Are we At War with Islam? Check Your Premises!


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Except in Christianity the structure of the religion is such that the window was/is open to enable dissent within it's ranks.

For most of its history it has not been. Absolutely not. Arianism, Gnosticism, Nestorianism, Catholic vs. Orthodox, the Reformation, the Inquisition…if by “enabling dissent” you allow that one could be burnt to death for disagreeing over some concept of the Trinity, or whether Mary was a virgin, or whether Jesus is present in the communion wafer, well, then ok.

Don't get me wrong, I think all religion is evil and, like Sam Harris, think religious moderation is a myth.

People do compartmentalize and rationalize, but I’d have to review Harris’s argument to answer properly.

However, it's hard not to distinguish between the radical Islamists and the religion of Islam itself because (like Harris points out) if you want to see the true nature of a religion, look at the fundamentalists since they are the ones who take their religion seriously.

There’s plenty of ambiguity and disagreement within Islam. Compare secular Turkey to theocratic Saudi Arabia. And the "fundamentalists" disagree with each other too. We just hear about the one's that get violent.

He deserved blowback on that other thread, not wherever he goes. I'm now supposed to like what Jonathan did after reading your remarks or at least not mind? It's not that you, I, and others don't have a gripe with Phil, it's how we comport ourselves apropos a subject's discussion.

I didn’t like it when I first saw it either, but then I found it gave me an opportunity to illustrate the point I made about Phil’s use of the term Jihad (my line about Hajj in Minnesota). My policy is not to engage in pre-emptive Phil bashing.

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But the solution is fewer civilian casualties not more. And proportionately more taliban/al qaeda/islamofascist casualties.

Phil,

Our war against the terrorists has never been conventional warfare. That went away after our successful invasion of Iraq in 2003 via "Shock and Awe."

Military doctrine is to minimize civilian casualties. Proportionality plays a huge role as well. You take one person out with a bullet or rocket, not drop a 2000-lb bomb, etc.

What plagues our efforts are terrorists not playing by the rules. They do not wear distinguishing uniforms. Rather, they blend into the civilians around them to hide in plain sight.

I fear that civilian casualties will continue at the same pace. Not because we don't have the means, but because terrorists simply care nothing for life...any of it. They will keep hiding behind human shields.

~ Shane

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What plagues our efforts are terrorists not playing by the rules. They do not wear distinguishing uniforms. Rather, they blend into the civilians around them to hide in plain sight.

No solution. Expect horrendous collateral damage. Such are the infellicities of asymmetric war. The arithmetic is simple in principle. Kill enough people off on the other side and they will stop bothering us. Keep in mind that the last one standing is the winner.

Ba'al Chataf

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What plagues our efforts are terrorists not playing by the rules. They do not wear distinguishing uniforms. Rather, they blend into the civilians around them to hide in plain sight.

No solution. Expect horrendous collateral damage. Such are the infellicities of asymmetric war. The arithmetic is simple in principle. Kill enough people off on the other side and they will stop bothering us. Keep in mind that the last one standing is the winner.

If we kill all the females they won't be able to reproduce. We need to develop a kill-the-muslim-female bomb.

--Brant

just trying to limit the collateral damage

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I certainly hope you and Michael are right. What concerns me are not only the terrorist networks outside the U.S. but also the homegrown jihadists that are coming about too such as Faisal Shazad.

My fear is that with the economy being so bad that the next Congress will have to enact MASSIVE spending cuts which will include agencies like the C.I.A. and F.B.I. that would affect their anti-terrorism efforts.

If the anti-terrorism sections of these 2 agencies are slashed, it will make it easier for groups like Al-Quaeda to not only recruit people domestically but also send jihadists onto our shores leaving us vulnerable to attack.

> Also, do you think based on your knowledge of Islam that we can defeat the Islamists trying to invade or attack us?

Mike, I certainly do. Though I've done a little reading, I'm not an expert on Islam and all its permutations, but general principles don't require that level of specificity: Make a very clear distinction between those who initiate force or abet it or plan attacks and go after them even more ruthlessly. But like a precision rifle, not a shotgun blast that blows away innocent bystanders. We have the technology and knowledge to do that. The only case where a nation state is a clear and present danger and promises to be worse in the future is Iran + nuclear weapons.

We are the wealthiest, most powerful, most technologically advanced nation. As long as those tiny groups can be contained and kept on the run and with limited resources (espionage, special forces, alliances with those oppressed, smart bombs and drones), eventually they are playing a losing game.

The area where I do agree with some of the ARI writers is that we have been fighting stupidly. But the solution is fewer civilian casualties not more. And proportionately more taliban/al qaeda/islamofascist casualties.

As to the details of military policy country by country and case by case, unlike Leonard Peikoff and Craig Biddle and Amy Peikoff, I am not a world famous military tactics expert.

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I find it odd how much Objectivists and the "New Atheists" stress the ideology of Islam. Philip has effectively, IMO, deconstructed the myth of Islam in conservative circles by explaining it is in fact a tiny minority that is at war against us. Even so that still implies that "Islam" is in some way the key problem. Obviously radical Islam has misogynistic, homophobic, and generally oppressive traits but focusing on this seems like the ultimate excuse, the best way out of social criticism.

Most people are not motivated by ideology, its about bread and butter, a chance at happiness and freedom from fear. This can be found in many non western societies. Islam during the late Ottoman Empire was nowhere near as oppressive as the society these Jihadis want to create because it was stable and relatively well off. Hell, even Nasser, the bloody handed militaristic dictator of Egypt, managed a stable society that kept its extremists basically in check.

So why aren't we asking how we can improve Middle Eastern societies, making common cause with Moderates who have held power before and can continue to (look at Iran, the Islamic Regime's days are numbered). Maybe its trying to preserve our image of ourselves. After all, its not "Islam" that makes Gaza the world's largest open air prison and it wasn't "Islam" that replaced Iran peaceful democracy with a sadistic dictator. Maybe it is in fact just about oil. Or maybe its just easy to be lazy.

So, there's my polemics and what not but the fact that we focus on "Islam" as opposed to the daily circumstance of Arab and Muslim life ticks me off.

Edited by Joel Mac Donald
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I like Joel's assertion - that it is questionable whether hard-core Muslim Terrorists are actually motivated by "Islam" rather than some other factor - an emotion of anger at poor living conditions, for example. Any and every terrorist will attempt to justify his/her actions according to some virtuous doctrine (nobody claims to be a murderer per se), but it's not uncommon to find a simple motivation such as despair or a sense of injustice fueling the fire behind the words. After all, it takes a lot of energy and integrity to actually adhere to a value system rather than simple emotions, and from what I've seen of terrorists, there is very little foundation for value-behavior. Since we are talking about ideas (I agree that there can be no war on Islam, the thought is absurd especially in a free country), perhaps Muslims living in the US represent good examples of the religion at its best, and the Muslims I know here are awesome people.

But all that aside, I once spoke to a bunch of Objectivists who felt collateral damage was ok in killing terrorists, but they wouldn't accept the idea that it's ok to take out an apartment complex in New York where a murderer is hiding. Silly inconsistency.

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But all that aside, I once spoke to a bunch of Objectivists who felt collateral damage was ok in killing terrorists, but they wouldn't accept the idea that it's ok to take out an apartment complex in New York where a murderer is hiding. Silly inconsistency.

Out of sight, out of mind? It seems rather easy for people to make those comments when rockets and gunfire aren't tearing through their walls. And you make a great point here, Chris.

~ Shane

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Islam has a legion of 'don'ts' and rules that they must all live by (some stricter than others, but many shared). I'm still trying to figure out how these can be reconciled with liberty...Remember to muslims the laws and mandates of islam supersede any "man-made" laws or as our Founders would say "inalienable rights". Posters here may grant muslims their freedom to worship and live as they will, but the reverse is not true. I am at war with the immoral idea's that is islam - that which would take away my liberty is my enemy.

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Islam has a legion of 'don'ts' and rules that they must all live by (some stricter than others, but many shared). I'm still trying to figure out how these can be reconciled with liberty...

Here’s the thread that introduced Adonis to the site. I bet he’ll take the time to answer questions from you, but if you’re not respectful expect him to reply in kind. I don’t discount the possibility that you know as much about Islam as someone who’s only read Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion knows about Judaism. There are lots of links, maybe try reading the George Walsh article, I think I linked it in one of my posts on that thread. If you really are a "Randroid", then consider that at the time of the talk that the article is based on, Leonard Peikoff stated that on the subject of religious history, Walsh was "omniscient".

Edited by Ninth Doctor
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I am at war with the immoral idea's that is islam - that which would take away my liberty is my enemy.

blackhorse,

You should be at intellectual war with anyone who tries to take away your liberty, Islamic or otherwise. When you single out one religion as a whole, you are not concentrating on liberty. You are concentrating on a scapegoat.

There are those who practice Islam who will take away your liberty by force. They are the fanatics. There are those who will not. They are the moderates and those who do not practice the religion all that faithfully. (These are the vast majority.)

And there is another consideration. Children grow up culturally to become whatever the culture was where they grew up. They do not have any choice about where they are born and raised. So Muslim children get Islam whether they want it or not (just like American children get American culture whether they want it or not.). Do you honestly, deep inside yourself, believe that your normal schlub who grows up in a Muslim country, who has a middle class (or lower middle class) family and kids and a job, really wants to take away your liberty? You come from a place he only sees on TV and in the newspapers. You are dinner table talk to him--if that--and nothing more.

Now another issue. Volition-wise--and this is the big "volition-wise"--other people, adults, do convert to Islam voluntarily. Would you take away their liberty to do so?

They may not have the liberties they had before they converted, but they give them up voluntarily when they convert. Would you take away their liberty to do so?

Would you become the enemy of their liberty to do with their own lives as they see fit?

About the fanatics. As an intellectual, there are things that we can do to minimize the risks from fanatics. I'm afraid mankind will never be free from the crazies, but there are things we can do to keep a lid on their power of destruction. And it starts with intellectuals.

As a general intellectual rule, here is how it works in practice, and how it has always worked throughout history. When you scapegoat the moderate, you empower the violent fanatic. We are discussing Islam right now, but this works with all cultures. When you reason with the moderate--but reason in a persistent organized reasonable manner, you pull the teeth from the violent fanatic. There are many other elements involved (like when the economy goes to hell) that can add new things to the mix, but this general rule holds up pretty well when you look at major movements in the different countries over the last few centuries.

When you scapegoat an entire religion like you want to (Islam is "immoral" and "that which would take away my liberty"), you turn off the moderate Muslim who would listen to your remarks about liberty and leave him to be influenced by chance or by the fanatical Islamist waiting in the wings. In other words, you empower the true enemy who would take away your liberty and give his arguments substance in the minds of Muslims who would otherwise not listen to him.

You shoot yourself in the foot.

Michael

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Michael, in my research I have yet to find the islamic teaching and/or scripture that defends personal liberty either within Koranic doctrine and/or other islamic rules and laws.-maybe you could give me some sources. Ideaologies require individuals to live them. Islam is not an entity - it needs men to bring it to life. Even the "moderate" muslim subjects the laws of liberty to the Koran.-if he doesn't he is not a muslim in the true sense, he is but a nit-picking minority within the religion.-an apostate or in this case "infidel" of sorts. I'll re-iterate; islam supersedes natural/objective law, therefore it must needs always be at odds with freedom, because freedom will not submit.

One can't shoot himself in the foot when both eyes are open and the safety is on.

Edited by blackhorse
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blackhorse,

I see you are committed to Islam-hatred qua Islam-hatred.

If that hatred works to the same extent as mysticism-hatred (in the Randian sense), Christianism-hater (in the Peikovian sense), Judiasim-hatred (the religion, not the culture), statist-collectivism-hatred, etc., all as opposed to a rational metaphysics, go forth. My intellectual form of battle is persuasion, not righteous condemnation, and I think oversimplified moralizing is ineffective. But go forth and I have no problem with that.

It your position is that Islam is worse than all those others, and it is the major threat to "your liberty" in relation to all those others because its evil is more evil than the evil of their evil, then that is bigotry and we have no common ground.

Michael

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Subject: fair and respectful debate

> I see you are committed to Islam-hatred qua Islam-hatred.

Michael, that's not what he said, at least not in recent posts I've seen.

I disagree with much of blackhorse's exaggerated view of what muslims in general believe or act on, as I do factually with the views of Peikoff et al on this. For example, the following just above from blackhorse is factually wrong: "Even the "moderate" muslim subjects the laws of liberty to the Koran", but it's not the same as 'Islam hatred'.

(I explained why in my original post in some detail. That's why it's worth rereading in the light of subsequent posts.)

How to argue:

1. It's better if you quote his specific points and try to answer them in a targeted way, rather than using exaggerated or emotionalist rhetoric like accusing him of being an Islam hater.

2. Always try to be scrupulously fair in summarizing an opponent's position, his actual words.

3. Don't put in his mouth what you think are the logical implications. Just state that this is what you think his ideas would lead to, whether he agrees or not.

Edited by Philip Coates
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So, there's my polemics and what not but the fact that we focus on "Islam" as opposed to the daily circumstance of Arab and Muslim life ticks me off.

I disagree. The actual 9/11 conspirators were middle class, educated people. Their interpretation of Islam was key to making them killers. Christians who murder abortion doctors are the same. I won’t say that concern for conditions in the Middle East doesn’t sharpen the motivation, but there are plenty of oppressed places in the world, and where demagogues blame the US (or the IMF/World Bank) for the suffering, yet they don’t produce suicide bombers or conspiracies to commit mass murder.

Edited by Ninth Doctor
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How to argue:

1. It's better if you quote his specific points and try to answer them in a targeted way, rather than using exaggerated or emotionalist rhetoric like accusing him of being an Islam hater.

2. Always try to be scrupulously fair in summarizing an opponent's position, his actual words.

3. Don't put in his mouth what you think are the logical implications. Just state that this is what you think his ideas would lead to, whether he agrees or not.

Phil,

I don't do any of that here because the general mantra is wrong. But if need be, I can get real specific. I'm just not eternal enough to go chasing down the specific stuff you want to make the same case over and over and over with each post. I don't disagree with your method, so If it gets to something more serious than general Islam-bashing qua general Islam-bashing, I will do something more along those lines.

But let's discuss it a bit. You, yourself mentioned how people sneak in physical war under that mantra of intellectual war. (Do you need a quote for that?)

That kind of thinking is what I judge is likely here. So I'm just pulling the covers off.

If I'm wrong, I'll gladly own up. But I keep seeing the same mistake touted as reason--and what's worse, it is insinuated more than made evident. The mistake is believing that since there are things in the Islamic holy books that are repressive, then all Muslims practice only those parts. Thus we need to wipe it off the face of the earth, especially by bombing some Muslims according to some unspecified criteria to show we mean business.

That's silly. There are repressive things in all religious texts. And I doubt blackhorse's "research" will uncover anything that "defends personal liberty" in his meaning of the term in the Holy Bible, the Tanakh, the Book of Mormons, the Four Vedas, The Aqdas, Guru Granth Sahib, etc.

But the next step becomes let's turn intellectual war into physical war and man up and accept some collateral damage with innocents as we bomb the living daylights out of whole cities. Blackhorse has even stated this explicitly.

And we all know blackhorse is going to "research" those other holy writings, right? I mean before he decides which Christian, Jewish, Mormon, Hindu, Bahá'í, Sikh, etc., cities we need to bomb off the face of the earth..

Don't you find anything even remotely disturbing about this manner of reasoning? I do, so I call it out.

But even still, in the post you are complaining about, notice that I mentioned two possibilities to make sure my judgment is not off on a personal level: one with which I disagree and do not find effective, but do not have any moral qualms with, and the other--bigotry--which I do.

I am not saying blackhorse is a bigot, but his texts are certainly enough borderline to ask questions. It would be great if I got something a little more deep than, "The Islamic books say some (unspecified) bad things, thus Islam threatens my liberty. And if you don't believe me, go to Jihad Watch. Let's bomb 'em and sorry about the innocents." (This is my paraphrase, not his actual words.)

Michael

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I just received the following in an email - an interview with Daniel Pipes

I would say there are three interpretations of the current state of affairs. One is what I call the establishment view, which is what you just described. People say, "Islam has been hijacked; the problem is terrorism; Islam is a religion of peace." A denial of the problem.

The second is what I call the insurgent view: "Islam itself is the problem. Islam has always been a problem, with jihad, honor killings, and the like. Islam is itself evil and problematic. Muslims are inherently a problem." I think that is too broad-based and wrong.

And then there is the middle position, which I subscribe to. It would be summed up by saying, "Radical Islam is the problem, and moderate Islam is the solution." I believe there is a possibility for Islam to evolve in a way that is moderate, modern, and willing to live in harmony with others. I think it is possible for non-Muslims and moderate Muslims to work together to achieve that.

Even if you believe the insurgent approach, that Islam itself is evil, there's no policy you can pursue. What can you do if you're president [of the United States] and you believe that? Are you going to throw out freedom of religion? Are you going to exclude Muslims? Are you going to fight wars abroad to promote Christianity? It's not who we are. It requires such fundamental changes that I'd say it's just not possible. So I think it's a dead-end approach.

Even if you believe that, and I'm sure some of your listeners do, I'd say you have to join me in seeing Islamism as a political ideology comparable to fascism and Communism because we have tools to defeat that. We have won wars against them: the Second World War and the Cold War. We can do it again. But if we see the problem as religion, we don't have tools; we can't win.

Bill P

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> The mistake is believing that since there are things in the Islamic holy books that are repressive, then all Muslims practice only those parts. Thus we need to wipe it off the face of the earth, especially by bombing some Muslims according to some unspecified criteria to show we mean business...That's silly. There are repressive things in all religious texts. And I doubt blackhorse's "research" will uncover anything that "defends personal liberty" in his meaning of the term in the Holy Bible, the Tanakh, the Book of Mormons, the Four Vedas, The Aqdas, Guru Granth Sahib, etc. [MSK]

Exactly! Well-expressed.

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Subject: Islam, like Christianity, is a Complex Phenomenon

Thanks, Bill, for this nice clip from Daniel Pipes [my numbering added]:

>[1] "Islam is a religion of peace."

[2] "Islam itself is the problem. Islam has always been a problem, with jihad, honor killings, and the like. Islam is itself evil and problematic. Muslims are inherently a problem."

[3] "Radical Islam is the problem, and moderate Islam is the solution." I believe there is a possibility for Islam to evolve in a way that is moderate, modern, and willing to live in harmony with others.

Those alternatives are not mutually exclusive. From my reading the truth seems to be part way between 2 and 3:

Islam never went through the Enlightenment and was not reformed or made more benign. There is very little explicit renunciation of the worst aspects of jihad and sharia. So the fundamental religion as practiced and defened is still worse than Christianity as it has evolved. That's partially number 2. Nonetheless the radicals are still a minority and there are places where muslims are more moderate and willing to live in harmony with others. That's partially number 3. (You would need to add to this the fact that especially outside of the Middle East, moderate Islam is already the majority position in some parts of the muslim world...as I pointed out in my original post.)

Number 1 is, of course, ridiculous.

Edited by Philip Coates
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In regard to Christianity and Islam no religious war can eliminate the other. These two have been going at it for what--1200 years? A country can expel adherents to a religion. It took Spain many hundreds of years to do that to the Muslims. It was much easier for Spain to kick out the Jews 500 years ago. Now, Objectivists, one and all, let's take a deep breath about this--and be rational!

--Brant

a dollar a scalp!

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Phil, why do you compare Al Ghazali to Aquinas? It is a filthy slander. Al Ghazali ranks right down there with Plato, Kant and Saint Paul.

Al Ghazali

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia For the influential Egyptian Islamic scholar who lived from 1917-1996, see Mohammed al-Ghazali.Ghazali (Algazel)200px-Imam_Ghazali.gif

Abū Ḥāmed Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī (1058–19 December 1111 [3]) (Persian/Arabic:ابو حامد محمد ابن محمد الغزالي), often Algazel in English, was an Islamic theologian, jurist, philosopher, cosmologist, psychologist and mystic of Persian origin,[4][5] and remains one of the most celebrated scholars in the history of Sunni Islamic thought. He is considered a pioneer of methodic doubt and skepticism,[6] and in one of his major works, The Incoherence of the Philosophers, he changed the course of early Islamic philosophy, shifting it away from an Islamic metaphysics influenced by ancient Greek and Hellenistic philosophy, and towards an Islamic philosophy based on cause-and-effect that was determined by God or intermediate angels, a theory now known as occasionalism. He was born and died in Tus, in the Khorasan province of Persia.

Ghazali has sometimes been acclaimed by secular historians such as William Montgomery Watt to be the greatest Muslim after Muhammad [7] (traditionally among Muslims, the greatest Muslims after the Prophet, according to authentic hadith, is the generation of his contemporaries). Besides his work that successfully changed the course of Islamic philosophy—the early Islamic Neoplatonism developed on the grounds of Hellenistic philosophy, for example, was so successfully refuted by Ghazali that it never recovered—he also brought the orthodox Islam of his time in close contact with Sufism.[8] The orthodox theologians still went their own way, and so did the mystics, but both developed a sense of mutual appreciation which ensured that no sweeping condemnation could be made by one for the practices of the other.[9]

Edited by Ted Keer
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> Phil, why do you compare Al Ghazali to Aquinas? It is a filthy slander. Al Ghazali ranks right down there with Plato, Kant and Saint Paul.

Ted, I compare him in terms of influence within his own religion and culture. He's the anti-Aquinas. While A. saved and promoted the influence of Aristotle in the Christian West, G. killed the englightenment and Aristotelian influences in the Islamic world.

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Where I disagree with the essay that started this thread is mainly in issues of degrees.

First, there are very few "moderate" Muslims.

Second, the percentage of "extremist" Muslims is quite large.

On the first point, let's not equivocate what we mean by "moderate Muslim." Do we mean

A. a "go to church on Friday" kind of Muslim? Someone raised Muslim who is more or less observant more or less from fear of social or divine punishments? Yeah, he faces Mecca every morning at 4am, but if he had his druthers, he'd rather sleep in and then crack a beer and have bbq pork chops for lunch and forget about all this jihad drudgery.

B. a radical (compared to other Muslims) who has thoughtfully rejected or reinterpreted most of the nastier aspects of his religion and is "working from within" for reform?

There are a lot of A's out there, few B's.

Mainstream Muslims, even lazy tepid ones, believe in things that most Americans wouldn't put up with from anyone else. Compare & contrast Muslims with the Aryan Nations guys up in Idaho. Would you have a member of the Aryan Nations church as a social friend? Well, isn't mainstream Islamic doctrine just as racist and sexist as what those Idaho yahoos preach? In many respects, it's actually worse. Mainstream Muslims have a lot more in commmon with members of the KKK than they do with you and me.

Are 90% of Muslims likely to ever become bomb throwers? No. Were 90% of the German public likely to join the SS? No. Doesn't mean that anti-Semitism wasn't mainstream in Germany like...well, anti-Semitism is mainstream in Islam. Sure, plenty of Muslims are moderate in their fervor for anti-semitism, just as were most Germans. But it's pretty easy to whip them up or at least regiment them when they're needed for the cause.

With regard to the second point, about how there are a lot more extremist Muslims than most nice people want to admit, 9-11 reset our moral disgust baseline with regard to Islam, and in the wrong direction.

Nowadays, all we ask is that they stop blowing people up and we'll give them a gold star that says "moderate." Just eschew beheadings and we'll overlook the fact that mainstream Islam, including as practiced in most mosques in the USA, is a miserable, racist, sexist, intolerent, repressive, secretive, expansionist cult that sucks even worse than Scientology. Everyone would admit that's true if their cult didn't have a billion members.

Nobody knows what percentage of Muslims are terrorist sympathizers. As far as I can tell, most are, though most aren't at the fervent end of the scale. Many outright lie about it. Many more deny it and then you get into a slightly extended conversation, and ah, here it comes now....

Check out the signs you see at any given Muslim student demonstration, like the ones recently at Berkeley. This is what they're willing to let you see in public. Or find that You Tube video of David Horowitz from about the same time (on Youtube, search david horowitz muslim student).

As an aside, I'm proud to say that I've been callling out Muslims for 25 years now in public and occasionally in person. That Horowitz video was familiar to my own experiences. Muslims have all their talking points and doublespeak down, much like politicians. But most of them haven't been well-prepared for dealing with the next level of scrutiny. Many times I've used that same tactic Horowitz used: Try to corner them to unequivocally renounce evil. Only once have I seen anyone do so in private and they were too scared to go to the next level--announce that you believe this at your mosque next Friday. Make no mistake: lots of Muslims, if not a majority, sympathize with Palestinian bombings and fatwas against Rushdie and South Park. And those who don't don't dare say so in public because they know how nasty the mainstream of Islam is and what would happen to them if they did speak out.

Now, maybe I have a skewed sample in skewering Muslims, since I don't harass a Muslim about his beliefs just because I know he's Muslim. He has to say something in front of me that's stupid and obnoxious. So, in case I've missed them, could someone please point me to some moderate Muslim web sites, you know where Muslims are telling other Muslims to knock it off with South Park and suicide bombs?

Last point, now, I promise--

In its social and organizational dynamics, Islam is much more like organized crime than it is like Christian organized religions. It's a tangle of nasty factions competing for turf and offering "protection" and trying to achieve monopolies over various criminal enterprises. Muslims don't even believe in their own beliefs in the same sense that Christians do. Psychologically, Muslims treat their beliefs more like the code of Omerta than like doctrines. (This is one reason why Muslims don't go through contortions trying to reconcile contradictions in their sacred writings--the most recent trump the former, and that's that. There are very few fundamental, immutable rules or beliefs in Islam.)

Muslims never got the Westphalia memo, and, like the mafia, they don't respect the legitimacy of Western social institutions and are always trying to corrupt and control them. A good way to think about Sunni vs Shia is to think of them like the Colombians vs the Sicilians. And Hamas and Hezbollah as Crips vs Bloods. The same goes for how they corrupt competing institutions. There's no difference morally or in effect between the French or BP or Bill Clinton getting millions from Muslim "states" than a senator from Nevada taking bribes from Michael Corleone in The Godfather.

I'm ok with saying we're at war with Islam in the same sense that we are at war with the Mafia. It's important to keep the level of violence down to a dull roar and make sure they mostly kill each other. Now and then, they're going to go too far and you have to round up a bunch of them and shut down the speakeasy's.

But I do agree that you have to be careful to limit the metaphor and understand that this war is going to be as long-fought and incomplete as the war against organized crime. This is not a pessimistic view. The pessimistic view is that the rise of Islam in Europe is inevitable, that Islam is some irresistable Vandal force and the West is hapless decadent Rome. Not hardly.

Islam is a bunch of low-IQ, low-skill punks and thugs who got as lucky from having oil as Al Capone did from the government banning alcohol. They're far richer and more powerful than they deserve to be except for a lucky economic accident that gives them a huge stash of cash. I think you can expect the dynamics of the struggle with Islam to be similar, if writ larger.

Extending the Mafia metaphor, a lot of people think that 9-11 was Islam's St Valentine's Day Massacre (which made the Chicago cops finally got fed up with Capone et. al. and start settling their hash). I disagree. We saw 9-11 as an overreach by one particular Muslim gang. So we rounded up a bunch of them and busted their heads as a warning to the rest. We have yet to realize that it's the whole Muslim gang ecosystem we have to disrupt. I'm really afraid that Iran and Pakistan will give us the Muslim equivalent of the Valentine's Day massacre eventually, and at that point we will really go Elliott Ness on them.

No way will we let them take over the really good neighborhoods of the world. Total war is going way too far over the top. But I do like, "If they bring a knife, you bring a gun..."

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> There are very few "moderate" Muslims....Mainstream Muslims have a lot more in commmon with members of the KKK than they do with you and me....Sure, plenty of Muslims are moderate in their fervor for anti-semitism, just as were most Germans. But it's pretty easy to whip them up or at least regiment them when they're needed for the cause...stop blowing people up and we'll give them a gold star that says "moderate."...Nobody knows what percentage of Muslims are terrorist sympathizers. As far as I can tell, most are,

Mike, you make a lot of assertions. You seem convinced of all of the above. What are your sources? And why are you convinced of your claims?

> Could someone please point me to some moderate Muslim web sites, you know where Muslims are telling other Muslims to knock it off with South Park and suicide bombs?

That's actually a very reasonable request and a good idea! I imagine it would take some research. I think an even better idea would be to research major muslim websites per se and classify them according to their views.

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