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I'm Now Watching Geert Wilders' Fitna,

at LiveLeak. (It appears to match the description given in this Reuters account.)

UPDATE: I just finished watching the movie. Parts of it are an indubitably sound reminder of the dangers posed by extremist Islam, and the support that it finds from some traditional Islamic religious teachings.

Other parts assert that extremist Islam is a problem at the heart of the Islamic world generally, and of Islam in the Netherlands and in Europe, and not just a tangential matter (the way that fundamentalist Mormon outliers are tangential to modern Mormonism, or, even more extremely, the way the Branch Davidians were tangential to the Seventh-Day Adventists from whom they sprang). But here too Wilders' view seems sound: Unfortunately, while by all accounts most Muslims do not adhere to the extremists' views, the extremist movement is prominent enough in Middle Eastern and European Islam that it is indeed a peril to freedom.

Nor does the rhetoric strike me as excessive. This is of course a rhetorical work, not an academic inquiry, and it's trying to stir people emotionally. But I didn't see much of hyperbole or gratuitious insults. Wilders is arguing against an important and dangerous ideological movement; my sense is that his approach is well within bounds of legitimate criticism.

So I think this is a significant contribution to the ideological debate, and it seems to me that we -- and especially Wilders' fellow Dutch, to whom he is speaking most specifically -- should take it seriously, naturally together with whatever responses might come out.

Soronel Haetir (mail):
Could someone please explain how multi-culturism is valuable in and of itself? I've never understood this argument, much as I've never understood why language death is such a bad thing.

It seems to me that multi-culturism should only be as valuable as what the component cultures bring to the table.
3.27.2008 5:31pm
R.A. Porter (www):
Soronel, I'm going to touch on the tangential "language death" portion of your question. Languages, particularly those that are at risk of dying, had their genesis in particular environs. Because of that, they often have ways of describing both abstract notions and concrete entities that are not available to other languages. The writer in me laments the lost poetry of these languages; the scientist laments the lost knowledge.

That knowledge can be particularly important. Such as which plants have valuable medicinal purposes and which crops produce the highest yields on which land. Strike those languages out, and we are not only linguistically poorer, we are poorer in our knowledge base.
3.27.2008 6:02pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Could someone please explain how multi-culturism is valuable in and of itself?"

The author of Bowling Alone, Harvard Professor Robert Putnam, has studied the effect of diversity and multiculturalism. His conclusions from fieldwork flatly contradict the usual happy talk we get from the advocates of immigration and multiculturalism-- at least in the short run. He's of course optimistic about the long run (he has to be).
"In the short run, however, immigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. New evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighborhoods residents of all races tend to 'hunker down'."
Putnam came to these conclusions reluctantly, and his ideas first surfaced in the Financial Times. Now we can read more details in the full text of his lecture, E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture.
3.27.2008 6:11pm
Concerned About Free Speech:
Eugene,

The fact that people are having to so carefully parse the words of this video to "make sure" it's not offensive is itself evidence of the problem. That's not how we debate other important social issues, and when we try to circumscribe the manner in which we debate the effect of radical Islam, we are lending credence to the notion that it's acceptable for merely offensive speech to beget violence. At some point, you either have to acknowledge that we should never, in the slightest manner, tolerate such threats, or else admit defeat in the face of a dangerous mob.
3.27.2008 6:27pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
An ecological view might help those who have trouble understanding the virtues of multiculturalism: diversity is good when the various cultures form a resilient whole. Diversity is bad when one rogue culture overwhelms and destroys the system. Diversity is only good, or even tolerable, in certain areas and within certain limits. One can tolerate the widest diversity in areas like music, art, architecture, style of dress, cuisine, and language, but there must be a reasonable degree of agreement on basic moral and political principles, especially those that allow for diversity in the first place and for peaceful resolution of differences. The error that all too many "multiculuralists" make is in failing to recognize that there are ideologies that are fundamentally incompatible with the kind of society most of us wish to live in and/or failing to recognize that it is both necessary and possible to oppose such ideologies without adopting a position of monocultural jingoism and absolutism.
3.27.2008 6:31pm
Nessuno:
What is most striking, to me, about this film is how mild it is. Having read about it, the controversy it stirred up, and the efforts to censor it in Europe and elsewhere, I truly expected the film to make outlandish claims and be preachy like a Michael Moore piece.

Instead, it featured passages from the Quran and correlating quotes and images of actions from Muslims that highlight the radical interpretations of those passages. Its message, that those views and the people who hold them must be resisted, should NOT be controversial.

But because it IS controversial, I've never felt more pessimistic about the future of freedom in western civilization.
3.27.2008 6:45pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Concerned About Free Speech: I hope our blog readers recognize that I'd view the video as constitutionally protected even if it were unfair, needlessly insulting, and the like. My UPDATE wasn't aimed at discussing the constitutional question -- it was aimed at offering a review of the merits, and also at informing the judgment whether private institutions (such as service providers and the like) should refuse to host the movie, condemn it, and the like.
3.27.2008 6:45pm
Concerned About Free Speech:
Eugene, I have no doubt about whether the speech is protected in the constitutional sense, or your view in that regard. That's a no-brainer. But of what use is a constitutional right to free speech when our society actually engages in a debate about whether this is "legitimate" speech, particularly where that debate is only being held because of the potential for violence by those offended by it. There is a certain level of collective introspection which is not only reasonable but affirmately healthy. But there is a point -- and I think we've crossed it -- where the introspection feeds the proclaimed righteousness of those offended by the speech. As Nessuno rightly points out, I fear for our very civilization when we actually join the debate about whether this is "extreme," because doing so is a not-so-subtle sign to those extremists that we're doing our very best not to offend them. What is truly offensive is the very notion that we should have to police our speech in this way. You have little hope of reasonable coexistence when one group feels that it has to moderate its comments in the hopes of avoiding extermination. And while there may be few who would actually act on the words, there are many who cheer those who suggest responding with violence. That is intolerable.
3.27.2008 7:00pm
Navcity (mail) (www):
I noted how the film expertly adopted the editing techniques created by the Russian film maker, Eisenstein who said that different images juxtaposed together can give the film a totally different meaning. The blood soaked blades shown in the film aren't muslim killing people but the minority shia self flaggellating during their annual mourning for Hussein.

Additionally, the preachers showed do not represent are extreme and most muslims would denounce and have denounced.

The newspaper artciles also are problematic because they indicate certain polls as facts.

Any religious book can be taken out of context with selective reading. These "specific instructions" are only visible when you start taking fragments of sentences out of context. For example, in the bible:

Deuteronomy 3:6
And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Heshbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.

7:2
...thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them:

7:5
But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.

7:10
...destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.

7:16
And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them : neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee.

7:23
...destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.

6:15
...destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

Many parts of the Bible, taken out of historical context as has been done with the Koran would also constitute war crimes, mass murder, etc. And some groups such as the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda and some of the clergy during the Rwandan genocide did just that. Though these extremists are more widespread in the Islamic world, that is not a factor in the teachings themselves. Even a form of Buddhism was twisted by the Japanese to condone the Rape of Nanking and other attrocities and the Hindu Tamil Tigers still commit suicide terrorism in Sri Lanka.
3.27.2008 7:00pm
Vermando (mail) (www):
Unfortunately, if the movie is as worthwhile as Professor Volokh says, the speaker's lack of credibility will ensure that its more useful points are ignored. What was it Franklin said about glass, china, and reputations being easily cracked and never well mended?
3.27.2008 7:09pm
autolykos:
Navcity, what's your point?
3.27.2008 7:14pm
Navcity (mail) (www):
What I find very puzzling is that up until 18 in schools (at least here in England) we protect children from 'bad' influences of swearing, violence, sex and hate, and then after 18 they are given the key to adulthood and told that all that was previously forbidden because it is 'bad' is now permitted as part of the adult experience. With this in mind, it would be correct for websites to host such content in a liberal democracy, but as indicated in the book "the democratic paradox", the term "liberal democracy" is itself a strained term and close to being an oxymoron.
3.27.2008 7:16pm
Joe -- Dallas, TX (mail):
One major difference between what others are pointing out as "christian extremist" vs "islam extremists" is that the christian faith and most other faiths have created mechanisms within the religons to to marginalize those types. The Islamic religion does not have that self correcting mechanism to marginalize the extremists. On the contrary, the extremists while still in the minority, control the religion, and effectively silence those who wish to reform the extremists.
3.27.2008 7:17pm
Nessuno:
Navcity, that's a pretty typical defense to the Quran verses, but it takes a lot more ignorance to misread the Bible as violent than it does the Quran.

Even the most cursory reading of the Bible reveals that all the verses you quoted and the ones you didn't are either historically descriptive (what God or the Israelites did) or they are warnings about what God will do.

The Quran has some of this, to be sure, but it has specific instructions about how to (mis-)treat people of other religions, how to wage war, etc. There are no parallels to these in the Bible.

I'm not here to damn the Quran either. If I thought the violent interpretations were the ONLY interpretations, I'd be more pessimistic about the future for Islam and peace. What I'm saying is that the more accurate (and persuasive) defenses deal directly with alternative interpretations to those instructions.
3.27.2008 7:18pm
autolykos:

Unfortunately, if the movie is as worthwhile as Professor Volokh says, the speaker's lack of credibility will ensure that its more useful points are ignored. What was it Franklin said about glass, china, and reputations being easily cracked and never well mended?


It's not really about credibility or lack of credibility. There's a disproportionately large number of muslims in the world willing to use their religion as a justification for violence. The majority of muslims don't. The level of risk and necessary response to the former group is a matter of opinion and I don't need to judge Wilder's credibility to form my own opinion.
3.27.2008 7:18pm
stevelaudig (mail):
But consider, the Mormon "homeland" is not invaded by another completely different faith, so the violent reaction is smaller. Same for Branch Davidian. Broad-based opposition to foreign invasion will naturally result in a broader based radical and violent opposition to a foreign invasion. Violent Islamic fundmentalism wasn't so much of a problem prior to the colonial project labelled Israel. The shove back is evidence of causative external forces as much as crime. It is more reaction than action.
3.27.2008 7:19pm
Navcity (mail):
autolykos my point is that anything can be taken out of context when you take selective passages and dont relate them to the historical context. Anyone who has read General Sir John Glubb's book "A short history of the arab people" will understand the historical context. He himself was a christian evangelist colonialist.
3.27.2008 7:22pm
taney71:
I still cringe when I remember that Muslim neighborhoods in northern NJ were cheering in the streets on 9/11. Funny that I only saw video tape on it one time on Fox 5 that day.

As a nation, we did all that could be done to make sure there wasn't any Muslim backlash. If the roles were reverse (Muslim country attached by Christ.) I doubt any Catholic or Jew would receive similar treatment.
3.27.2008 7:24pm
Navcity (mail):
Joe
The christian world hasnt had 1 million children die following UN sanctions as what happened in Iraq or perpetual war between superpowers on its land (Afghanistan) or ethnic cleansing and apartheid (Israel). nfortunately people feel helpless and get angry and do stupid things. This is further exascerbated by the proping up of puppet governments in Musliim countries by the US and some European governments - Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan etc. Do you believe these governments would last a few days without support? Its catch-22.

If far more complicated than this film suggests. I feear that the minority of muslims aregoing to govern what happens to the majority. I pray that we dont have gas chambers in europe again - this time against Muslims.
3.27.2008 7:31pm
Navcity (mail):
taney71 correct me if I'm wrong but in the UK papers it was reported that those 5 'middle easterners' were discovered to be Israelis.
3.27.2008 7:37pm
Nessuno:

Violent Islamic fundmentalism wasn't so much of a problem prior to the colonial project labelled Israel.


You're just flat out wrong. This, sadly, is one of the biggest falsehoods about the modern debate over Islam.

One of dozens of examples I could give is from America's war with the Barbary Pirates. From Wikipedia:

"In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to negotiate with Tripoli's envoy to London, Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman or (Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja). Upon inquiring "concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury", the ambassador replied:"


It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise.
3.27.2008 7:39pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Whenever apologists for Islam claim that verses of the Qur'an that they find embarrassing are taken out of context, demand that they explain in detail how that is so. My experience is that these claims generally prove to be untrue. A standard defense of Islam is to claim that one cannot understand the Qur'an at all unless one is a fluent speaker of Arabic who has studied deeply in Islamic tradition, without offering any actual explanation of the alleged invalidity of the criticism offered. While here and there there are subtleties, this is mostly just hand-waving.

One reason that even verses that might be taken as merely descriptive (and many are unquestionably injunctions, not descriptive) have the effect of injunctions is because in Islam the prophet Muhammad is considered to have behaved perfectly and to be worthy of emulation in every respect. Thus, a description of an atrocity which in, say, Judaism, we might attribute to the human imperfection of a biblical figure, becomes an injunction to behave in that manner if Muhammad did it. This is the same property of Islam that makes reform so difficult - not only are things that are forbidden in the Qur'an forbidden now, but anything that Muhammad did or permitted must be acceptable now because is behaviour is considered worthy of emulation for all time. A non-Muslim can say that an institution like slavery has always been bad but that society in biblical times was not advanced enough to abolish it, but for Muslims this is highly problematic because it would mean that Muhammad, who owned slaves and permitted slavery, did something wrong.
3.27.2008 7:40pm
taney71:
Where does the 1 million figure come from. I am always highly suspect of numbers from any person or organization like those. The UN and other groups release these grand statements with numbers but fail to provide the methodology behind them. Where is the data?

I would guess most of the time someone just pick a big number without doing much research. Tends to be the case when protesters come to DC and I get to hear CBS, NBC, Fox all give different number counts on the size of the protest. Where did their numbers come from? A reporter just made them up? Most likely in my view.
3.27.2008 7:40pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Navcity,

You lose all credibility when referring to Israel as engaged in policies of ethnic cleansing and apartheid.
3.27.2008 7:43pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):

Violent Islamic fundmentalism wasn't so much of a problem prior to the colonial project labelled Israel.

Hmm. I seem to remember the Muslim conquests of the Middle East and North Africa in the 7th century, the conquest of the Iberian penninsula and penetration as far as Poitiers in the 8th century, the conquest of Anatolia and the Balkans in subsequent centuries, the invasion of central Europe culminating in the siege of Vienna in 1648, several phases of invasion of what are now Pakistan and India, resulting in the deaths of millions of infidels, among others.
3.27.2008 7:49pm
Navcity (mail):
Nessuno
If you want to look at history why not look at how the catholic church massacred Jews and Muslims as part of the Spanish Inquisition or how the Black Africans were enslaved by our European ancestors and this action was justified through the bible as a means of civilising a 'barbarous people'. Or look at how the crusaders massacred and raped christians in the Byzantine Empire and ransacked Constantinpole in the name of their different christianity..people can manipulate religious texts any way they want.
3.27.2008 7:50pm
Pat C (mail):
I tend to think that Islam now is at the point Christianity was earlier. For many centuries there was sanctioned and unsanctioned violence and wars against heresies, pagans and other non-Christians. A late 16th Century "outside observer" may well have wondered whether the long history of violence represented a fundamental, incorrectable flaw in the Christian religion.

And yet Christianity did finally settle down into the mostly peaceable practice it is today. Maybe in a couple hundred years Islam will be the same.
3.27.2008 7:57pm
Navcity (mail):
Bill you said

"You lose all credibility when referring to Israel as engaged in policies of ethnic cleansing and apartheid." why?

The UN's Special Rapporteur, John Dugard called it apartheid, as did Desmond Tut, Nelson Mandela, and Jimmy Carter. Even Albert Einstein took out a full page add in the New York Time in 1948 saying that he denounced Israel as practising Fascism. google it.

Ethnic cleansing was practised by Israel in 1948 as listed by the Israeli academic in his book "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine: Ilan Pappe"

Prof Eyal Weizman's new book "Hollow Ground" also lists how planning laws are used in Israel as tools for apartheid.

I dont want to be preachy but the fact that people in the US are not willing to see this simply fact drives the majority of europeans up the wall.
3.27.2008 8:00pm
holdfast (mail):
Nessuno - Don't you know, it is utterly rascist to quote Imans if to do so would bring them discredit - Just ask Mark Steyn, it can get you hauled before the Ontario Kangaroo Rights Commission.

Navcity - you're just another pro-terrorist troll - how about the millions of christians (Greeks, Armenians) killed by the Turks in the interwar years? How about the terror against Christians in the Phillipines? How about Muslim-Arab ethnic cleansing of Christian-Arabs in and around Bethleham? Muslim genocide against Christians and Animists in Sudan? Muslim/Arab sponsored civil war in Chad? Muslim-Malay oppression of ethnic Chinese in Malaysia? Pogroms against Christians and Hindus in Indonesia? Hell, the Crusades (as inept and destructive as they were) were only a counter-attack following Muslim conquest - never mind the Muslim invasion of Iberia and the Balkans? The Bosnians and Albanians are nothing more than a remnant of Turkish Apartheid policy against Christians and Slavs!

Do these things give Christians, Hindus, Animists and/or Chinese the right to go apes**t every time a Bible is burned, the pope is insulted or nasty cartoons are published? If so, we're in for a much more violent world. Terror-suckups like yourself blithely excuse and minimize bad behaviour from Muslims that you would never tolerate in any other ethnic group - maybe you are a muslim (in which case this is understandable, if venal, self-interest) or you are (I suspect) another self-loathing western liberal.
3.27.2008 8:04pm
anym_avey (mail):
If you want to look at history why not look at how the catholic church massacred Jews and Muslims as part of the Spanish Inquisition or how the Black Africans were enslaved by our European ancestors and this action was justified through the bible as a means of civilising a 'barbarous people'. Or look at how the crusaders massacred and raped christians in the Byzantine Empire and ransacked Constantinpole in the name of their different christianity..people can manipulate religious texts any way they want.

The Crusades, while appalling in their character, were largely a response to the equally appalling Muslim incursions into then-Christian Europe.
3.27.2008 8:05pm
Nessuno:
Navcity, you're coming off the rails.

During the entirety of the Spanish Inqusition, the average amount of executions was about 25 per year. This is a common mistake, as people confuse the Inquisition with the general mistreatment of Muslims and Jews which occurred after the Reconquista. The Church brought in inquistors to calm the hysteria and institute a semblance of formal due process for those accused of heresy and other crimes.

What's interesting, though, is that I would never seek to justify the lynching of Muslims and Jews by Spaniards, despite hundreds of years of Muslim conquest and occupation, and yet you justify Muslim acts of barbarity based on colonization.

As for slavery, please note that slavery was finally abolished in Saudi Arabia in the 1950s, and most of the suppliers of African slaves were Arab Muslims.

The Crusades are an object lesson in the politicization of a religion, and why that's a very dangerous thing. Hey, isn't that what Al Qaeda and its ilk are doing now? But historically speaking, the Crusades were never justified using Biblical texts. And all the important formative theological works preceding the Crusades would seem to speak against it. Augustine's City of God, for instance, was a formative Christian text which argued that it was religiously irrelevant that non-Christians had conquered Rome (considered at the time to be a holy city).

This is in stark contrast to the Hadith and the text of the Quran itself.
3.27.2008 8:08pm
Navcity (mail):
taney71 the figure of a million is generally accepted based on the difference in infant mortality rates before and after the sanctions and census stats. It may be 20% lower or higher but the fact such a high number of children can die without people having the humanity to acknowledge that the value of the life of the 'other' is what affects the human mind of the 'other'. humans are humans and one persons blood should be worth as much as anothers no matter what their race, religion or nationality.

The latest research suggests that 57% of brits and 92% of people in the US still believe that Saddam was responsible for 9/11, which has been proven to be false.

People generally believe Saddam and Bin Laden were linked and a dodgey link was created but the truth is you can create a link between anyone. I know an elderly Russian aristocrat who was the God-daughter of the last Tzar of Russia, who was not married to one, but two of bin ladens brother (one died so she maried the other) so in essence the Tzar of Russia has a connection with Bin Laden! Hoorah lets attack Putin.
3.27.2008 8:11pm
Navcity (mail):
No Nessuno
In 1478 Pope Sextus initiated the Inquisition because the Catholic faith was believed to be in danger from pseudo converts from Judaism (Marranos) and Islam (Moriscos). It officially ended in 1834. Check your facts.

I havent justified any acts of barbarity - I have clearly stated that any religion or belief (secularism included) can be taken out of context and used to justify abhorrent acts. Simple as.
3.27.2008 8:22pm
Navcity (mail):
Nessuno - I'm not willing to defend Saudi Arabia or justify anything it does because its very different from the Taliban is an extremist sect known as "wahhabism" and typifies what I am talking about. Again the Saudis are propped up by the US. but talking about Islam and slavery. Slavery in Islam is very different. For example, Muslim kings married their daughters off to their slaves in many dynasties and gave their slaves heredity and power (Ottomans, Mamluks and Ghazanids are some examples).

anym_avey you said
The Crusades, while appalling in their character, were largely a response to the equally appalling Muslim incursions into then-Christian Europe.

Thats incorrect. The First crusade was a response to the burning down of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre by a Fatimid (Shia minority) ruler of Egypt, which muslims quickly rebuilt because the burning down went against the Promise of Umar the second Caliph of Islam to the Christians. The incursions started in Europe after 7th C and ended in 8th C following the Battle with Charles Martel. They resumed after the crusades under the Mongol Turks who became muslim post 13th Century.
3.27.2008 8:33pm
Navcity (mail):
By the way the "Hoorah lets attack Putin." was not to be taken seriously :-)

In essence all I am saying is that humanity breeds humanity and religion and beliefs are used to justify certain ends. Lets just be humans and treat others as humans. Hearts, minds do not have different colours and until we recognise that skin colour is as unimportant as eye colour we have not reached the dull potential of our humanity.
3.27.2008 8:37pm
Navcity (mail):
Sorry another typo I meant "Saudi Arabia ISNT very different from the Taliban"
3.27.2008 8:42pm
Navcity (mail):
My apologies if I have offended anyone or if the focus of the discussion has diverted because of me. I shall now leave you in peace but it has been interesting to read the views of people from across the pond.

I tend not to mince my words so I apologise once again if I have caused anyone any offence..I assure you it was unintentional. It is 12 midnight here so best wishes and peace.

N
3.27.2008 8:54pm
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
Once again, as with the original Danish cartoons, my first thought was "That's IT?"
3.27.2008 9:39pm
K Parker (mail):
Navcity, I hope you're "leaving us" just for the evening, as I have a further question for you.

Granted that most Muslims are not like those who carried out the actions depicted in Fitna, isn't their appropriate response to do something about it, rather than just criticize Wilders the messenger?
3.27.2008 9:58pm
Keith in Dallas (mail):

[from PatC]: And yet Christianity did finally settle down into the mostly peaceable practice it is today. Maybe in a couple hundred years Islam will be the same.


The problem is, with the world being as connected as it is now, and with the awesome scope of destruction possible from some of the tools available to islamists (Heaven forbid they acquire a nuclear device), I doubt we have a couple hundred years to wait.

Regardless of who was evil first or who was more evil centuries ago, it is clear that Islam poses a serious threat to civilization. I don't know what Islam was intended as or what it should be, but I know what it is. And it is a potent and credible threat to the continued prosperity of mankind.
3.27.2008 10:21pm
Janna (mail):
Keith you need to stop listening to Fox News and start understanding politics in a wider global context. Based on the number of people killed the US has been the most 'destructive force' since the early 20th Century. The serious threat is posed by neo-cons who formulate policies that deprive people of their freedoms in other countries.
3.27.2008 10:52pm
Brian K (mail):
Granted that most Muslims are not like those who carried out the actions depicted in Fitna, isn't their appropriate response to do something about it, rather than just criticize Wilders the messenger?

why should all members of a group be held responsible for the actions of other members of the same group or a closely related group? Should we punish all blacks because some blacks commit crimes? Should we punish protestants for the actions of catholics, or vice versa? should we call all conservatives racist because a small number of them are?

The reason all of the muslims i know criticize people like wilders is that he essentially attacks all muslims because of the actions of a few. if wilder restricted his attacks only to fundamentalist muslims none of the people I know would have a problem with it (they shouldn't either, because they do it themselves.)
3.27.2008 11:06pm
Keith in Dallas (mail):
Janna--

I haven't watched a lick of Fox News in I don't know how long. I get my news from CNN, MSNBC, and Drudge.

That irrelevant issue aside, my point was simply that there is a sizable and determined group of islamists who have a very real potential to fundamentally alter our lives ('our' being the West) in a catastrophic way. If we are not steadfast in our confrontation of that issue (either because we are blind and don't see it or because we stubbornly adhere to the tenets of political correctness), the odds that the above-mentioned potential becomes reality go up astronomically.

The Wilders story is seemingly only one of the innumerable examples of a Western entity failing to acknowledge the threat; this time because recognizing that threat might hurt somebody's feelings.
3.27.2008 11:25pm
Navcity (mail):
K Parker

Let me be controversial and ask you to turn your question around and ask this question to yourself "Granted most Americans are not like the soldiers that carried out the acts that were seen in Abu Ghraib and many against women that were only seen by some, or the ones responsible for 300,000+ civilian deaths since the beginning of the invasion into Iraq, or the ones who raped and murdered and then burnt the body of Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, a 14 year old girl, isnt it the american publics' responsibility to take to the streets and protest against these acts like during vietnam? Why did they re-elect a self confessed 'war-president' who makes decisions with 'war on my mind'?".

Just as you have questions so does the muslim world.

My understanding is that the muslim community and organisations are doing a lot especially behind the scenes in advising european governments to prevent terrorism. Nothing much of which I am at liberty to mention but googling may yield some results.

But direct action is difficult. Its like saying what have ordinary church going christians done to prevent the crazy abortion clinic bombing fundamentalist christians. Well what can they do right? especially if the media was then tp spin certain verses of the bible babbled by these fundos or play these recordings to the masses because it sells papers or advertsing right?
3.27.2008 11:29pm
movie critic (mail):
I agree with Navcity that the images of Shiite self-flagellation detracted from the veracity of the piece. It really jumped out at me as a "mis-citation." At the risk of sounding dogmatic, if it didn't jump out at you the same way, mabye you need to bone up on Islamic culture. And the use of the Arabian from the Nutcracker as background music was disconcerting.

All three ethical monotheisms have fangs. (Have you ever closely read the the book of Joshua?) We defanged certain aspects of Christianity and we need to defang Islam the same way. To do that, we need some carrot and some stick. Some accommodation and some opposition.
3.27.2008 11:49pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
moviecritic

what's the point in equivocating between faiths if you concede that Islam is a serious problem. The world is in no danger from fundamentalist Jews and Christians. Both groups are comprised of assholes, but they don't threaten on a wide scale of any sort and remain largely self-contained.

Also, what do you mean by "some carrot and some stick?" What carrot do we propose we offer, as a civilization, to radical Islam? "Hey, cut the clitoris off your daughter, we won't look"?
3.28.2008 12:12am
movie critic (mail):
BUSL07,

You say, "The world is in no danger from fundamentalist Jews and Christians." I said we defanged Christainity and need to do the same with Islam. I don't see that you and I are disagreeing.

As for my carrot and stick, I'd offer moderate Muslims a carrot and wield a stick against Islamicists.
3.28.2008 12:21am
BGates:
Janna, your statement about the US being responsible for more death than any other country is so laughably false I have a hard time believing anyone could credit it, so I must assume you are a liar.

Navcity, what the US has done to address the crimes at Abu Ghraib and the murder case you cite is to establish a judicial system which has led to several convictions in both of those cases. The vast majority of Iraqi civilian deaths since 2003 have come at the hands of Muslims, often acting with the specific intent to kill as many Muslims as possible. We mourn innocent deaths that sometimes result from our actions in war, and seek to minimize them. American heroes have risked their lives to save Muslims from other Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, and Somalia. Not one single person in the United States will defend the murder of an Iraqi civilian. Tens if not hundreds of millions of Muslims not only defend but celebrate the murder of innocent Americans, Jews, Hindus, converts from Islam - there were thousands of Muslims baying for the head of a schoolteacher who had taken her students' suggestion for the naming of a teddy bear.

You want to use abortion clinic bombings as a benchmark. Fine. You would have to reduce support for the religiously motivated, religiously justified violence in the Muslim world precipitously, to levels never seen before, to come within a factor of 100 of the near-unanimous disapproval of abortion clinic bombers among Christians. If the Muslim world as a whole can become only a thousand times more supportive of violence as the prison population of the West, it will be a remarkable achievement. Good luck.
3.28.2008 12:25am
K Parker (mail):
Sorry, navcity, but that's not remotely responsive. As already mentioned, those who perpetrated Abu Ghraib were tried and convicted, and so have abortion opponents who committed violence--with the overwhelming approval of the American public, Christian and otherwise.

Let me put it a different way: the day those who issue fatwahs like the ones against Rushdie van Gogh needs to go into hiding just as much as the objects of their fatwahs do, then the moderate Muslim majority will be doing enough. Until then, whose side they are on will remain an open question.
3.28.2008 12:42am
K Parker (mail):
Sorry, that should have said "Rushdie or van Gogh".
3.28.2008 12:43am
holdfast (mail):
Abu Ghraib does not represent US policy - and the media only found about if after the US began its official investigations - people went to jail over it, yet it is was really the smallest of beer compared to what goes on all the time in Saudi Arabian jails (the land of the 2 holy cities), never mind the head-hacking tactics of Al Quaeda and their ilk. Violent Jihad is most certainly the official policy of many Muslims - it is regularly preached in mosques from Finnsbury Park to Frankfurt to Fallujah (well not there anymore). Islam has no pope or other accountable figure or body, so Muslims can slaughter and bomb in the name of Allah, while other mealy-mouthed mullahs claim that while they don't agree with it, they can't really criticize another person's version of Islam. The Islamic Republic of Iran sponsors the bombing deaths of Jewish civilians in Argentina, the Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia turned a blind eye to all the terrorists in their wretched kingdom until they started killing Muslims and the Muslim leader of the majority-Muslim state of Malaysia traffics in the most vile blood libels and conspiracy theories.

As to the so-called million Iraqis who died under sanctions (That figure is massively inflated, but the sanctions undoubtedly caused the most suffering among the poorest, as they always do), well, good little American liberals tell us that the sanctions were working just fine, Saddam was "in his box" and there was no need to invade. The Neocons didn't see it that way - they saw the sanctions regime breaking down, at least with respect to weapons and technology, thanks to Russia, China, France and others - yet they were still causing widespread hardship. So what was the answer: let Saddam alone so he could restart his WMD programs (he still had the scientists if nothing else), invade, or keep the inhumane sanctions in place? I guess the lazy-assed Eurotrash would vote to end sanctions so that the Frogs could collect on the debt for all the weapons that Saddam bought and lost in GWI - and Uncle Sam could continue to maintain deterrent forces in Kuwait and Saudi, and would then do the fighting and dying when Saddam escaped his box again. Maybe if the folks "across the pond" were willing to lift a little more weight, the US would have more and less lethal options.
3.28.2008 1:00am
yohaas:
Navcity:

The latest research suggests that 57% of brits and 92% of people in the US still believe that Saddam was responsible for 9/11, which has been proven to be false.


Can you provide any supporting evidence for this claim? Of course this may just be one of the 87.4% of statistics that are made up.
3.28.2008 2:24am
Indonesian1:
I know that most people in Europe hate Islam. I don't believe that the movie is based on "freedom of speech". It's not the people who will defend Islam, but Allah will do it. He who create Islam, then Allah itself who will defend it.
3.28.2008 3:19am
Kate Yost (mail):
The film showed some teachings from the Quran, followed by some preaching those teachings, followed by some acting on those teachings. Whatever Wilders thinks about Islam or about Muslims as a whole, it is true that the contingent acting on those teachings is large enough to make every nation on earth spend heavily to protect themselves. Muslim nations foremost.

Navcity: Make the film showing Bible verses, Christian preachers extolling them, and Christians acting on those teachings. I will watch it too.
3.28.2008 3:54am
pmorem (mail):
Let's try a little experiment...

I made a pile of holy books. In it, I placed a Bible, Tanakh, Koran, Book of Mormon, a book of Sutras, my own Principia Discordia, The Communist Manifesto, Fahrenheit 451, and several other religious texts. I performed unspeakable desecrations upon the pile, and set fire to it.

I'm an equal opportunity offender.

Who's going to be mad at me?

If I were a public figure, and video of me doing this were to be circulated, who would be calling for me to be prosecuted? Who would be calling for my death?

Would I be hunted by Mossad? Stalked by Mormons? Beaten by Buddhists?

More likely, people would think I was nuts...

with one exception...

and there-in lies the rub.
3.28.2008 7:08am
Navcity (mail):
BUSL07,

You say, "The world is in no danger from fundamentalist Jews and Christians."

you fail to realise that these groups ARE half the problem. It is the neo-con policy (christian fundos) and fundamentalist jews in Israel who are working towards the demolision of the Al Aqsa mosque (the third most holiest shrine in Islam) to make way for the Temple and the comming of the messiah. With imagery and biblical phantasmagoria like this how do you think the muslim world will react? Is this not creating danger?

You have a very neo-imperialist attitued which is counter-productive and patronising. It is this very blindspot that people have that is exacerbating the problem "problem? what problem?"

BGates

Calling Janna a 'liar' isnt evidence against the claims she has made. It simply shows your ignorance in debating like a grown up human being.

Robbing someone, raping them and then leaving their cat some milk from their very own fridge doesnt make them 'heroes' (I'm sure you can figure out the metaphors)

holdfast

you are spinning lies from selective media coverage and the world has moved on. For a start the fundos in Finsbury Park Mosque were kicked out by moderates 2 YEARS AGO!!!!

Iran is SHIA and therefore THEOLOGICALLY DIFFERENT FROM the rest of the muslim world. Its like saying the Greek Orthodox church should keep the catholic church in check. It just shows how ignorant you really are!

And as I stated Saudi Arabia is also different bcos it is Wahabbi and it is a vile regime that is propped up by the US.

Based on that I know not to even acknowledge your other comments because you're simply an ignoranus. I dont normally insult people but since you started against us europeans then its fair game :-)

K Parker

The word fatwa must be the most misunderstood word and most spun out of context. Anyone who has done a little research outside of Fox News will realise that it is a non-legally binding rulingattempting at derivation of sharia, which itself is not a monolith. There are 4 schools of sharia that came about roughly 150 years after the start of Islam in order to codify and derive from the Quran and even they can are meant to be amended according to the age. Islam has no priests or religious hierarchy but titles for their clergy like "grand mufti" (which dont exist in Islam)were created by rulers in the 15th C onwards in order to give a religious edge to their claim to power fighting off rivals.

Yohaas

Granted different polls give different figures but they are then people's view change. Read research by James Curran, Shanto Iyengar (European Journal of Communication) called "Media System, Public Knowledge and Democracy"

Kate Yost

You are creating an islam vs christian subtext because that is what is clearly what is sitting in your subconcious. Have you not read whay I have been writing? We need to get OUT of this frame of thinking because it is dangerous.

Someone has made fake video which you might want to watch
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fws4RxWtnOg

I'm sure you an intellegent person so why dont you read some history and then maybe you'll learn the historical and cultural contexts of other peoples worlds.


Anyway folks I'm out because I dont think I cant take part in a discussion with SOME who are obviously very right wing in their thinking (equal to the people they criticise).

So peace.

Before I go, do me a favour and ask yourselves this, how many of you have truely had one-to-one contact with people on a non-financial/transactional basis in a foreign country be it India, Japan, Thailand, Jordan, Syria, or any other such country. Your contact is predominantly mediated by the media and negative imagery, the same way the 'other' has mediation through media. How can you learn about people's culture with such blinkers on?
3.28.2008 8:33am
ERH:
This over the top talk about how Isalm is a threat to the world is getting old. Does it occur to anyone how closely the development of Islam parallels the development of Christianity? I fully expect that there will be the start of an Islamic Reformation in our lifetime; in fact Turkey's revision of the hadith may me its start.
3.28.2008 8:45am
pmorem (mail):
Navcity wrote:
Calling Janna a 'liar' isnt evidence against the claims she has made. It simply shows your ignorance in debating like a grown up human being.

Janna wrote:
Keith you need to stop listening to Fox News and start understanding politics in a wider global context. Based on the number of people killed the US has been the most 'destructive force' since the early 20th Century. The serious threat is posed by neo-cons who formulate policies that deprive people of their freedoms in other countries.

Not the Nazis? Third place. How about Stalin, with 60 million dead? Still not. Let's talk about the beloved Chairman Mao, with 80 million Chinese slaughtered under his rule.

Unless you're going to blame the US for pretty much every single preventable death in the world since the early 20th century, then we're not even close.

If your perspective is that the US is that evil, then that says all I really need to know about your grasp on reality.
3.28.2008 8:46am
pmorem (mail):
ERH, I'd agree about the reformation. In another thread I cited Anbar Awakening.

Let's remember, though, what a beautiful pastoral event the reformation was. Scaling it up to the modern world would make the Cultural Revolution look like a love-in.
3.28.2008 8:51am
TruePath (mail) (www):
Making this debate about religion really misses what is going on here at a social/cultural level. It's not really that the Koran makes people behave in a certain way it's that the way people are inclined to behave influences the way they interpret their scriptures.

I mean consider how the interpratations of Christianity changed over time. Many things that used to be hard and fast christian doctrine have radically changed over time as the west industrialized and went through the enlightenment. The difference between islam and christianity is the cultural background of those who practice them not the books themselves. When/if the large body of muslims in the middle east develops a large and prosperous middle class they will find ways to reinterpret the Koran to let them live the same lifestyle we live. What most people ascribe to islamic belief today is really just the primitive patriarchial and tribal culture that hasn't yet been shaken off by the middle east. The biblical jews behaved just the same way (look how insanely strictly they took religious laws during jesus's day) but somehow without changing their sacred text they have managed to embrace a totally different worldview.

This isn't to defend islam in some fashion. Religions ARE the cultural beliefs and practices of the people who practice the religion. But it's not the specific holy books that matter. The interpretations of these will change when they need to change. Also as for the argument that it is only "extremists" take a look at some polling done in the middle east.

It's extremely important that we figure out how to break the *economic* cycle of poverty and stagnation that encourages people in the middle east (muslims further east don't seem to share the same level of resentment nor inclination towards terror) to turn towards fanatical, destructive religious belief.
3.28.2008 9:13am
yohaas:
Navcity:


Granted different polls give different figures but they are then people's view change. Read research by James Curran, Shanto Iyengar (European Journal of Communication) called "Media System, Public Knowledge and Democracy"


A simple "you are right, I made it up" would have sufficed. You said that "The latest research suggests...", a statement which is demonstrably false. When having an argument, accuracy is your friend, it gives your opponents less things to attack you on.
3.28.2008 11:05am
K Parker (mail):
Navcity,

You aren't taking place in a discussion for the simple reason that you're not discussing! Take my most recent one, for example: nowhere did I even hint that a fatwa would be binding on anyone. I merely posited that our situation would stay the same until those who do issue calls for writers to be murdered themselves face vast social disapproval (or worse) from the moderate majority. Nothing in there about the fatwa being binding on anyone else; you brought that up, all on your own, and talked about that instead of responding to the substance of what I wrote.
3.28.2008 11:35am
holdfast (mail):

This over the top talk about how Isalm is a threat to the world is getting old. Does it occur to anyone how closely the development of Islam parallels the development of Christianity? I fully expect that there will be the start of an Islamic Reformation in our lifetime; in fact Turkey's revision of the hadith may me its start.


Hardly a defence of Islam considering teh incredibly bloody history of the Middle Ages as Christianity "matured" - never mind the violence of the reformation and the fact is caused what was essentially a 100+ years Euro civil war. And that was generally fought with sharp pointy objects - now we have multi-hundred pound VBIEDs, airplanes filled with tons of jet fuel and ultimately the threat of loose nukes - all of which makes such an extended spasm of communal violence rather unattractice.

Judiasm and Christianity have each gone through some very bloody phases, but, thank god, the means of destruction at hand back then were so much less efficient than what we have today. Maybe this means I should cut Islam some slack? I suppose if it were just foreigners killing each other in some very far away place, I could learn not to care, but it doesn't work like that. In the 1980s Americans had to be wary when travelling overseas - Palestinians could turn the Rome airport into a shooting house on a moment's notice, or hijack an Air France plane on its way to Israel, but it was pretty safe to stay at home. That little illusion was shattered on 9/11 - the terrorists brought the war right into our laps, so now it's long past time to take it to them. Countries like Iran, Syria and Saddam's Iraq fund, arm and train terrorists and send them out to kill us, then shelter behind the retarded fiction that Hamas, Hezb'Allah, Islamic Jihad, Jamai Islamaya, the Islamic Brotherhood and others are just "Non-State Actors" - not the responsibility of any country or group of countries, and for decades the US, particularly the Clinton Admin, went along with this stupid fiction, to the point where it is accepted as fact even among most conservatives. These are groups that have explicitly declared war on us (and commited acts of murder in furtherance of their holy war), yet they blatantly maitain front offices in Damascus, with no consequence to the Syrian regime - how is this not insane?
3.28.2008 12:02pm
John Thompson (mail):
Indonesian 1: "I know that most people in Europe hate Islam. I don't believe that the movie is based on "freedom of speech". It's not the people who will defend Islam, but Allah will do it. He who create Islam, then Allah itself who will defend it."

Would that were the case, Indonesian 1. Its not Allah I'm concerned about. Its the loonies that believe he exists that concern me....
3.28.2008 10:42pm