Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Muslim Threat and that Damn Mosque: Has the Hump Gone Rogue?


On facebook I posted my perspective on the NYC Mosque, and the Muslim threat in general. My position on Islam shouldn’t be a surprise to my readership. I was rather clear about it in my book -- the foreword, chapters, and afterword. My facebook friends, good folks all, largely disagreed with my position. Here's the link to that conversation: http://www.facebook.com/Dromedary.Hump

Instead of responding to their reasoned comments on facebook, I’ve decided to post my reply to their opposing and more accepting positions here.
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All, thanks for your responses. I fully understand your perspective and hesitation to adopt my position. We can respectfully disagree. But if you look at history, which hopefully we all see as prologue to the future, in any country where Islam takes root it becomes a stand alone and ultimately predominant force even where it is a minority within the native population. The Quran is very specific about how they are to interact with "people of the book" (i.e. Xtians, and Jews...never mind atheists), and it isn't grounded in tolerance. Thus, I don't think assuming their degree of radicalism is no more prevalent than that of radical Xtians or Jews is valid.

Muslims want from us something they do not want to give in return. They demand Sharia law. They view free speech only from their own perspective, thus blasphemy as a justification for unbridled violence or death. They see Western accommodation as a sign of weakness and acquiescence, not one of brotherhood, tolerance and equality. They have no central authority, thus one cannot negotiate with, reason with, or hold accountable a single entity or person.

The hateful things in the Quran (and Hadith) are as evil as those in Bible. HOWEVER, the difference is the vast majority of the followers of Islam, unlike Christians, still fully endorse those things. They are 600 -700 years behind Xtian evolution into modernity. That’s a major difference. As a Jew, atheist, or pagan try reasoning with a Christian of the 14th century, much less your local representative of the Inquisition. Turkey, and Syria over whelmingly Muslim countries, have already passed laws to try and curtail Islamic take over of government, and the rise in radicalism. They see the threat. We should too.

Most of you know I'm no Teabagger; I despise Palin; I’m as far from a Right Wing Religious Nut as one can get;. I'm an Independent, a liberal/moderate, and an Obama supporter. That on this issue I am a bedfellow of the Teabagging imbeciles embarrasses me, but as a student of history to deny the handwriting on the wall is a prescription for disaster.

Finally, while I abhor references to Nazi Germany in any discussion (there's a name for doing that which slips my mind,) the Jews of the 1930's denied time and again the handwriting on that wall. It wasn't until too late that they realized the insidiousness of the Dem. Socialists and a large portion of the non-Nazi German people who turned their backs on what their government did to their Jewish neighbors. I for one won't simply assume Muslim radicals will be kept in line by moderates. Radical Islam is growing, recent instances of American born Muslims committing acts of terror are evidence of this. I won't ignore what has happened to other cultures over centuries and what’s going on in Europe where some countries have a 20% Muslim minority. I won't be a like a complacent German Jew denying what stares me in the face until it’s too late, even though it may carry smile and a self proclaimed label of "religion of peace." One does that at their own peril.

I am not an alarmist, I am a realist. I’m not paranoid on the subject; one isn’t paranoid if there really are people who have stated they are trying to hurt you, or truncate your freedoms, or change your way of life. To hijack a phrase: "Never Again."

58 comments:

NewEnglandBob said...

Hump, I agree with your stance.

I recently read the book "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld that's Conspiring to Islamize America" By P. David Gaubatz & Paul Sperry. There are dozens of pieces of evidence, directly from the leaders of CAIR and other Islamic organizations that prove what Hump says is true and much more.

The Islamists have been slowly preparing for this for decades.

There are also example after example of nations dealing with Islamic run nations and getting screwed over and over again.

Islam is not just a religion, it is a political organization, coupled with frightening intolerant religious rules and laws. It is one of the most abhorrent movements on earth.

Dromedary Hump said...

Bob..I fear our concerns are falling on many deaf ears.

Kieran said...

Substitute "fundamentalist Christian" for "Muslim extremist" in this post, and it still rings true. And there are almost as many "Muslim countries" that don't fit your stereotype: India (14 percent Muslim), Indonesia (95), Ethiopia (65), Guinea (95), AEU (95), Bangladesh (85)... so your premise they every Muslim country turns to Sharia law breaks down quickly.

If you took this message back 100 years in New York, the menace would be all those damn Irish and then Italian Catholics, who were going to force America to kneel to the Pope and take orders from Rome.

Fundamentalists thrive on oppression, so they can gain heroes/ martyrs and make them saints. Think Christians to the Romans. Oppress them and they will eat away at our society from within.

Force them to defend their ideas in our marketplace of ideas, and they will fail. Just the way, Hump crushes their feeble arguments in his posts. We must keep our way of life is through rational discussion and public debate -- your proposed limits will only lead to a religious war of intolerance on all sides. And the first group to lose in that fight are the rationalists, atheists and free thinkers.

Dromedary Hump said...

Kieran,

Thanks for your input. Just a couple of things:

I didn't say every country gives in and grants Sharia law.. I simply said the muslim communities in every country "demand" it, want it, seek it. My "premise" stands.

The irish, and Italian catholics did not perpetrate world wide terror during the 19th and early 20th centuries. They did not kill innocent people randomly in Bali, Indonesia, England, the European continent, Russia, the middle east, Africa, and in the US.

They didn't blame America for the potato famine, and they took pride in melting into the American culture, not demanding American culture kowtow to their ways.

While I respect your opinion, your comparison falls flat.

I wish rational discussion and public debate were the answer, I don't know what the answer is. I do know that when an American born Muslim plants a car bomb in Time Square; when they fly to the middle east to fight against Americans or plot with Al Queda to hurt Americans at home; when they seek to curtail free speech & justify death threats for blasphemy; and demand special unique laws with which to govern their communities ... I fear we aren't dealing with the "rational" and it is beyond "debate."

longhorn believer said...

Hump, I was truly distressed to find that I was on the opposite side of an issue from you. So I have given it a LOT of thought. You have drawn a comparison to the Jews of Germany. I would like to draw another comparison - Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor. I think comparing American Muslims to Japanese Americans at that time is far more accurate than comparing Americans to the non Nazis in Hitler's Germany. First, Germany was no where near having a Constitution or central government that has withstood the tests that the US Constitution and our government has withstood. Second, the current US population is not a homogeneous race easily persuaded by mass propaganda that seeks to trample on a minority. Is there a certain percentage that consume propaganda without thinking? Yes, about the same percentage that watches Fox News ;-) But most Americans are wise to advertising and propaganda of all kinds. As a whole, Americans are not easily persuaded to trample on their neighbors rights. Which is why even most atheists I have seen comment on this are standing by the Constitution despite our abhorrence for all religions. Americans of all opinions are NOT sitting quietly by on this issue as the non Nazi Germans did, or even as non Japanese Americans did in the 1940s. It is being debated loudly and fervently as is the American way. We have been governing ourselves for far too long to be stupid enough to change our whole legal system to Sharia law! Third, you state that the vast majority of Muslims still endorse the evil in the Qoran, and that Islam has not been moderated by modernity. I have one major caveat to this statement. The vast majority that you are speaking of live in the Middle East. The moderation of a religion occurs WHEN it moves to the west. That is why Christianity has been moderated. That is why Judaism has been moderated. That is why moderate Muslims come here and stay here. What about this past being prologue? A recent study by Duke showed that American mosques actually decrease the likelihood of radicalization through education of its youth (http://thinkprogress.org/2010/08/08/mosques-deterrent/). And that is why moderate Muslims wish to build a community center in Manhattan. Fourth, you spoke of Islam having stand alone communities. You seem to be ignoring the entire history of emigration to America. ALL faiths and cultures that come to America are at first stand alone communities and are at first demonized and discriminated against. Finally, you said that Islamic communities become predominant despite their minority status. The evidence for this in the west is nonexistent. Islam does not dominate culture, politics, or law anywhere in the west. In fact, you gave examples of reaction in the west that undermine your own claim. The history of our Constitution and its power to moderate religion, racism, and sexism is completely ignored by your argument. And for this reason, I cannot buy into the fear. Not because I'm deaf or blind, but because I see my fellow Americans paying close attention.    

longhorn believer said...

Hump, I was mistaken when I said you had given examples in the west that undermined your argument that minority Muslim communities become predominant. You did not. But let me give you a couple of examples of how the west is aware of and dealing with Muslim communities. France has passed laws making it illegal to wear the head coverings if you work in certain government agencies. The Swiss are debating laws that would outlaw minnerets and call to prayer. The state of Oklahoma is considering passing laws that would forbid any kind of practice of Sharia law. I agree it's important to be vigilant, and perhaps pass new laws when warranted. But I don't think it's necessary to trample on the Constitution to protect ourselves from radical Islam.

Helga said...

Hump, I live in a muslim area of a Middle Eastern capital.
You hit the nail on the head when you mention that islam has no central authority – this is the key. Every imam is free to interpret and pass on his own version of the qu’ran. Can you imagine what they pass on to their flock in islamic countries where Arabic is not the native language? Instead of one centralized religious despot, such as a pope, in decentralized islam, there are tens of thousands of potential despots world-wide, many craving a large following and power… A few years ago, a Dutch TV station gave airtime to a young (Dutch) imam who insisted ALL the women in Holland were prostitutes and ALL the men were gay. Who does this imam answer to?
Currently, there appears to be a moderate islamic movement in the UK, but too little, too late. Because extreme islam is on the rise, it is met with extreme christianity or judaism in this part of the world. That is too bad for rational people who want none of their pathetic theologies. But what to do? I’ve always thought that giving the Palestinian people their own territory would take the wind of islamic extremists sails, but maybe too late now as they’re on a roll and the goal is sharia law in every muslim country.

gristleoflife said...

"The judgement of the unbeliever is that he is killed."
The closer you look at Sharia Law and the Koran, the more frightening it is.
These people have no issues with whipping, stoning and killing. They're all ignorant nuts.
The countries that are predominently Muslim are the poorest, most violent, most corrupt countries in the world.

NewEnglandBob said...

Longhorn believer, your WWII Japanese-American analogy is nowhere close to being relevant.

Where are all the 'moderate' Muslims? Where are all their statements about how wrong the radical Muslims are?

Sam Harris said it extremely well:
http://richarddawkins.net/articles/505113-silence-is-not-moderation

Dromedary Hump said...

Longhorn/Rachel,

Its fine we differ in perspectiveon this, it shouldn't be troubling to you.

The Japanese Ameicans had become part of America. They adopted our culture, they demanded nothing in terms of special treatment. They caused no anguish, pain, or death within our shores..no killing of civilians, no support of their countrymen's attacks. They fought against the Axis powers on our side during WWII.

The horrible treatment of Japanese Americans wasn't anything they did or didn't do. It was simply fear of the race that had attacked us.

Unfortunaetly, the Muslim issue is not that simple. They have given us every reason to be cautious and fear them...

My guess is you'd think twice of you saw a burka covered woman getting on your plane, or a couple of Muslim men. Why? Because you know the threat they represent. Not an imagined threat...a proven threat here and around the world.

Look..I'm not proposing mass incarceration, deportation, shutting down mosques or stopping them from being built. I am not for truncating any of their freedoms.

I am saying the mosque in NYC is a bad way to build relations,that it's insensitive. And I am saying there is reason to be cautious about the growth of Islam on our shores and it's influence or demand for special and separate treatment.

Again.. those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Dromedary Hump said...

Helga,
Thanks.

I would be very happy if it is ultimately demonstrated that my take on Islam within the West and specifically the US is completely wrong headed. But nothing in the history of Islam, or in the words and actions of Muslims gives me a sense of comfort.

And for the record... I am not agreeing with Sarah Palin, she is agreeing with me and Sam Harris. And even Hitchen's has started to rethink his original position on the Mosque and more particularly, on the so called Moderate Imam who is heading up it's development. http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/08/christopher-hitchens-discovers-that-the-ground-zero-mosque-imam-is-not-as-moderate-as-he-is-cracked.html

I wonder.. how does everyone feel about the NYC mosque Imam not willing to declare Hamas a terrorist organization? Or that he said America has partial responsibility for 911. Or that he says we should respect the Iranian gov't as a good thing, a just government, which expresses the will of the people.

This man is your moderate Muslim?

Texas Mike said...

All very interesting thoughts with some obvious thought and research behind them. I, however, fall on the argument from a very simple perspective. No mosque. No church. No synagogue. No temple. Not here. Not there. Not anywhere. All religions through all time have been devicive, controling; insiteful of hate and intollerence. So, the only real argument is are some worse than others and are there better or worse locations for them. All moot points from my perspective.

Bob Loblaw said...

Hump, I couldn't read the original FB article because I am not confirmed as a friend yet, but I think I get the gist of it. I too share your fears over the absence of any vocal moderates, they do not exist. I suspect that they are afraid to say anything or someone will come by their house and slit their throat for Allah. If only more people would open their eyes and see how this creeping mohammedanism is growing in our countries. There is talk of banning the wearing of burqas in public. I think we should ban islam all together as a threat against mankind, though I am not holding my breath. Personally, I no longer care what others think of my attitude on that, it's been there, bouncing around in my miniscule mind for some time, and I see no reason to drop it. It 'IS' us against islam, maybe not quite yet but it's coming in my opinion.

longhorn believer said...

NEBob said -Where are all the 'moderate' Muslims? Where are all their statements about how wrong the radical Muslims are?

Here- :http://www.islamicpluralism.org/about/

This organization agrees with you and Hump that building the mosque would be insensitive:

http://www.islamicpluralism.org/1605/a-muslim-case-against-the-mosque

Part of their mission statement is:

Define the future of Islam in America as a community opposed to the politicization of our religion, its radicalization, and its marginalization, which has taken place because of the imposition on Muslims of attitudes opposed to American values, traditions, and policies;

Dromedary Hump said...

lONGHORN/rACHEL...
Thanks for that link.

When those people's objective and understanding and descency exemplify Islam in America, then I will embrace them and let down my guard.
But I fear they are a miniscule minority.

Rachelle said...

Aren't there already mosques/cultural centers near/blocks from ground zero? Why is this (future?) one causing such a stir?

I'm with Texas Mike on this one--don't build any more religious buildings anywhere. Hey--I can dream. LOL! Every time I see this issue on the telly it's just Christians complaining about Muslims--when their religion is just as fekt up.

How about NYC finally build something ON ground zero--how many more years is that gonna take?

longhorn believer said...

Hump said "The horrible treatment of Japanese Americans wasn't anything they did or didn't do. It was simply fear of the race that had attacked us."

Replace Japanese with Muslim and race with religion. We were not attacked by Muslim Americans. We were attacked by Al Queada. Even the violence at Ft Hood and the almost bomber in New York were fueled by an Imam outside of our borders. Let me be clear, I am not suggesting that we ignore the problem of radicalization within our borders. It is being and should continue to be pursued by law enforcement. Also, I'm not saying that protesting against the mosque is the same as the internment of the Japanese. I agree that building the mosque in that particular spot is not a great publicity move. In fact it's pretty dumb if your goal is to present a moderate face to the community.

I am only saying that there is a distinction to be made, especially here in America, between radical Muslims and Muslims who have lived and worked in America peacefully for decades. As an atheist, I want all religions to take responsibility for the extremists in their ranks. Christians must own abortion bombers and the KKK. Muslims must own Al Queada and other radicals. But as Americans who want to continue to live in freedom, we have to draw the distinction between liberal Christians and fundies, between radical Muslims and peaceful American Muslims. Because if we lump them all together, using fear to demagogue a political issue, then we do end up with internment camps, and cops demanding to see our papers. The arguments we use against religionists in a non-political debate are not always appropriate or even effective in the political arena. As atheists who demand the separation of church and state, we should be able to make that distinction.

Dromedary Hump said...

Long/Rachel: Much of what you say is well thought out and valid.

But the Imam who "incited" those American Muslim terrorist acts, who is "outside our borders" is himself an American Muslim Imam.
There are many other examples.

You cannot separate the Muslim religion from it's politics... it is more than a religion. The majority of even liberal muslims' will tell you that Israel has no right to exist. Not because it is a country, but because it is a Jewish country.

I am not discriminating based on race. I have no issues with semetic peoples per se. I have an issue with a religion that for the past 25 years+ has wreked havoc on the planet, and whose moderate members are largely silent. Silence infers approval.

we're going to have to eiher increase our guard against the muslim mindset, or simply sit back, tell the world we are above all that, and hope that what's happening in Europe doesn't happen here.

longhorn believer said...

I think we are increasing our guard against Muslim terrorists. Practically speaking, what more do you think we should do? As a government? As American citizens?

Tracey said...

This issue troubles me. I've always had the attitude that I care not what god or gods one worships, if any. Do not encroach upon my life, liberty or property with your belief or lack thereof, and do not commingle your beliefs with the state and we'll get along fine. The problem with Islam is that it demands not only the commingling of the church and the state, but that they become one entity with the laws of the state being those of the church as handed down by the despot of the day. It demands that women be regarded as nothing more than chattel and always subject to the rule of all men. Islam is a religion of peace only to the extent that you are practicing the exact same brand of Islam as all those around you. Otherwise, you are an infidel and the only peace you will find is the peace of death.

Dromedary Hump said...

Tracey...
That summarizes my feelings as well.

Longhorn/Rachel..
I wish I new the answer to that. Unfortunately I don't have the answer other than Americans cannot just accept everything Muslims demand, acquiesse to their insensitivity and hidden agenda just because it is a religion.

We should welcome and embrace people who love America, and want to become part of the America fabric. Not those who resent us and want their own laws, culture and special recognition under threat of jihad either expressed or implied.

Infidel753 said...

Hump, your position is far from unusual among atheists. Atheism should oppose all religions, not just Christianity. Not only Harris but Hitchens and Dawkins have singled out Islam as especially dangerous because of its track record and the nature of its dogmas, and ex-Muslim atheists such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warrâq make an even stronger case.

As for building a mosque near Ground Zero, I would call that analogous to the American Nazi party's famous march through Skokie. They have a Constitutional right to do it, but to insist on doing so is a provocation of the most repulsive kind.

Race cannot be made analogous to religion. Race is an inborn immutable trait which tells you nothing of any importance about a person. Religion is a belief system which a person can adopt or abandon and which, in most cases, plays a large role in shaping people's values and behavior. Especially in the case of a religion like Islam, it's more analogous to an ideology like Communism or fascism -- not analogous to race.

Dromedary Hump said...

Infidel..
you can speak for me any day. ;)

longhorn believer said...

@infidel - I wasn't saying that race is analogous to religion. I was saying the fear people have of Muslim Americans today is analogous to the fear people had of Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor because we were attacked by the Japanese, and now we have been attacked by Muslim extremists. I replaced race with religion to demonstrate the similarity between the two EVENTS - not to compare race to religion. The two events are SIMILAR, but not exactly the same because you're right, race and religion are not analogous

I do not think the mosque proposal near Ground Zero was meant to be provocative. After all, there are existing mosques in the same vicinity. Now, if they go ahead and build it now, knowing what they know about public opinion, THEN it will be provocative. I have personal relationships with American Muslims. You cannot lump them all into the same category as Al Queada and then compare them to the KKK. I would say the KKK is to Christianity as Al Queada is to Islam.

Hump, you said you are a realist, not an alarmist. As a realist you know that religion is not going away. As much as we would all like that, it ain't happenin. Isn't it then in our own best interest, given the alarming nature of Muslim extremism, that we recognize that there are moderate Muslims in this country? As a means to an end (gag!), shine a bright light on those communities and possibly seek to empower them (puke!) so that they can more effectively oppose extremists in their ranks. This is why I don't think it's wise to alienate Muslim Americans in their own country. Moderate Muslims may be our best line of defense against the extremists.

I agree that we need to be vigilant in protecting our country from attacks by extremists. But we can be both vigilant and encourage moderates at the same time. To say we cannot trust any Muslim Americans and they are all extremists is a false choice. There are current and historical examples of moderate and pluralistic Muslim societies - Iberia, Ottoman Empire, Indonesia, and Malaysia. And there are moderates here in America.

Atemis Ward said...

After this paragraph is a quote from an interesting book called "Faith at War." I hope it will give people some idea why they should fear the onslaught of Islam. Americans best not take our freedoms for granted. Hump has hit the nail on the head on this one. Remember 100% of Saudis are Muslims. 100%. There is no hope for any other religion or non-religion. Reason is meaningless. Somewhere down the line there were 50 or greater percent non-Muslims. They failed to see the warning signs, and now they are no more. And it isn't only Saudi Arabia, check this site and look at the number of countries nearing 100% Muslims: http://islamicweb.com/begin/population.htm. Here is the quote:

"Freedom of religion, in the concise words of the U.S. State Department's annual human rights report, 'does not exist' in Saudi Arabia. Only Muslims can be Saudi citizens, and any public expression of other religions--even by the six million or more foreign workers who make the Saudi economy run--is a crime. Saudi authorities have been known to bar companies from using the letter X in their names, on the grounds the X looks too much like a Christian cross. Unrelated women and men cannot socialize--even McDonald's restaurants keep isolated male and female sections, with separate entrances. Crimes like sorcery, adultery, apostasy, blasphemy, and witchcraft are still punished by death--often by stoning or beheading on a Riyadh plaza ringed by cafes and toy stores, and popularly known as 'chop-chop square.' Nor is there freedom of the press, speech, or assembly."

I propose a simple test that all religions must comply with to get U.S. Constitutional rights: I can't prove your god exists, nor can you, but your all-powerful god can prove he exists--he can show up and do something only an all-powerful god could do. The monkey is on god's back. When your god comes to America and does something, your religion gets free reign. Until then, take your religion elsewhere. Let freedom and reason rule America now and forever.

Infidel753 said...

Longhorn: My point was that ethnicity and ideology are so different as to invalidate the analogy. The fear of something harmless is merely an irrational phobia, while the fear of something inherently threatening and dangerous is a healthy and necessary reaction.

I would say the KKK is to Christianity as Al Queada is to Islam.

This is another common misconception which needs to be addressed. If you look at the Koran and Hadîth, you'll see that it's people like al-Qâ'idah and the Taliban -- not moderate Muslims -- who are practicing what the religion actually preaches.

The situation is not analogous to the difference between moderate and fundamentalist Christianity. The Bible is so befuddled and riddled with contradiction that you can take practically any stance on any issue and find something in the Bible to back you up. In fact, people do. With issues as diverse as slavery, black civil rights, and now gay marriage, both supporters and opponents in many cases claimed to be basing their positions on the Bible.

The Koran and Hadîth are a record of the statements and acts of one individual and are far more consistent; when contradictions in the Koran do arise, there is a straightforward method of resolving them — the doctrine of “abrogation”, under which the chronologically-later verse cancels out the older one (most of the tolerant and peaceful verses in the Koran belong to the earlier, Meccan period).

My point is that Islam is far less adaptable to modernity. Medieval Christianity also treated women and unbelievers as inferior, for example, but it’s now possible for Christians to claim that that was “un-Christian” in some sense. The Koranic rules on the position of women and the proper way to treat infidels allow for no such change, though some individual Muslims may simply ignore them, as individual Christians often ignore parts of the Bible they don’t like (or don’t know about).

There can be, and are, moderate Muslims, but there can never be a moderate Islam.

Dromedary Hump said...

Long / Rachele...
well...religion isn't going away immediately, that's for sure.

Yes, I welcome moderate muslims who are secularist and have been able to accomodate islam AND american culture. Those to whom the precepts of Islam are not placed above those of American ideals. Those people are sophisticated and secular enough to recognize that the acts of radicles, the innaction of so called moderates, and the demands of Muslims who value their doctrinal imperitives over American ideals are harmful. They are the ones who oppose the mosque not based on hate, or knee jerk activism, but on sensitivity for what happened in that neighborhood and not ignoring or denying that it happened because of their radical brethren.

They already know that their religion fosters extremism, are embarrassed by it and want to change it. They don't need me to be silent, or to stroke them and encourage their enlightened response. They do it because it's right.

Infidel753 said...

Hump, you said you are a realist, not an alarmist. As a realist you know that religion is not going away. As much as we would all like that, it ain't happenin.

I would argue the evidence shows it is going away. Religion has been growing steadily weaker over the last 400 years, and over the last ten years or so the process in the US has speeded up, with the number of unbelievers doubling and a succession of cultural setbacks for fundamentalism (mostly in the field of gay rights and acceptance). In other advanced societies such as Europe, Russia, and Japan, the process is even more advanced (for example, in Britain). The same is starting to happen in Third World societies as they modernize, and eventually it will even happen in the Islamic world (more on that here).

So yes, religion is going away, and eventually it will be gone. (In fact, I believe it will be gone in less than half a century, due to technology-driven increases in human intelligence, but that's another and very complex subject.)

Dromedary Hump said...

Atemis,Good info..thanks for that.

Infidel: I give religion 80 years before it is virtually gone in all industrialized nations, is a minority in the US, and exists largely only in 3rd world countries. I did an extrapolation from the Pew Froum report of 2008. Just sorry we won't be here to see it.

longhorn believer said...

@infidel - I knew I should have qualified my KKK analogy for you! Lol! I fear we are talking past each other now. I know that my analogy using the KKK was not exact. I meant it in a general sense, but I see that you are a stickler for the details ;-)

However, I disagree that the analogy between Japanese Americans in the 1940s and Muslim Americans now is invalidated by the difference between race and religion. I'm going to defend it one more time!
They are/were both a part of a group that attacked America from abroad. They are/were both feared and hated by other Americans because of their being a part of said foreign group. I admit that after that the similarities end, but it is still enough of an analogy to be useful in raising our conscious - as Dawkins would say.

Second, Hump said what I meant about religion not going away in the near term. I don't care about the long term. I won't be here! But as long as we're hazarding guesses, I would point out that enlightened men like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison would probably be shocked at the level of religiosity in America and the world at large today. TJ also made predictions. I'm sure your familiar with that quote, so I won't bore you by repeating it here.

Forgive me, but It's difficult for me to share your optimism on this subject because most of family is still very religious, even fundamentalist. I watch as they infect their children with their nonsense, and I can't help but think that whether religion goes away or not is far more complicated than extrapolating polls!

@Hump - I know moderate Muslims are moderate because it's the right thing to do. They don't need encouragement for that. I'm talking about encouraging them to spread their way of thinking to younger minds, and I didn't mean you specifically. So I take your point. But really my main concern is that shouting from the roof top that all Muslims are evil will lead to violence against Muslims who are not evil, maybe even someone I know. I hope we can protect our way of life in the courts and even by protesting without stereotyping, and while still remembering there are differences among Muslim people. When even you, dear Hump, start talking about fearing people, I get concerned. I was raised on fear and I've worked really hard to remove it from my thinking. So I'm loathe to think that way again. But I realize that there is such a thing as healthy fear that keeps us safe. So I guess I'm not the best at judging what is healthy fear and what isn't. Okay, blah blah blah! I've gone on too long! Thanks for giving me a place to rant!

NewEnglandBob said...

@longhorn

During WWII there were no Japanese-Americans calling for the overthrow of the US and taking over the laws. There are adherents to Islam that are doing that now in the US. Your analogy is still a complete failure.

Your last argument is a big straw man. There are few people calling all Muslims evil. There are few moderate Muslims calling out the Islamists.

There has been a concerted effort by many adherents to Islam to overthrow the US government and replace law with Sharia. There are reports of sedition in many mosques. Islam is a political movement and it is an evil climate for many. It is trying to do what the Catholic church did in Europe and ruled for 1000 years of murder, no civil rights, no humanity. We can not let that backward movement try that again in the US. There are too many who call for wiping out all non-believers.

longhorn believer said...

@NEbob- as I said before, I'm limiting my analogy to the fact that both Japanese Americans and now Muslim Americans were/are feared by other Americans because they are associated with a group (one is a religion, the other a race) that attacked America. This statement is true and factual.

Hump, Infidel, and yourself are saying that the current fear of American Muslims is rational because American Muslims have acted against or called for action against our government. Whereas Japanese Americans did not make threats, and so fear of them during WW II was irrational. Thats why you say the analogy doesn't work. I don't disagree with this distinction.

You said: "There are few people calling all Muslims evil" and "Islam is a political movement and it is an evil climate for many"

How far is "many" from "all"? This is my concern. Since Hump started this argument using a Nazi analogy, then I have to ask how close are we to categorizing ALL American Muslims as a threat? When people start burning Qurans, how close are we to ALL?

Hump has made it clear he makes the distinction and doesn't wish to truncate any law abiding citizens freedoms. I hope everyone else can see the distinction too. It isn't rational to fear peaceful, law abiding American Muslims who defend America as their own country and are even embarrassed by the mosque proposal. We're splitting hairs over what makes a good analogy or not, but people burning books in the street aren't going to split hairs if they turn to violence. And because it would be tragic for peaceful American Muslims to have violence turned against them, my comparison of this group of American Muslims to 1940s Japanese Americans fits just fine!

Infidel753 said...

At the risk of belaboring the issue, if the government were seriously considering rounding up American Muslims and interning them in camps, the analogy might have a point. What we're talking about here is more analogous to a bunch of American Shintoists wanting to build a shrine to the Emperor a few blocks from Pearl Harbor, just a few years after the bombing.

And I still say there's no valid comparison between fearing a violent, totalitarian ideology like fascism or Islam and fearing an accidental hereditary configuration of skin color and facial features. It's like the difference between an irrational fear of Germans and an entirely rational fear of Nazis.

Dromedary Hump said...

Infidel... damn man... right on target.

EarlyOut said...

From Infidel753: What we're talking about here is more analogous to a bunch of American Shintoists wanting to build a shrine to the Emperor a few blocks from Pearl Harbor, just a few years after the bombing.

Um, no. That would be analogous to a group of America Muslims wanting to build a shrine to Al Qaeda a few blocks from the WTC, complete with a bust of Osama bin Laden in the courtyard.

I think this is the source of the confusion. Many people believe that we were attacked by Islam on 9/11. We weren't. We were attacked by a group of anti-American terrorists (who, by the way, have no qualms about killing fellow Muslims - if they were targeting us solely for our religion, you'd think that they'd draw the line at killing other Muslims).

Their religious beliefs may have inspired them, just as those who shoot abortion providers are inspired by Christianity.

Almost every religion seems to give rise to small groups of dangerous zealots. That's one good reason to hope that all religion eventually disappears. But I don't think you can single out any one religion as being worse than the rest. Look at the horrors that have been committed in the name of religious purity by Christians (of various sects), Muslims, Hindus, etc., etc. I'll wager the Druids weren't exactly a fun bunch. Is Islam worse than the rest? I don't think there's much evidence for that proposition.

Robert said...

I am an atheist and do not like any religion, especially Islam, but opposing this "mosque" (it's a community center with a mosque inside) is counterproductive to any movement to improve the perception of our country to the Muslim world. The fervor that has grown around Park51 is showing those who are, and those who would be, our enemies that they are justified in their beliefs that America is at war with Islam. Surely this will only foster more anti-American feelings in the Muslim populations abroad but also here on our own soil which is far more frightening. In other words, more terrorist propaganda, thus more terrorists. Our experience with "home-grown" terror should tell us that this is an area where we should tread carefully.

New York city already has dozens of mosques and thousands of Muslims. To oppose this project is childish and ultimately empty. Muslims are already here. They've been here for a long time. Do some of them want to take over the US and impose Sharia law? Absolutely. But look at the fundamentalist Christians who would love to establish a theocracy of their own. They are thoroughly established in our culture, permeate our government at all levels, and still they are ultimately ineffectual. Muslims are outnumbered 100-1 and are nowhere near having the sort of political pull that radical Christians do. So should we keep an eye on them? Sure. Are they going to be any sort of threat to the our government and its Constitution? Not any time within the forseeable future, no.

I've been reading your stuff for a while now and really enjoy it. But on this issue you are way off base. Your concerns are most likely well-founded in the sense that some Muslims are trying to take over and would establish Sharia if they could. But the fact remains that they are decades away from being any sort of political or cultural force in America, at best. Opposing this project only engenders hatred and puts us at more risk than allowing it to go forward - which, considering the already present Muslim population, is effectively zero.

Robert said...

I am an atheist and do not like any religion, especially Islam, but opposing this "mosque" (it's a community center with a mosque inside) is counterproductive to any movement to improve the perception of our country to the Muslim world. The fervor that has grown around Park51 is showing those who are, and those who would be, our enemies that they are justified in their beliefs that America is at war with Islam. Surely this will only foster more anti-American feelings in the Muslim populations abroad but also here on our own soil which is far more frightening. In other words, more terrorist propaganda, thus more terrorists. Our experience with "home-grown" terror should tell us that this is an area where we should tread carefully.

New York city already has dozens of mosques and thousands of Muslims. To oppose this project is childish and ultimately empty. Muslims are already here. They've been here for a long time. Do some of them want to take over the US and impose Sharia law? Absolutely. But look at the fundamentalist Christians who would love to establish a theocracy of their own. They are thoroughly established in our culture, permeate our government at all levels, and still they are ultimately ineffectual. Muslims are outnumbered 100-1 and are nowhere near having the sort of political pull that radical Christians do. So should we keep an eye on them? Sure. Are they going to be any sort of threat to the our government and its Constitution? Not any time within the foreseeable future, no.

Dromedary Hump said...

Robert,
Thanks for your input. we'll have to agree to disagree on this. One of the great things about atheists is that they are independent thinkers and don't march in lock step to anything... except acceptence of reality.

I want to avoid repeating myself so I won't, I'll just say this:
You can view this from a perspective of "if we don't do this they will be angry with us, for our intolerance and hypocricy it will do no good to piss them off and not win them over" .
I call that the "blind Nevelle Chamberlain wearing a hair shirt" approach.

Or you can read the handwriting on the planet's walls relative to Islam establishing sub-cultures within a culture; understand that muslim's perceive western culture as an unfortunate evil; accept that our open armed acceptence of this building in the face of 63% american disapproval will be perceived as more western weakness in the face of historic muslim threats, veiled or overt; and expect that only Westerners should be held to a sense of tolerance, sensitivity and empathy, whereas Muslims don't need to demonstrate any.

I'll ask it again:
If the German gov't set up a tourist kiosk 200 yards from the gates of Auschwitz; or if a Lutheran Church (know M. Luther was a rabid German anti-semite) wanted to errect a church 200 paces from the ovens of Dachau ... where would your sympathies be?

Would the onus of aceptence rest with the survivors of those places, or their families? On whom would you place the responsibility for empathy, respect, and tolerance?

I hope your answer in this [not so] hypothetical case is similar to mine. If it is, then thyere's something to be said for the consistency of my argument.

Robert, again, thanks for being a reader and for sharing your perspective.

Dromedary Hump said...

PS: robert..one last thing: Yes, Xtian fundamentalism is a real and poresent danger.

But the fact that the Christian threat is more entrenched, and thus more imminent does not for one minute mean we should not be as concerned, as vigilent, and aggressively protective of our culture and freedoms from the external threat of islam.

I'd prefer we not postpone our defense against an Islamic threat just because it isn't as imminent as the Xtian threat, at this very moment. There are too many examples in history of what happens when one defers action in the face of creeping threat.

NewEnglandBob said...

As long as Islam calls for death for apostasy and that is supported in some countries, then Islam's political component is not acceptable.

As long as countries like Saudi Arabia disallow any other religion in the country other than Islam then Islam's political component is not acceptable.

All the apologetic arguments for tolerance of Islam here in the comments are irrelevant nonsense compared to these issues, since there is a call by many to duplicate that evil political component of Islam in the US.

Robert said...

Hump,

Thanks for the response but let's look at the other side of this issue as well. When this project was first announced no one had an issue with it. No one cared. Fox News even covered it and applauded the efforts of the Muslim community trying to reach out to the New York community to show that it was not all Muslims who were against America, and that the actions of a handful of extremists should not be attributed to the 1.5 billion or so Muslims worldwide. But now that election season has come around conservatives/Republicans are now crying foul calling it insensitive, a "victory mosque," and even a new "command center for terror." It's absurd when taken in context.

Yes, some of Islam's precepts are barbaric and should be repudiated, but as we've seen time and time again Islam resists change when it presses in from the outside. This is a "fight" Muslims must take on amongst themselves, the more rational Muslims (they're out there, I swear) speaking out against those traditions that keep Muslims from being accepted completely in the modern world.

We need to take steps that encourage Muslims to have these open, honest, and rational discussions with us and amongst themselves. This rabid (manufactured) furor over this project is taking us further away from our goals.

Obviously, it's not a clear but issue or we wouldn't be having this discussion. But I'll point out that 9/11 families, soldiers, and rational people everywhere are coming out in favor of this project. Let's heal the rift first otherwise we can be certain Islam will not change and we can be certain of more wars and more terror.

Dromedary Hump said...

Robert,
you're argument is rational and measured.

I wish you had responded to the Auschwitz and Dachau analogies. Because as far as the mosque goes, that summarizes my perspective. Nothing the maniacs from Fox say represent my position.

Yes, there are rational Muslims out there. Here is an organization that gets it: http://www.islamicpluralism.org/1605/a-muslim-case-against-the-mosque

Please, read that article. THAT is understanding, that is respect,tolerance and empathy for and with the culture you have selected as your new home.

Robert said...

Thanks for the link. I absolutely understand objections like these. And I agree. However, my dispute is with OUR side as the outsiders, especially as the frothing-at-the-mouth position it has been represented as. This is an issue that Muslims must argue amongst themselves. If nothing else this article shows the PR failings of the planners of this project. If their intention was truly outreach and cooperation then they would have been more open in their responses to critics and willing to compromise, or at least entertain the idea, at the very beginning of the controversy.

Since you have an interest in my response regarding Auschwitz and Dachau I'll do my best to give my perspective on those as well. My short answer is: it depends. If these projects were planned and conducted respectfully and were intended as memorials (Park51 includes a 9/11 memorial) and places for modern Germans and Lutherans to acknowledge and learn from the mistakes of their past then I'm all for it.

Yes, sensitivity is key and the public perception of the Park51 developers is not anywhere close to being seen as sensitive. But as I said above that's more of a PR issue. To develop plans, buy land, and invest the millions they have in a site that they had to know would be potentially inflammatory without having a plan to have any degree of transparency or at least a team ready to handle damage control was either ill-advised or a reeeeeeally expensive insult.

I'm more inclined to believe it's the former.

Dromedary Hump said...

Robert
I'm not clear on your position now. It seems you agree that perhaps the Imam lacked sensitivity in his site election...that it was "ill advised." If that is the correct interpretation, then your stance your not opposing it even on a personal level, is a mystery to me. Respectfully, it sounds like "Uh yeah, they shoulda not done it, but hey, now that they have lets ignore the implications."

I can't feign such a positon. It smacks of hypocrisy at worst, complacency at best.

It also seems as though you referred to non-Muslim Americans as "outsiders." Since when as an American, a ex-life long New Yorker, and as a person whose son was in WTC towerII am I to be labeled an "outsider" in this debate?

Finally, you unartfully side stepped the Aucshwitz/Dachau scenarios. I said one was a tourist kiosk, and the other was a Lutheran church... a CHURCH, maybe with a handball court and auditorium...you know.. a "community center.' Now ... what's your answer? If your snawer is we'd have to dissect the minds and deep seated intent of the German tourist board and the Luthran heiurarchy before we can truly know.. then I say bullshit, lets stop talking now.

The Coomunity center/mosque is being errected as some kind of memorial to the 911 victims? Akin to a Holocaust museum of sorts? Is THAT your position? Will it have photos of people jumping from the roof to their deaths below? Pictures of burned bodies? Tape recordingas of first responders in their death throes? Pictures of ash covered paniced crowds by the thousands crying? Will it show my wife and I trying to reach my sone for two hours and desperately trying to drive down there to find him? If so.. please let me know, because I will be anxious to see this display of solidarity and healing.

With all due respect Robert, either you are a Muslim apologist yourself, or you are being creative in inventing a defensive posture for something that you recognize smacks of Muslim insensitivity and provocation. Because your premise is a pretty far stretch and damn near insulting.

Robert said...

I haven't touched on "should they" or "shouldn't they" at all. I fear I have either been unclear or you may be reading too much into what I've written. Obviously this issue has multiple levels and it seems the distinctions are becoming smudged.

And, no I didn't sidestep anything. One can build a restaurant in the center of town with the intention of having it be a place where the community can gather and host events. In the same vein a "tourist kiosk" or "church" can be constructed in a similar spirit. Sometimes a cigar isn't just a cigar, to bastardize a phrase. Tourist locations have been set up all over the US in the name of remembering the fallen in the Civil War. Should Americans be offended that these are monuments to the fallen? Absolutely not. They're there to commemorate the sacrifices made and so that we might never forget the fallen and what they died for.

The 9/11 memorial at the mosque is not a product of my imagination that I am applying to the project on the whole. See here:

http://www.park51.org/facilities.htm

It's some sort of "memorial" with a "quiet contemplation space." To question whether it would have pictures of people screaming and crying as if it were some sort of celebration of what those extremists did is childish, cynical, and distorts what might be a genuine effort of outreach. Is that what we see in any other memorial anywhere else? Tongue-in-cheek, ha-ha-we-got-you monuments? Please. Until we have certainty on the true intentions of the Park51 organizers we should all reserve judgement in that regard. Judge based on evidence, don't stereotype. It's the only intellectually honest thing we can do.

I stated quite clearly at the beginning of all this that I dislike religion, especially Islam. I am not an apologist for Muslims, but on the other hand they, just like any other religion, have the right to build what they want, where they want in this country. Yes, they should absolutely be concerned with what the community in question thinks of it, but at the end of the day this is still America and even people we don't like have rights too. The KKK, Westboro Baptist Church, and even Muslim extremists have the right to say whatever the fuck they want to say and build whatever facilities they want to build and no amount of posturing by the opposition is going to have any sort of meaningful effect.

I feel that as responsible atheists our position to be to speak rationally about this issue, even if the other side does not. Islam is barbaric, outdated, and "evil" and we must take a stand against it. But we must pick our battles and approach the issue sensibly. Will Park51 take us a step closer to Sharia? To public beheadings? To stoning women in the street? To making the murder of apostates legal? My answer, emphatically, is no.

Robert said...

I haven't touched on "should they" or "shouldn't they" at all. I fear I have either been unclear or you may be reading too much into what I've written. Obviously this issue has multiple levels and it seems the distinctions are becoming smudged.

And, no I didn't sidestep anything. One can build a restaurant in the center of town with the intention of having it be a place where the community can gather and host events. In the same vein a "tourist kiosk" or "church" can be constructed in a similar spirit. Sometimes a cigar isn't just a cigar, to bastardize a phrase. Tourist locations have been set up all over the US in the name of remembering the fallen in the Civil War. Should Americans be offended that these are monuments to the fallen? Absolutely not. They're there to commemorate the sacrifices made and so that we might never forget the fallen and what they died for.

Robert said...

The 9/11 memorial at the mosque is not a product of my imagination that I am applying to the project on the whole. See here:

http://www.park51.org/facilities.htm

It's some sort of "memorial" with a "quiet contemplation space." To question whether it would have pictures of people screaming and crying as if it were some sort of celebration of what those extremists did is childish, cynical, and distorts what might be a genuine effort of outreach. Is that what we see in any other memorial anywhere else? Tongue-in-cheek, ha-ha-we-got-you monuments? Please. Until we have certainty on the true intentions of the Park51 organizers we should all reserve judgement in that regard. Judge based on evidence, don't stereotype. It's the only intellectually honest thing we can do.

I stated quite clearly at the beginning of all this that I dislike religion, especially Islam. I am not an apologist for Muslims, but on the other hand they, just like any other religion, have the right to build what they want, where they want in this country. Yes, they should absolutely be concerned with what the community in question thinks of it, but at the end of the day this is still America and even people we don't like have rights too. The KKK, Westboro Baptist Church, and even Muslim extremists have the right to say whatever the fuck they want to say and build whatever facilities they want to build and no amount of posturing by the opposition is going to have any sort of meaningful effect.

Dromedary Hump said...

robt,
not sure which if these last three posts are duplicates., I'll let them all stand, and let you have the final word.
rgards,
hump

Robert said...

Perhaps better for me is to let Hitchens have the last word:

http://www.slate.com/id/2263334/

hottr6 said...

Well said.

I presume you will direct your considerable energies in opposing the near-Ground Zero muslim community center will also be directed to calling for a moratorium on construction of ALL religious-based buildings, be they community centers, youth centers, churches, schools, centers for the homeless, hospitals etc, etc, etc.

Otherwise, you may be perceived as biased.

Dromedary Hump said...

hottr6,
Actually...No... I wouldn't oppose all other construction of religious buildings on that site or anywhere. I woulod not oppose a mosque being build uptown. But I am indeed bias in this particular case and at this particular place. And I very sure that the symbolism of an Islamic center/mosque in that locale is not lost on you.

But lets besure what we are speaking of:

I would oppose a Lutheran Church being errected 200 yards from Auschwitz as both insensitive and provocative. I would NOT oppose a synogogue being errected there however. Is that bias? Perhaps. If so, then sometimes being bias makes more sense than being insensitive, in denial, or oblivious.

EarlyOut said...

Here's a very interesting read, including Abdul Rauf's own "take" on the situation: http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/08/imam_says_islamic_centre_dispute_politicized.php?ref=fpblg

I find one particular quote to be stunningly accurate. He says that the dispute is "not between Muslims and non-Muslims, but between moderates of all the faith traditions and the radicals of all the faith traditions."

The question then becomes, where does Dromedary Hump fit into this formulation? On this subject, he's sounding unsettlingly like a radical theist.

Dromedary Hump said...

Earlyout...

I guess to theists the opinions of atheists are not of value.

As godless heathens we don't even fall onto their radar screen... well, unless Sharia law becomes fact, then hold onto your head ;)

Dromedary Hump said...

PS: OR unless the US becomes a Xtian theocracy; then hang onto your flame retardant coveralls.

longhorn believer said...

Robert said "I feel that as responsible atheists our position to be to speak rationally about this issue, even if the other side does not. Islam is barbaric, outdated, and "evil" and we must take a stand against it. But we must pick our battles and approach the issue sensibly. Will Park51 take us a step closer to Sharia? To public beheadings? To stoning women in the street? To making the murder of apostates legal? My answer, emphatically, is no."

Robert, thanks for summarizing eloquently what I had been trying to say rather clumsily. I am in no way persuaded that the attempt to build this mosque represents some major shift towards the erosion of our religious liberties.

Some argue opposing the mosque will give radical Muslims recruiting material. Some argue building the Mosque will show weakness and embolden radical Muslims. I say there is no pleasing a radical Muslim. So I'm taking the Jon Stewart approach - who gives a shit what radical Muslims think? They will hate us regardless, so why not stand by the Constitution?

longhorn believer said...

Hump said:
"But the fact that the Christian threat is more entrenched, and thus more imminent does not for one minute mean we should not be as concerned, as vigilent, and aggressively protective of our culture and freedoms from the external threat of islam."

Ummm, yes it does. The fact that the Christian threat is more entrenched and thus more imminent is EXACTLY why we should be more concerned about it than Islam.

I think you have every right to find the building of this mosque offensive and insensitive. But I think you're making a big leap from that position to the position that building this mosque is some how a water shed moment for the spread of Sharia law in this country.

Your connection to the events of 911 was much more concrete and real than it was for me down here in Texas. It was a day of horror for all Americans, and I still can't see the images with out shedding real tears. But I think there is more raw emotion for those who were closest too it. I think this may be why some people feel differently about this mosque and its possible implications. And so maybe it's not yet possible to have an argument based solely on reason and evidence. Maybe it's too soon. Maybe emotions on both sides are still getting the better of us.

Dromedary Hump said...

Longhorn said: "The fact that the Christian threat is more entrenched and thus more imminent is EXACTLY why we should be more concerned about it than Islam."

Um... No, it isn't. I have enough energy and insight to be able to focus on both threats. I can mutli-task.

If we could fight WWII on two fronts i.e. the Pacific and Europe, we can certainly be "...vigilent, concerned, and aggressively protective of our culture and freedoms..." from threats by BOTH the Xtian and Muslim religiously deluded simultaneously.

And yes.. it's too soon after the 911 event to think that emotions can be ignored. That's the whole point of why the locale is the issue. Timing is everything. The Muslims pushing for this don't give a shit about that... it's just not on their radar screen. And why should it be, after all we are but Kafir / Infidels.

EarlyOut said...

Hump: And yes.. it's too soon after the 911 event to think that emotions can be ignored. That's the whole point of why the locale is the issue. Timing is everything. The Muslims pushing for this don't give a shit about that... it's just not on their radar screen.

I think they just never realized we'd be ignorant enough to believe that 9/11 had been an attack by Islam, rather than an attack by Al Qaeda. They thought we'd be intelligent enough to make that distinction. I think they're a little surprised that some of us can't resolve that confusion in our own heads.