Islamofascist: a useful label?

by Richard on June 13, 2006

I’ve written about this before, but the discussion prompted by a recent post suggests it might be worth looking at again. My contention is that the words ‘islamofascist’ and ‘islamofascism’ are deeply unhelpful to the cause of peace in the world because they create a proximity between Islam and fascism which obscures rather than clarifies the situation in the world. For this reason I believe that it is time that all people of goodwill — and especially Christians — should cease to use them.

Going back to ‘brass tacks’, first we need to recall that fascism properly signifies a political system developed in the early 20th Century by Italian dictator Mussolini and which strongly influenced Hitler’s Nazism and the Falangists of Spain. Although authoritarian government is one feature of fascism, we should make the simple error of equating authoritarian rule with fascism. The distinctive features of fascism are

  • an exaltation of the nation (or race)
  • a demand for loyalty to a charismatic leader
  • the complete rejection of liberal democracy
  • the necessity and nobility of war

Unfortunately (but understandably), ‘fascist’ has come to be used merely as a perjorative rather than as a meaningful label. The most politically unsophisticated will know that fascism is ’something we are against’, even if they are quite unable to define it. The use of ‘islamofascist’ thus creates a mental link between Islam, a religion about which many people are largely ignorant despite the part it has played on the world stage in recent years, and fascism, a political ideology everyone knows decent folk have no truck with.

The response to this claim runs something like “Islamofascist doesn’t include all Muslims, only those who run authoritarian regimes and support terrorism”. This sort of response may even be sincere. But in practice, I can’t help but notice that the use of this label is linked almost entirely to a negative view of Islam. Hence these nuggets garnered over time

  • … a non-Western religion like Islam is in direct opposition to the tenets of freedom we value in America
  • …the reality is that Islam is out to slaughter or enslave us all and has been trying to do to all of humanity for 1400 years
  • Muslims are trying to take over the world, and what’s going on in Chechnya is nothing new or unexpected. The spread of Islam, radical or otherwise, in my opinion, is the most urgent crisis facing all of us.
  • The nature of the terrorist threat is unambiguously Islamic and is not so much a deviation from Muslim tradition as an appeal to it
  • Islam is out to destroy you and will happily slit your throat from ear to ear
  • The root cause here is Islam’s teachings. As I have shown repeatedly on these pages Mohammed taught and the Koran and the Traditions teach openly that murder, violence is a perfectly Allah-given path to subjugating all other peoples, cultures and faiths

I could go on, but there’s no need. I have never read anything positive about Islam from anyone who approves the term Islamofascist. And so it seems to me that this word has been specifically coined and is widely used not to mark out a few terrorists or dictators, but to villify the whole Muslim people.

If I’m wrong, convince me.

{ 84 comments… read them below or add one }

1

John 06.14.06 at 1:19 am

One of the ironies of the post-9/11 world is how uncritical the Left is of this barbaric (anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-littlegirlswhodon’tliketobesexuallymutilated, etc.) society. The Right has become the champion of human rights and the Left has become the apologist for depravity. Case in point here.

2

Bene D 06.14.06 at 2:39 am

What ‘left’ John?

Political? What country?

Theological? What denomination?

Define your term.
Richard is asking for civility here. While we’re at it, define what you think if civility in comments on blogs in different coutnries, if it isn’t too much trouble. Thank you.

3

Richard 06.14.06 at 6:39 am

Actually, I think you’ve made my point, John.

There is much that I’d want to challenge in Islam. This blog isn’t the place to do that, though — I don’t have much of a Muslim readership. What I’m trying to do is challenge the continuing demnization of Islam, which from my experience I know is not The Enemy that it has come to be portrayed as. The other thing I’m asking is that words are used with precision so that when we read them we know what they mean. To equate Islam and fascism serves no purpose other than insult. It is simply inaccurate.

4

Beth 06.14.06 at 10:24 am

John, I’d ask for more definition of terms - “this barbaric… society”; which society? Richard was talking about Islam in general in its full diversity - what are you talking about?

5

J 06.14.06 at 12:00 pm

I think we’ve established that Islamic terrorist movements don’t meet the definition of fascist (even the parts of that definition we disagree on). Getting people to stop using “fascist” as a generic suffix indicating “people I don’t like” is going to be a much more difficult task.

6

DH 06.14.06 at 3:33 pm

I think under the second defintion “2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control” of the word Fascists the term CAN be used as a term for authoritarian control. Under the first defintion you are correct with regard to the former Italian state but we all know words can have multiple defintions and in the dictionary it gives a SECOND defintion as I stated above which is different than the one described in this post.

Also, to say that the term Islamofascists gives a negative term to Islam is like saying the Jim Jones group gives a negative term toward those who are Christians.

To me Islamic fundamentalism is Islamofascist. Are all adherents to Islam fundamentalist? absolutely not and term is never implied to say that because the reference of the term is towards Islamic FUNDAMENTALISM not Islam as a whole. Also, the term is used to apply to those small numbers of people who are beyond Islamic Fundamentalist who happend to want to kill innocent people. To me “terrorist” isn’t descriptive enough. Islamic Fundamentalism isn’tdescriptive enough in that some fundamentalists have no desire to kill people but people who are way beyond that a term. Also, some terrorists aren’t Islamic in nature at all and proper terms to describe them as well seperate from Islamofascist should be used. When I use the term fascist it isn’t to reference people I don’t like be to accurately describe the nature of group in question.

Richard you say this:
an exaltation of the nation (or race) —- (Islam or Muslim being religion andrace)
a demand for loyalty to a charismatic leader —- (look at the Ayatollah, Bin Laden or Saddan)
the complete rejection of liberal democracy —- (that isclearly evident)
the necessity and nobility of war —- (look at what is going on in the Middle East)

Sounds awful alot like the Islamofascists to me. At the same time and in total agreement with J and Richard I wouldn’t use “fascist” in reference to all people I don’t like. So in conclusion and in agreement with Richard I have problem with how some minority within those who use Islamofascist apply the term but I don’t think we should let the minority give the majority a bad name by making the term in its entirety bad just because of a “few bad apples”.

7

Richard 06.15.06 at 8:35 am

I don’t know where to strt, DH. What do Ayatollah, Bin Laden or Saddam have in common? An approximation of skin colour! (Saddam was a ruthless secularist, pretty much hated by his Islamist neighbours) If you’re going to use the same word to decribe them all, then that word has no meaning as a descriptor.

Are all adherents to Islam fundamentalist?
Well … yes they are, more or less. The Koran has never been subject to the methods of historical or literary criticism in the same way that the Bible has. It can’t even be translated and still be properly regarded as the Koran. Muslims believe that the Koran was delivered by an act of divine dictation.

What I’m arguing is not that ‘islamofascist’ is misapplied by a few ‘bad apples’ but that its use is the verbal equivalent if peeing in the swimming pool or farting in a lift (elevator!) — it degrades the intellectual environment and makes comprehension and debate more difficult.

8

DH 06.15.06 at 1:41 pm

“Saddam was a ruthless secularist.?” He was a Sunni and does that explain why he sent scud missles to Israel? He mentioned he did that in defense of Islam and the Palestinians. Seems different than secular to me. To say he was totally a secularist seems odd in light of his actions.

To me what degrades the intellectual environment is not being willing to have a term to apply to people who are Islamic extrmists who are terrorist at the same time. For me Islamofascists fit the bill for that type of description. Whatmakes debate more difficult is the inability to attitibute appropriatly where the problem arises and it is solely on on Islamic extremism that when prevented makes the world a better place. To sit back and not be willing to state a harsh word for those who started killing innocent people in the first place seems odd.

9

DH 06.15.06 at 1:50 pm

The race part is clearly evident among the Ayahtollah, Saddam and Bin Laden. There desire that is unified is the so-called defense of the Arab race. My contention is that just like Jews are both a race and a religion so is Muslim both a race and religion. Thereby ultiamtely unifying the three mentioned. However, you never addressedthe other three I pointedout that clearly show Fascist as the appropriate term asyou described.

a demand for loyalty to a charismatic leader

the complete rejection of liberal democracy

the necessity and nobility of war

On these it is clear the term is appropriate. On the other one there seems to lately be a unifying issue among Ayatollah, Saddam and Bin Laden. When they started yes they were seperate but now their goals are the same 1) elimnate Israel as a nation and make an Arab/Muslim state of Palestine 2) destroy as many nations or individuals who are against those goals. 3) all of the three other mentioned by you as well. It is this and the way they are trying to achieve these goals that have me feelthe Islamofascist term is appropriate. As an effort to move toward you a little, would Arabfascist be a better term. Thatwould unify all of them. :)

10

DH 06.15.06 at 1:55 pm

The term Arabfascist or Islamofascist is never to be applied to allArabs or adherents to Islam but a term must beused to recognize the extremist minority within both of these. To not address the fact they are extremists within the group or not mention that is denial of the source of these major problems in the world.

11

John 06.15.06 at 4:10 pm

I guess that I’m just not nuanced enough to see the virtue in slicing off the clitorises of little girls, oppressing women, executing homosexuals, exterminating the Jews, and praising the deliberate murder of civilians. I’ll leave that up to the “Progressives”.

12

Beth 06.15.06 at 8:21 pm

DH - Islam is nothing like Judaism in the sense you mean - To be Jewish is generally to belong to either/both of the Jewish race and religion. To be Muslim is to belong to a religion. I have known white Muslims, black Muslims, Pakistani Muslims, and of course there are people of many other races and nations who are Muslims, as well as Arab Muslims. Islam, like Christianity, is inter-racial. Try telling Muhammad Ali or Yusuf Islam that only Arabs can be real Muslims.

There is a difference between loyalty to a charismatic leader and loyalty to a religious leader - the Ayatollah would demand loyalty whoever he happened to be; like the Pope, it is the position and its symbolic meaning that is important. In contrast, the cult of personality built up in Fascism makes a particular man (usually a man) into a unique, indispensible, almost mythical figure.

The problem is that you are taking aspects of things and making them stand for the whole. There are radical Arab Muslims, so you make them into the only Muslims. The terms “strong autocratic or dictatorial control” appear as part of a definition, and you make them the whole definition.

“Islamofascist” is a useless and unintelligent term. “Arabfascist” is despicable and clearly racist.

13

Beth 06.15.06 at 8:22 pm

John, your argument is cheap and very weak. There’s just no point in engaging with someone like you, is there?

14

DH 06.15.06 at 9:00 pm

“…so you make them into the only Muslims.” I never said they were. I’m sorry that you are propagating a term that is meant for a minority and not the majority. I think if you read the posts I stated without any predispositions you will see that it isn’t rascist in that I stated strongly and many, many times that it is the minority who have this. To disregard the background of this terrible minority seems a disservice to the situation. The fact is the terrorists want Israel of the face of the map and controled by an Islamic state. This is a superminority within Islam but it is a fact by those who happen to be terrorists and insurgents. I have NEVER said all arabs or adherents to Islam or even a majority or anything close to a minority of Arabs or adherents to Islam are fascists, terrorist and insurgents. For to you say that or imply that from what I said uncalled for and in no way is the truth. Reread what I said in its entirety and you will see.

Also, the Webster defintion goes into detail the specifcs and multiple defintions whereas OED only has one. I appreciate more the fact that mutilpe defintions of a word and all of the many uses are taken into consideration. As an analogy to this: Just because you are an English teacher and you want Ain’t to not be a word doesn’t change the fact that actually it is for it was rather recently it was included as a word. One must take into consideration ALL definitions of the term rather than the one that is the first definition. If that were the case under that logic “can” would only be a verb and never a noun.

15

DH 06.15.06 at 9:06 pm

I have known Jews who were converted Jews as well. So the Ahytollah doesn’t have a “cult of personality” in addition to being a religious leader? I still don’t buy what you are saying. To say something that is only applied to a minority onto the whole like you are doing is clearly wrong on your part. It isn’t rascist in that it is only those who have the rascist tendencies within Arab or Islam whoget the “…fascist” added to it. All others who don’t have the fascist tendencies are Arab and Islamic alone. Hense an incorrect judgemental attitude by yourself.

16

Beth 06.15.06 at 10:07 pm

I don’t even know where to start…

Yes, there are people who have converted to Judaism. But the point I was making is that Judaism is often a matter of both race and religion, or of race alone. Islam is never a matter of race alone. One is not a Muslim beause of one’s race as one may be Jewish because of one’s race.

It isn’t the case that the OED only has one definition, if you look back at what I quoted. Something you have to understand about dictionaries is that they do not necessarily reflect how a word should most precisely be used but how it is used. And sometimes this means reflecting a popular usage of a term, which is not necessarily a usage which has any political, semantic or critical weight. I would argue that the M-W second definition is an example of such practice. It is exemplifying the exact kind of usage that Richard and otehrs have been decrying precisely because it has become popular. It means that basically any political, religious or other organisation can be described as “Fascist”, rendering the term meaningless. According to that definition, one could call the Vatican “Fascist” - they even have a cult of personality, according to your definition of that concept.

Indeed, perhaps we should inaugurate the term Christofascist. After all, plenty of Christian fundamentalists would love to do away with democracy and run countries according to their minority beliefs. They are racist - anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim especially. They are prepared to use terrorist tactics against those who disagree with their beliefs. They also tend to be strongly pro-war.

So, Christofascist, anyone?

17

John 06.17.06 at 7:01 pm

Probably not, Beth, because I will not stop reminding you that the Left utterly betrays Progressive values when it defends Islamic culture. And you won’t like that one bit.

18

Richard 06.17.06 at 9:50 pm

Glad to know you’re so concerned about ‘Progressive values’, John. But I reckon that the first and most important value is a commitment to truth. I don’t pretend that Islamic culture is beyond criticism, but neither is Islam the hate-filled enemy which is often portrayed. There are Muslims who practice female genital mutilation. But is it inherrent to Islam? No. Yes, feminism has not made much progress in many Islamic societies. But i can think of many Christians who would wish the same were true of western society. Likewise the treatment of homosexuals.

When I see the Right campaigning for the rights of women and gays, I’ll take lessons from you about ‘Progressive values’. But I won’t be holding my breath.

Even so, you’re still missing my point. I’m questioning whether ‘Islamofascism’ is a useful word. It seems to me that it is demonstrably empty of any real descriptive value, given that DH (with many others) believe it can be used of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and suicidal prisoners in Gitmo.

19

Beth 06.17.06 at 10:15 pm

Erm… Why won’t I, John?

I admit that I think your terminology is rather sweeping - after all, “Islamic culture” in the pre-modern period helped to usher in modernity in many areas - medicine and mathematics, the sciences, literature, architecture… Arab physicians were practising advanced medicine while my ancestors and (I assume) yours were still advocating leeches, thought washing was dangerous and believed plague was spread when Jews poisoned the wells.

I assume that such culture is not what you mean when you say “Islamic culture”? So what exactly do you mean?

The aspects that many people will associate with a negative view of Islam are those of the oppression of women, anti-Semitism, and indiscriminate violence. I would never condone any of these behaviours, and I believe that you are right to criticise anyone who would condone them. But to tar “Islamic culture” with this broad brush is to do it a grave disservice. I have had the pleasure of knowing various Muslim people in my life so far, and have not detected the tiniest amount of these traits in them. In fact, what they have had in common apart from their religion has not been race, or prejudice, or violence, but a sincere belief in, knowledge of, and adherence to their faith that would put many, if not most, British Christians to shame.

To summarise: yes, I deplore the oppression of women and violence against them; yes, I deplore homophobia and anti-Semitism; yes, I deplore terrorism and murder. And I have seen all these things condoned and carried out by Christians in the name of their faith.

This is why I argue against such terms as “Islamofascist”, which tend to target Islam much more than other religions and often fail to discriminate between the majority of Muslims and the extremist minority.

If you can give me examples of “the Left” (to which, incidentally, I would not particularly define myself as belonging) condoning the oppression of women, or homophobia, or anti-Semitism, or clitoridectomies, or terrorism, or suicide bombing… then bring it on, and I will say “Nay” as loudly as you do.

But while you continue to make broad statements against a people which, like any other, is as much sinned against as sinning, I will continue to argue against you.

20

John 06.18.06 at 1:04 pm

Beth, I rejoice that you are able to grudgingly admit that Islam has some faults, especially in its brutal treatment of women. Thankfully, the recent Anglo-American wars in the Islamic world are already instilling the retrovirus of human rights into it. The rights of women are now being advanced. It will take some time, but there is progress tinkling in the wind.

Now, to Richard’s actual question: is ‘Islamofascism’ a useful label? I disagree with Richard’s assertion that it is a word that conjoins Islam and fascism. Rather, it is a distinguishing word. The suffix “fascism” refers to a fascist subset of the Islamic hole, thereby implying that all of Islam is not fascist.

It is a polite term to avoid stating the obvious: that we are in a clash of civilizations. Bush et al. are wise to use it because our goal is not to crush Islam, but reform it before it has widespread access to nuclear weapons. For a hypothetical comparison, imagine if 16th Century Spain had access to nukes. Imperial Christianity of that time period was a particularly ugly religion and would have become incredibly destructive if it had access to nukes. I mean, just look at the horrible destruction that it wreaked with just gunpowder.

I really can’t think of a word that would be better to use than Islamofascist. We could come up with a word that does not somehow involve “Islam”, but we would be deluding ourselves if we denied that all of the terrorists are Muslim and are supported by much of the Muslim world.

Muslims may be offended at the use of the word “Islamofascist”. They should, however, be more offended that a very large portion of their co-adherents are sociopaths, or supporters of sociopaths.

If, hypothetically, there was a massive, world-wide ‘Christian’ terrorist movement, I would not be the slightest offended if someone created a word to describe it. Rather, the hijacking of my religion by such people would be my main concern, and a word like “Christofacist” would not even rise to the level of triviality.

21

Richard 06.18.06 at 2:06 pm

John, you say “The suffix “fascism” refers to a fascist subset of the Islamic hole, thereby implying that all of Islam is not fascist” but then add “we are in a clash of civilizations”. Which is it? I reckon if I were a Muslim, I’m not sure I’d be able to tell the difference between being ‘reformed’ and being ‘crushed’ from the outside. How would you feel if the Southern Baptist Convention started working to ‘reform’ the UMC? I’m sure you’d tell them to “go forth and multiply” (or words to that effect :))

I’ve got no idea whether Muslims are offended by the word ‘islamofascist’ or not. The causing of offence isn’t what I’m concerned about primarily. I’m interested in accuracy. And despite what you say, the way the word is actually used seems to have a very wide purview.

22

John 06.18.06 at 4:27 pm

We are in a clash of civilizations, but we are not at war with every Muslim on earth. Rather, we are at war with an ideology that is massively widespread within Islam. And the dividing lines between Reformable Muslim and PsychoMuslim who must be either contained, deterred, or killed are vague.

As much as we are in the clash, there is no need to say it all of the time. We Westerners should have such a clear understanding, but it would not help our efforts to reform Islamic culture if we expressed that the entire thing must be trashed and rewritten. So we use the term “Islamofascist” to refer to those elements of Islamic culture which are threatening to us here, such as the advocacy of Jewish annihilation, the conquest and forcible conversion of infidels, and the immediate need to reconquer formerly Muslim lands, such as Spain. “Islamofacist” makes it clear that we are not at war with Islam in its entirety. Various parts of Islam are salvagable. The fine arts come immediately to mind.

How would you feel if the Southern Baptist Convention started working to ‘reform’ the UMC? I’m sure you’d tell them to “go forth and multiply”

If the UMC engaged in bloody terrorism across the world and was attempting to acquire nuclear weapons in order to make that terrorism even more bloody and did all manner of nasty things, like executing people for being gay or having pre-marital sex or having a clitoris, then I would completely and enthusiastically support such a Southern Baptist effort.

23

Beth 06.18.06 at 6:49 pm

There was nothing grudging about my admission, John - that term would be better applied to your acceptance of it.

I would still challenge you to make good on your allegations against “the Left”.

24

John 06.20.06 at 2:23 am

I am composing a response, but Kos’ server keeps going down and I want to include selections. I’ll post later.

25

DH 06.20.06 at 1:14 pm

I have no problem with the term as long as it is appropriated to people who are actually the term. Anti-Jewish? that would obviously exclude tons of them because many many Christian fundamentalists support Israel and the Jewish people for their state.

I take issue with your Christofascist term in that other than in Waco no one in that group is supporting terrorist activity.

Also,you seem to forget that I only wanted the term used for those within Islamic fundamentalism who happen to support terrorism. This term would not be used for those not inthat category nor have I suggested the sort if you have read this thread in its entirety.

Beth you say “I would still challenge you to make good on your allegations against “the Left”.”

Answer? Stalin or Castro
ENOUGH SAID

26

Richard 06.20.06 at 1:50 pm

DH wrote:
Beth you say “I would still challenge you to make good on your allegations against “the Left”.”

Answer? Stalin or Castro
ENOUGH SAID

Forgive me, DH, but that was a stupid thing to say. First, because as far as i know neither Stalin nor Castro have contributed anything to a conversation about islamic culture, and that is where John’s comments were directed. Second, because if the worst representatives of a political movement are sufficient cause to close down any discussion, neither left nor right could speak.

27

DH 06.20.06 at 2:06 pm

Yeah, your right. I got ahead of myself. I just personally feel that any group that encompasses Fascist tendencies in a majority of their structure that the term is appropriate and it is appropriate to get an idea of what legitamate group the illegitamate group comes from. (Islam being legitimate vs. terrorism which isn’t) put them together and you get a term for an illegitamate group within Islam.

With regard to Beth’s Christofascist term that could only be applied to so-called christians who do terrorist activity or support and I see none of that within the Christian community except in a very lessor sense Waco.

28

Beth 06.20.06 at 8:30 pm

What about those “Christians” who terrorise e.g. abortion clinics? I would call them terrorists.

You can’t have it both ways, dh - you are taking an aspect of the idea of Fascism and fitting it to aspects of Islam. I am doing exactly the same with Christianity. I do this for two reasons: firstly, to suggest the meaninglessness of the term; secondly, to suggest that the demonisation of Islam I have seen here and elsewere can be answered by corresponding traits in Christianity. No doubt in other religions too, but I’m not well enough acquainted with them to argue so.

29

DH 06.20.06 at 9:29 pm

I will say that bombing abortion clinics or murdering abortion doctors would be in the category of Christofascism, Waco or Okla. City but to compare them when terrorism by Islamofascists which is on a much grander scale than those bombing abortion clinics or murdering abortion doctors seems strange. However, I would use the term Christofascist for abortion clinic bombers. So you see I am consistent.

The fact is the minority within Islam have Fascist tendencies and must be looked at as such. The term is appropriate for it is not intended for those who support Islam as a whole.

The traits within Christianity who have the similar traits within Islam is extremely small in number. Islamic extremism is a much bigger problem than within Christianity. Just look at 9/11 and all of the other bombings. It appears strange to look at them in the same light in light of 9/11.

30

John 06.22.06 at 7:02 pm

Pardon the slow reply. I was suddenly hit with VBS duties that consumed every waking, non-school hour of the day.

Let’s start out with the Left end of the blogosphere, filled with such infamous examples as Kos’ “screw ‘em” comment, which condoned terrorism in Iraq. Given that he thinks of US troops as war criminals, I guess that might be appropriate. It’s also an opinion shared by Rep. Murtha, who gleefully throws around war crimes allegations. And Sen. Kerry, who accused US troops of behaving like terrorists. Or Sen. Durbin, who compared US troops to Nazis, the KGB, and Pol Pot. Such preposterous rhetoric about phony war crimes allegations gives aid and comfort to the cause of the terrorists. It makes you wonder who they want to win the war.

One Kos diarist thinks that Juan Cole was denied a job at Yale due to a Jewish conspiracy.
Others make it clear that they are siding with the terrorists. Because, of course, it wasn’t the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, but a conspiracy.

The appropriately named “Eternal Hope” aches for the collapse of the new Iraqi government through more bizarro conspiracy theories, as does Armando. One must wonder why the Kossacks are so discouraging to the Iraqi people. Could it be that they are hoping that this venture into democracy and human rights will fail? They certainly have nothing positive to say. Nor any particular interest in ending the barbarity of FGM (contra).

But lest you suggest that DailyKos represents only an extreme edge, its bloggers include Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, and John Kerry. You are judged by the company you keep, and apparently many major Leftist leaders are very comfortable with the tin-foil hat territory of DailyKos.

Over at my own, blog, I’ve had occasion run-ins with such Leftist defenders and apologists for Islamic barbarity. I try to stay calm, take deep breaths, and avoid lashing out at such sickening displays. In this very comment thread (and in the previous related post), I have been largely successful, as I drastically toned down the thoughts that were going through my head.

In these two posts here at Connexions, Richard is deeply concerned that savage, head-chopping, clitoris-cutting, gay-killing, medieval barbarians would be referred to as “Islamofascist”. This is, to put it extremely mildly, a misplaced emphasis of interest. After all, a more centered worldview would see such barbarity as the greater worry, rather than naming it as the problem.

But Richard is following in the new meme of decrying “Islamophobia”. He is concerned that “I have never read anything positive about Islam from anyone who approves the term Islamofascist.” The statement suggests that there are positive things about Islam. He is concerned that the term may be used to “vilify” Islam*. Implicit in this statement is that there is nothing worth vilifying. If such is not the case, Richard is welcome to clarify. But I would suggest that, for his statement to carry weight, he do so with something other than a “yes, but….” that seeks to minimize the ghastly state of human rights in the Islamic world.

I suppose that during WWII, many Americans and Britons were “Naziphobic”. What the ravaging German armies of Europe and the concentration camp guards needed was ‘understanding’, not condemnation. I suppose even Nazi was a not a ‘useful’ term, and that if Richard were alive then, he would tut-tut us for not trying to find anything good to say about the Nazis. Again, he is welcome to clarify, and may I suggest leaving out a “yes, but….”?

So here are a bunch of links relating to what the Left thinks about these issues. A multi-volume book could be written on the subject, but I have work to do for class and VBS, so this lengthy post will do. Now Beth, since you’ve given me this homework assignment, here’s one for you: prove that the Left is deeply concerned about the fate of women, homosexuals, and clitorises in the Islamic world. Prove that they firmly stand against terrorism. Prove that they are critics, and not defenders of Islam.

The Left could do so (for example) by supporting the liberation of Muslim women, who are experiencing a freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan that they have never had in their entire history. Take a stand in favor of the liberation of these countries and the reformation of the cultures within them.

Unless your priorities are elsewhere.

*It is ironic that it is the users of the term Islamofascist who “vilify” Islam are the people who advocate positive change in the Islamic world and those who deny the validity of the term who would prefer to maintain the status quo.

31

John 06.22.06 at 8:54 pm

So was my comment deleted or has WordPress burped?

32

Richard 06.23.06 at 3:13 pm

Neither - your comment went into the moderation queue (maybe WordPress had a burplet). I haven’t been at my computer for 24hrs. I’ll reply properly when I get a moment.

33

John 06.25.06 at 5:39 pm

Take your time.

I’d like to retract the fifth from the last paragraph (referencing Nazis), as it may imply nasty things about Richard that are not my intention. I should have phrased it rather better.

34

Beth 06.25.06 at 9:07 pm

Hey! The post came back! Well done, Richard…

So, John. My thoughts, for what they are worth.

a) I didn’t realise you meant the American left - an entity of which I know arse-all. In which case, I have no right to comment (excuse the pun). Maybe try to be a little less US-centric when using these terms - there’s an international left, a British left, etc., and many of them are nothing like the Republicans.

b) Richard, in my view, is quite right to argue over the use of terms. Using a term like “Islamofascist” shuts down argument by creating a monolithic label for something that it multi-faceted. Call Islamic extremists homophobic, anti-feminist, violent, anti-Semitic, and so on. They are all these things, and these are terms which create a meaningful picture of what you think is wrng with Islamic extremism. “Islamofascism” is just an insult; it tells us little and it puts people’s backs up. I would not substantively argue with any of the other terms you used in your post - except “medieval”, and only then because of the historical irony.

c) “The statement suggests that there are positive things about Islam.” Do you argue that Islam is nothing but a force for evil and destruction? From my experience of knowing Muslims, I would disagree.

d) “Islamophobia” is rightly to be decried. It is a mindset which, in Britain, has led to attacks not only on mosques, but on Hindu temples and on the whole spectrum of Asian people who live in the country. Like homophobia and anti-Semitism, Islamophobia is ignorant prejudice. However, you are right that there is now a climate in which one may be afraid to criticise any Muslim people, countries or organisations, for fear of being branded racist. That also is dangerous and wrong.

e) The “Nazi” paragraph - I know you’ve retracted, but I take it in the spirit in which it was meant, which I assume was not one of random insult! “Nazi” was and is useful term, inasmuch as it is the correct political designation for the National Socialist Party of Germany at the time. When, like “Fascist”, it is used outside that historical sphere, it also becomes a lazy way of insulting rather than engaging with precise aspects of what we don’t like. And of course there have been many Nazi apologists at the time and since. I can’t speak for Richard, but for myself I feel that my attitude towards Islamophobia is not comparable to Nazi apologetics. Nazism is a system which is inherently homophobic, violent, anti-Semitic etc. Islam is not. I defend what is good about Islam, but my defence does not go so far as to refuse to recognise the danger of extremism. If any group, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or anything else, advocates violence against women, or homophobia, or anti-Semitism, I will speak out against it - and have done so, not least on this blog. I just don’t believe in tarring thousands and thousands of people with the same brush.

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Beth 06.25.06 at 9:10 pm

dh - in reply to your last post. The reason Christian extremism is less of a threat now is that we spent so much time from the Middle Ages onwards conquering what we wanted. We don’t need to be extremists any more because we dominated as many people as we needed back then! You think 9/11 is bad? How many people do you think died at “Christian” hands in the Crusades? Or the Inquisition? In witchhunts and on slave ships? In the Holocaust, conducted by a government which was blessed by its country’s bishops?

Islam will never catch Christianity up in terms of death, destruction and barbarity.

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Richard 06.26.06 at 10:40 am

John - thanks for your comment. Like you, i’m pressed for time so I’m going to have to respond in a general way rather than to specific points and hope that I cover most of the issues you’ve raised.

You imply that i’m jumping on some sort of ‘islamophobia’ bandwagon, but that simply isn’t true. Peaceful relations between Christians and Muslims based on mutual understanding has been something that I’ve been concerned about for many years. Yes, I do believe that there is much in Islam to admire. There are also aspects of Muslim culture that I’d want to reform. But it isnot my job — or yours — to reform Islam. That belongs to Muslims. My audience here (Hi! to all 5 of you) is largely Christian and Western. I don’t see the point of writing articles about how I think islam should be reformed. What purpose would it serve? But when I see Islam misrepresented, as it is routinely, I’m obliged to challenge. For example, you seem to regard female genital mutilation (which i deplore and condemn) as a defining characteristic of islam, whereas it is in fact a cultural practice which large parts of the Muslim world do not observe.

As for your presentation of the Iraq debacle being part of a noble struggle to give women their rights, forgive me for not being overwhelmed. First, because recent reports suggest that the position of women now is worse in Iraq than it was even under Saddam (whose regime, let us remember, was secular not Islamist). Second, because history shows that the West has very little interest in the rights of the citizens of other countries provided that their strategic interests are not challenged. In iran, Iraq, Chile, South Africa, Afghanistan, Israel, Nicaragua… the list goes on.

I clearly haven’t persuaded you that ‘Islamfascist’ is a useless and even harmful word. So be it. I can understand why 9/11 has changed the perspective on islam for many Americans. I also understand why the war in Iraq is linked so closely with 9/11 in many people’s minds. But if you believe that it is Islam which the enemy, I urge you to say so rather than hide behind the obfuscation of some feeble neologism. And to remember that it is a matter of very recent history that the sort of regimes you now regard as mortal enemies were supported and encouraged by our own governments.

But I have lived in a (largely) Muslim community, spent time in people’s homes, spoken of Jesus in a largely Muslim secondary school and spent some time with Muslims at prayer in the mosque. And I *know* that Muslims and Christians can live in peace.

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DH 06.26.06 at 2:53 pm

“Islam will never catch Christianity up in terms of death, destruction and barbarity.”

How about many who were in the Crusades who said they were Christian who actually aren’t? That is the point. Also,if history serves me right the Crusadeswere in response to Muslim attrocities of destroying anything Christian or Jew. The Crusades while ultimately overboard initially were a proper response to terrible destruction in the beginning.

How about Mohammed and the attacks on Jews in the 600AD. I think if you look at ALL of history you will see. There is not one greater than the other. BOTH SIDES of the Crusades were equally wrong and equally destructive. Hense the stalemate in the end with Palestine/Israel, when the Crusades were over, being under Arab control. To suggest Christianity did the greater damage seems strange in light of actual history where both were equally wrong.

Again, for the upteenth time. The term Islamofascist is not for all of Islam but for those who are extremists. Not all Islam is extremist. The term is NEVER for all of Islam and was never intended for that. Islamfascist is not focused onthe Islam part but the fascist part. (Those within Islam, the extreme minority, whohave fascist tendencies.) We all know that the majority of Islamdon’t have Fascist tendencies but to deny that there are minorities within Islam who have fascist tendencies (Islamofascist) seems strange.

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Beth 06.26.06 at 8:24 pm

DH, I am well aware that you are not trying to apply “Islamofascism” to all Musilims; I have been arguing that applying it to even one is stupid.

~~ The rest of this comment has been deleted (reluctantly) by admin at commenters request ~~

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Beth 06.26.06 at 9:07 pm

Richard - delete that last post for me, would you please? I’ve just realised it’ll get me hate mail.

Thanks!

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Richard 06.26.06 at 9:41 pm

That’s done, Beth. But I think it a pity. You’d posted some thought-provoking figures.

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Dave Warnock 06.26.06 at 9:55 pm

Beth,

I wanted to just say that I think your points were very valid and challenging.

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Beth 06.27.06 at 8:56 am

Thanks Richard! I’ll repost when I’ve thought how I want to phrase things so as not to have a Black Hawk outside my window at 3 a.m. :)

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Beth 06.27.06 at 9:40 am

Let me try again.

The Crusades were not, ever, justified. They were an exercise in power-grabbing, land-grabbing, bloodlust and racism. You think the Christians went out to help the poor Jews struggling under the yoke of Islam? On the whole, Arab nations treated their Jewish populations hugely better than Christian nations did. Salah ad-Din was known throughout Western Europe as an example of chivalry, and proved himself to be merciful to his Christian enemies. Dante even included him amongst the virtuous pagans in Limbo. Unlike the Christians, who slaughtered Muslims left, right and centre, Salah ad-Din allowed Christian armies and peoples safe passage after he had defeated them.

The Crusaders did not only target Jews and Muslims, moreover. They also targeted non-orthodox Christians. Consider, as the most striking example, the Albigensian crusade of the 13th century, announced by the Roman Catholic Church against the Cathars. The medieval and early-modern Church was not a nice institution, as the Inquisition amply demonstrated.

I’m not saying that Muslims have never killed people or been responsible for acts of great evil and destruction. I’m saying that there’s nothing unusual about them in that they have done so.

30,000,000 - very conservative estimate of deaths from the slave trade
2,000,000 or more - Native American genocide
60,000 - low-end death toll for the sack of Jerusalem, 1st Crusade
15,000 - estimated death toll of the “Holy” Inquisition
10,000 - deaths in the Albigensian Crusade against Christian “heretics”
3,500 - death toll of the Troubles in Northern Ireland
2,990 - death toll of 9/11

We are in danger of seing the threat from Islam as something unprecedented, and 9/11 is being used as propaganda by those who want to justify enforced regime change and social change in Muslim countries. In reality, there is nothing specific to Islam about such violence. It is just that Christians, on the whole, now have state power and sanction for what they want to do. We don’t need to make terrorist attacks any more because we spent most of our time from the medieval period onwards killing our enemies and forcibly conquering lands we wanted. And we did not spare lives, or bodies, or souls in so doing.

The unprecedented thing about 9/11 was not the death toll, nor was it the use of terrorism. It was the fact that it was aimed at the USA. And those Americans who had tacitly or openly supported the IRA, a group which had held NI and London to ransom for thirty years, didn’t like the fact that terror was now on their own doorstep. I grew up with terrorist attacks on my capital city as a way of life. The difference is, the British didn’t have the handy discourse of Islamophobia to justify going in and annihilating the IRA - and a good number of Irish citizens as collateral damage.

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DH 06.27.06 at 1:56 pm

When I refer to the Crusades I’m talking about in the 600AD where the Jews and the Christian things were being destroyed by the Muslims.

The point I’m trying to make is that both were equally wrong. The first, in the late 700AD, was where the Crusades began not in the 1000’sAD. When looking at the entire time of the Crusades you can see how BOTH were equally wrong. This is in no way to justify the Crusades or the problems of the 1000AD portion of the Crusades.

If you want to talk about genocide look at Communism where 4 million people were killed at the hands of Pol Pot or Stalin where 10million people were killed.

People always never look at the ENTIRE HISTORY when looking at the Crusades. They alway look at the Christian part. How about the attacks by the Turks against Jerusalem where thousands were killed or 1009 when Muslim Turks were destroying anything that remotely was Christian or Jewish. My take is the Crusades began in 637AD when the Arabs ransacked the Mediterranean. This period from 637AD to 1000AD always seems to be forgotten. The loss of life and the attrocities committed are never mentioned by those who want to portray Christianity something it is not.

We also forget that to associate this with Christianity is the same thing as associating Islamofascist beyond it should.

Beyond Christianity we could talk about the Arab rampage of the 700;sAD where it is a fact they wanted to wipe Hinduism off the map with their attack on India.

My first question is always where did it all begin and it seems we need to go back farther in time for an accurate representation of total losses because in the end it is not one sided but equal.

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DH 06.27.06 at 2:07 pm

What is so stupid about applying it to one if for that one it is anaccurate representation of Al Quada, Hammas and the like? We shouldn’t sugar coat the terms for those who started the latest round of violence beginning with 9/11. Before 9/11 things were looking pretty good. All of this just downplays all of the attoricities.

How many peoples lives have been saved by the British standing up to the IRA. The fact remains the IRA was losing the battle and called for a truce. How many of those 30 years could have been elliminated if the attack would have been stronger bythe IRA? How many years of attrocities from Hitler would have been eliminated if Neville Chamberlain never said “we have peace in our time” rather than preempt Hitler after the initial attack on Poland?

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Beth 06.27.06 at 5:03 pm

I’m not trying to sugar-coat anything. Islamic extremists are often anti-Semitic, homophobic and misogynistic. Islamic terrorists are criminals who do not deserve to be allowed into society. These people are a disgrace to their religion and to humanity. They’re not fascists.

The British did not try to change the IRA’s culture or beliefs. They did not portray them as medieval barbarians. They stood up to their violence, that is all. The attacks on Muslim countries, as we have seen from John’s comments here, have as a background the wish to annihilate Muslim culture. It is that to which I object.

You accuse me of not looking at the whole picture, which suggests you did not understand what I was saying. What a surprise. I said clearly, and I will repeat myself, that “I’m not saying that Muslims have never killed people or been responsible for acts of great evil and destruction. I’m saying that there’s nothing unusual about them in that they have done so.” The reason I focussed on the Christian aspect of the Crusades is because I was trying to show that Christianity is equally culpable for violence over the centuries. I would still argue that Christian societies and institutions have caused or condoned more violence and death than most others.

Tell me why exactly you think the Crusades were justified over Muslims destroying Christian “things”? That is the point I was making - the Crusades were a battle fought over possessions. So who cares whether the Holy Land is controlled by Christians or Jews or Arabs? It was not worth the atrocities committed in the name of Christ by the Crusaders.

Finally, I must draw you up again on your historical extrapolation. “How many years of attrocities [sic] from Hitler would have been eliminated…”? “How many peoples [sic] lives have been saved…”? The answer is that we simply don’t know. I doubt you understand the history of the Troubles any better than you understand that of the Crusades. And frankly, dh, your warmongering is making me [sic].

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DH 06.27.06 at 8:36 pm

“The answer is that we simply don’t know.” Oh, come on. We know that France in 1938 had enough of a military to stop the Germans from attacking innocent countries of Poland, Czech, etc. One question: When Neville Chamberlain said “this is peace in our time” was he correct with Hitler continuing his attack was obviously inevidible?

“They stood up to their violence, that is all.” and letting them continue for 30 years is “standing up to them”?

“I doubt you understand the history of the Troubles any better than you understand that of the Crusades.” Is that why you forgot 400 years of history and the beginning of the attrocities in the first place?

“It was not worth the atrocities committed in the name of Christ by the Crusaders.” I agree but it still doesn’t address where it began and the numbers of the attrocities during the 400 years you failed to mention.

“These people are a disgrace to their religion and to humanity. They’re not fascists.” I agree with the first one but disagree with the second one. Terrorists wish to control the worldand in turn make the world one big fascist state.

One thing: “I doubt you understand the history of the Troubles any better than you understand that of the Crusades.” Is that why you failed to mention the precursors to what caused the Crusades namely 600AD to 1000AD of Arab attrocities where entire nations or the desire for entire nations was desired (as I mentioned with regard to Indis) in the name of Allah? This is not a judgement statement for Islam as a whole but only focusing on the violence as you mentioned directly.

“I would still argue that Christian societies and institutions have caused or condoned more violence and death than most others.”
Sorry your numbers just don’t add up with regard to this one.

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DH 06.27.06 at 8:44 pm

To show agreement with you and for us to come together. I agree with your stance toward John. I know him and I agree with regardto terrorism but to project that to Islam on the whole is definitely over the top and wrong.

You say “They did not portray them as medieval barbarians.” Maybe the IRA and Islamic terrorist are just that barbarians in that they are doing barbaric acts (definied: 2 : lacking refinement, learning, or artistic or literary culture) It seems under the second definition we CAN label them barbarians or barbaric (def: 2 a : marked by a lack of restraint : WILD ) Sounds like the term can be used. Maybe people need to get an understanding of the second and teriary defintion rather than jumping to conclusion basedon the first defintion of words.

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Beth 06.27.06 at 11:39 pm

You think we let the IRA “get away with it”? You think we just stood back and watched while they butchered their political enemies and randomly murdered masses of civilians? Just because we didn’t go in all gung-ho-kill-the-ragheads like your delightful country?

Tell me about the Arab atrocities, then.

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DH 06.28.06 at 1:17 pm

“ragheads”. Deosnt’ seem an appropriate term nor would I ever use this term.

Arab attrocities between 600AD and 1000AD are clear they pillaged Palestine andtried to rid and destroy Jewish and Christian sites, under the Turks attacked into nations destroying villages and attempting to destroy entire countries (aka India, Pakistan and the entire region). I think history is evident. The fact isthe attrocities began during this time. Was the response to this overboard and totally wrong? yes but the Crusades was a response to 400 years of tyranny. Was the 400 years after, 1000AD to 1400AD terrible? absolutely but we should sugarcoat either one nor should we attack one over the other for both in amount of horror andthe like they were the same. Even Steven.

With regard to my “delightful country” I think it is the “pot calling the kettle black”. I don’t think you want me to repeat British history on this or (while I agree with the UK response with the US toward Al Quida and Saddam) their dramtic support for the war on terror under the my second favorite PM Blair. (the only one better was Thatcher).

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Beth 06.28.06 at 2:41 pm

“Jewish and Christian sites”… Wait, you’re saying that destroying Jewish and Christian sites is an atrocity? I refer you to my previous point - the Crusades were fought primarily over property, i.e. sites and the like. Are you honestly telling me you think Christendom was up in arms because Arab states were trying to encroach on India? A lot of people in Western Europe didn’t even know that India existed in the seventh century, and if they did they thought it was populated with monsters with blue skin. They may have been a little more worried about the Byzantine Empire, but even then they had no need of sacking Jerusalem in order to check Islamic advances. If they really wanted to turn back the Muslim tide, why weren’t the Crusades fought in Spain? This was primarily about power, land and control of holy sites.

Yup, you’re right, these days my delightful country has been dragged down to the level of yours, jumping on the Bush bandwagon. Thatcher? A more unChristian leader you could not hope to find.

Do people really say “Even Steven”?

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Richard 06.28.06 at 3:04 pm

“Even Stevens” is a phrase I’ve heard, though I’ve got no idea of its origins.

DH, your comment that Blair is your second favourite British pm topped only by Mrs thatcher kind of sums up the “great gulf fixed” between us.

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DH 06.28.06 at 3:55 pm

I was just pointing out the attrocities by the Arab states and showing that the attempt to destroy entire people groups in the name of Allah is just as much as attrocity as the Crusades where done in the extreme. One cannot look at the Crusades as totally a Christian problem even though it was a Christian problem. It was a Christian problem that originally began as a Arab problem.

“Wait, you’re saying that destroying Jewish and Christian sites is an atrocity?” not in andof itself but it included those things that were bad as well as murdering people because they did not profess Allah as god.

“This was primarily about power, land and control of holy sites.” and murdering people who did not profess Allah as god.

Christandom was up in arms because they saw that the Arab world encrotching on the Jews and Christians and many of those people were being murdered during the 600AD to 1000AD. When Jerusalem was overrun it was a wakeup call to the Jews and the Christians. During the 600AD to 1000AD there was no opportunity to take on the Arabs for what they did because they were too strong. Hense the initial response in the 1000AD timeframe. Initially it was appropriate but totally went overboard and became a farse very quickly. To continue to let the Arabs take over terroitories and murder the innocent all in the name of Allah and to destroy any Jewish and Christian sites to attempt to “cloud the truth” needed to stop. To not call these things attrocities seems odd. To not look at the attacks by the Arabs in 600AD to 1000AD against the innocent is hypocritical. I only want to show the accurate balance of thetruth that all parties involved from 600AD to 1400 AD of time were equally bad.

To project the Crusades by not mentioning 600AD to 1000AD attrocities of entire people groups attempting to be elliminated in the name of Allah or projecting that the Crusades were more of a Christian problem as opposed to a Christian problem AND Muslim problem is total revisionist history that I cannot adhere to.

Seems like a good number of people liked Thatcher as well for as long as she was in power bythe nature that the Britsh people voted for her. So to say “great gulf fixed” must include your own people as well as opposed to “great gulf” in the literal “body of water” sense. :)

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Beth 06.29.06 at 12:16 am

Again, I have never said that Muslims or Arabs did not perpetrate atrocities. I simply dispute that the Crusades had pretty much any noble purpose or were done out of some wish to save the people of somewhere like India (who, as I said, most people thought were blue and one-footed anyway!) The Muslim states tended to be a lot more tolerant of non-believers than Christian states were - their treatment of the Jews was generally far more merciful, as I understand it.

The Crusades were a Christian problem in that they were preached by the Church and carried out by Christians against Arabs, Muslims, Jews, heterodox Christians, and anyone who stood in the way. They were not a response to Arab atrocities, but to Muslim power over the holy sites.

(N.B. The First Crusade was preached in 1059, not 1000)

Thatcher was a heretic.

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DH 06.29.06 at 1:50 pm

“The Muslim states tended to be a lot more tolerant of non-believers than Christian states were - their treatment of the Jews was generally far more merciful, as I understand it.”

Isthat why they destroyed important religious sites and destroyed entire villages including the attempt to destroy entire groups of people in the 600AD to 1000AD. (Don’t be condescending with the 1059AD when I already knew that.)

Again you totally failed to mention the 600AD-1059AD attrocities and continue to focus on what the Crusades addressed partly was a reactionto the previous approziamate 459 years.

“….as I understand it.” That is because you try to totally wipe out an entire 459 years of historical attrocities by Muslims.

“They were not a response to Arab atrocities, but to Muslim power over the holy sites.” Sorry it was a combination of both in that the Arabs were taking over entire nations, raping villages and attempting to destroy entire people groups. The reason the people fromthe Crusades stated as their cause wasthe “sites” but one needto recognize that response to the attrocities of 459 years years by the Muslims as being an additional reason. Just because something isn’t the main reason doesn’t mean that there are additional reasons. To totally disregard 600AD to 1059AD seems strange.

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DH 06.29.06 at 1:54 pm

You downgrade the atrocities by not mentioning the atrocities by the hands of the Arabs between 600AD to 1059AD. To me destroying religious sites is also additional attrocities. What should they have done let them destroy them? this is in addition to the violent murderous acts during the 600AD to 1059AD.

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Richard 06.29.06 at 2:14 pm

You’ve made those points before, DH. It doesn’t add anything just to repeat them.

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DH 06.29.06 at 4:32 pm

but are those things going to acknowledged or will they continue to be downgraded? thats all

I have always acknowledged the atrocities of the Crusades but to not acknowledge the atrocities of the 459 years before does a disservice to the facts of history and projects a misrepresentation of history.

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Beth 06.29.06 at 5:06 pm

Frankly, the destruction of religious sites in no way counts as an “atrocity”.

So, give me some references. Where does your information about the Muslims and their atrocities come from? And is there any proof that any such actions against peoples such as the Indians, as you claim, had an effect on the preaching of the Crusades? Give me some reputable sources for what you’re saying.

I will not repeat this again: I am not ignoring Arab atrocities - although again I would be pleased if you would provide some sources for yoru claims. Please re-read the beginning of my last post; I think you will see that your accusation of “downplaying” does not stand up.

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Beth 06.29.06 at 5:07 pm

I’m sorry - the beginning of that post should read: “Frankly, the destruction of religious sites in the context of the medieval Middle East in no way counts as an atrocity.”

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DH 06.29.06 at 7:09 pm

So you make exceptions for the Middle East as compared with other geographic regions. Sounds like a double standard to me.

“in the context of the medieval Middle East ” bo exceptions should be made “destruction of religious sites” are what they are “destruction of religious sites” and exceptions make no sense.

“And is there any proof that any such actions against peoples such as the Indians, as you claim, had an effect on the preaching of the Crusades?” I never claimed this. I was stating that what happened in India was not indicative of what happened in other areas including the apttempts in Media, Palestine and the like. I believe that the the Arabs “paid the price” not in a direct source way (in that the main reason was what you said) but in a Spiritual way in response to the actions from 600AD to 1059AD. The “sacking of Jerusalem” should never have been done and was an atrocity. This “sacking” is common knowledge and you know it.

How are you not ignoring it when you don’t mention it within the proper context of the Crusades? The Crusaders may not have realized that or the reasons were totally different at the time, but history seems to show a punishment (indirect) toward the Arabs for what they did from 600AD to 1059AD. This doesn’t condone the Crusades not justifies it but it does show how BOTH were equally bad. To focus solely on Christian Crusades and not the Arab type of Crusades for the 600AD to 1059AD.

It seems to me that 600AD to 1059ADwas an Arab Crusade (in that the reason was to remove Christian and Jewish site and make Islam the sole religion) and 1059AD to 1400’sAD was a christian Crusade (the same thing only from a so-called christian perspective).
any of the military expeditions undertaken by Christian powers in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries to win the Holy Land from the Muslims.”

Then it appears that 600AD to 1059AD was “any of the military expeditions undertaken by Arab powers in the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th centuries to win the Holy Land from the Jews and Christians”

If Crusades were “

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Beth 06.29.06 at 8:39 pm

Okay, so what you’re saying is that you have no real sources for your historical analysis. “The Crusaders may not have realized that or the reasons were totally different at the time, but history seems to show a punishment (indirect) toward the Arabs for what they did from 600AD to 1059AD.”

Yes, I make exceptions for medieval Jerusalem, at least, because it was a site claimed as holy by three different religions. To destroy religious sites in order to make way for one’s own religion is different from destroying them wantonly. Nonetheless, with one notable exception, the Muslims did not ravage the holy sites of Jerusalem, nor did they massacre its Christian or Jewish inhabitants.

“The sack of Jerusalem” is used to refer to more than one historical event. I assume you refer to the sack of the city in 614 CE by the Persians? Since we began this discussion about the relative effect of Christian and Muslim societies and institutions, it is worth noting that the Persians were not yet Muslim. This was not an Islamic invasion of Jerusalem, but a Persian invasion. This being so, it doesn’t really support your argument particularly well.

The Islamic Conquest of Jerusalem came in 638, and the city submitted to the invaders. As “People of the Book”, Christians and Jews were allowed to exist relatively peacefully in Muslim lands, provided that they accepted Muslim rule. Jews had not been tolerated by the Byzantine rulers of Jerusalem, but the Muslims allowed them back in. The one period of difficulty came in the early eleventh century, when Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah ordered the destruction of synagogues and churches in Jerusalem. These policies were unprecedented and were reversed by his successors.

When the next Sack of Jerusalem came, in 1099, it was by Crusaders, who proceeded to murder the majority of the city’s Jews and Muslims.

Our original discussion here was about the relative destruction wreaked by Christianity and Islam. There is a danger of conflating “Arab” with “Muslim” in this period, but it would be a mistake to do so. If you are really claiming that the Crusades were a punishment sent to Muslims and Jews for what the Persians did, then you may need to rethink whether your God is really just!

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DH 06.29.06 at 10:01 pm

“To destroy religious sites in order to make way for one’s own religion is different from destroying them wantonly. Nonetheless, with one notable exception, the Muslims did not ravage the holy sites of Jerusalem, nor did they massacre its Christian or Jewish inhabitants.”

Don’t buy this.

“the city submitted to the invaders.” Was this done with a threat of force or murder? My history shows this. How about the Turks?You can see the Muslim atrocities as well during this period. These are overlooked.

I see no difference between these two. Hense are seperation between us:
“To destroy religious sites in order to make way for one’s own religion is different from destroying them wantonly.”

Hense your exceptions seem inconsistant to me. To focus solely on the christian Crusades and not the Arab/Muslim Crusades seems rather oddto me.

Also, it is not for me to question whether my God is just or not because I already know that my God IS just. It may not be our defintion of just but God’s Holiness is greater than us. When we make value judgements on God we run into problems. It is not for us to question God’s fairness in light of our current situations because God IS fair. Do things appear not fair? yes but in God’s eyes they are. We all deserve death “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.” By Faith in Christ alone for Salvation we receive the Grace to overcome death and receive life.

We can talk about religion but it is all amatter of relationship with Christ and the consistency of Christ and God throughout all of history. Just because the Crusaders said the were Christian doesn’t mean they truly were. To project Christianity on them because they said it was in the name of Christ doesn’t make the atrocities Christian. IMHO

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Richard 06.30.06 at 8:19 am

At the risk of ignoring my own advice, you don’t strengthen your case by simply repeating it, DH,

On your last paragraph, well - yes. But I know Muslims who say more or less the same thing. There’s no such thing as “Christian atrocities” if ‘christian’ is used as an adjective. But there are atrocities committed by Christians. Just as there are atrocities committed by Muslims. Beth’s point is surely a simple one — that, historically speaking, Islam has no monopoly on violence.

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Beth 06.30.06 at 11:12 am

You “don’t buy this”. Why not? It’s documented historical fact - as factual as history can ever be, anyway. Is it because you simply assume that the Muslims were violent and unpleasant? In that case, your argument is circular.

If we all deserve death, then your argument about the Crusades being a particular punishment is meaningless. And I would maintain that there is no sense, either historical or theological, in believing that God would punish one group for the sins of a different group, just because they had the same skin colour.

And at the risk of repeating myself, please, please, stop conflating Arab and Muslim.

Thanks Richard - your summary is pretty much on the nose! I would, however, expand on your definition - “atrocities committed by Christians”, yes; but more than this, there are atrocities sanctioned by the Church. If we cannot call these “Christian atrocities”, then referring to “Muslim atrocities” should also be disallowed.

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DH 06.30.06 at 1:54 pm

Richard I never disagreed with that but for her to say that Christians committed more is just plain wrong. It is equally both.

It was documented fact that they were violent. I mentioned this many times and you know this.

“If we all deserve death, then your argument about the Crusades being a particular punishment is meaningless.” Not if you seperate the physical from the Spiritual. There is justice (Spiritual death) in a Spiritual sense toward those who reject the Grace of God and there is justice in a physical sense toward those who commit atrocities whoever they may be.

Again, everyone knows that Islam has no monopoly on violence but the same thing goes for atrocities commited by Christians. I prefer “so-called Christians” but for the sakeof argument I get the point.

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DH 06.30.06 at 2:11 pm

For the sake of balance due to only the so-called christian atrocities were mentioned I thought I would show how that it was equal between Christian and Muslim:

630 Two years before Muhammad’s death of a fever, he launches the Tabuk Crusades, in which he led 30,000 jihadists against the Byzantine Christians. He had heard a report that a huge army had amassed to attack Arabia, but the report turned out to be a false rumor. The Byzantine army never materialized. He turned around and went home, but not before extracting “agreements” from northern tribes. They could enjoy the “privilege” of living under Islamic “protection” (read: not be attacked by Islam), if they paid a tax (jizya).

This tax sets the stage for Muhammad’s and the later Caliphs’ policies. If the attacked city or region did not want to convert to Islam, then they paid a jizya tax. If they converted, then they paid a zakat tax. Either way, money flowed back to the Islamic treasury in Arabia or to the local Muslim governor.

632-634 Under the Caliphate of Abu Bakr the Muslim Crusaders reconquer and sometimes conquer for the first time the polytheists of Arabia. These Arab polytheists had to CONVERT TO ISLAM OR DIE. They did not have the choice of remaining in their faith and paying a tax.

633 The Muslim Crusaders, led by Khalid al-Walid, a superior but bloodthirsty military commander, whom Muhammad nicknamed the Sword of Allah for his ferocity in battle (Tabari, 8:158 / 1616-17), conquer the city of Ullays along the Euphrates River (in today’s Iraq). Khalid captures and beheads so many that a nearby canal, into which the blood flowed, was called Blood Canal (Tabari 11:24 / 2034-35).

634 At the Battle of Yarmuk in Syria the Muslim Crusaders defeat the Byzantines. Today Osama bin Laden draws inspiration from the defeat, and especially from an anecdote about Khalid al-Walid. An unnamed Muslim remarks: “The Romans are so numerous and the Muslims so few.” To this Khalid retorts: “How few are the Romans, and how many the Muslims! Armies become numerous only with victory and few only with defeat, not by the number of men. By God, I would love it . . . if the enemy were twice as many” (Tabari, 11:94 / 2095). Osama bin Ladin quotes Khalid and says that his fighters love death more than we in the West love life. This philosophy of death probably comes from a verse like Sura 2:96. Muhammad assesses the Jews: “[Prophet], you are sure to find them [the Jews] clinging to life more eagerly than any other people, even polytheists” The Qur’an, Oxford UP, 2004;

634-644 The Caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khattab, who is regarded as particularly brutal.

635 Muslim Crusaders besiege and conquer of Damascus

636 Muslim Crusaders defeat Byzantines decisively at Battle of Yarmuk.

637 Muslim Crusaders conquer Iraq at the Battle of al-Qadisiyyah (some date it in 635 or 636)

638 Muslim Crusaders conquer and annex Jerusalem, taking it from the Byzantines.

638-650 Muslim Crusaders conquer Iran, except along Caspian Sea.

639-642 Muslim Crusaders conquer Egypt.

641 Muslim Crusaders control Syria and Palestine.

643-707 Muslim Crusaders conquer North Africa.

644 Caliph Umar is assassinated by a Persian prisoner of war; Uthman ibn Affan is elected third Caliph, who is regarded by many Muslims as gentler than Umar.

644-650 Muslim Crusaders conquer Cyprus, Tripoli in North Africa, and establish Islamic rule in Iran, Afghanistan, and Sind.

656 Caliph Uthman is assassinated by disgruntled Muslim soldiers; Ali ibn Abi Talib, son-in-law and cousin to Muhammad, who married the prophet’s daughter Fatima through his first wife Khadija, is set up as Caliph.

656 Battle of the Camel, in which Aisha, Muhammad’s wife, leads a rebellion against Ali for not avenging Uthman’s assassination. Ali’s partisans win.

657 Battle of Siffin between Ali and Muslim governor of Jerusalem, arbitration goes against Ali

661 Murder of Ali by an extremist; Ali’s supporters acclaim his son Hasan as next Caliph, but he comes to an agreement with Muawiyyah I and retires to Medina.

661-680 the Caliphate of Muawiyyah I. He founds Umayyid dynasty and moves capital from Medina to Damascus

673-678 Arabs besiege Constantinople, capital of Byzantine Empire

680 Massacre of Hussein (Muhammad’s grandson), his family, and his supporters in Karbala, Iraq.

691 Dome of the Rock is completed in Jerusalem, only six decades after Muhammad’s death.

705 Abd al-Malik restores Umayyad rule.

710-713 Muslim Crusaders conquer the lower Indus Valley.

711-713 Muslim Crusaders conquer Spain and impose the kingdom of Andalus. This article recounts how Muslims today still grieve over their expulsion 700 years later. They seem to believe that the land belonged to them in the first place.

719 Cordova, Spain, becomes seat of Arab governor

732 The Muslim Crusaders stopped at the Battle of Poitiers; that is, Franks (France) halt Arab advance

749 The Abbasids conquer Kufah and overthrow Umayyids

756 Foundation of Umayyid amirate in Cordova, Spain, setting up an independent kingdom from Abbasids

762 Foundation of Baghdad

785 Foundation of the Great Mosque of Cordova

789 Rise of Idrisid amirs (Muslim Crusaders) in Morocco; foundation of Fez; Christoforos, a Muslim who converted to Christianity, is executed.

800 Autonomous Aghlabid dynasty (Muslim Crusaders) in Tunisia

807 Caliph Harun al-Rashid orders the destruction of non-Muslim prayer houses and of the church of Mary Magdalene in Jerusalem

809 Aghlabids (Muslim Crusaders) conquer Sardinia, Italy

813 Christians in Palestine are attacked; many flee the country

831 Muslim Crusaders capture Palermo, Italy; raids in Southern Italy

850 Caliph al-Matawakkil orders the destruction of non-Muslim houses of prayer

855 Revolt of the Christians of Hims (Syria)

837-901 Aghlabids (Muslim Crusaders) conquer Sicily, raid Corsica, Italy, France

869-883 Revolt of black slaves in Iraq

909 Rise of the Fatimid Caliphate in Tunisia; these Muslim Crusaders occupy Sicily, Sardinia

928-969 Byzantine military revival, they retake old territories, such as Cyprus (964) and Tarsus (969)

937 The Ikhshid, a particularly harsh Muslim ruler, writes to Emperor Romanus, boasting of his control over the holy places

937 The Church of the Resurrection (known as Church of Holy Sepulcher in Latin West) is burned down by Muslims; more churches in Jerusalem are attacked

960 Conversion of Qarakhanid Turks to Islam

966 Anti-Christian riots in Jerusalem

969 Fatimids (Muslim Crusaders) conquer Egypt and found Cairo

c. 970 Seljuks enter conquered Islamic territories from the East

973 Israel and southern Syria are again conquered by the Fatimids

1003 First persecutions by al-Hakim; the Church of St. Mark in Fustat, Egypt, is destroyed

1009 Destruction of the Church of the Resurrection by al-Hakim (see 937)

1012 Beginning of al-Hakim’s oppressive decrees against Jews and Christians

1015 Earthquake in Palestine; the dome of the Dome of the Rock collapses

1031 Collapse of Umayyid Caliphate and establishment of 15 minor independent dynasties throughout Muslim Andalus

1048 Reconstruction of the Church of the Resurrection completed

1050 Creation of Almoravid (Muslim Crusaders) movement in Mauretania; Almoravids (aka Murabitun) are coalition of western Saharan Berbers; followers of Islam, focusing on the Quran, the hadith, and Maliki law.

1055 Seljuk Prince Tughrul enters Baghdad, consolidation of the Seljuk Sultanate

1055 Confiscation of property of Church of the Resurrection

1071 Battle of Manzikert, Seljuk Turks (Muslim Crusaders) defeat Byzantines and occupy much of Anatolia

1071 Turks (Muslim Crusaders) invade Palestine

1073 Conquest of Jerusalem by Turks (Muslim Crusaders)

1075 Seljuks (Muslim Crusaders) capture Nicea (Iznik) and make it their capital in Anatolia

1076 Almoravids (Muslim Crusaders) (see 1050) conquer western Ghana

1085 Toledo is taken back by Christian armies

1086 Almoravids (Muslim Crusaders) (see 1050) send help to Andalus, Battle of Zallaca

1090-1091 Almoravids (Muslim Crusaders) occupy all of Andalus except Saragossa and Balearic Islands

1094 Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus I asks western Christendom for help against Seljuk invasions of his territory; Seljuks are Muslim Turkish family of eastern origins; see 970

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Richard 06.30.06 at 6:30 pm

Thanks for that, DH. If you lift extensive material from the web it is good form to cite your source. Speaking for myself, I’m not convinced that The American Thinker could be called impartial, but maybe that’s just me.

But in a way you’ve taken us back ‘on topic’ by quoting this piece, since it is clear from this and other articles that he has written that the author does not your your view that the ‘problem’ is not Islam, but a fanatical subset of it. It is quite clear that he believes that Islam is violent and oppressive in and of itself. I do not share that view.

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Beth 06.30.06 at 7:26 pm

“Richard I never disagreed with that but for her to say that Christians committed more is just plain wrong. It is equally both.”

“She” would like to ask how you come to that conclusion. You have shown that some Muslims fought battles in the Middle Ages. They attempted to spread their religion and power during this period. So far, so equal, as Christians certainly attempted to do the same.

However, my claim that Christianity has historically been the more destructive force did not rest on this period of history. As you will see if you look back, I cited the thousands who died during the Inquisition (sanctioned and carried out by the Church), and in the Albigensian Crusade (again violence sanctioned by the Church against fellow-Christians). I also cited the genocide of Native Americans by the colonial settlers - a Christian Society under God? And the Holocaust - the German bishops happily posed for photographs as they voted for Hitler, the Vatican did little to condemn the treatment of Jews, and “Christian” countries such as America and Britain were too anti-Semitic to help. The slave trade which, at the highest estimates, may have cost thirty million lives, was sanctioned by the Church.

So, where has Islam done things of equal horror and destruction?

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DH 06.30.06 at 7:46 pm

My piece I quoted was not in reference to the views of the author but on the individual events in time. It appears those individual bits written from the timeframe mentioned didn’t seem biased. The analogy would be equivilent to the BBC stating that the Declaration of Indepenence of the US was ratified in 1776. That is an accurate statement but we all know the BBC is British but that Britishness (not a word) doesn’t cloud the factual statement mentioned by the BBC. The same goes for this.
Not too many places have the individual incidents and if you look at each piece of history quoted you can see how it was not written with a bias. The website true is biased and I don’t agree with their opinions in full. However, the history I referenced seemed very unbiased and substantiated. Conclusions that Muslim is totally violent? I don’t agree with totally.

Beth,
I could mention Hammas, insurgents, PLO, terrorist organizations. The attempt to overtake Israel which they were able to successfully defend. I like to go back to Richard’s comment with regard to Christian violence.

“…and “Christian” countries such as America and Britain were too anti-Semitic to help.?” Nobody thought that anybody would do such a thing. The evidence seemed so out their at the time to be believed. America and Britain anti-semetic. Come on If it weren’t for America and Britain the world be controlled by the Third Reich and with Hitlers death the fourth Reich. The fact remains that by liberating Europe from the Nazi regime the Jews were liberated and thus the Jews “were helped” by Britain andthe US by doing the liberating. If we followed your lead of non-violence America and Britain would never have liberated Europeand the Jews would be continued to be oppressed. This seems indirectly anti-Semetic to me to not support something that is the only way to liberate people from a dictator who did hold to “peace in our time”.

633 The Muslim Crusaders, led by Khalid al-Walid, a superior but bloodthirsty military commander, whom Muhammad nicknamed the Sword of Allah for his ferocity in battle (Tabari, 8:158 / 1616-17), conquer the city of Ullays along the Euphrates River (in today’s Iraq). Khalid captures and beheads so many that a nearby canal, into which the blood flowed, was called Blood Canal (Tabari 11:24 / 2034-35).

They did more than that

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Beth 06.30.06 at 10:26 pm

“Britishness” is a word. “anti-Semetic” isn’t.
Neither are “attitibute”, “upteenth”, “inevidible” or “encrotching”.

I can’t be bothered to continue this pointless argument with someone who has no idea of historical method, no insight into his own or others’ biases, and a complete inability to speak the English language with any clarity or coherence.

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Richard 06.30.06 at 11:57 pm

I for one admire your stamina, Beth!

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DH 07.03.06 at 1:49 pm

Not mentioning the additional 459 years is “proper historical method”?

Wow, I’m glad you admitted you have a bias. That was the whole point of this.

I can’t be bothered by people who fail to mention or downplay entire centuries of atrocities and who contiunes to focus on ones own bias rather than myself which has shown that BOTH are equally wrong.

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Beth 07.03.06 at 5:04 pm

Exactly my point - you have no insight into your own bias. I am certainly biased against historical Christianity, and I will admit so freely. I don’t believe I have “shown” anything; I have simply argued the case which I believe to be correct and hoped to persuade others of my view. On the other hand, you are so sure that you are right, that what you have to say need only be demonstrated rather than argued, that it is the truth rather than one way of interpreting historical events.

And, yet again, I never ignored or downplayed Muslim atrocities, I only tried to provide some numbers which suggest that Christian atrocities have had a greater impact historically. Please stop accusing me of this, when I have agreed again and again that Muslim people, cultures and institutions have indeed been responsible for significant violence and destruction.

A tip: try writing shorter sentences, and think them through before you write them down. That way, you’re more likely to make sense and people will be more inclined to listen to what you’re saying.

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DH 07.03.06 at 6:13 pm

“I never ignored or downplayed Muslim atrocities.” Why was it that I was the one to show the atrocities rather than be fair and show the balance between the two? That’s all. Richard said it best that we all three can agree with on “Christian atrocities” etc. I really liked his statement and I think we should just all three stick with that.

My suggestion is for you never to state that you are tolerant when you yourself acknowledge your own bias showing your intolerance.

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Beth 07.03.06 at 6:55 pm

Bias and intolerance are two different things. I have a bias towards chocolate ice-cream; that does not mean I am intolerant of vanilla. No-one is unbiased, but acknowledging ones biases helps to guard against intolerances.

I do agree with Richard’s useful terminology of atrocities committed by Muslims/Christians, but with a caveat - as I argued in response, there have also been atrocities directly begun by the Christian Church, such as the Inquisition, which I would argue are “Christian atrocities”.

The reason you were the one to bring up Muslim atrocities before the Crusades was that my argument was about showing that Christian atrocities had happened, trying to balance out the focus on Islam which I had found in the discussion here so far. I was not ignoring anything, but presenting issues and events in Christian history which I felt were being underplayed in the focus on Islamic violence and 9/11. Added to this, please remember that my argument did not centre on the Crusades, but on a wider span of history. I am not particularly interested in the equality or otherwise of violence in the Crusade period. I am interested in the wider focus, and I still maintain that Christianity has more consistently been implicated and involved in violence than has Islam. I hope that helps to explain things.

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DH 07.03.06 at 8:50 pm

“I am interested in the wider focus, and I still maintain that Christianity has more consistently been implicated and involved in violence than has Islam.”

I still don’t understand how Christianity is involved more than Islam. To me your bias against Christianity shows an intolerance. The analogy, while is closer in explaining it, doesn’t quite work in that a bias towards chocolate was based on “liking” chocolotate while your bias toward Christanity was based on “not liking” it.

To me a bias against something and intolerant against something seems no difference. Maybe you can explain this a little better? Your views against Christianity seems to show a clouding of your bias/intolerance but that is just my observation.

With regard to Christianity atrocities. Many people say they are a Christian but truly aren’t. So to attribute “Christianity” to something that truly isn’t seems strange. However, when one looks at Islam and the attrocities perpetuated by Mohammed when he was alive and his endorcement of violence against non-Muslim one can get an idea of how the extremes began. I know some Muslims who rightfully make exceptions for Mohammad and the violence he perpetrated so this statement is not a judgement on the people as a whole (however I do believe they need Jesus as their Savior but that is a seperate issue in this discussion).
I hope this makes sense.

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Beth 07.03.06 at 9:08 pm

My bias against Christianity is not based in “not liking” Christianity - that would be rather ludicrous. It is based in a conviction that the Christian Church has been partly or wholly responsible for much violence and suffering in the world.

You argue that some people who claim to work in the name of God are in fact not doing so - I agree. Nonetheless, when the Church, which is the voice of Christendom and of Christians endorses or begins campaigns of violence, then I see a difference - this is institutional Christian violence. You would have to argue in such cases that the Church and all Christians were “not Christian”.

Provide me with some facts about Muhammad’s violence and we can talk about it.

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DH 07.05.06 at 4:17 pm

I already did within the quote I referenced read it for yourself. He was the one who endorsed what was going on during the 7th century AD.

“You would have to argue in such cases that the Church and all Christians were “not Christian”.” I wouldn’t have to argue this because many went to church were Christian. Also, we must define violence. I argue that some violence is actually self defense. If a group is destroying sites and threatens to murder people who stand in the way and they are not willing to be reasoned with then my opinion is going against these people to stop them from doing it again is appropriate.

I feel we must stop this discussion because it is difficult to discuss with someone who doesn’t look at destroying religious sites as an atrocity.

I just don’t buy the “wholly” part inlight of my self defense andprotection of future murder of the innocents.

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Beth 07.05.06 at 7:05 pm

a) I didn’t say destroying sites was not an atrocity; I said that, in the context, it was not an atrocity. Basically, in that period, Jerusalem was in a series of different hands, each one with different beliefs, and each one trying to undo the effects of the last “owner” in order to make its own mark. Further, historical sources suggest that on only one occasion (which I detailed above) did a Muslim ruler destroy Christian or Jewish sites, an act which was repudiated by his successors.

b) the quotation you cited has no status as an historical source; provide me with something which has some kind of academic authority, or with quotations from the Qu’uran rather than the selective ideas of an anti-Muslim website.

c) “many went to church were Christian” - but the Church itself was preaching the Crusade, and later the Inquisition - you could not go to Church and be a Christian without accepting the Church’s teaching; otherwise you would be executed. Therefore, either Christians and the Christian Church advocated and performed these atrocities, or the Church itself and all its adherents were not Christian.

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John 07.10.06 at 10:38 pm

We do not credit to, well, reality, if we pretend that terrorism by some people from the Middle East has nothing to do with Islam. Nor that the oppression of women in those lands has anything to do with Islam. Nor homosexuals, etc. Why? Because the advocates of these brutal practices base their actions on their Islamic faith, and say so, over and over and over again. Therefore our attempts to create a word to define this enemy must incorporate this vital understanding of that enemy.

To quote the great philosopher Donald Rumsfeld, one is entitled to one’s own set of opinions, but not one’s own set of facts. And the reality is that Islam is the common element in these phenomenon, obfuscations notwithstanding.

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DH 07.11.06 at 1:55 pm

Even within your context it was an atrocity. So I just don’t “buy this”.

On C How about many of those who secretly didn’t accept? I know there are millions in China who are Christian who face the possibility of persecution everyday. I think you need to rethink your position on this.

On b) many of the quotes ARE from the Quran or from historical quotations from Muslim leaders. The references are provided from the site. The statments referenced were not an endorsement of the site but the quotations and the statements ARE historical.

John on the last post seems right on. I won’t lump all of Islam in that category but it does seem the common thread among terrorists is a ultra-fundamental version of Islam. Hense the term we used is appropriate.

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Kamal 07.14.06 at 10:02 pm

Richard - thanks for your thoughtful blog. I, as a Muslim, didn’t have a clue what this ‘Islamofacist extremism’ was so I thought I’d try to find out. You’re absolutely right that it seems to be solely a pejorative term and I’m glad to see someone recognize it.

If we in North America would start to use the term ‘Christofacist’ to refer to Hitler, for instance - the original facist (in our minds) - I would change my tune. For those with short memories, point 24 in the Nazi manifesto was ‘The Party, as such, stands for Positive Christianity’.

So, the day North Americans start to refer to the ‘Christofacist’ Hitler they are welcome to use the term ‘Islamofacist’. Until then, it is clearly a pejorative racist term in my mind.

Similarly, I look forward to seeing references to ‘Christian fundamentalism’ and ‘Christian extremism’ in America’s ‘Bible Belt’, etc.

If you wouldn’t say it about yourself and your own religion, don’t say it about others!

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John 07.28.06 at 9:08 pm

Except of course that Hitler was openly opposed to Christianity, and therefore cannot be seen as ‘Christofascist’.

And Christian fundamentalists somehow to not butcher children in marketplaces with bombs, nor crash airlines into skyscrapers.

Ah, those stubborn, stubborn facts.

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