We hear much about Muslims and their alleged good points. Even Bernard Lewis praises their hospitality.

Well, just like American Christians who think antislavery is part of their religion, a wider horizon reveals a different story.

When one of Barrow's boys finally penetrated to Timbuctoo, he was the first infidel to come in at least 500 years.

For 25 generations, nobody had experienced anything but pure Islam within a thousand miles. You'll have to read the book to get the details, but the short version is, Lewis is wrong about the hospitality.

February 09, 2006 3:52 PM  
Blogger Brit said...

The point I'm trying to make is that archetypes and zeitgeists and societal sectors and trends and majorities are all useful in their own way and have their place.

But in the end the world is not made up of archetypes and neat analyses, but of people.

Actual people - the ones in the world, not the ones in books - don't fit well into categories. You never get to the bottom of someone, and everyone will end up surprising you in some way.

See, I've surprised the Duckians, who thought I'd be a 'free speecher'.

Well, I am a 'free speecher' on another definition, so either there's something wrong with me, or there's something difficult about defining people.

February 10, 2006 1:05 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

Brit,

It was a clumsy categorization. We are all free speechers here, even Peter, I think. The significance of the divide is what we think, in the wake of the incident, what the most important of our values we should emphasize. Anti blasphemer is also an awkward phrase, it should more broadly be termed anti-insulter. I believe in not insulting people, but it isn't my highest value.

February 10, 2006 1:28 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Free speech is not an end in itself.

It is something you have to get if you have freedom of conscience.

Muslims do not accept freedom of conscience. Very likely Mr. Shah does not, even if, at the moment, he cannot do anything about that.

There is no question that freedom of conscience is unacceptable under any version of Islam, so to the extent that a person is any kind of a Muslim, his acceptance of freedom of conscience is very much in doubt.

Free conscience is like pregnancy. You either have it or you don't.

Maybe I shouldn't generalize, but nobody in any majority Muslim country enjoys freedom of conscience.

When Muslims who believe in free conscience burn down mosques that preach against it, I'll change my mind about the non-existence of moderate Muslims.

February 10, 2006 6:38 PM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

Harry:

Free speech is not an end in itself.

It is something you have to get if you have freedom of conscience.


For all the keyboard abuse I have meted out on this subject, that fundamental conclusion completely -- as in the utterly and totally kind of completely -- escaped me.

I work in Dearborn, MI, one of the largest Muslim communities in the West. Following is an example of the kind of mayhem they caused:

[distant snowblower]

It was utterly a non-event.

Why?

Probably, although there is no way to know, Muslims in the US, for whatever reason, have come to accept freedom of conscience to the same extent as other religions.

Maybe not absolutely completely, but close enough.

February 11, 2006 3:59 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

I hope you're right.

February 11, 2006 9:26 AM  
Blogger Brit said...

Shah is like Nassar Hussein or 'Prince' Naseem Hamed or Amir Kahn, our Olympic gold-winning boxer, or my friend Shairin.

Second or third generation, went to an British school among a mixture of kids, mostly white, speaks with a strong English regional accent (not a Pakistani accent), has English role models, drinks a lot of tea, loves to beat the Aussies.

And, like all Britons, has absolute freedom of conscience.

Shairin Mohammed is the least devout Muslim you could meet. She's 'Muslim' like my sister and I are 'Catholic' (not even Christmas Eve any more), or like atheist Jonathan Miller is 'Jewish'.

Religion just ain't a big deal over here. As a whole nation, we simply aren't very interested in it.

February 11, 2006 2:04 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Then when the Muslim cataclysm sweeps over the rest of Europe, you'll have nothing to worry about. Sleep tight.

February 11, 2006 10:44 PM  
Blogger Brit said...

Virtually everything that American conservative bloggers think they know about Europe, European decline and Muslims is wildly exaggerated.

February 13, 2006 7:56 AM  
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