Qur’an burning: Where does Freedom of Speech fit in?


by guest
11th September, 2010 at 11:32 am    

This is a joint post by Shamit and Rumbold

Global news media have had one common headline over the past few days – a Christian pastor wanting to burn the Qur’an. World leaders, including the Vatican, have condemned the proposed event in Gainesville Florida, yet violent protests have erupted in parts of the Muslim world.

Pastor Terry Jones is an unpleasant individual. The minister behind the now-suspended Qur’an burning lives in luxury, yet forces his followers to live in accommodation he owns and work long hours for his business unpaid. His own daughter labelled his group a ‘cult’ which had no more than fifty followers until this whole controversy got the oxygen of 24×7 media publicity around the globe.

Book burning is never right. It is not only vulgar, but also invokes memories of totalitarian regimes trying to destroy ideas they do not approve of. Furthermore, it indicates a failure of the burner to combat what is written, leaving them with no option but to try and erase what they could not challenge intellectually. And, in secular societies, such as the United States, a man of god should respect rights of others to practice their religion as they see fit.

This proposed Qur’an burning has been widely condemned by plenty of prominent people; no doubt many of those share the aversion to book burning. But some have condemned the proposed actions of an unknown, leading a handful of people, not because of the hurt it causes to ordinary Muslims worldwide, but the expected violent reactions of a small community of criminals within the Muslim world that would attack and kill innocent people.

Neither the Qur’an burning nor the violent reactions of the small community of Muslims have wider support among Christians or Muslims. In fact, both actions go against the teachings of the religion they profess to defend. Yet the global community is obsessed with the actions of these minorities. But the biggest casualty in all this is the freedom of speech and expression which are integral to a free, democratic and secular society.

Free speech takes many forms, and that includes the right to offend. There is no point in claiming to believe in free speech, unless you also defend the right of people to do things like this (even if at the same time you urge them to stop because it is unnecessarily rude).

The President of the United States, his cabinet members and senior armed forces commanders have all urged the despicable Terry Jones to stop his event and rightly so. The global media, however, chose to highlight phrases within those statements that directly point towards the potential reaction among a small group of hardliners within the Muslim community, who anyway wish to destroy the US and the West. Curtailing freedom of speech due to the fear of what a small group might do is deeply disturbing and goes against the very basic ethos of a democracy – and definitely the ethos of the “land of the free and home of the brave”.

The Qur’an is a book, not a person. Burning it is not the same as burning a person. It is not incitement to violence (and the lack of riots when say, a mother or child is murdered by Al Qaeda betrays a certain hypocrisy), unless you believe in the fallacy that Muslims are inherently violent.

There have been some very sensible reactions to this inherently stupid and hurtful idea of burning a Koran. The one that stands out is the position taken by the Southern California chapter of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) – they plan to counter the burning through education, by handing out thousands of free Qur’ans across America.

Others need to follow their lead and make debate the battleground once again, not book burnings or threats of violence. If we change the way we live and discard our principles the fundamentalists of all colour, creed and religion would win – we must never accept that irrespective of the sacrifices we may have to make. Pluralism and debate make our societies great – and that is what the fundamentalists of all types hate most about us. We must not give them an inch when it comes to curbing pluralism and freedom of speech and expression.


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  1. sunny hundal

    Blogged: : Qur’an burning: Where does Freedom of Speech fit in? http://bit.ly/ck1TNj


  2. Iman Qureshi

    Qur’an burning: Where does Freedom of Speech fit in http://bit.ly/aqfDmv –> Finally, the real issues behind this Quran burning farce.


  3. Andy Burge

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : Qur’an burning: Where does Freedom of Speech fit in? http://bit.ly/ck1TNj


  4. Rachel Danae Stalker

    Superb and important article RT @sunny_hundal Blogged: : Qur’an burning: Where does Freedom of Speech fit in? http://bit.ly/ck1TNj


  5. Rachel Danae Stalker

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  8. Martell Thornton

    Pickled Politics » Qur'an burning: Where does Freedom of Speech …: The one that stands out is the position taken… http://bit.ly/dpMT12


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  1. douglas clark — on 11th September, 2010 at 12:23 pm  

    Absolutely spot on.

    This also summarises it quite well, I think:

    http://www.jesusandmo.net/2010/09/08/crass/

    Thanks to Tim J on LC for pointing it out.

  2. Sandbur — on 11th September, 2010 at 12:40 pm  

    I urge every reasonable American to attend these Quran burnings – and be sure to bring your fire extinguisher!

    If they can light the bonfire because of their freedom of speech, then we can exercise our freedom of speech by putting it out!

  3. June — on 11th September, 2010 at 2:53 pm  

    It should be obvious to all but the brain-dead that jihadists need no provocation to attack people. Like what was their jusitifcation for last week’s murderous mosque attack in Quetta that killed 73 people participating in a religious procession?

  4. damon — on 11th September, 2010 at 3:00 pm  

    Fair points there in the main post – but it does come across as overly seriuos and concerned.
    You could of course just shrug and laugh.

    a man of god should respect rights of others to practice their religion as they see fit.

    What’s that about? A man of god? Just call him a nutter and be done with it.
    It’s all very well talking about ”a small community of criminals” … but a whole lot more will think that America as a whole would have to take some responsibility for this grave crime against their holy book.

  5. joe90 — on 11th September, 2010 at 3:25 pm  

    The media hyped this story so much it was unavoidable. How many more lunatics in america do you think will see this and think ah hah lets burn a koran to gain world wide attention!

    They should have let this moron burn the koran because he will look a bigger moran than he already is. A lot worse has happened to the koran in places like iraq and afghanistan where troops have desecrated places of worship and violated holy books.

  6. Don — on 11th September, 2010 at 5:21 pm  

    Now we have had all this fuss about this small-time crank I’m fairly sure it will become a regular thing. Phelps has already said he intends to take over if Jones backs down.

    A lot of sad, bitter little men will be fizzing with envy at the attention this nutter got and will copy-cat in droves. Not that you get droves of cats, but you know what I mean.

    Jones’ plans were a minor and much derided item on the internet before MSM ran with it, making it ‘news’.

  7. jool — on 11th September, 2010 at 5:43 pm  

    Sandbur, not if its on private property you can’t.

    Trespass is a criminal offence in the US, don’t you know?

  8. MaidMarian — on 11th September, 2010 at 5:49 pm  

    ‘Burning it is not the same as burning a person. It is not incitement to violence (and the lack of riots when say, a mother or child is murdered by Al Qaeda betrays a certain hypocrisy), unless you believe in the fallacy that Muslims are inherently violent.’

    Bang on. An awful lot of the reaction to this has had the undertone that there is something about muslims that is different and will make ‘them’ react violently. Many people will be angry about a book burning, but there is no assumption that they will all turn into suicide bombers. It is profoundly racist thinking, and many on the anti-war left should hang their heads over buying into it.

    The bottom line is that Jones is a panto dame who, sadly, has the media eating out of his hand. I don’t live in New York, and I don’t know anyone who died there. I for one have no intention of piggy-backing my politics onto the grief of others – that Jones is being indulged speakks volumes of the ghoulish approach the media has to identity politics and 9/11.

  9. Sarah AB — on 11th September, 2010 at 6:02 pm  

    The disproportionate attention this man has received mirrors the disproportionate (and unhelpful) attention given to Anjem Choudary.

  10. tony — on 11th September, 2010 at 6:23 pm  

    “It is profoundly racist thinking”

    How many times must it be pointed out that Islam is a religion and not a race.

    MaidMarian, what race do you define Islam as?

  11. June — on 11th September, 2010 at 7:22 pm  

    Don’t tell any muslims about Robbie Burns’ Koran.

    They might declare war on Scotland.

  12. Lucy — on 11th September, 2010 at 8:18 pm  

    A friend in NYC writes re the rev Terry Jones (!)

    “And, by the way, I liked him a lot more when he was a member of the Monty Python troupe. But isn’t this kind of Python-esque in its way, too?”

    – Spot on, I’d say…

  13. dmra — on 11th September, 2010 at 9:33 pm  

    Tony

    “How many times must it be pointed out that Islam is a religion and not a race.”

    I don’t speak for MaidMarian but here’s my view on Islam as a race/religion.

    Islam is a proseltysing religion open to all regardless of origin, ethnicity gender or any other factor. Therefore, “Muslim” by definition cannot refer to a race.

    However bigoted people don’t always tend to think things through in that kind of logical way. Since the overwhelming majority of Muslims are foreign (ie to Europeans or Americans) it is perfectly clear that some people consider them to be effectively a “race” and use “Muslim” as a shorthand derogotary term.

    In a similar way somebody might say “I hate Africans”. “African” is not “a race” but I would still very much suspect that anybody saying “I hate Africans” is likely to be motivated by racism!

  14. douglas clark — on 11th September, 2010 at 10:12 pm  

    I’d have thought we could run a competition based on outrageousness. It would have two criteria. How small is the organisation making the headlines and how many column inches do they generate?

    It was the desire to shock that made punk rock what it was. The people who make the column inches these days seem to be even better, media savvy, operators. They represent no-one except a few hangers on. And they seem to spend 24/7 finding more and more ludicrous things to say. Shock Jocks the lot of them.

    And the media whores itself to them.

    Mainly because the media needs them, especially in it’s 24 hour iteration. To fill in the longueurs in the permanent news cycle, where nothing much is actually happening.

    Consequently it is us that are exploited, becoming outraged about someone drunk on their own rhetoric. (Who you’d really walk past – eyes averted – were you to encounter them on the street.)

    It seems obvious to me that these people are nutters. But we are the victims of this ludicrous new idea that, because someone is on the telly, they actually matter a jot.

    No they don’t.

  15. tony — on 11th September, 2010 at 11:37 pm  

    Dmra,

    It was a simple question really: If Islam is a race (and it isn’t) which race is it?

    Maidmaron hasn’t answered and neither have you.

    Your view of ‘European’ and ‘Americans’ seems to convey the idea that they are all white and of course, they are not. In fact the US is set become minority white in a couple of decades or so and there is a sizeable number of Muslims in the US, and Europe has plenty of Muslims, not just in the Balkans but all over Europe.

    So it would seem to say more about the mindset of the person making accusations of racism over a religion that as you say is open to all, and encompasses many races.

    We could, on both of your logic, say that when Islam talks of the ‘west’ they are really talking about whites.

    What do you think of that?

  16. Kismet Hardy — on 12th September, 2010 at 12:07 am  

    As someone who went into my late teens a fairly devout Muslim who still feels a slightly nauseous pang of wrongdoing should my unclean hands happen to brush the Quran, fact still remains, it’s just a book. And however much free-thinking humans were up in arms over the burning of The Satanic Verses, it was just a book. Just like the burning of the Beatles records were just records, the burning crosses of Mississippi were just wood, and the burning flag is just a flag. As the old bill hicks joke goes ‘your daddy died for that flag? I bought mine. They sell em at K Mart two for five bucks. In, out, brand new flag, no violence was necessary.’

    Some mad bastards want to burn a book, let them. See a Muslim guy getting beaten by mad bastards, help him. It really is that simple.

    Moral of the story: lighten up. Pun, as ever, intended

  17. soru — on 12th September, 2010 at 2:09 am  

    How many times must it be pointed out that Islam is a religion and not a race.

    So you are saying that if racists found out they wrong about the thing they were racist towards, they would stop thinking that way?

    ‘racist thinking’ is not generally based on state-of-the-art genetic profiling.

    Just like the burning of the Beatles records were just records

    ok, but no way the Pixies were just a band.

  18. tony — on 12th September, 2010 at 2:46 am  

    “So you are saying that if racists found out they wrong about the thing they were racist towards, they would stop thinking that way?”

    Still not answer.

    What race is Islam, then?

  19. douglas clark — on 12th September, 2010 at 4:50 am  

    tony,

    You have made your point. Islam is not a race, it is a religion.

    OK?

    ““It is profoundly racist thinking”

    How many times must it be pointed out that Islam is a religion and not a race.

    Apart from making a point that has been made ad nauseam. It gets to the point where even my pedantic soul is bored by the repetitive nature of that arguement, which generally does it’s very best to ignore the bigotry it assists. Whether it is racist or not.

    So, what’s your perspective on the opinion piece?

    Or is there a club of folk who search the internets looking for examples of anyone making this category error?

    Whose only response to it is to say “islam is not a race, it is a religion” at the drop of a hat?

    As if that solved anything or added any value whatsoever to the debate?

    Does one gain kudos within the club for pointing out the bleeding obvious?

  20. halima — on 12th September, 2010 at 5:21 am  

    He’s a looney. I’ve ignored him. Sadly the people who joined his congregation obviously feel safety in numbers – and joined. People who want visibility of this kind, pull a stunt, in my mind to give attention to their cause because no-one listens. I am glad there are looneys out there in America because it shows me the rest of the country isn’t of the same ilk. I guess others have more passionate reactions about such looney threats to their belief, my (very Muslim) family see such stories on the news and just assume some parts of America are mad.

    That said, America is descending into a madness of late, it is clear looking at the republican party and its attempts to realign with the grassroots tea party movement.

    If it was Bush in power he could dismiss looney movements off ( if he desired), because no one doubts Bush’s white American credentials. When Obama tries to dismiss loonies away and strike for moderation it doesn’t have the same effect. As Obama’s ethnicity isn’t fully white, many Americans do not regard his calls to dismiss any threats to white American identity as genuine. Some indeed truly believe Obama is Muslim ( a recent poll showed that 20% of Americans believed Obama was Muslim).

  21. douglas clark — on 12th September, 2010 at 6:06 am  

    Kismet Hardy,

    Your mention of the book burning of ‘The Satanic Verses’ kind of illustrates a couple of points, I think.

    It was a proxy statement by the good folk of Bradford. Had they had Salman Rushdie available, I do not doubt that it would have been him that would have been burned and not his book.

    Or perhaps Heine was wrong when he said:

    That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people also.”

    ?

    Which is the point that this opinion piece makes so eloquently. Because we are in the hands of bigots here, bigots that cannot argue a case and thus prefer to destroy it. By electrifying a mob.

    It is also, as Kenan Malik has said, a kind of defining moment for a few British muslims. It is when they stood up and dialled the ‘muslim offense factor’ up to eleven. It is a pathetic example of otherwise sane people losing their damned minds.

    I do not, I have never thought, that muslims as a whole are a risk to our collective sanity. I do, however, think that giving nutcases a voice that is well beyond the views of the community they claim to represent is a recipe for confusion, at the very least.

    Why would anyone that wasn’t closely involved in watching this develop assume that Anjem Choudary wasn’t a mouthpiece for all muslims? Or that Terry Jones represented the views of lots and lots of white christians? For the media fawns on these bastards. Neither represent more than a tiny minority of their claimed base.

    However book burning, seems to free up some sort of base hatred in both muslims and christians alike. It is a tactic in dumbing down debate and discussion. Which is the only method available to them, because they are intellectual weaklings. (I was going to say midgets, but, I dunno, some people around here might see that as a positive.)

    This – the media frenzy, I mean – only plays into the hands of fundamentalists of both stripes. It is the nature of the beast, the 24/7 news cycle, that ludicrous views are given precedence over reality.

    Who now remembers the Obama’s ‘terrorist fist bump’? Yet it dominated at least one news cycle. I think most television ‘talking heads’ are daft for controversy, otherwise they would be seen as the imp on our shoulder trying to tell us that their views matter more than what actually goes on in our heads.

    There is perhaps an industry to be created from the slogan:

    “Grow your base, burn a book.”

  22. dmra — on 12th September, 2010 at 8:26 am  

    Tony

    “We could, on both of your logic, say that when Islam talks of the ‘west’ they are really talking about whites.

    What do you think of that?”

    Well for a start I don’t think it makes an ounce of sense. For somebody who seems to be very hung up on defintions you’re being very loose in your own language.

    However taking “Islam” in this sentence to mean the majority of ordinary Muslims living outside Europe and America then I would suspect that, if you asked them to describe a typical “westerner”, they would probably do so in terms like “white”. Given that the vast majority of “westerners” they see and hear would be white that would hardly be surprising.

    As to what I think of that it would depend on the nature of the opinions they were expressing towards “the west”.

  23. joe90 — on 12th September, 2010 at 12:28 pm  

    Jewish and sikh communities are protected under the race relation laws and any derogatory comments towards them and the perpetrators will face full force of the law. Is jewish or sikhism a race or religion?

    This seems very unfair where one set of religions are protected under the race laws against abuse and another the islamic faith it is open season to abuse and attack them by sections of the media and right wing groups.

  24. Jai — on 12th September, 2010 at 1:44 pm  

    Interesting article, Shamit.

    Apparently Pastor Jones has now permanently cancelled his Quran-burning plans. Incidentally, this is an individual who has never set foot inside a mosque, has admitted that he has never actually read the Quran, and has openly admitted that he knows absolutely nothing about its contents.

    As Jones has said himself, the only religious book he cares about is the Bible, and as far as he’s concerned, all non-Christian religions — and he has explicitly mentioned Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism too — are “from the Devil” (see: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20015853-10391695.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody ).

    There’s also a good summary by Sky News foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall about Jones’ dubious background in Germany prior to his more recent activities in Florida here: http://blogs.news.sky.com/foreignmatters/Post:41fa8f09-1061-4d85-b8b5-fc81dbd54d15 .

    This whole debacle was riddled with irrationality from start to finish. In a nutshell, you have a Florida-based pastor with a miniscule congregation deciding to “send a message to radical Islam” by desecrating a religious book which is also sacred to the world’s entire Muslim population — including Sufis who are themselves violently hated by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban for being “heretics” who are excessively liberal and excessively benevolent towards non-Muslims, and of course also including the tens of thousands of ordinary Muslims who have been killed by Islamist extremists during the past decade alone.

    It would have made far more sense for the pastor to burn a bonfire of photos of Osama bin Laden if he wanted to “send a message” to the genuine Islamist militants…..but I guess that would be a bit too rational, wouldn’t it ?

  25. Shamit — on 12th September, 2010 at 1:51 pm  

    Douglas:

    Well said my friend. And very well put.

    Maidmarian:

    Spot on with your argument. And I agree

    Halima:

    I wish we could all ignore this despicable man.

    At the same time. This man is an ignorant bigot just like the ones who are burning US flags and jumping up and down.

    On the tea party – yes there are nutters who cling on to religion or colour or other idiotic notions of saving America but to be fair, the fundamental argument is about Big Government vs Small Government.

    A theory exploited very well by Reagan but completely demolished by Bill Clinton. But once again the views of the minority extremes are given credence.

    President Obama was elected with over 57% of the vote cast – and now a majority of Americans think, even with a Congress under his control he has not delivered, according to their perceptions.

    Most Americans are not racist in my experience and understanding. Americans are concerned about the economy and their preeminent position in the world.

    Obama has been vilified so was Bill Clinton (actually far worse). Some in the left see it as race/religion thing – but I don’t buy it. In fact that argument looks shallow.

    How is the middle kingdom treating you? I, for one would love to hear more about your Chinese experience?

    Joe90:

    The point is there are nutters on all sides – its not about race or religion – its about using the actions of a small minority of any community and argue they are representative of the entire community.

    Freedom of religion is protected – and EHRC is mandated to protect equality of all the people not those who are racially different. So your argument is vague and unnecessary.

  26. Shamit — on 12th September, 2010 at 1:52 pm  

    Jai -

    Thank you but equal if not more credit should go to Rumbold. It came out of a few phone conversations and email exchanges. So thank you on behalf on behalf of all of us.

    And I agree completely with you about Jones – rational and extremism : perfect example of oxymoron.

  27. Tony — on 12th September, 2010 at 2:13 pm  

    @ Joe

    I know that a racially motivated attack on a Jew is most likely protected under the RR laws; that makes perfect sense because Jews are an ethnic group
    (whereas Judaism is not.) The whole basis of Israel is founded on that being a fact.

    The same is not true for Sikhs, because it is not an ethnicity by any definition of the word.

    So the RR laws do not cater for what you describe at all.

    And thank some God that they don’t because the picture you have painted is that free speech is finally dead as one cannot even make “derogatory comments” towards superstitious groups whose texts fly in the face of science without being made to “face full force of the law.

    I think the term you are really looking for is ‘incitement to religious hatred’ and I think you’ll find that covers everyone.

    So then, why can no one tell what race Islam is?

  28. Tony — on 12th September, 2010 at 2:21 pm  

    In fact under the provisions of the law, even atheists are protected:

    Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006

    Section 29A

    Meaning of “religious hatred”

    * In this Part “religious hatred” means hatred against a group of persons defined by reference to religious belief or lack of religious belief.

    Section 29B:

    * (1) A person who uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.

  29. halima — on 12th September, 2010 at 6:37 pm  

    Hi Shamit

    “…to be fair, the fundamental argument is about Big Government vs Small Government.

    Yes I agree, but this has always been a feature of American politics, and has always been negotiated by Americans. Only this time, I do sense more madness, punctuated with heightened and extreme emotions, which is perhaps a sign of more ominous economic misfortunes. I suspect you are right – Obama is in trouble, and unless something dramatic happens I don’t think the Democrats can do much worse … sadly.

    “How is the middle kingdom treating you? I, for one would love to hear more about your Chinese experience?

    Thank you, I think I might write something on the current China thread, where it might sit better..

  30. kev — on 12th September, 2010 at 6:54 pm  

    dmra spot on. Racists use the “Muslims are not a race” canard to hide the fact that they hate people who look different to them.

  31. Tony — on 12th September, 2010 at 7:02 pm  

    So Kev, what does a Muslim look like then?

  32. MaidMarian — on 12th September, 2010 at 7:24 pm  

    Tony – What race is Islam? It isn’t – at least not by your conception, if your comments on here are anything to go by.

    Racism is not the identity-pleading we see so often these days. It is the a priori moral condemnation of other on the premise of ‘otherness.’ So, as I said in my earlier comment, this media belief that somehow the sight of a book-burning will cause muslims to become suicide bombers is a before the fact moral condemnation. Any muslim regardless of their belief is immediately condemned as irredeemably malign and dangerous. It’s racism by any meaningful definition – a priori condemnation.

    If, say a pensioner said that they were going to become a suicide bomber, would it be put down to a manifestation of ‘pensioner anger’ in the way that suicide bombings are sometimes legitimised as ‘muslim anger?’ If Polish people launched a suicide bombing in protest at the Iraq war, would that be seen as a result of, ‘Polish Anger?’

    This belief that there is a qualitative difference, that somehow your average muslim will react to events with an innate, ordained violence is, to my mind racist. Your average muslim probably doesn’t appreciate the narrative of book-burning = suicide bombings, well if my badminton partner is anything to go by at least.

    Nowadays, the eco-loons have the protection of their ‘beliefs’ in law. It will be a sad day when ‘environmentalist anger’ legitimises eco-loony action.

  33. Kismet Hardy — on 12th September, 2010 at 7:46 pm  

    Tony, I know Douglas answered your question, as did everyone else, so I figure you need a different answer. Islam is not a race because it’s a belief and you can have that belief if you’re a white shoe bomber or a folk singer that took too much acid in the 60s or a brown bloke with no beard. Human beings are a race, which is why mixed race is a bollocks term (it’d be mixed race if it were humans breeding with, say, dolphins). And when you run, and someone beats you and you go ‘darn it’, that’s a race too. Other than that, it all comes down to childhood indoctrination and belief.

  34. Tony — on 12th September, 2010 at 10:37 pm  

    Maidmarian, If Islam is not a race, and clearly it is not, there is no racism towards Islam.

    In fact you summed it up when you said ” to my mind racist” because that’s all it is. In your mind. The term racist is clearly about race. That is why it was coined. When there is no race involved there is no racism.

    But you seem to dispute that Muslim rage over perceived slights exists. It really does. And some. We only have to look at Satanic verses, van gough,the cartoons etc etc

    And over this threatened book burning by some small time non-entity the head of a Muslim nation claimed it was a threat to world peace, and thousands rioted. Some are dead.

    So let’s not make out like seriously disproportionate Islamic response to perceived slights isn’t real.

    —————

    Kismet hardy, nope, no one answered me. And they still haven’t really. If there are no races there is no racism.

    But science begs to differ on the fact that there are races. But that is by the by. If you want to use the word racism then there must be a racial reason for it.

  35. joe90 — on 12th September, 2010 at 11:20 pm  

    tony post #27

    The laws do not cover everyone because you can abuse one religion while others are clearly protected.

    If a newspaper lets say for example the telelaugh started an all out assault on the jewish faith tomorrow morning you telling me the editors of the paper would not be facing the sack 2 days later because i believe they certainly would!

    Apply the same argument to islam and no one would make much noise and call it debate or freedom of speech!

  36. Kismet Hardy — on 12th September, 2010 at 11:59 pm  

    Joe you just gave my tiny mind an epiphany. Bush was clever. He was, he wanted to make an enemy of the muslim world, which is why the random Iraq route to afghanistan post 11/9 before keeping the finger pointed towards Iran. See, people don’t hate or fear jewish people as much as they do Israel. But the bush admin didn’t want the muslim answer to israel. They wanted to paint an empire back on the rise. By picking on loads of different countries, you end up with the Tony’s point on Muslims. I’ve explained that badly, but now I suspect Bush was at least more clever than me

  37. douglas clark — on 13th September, 2010 at 12:03 am  

    Tony,

    I don’t mean to be cheeky, but you are asking me to disagree with you on this solitary point, when I have already said that – on the question of whether muslims are a race or not – I agree with you. Seems to me that Kismet Hardy also agreed with you.

    I have no idea where you think this line of arguement is taking the debate. Could we agree that Rev Jones is a religious bigot?

    I am starting to come around to dmra’s position that was outlined at 13, specifically:

    In a similar way somebody might say “I hate Africans”. “African” is not “a race” but I would still very much suspect that anybody saying “I hate Africans” is likely to be motivated by racism!

    On your point about the USA becoming minority white:

    In fact the US is set become minority white in a couple of decades or so and there is a sizeable number of Muslims in the US, and Europe has plenty of Muslims, not just in the Balkans but all over Europe.

    is that sentence supposed to conflate the huge and largely Catholic Hispanic community in the USA with Muslims? For the demographic projections say that by 2042 white non-Latinos will fall to around 46% and Latinos will rise to around 30% of the total, which, has nothing whatsoever to do with muslims. It may, indeed become a more christian country!

    It has already been outlined on this thread that peaceful muslims are the likeliest victims of muslim extremists. Please read Jai’s penultimate paragraph @ 24.

  38. Jemmy Hope — on 13th September, 2010 at 8:26 pm  

    From the Angry Arab’s blog -
    “I like when the notion of freedom of speech is invoked against haters of Islam. I am aware of the First Amendment, but can you imagine the government and public reactions if a public festival of anti-Semitism was planned anywhere in the US? I mean, freedom of speech did not prevent the US from banning Arabic TV stations and from banning the publication of the memoirs of Abu Dawud. It seems that freedoms of speech are abundantly available for those who wish to spread hate against Islam.”

  39. Soso — on 14th September, 2010 at 3:25 pm  

    I,ve actually heard _enlightened_ white leftists refer to “Muslims and other brown people”, as though religions had a skin colour.

  40. Kismet Hardy — on 14th September, 2010 at 3:27 pm  

    Cat Stevens

  41. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2010 at 4:25 pm  

    Soso @ 39,

    What were they ‘enlightened’ about?

    The dawn?

    It is the nature of the game around here that certain commentators assume that their version of white – with which I profoundly disagree – is right and ‘muslims and other brown people’ are wrong.

    It is what you would expect from intellectually bankrupt morons. Who would try, attempt to speak for me.

    As if!

    Don’t concern yourself with them, for they represent a falling share of white people, despite their internet mendacity.

    You will always get idiots on both extremes of a debate. It seems to me, the measure of the commentator is to separate the wheat from the chaff.

    Something this place does very well, both at the opinion piece level and in the quality of it’s commentariat.

  42. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2010 at 4:42 pm  

    the quality of it’s commentariat.

    Quoting yourself is a bad sign, however I will give myself a pass on it just this once.

    I have been really impressed with the lot of you over the last few days. You are wonderful people and you should always remember that!

  43. Kismet Hardy — on 14th September, 2010 at 4:44 pm  

    “Quoting yourself is a bad sign”

    That’s what I like to say

  44. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2010 at 4:48 pm  

    Heh!

    —————

    Normal, nasty service is resumed!

  45. Kismet Hardy — on 14th September, 2010 at 5:33 pm  

  46. naive — on 14th September, 2010 at 5:44 pm  

    Tony
    “Maidmarian, If Islam is not a race, and clearly it is not, there is no racism towards Islam.”

    Yes the fact that Muslim minorities are overwhelming non-white is completely incidental to hostility to them. It has no bearing. At all. Whatsoever.

  47. douglas clark — on 14th September, 2010 at 6:17 pm  

    naive @ 46,

    Yes the fact that Muslim minorities are overwhelming non-white is completely incidental to hostility to them. It has no bearing. At all. Whatsoever.

    Yes, that seems to be the name of the game. I refer you to what dmra said @ 13:

    In a similar way somebody might say “I hate Africans”. “African” is not “a race” but I would still very much suspect that anybody saying “I hate Africans” is likely to be motivated by racism!

    Which seems to me to cut to the quick.

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