Documenting the experiences of a typical Midwesterner struggling to read the Qur'an, understand Islamic extremism and its effects on American politics.
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Friday, August 27, 2004
The hypocrisy of hate
(Crossposted to: LGF Watch Watch)

There seems to be a lot of criticism going around the Blogsphere lately for LGF and other sites devoted to exposing the evil that Islamic Extremists are doing in the world. The criticism spans the spectrum from the LGF Watch kids to the reasonable Bjørn Stærk.

Here are some of the posts I am talking about, starting with the Instalanched post by Bjørn Stærk.

Bjørn Stærk
Winds of Change
Crooked Timber

The list goes on...

The core of the argument seems to rely on 2 points. The straw man of "Ban Islam" or "Nuke Mecca" is invoked and insinuated that this is the opinion of the entire readership. Then it is suggested that those leaving comments do not do enough to squelch free speech of the fringe element on the site. Usually a few comments (from the thousands of comments entered daily) are held up as proof that every reader is an Islamaphobe and racist. This is usually followed by a call to moderation and to tolerate Muslims in the US. A similar call for "moderate Muslims" to speak out against their extremists is only mentioned as a token, throwaway remark, if at all. Here are some examples from the above posts:

Bjørn Stærk:
This is the kind of writing that is produced when ignorance meets paranoia and anger. I've written before about how belief in an Islamic essence that supercedes the behavior of actual Muslims leads people to making sloppy generalizations about Islam.

Bjørn needs to look no further than his comments for the sloppiest of generalities of the critics of Islam. Commenter "Salahudin" has a habit of calling anyone that disagrees with him a "Jew". I don't hold Bjørn accountable for his comments section (as he does Charles, indirectly), but it is very instructive to read this person's posts to this follow up article.

More Bjørn:
Conspiracy theories are a subset of bad history. The list above is the religious equivalent of a conspiracy theory.

If Bjørn wants to talk about conspiracy theories, he need look no further than the Qur'an and the claim that Jesus Christ was spared by Allah from the cross and another look-alike was placed there to die in his place. The point being that he is barking up the wrong tree.

Gary Farber of Winds of Change says that Bjørn's original post is "immensely important" and "I didn't rewrite what Bjørn Stærk wrote because I didn't have to. So go read it, please.". He then goes on to cherry pick some comments to prove his point.

What is unsaid about this topic is that Islamic Extremists are not to be held up to the same standards that we in the west hold ourselves. While I believe that we (westerners) should always hold ourselves up to high standards of conduct and morality, I cannot stand idle while an entire movement grows in the shadows cast by our "moral blind spot". It may look ugly to criticize a religion or racial group, it is my opinion that we need to face the facts and confront those willing to destroy our civilization. (Yes, I feel it is THAT important)

Where does this leave a reasonable and concerned person in the debate? Where do I go to find out unfiltered information on Islam, their extremists, or their culture? I decided to get a translation of the Qur'an and read it myself. The Qur'an Project started as my diary of reading and a place to post my thoughts as I progressed. The response has been both interesting and scary at times. I feel I have a better understanding of Islam, by no means am I an expert. I have expressed my opinions there, you are welcome to come on over and follow my journey. Even though I am nearing the end of the Qur'an, I plan to continue reading Islamic texts and study the culture for my own education. Of course, the blog will continue during this time.

I get called many things (My personal favorite is "jew loving nazi/zionist pig bastard") via email on Qur'an Project. This is one of the many reasons I do not have open comments. It seems that I am a racist and bigot for even reading the Qur'an and commenting on what I find there. On the other side, I am constantly bombarded by the Christian nutjobs for advocating conversion to Islam. My day is not complete unless I get at least one email from a helpful Muslim offering to guide me to the right path or from a Christian nutjob warning me of the torture that I have in store for me unless I confess my sins and accept Jesus Christ into my heart.

All of this post to this point has been trying to say what Charles Johnson said to Bjørn and is part of his second post (much to his credit).

It's foolish to talk about a ban on Islam, for the primary reason that it's simply impossible. Trying to ban an ideological religion such as Islam would only drive it underground.

But when you see a large number of "ordinary" folks brought to the point of saying, "Yeah! Ban it!" you have to ask why. All of these people are not bigots, although it's possible some may be; I don't claim to be able to see into people's hearts.

The fact is that across the Islamic world, you find the very highest spiritual leaders expressing virulent hatred of the West, support for jihad and suicide bombing, and Nazi-like antisemitism. I've come to believe, with reams and gigabytes of evidence, that these views do not represent a minority, as we're always told; but rather, that by any measure they have to be considered mainstream. Does this mean that every Muslim is a terrorist? Of course not! Like people everywhere, the majority simply want to get through the day.

But what you're seeing at LGF is that more people are beginning to question the entire basis of Islam, and whether there is something about the religion that encourages extremism and jihad violence. This is a vitally important question that shouldn't be ignored or covered up. If there truly are endemic problems in Islam (and I don't consider myself expert enough to make such a categorical pronouncement), then only by criticizing and discussing -- and sometimes expressing outrage -- can this ever be changed.

People like Charles Johnson do a valuable service to mankind by highlighting the activities of those that would bring us down. We need to get this information out to the masses and have our voices heard. It is true that some of those on "my side" are nut cases; some on the "other side" are whackjobs. Painting the whole of one side or another as "evil" does not advance our knowledge or hope of survival.

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