We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

A reluctance to acknowledge the specific religious motivations behind certain acts of terror makes it more difficult to develop the social initiatives, political strategies and security arrangements that we need to contain their possible spread in the future. Empty platitudes over the peacefulness of religious ideologies do not achieve much when it comes to maximising public security and community safety.

There should be strong pushback against those who wish to restrict the boundaries of much-needed discussions on radicalisation, extremism and terrorism. We need to be able to identify and comment on unusual behavioural patterns and religiously inspired ideological motivations. There is simply no room for thought-policing or political correctness in the realm of counter-extremism.

Dr Rakib Ehsan

37 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • A reluctance to acknowledge the specific religious motivations behind certain acts of terror makes it more difficult

    I’m pleased to see that the title and subtitle of the Spiked article from which the OP quote comes has no difficulty in being specific:

    After 9/11: can we still talk about Islamist terror?

    Islamist terror still poses a huge security threat. But it’s becoming more difficult to discuss it openly.

    (I guess the reference to

    Empty platitudes over the peacefulness of religious ideologies

    is also dropping a fairly specific hint. 🙂 )

    Sadly, the common-sense truth of

    There is simply no room for thought-policing or political correctness in the realm of counter-extremism.

    is of no interest to those who had decided to Balkanise us before 9/11 happened.

  • Fraser Orr

    Although I mostly agree with the sentiment here I am reminded that there are two sides to every coin.

    Certainly we should treat terrorism aggressively, however, we have to remember that they are many, many people who use the moniker “Muslim” who abhor terrorism as much as you or I do. I number several among my friends. So, for sure, political correctness should not interfere with terrorism investigation and prevention, but any decent civil society has to be cautious to prevent these legitimate police actions from bleeding into a general bias against people who would no more fly into a building than any other normal decent person.

    School shooters are almost always young white teenage males. And the police should certainly consider that when investigating and preventing school shootings. But it would be grossly unfair to discriminate against white teenage males because a minuscule fraction of their numbers do terrible things.

  • Roué le Jour

    If there were a radical Christian group here in Thailand blowing up Thais I would do everything in my power to stop them. I’m not seeing that attitude in Muslims.

  • John

    It is less than a week since the Birmingham knife murder, less than 3 months since the Reading triple knife murder. Both have now been memory-holed by our media. Meanwhile coverage of the impending trial for the killing of George Floyd 4,000 miles away is front page news.

  • James Strong

    @Fraser Orr: To what extent are your muslim friends muslims?
    Do they believe that the koran is perfect and timeless and was dictated to an illiterate Arab, and that the illiterate Arab became a perfect model to be followed and imitated by other people?

    What is their view on the legal status of non-muslims in a muslim society?

    What are their views on men beating their wives?

    What do they think about Jews?

    Islam gives clear answers to these questions.

    To me every one of those answers is wrong, some are despicable and evil.

    Are your friends muslims, or just people born into muslim families?

    I am not the first to say it, but it bears repeating: if the ideas of Islam were put forward by middle-aged white men, rather than by brown-skinned people, it would be a banned organisation.

  • Ferox

    School shooters are almost always young white teenage males.

    No. Selective media coverage makes it appear that way.

  • Certainly we should treat terrorism aggressively, however, we have to remember that they are many, many people who use the moniker “Muslim” who abhor terrorism as much as you or I do.

    Must be hiding their light under a bushel then, because all I hear from the Muslim community whenever an atrocity instigated by one of their coreligionists takes place is dull platitudes. If your “Muslim Friend(s)” want to express their repulsion for the numerous and ongoing acts of their coreligionists then they should stop being Muslim. Last time I checked there was no law preventing that in the UK, US or other places.

    Quite frankly I’m sick and tired of hearing Muslim excuses which would not be tolerated if it was a bunch of fundamentalist Christians or Buddhists doing the same.

  • Fraser Orr (September 12, 2020 at 1:38 am), a question and a remark.

    1) Do you think the many, many UK Muslims whom, you say, abhor Muslim terrorism “as much as you or I do” abhor it enough to oppose the hate speech laws against islamophobia imposed after 9/11? (Any that do, good for them.) Or do you think, as I do, that such Muslims are a more select subset of their group than, say, are UK Christians who would oppose if those equitably-phrased laws ever came within a million miles of being equitably enforced? Opinion polls of UK Muslims have returned answers one might call astonishingly frank, and (given how many surely are wiser than to be quite so frank) concerning.

    2) My poem on the danger to Jews of the mass-importation of Muslims contains the lines

    Think you, if most of them don’t kill, it will not be like World War Two?
    (When, as you know, most Germans did not personally kill a Jew;

    My lines and your words somewhat echo what Hannah Arendt wrote:

    “Many Germans and many Nazis, probably an overwhelming majority of them, must have been tempted not to murder, not to rob, not to let their neighbours go off to their doom (for that the Jews were transported to their doom they knew …) and not to become accomplices in all these crimes by benefitting from them. But God knows, they had learned how to resist temptation.” (Eichmann in Jerusalem, end of chapter 8)

    So your point is not precisely false, but I advise being aware of the political consequences that do (not) flow from it. Current PC culture and law against “islamophobia” is Islam’s swiftly-given reward for 9/11. Like some German with a promotion, a house, some furniture and/or a valuable violin, whose regret over the fate of their former owners did not extend to a wish to hand them back, so similar regrets in Muslims today do not ensure they will vote for any party who wishes to give us back the cultural and legal freedom with which we could discuss Islam on the day the towers fell.

  • Stonyground

    My daughter has a friend who is what I would call a Muslim in name only. She is a daughter of Muslim parents but, as far as I can tell, doesn’t observe the religion at all.

    It is also worth noting that there is a council of ex Muslims. While the government is always keen to suck up to Islamic pressure groups, I’ve never heard of them condider the views of the ex Mulims on anything.

  • John B

    Fraser Orr

    The acts of terrorism are based in Islamic beliefs, as stated in the Koran. Just as what today we would describe as acts of terrorism carried out by Catholics on Protestant and by Protestant on Catholic a few hundred years ago, not forgetting burning/hanging witches, were based in Christian beliefs as stated in the Biblical texts.

    That interpretations of religious texts differ and different adherents of religion behave differently does not mean the violent behaviour of some of the religious can be divorced from their religion.

    If terrorism carried out according to Jihad and Islamic texts isn’t Islamic, what is it? Even the term Islamic extremism is tautological: Islam is extreme, or is flogging, stoning, decapitating, amputation, in Islamic States for things that in other non-Islamic States would get prison sentences, fines or be a matter for civil law not extreme?

  • Plamus

    But it would be grossly unfair to discriminate against white teenage males because a minuscule fraction of their numbers do terrible things.

    Very much agreed, Fraser, when we are talking about minuscule fractions. But then the fractions start to grow, then become meaningful, and then exceed 50%. 2/3 of British Muslims would not give police terror tip-offs. 68% of Muslims in the UK support the arrest and prosecution of people who “insult Islam”. Over a quarter believe that if a Muslim converts to another religion, they should be punished by death.

    Indeed, “many, many” Muslims in the UK abhor terrorism, but a solid majority do not, by their own admission – polls like these usually under-report. It is left as an exercise for the reader to investigate what the numbers look like for South Asia and MENA Muslim countries (sample: 82% of Pakistanis favor amputation and stoning adulterers).

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Islam gives clear answers to these questions. To me every one of those answers is wrong, some are despicable and evil.”

    So does the Bible.

    Mohammad’s version of morality comes originally from the Old Testament. His position was that God gave his laws to the Jews, but the Jews and Christians kept modifying them, softening them, corrupting them. Mohammad believed he was simply restoring the religion originally set down by God before the Jews and Christians corrupted it.

    The same evils are present in Christian scripture and history. But modern-day Christians don’t believe the same things. The religion has changed, while believers maintain that it is still the original, eternal truth.

    Islam is undergoing the same process. The religion as practiced by most modern Muslims is radically different to that practiced two centuries ago. They are still about 50 years behind us on that path, but just as Christianity has progressed from the Borgia Popes marching armies across Europe against the forces of Heretical Darkness to the C-of-E vicar taking tea and buttered scones with some of his gay parishioners at the church youth group, so Islam is changing to something far milder. People in authority don’t want to draw attention to it, because doing so, and making clear that the religion is being corrupted (as its originators would see it), might result in even more of a fight by the fundamentalists to stop it.

    It’s not good to blind ourselves to the truth. Islam does have a violent and intolerant history, which some seek to restore. But at the same time, neither should we blind ourselves to the truth that most modern Muslims don’t follow the same religion, that it has changed, and is still changing. We cannot defeat it by force of arms, we can only defeat it by changing their beliefs, by persuasion.

    6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

    7 Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

    8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

    9 But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

    10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

    11 And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.

    12 If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the Lord thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying,

    13 Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;

    14 Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you;

    15 Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword.

    16 And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the Lord thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again.

    17 And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers;

    18 When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord thy God.

    Antifa were certainly not the first to mob heretics and unbelievers and burn down cities! And neither was Islam or Christianity. This is humanity.

  • Antifa were certainly not the first to mob heretics and unbelievers and burn down cities! (Nullius in Verba, September 12, 2020 at 1:42 pm)

    Neither were the Nazis the first to do such things – but my parents and others still fought them and loathed their ideology, and did not think it ‘naziphobia’ to say so.

    Neither are you, Nullius, the first to use arguments like these. In this post, I quote

    the familiar figure of Orosius, explaining that the Roman Empire was founded in blood and conquest, so could ill-afford to throw stones at the barbarians

    (The quote comes from an essay written just after Munich in 1938, when Orosius was indeed a familiar figure.) Orosius wrote that

    “If the unhappy people they [the barbarians] have despoiled will content themselves with the little that is left them, their conquerors will cherish them like friends and brothers.”

    Obviously, looking at modern Europe, he was not exactly wrong in the (very) long term – what Frenchmen today, living in what was Gaul, think of themselves as Roman or as barbarian, or feels as the former did in the days when “all Gaul was a smoking funeral pyre” and Orosius’ words were very cold comfort? Even Hitler, who relished imagining Nazi buildings as thousand-old-ruins, seems to have believed that ‘in time, this too shall pass’. But meanwhile, our society has choices it can still make: whether cringingly to reward Islamic terrorism with “we’re the same” arguments, or to see that as less likely to speed its reform (as you seem to expect) than to speedily ‘reform’ us.

    One should also note the distinction between the Jews, who claimed the holy land, a very finite bit of the earth’s surface, and Islam, that demands that the House of War change all the earth into the House of Submission – not even a Camp of the Saints is allowed under Islam. This distinction is perhaps slightly less important than the distinction between some three millennia ago versus today, but it is another argument against confusing the two.

    The central role of conquest in the spread of Islam, as against its late and equivocal role in Christianity, is also noteworthy. You can reform a religion back to its founder fairly easily. Reforming it past its founder is quite another thing, so should not be expected to be nearly as easy (and, despite the example of Christ and a good deal else in the doctrine, it was not that easy).

  • Ferox

    It’s certainly important to know the history. Those discussions have value.

    But in practice, what I want to know today is whether it’s a Catholic or Mormon religious organization, or an Islamic one, which is more likely to train up a group of young men to try and murder me or my family while we sit in a restaurant some night.

    How things stood in 1287 A.D. in Andalusia or wherever is distinctly less important to me.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Neither are you, Nullius, the first to use arguments like these. In this post, I quote the familiar figure of Orosius, explaining that the Roman Empire was founded in blood and conquest, so could ill-afford to throw stones at the barbarians”

    I agree. I’m opposed to throwing stones at the civilised Romans because of their past, too.

    Civilisations start in blood and conquest, and progress down the centuries towards peaceful tolerance. The Romans did. We did. Islam is well down the same road.

    “But meanwhile, our society has choices it can still make: whether cringingly to reward Islamic terrorism with “we’re the same” arguments, or to see that as less likely to speed its reform (as you seem to expect) than to speedily ‘reform’ us.”

    We’re NOT the same. You can’t equate the barbarous past to the civilised present.

    Our barbarism is like their barbarism. Our peaceful tolerance is like their peaceful tolerance. But you can’t equate our peaceful tolerance to their barbarism, (or vice versa,) and ignore the rest of the picture. We should not reward terrorism by saying it’s the same as peaceful tolerance. We should not excuse barbarism (ours or theirs) by saying it leads to civilisation. Instead, we praise the peaceful tolerance, and condemn the barbarism, whoever and whenever it might be.

  • Fraser Orr

    @James Strong
    @Fraser Orr: To what extent are your muslim friends muslims?

    They are about as Muslim as your average Christian is Christian.

    Do they believe that the koran is perfect and timeless and was dictated to an illiterate Arab, and that the illiterate Arab became a perfect model to be followed and imitated by other people? What is their view on the legal status of non-muslims in a muslim society?
    What are their views on men beating their wives? What do they think about Jews? Islam gives clear answers to these questions.

    The Bible gives pretty clear answers to many of those questions too, and there are lots of Christians who accept those Biblical answers, even though they know they can’t admit it in polite society. And of course, many Christians don’t, and who kind of scan their eyes over the gruesome details in their morning Bible reading. The reason? The large majority of people are decent folks, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jewish and Atheist, going about their lives in decent ways, eschewing the psychopaths that poison our society and make all our lives worse.

    If you are asking me whether I think religious fundamentalism (of all stripes) is bad, my answer would be yes. It is a rejection of the enlightenment and all that has made our modern civilization. But I see no more reason to believe that Muslims are any more prone to it or subject to it than Christians are, in Western societies at least. Now of course if there were countries that still applied Christianity in the way it was in the 14th century we’d definitely have a problem. The fact that there are Muslim countries like that does not impugn the decency of the million and millions of Muslims living and traveling in the west.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Niall Kilmartin
    I was hoping to hear from you Niall, since I respect your views on these matters, even though I often disagree with you.

    1) Do you think the many, many UK Muslims whom, you say, abhor Muslim terrorism “as much as you or I do” abhor it enough to oppose the hate speech laws against islamophobia imposed after 9/11?

    I don’t know, and honestly, I don’t entirely see the connection. One can abhor terrorism and still favor hate speech laws. For the record I most certainly don’t favor hate speech laws, but I can agree with people on one thing and disagree with them on another thing.

    (Any that do, good for them.) Or do you think, as I do, that such Muslims are a more select subset of their group than, say, are UK Christians who would oppose if those equitably-phrased laws ever came within a million miles of being equitably enforced?

    So, if I understand your question rightly, you are asking do I think that a group that is favored by a law is more for it than a group not so favored? I guess my answer is yes. I think most people don’t care too much about political philosophy and just want the government to leave them the hell alone. (Though I also think those people who want to be left the hell alone also want the government to interfere in things they don’t approve of. But I think that is the nature of people. I imagine there are a lot more Christians, for example, that favor the establishment of the Church of England that do Muslims.)

    “Many Germans and many Nazis, probably an overwhelming majority of them, must have been tempted not to murder, not to rob, not to let their neighbours go off to their doom (for that the Jews were transported to their doom they knew …) and not to become accomplices in all these crimes by benefitting from them. But God knows, they had learned how to resist temptation.” (Eichmann in Jerusalem, end of chapter 8)

    Since, as I mentioned above, I am a big fan of your comments here, I’m not going to dismiss this with Godwin’s law, and rather try to address your point. But from my best understanding of what happened in Germany in the 1940s, for sure when thuggery is allowed and encouraged by the government the veneer of decency is quickly stripped off, as we are seeing in cities in the US today. But that veneer of decency is a bargain. I will behave in a civilized manner as long as everyone else does. It is the classic game theory, once you stop giving me tits for my tits, things start spinning out of control very quickly.

    However, I’d add that I think that the German people were probably stuck in Bonhoeffer’s dilemma… first they came for the Jews…. The White Rose society quickly found out what opposition meant. It is easy to be brave when you and your family are not under threat.

    So your point is not precisely false, but I advise being aware of the political consequences that do (not) flow from it. Current PC culture and law against “islamophobia” is Islam’s swiftly-given reward for 9/11.

    Do you favor “islamophobia”? I am sure you don’t. I’m not really sure what laws specifically you are talking about, except perhaps hate speech laws you mentioned above, which, obviously I am not in favor of.

    Like some German with a promotion, a house, some furniture and/or a valuable violin, whose regret over the fate of their former owners did not extend to a wish to hand them back, so similar regrets in Muslims today do not ensure they will vote for any party who wishes to give us back the cultural and legal freedom with which we could discuss Islam on the day the towers fell.

    I think it is rather unfair to blame Muslims for hate speech laws. I don’t live in Britain so don’t know the story there, but where I live it seems to me the people pushing for hate speech laws are usually left wing activists, young, white, restless and self loathing, rather than it being some Muslim conspiracy. No doubt, as I said above, many people will favor a law that advantages them, but that is hardly a surprise.

  • bobby b

    “But I see no more reason to believe that Muslims are any more prone to it or subject to it than Christians are, in Western societies at least.”

    Come to lunch with me some day in Little Somalia in Minneapolis. Fundamentalist heaven. Strict sharia. Constant guardedness arising from living in Satan’s belly.

    But these are the recent immigrants. Muslim communities which have been here longer are less so.

    So perhaps assimilation is the answer, after all. But the transition period is painful.

  • I think it is rather unfair to blame Muslims for hate speech laws. I don’t live in Britain so don’t know the story there, but where I live it seems to me the people pushing for hate speech laws are usually left wing activists,

    Your point applies here in the UK too (just as I expect Hannah Arendt’s speculation had a fair degree of accuracy in Germany). I was not suggesting UK Muslims unaided enforced Islamophobic hate speech law on the UK, but noting a political effect. 9/11 happens. As an obvious and rapid consequence, UK society changed to make islamophobia an accusation that non-Muslims feared. (That was an abrupt and fairly rapid change.)

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    Come to lunch with me some day in Little Somalia in Minneapolis. Fundamentalist heaven. Strict sharia. Constant guardedness arising from living in Satan’s belly.

    I’d love to, if you promise to come to lunch with me in Magee, Mississippi. Fundamentalist heaven of a different kind. They live under the same persecution belief that your Muslims do. And as to violence, you should hear some of their solutions both for Iran (involving nukes and turning the sand into glass — “bless your precious heart”) or their plans to sort out them uppity white boys in Portland an Chicago, to say nothing of them uppity black boys.

    On the upside, the fried catfish and okra is really excellent.

    So perhaps assimilation is the answer, after all. But the transition period is painful.

    You may be right.

  • So perhaps assimilation is the answer (bobby b, September 12, 2020 at 7:19 pm)

    Assimilation is a great idea. Balkanisation is the left’s idea. (People who assimilate will, almost by definition, start acting American – maybe even voting for Trump, say.)

    In the past, US society has shown an impressive ability to assimilate people. However that was before its enemies acquired great power over its education system and media. I think it has by no means wholly lost that power, but …

    Why would one even try to assimilate to systemic racism and 1619 when victimhood is rewarded? What have your neighbouring Somalis to gain by assimilating but the loss of political favouritism and the ability to get their religion better protected from insult than others?

    I expect I have no need to raise any of the above thought to you, bobby, who perhaps had similar thoughts before I did. A confident society can assimilate people. One that is always apologising for itself does not find it so easy. (And of course, the mere rate of immigration plays a role.)

  • Fraser Orr

    @Niall Kilmartin
    Assimilation is a great idea. Balkanisation is the left’s idea.

    I think that would be a fairly excellent summary of most of the problems in America today. QoTD material, from my perspective.

    Why would one even try to assimilate to systemic racism and 1619 when victimhood is rewarded? What have your neighbouring Somalians to gain by assimilating but the loss political favouritism and the ability to get their religion better protected from insult than others?

    I agree, but when the OP says things like “Empty platitudes over the peacefulness of religious ideologies do not achieve much when it comes to maximising public security and community safety.” that contributes to the very balkanization that you fear. Suggesting that millions of Americans are part of a death cult is not likely to lead unity and harmony. We need to get back to “judge them by the content of their character, not the color of their skin” or for that matter the God they worship or don’t. And that, unfortunately, is the opposite of the trend we see. But the right shouldn’t be too busy patting themselves on the back. They have contributed in their own way to the fracturing of society too.

  • when the OP says things like “Empty platitudes over the peacefulness of religious ideologies do not achieve much when it comes to maximising public security and community safety.” that contributes to the very balkanization that you fear. (Fraser Orr, September 12, 2020 at 8:28 pm)

    I submit that that is the exact opposite of the truth.

    To paraphrase something I often say, to call a true fact islamophobic is to call islamophobia true. In case ‘true’ seems a little strong, let me phrase it thus.

    In a free speech culture, anyone should be able to say that they think platitudes about the peacefulness of a religion that divides the world into the Dar el Harb and the Dar el Islam are indeed empty. And quite a few people, if they feel free to speak, will say it, since “either the House of War or the House of Submission” is inevitably going to raise that thought in various people’s minds. You have only to think about what various people do feel free to say about the long history of Christianity and the longer history of the Jews to see that of course such things will be said at least as often about Islam – unless people feel less safe in saying them.

    For Muslims to assimilate to an anglosphere society means precisely that they should be able to deal as calmly with that as Christians and Jews in that society already do. For Muslims to be assimilated to that society means the citizens of that society should feel as free to comment on them as to comment on others.

  • bobby b

    I can name many different societies which have moved, en masse, to America, looked around, and decided to become a part of it, and have now done quite well and have an American place here of their own.

    Other societies were ensnared by the politician’s love for dependent constituencies, and held in a kind of stasis, with no hope or desire to assimilate, because “they owe us.” And so they wait for payment of their debt. And they wait. And wait.

    It won’t be paid, because there is no debt remaining. But the Democrats will continue to tell them to resist, and vote Dem, because it’s their only way forward.

    I watch the Somali community alongside (geographically) the American Black community. They hate each other with a fire. The Somalis are going to assimilate as the older generation dies off. The American Blacks are going to resist until the end. In twenty years, the Somalis are going to be an important and stable part of our community. The American Blacks will be rioting against them.

  • bobby b (September 12, 2020 at 8:52 pm), I recall seeing one of the Minneapolis riot videos in which the (mostly woke white) rioters were very very slightly embarrassed when they discovered that one of the businesses they’d just looted and torched was owned by a Muslim (probably a Somali I guess from what you have said) whom they encountered trying to clean up the mess. As the riots are presented as on behalf of blacks, I can well imagine that the two communities, already distant, have recently grown more so.

    The impressions we get at this distance of e.g. Ilhan Omar have suggested that the Minnesota Somali community were taking the ‘dependent constituency’ route. It’s good news if you, who are so much closer, see signs of a different development.

    You (and the Somalis) have the advantage over there that, while the PC try hard, the first amendment limits their attempts to limit what can be said.

  • bobby b

    They torched many Somali businesses. There was no actual embarrassment, until cameras showed up.

    The Somalis are taking the path of the Cubans, and many Mexicans – start a business, work hard, become a part of this prosperous and welcoming society. So there are many newish Somali-owned businesses in Minnesota. (They’re still insular, and feverishly Muslim, for now. But they are entering society.)

    And the American Blacks resent the hell out of them for it. The Somalis are to Minneapolis Blacks as the Koreans were to Los Angeles Blacks some years ago – interlopers robbing the Black community of money. The Somalis openly call the Am Blacks “slaves” and welfare queens. “Get off welfare and work!” is their scoffing advice to the Am Blacks. (And yet they vote Democrat – probably because of Omar.)

    There’s really no Somali contingent of BLM. There were few Somali rioters, except for maybe some of their young gang members who saw opportunity for profit. The two communities are on different paths.

  • And yet they vote Democrat – probably because of Omar. (bobby b, September 12, 2020 at 9:36 pm)

    Thoughts from my more distant perspective:

    – Not just because of Omar, surely. Trump would like to end illegal immigration, especially of Muslims, whereas the Democrats are eager for Muslim immigrants and rapid citizenship (are eager to import voters, one might suspect).

    – Omar would not be there if her constituency had lacked a pre-existing inclination. She (or her equivalent) would be in the Republicans, like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio (IIRC the Cuban antecedents of these two gentlemen). The Cubans and Koreans arrived in the US with a pre-existing tendency to incline to the Republicans, not the Democrats. I am told other Latins, especially illegals, tend to incline to the Democrats – for the obvious reasons.

    – Also of possible relevance: it is complained that many Californians fled the consequences of Californian politics, going e.g. to handy Colorado – but brought with them the political views that then made Colorado more like the California they had fled.

    So while I am glad to hear of influences that may make the Somalis good US citizens, I also imagine I see influences against, so think the future is still in play. (But you are close to this group and I am far from it.)

  • APL

    Niv quotes James Strong

    “Islam gives clear answers to these questions.
    To me every one of those answers is wrong, some are despicable and evil”

    and then bolsters his whataboutfuckery with quotes from Deuteronomy. Presumably ignorant, although I suspect not, that the book of Deuteronomy forms part of the Old Testament, which for Christians has been superseded by the teachings of Christ as put forward in the New Testament.

    However, The Old Testament does give the Ten commandments, which tell one, among other things;

    Thou shalt not worship any other god. (abbreviated)

    Thou shalt not murder.
    Thou shalt not Commit adultery.
    Thou shalt not steal.
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods ( abbreviated ).

    These, being direct instructions from the God of the Jew and the God of the Christian, are endorsed ( Matthew 19:17 ) for the Christian in the New Testament.

    But not by Islam.

  • APL

    Indeed, the god of Mohammed, makes explicit revelations to accommodate Mohammed’s promiscuity.

    Regular run of the mill moslems are permitted four wives. Mohammed, had ( by some accounts ) eleven.

    In order to allow Mohammed to marry the ( reputedly ) beautiful wife Zaynab bint Jahsh of his adopted son. Allah obligingly abolished adoption in Islam.

    Abolish the prohibition on more than four wives for Mohammed.
    Abolish the institution of adoption so Mo could steal his formerly adopted son’s wife.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “… and then bolsters his whataboutfuckery with quotes from Deuteronomy. Presumably ignorant, although I suspect not, that the book of Deuteronomy forms part of the Old Testament, which for Christians has been superseded by the teachings of Christ as put forward in the New Testament.”

    I would have thought it obvious even to APL that I was clearly not ignorant of it, since I’d just gone and made exactly the same point!

    Mohammad’s version of morality comes originally from the Old Testament. His position was that God gave his laws to the Jews, but the Jews and Christians kept modifying them, softening them, corrupting them. Mohammad believed he was simply restoring the religion originally set down by God before the Jews and Christians corrupted it.

    The same evils are present in Christian scripture and history. But modern-day Christians don’t believe the same things. The religion has changed, while believers maintain that it is still the original, eternal truth.

    (It’s also not quite correct to say that the Old Testament is “superceded”. “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” In Christian theology the Old Testament laws still apply, but they are conditional on the circumstances of the times, and as a result of Christ the conditions no longer apply. For example, all the requirements about sacrifices still stand, but are bypassed because Christ now acts as the sacrifice, etc. It’s complicated. The paradox of radically different messages from different eras has been noted many times before, and the greatest minds of humanity spent over a thousand years thinking up clever ways around it.)

    “However, The Old Testament does give the Ten commandments, which tell one, among other things; […] Thou shalt not murder.”

    That’s one of the problems with English translation and differing background cultural assumptions – Moses’ usage of the word “murder” doesn’t quite mean what we mean by it.

    Here’s the Man himself who brought us those commandments, explaining what God wants us to do.

    14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.

    15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?!!

    16 Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.

    17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

    18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

    (What do you want thirty two thousand virgin little girls for, Mo?! I think we can guess!)

    Islam forbids all of those sins you listed, too. But theological argument – Jewish, Christian, or Muslim – can justify whatever interpretation the times require, and then reinterpret it when times change. Sometimes they believe six impossible things before breakfast, just for practice.

    But just as modern apologists for Islam seek to explain away and deny its violent past and mutable morality, so will apologists for Christianity. And I’m quite happy for you to do so – there’s Freedom of Belief for you, and I think the new post-Enlightenment version is a vast improvement on the old one. Thus we all progress from barbarism to civilisation.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    When most Christians think of Commandments, they think of the Ten Commandments, and then they think of the Commandment contest, between Jesus and a Rabbi, as to which Commandment is most important. From this comes the Golden Rule- “Treat other people as you would wish them to treat you”, etc. Luke gives us a parable, about the good (mixed-race) Samaritan being kind enough to go to Heaven, even without being ideologically or racially perfect.
    My question is- does Islam have a similar preferred rule, or not?

  • Paul Marks

    Muhammad taught some good things – and he taught some bad things.

    Muhammad did some good tings- and he did some bad things.

    In the modern West we are not allowed to talk about the bad things Muhammad taught or the bad things he did. If we do talk about the bad side of the life and teachings of Muhammad – we are punished (in various) by the modern Western establishment.

    So it is no longer correct to say that the modern West is a fee society.

    In a free society people are not punished for expressing their opinions – especially when they are telling-the-truth.

    It is true that there is still, formally, Freedom of Speech in the United States – perhaps the last Western nation where this is true.

    You may be driven from your job and lose your home for telling the truth – but at least the government will not punish you.

    This will change when President Biden appoints one “Justice” to the Supreme Court – then the 1st Amendment will be dead (along with the 2nd Amendment).

    “Hate Speech” laws will follow – the whole of the United States as a vast university. In the brief period before the United States utterly collapses.

  • Paul Marks

    For example, Muhammad taught that people who mocked him should be killed – and he practiced that himself.

    There is no authority in Islam that can change that law – as Muhammad claimed that the law came from GOD (not from him – the man Muhammad).

    Christian powers once persecuted people who mocked Jesus – but Jesus never said, kill people who mock me – God said so.

    So Christians had grounds to say “Jesus does not command us to do this – in fact he would not want us to do this” – in Islam the situation is different.

    This is just one example of many problems.

    Such things could be freely discussed in the West in the time of Prime Minister Gladstone or even in the time of Winston Churchill (although freedom of speech and inquiry was coming under pressure even in the life time of Winston Churchill).

    But now there are unpleasant consequences for people who tell the truth about such matters.

    And such matters show, for example, that the “Neo Con” idea of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair that the problem of the Islamic world was a few nasty dictators and their henchpersons, was quite mistaken.

    Hence the neocon project of spreading democracy in the Islamic world by Western intervention (war – invasion) is also mistaken.

    As I have repeatedly stated over many years – you can NOT change Islam with bullets and bombs (so please stop trying that), and Association Football, pop music and porn are not a substitute for basic beliefs.

    Association Football, pop music and porn may be very nice (I am not arguing about that) – but if that is what the West is offering as a culture and a belief system, then Islam wins by default. People go to the pop concert, the Association Football match, watch some porn, and even go “white water rafting” in Wales as a “team building exercise” (very modern) – and then blow you up, as none of these things is a philosophy, a system of beliefs giving answers to the fundamental questions of human existence – which is what Islam at least tries to do.

    Islam is a profound system of ideas and beliefs – I have far more respect for Islam than do the ignorant “Conservative” Central Office types who attacked me for “Islamophobia” (in their pathetic Frankfurt School of Marxism way – and they did not even know they were acting in a Frankfurt School fashion).

    If all the West is offering as an alternative culture and system of beliefs is the above – then the West will lose and it will DESERVE to lose.

  • Paul Marks

    The “patron saint” of Freedom of Speech in the modern West is Mr John Stuart (J.S.) Mill.

    But Mr Mill did not really say that Freedom of Speech was a right – the philosophy of Mr Jeremy Bentham (who J.S. Mill followed – as his father James Mill had) did not allow that position. Rights are “nonsense” and natural rights are “nonsense on stilts” – one can not get to the Bill of Rights (British or American) from the philosophy of Mr Bentham, any more than from the philosophy of Mr David Hume (for under his mask of gentle politeness – Mr Hume is much the same as Mr Bentham, and they are both much the same as Mr Hobbes or Sir Francis Bacon).

    What J.S. Mill argues is that Freedom of Speech should be allowed because it is useful – meaning it adds to “happiness” (defined as pleasure by Mr Bentham – although J.S. Mill does make a distinction between “higher” and “lower” pleasures – which Mr Bentham did not make).

    It is easy for the establishment elite to make a case that NOT allowing Freedom of Speech will lead to greater “happiness for the greatest number” by promoting “social peace”, “tolerance”, “diversity”.

    It is even easy for the Western establishment elite to make a case for LYING on these grounds – and for enforcing their LIES (for example on Islam – but on many things to, such as Covid 19) by punishing anyone who tells the truth.

    Remember, to them, truth has no value FOR ITS OWN SAKE – like (noble lie) Plato or Sir Francis Bacon they are fine with lying, if they think it will promote happiness.

    If people are prepared to demand that it be taught (with punishment if anyone denied it) that the planets do NOT move in the sky (Plato) or that the Sun goes round the Earth (anyone who says the Earth goes round the Sun to be punished – Sir Francis Bacon) do you think that an elite brought up on such thinkers will have any problem at all lying about Islam?

    They will have no problem lying about Islam – or anything else. If they think that doing so promotes “happiness”.

    Dying for the truth is totally alien to these people – and I am talking about the Western establishment elite, NOT Muslims.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Civilisations start in blood and conquest, and progress down the centuries towards peaceful tolerance. The Romans did. We did.

    As for the Romans, you have got it the wrong way around, Nullius. Rome started as a constitutional monarchy, soon turned into a constitutional republic, and then got worse (beginning with the Second Punic War).

    Roman citizens were self-sufficient before the 2nd Punic War. By the time of Caesar and Augustus, lots of them were on welfare and land ownership had concentrated into the hands of a minority. Besides, while there had always been slavery, at least masters used to work with their slaves. No longer so, by the time of Caesar.

    As for Britain, there is no doubt in my mind that it has degenerated morally after WW2. But it did improve before then, in fits and starts.

    There is no neat pattern.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “As for the Romans, you have got it the wrong way around, Nullius. Rome started as a constitutional monarchy, soon turned into a constitutional republic, and then got worse (beginning with the Second Punic War).”

    I’m not that familiar with early Roman history. Was that before or after the wars with the Sabines, Etruscans, Samnites, etc.? How did they get their massive empire, without blood and conquest?

    “There is no neat pattern.”

    True. I sometimes think of it more as a fractal – many repetitions of the same patterns overlaid on one another, at many different scales. Human psychology remains the same. History rhymes.

  • Snorri Godhi

    How did [the Romans] get their massive empire, without blood and conquest?

    How did the French get Algeria? They got it because the Algerian pirates were raiding for slaves, and the only way to make them stop was to conquer Algeria.

    How did Chinggis Khan get his empire? He got it because the Tatars and other tribes were a pain in the arse, and then the Jurchen were a pain, and then the rulers of Khwarezmia were a pain. By the time Chinggis had invaded Khwarezmia, but not before, he came to believe that the Mongols’ manifest destiny was to conquer the world.

    Pretty much the same logic applies to the Romans; at least up to, and including, the 2nd Punic war.

    Eventually, territorial conquest became an industry. But that is what i was saying: the early Roman republic degenerated into the late Roman republic, which in turn degenerated into the Principate, which then degenerated into the Dominate.

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