Friday, October 17, 2003

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The state of Islam -- 2003

Post -- 9/11, there's been a lot of gnashing of teeth about the role that Islam plays in the promotion of terrorism and general hostility to the West. It is often stressed that Islam encompasses more than the Arab Middle East, and should not be conflated with the ideology of Osama bin Laden or his cronies. Surely, true Islam is not fundamentally anti-Semitic, for example?

The Organization of the Islamic Conference is having its 10th Islamic Summit, which seems as good a venue as any to mull the state of the religion in 2003.

So, let's go to what outgoing Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad said yesterday in his welcoming speech:

1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way. And we can only find a way if we stop to think, to assess our weaknesses and our strength, to plan, to strategise and then to counter attack....

We are actually very strong. 1.3 billion people cannot be simply wiped out. The Europeans killed 6 million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them....

We are up against a people who think. They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking. They invented and successfully promoted Socialism, Communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power. We cannot fight them through brawn alone. We must use our brains also.

Of late because of their power and their apparent success they have become arrogant. And arrogant people, like angry people will make mistakes, will forget to think.

They are already beginning to make mistakes. And they will make more mistakes. There may be windows of opportunity for us now and in the future. We must seize these opportunities.

When the European Union -- which knows from anti-Semitism -- declares that the speech is anti-Semitic, you know a line has been crossed. [UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan points that the French weren't that upset]

A few thoughts:

  • What's scarier, that Mahathir said this or the reaction from the crowd?:

    The Indonesian President, Megawati Soekarnoputri, joined a standing ovation for her Malaysian counterpart, Mahathir Mohamad, after he called on Muslims to consider Jews as their enemy, it has been revealed.

    All 57 leaders at a Conference of Islamic Nations summit applauded the comments, which have renewed regional tensions ahead of next week's APEC leaders' conference. Among them were several key figures in the post-September 11 world, including Ms Megawati; the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai; President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

    According to this story, Hamid Karzai didn't find the speech anti-Semitic. For more reactions, go check out Al Jazeera's coverage of the reaction to the speech:

    "I don't think they (the remarks) are anti-Semitic at all. I think he was stating the facts," Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said.

    Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher added: "There are people wanting to create trouble, invent problems that do not exist... I would advise them to read the whole speech, which was a speech addressed to Muslims asking them to work hard and affirm their personality."

    And Fahmi Huwaidi, an Egyptian political analyst, told Aljazeera: “Nowadays, any criticism against the Jews and the Jewish policy is considered anti-Semitic.

    “This proves how far Israel and its allies have succeeded in sanctifying Israel, preventing any side from criticising it."

    He added: “Such a common view proves Muhammad’s comment on the extent to which the Jewish global influence has reached.”

  • This is how Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar tried to explain the comments away to Voice of America:

    The prime minister's statement is a statement calling for moderation, calling not to utilize violence to achieve our objective, start to think, look at the example of what the Jewish community achieved.

    The scary and pathetic thing is, Hamid Albar is correct -- relative to a lot of Muslims, Mahathir's position is moderate. He's not advocating the use of violence to exterminate the state of Israel. He's advocating the use of brainpower -- to exterminate the state of Israel.

    Mahathir embodies the moderate face of Islam. To his credit, he was at the helm as his country indistrialized. He was smart enough to appreciate the importance of the rule of law and the role of markets in fostering economic growth. He bucked the IMF's advice and imposed capital controls during the Asian financial crisis and lived to tell the tale. He pursued a number of policies designed to ameliorate ethnic tensions between the poorer but more numerous Malays and the wealthier ethnic Chinese. These feats are not easy for a developing country leader to pull off.

    And yet, this man, the best that moderate political Islam has to offer, is rotten with flaws. Mahathir subverted his country's democratic traditions to suit his political purposes. He jailed his anointed successor for having the temerity to question whether the IMF might actually be correct. And the anti-Semitism is hardly new -- he blamed the Jews, specifically George Soros, for causing the Asian financial crisis.

  • The other parts of the speech spell out very clearly what Mahathir believes should be appropriated from the West:

    The early Muslims produced great mathematicians and scientists, scholars, physicians and astronomers etc. and they excelled in all the fields of knowledge of their times, besides studying and practising their own religion of Islam. As a result the Muslims were able to develop and extract wealth from their lands and through their world trade, able to strengthen their defences, protect their people and give them the Islamic way of life, Addin, as prescribed by Islam. At the time the Europeans of the Middle Ages were still superstitious and backward, the enlightened Muslims had already built a great Muslim civilisation, respected and powerful, more than able to compete with the rest of the world and able to protect the ummah from foreign aggression. The Europeans had to kneel at the feet of Muslim scholars in order to access their own scholastic heritage....

    But halfway through the building of the great Islamic civilisation came new interpreters of Islam who taught that acquisition of knowledge by Muslims meant only the study of Islamic theology. The study of science, medicine etc. was discouraged.

    Intellectually the Muslims began to regress. With intellectual regression the great Muslim civilisation began to falter and wither....

    We are enjoined by our religion to prepare for the defence of the ummah. Unfortunately we stress not defence but the weapons of the time of the Prophet. Those weapons and horses cannot help to defend us any more. We need guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships for our defence. But because we discouraged the learning of science and mathematics etc. as giving no merit for the akhirat, today we have no capacity to produce our own weapons for our defence. We have to buy our weapons from our detractors and enemies. This is what comes from the superficial interpretation of the Quran, stressing not the substance of the Prophet's sunnah and the Quran's injunctions but rather the form, the manner and the means used in the 1st Century of the Hijrah. And it is the same with the other teachings of Islam. We are more concerned with the forms rather than the substance of the words of Allah and adhering only to the literal interpretation of the traditions of the Prophet.

    There is actually a powerful critique of Islamic fundamentalism in this passage -- but over means and not ends.

    What Mahathir wants is for Islamic countries to embrace modernization without Westernization and its tacky "Jewish" traits of human rights and democracy. However, it's no coincidence that the peak of Islam's power and influence came at a time when the religion was tolerant to scientific and religious views outside of the Quran. Although Samuel Huntington and Benjamin Barber disagree, I side with Jonathan Rauch in believing that it's impossible to embrace modern science without embracing the tolerance for free thought that is at the core of Western liberal thought.

  • I could very well be wrong, however. This is the trillion-dollar bet for the West for the next century. The state of Islam in 2003 does not make me sanguine.

    UPDATE: The Financial Times and Agence France-Presse report on Mahathir's response to the backlash. The latter story contains this priceless nugget:

    Mahathir said the sentiments he expressed were shared by most Muslim countries but they were unable to speak their minds because they feared being victimised.

    He was backed by other officials at the OIC conference, who said the comments were taken out of context in a speech which had called for the Muslim world to overcome its weaknesses.

    Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said he did not think much attention should be paid to the "clamour and accusations".

    "Those who are commenting on the speech have not read it in its entirety," Maher said.

    I partially agree with the Egyptian Foreign Minister -- the speech should be read it in its entirety.

    ANOTHER UPDATE: Words I never thought I would write -- Drezner gets results from the New York Times editorial page.

    posted by Dan on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM



    How do you respond to that. I mean, have the common courtesy to be discreet about your fascism.

    posted by: Arthur Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    I'm not sure to whom Arthur Wellesley's apostrophe is addressed -- who exactly should be discreet about his or her fascisim? If it's Mahathir, OK, but why be discreet if that's what you really think?

    Bottom line, it seems to me, is ideas have consequences, and a corollary would be religious beliefs have consequences. It's worth pointing out that, while Dan and some others postulate a tolerant, "enlightened" phase of Islam, there is certainly no unanimity on this issue. In some reading I did earlier this year, I ran across the casual remark that there were three strains of early Christian thought, the Roman, the Constantinoplean, and the North African, and golly gee, for some reason the North African strain just sorta disappeared sometime around the seventh century. Right around the time the early, enlightened kind of Islam blew through, though the author (coming from a tradition that doesn't tend to rub old sores) didn't mention that part.

    I think the only possible civilized response to Islam is the one that's taking place -- aggressively and proactively respond to the physical threat, while keeping the intellectual pressure up on the other side.

    posted by: John Bruce on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    C'mon Mr. Bruce - back track a few posts on the previous threads, for god's sake - I can't be spending time explaining myself to friends, when we've got a blogoshere of foes to contend with.

    I said exactly what you spent 10 minutes typing. Namely:

    Lay it out like that, and you'll get the genocide you so eagerly desire for others.

    The west, today, has the ability to destroy every single aspect of islamic culture, decides not to (as being true to it's own cultural identity) and is replied with that fascist garbage?

    Good luck. Me? I'm buying Lockheed stock.

    posted by: Arthur Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    The funny thing is, so much of what he says is spot on.

    His goal is kill all jews is obviously wrong.

    His diagnosis of why they casn't kill all jews, the focus on theology and the discouragement of math and scienece is 110% correct.

    His solution (promoting science while disregarding democracy) won't work, and he's still a raving lunatic, but he's also making some of the points that we've been making about modern islam for years.

    posted by: Mike on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Isn't this garbage more appropriate for Little Green Footballs or something?

    There are hundreds of millions of muslims in this world. Do all muslims march in lock-step to what certain idiotic and bigoted leaders preach? No.

    Think about Christianity. Would a conference of evangelical christians--say with Falwell, Robertson et al in attendance--be much different (not necessarily same target, but just as hateful towards gays, muslims etc)? Doubtful. But do I think they represent Christianity? No.

    I came to this site to read the debate about the war being sponsored here. I doubt I'll ever visit it again; this post is just sickening.

    Shame on you, Daniel.

    posted by: Garbage on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    The sentiment by Arthur Wellesley is commonly shared, including many posters on the large volume left-of-center blogs. Comments much more discreet than Daniel's regularly get you labeled as a MBF--Moronic Brownshirt F_ck. A Nazi fascist reference, for the uninitiated.

    The sad irony is that the term Islamofascist is an accurate one that applies to much of the hierarchy and thinking of organizations and states like Al Qaeda. Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia are good examples, as are Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and--yes--the Palestinian Authority.

    Apologists like Arthur will claim righteous indignation at the idea of the nexus of Islam and a totalitarian structure modeled after fascism. Cries of "McCarthyism!" is the standard knee-jerk response.

    My response is to these apologists is equally righteously indignant: Useful Idiots.

    posted by: paul on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]


    Shame on you. Your ignorance about a Christian evangelical conference is astonishing. Why don't you go to one and find out?

    I think you'll be surprised.

    posted by: IB Bill on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]


    Your comparison is specious. Where in the West is the analogue to a meeting of the leaders of 57 nations, all of which assemble under the banner of a religion?

    The west is composed of universally secular states. The fact that, in order to achieve a valid comparison, you have to invoke a conference of evangelical Christians to make your point underlines its inadequacy.

    There is no comparison between Western nations and those nations that embrace the failed ideology of Political Islam.

    posted by: mjh on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Of course, Falwell and Robertson aren't the elected leaders of any nations, while Mahathir is. And even Falwell and Robertson don't, I think, advocate the extermination of Muslims in the way that Mahathir does Jews.

    The comments of Mahathir are disturbing precisely because he's sometimes presented as the moderate version of Islam.

    posted by: Ernst Blofeld on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Too bad they stopped Zoolander from completing his mission...

    posted by: Yank on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Eh, Paul? Read Arthur Wellesley's comments a bit more carefully. Unless I'm hugely misinterpreting him, he agrees with Professor Drezner and (I would imagine) you on the subject. The facism he was referring to was Mohammed's not Dan's.

    And "Garbage," not like you're still reading this...I understand outrage at having every single little barking moonbat held against you - would I, as a liberal, wish to be judged by Michael Moore, or as a right-winger by Ann Coulter? - but that's because they're MARGINAL LOONS. (Famous, sure, but not representative.) Mohammed is the *prime minister of the largest Islamic 'democracy' in the world.* The leaders who ALL gave him a standing ovation for his filthy speech: Not Marginal Figures. It is ABSOLUTELY appropriate to condemn these people - they're heads of state, for chrissakes!

    posted by: Jeff B. on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Fallwell can call Mohammed a terrorist, Billy Graham is invited to the Pentagon, and Robertson can threaten the State Department with "Nuculer" weapons but the world's longest serving democratically elected leader of a multi-racial, religiously tolerant economic leader in South East Asia says:

    "Are we not allowed at all to criticize the Jews if they do things which are wrong?" Mahathir asked. "If Muslims can be accused of being terrorists, then others can accuse the Jews of being terrorists also."

    Mahathir, 77, a senior statesmen in the developing world who will retire Oct. 31 after 22 years in office, has long been an outspoken leader. He is a staunch advocate of the Palestinians and strongly opposed the war in Iraq, but also has jailed terror suspects from the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group.

    In his news conference, Mahathir accused "most" European leaders -- by which he also generally means Americans and Australians -- of being biased.

    "The fact is that they are biased," Mahathir said. "Most of them are biased. Not all; most of them. And they feel that while it is proper to criticize Muslims and Arabs, it is not proper to criticize Europeans and Jews. Apparently, they think they are privileged people."

    Mahathir said the thrust of his speech had been to urge Muslims to step back from violence, rethink their strategies, and find a peaceful way through acquiring knowledge to gain strength and unity so they would gain respect and their rights.

    "They survived 2,000 years of pogroms not by hitting back but by thinking," Mahathir said of the Jews. "They invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others."

    *******{This is not an attack on the Jews. The speech calls for peaceful unity of the ummah, specifically stating "NOT BY HITTING BACK BUT BY THINKING", however the categorical response by:
    'Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said Mahathir's speech "is an absolute invitation for more hate crimes and terrorism against Jews. That's serious."' There's no way that could be construed out of Mahathir's statement. The obfucation of the truth in the [primarily] Judeo-Christian owned media outlets is profound. All these news stories one can lexis or googlenews on the internet are nothing if not evidence of a double standard of political correctness.

    "What I said in my speech is that we should stop all this violence, all these killings, all these suicide bombings, all this massive retaliation," Mahathir said. "I am against violence, I am against terrorism."
    -Mahathir Mohamad

    (quotes from

    posted by: Talib abdul-Haqq on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Mahathir cares about the Jews and Palestinians about as much as he cares about whether there is life in the Rigel star system. He used this repellent rhetoric to buffer a message that is radically different from what much of his audience -- especially the Arabs -- want to hear.

    In the context of Muslim politics his speech was actually quite courageous. The context, though, may make that level of courage irrelevant -- it's quite possible that what his audience applauded at was the anti-Israeli rhetoric and the boilerplate evocation of the long-ago era of Muslim greatness, and that they just ignored the rest.

    I believe Mahathir is genuinely concerned about the future of Islam, but is more concerned about the future of Malaysia (as anyone familiar with that country knows, the idea that Jews exert any control over Muslims in Malaysia is absurd. It's the Chinese who dominate the economy -- the dynamic between them and the Malay majority has been the major theme of Malaysian politics since independence). The simplistic Islamism he inveighed against in the speech quoted here 1) brings terrorism behind it, which could drive away the foreign investment Malaysia depends on, 2) has the potential to split Malaysia's Malays, Mahathir's political base and 3) jeopardizes the sometimes tense but peaceful and economically productive relations between Malays and ethnic Chinese in Malaysia.

    I don't blame people who are offended by the ostentatious anti-Jewish phrases in Mahathir's speech. It would be better for everyone if someone in his position could make a speech pointing out that Israel had a right to exist while Palestinians had made many of their own problems without risking assassination. But such are the limitations of Muslim politics. My point here is only to caution people reading into this speech the idea that Mahathir's major concern is crushing Israel. It isn't.

    posted by: Zathras on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Garbage's email address from the properties of his link is "". His views may be informed by a particular standpoint. That does not invalidate his opinions, but it does provide context.

    posted by: wretchard on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    It amazes that so many negative responses were incurred. The jist of their complaint is that there are so many Moslems and many of them are loving, peaceful etc. They fail to acknowledge that, when EVERY leading figure of Islam spews anti-semitism, the case for a peaceful result fails.

    In Nazi Germany there were, doubtless, many peace-loving folk. The problem there was that no one in a position of power spoke for anything but death, murder, war. In contemporary Islam, to speak for peace and reconciliation with Israel is to sign your own death warrant. To examine Islam critically is to do the same.

    Those who recoiled at your assessment offered nothing beyond their emotional response to it. Whistling past the graveyard, they wish to pass quickly by and garner no notice of something they fear. Purblindness is their refuge from a dark, nasty truth.

    posted by: Tom Hazlewood on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Unfortunately these remarks *were* characteristic and representative of a broad mainstream within Islamic thought.

    Even those who are Isreal's friends and have been openly pro-Zionist like myself can see that its present course is needlessly unjust and needlessly provocative. If the Muslims can get their act together they will be a force to be reckoned with.

    This points to the ultimate naivete of the neo-con vision and hints at the horrors its policies will produce. Democracy is *not* an inevitable consequence of history and modernization.

    Democratic institutions are based upon civic traditions which are based upon cultural norms conducive to reason, rationality, discourse, and consensus. In purely competitive terms, each man for himself can just as easily produced nationalized capitalism as in China or oligarchic governments such as in Russia.

    Democracy is the rare bright city shining on the hill. It is not like a McDonald's franchise that one can export!!! Failure to understand this is leading us to catastrophic errors which are threatening the very future of America. That is not an overstatement.

    posted by: Oldman on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Mr. Jeff B.

    Thank-you. I was about to scream.

    Not only was he the second to misread - and I have to ask - WTF? - he didn't even catch my correction of the first guy.

    Way to make our side look good, you two. We wouldn't want to disappoint the left and not live up to their criticism of us.

    Now I swear, if someone else misinterprets the above... ;)

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    This lunatic's diatribe about we are the smoted/smitten and we will rise again sounds so familiar: it's the hallmark of all Fascisti (Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Mao). Yeah Europeans had to grovel at the feet of the Muslims, after the Muslims learned a lot of their skills from the Europeans. It's amazing that this tired nonsense is still going on. We in the West wrongly thought that nationalism was extinguished with the killing of 100M people in the 20th C. It's not only not gone but it can carry the banner of multiculturalism now instead of fascism.

    posted by: Rob Williams on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Uhh, Talib.

    You miss the point entirely, It's not just a question of whether or not he wants to kill all the Jews. It's his totally paranoid assumptions about Jews running the world for 2000 years.

    They didn't. They don't. They can't. They won't.

    Sooner or later, Islam has to take responsibility for its own predicament. Stop blaming the Jews. Stop blaming us. Be a responsible human being and look in the mirror.

    Until Islam does that, it's always going to be easier to lash out at a group like the Jews and think that somehow that's going to fix things.

    But it won't. Islam would be in just as much of a mess as it is now if every Jew on the face of the earth fell down dead. If Israel was Palistine, and if the nasty imperialist westerners stayed home instead of tried to clean up Islam's many and various failed states.

    Take some responsibility already.

    posted by: Petebob on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Wait just a minute..

    You know what, when I change my POV, get prepared to receive any comment as an attack, and reread my original comment - I get where mssrs Bruce and B are coming from.

    It can look as if I'm attacking Prof Drezner for taking the time to post it.

    Well - Ok, Sorry - that's the problem of the inflectionless keyboard.

    OK, Sorry again, the above looks like I'm blaming the keyboard.

    I am Sorry to have offended you two. As I remaked to Mr. Bruce, however, Back-track a little before you assume the worst.

    That reminds me of my favorite apology, ever...let me go find it.

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Wow. My bad, Arthur. Read your 2nd post too quickly. Ought to have directed that at Garbage, instead.

    And if you think my comments don't "make our side look good," maybe the tone was a bit strident. But as far as the term "Islamofascist," there's plenty of literature out there to factually back up my comments. Except for calling apologists "useful idiots," maybe...

    posted by: paul on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    OK - Here it is:

    "I apologise for not being entirely honest with you. I apologise for not revealing my true feelings. I apologise, sir, for not telling you sooner that you're a degenerate, sadistic old man - and you can go to hell before I apologise to you now or ever again!"

    First Character and Actor answer gets you $1 in the mail (Hey, I'm no Dan Drezner)

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]


    whould those "non-violent" means include "striking back" with the " guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships for our defence" that Matahir talked about in his speech.

    Nice double-think there. Almost as good as the Palestinans who were passing out candy and shouting "God is Great" after "Mossad" blew up our American convoy this week. Why are they so happy if it's a plot to make them look bad (and why do 75% of them agree with the bombing)?

    posted by: hobgoblin on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]


    "at Garbage..." Precisely- and here's what I was getting at. When the 'Moderates' and "intellectuals" are just flat-out saying it, How in the world can the poor internationalists even get up in the morning and attempt to defend these guys.

    It is coimpletely incredible.

    And yet... Here comes garbage.

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]


    To respond adaquetly will take a rather long post. Sorry. Let's begin. One of the ways to compare religions is by the norm and by the aberration. For example, Christ taught the following:

    1. Love God above everything else.
    2. God so loves you that he makes every attempt to create a personal, loving relationship with you
    3. Love everyone else more than you love yourself.
    4. Show mercy to each everyone.
    5. Turn the other cheek.
    6. Do unto others as you want them to do to you.
    7. Recognize that in God's eye's everyone is equally a sinner and equally deserving of God's mercy and love.
    8. Convert people to Christianity by loving them and convincing them that God loves them and forgives them.

    Christ did the following:

    Forgave an adulteress by telling her accusers, "Let the person without sin throw the first stone." And the men slowly left, first the older then the younger. Looking at the woman, Jesus asked, "Where are your accusers." She answered, "There are none." Then Jesus said, "Then I don't accuse you either, go and sin no more." [This is the amazing thing. Jesus did not deny that she had committed adultery. But while ordering her not to do that anymore, He also showered her with love and forgiveness.]

    Christ's disciples did this:

    Told newly converted pagans, "Keep yourself from sexual sin and take care of the widows and orphans." That was it, be faithful to your husbands and wives and take care of people who can't take care of themselves. That's it. No akillin' the infidel.

    That's the norm. Here's the aberrations:

    1. Crusader Christians go to fight Muslims who are attacking them (Not supposed to engage in religious violence, you know, love and all)
    2. Spanish Inquisition
    3. Religious-based conquest by the Iberians (Portuguese and Spanish)including both the New World and the Indian sub-continent.
    4. Post reformation Protestant / Catholic warfare

    Here's the norm for Islam:

    Mohammed taught:

    1. Live in submission and obedience to an impersonal god.
    2. To be eligible for heaven, you must do the five pillars of Islam.
    3. To be guaranteed to get to heaven, die while killing a non-Muslim.
    4. Kill or subjugate every non-Muslim.

    Mohammed did this:

    Lied, broke treaties, had sex with 9 year old, and lead armies to kill and subjugate non-Muslims.

    Mohammed's disciples did this:

    1. Assassinated (word comes from Islamic sect) several of Mohammed's successors during power struggles after his death
    2. Split the faith after the murder of Ali, one of Mohammed's successors. Ali's followers are known as Ali's Partisans or Shi'Ali, or Shia. They fight the rest of Islam, called the Sunnis for the next 1300 years.
    3. Spread their faith by military conquest

    What's the aberration?

    1. Tolerance of other religions
    2. Peace with non-Muslims
    3. Mercy toward non-Muslims

    Food for thought - Muslims conquered the Iberian Peninsula in the mid-700s. The Spanish completed the recon quest in 1492. Might the Iberians have picked up a flavor of Islam during all those centuries of living under their Islamic rulers? Could there be a link between the rather cruel Spanish and Portuguese form of Christianity and their experiences with Islam?

    Finally, I have no hope for an Islamic Reformation. The Roman Catholics had gone so far from the roots of the Christian faith that the Reformation sought to return the Church to those roots. Do we really want Islam to return to its roots? Just a thought.

    posted by: David on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    David- Nicely DOne, that.

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Marx was right about one thing: Religion IS the opiate of the masses. Only he had the wrong drug--it's not opium, its PCP!

    We are in very dangerous times with a whole portion of the world gone insane form a belief system invented when people thought the world was flat.

    posted by: Ex-Marxist on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Thank you David, that was nicely done.

    posted by: Mari on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    This stuff about a "final victory," over Jews who are "taking over the world," and about needing "guns and rockets, bombs and warplanes, tanks and warships" to win, yet saying that the movement will be peaceful or at least purely defensive - it all sounds so familiar. Where have I heard it before?

    posted by: Jim on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    I'm sure Mahathir doesn't mean to use violent means to achieve his final victory over the Jews. He's just going to move them all to Madagascar.

    posted by: ArtD0dger on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    One of the great historical myths, which is repeated in this speech, is that the Arabic cultural zenith appeared out of a vacuum and that it was "superior" to that of Europe. While certainly parts of Europe was largely barbaric between 800 A.D. and 1300 A.D. (era of so-called Arab culture's zenith), the Byzantine Empire was culturally ahead or equal to anything the Arabs had during this period. And the Arabs owed almost all of their cultural zenith to the classical cultures of Greece, Rome, Egypt, Peria and Mesopotamia. Throughout this period they waged unremitting aggressive wars of conquest against the Europeans, Persians, Indians, Moors, Armenians and Afghans. Some superiority.

    posted by: Bill Reece on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Follow the link and read the whole speech. At the very least he is calling for the destruction of Israel (paragraph 38, where he calls for “a strategy that can win us final victory.”) His use of “final victory” sounds quite a bit like “final solution”. Given the context, I find it hard to believe this is an accident. Without a clear call for Muslims to live side by side in peace with Jews (and Christians, Hindus and everyone else non-Muslim), I find the sinister interpretations of the speech to be persuasive. The man is an anti-Semite. He is not loony: that implies irrationality. He has thought rationally about his ideas, and about the ends they will lead to. He now wants to adjust the means to those ends. And the entire conference, and the home governments of the members of the conference, applaud what he has to say. THAT is the scary thing.

    posted by: RRM on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Another thought - When a Christian goes asmittin' the infidel how would a fellow Christian convince him to stop? He would do it by appealing to the norm of the faith and convining him that he was not living up to the standards that he professes.

    How do you convince a Muslim chaplain who graduated from West Point to betray his country? You would do it by appealling to the norm of the faith and convince him that he was not living up to the standards of his faith?

    That's a rather disheartening thought. But one I've wrestled with since I took a comparative religion course in college. It was obvious to me then that Islam, unlike any other major religion, had violence and treachery at its core. At the time that didn't seem like such a big deal. After all it was just a college class. When I began paying attention to the name Osama bin Laden about 1997, I also began to take a renewed interest in Islam. The more I learned and watched, the more concerned I became. I am now convinced that something structural has to occur in this religion before Muslims and the rest of us can coexist peacefully. The fundamental core of the Islamic faith (its norm) does not admit to the tolerance of disbelief. Bin Laden gained adherents because the doctrine was on his side and Muslims who knew their Koran knew that bin Laden was right. To me, that is the scariest thought. How do you convince a Muslim to give up their faith, because the true Islamic doctrine will always be there. If we beat back the threat now, it will come back in twenty or thirty years and I have no idea how to beat that.

    posted by: David on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    It's possible that rule of unintended consequences will be at work here.

    Whether delegates were applauding the call to kill Jews or the call to educate themselves and break the lock of the fundamental clerics so they can kill the Jews more efficiently doesn't matter.

    If the Muslim states modernize and their children go to school and their standard of living approaches that of the U.S., then killing Jews will no longer be their life's work.

    The two Cuban dancers who defected (such a quaint word now) said they did so because while they toured the world with their dance company, they saw how the rest of the world lived and how they were lied to by Castro.

    The same thing will happen to millions of Arabs when they're freed from the bondage of jihads and shaaria (sp?).

    Allah Insallah!
    It's the only way for anything like a peaceful planet.

    posted by: erp on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    No kidding, Nr. Reece - We're all looking forward to the website

    C'mon now, it would be a 'm' not an 'a', not that my great-grandchildren will live to see it.

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Well now, erp. I'd like to have said that, but then, that school of thought, along with about three thousand of your countrymen, on the 11th, didn't it?

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Missing the word: died

    died on the 11th

    posted by: AW on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Drezner, your first block quote makes it look like the speaker is saying the Jews invented Socialism, Communism, etc. But when I followed your link to the entire speech, I discovered that paragraph is about ten paragraphs after any reference to Jews. He had transitioned to "enemies," whatever that means. In any event, that's some serious Maureen Dowd shit. I don't have a stake in this, but you've got some splan'n to do if you if this is the way you quote (without an elipse or anything!). It's a pain in the ass if your readers have to fact check you every time to make sure they're not being handled.

    posted by: Wilson on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    I think you all miss the main point of Mahathir speech concerning Palestine.
    All dwell so much on anti-semitism as if there is anything new here. So what is relatively new is that he clearly says that the present intifada is a mistake and promotes the idea of compromise right now. What is relevant here is that he states that Israelis started to make mistakes recently because of their power and arrogance. I cannot think of any other recent change but Oslo process and a general emerging consensus in Israel about two-state solution. To conclude, he thinks that compromising now on two-state solution is the surest way to eliminate Israel in the long run.

    posted by: gregory on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]


    First, there is an ellipse showing the break in paragraphs.

    Second, the second sentence of the graf referring to democracy and human rights is:

    They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking.

    I'd say Mahathir's definition of the enemy is pretty explicit.

    posted by: Dan Drezner on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    The Spanish completed the recon quest in 1492. Might the Iberians have picked up a flavor of Islam during all those centuries of living under their Islamic rulers? Could there be a link between the rather cruel Spanish and Portuguese form of Christianity and their experiences with Islam?
    Perhaps not in the way you are thinking. Since it was possible for Christians and Jews to enjoy very satisfactory lives in Muslim Spain during extensive (although not universal) periods of toleration, the Christians who insisted on Reconquest were more fanatical or determined.

    As evidence this is the correct reading, the Spanish did not inaugurate the Inquisition (AFAIK) in imitation of anything Muslim, but to search out and punish recreant converted Jews (sometimes called Marranos) and other such heretics.

    posted by: Andrew Lazarus on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Jeff B and Oldman

    Y'all attack "Garbage" for claiming this isn't the end all and be all of muslim thought, and you claim that he is an elected official, and he therefore _perfectly represents_ all many millions of his constituents.

    Uh-huh. That's right. That's why all PA residents are frantically locating their pets and keeping a watchful eye on them, as they, like their elected senator Mr Santorum, are galldurned certain the Supreme Court just set off an epidemic of hot and sweaty man-on-dog action by following that dastardly "homosexual agenda" that other Christofascist, Scalia, rambles on about in his dissent.

    One man gave this speech. The people in that room cheered him on. That's the sum of what this represents. It's disgusting and discouraging to believe that what Islam means to some/many/most? muslims, but it's dumb to believe it applies to all.

    THIS IS NOT A HOLY WAR. We are not locked in a contest of civilizations. This is not, as GWB once famously and stupidly said, a crusade. Stop trying to make it into one.

    posted by: An observer on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Jeff - What was that you were saying about useful idiots, again...

    Not a war... a contest...Ohhhh-kay.

    And please explain to the unenlightened, what the operate difference will be to the players, Mr Observer?

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Can you read AW?

    I said NOT a holy war. We are NOT locked in a contest of civilizations.

    How dumb are you?

    posted by: Oberserver on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    [ Even those who are Isreal's friends and have been openly pro-Zionist like myself can see that its present course is needlessly unjust and needlessly provocative. ]

    How so?

    [If the Muslims can get their act together they will be a force to be reckoned with.]

    If Muslims could "get their act together," they wouldn't be Muslims.

    [This points to the ultimate naivete of the neo-con vision ]

    It's naive to think Iraquis are capable of democracy? Maybe so.

    [ ...and hints at the horrors its policies will produce.... ]

    Is it horrible if Israelis defend themselves?

    [ Democracy is *not* an inevitable consequence of history and modernization. ]

    Maybe so, considering place such as China, as well as Muhammedan countries.

    [... Democratic institutions are based upon civic traditions which are based upon cultural norms conducive to reason, rationality, discourse, and consensus. ]

    I.e., Western culture.

    [In purely competitive terms, each man for himself can just as easily produced nationalized capitalism as in China ...]

    China's is a highly individualistic culture? I don't think so.

    [...Democracy is the rare bright city shining on the hill. It is not like a McDonald's franchise that one can export!!! ]

    You may be right about that, which doesn't bode well for the future of the Muhammedan world.

    [ ... Failure to understand this is leading us to catastrophic errors which are threatening the very future of America. That is not an overstatement.]

    Islam delenda est. Failure to understand this is what threatens the very future of America. This is not an overstatement.

    posted by: David Davenport on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Mr. Observer, please.

    Explain the operative difference between the opening text - you know, the one that we are all commenting on, and your assertion.

    We have a blantant admission of intent on one hand, and your assurances that they don't mean what they say on the other.

    What, sir, would you have us do?

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    erp is brilliant and says exactly what I was going to say. Maybe, if we're lucky, the Muslim world will modernize and educate itself and get rich and along the way lose the crazy anti-semitism. We can only hope, at least.

    posted by: Brent M Krupp on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Well we got an occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan, we support Isreal militarily, and we are in a period of increasing tensions and sanctions with Syria and Iran possibly culminating with war in both cases.

    Now, I agree it ain't a clash of civilizations - yet. But if we were gonna brew one up on purpose this would be a darn good way to go about it!!!

    posted by: Oldman on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Mr. Davenport, will you take this from here - I'm going to dinner.


    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Daniel and his commentators make strong and good points--and I agree with some and disagree with others. Let me say, as a practicing Muslim, that I strongly condemn Mahathir Mohammad's anti-Semitic remarks. Although, I admit, he makes some considerable points about the poor state of Islam, his Jew-hatred is all too evident of one of Islam's current problems (and there's no denial to it): Jew-hatred. Crazy conspiracy theories are an all too familiar aspect in the Middle East.

    But how can a Muslim think that the Jews control the world? How is this possible? The Qu'ran teaches us that Allah controls the world. Suddenly the Jews have taken over? We must overcome our obsession with these sham politics. Life is much simpler when it consists of anesthetized existence, punctuated now and then by angry shouts about ghosts in the shadows and nightmares in our dreams, preventing us from being what we do not have the courage to become. A fellow-Muslim once said that "Muslims sometimes are just too stupid to be evil." Sure, you will say, that I'm one voice and not representative. But our (not me personally though) voices are beaten down and "fatwa'd" by repressive authorities everywhere, and you know it. Muqtada al-Sadr can call for a fundamentalist Islamic government in Iraq, but nobody showed up for his rallies today. It goes unnoted.

    Muslims and un-believers have and will disagree on issues ranging from Islam itself to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but hopefully we can agree on one thing: "the Holocaust must serve as a cultural code fostering education for humane values, democracy, human rights, and tolerance."

    posted by: Arash on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    This is a appropriate time for everyone to become familiar with the writings of the great Bernard Lewis. His superb “The Muslim Discovery of Europe” is a must read. The author shows that the Muslim world some 400-500 years ago willingly chose to be reactionary and Luddite. Not only did the Muslims abandon their own scientific efforts---they were bored silly by the advances of the Europeans. Inventions like a rudimentary clock were greeted indifferently, if not even with some hostility. In other words, the Muslims have nobody but their own ancestral leaders to blame for their current backwardness and second place status. This is their problem and nobody else's. Sadly, Ataturk is only among a mere handful of Muslims who was willing to face facts and adopt secular polices to improve the life of his people.

    The recently departed Edward Said might be the single most important intellectual who further encouraged the Muslims to feel sorry for themselves and embrace the psychological debilitating mindset of victimization . Said’s “Orientalism” was regretfully a seminal work influencing perhaps millions. It may have even indirectly influenced Osama bin Ladin.

    posted by: David Thomson on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    @Mr Wellesly: Colonel Dax, Paths of Glory
    @ rest: the speech criticise Muslims in a lot of ways and calls for new unity and some investment in a more -umh- elaborate strategy. That's a plus.
    As is 42 in some small way: Some are well disposed towards us. Some even see our enemies as their enemies. Even among the Jews there are many who do not approve of what the Israelis are doing.
    43. We must not antagonise everyone. We must win their hearts and minds.

    I think especially the latter two parts give cause for hope, though I -of course- agree the speech is anti-Semitic and deeply troubling.

    posted by: markus on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    With regard to whether or not it's possible to have scientific progress without freedom, I'd want to bring up the example of Nazi Germany. Not exactly intellectually free, but propelled by a simillar sense of manifest destiny and hatred. Somehow they managed to produce some of the best scientists in the world at that time and a very scary amount of innovation in building weapons.

    posted by: BC Monkey on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    I find it interesting that a lot of people are more driven to criticize Daniel Drenzer for noting PM Mahathir Mohammad's remarks and the reaction they received than they are to criticize the remarks themselves.

    People have invoked Falwell and Robertson &tc, which is fine. But what I note about that is that Falwell, Robertson and their ilk are regularly condemned by many Christians and Americans (and it's a good thing, too).

    If there are so many Moslems who disagree with PM Mohammad, why don't we hear from them as we hear from Americans and Christians who dislike the views of Falwell, Robertson, that General (whose name slips my mind at the moment), and others?

    Also, let me finish with one provocative and perhaps inflamatory remark, but didn't we hear all this about Germans in the '30s? That, sure, there were some Germans (and French &tc &tc) who were anti-Semitic, but of course nothing would come of that because the vast silent majority didn't share these views and wouldn't sit by and let anything horrible happen.

    If PM Mohammad's remarks are in the category of Falwell & Robertson et al, fringe and extremist expressions abhored by the sensible majority of Moslems, why aren't they vocally condemned (rather than given a standing ovation) by said majority?

    Why aren't the people who are troubled by Mr. Drenzer's post troubled by *THAT*?

    posted by: Porphyrogenitus on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    "Somehow they (the Nazis) managed to produce some of the best scientists in the world at that time and a very scary amount of innovation in building weapons. "

    This is only half right. The Nazis hurt themselves severely by rejecting "Jewish" physics. They instead opted for some silly nonsense perceived as a more Aryan approach. This put them away behind the scientific efforts of the Allied forces. Supposedly, Albert Einstein's theories were too theoretical.

    posted by: David Thomson on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    There seem to be several major errors in Mahathi's speech:

    a)He cites the Jews as oppressors of Muslims, especially in Israel. But this is stupid.

    It is true that there are some wealthy supporters of Israel in the US who have used million-dollar contributions to induce the US to pursue a strongly biased policy favoring Israel and hurting the Palestinians.

    But many American Jews, while strongly in favor of Israel's right to exist, do not support Sharon/Likud aggression. Plus, some of the strongest Likud supporters are not Jewish (e.g., Conrad Black) and some of the strongest critics of Sharon are Jewish. Why blame 6 million Jews for the actions of a small, arrogant clique?

    Plus much of the misery inflicted on the Islamic World by the US Government has NOT been driven by the supporters of Israel.

    The US installed a dictator in Indonesia in the 1960s and gave him a hit list of 100,000 people to kill. That dictator stole everything not nailed down and put the people of Indonesia into a deep poverty that will require generations to remove. But the US government did that as part of the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union, not as part of any "Zionist plot".

    Similarly, the US supported Marcos in the Phillipines -- stood by while he also stole everything not nailed down and bankrupted the country. But again, neither the Jews nor Israel had anything to do with that --Subic Bay was one of the major Naval bases offshore from the Asian mainland that we needed to contain China and Russia. But then CIA also rigged the Australian Prime Minister election in the 1970s so that the US could keep the Alice Springs satellite
    center. No discrimination against Islam there --we fucked everybody.

    The Iranian Muslims have a right to anger at the US for overthrowing Mossadagh in the 1950s and installing a puppet Shah whose Savak tortured and murdered. But again, that CIA coup was driven by the oil companies and by the Cold War with Russia, not by any Jewish influence.

    The oil dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc were installed by the US to ensure the flow of cheap oil --but again, the drivers were the oil companies and the Cold War.

    Today, the US is trying to gain control of Muslim countries around the huge Caspian Sea oil deposits. But that is driven by Houston, not by Israel.

    As I've noted , the recent US conquest of Iraq was partially driven by the threat Hussein posed to Israel. But the US is not giving Iraq's oil to Israel -- and the last time I checked, the Houston oil boys were not overwhelmingly Jewish or Zionists. The neocons have merely rigged an alliance between some wealthy supporters of Israel and the oil /defense interests. The intent to destroy the Democratic Party by luring away it's major financiers --to ensure the continued dominance of the Republicans --is driven by lots of interests not remotely connected to Israel or to American Jews.

    It seems stupid for the Muslims to be diverted away from their real oppressors by a jihad against the Jews.

    Note: To answer Gregory's question above re Mahathi's statement that Jews are becoming arrogant and that they are using others to fight for them, I think Mahathi was referring to supporters of Israel influencing Bush to remove Hussein and to threaten Syria.

    posted by: Don Williams on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    "I find it interesting that a lot of people are more driven to criticize Daniel Drenzer for noting PM Mahathir Mohammad's remarks and the reaction they received than they are to criticize the remarks themselves."

    Edward Said is greatly responsible for this peculiar attitude among liberals. The latter feel that it is somewhat yucky, if not even immoral, for Western intellectuals to seriously take to task Muslim misbehavior. They cannot overcome their politically correct instincts. The West is always in the wrong, and the inhabitants of the Third World are mere victims of alleged capitalist imperialism.

    posted by: David Thomson on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    For whatever it's worth, my problem with this whole Islam debate is that it rarely takes the time to differentiate between the religion and the socio-political profile of the people being identified as the source of a bad trend.

    So is it the religion that is the problem here, or simply the people using the religion to fit their socio-political purposes? I would argue that the religious element is simply a gargantuan red herring in this debate. In fact, it's working both ways when "Muslims" use the "Jews" as a lightning rod for all of their troubles. It's merely a cheap and simplistic way of pointing out the opposing team, when the factors of opposition have very little to do with religion, and are instead grounded in historical, economic and cultural power struggles. In other words, purely man made manifestations of interest. Meanwhile the "religous struggle" is just a very useful tool of control, and moreover it's a terminal argument, a perfect combination for those who seek to use it.

    In short, while I think it's useful for us to have these discussions, my hope is that it leads to continued acknowledgement that we shouldn't sink to the level of debate on the terms of the religious demagogues, of whatever stripe. If we fall into the trap of categorizing the "Muslims" as this or that, we have already lost the battle.

    posted by: Waffle on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Compare and contrast Mahathir's full remarks with those of US General William Boykin's. Excerpts from

    WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld defended a US general who portrayed the war on terrorism in talks to church groups as a spiritual battle by Christianity against Satan.

    The religiously charged remarks by Lieutenant General William Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, appeared to run counter to the US administration's longstanding insistence that the war on terrorism is not directed against Islam.


    After displaying slides of Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the Times said the general asked, "Why do they hate us?"

    "The answer to that is because we're a Christian nation. We are hated because we are a nation of believers," he said, according to the Times.

    An evangelical Christian, Boykin has appeared in uniform while delivering his message of a religious war to church groups, the Times said a month-long investigation found.

    He was quoted as telling an Oregon congregation that President George W. Bush (news - web sites) was not elected by a majority of the voters: "He was appointed by God," he said.

    In June 2002, he spoke to the congregation at the First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, showing them a photograph he said he had taken of Mogadishu soon after the raid that contained a strange dark mark, the Times said.

    "Ladies and gentleman, this is your enemy," Boykin said. "It is the principalities of darkness. It is a demonic presence in that city that God revealed to me as the enemy."

    In a speech at a Daytona, Florida church in January, Boykin recalled how a top lieutenant of Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aidid had laughed on CNN after a raid by Delta Force commandos had missed by a few seconds, saying they would never get him because Allah would protect him.

    "Well, you know what?" Boykin was quoted as saying. "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol." He said the Aidid lieutenant was later captured.

    The Times said his public remarks also include statements that Muslims who engage in terrorism are not representative of Islam, echoing the administration's position.

    posted by: Don Williams on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    I agree with Waffle about religion being a red herring --used to manipulate people in order to serve other agendas.

    There is something hilarious about the idea of "global domination by a hidden Jewish conspiracy". If that was so, anyone could join that conspiracy and gain great power/wealth merely by learning some Hebrew and having some foreskin clipped off.

    If Arafat had two brain cells to rub together, he would have all the Palestinians convert to Orthodox Judism so that he could show up on Sharon's doorstep with 4 million new Jews possessing an aggregate net worth of 6 dollars and demanding the right of return plus help with settlement costs. Oy vey!!

    I coulda been a rabbi.

    posted by: Don Williams on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    This is another demonstration of the importance of separation of church & state. The very concept of a conference of Islamic countries runs contrary to western thought.

    The achievements of the scientists and mathematicians in the golden age of islam were made in spite of islam. Advancements were due to assimilation & spread of greek, roman and persian knowledge throughout the muslim world.

    The islamic world must move toward greater secularization. Until that is done, expect more victimization speeches by PM Mohatir Mohammed and his ilk.

    posted by: tony on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    @ David Thomson
    Edward Said is greatly responsible for this peculiar attitude among liberals. The latter feel that it is somewhat yucky, if not even immoral, for Western intellectuals to seriously take to task Muslim misbehavior. They cannot overcome their politically correct instincts.
    while I realise the partisan benefits, especially as far as cognitive dissonance is concerned, of considering one's opponents in a debate as misguided and delusional, I would nonetheless like to ask you, to kindly stop invading the privacy of fellow posters by mind-reading them. At least for the purpose of this discussion.

    posted by: markus on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    There was, in 13th century Mexico, a courageous and moderate leader. He was a true modernizer who defied the traditions of the Aztec clergy according to which the prisoners sacrificed on the top of the piramids had to be eaten raw, immediately. The king told them that those habits were wicked and unhealthy. After his triumph, everything changed in Tenochtitlan: no more prisoners were ever eaten without first being cooked.

    posted by: lafontaine on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Drezner, your article sheds more heat than light. What you are saying is just a reflection of the larger problem.

    The "State of Islam 2003" (or whatever it is in Moslem years) is not determined by the Prime Minister of Malaysia. There is a struggle within Islam: the militant kind versus the kind that wants to join the rest of the world. Mathatir is not the "best moderate Islam has to offer." Quite frankly, I'm shocked that you, Drezner, would say such an asinine thing. Are you familiar with the Nobel Peace Prize? Shirin Ebadi? Have you heard of Muqtedar Khan? Have you heard of a country called Turkey? You know, the one that has alliances with Israel?

    There are plenty of Muslim voices that are truly moderate, not falsely moderate like the nutjob Mutathir. Wake up, look around you, and smell the conflict within Islam.

    You, Drezner, should apologize to all of the truly moderate Muslims around the world who daily struggle against militant Islam.

    It is wrong for an anti-Semite to lump all Jews together. It is also wrong for someone to lump all Muslims together.

    posted by: AWH on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    I agree with the Waffle as well, in that it appears to me this is much more about using religion as a means of cultural and social control -- as most (all perhaps) religions have done for ages.

    Yes, Islam should stop blaming eveyone else -- but I'd wager if you went and talked with most ordinary citizens in Islamic countries, in private, they'd wholeheartedly go on and on about how their gov't screws them and does not help them, and it's got nothing to do with the Jews or anyone else. These are the ones smart enough to know to keep quiet or they'll vanish. Those uneducated who don't quite see this are more than happy to swallow the "blame the Jews" vitriol, which gov'ts looking to maintain their power and control repeat over and over like an opiate (sorry :-).

    So it's a bitch of a situation - I optimistically (rare for me) hope that the earlier post of unintended consequences works out -- that greater prosperity in Islamic countries will weaken the hold of fundamentalist ideas, and give the majority of the people who don't believe this nonsense the power to get rid of the aging fascists running their states under the banner of Islam.

    posted by: TG on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    I can compare and contrast Gen. Boykin's remarks and PM Mahathir's speech: Boykin is an American hero who happens to be ardently religious, and was sharing remarks not intended for public distribution to fellow believers. He does not make US policy. He merely implements it within a narrow if critical arena. The LA TIMES brought a tape recorder to a private prayer meeting, and now is trying to destroy him and to associate the war on terror with what they impute to him - and will receive the help of Truthout-imbibing nincompoops who will no doubt be recycling his remarks for years to come as evidence that the worse-than-the-Nazis Halliburton-Evangelical-Jewish-NeoCon conspiracy intends to bring about Armageddon though only after first stealing a whole lot of American tax dollars and Middle Eastern oil.

    Mahathir is possibly a Malaysian hero (I wouldn't venture an opinion) who happens to be a public figure, and gave his speech to a world audience. He happened to demonstrate just how twistedly simplistic and potentially dangerous certain widely held views in the Islamic world today happen to be. Because it's hardly the first time Mahathir has expressed himself along such lines, and because his views are actually rather tame compared to what passes for everyday (esp. Friday) discourse in the countries represented in his audience, the speech will in all likelihood be largely forgotten.

    If Boykin were a Muslim explaining how he considered action against the radical apostates defaming his religion to be his own jihad, and marked up his speech with Islamic phrases and references, he'd just be a good, kind of interesting American fully entitled to his own religious views. If Mahathir were president of the US, or leader of any EU country, or of Israel, and gave an ignorant and paranoid speech explaining how he and his allies could best join together to fight Islam and Islamic influence in the world, he'd be ruined, not applauded.

    posted by: Colin MacLeod on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    I applaud Arash for his humane sentiments. I hope his point of view becomes widespread among his co-religionists. I fear, though, that if he were to express his ideas too publicly in a Muslim country he could find himself in serious trouble. I would like to be wrong about this, but I don't think I am.

    Also, the lessons of the Holocaust are valuable only in a context where Holocaust denial lacks intellectual currency. Sadly, much of the Muslim world is happy to both deny the Holocaust and blame it on the Jews at the same time. Consistency is not necessarily an Islamic value.

    As to erp's notion that wealth and development will moderate Islam's bloodier tendencies, we can always hope that's right. Hope may at last triumph over experience. Our experience is that we were attacked by 15 Saudis with no apparent lack of money, led by a well to do Egyptian with a master's degree from a German university. These were people with the wherewithal to travel all over the Western world. Familiarity did nothing to ameliorate their contempt or viciousness.

    posted by: GDK on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Would Muslims still have it in for Isreal if the Palestine was a happy independent state? I'm betting no.....

    "Might the Iberians have picked up a flavor of Islam during all those centuries of living under their Islamic rulers? Could there be a link between the rather cruel Spanish and Portuguese form of Christianity and their experiences with Islam?"

    Right. It's all the Muslim's fault when Christians do something bad. Sheesh.

    Dan, your selective quoting is extremely misleading. He's not friendly to Jews and has all sorts of crazy theories, but he's not calling for Jewish extermination like you're implying. I also see nowhere he advocates eliminating the Isreali state.

    posted by: Jason McCullough on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Adding to AWH's post, an issue that seems pretty low profile (in the US at least) is all the turbulence going on in Pakistan between the govt and a range of Islamic groups, from militant ones to moderate ones.

    While this may of course be due to personal or other smaller scope issues, many accounts attribute it to a larger struggle between Islam looking back or forward. Bernard-Henri Lévy's researched a book on Daniel Pearl, which I've not read, but listened to an interview with him and his descriptions of what's going on in Pakistan were pretty disturbing. Yes he's French for any knee-jerkers, but he adamantlly stated no problem with the US -- except for our calling Musharref a "big help" or similar.

    Basically, I get the impression there's some serious sh_t going on in Pakistan -- that being "showdowns" between extremists and progressive Islamists -- which is a large reason we're dumping so much money into the country when we were already pissed at them for going nuclear (yes we want to get Al-Queda in Afghanistan, but I think it goes deeper and farther). I bet this is a time/place lots of CIA activity stories will emerge from in the future.

    posted by: TG on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    An Observer:
    > One man gave this speech. The people in that
    > room cheered him on. That's the sum of what
    > this represents. It's disgusting and
    > discouraging to believe that what Islam means
    > to some/many/most? muslims, but it's dumb to
    > believe it applies to all.

    Wow. Way to decontextualize. So, we are to think that the folks in that room, applauding, aren't in some way connected to the broader political, cultural, and religious context of the countries from which they come.

    As far as I read, no one claimed this speech represented *all* Muslims (nice attempt at a straw man, though). However, if we can't take this speech, and the reactions to it, as providing significant insight into modern Islam, what *can* we thus take?

    posted by: Chuck on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    The vanity inherent in every religious adherent - that only they possess "true knowledge" and that only they are the "chosen" people - will always leave us at risk of another 9-11 or another genocide.

    As long as people continue to advocate the irrational over the rational, there will always be war and there will never be any "Peace on Earth" until everyone is dead.

    The only hope is that we may outgrow religion and move towards a higher morality - based on reason - before it is too late.

    posted by: Joseph on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    " So, we are to think that the folks in that room, applauding, aren't in some way connected to the broader political, cultural, and religious context of the countries from which they come."

    I don't think anyone was implying they had *no* connection, rather that as heads of (many of them) repressive governments with large populations of poor and uneducated, they are the loud mouthpieces trying to maintain the status quo -- with little incentive to modernize and empower their citizens. So of course they are connected - they are the problem in most cases, but the points mentioned are that just because they are the leaders of these countries doesn't mean they accurately reflect the views of a majority of Muslims.

    Granted, this is a problem and *is* a "significant insight into modern Islam", but that's not to say it's shared by every Muslim person because these people say it. It is indeed a focal point of the friction of Islamic society and the West IMHO.

    Again, that's why I think we are dumping cash on Mushareff in Pakistan, because there's much worse groups there than him who'd love to kill him and take over - with nukes. He is an example of what happens when you [a leader of an Islamic country, one of those conference-goers] criticizes in some way strict interpretations of Islam -- the militants go after your head. They are an unfortunate loud, violent minority. And I think trying to coerce the leaders of these countries with whatever financial arm-twisting we can muster is in the long run a more effective, and probably much cheaper path to take. (I hope at least).

    posted by: TG on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Unfortunately, joseph, most americans disagree with you. Our president invokes biblical phraseology to justify going to war and very little is heard from the american press.

    PM Mohathir Mohammed based his speech on the Koran. President Bush and General Boykin on the Bible. Frankly, the difference between them is only a matter of degree and not of substance.

    The true "demon" in all of this discussion is faith and its "evil" manifestation religion.

    Get rid of religion and we're half way to solving our problems.

    posted by: Tony on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    I know my point of view must sound very odd, but here goes:

    I'm Jewish but I'm terribly disturbed by some of the conduct of the Israelis. I know their situation is horribly difficult, but I think the central problem is that Israel is a religiously-defined state -- and in the long term that simply doesn't work. Here in the US we are still facing that very same problem when we wrestle with "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Here is part of Mahathir's speech that isn't being widely quoted:

    "We also know that not all non-Muslims are against us. Some are well disposed towards us. Some even see our enemies as their enemies. Even among the Jews there are many who do not approve of what the Israelis are doing."

    I happen to be one of those Jews, even though I strongly sympathize with the Israeli predicament. And somehow this speech seems more like a recounting of reality than a truly anti-semitic document. My sense is that Mahathir is trying to urge his fellow Muslims to act more carefully, rationally, wisely. Yes, he is using some language of polarization and hatred, but that is the current context.

    If I were a diplomat, my inclination would be to work with this man.

    Of course, I could be very wrong, very naive, but I just felt I should register my reaction.


    posted by: Ralph on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    I'll lay odds that Tony has never actually read the Koran. It is not the moral equivalent of the Bible.

    Jesus never lopped off anyone's head, declared holy war as a religious obligation, slept with a nine year old, reneged on a treaty, ordered the death penalty for fornication, ordered women to stay at home, nor took slaves as booty. The list goes on and on.

    Look through the Koran. Find the verse equivalent to "love thy neighbor as thyself" or "turn the other cheek". "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" never made it into Islam.

    The problem isn't faith. Gandhi had faith. It is what one has faith in. If you believe you have a complete Divine Revelation to which no real knowledge can be added, you have a recipe for sanctified ignorance and a fanatical devotion to backwardness. That's an enormous problem, and must be the focus of the coming Islamic Reformation. Either that or we will endure a new Dark Age. The West may influence the debate, but this is something that will ultimately be resolved by Muslims. Or not.

    posted by: GDK on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    “I'm Jewish but I'm terribly disturbed by some of the conduct of the Israelis.”

    You listen to too much radical leftist and ultra-right wing propaganda. I’m non-Jewish and you can immediately cease feeling guilty about the Palestinians. These people are the quintessential example of self pitying racists who are suffering primarily from their own self inflicted wounds. The Jews are mostly benevolent and just---and the Palestinians are cruel and despicable. It’s as simple as that. The Edward Saids have done much to encourage these people to wallow in their feelings of victimization. You should immediately obtain a copy of Alan Dershowitz’s new book, “The Case for Israel.” He deals with the false accusations thrown at the Israelis in a thorough and honest manner.

    posted by: David Thomson on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    "@ David Thomson
    'Edward Said is greatly responsible for this peculiar attitude among liberals. The latter feel that it is somewhat yucky, if not even immoral, for Western intellectuals to seriously take to task Muslim misbehavior. They cannot overcome their politically correct instincts.'

    while I realise the partisan benefits, especially as far as cognitive dissonance is concerned, of considering one's opponents in a debate as misguided and delusional, I would nonetheless like to ask you, to kindly stop invading the privacy of fellow posters by mind-reading them. At least for the purpose of this discussion."

    Sigh, I am willing to change one sentence of my previous post. How does this sound?:

    “Edward Said is greatly responsible for this peculiar attitude among many, if not most liberals.”

    Am I engaging in “mind-reading?” Nope, not in the least bit. The evidence for my position is readily found in the writings and public utterances of the leftist intellectual crowd. Edward Said was their knight in shining armor. They worshipped the ground he walked on.

    posted by: David Thomson on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    This article in the Washington Post concerning Arab-Americans booing Senator Joseph Lieberman is an eye opener:

    The Arab-American community in the United States indulges in self pity and childish whining. Regretfully, both the Republicans and the Democrats often encourage this immature behavior. This can no longer be tolerated.

    posted by: David Thomson on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Sorry to come into this so late, but I have been off-line traveling.

    I have lived in the Middle East. In every day life, particularly at the family level, there is much laudable in Islamic life. Heavy emphasis on family, children, love and the responsibilities of the individual to preserving these values.

    It is indeed unfortunate that these exact same strengths can be so twisted into horrible weakness and intolerance. In day-to-day Muslim life, personal and familial interaction and benefit with and from other social units is not advanced in prime consideration of what is fair (a prime Western precept in interaction), but is performed first from a strong sense of duty and obligation. The most extreme actions can be conceived and executed - one man to another, one family to another, one tribe to another, one nation to another, one religion to another – without overriding consideration of the justness or fairness of the act, driven on by the obligation owed to the social unit.

    I have many Arab friends and acquaintances and it pains me deeply to express the following view, yet intellectually I cannot avoid the conclusion that the religious and cultural basis of Islam is so at odds to the mainstream social developmental goals of the growing global Western meme that a policy of coexistence is not possible. It is not a Crusade - a Crusade is a Christian religious vehicle as abhorrent to today’s Western cultural precepts as Jihad stands today. This is not about religion. Modern western culture has developed away from the predominance of religion in our day-to-day societal life (while still prevalent a personal level, by choice; I said at a societal level – how many schools start the day with a prayer?).

    But when considering the Western clashes with Islam there is no doubt that we are experiencing the first skirmishes of a large battle to come. It is a battle of Memes in the extreme. The reality is that there is as little room in the current modern Western meme for fundamental Islamic tenets as there is in Islam for those of the West. The advantage to date is that the Islamic leaders recognize this and are fighting back by closing and regulating their societies against Western influence (an insidious meme we do share, with Islamic success in direct proportion to the degree of Western interaction. Watch KSA the next 10 years. The discrepancy there is widening and the rulers are very aware of the knife-edge on which they walk).

    If the West is to be successful in its dealing with Islam it must recognize the nature of the cultural clashes and its actions must be strategic and follow a uniform policy for promoting and fostering Western values into the Islamic culture. Oldman nailed it when he said (paraphrasing, I hope!) that our ideals of democracy et al. come from a cultural perspective and until our actions construct those same cultural foundations in the societies to which the West valiantly brings “Democracy” we will fail every time. The current Western meme arose out of the ashes of our own Middle Ages and is the product of over 600 years of social and political evolution, which never really reached ubiquity of conscious thought and action (some can argue action is still yet to be fully realized) until the Civil Rights movements of the ‘60’s. Consider that and contemplate the real depths of the division between the West and Islam.

    Mahathir was not wrong on all points – this really is a cultural war and the winner is going to be those whose actions follow from thoughtful, purposeful planning.

    posted by: Klaus on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    A Quick Comparative Religion Course:

    "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

    ISLAM :
    "No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself."

    "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. That is the law: all the rest is commentary."


    "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment that you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

    ISLAM :
    "Happy is the person who finds fault with himself instead of finding fault with others."

    "Do not judge thy comrade until thou hast stood in his place."


    "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

    ISLAM :
    "The good deed and the evil deed are not alike. Repel the evil deed with one which is better, then lo!, he between whom and you there was enmity shall become as though he were a bosom friend."

    "God said, 'Resemble Me; just as I repay good for evil so do you also repay good for evil'."


    Although this "ethics of reciprocity" is the prime directive of each of these religions - and in theory, if everyone just acted liked they preached, there shouldn't be a problem between them - the vanity that only they are right leads to an arrogance that gives excuse to beat others over the head with their idea of God.

    posted by: Joseph on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    @David Thomson:
    that's exactly what I did _not_ mean. My beef is with
    The latter feel that it is somewhat yucky, if not even immoral, ... to seriously take to task Muslim misbehavior. They cannot overcome their politically correct instincts.'
    which, by and large, paints those you disagree with as out of touch with reality. Imagine I had said "The latter [conservatives] feel that it is somewhat yucky, if not even immoral, ... to seriously take to task Israel's misbehavior. They cannot overcome their pro-Israel instincts.'". Now, I wouldn't say that, as I in fact think it is wrong, but I don't doubt I could make the case, e.g. by pointing to LGF. I don't believe in my fictional sentence, because I assume, that what appears as blindness to me is in fact a legitimate perception of reality. Of course, not all perceptions of reality are legitimate. Mahathir's is not. But you were talking about liberals who criticised Dan's post. And with all due respect, besides being wrong on the generalisation, the assertions that your opponents are out of step with reality is both wrong and won't help the discussion, in fact it is more likely to end it.
    AFAIK, no one questioned the anti-Semitism in Mahathir's speech. People were disagreeing when it comes to interpretation and conclusions from the speech, and some, including me, pointed out the good parts. Painting that as misguided/out of touch with reality, without offering substantial evidence why this view is not legitimate, and why it is wrong to criticise Dan for focussing on the negative part (again, which no-one denies) may provide comfort to you, but it is neither an intelligent nor a helpful contribution to the debate IMO.

    Finally, your response ...the leftist intellectual crowd. Edward Said was their knight in shining armor. They worshipped the ground he walked on. moves from "liberals" to the "leftist intellectual crowd", and while I think I see where you're coming from here, I must insist these groups are not identical. I'm aware of the faults of the "armchair liberals", as I like to call them, though even for this subgroup of liberals, I would insist that not that many of them uncritically swallowed Said's arguments. AFAIK the recent obituaries were mostly of the "so-so" variety, pointing out is errors and strengths. Consider the Guardian and Mother Jones. Ironically, while googling I've also find a decent amount of vilification of Said, some commentaries going so far as to compare him to Eichman. Regardless, you have yet to show the claimed universal uncritical acceptance, and -more to the point- how Said's work as any causal bearing on the -so far also unsubstantiated, hence the quotes- "inability" of (most) liberals to recognise and condemn anti-Semitism when they see it.

    In short, were I inclined to be less civil, I'd say you're just spewing bile. As it stands, I humbly ask you to back up your assertions with facts, and the connections you see with argument. Then again, I agree with you that this is to some degree a distraction from the real issue of Mahathir's open anti-Semitism, and since we already have reached agreement in condemnation on that, we might as well let the matter rest.

    posted by: markus on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Joseph said, about the religions, " theory, if everyone just acted liked they preached, there shouldn't be a problem between them." I'm not so sure, given that if Muslims followed their scripture they'd kill me or force me to convert to Islam:

    "Then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them. And seize them, beleaguer them. And lie in wait for them, in every stratagem."

    "Take not, therefore, friends from among them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah. And if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them; and take no friend nor helper from among them."

    Joseph cited "No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself." But I don't know how to interpret the text consistently unless "brother" refers only to fellow Muslims.

    posted by: Jim on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    > The vanity inherent in every religious
    > adherent - that only they possess "true
    > knowledge" and that only they are the
    > "chosen" people - will always leave us
    > at risk of another 9-11 or another genocide.


    The vanity inherent in every atheist--that they only possess "true knowledge" and "reason" and that they are the only people who understand the world as it is--will always leave us at risk of another Stalin, another Mao, another Pol Pot, another Castro, another Saddam Hussein.

    As long as people continue to advocate the irrational idea that objective morality can be based on anything but a personal obligation that transcends the human, they will have no rational basis (other than some form of self-interest, and self-interest, as near as we can tell, is merely a complex sublimation of bilogical imperatives) for asserting the superiority of lawfulness over lawlessness, liberty over bondage, justice over robbery, mercy over cruelty, the preservation of the rights of a minority over the stampede of the majority, there will never be any "Peace on Earth" until everyone is dead.

    The only hope we have is that we outgrow the notion that there is a meaningful morality somehow latent or implicit in reason. Any understanding of reason that it by itself entails a particular morality is something that goes well beyond mere reason, and any morality that grows out of what is properly called reason is bound to be a clanking, mechanical thing that will grind all alike in its maw.

    Joseph, your prejudices notwithstanding, it is possible to hold one's religious beliefs to be "true knowledge" and still insist upon freedom of conscience for others to differ--I do it every day.

    And if my beliefs are in some measure true, I don't believe it is because I was somehow smarter or better than those who think differently, but because God was merciful to me when I deserved only his judgement. It's due to no virtue of mine, it's no credit to my character or faculties. If I'm vain for thinking this way, then give me an example of a way of thinking that isn't.

    posted by: Chuck on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    I think there is one interesting point that everyone here misses. Look carefully at the title of the conference: "10th Islamic Summit". Can anyone imagine European and Amerrican leaders getting together for Christian Summit or Asian leaders for Budhist Summit? In my view the major problem with Islamic countries is that they are Islamic first and everything else last. There is no separation of religion and state. The only example of more or less succesfull predominantly Islamic country is Turkey. One of the major reasons for its success was that Ataturk succeded to put religion to the background so to speak. Even Dan's post title talks about Islam when he really wants to talk about (I think) Islamic countries. To summarize, I think the major problem is that we even have to address Islam when we talk about those countries. Until we can talk about these countries without mentioning Islam (like we can talk about Europe or America for example without mentioning Chrstianity) there won't be much progress in those parts of the world.

    I hope any of this makes sense, as I am not the best writer out there.

    posted by: IR on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Who gets to decide what Islam really teaches? I submit to you that the followers of a religion get to decide what it teaches and what it stands for, not politicians and journalists who wish to bury their heads in the sand for the sake of political correctness.

    And what do Muslims believe their religion stands for? One only needs to look at the telethons in Saudi Arabia, the government support from Syria, Iran, and others to know that a majority of the Muslims of the world support killing innocent Israeli children.

    Why did polls show after 9-11 that most Muslims in the Middle East believed that Jews had secretly blown up the Twin Towers to blame Muslims for it? Why did the vast majority of the world's Muslims support the evil, murderous dictator of Iraq in his fight against the one nation in the world that symbolizes equality and freedom? Why is it that women have almost no rights to basic human dignity in Muslim countries and are subject to "honor" killings?

    We decry the terrorism of "Muslim extremists," yet I think that Franklin Graham had a point and hit closer to the truth. Islam as it is practiced in many places of the world is a religion of intolerance and violence.

    Imagine that you are a Muslim, living near Jerusalem in the 12th century. Imagine you are told: "Christianity is really a very peaceful religion. These Crusaders are extremists and don't represent what Christianity is all about. They are just a few fanatics out of touch with mainstream Christianity." If you were to believe that, you would soon be dead, in all likelihood, because Christianity was a violent and intolerant religion as commonly practiced during the Middle Ages. Your smart neighbors, on the other hand, might choose to protect themselves and their families.

    So when are we going to quit pretending and start dealing with the real world that we live in? Until the mullahs and imams change, Islam will continue to be a religion that, as it is currently practiced in many parts of the world, foments violence against Jews and Christians.

    The preceding was something that I posted on my blog back in June.

    On the one hand, it's silly for us to pretend that a religion's common interpretation can't change -- of course Islam can change. Look at the many branches of Christianity. Look at the difference between the Shiite clerics in Najaf and those in Tehran. Of course Islam can become a religion of peace.

    On the other hand, it's just as silly to pretend that Islam is a peaceful religion today. It's not.

    That's one of the reasons that the liberation of Iraq is so important to the elimination of Islamist terror. Religious hatred of Jews and Israel is promoted by controlling leaders who whip their people in a frenzy to distract them from internal corruption and lack of freedom. That's why Saddam gave money to the families of the suicide bombers, and that's why there are now banners at Iraqi universities saying "Palestinians go home!"

    Political reform and democritization in Muslim countries will ultimately end the religious hatred. Is it any coincidence that democratic Turkey has a good relationship with Israel and doesn't promote terror?

    posted by: Ryan Booth on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Having just read the Malaysian PM's speech, through the link above, it can only be considered an anti-Jewish rant. True, he also calls upon Muslims to think and embrace learning -- but mainly for the sake of fighting back against the oppressors of Islam which, according to the speech, are mostly the Jews but also the Europeans. If this guy is a moderate, heaven help us and them.

    posted by: Jack W. on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Well said, Ryan, but I still wonder whether you are unrealistically assuming that the meanings of texts are utterly amorphous. Words mean certain things and not other things. One can't seriously hope for Nazism to change to a benevolent form, for example. Its writings are evil.

    It remains to be shown that the Bible and the Muslim scriptures are both so pliable that neither condones murder any more than it condones justice and goodwill. It remains to be shown that the deluge of murder and oppression flowing from Islam over the last 1400 years is merely accidental and not logically connected with the Muslim scriptures, or at least that the murder and oppression flowing from Christianity was equally logically connected to Christian scripture. It surely isn't merely a matter of subjective opinion whether Crusaders who tortured innocents to death had misinterpreted the Bible. And yet you say, "I submit to you that the followers of a religion get to decide what it teaches." This can't be right. A Christian can't decide that the Bible teaches to kill all non-believers. The Bible doesn't say that, any more than Mahathir's speech said, "I love Jews."

    posted by: Jim on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Compare Mahathir's comments with this:

    "the Jews managed to employ the Christians -- the Americans and British -- to carry out the duty of attacking Iraq [in 1998]. The United States claims to be taking Iraq to task. What is true, however, is that the Israeli and Jewish authority is influential within the White House as is clear to people. The defense secretary [Cohen] is a Jew, the secretary of state [Albright] is a Jew, CIA and National Security officials are Jews, other senior officials are Jews. They led the Christians into breaking the wings of the Islamic world."

    Osama bin Ladin

    interview with Al-Jazeera, December 1998
    (to be found at various sites on the net)

    posted by: just a reader on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Jim, you make a good point, but let me ask you this: who gets to decide what Christianity or Islam teach if not its adherents? You? Christ said, "By their fruits you shall know them." The fruit of Islam today looks like poison, but I'm not convinced that the picture couldn't be a little different sometime in the future.

    We can look back today and say that the Crusades were wrong, but all Christiandom at the time supported keeping the Holy Land free from the stain of defilement from the infidels.

    And we Christians also accept the Old Testament as Scripture as well, when God commanded the Israelites to destroy entire villages along with the women and children. Without context, you could pull a few verses out of the Bible and make Christianity seem very intolerant.

    I'm not a scholar of Islam, but I'm not sure we can take a few snippets from the Koran and say that Islam can never peacefully co-exist with the West.

    Besides, if I follow your arguments on this thread through to their logical conclusion, then the Turks and moderate clerics in Iraq must not really be Muslims, because they don't believe in Islamist violence. Is that really what you're arguing in your posts here?

    posted by: Ryan Booth on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    With very little fanfare, in September David Wurmser moved over from the State Department office of arms control chief and leading war-party agitator John Bolton, to the Old Executive Office Building, working directly under Vice President Dick Cheney and his chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Wurmser's move was highly significant, given that the former American Enterprise Institute and Washington Institute for Near East Policy neo-conservatives was one of the primary authors of the now-infamous 1996 "A Clean Break" document, which spelled out the current joint Mideast war strategy of the Ariel Sharon government in Israel and the Cheney cabal inside the Bush Administration in the United States.

    Just days after Wurmser joined the Vice President's "shadow national security council," the Bush Administration—at Cheney's urging—made an abrupt shift in policy towards Syria, a shift that has now brought the entire Mideast region to the brink of war and chaos—worse, even, than the fiasco of the American occupation of Iraq, which military experts are increasingly describing as "our new Vietnam" (see page 60).

    At an American Enterprise Institute event on Oct. 7, Leo Strauss acolyte William Kristol, the publisher and editor of the Weekly Standard, candidly admitted that he was miffed that the United States had not already moved beyond the Iraq war to the "next regime change" of "the next horrible" Middle East Arab "dictator"—Syrian President Bashar Assad.

    'A Clean Break' RevisitedTurn the clock back seven years. On July 8, 1996, Richard Perle, currently a member, and formerly the head of the Defense Policy Board in the Don Rumsfeld Pentagon, delivered a document to the new Israeli Prime Minister, Jabotinskyite Benjamin Netanyahu. Perle, and a team of American neo-cons, had been tasked by Netanyahu—through the Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS)—to draft a strategy for abrogating the Oslo Accords and overturning the entire concept of "comprehensive land for peace," in favor of a jackboot policy of U.S.-Israeli-Turkish raw military conquest and occupation.

    The short policy memo, which Netanyahu, and his successor-Likud Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, totally adopted as the core strategy of their administrations, spelled out a four-pronged attack on the peace process and the entire Arab world. It has become a self-evident truth that, since the Bush "43" and Sharon governments came into power simultaneously in early 2001, "A Clean Break" has been the guiding strategic doctrine of both—particularly following the irregular warfare attacks on New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.

    The Perle-Wurmser policy document demanded: 1) Destroy Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, blaming them for every act of Palestinian terrorism, including the attacks from Hamas, an organization which Sharon had helped launch during his early 1980s tenure as Minister of Defense. 2) Induce the United States to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. 3) Launch war against Syria after Saddam's regime is disposed of, including striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon, and targets in Syria proper. 4) Parlay the overthrow of the Ba'athist regimes in Baghdad and Damascus into the "democratization" of the entire Arab world, including through further military actions against Iran, Saudi Arabia, and "the ultimate prize," Egypt (see Documentation following for the "Clean Break" report).

    On Oct. 5, for the first time in 30 years, Israel launched bombing raids against Syria, targetting a purported "Palestinian terrorist camp" inside Syrian territory. The bombing immediately raised fears that Sharon is preparing a nuclear strike, most likely against Iran. A senior Israeli intelligence source told EIR that Sharon's action was clearly backed by the "pro-Sharon" crowd in Washington, led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz: "They continue to be committed to their basic plan: Destroy Iran and Syria, and make Israel the dominant power in the region, and drive the Palestinians across the Jordan River." The source added that there "is obviously an agreement in Washington to do nothing." In a press conference a day after the Israel attack on Syria, President George W. Bush said Sharon had the right to "defend his own people," and then added, "We would be doing the same thing."

    'Clean Break' Who's WhoIn addition to arch-chicken-hawk Richard Perle, the other participants in the "Clean Break" exercise now constitute the hard core of the neo-con apparatus poisoning the Bush Administration.

    The principal author of "Clean Break" and a series of follow-on IASPS strategy papers elaborating the new balance of power schema for the Middle East, was David Wurmser, now in the Office of Vice President Cheney. Wurmser's wife, Meyrav Wurmser, another of the "Clean Break" authors, is the head of Middle East policy at the Hudson Institute, a neo-con hotbed, heavily financed by Lord Conrad Black, owner of the Hollinger Corporation and sugar-daddy to Richard Perle, who was installed by Black on the Hudson Institute board as soon as the London-based publisher poured a pile of cash into the think tank at the start of the Bush "43" Presidency. Meyrav Wurmser received her doctorate at George Washington University, by researching the life and works of Vladimir Jabotinsky, the founder of Revisionist Zionism and a self-professed fascist. Before coming to Hudson, she headed the Washington office of the Middle East Research and Investigation Project (MERIP), of Col. Yigal Carmon, a retired Israeli Army Intelligence careerist, who is hard-wired into the U.S.A. neo-con gang.

    Meyrav Wurmser has taken the point in promoting the overthrow of the House of Saud and the American military occupation of the Saudi Arabian oil fields, through a string of Hudson Institute policy papers, commentaries, and seminars.

    Hudson has also played a pivotal role in the drive for war against Syria and Lebanon, as spelled out in "Clean Break." On March 7, 2003, Hudson sponsored a forum addressed by Gen. Michel Aoun, who was Prime Minister of Lebanon from 1988-1990, and who is pushing a military action against Syria, right out of the pages of "Clean Break."

    Other authors of the 1996 war scheme were: Douglas Feith, now Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy, and the overseer of the Office of Special Plans "information warfare" unit, which was instrumental in the black propaganda campaign to sell President Bush and the U.S. Congress on the Iraq war; and Charles Fairbanks, Jr., a longtime friend and disciple of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, dating back to their graduate studies under Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago. Fairbanks is now at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

    >From Words to Warfare On Sept. 16, just as David Wurmser was going to Cheney's office to replace Eric Edelman, a longtime Wolfowitz prot?g? now tapped to be the new U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, the Syria war drive was seriously launched. Chief arms control provocateur John Bolton was given the green light to testify before a House International Relations subcommittee hearing on Syria and Lebanon. That testimony had been held up for several months, as the result of a direct intervention by the Central Intelligence Agency, which issued a highly unusual white paper challenging many of Bolton's planned allegations of Syrian current involvement in terrorist operations and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.

    The fact that Bolton was given the go-ahead to Capitol Hill signalled that Cheney had scored a tactical victory over those in the Bush Administration who were promoting a dialogue with Damascus. In fact, Bolton's provocative testimony undercut quiet efforts, then under way, to establish fresh channels of cooperation between the United States and the Assad government.

    The day after Bolton's appearance, the same House subcommittee continued the anti-Damascus rant, by hosting General Aoun and rabid chicken-hawk Daniel Pipes, who demanded an immediate confrontation with Syria.

    This public display of venom in Washington was all the signal that Ariel Sharon needed. On Oct. 5, Israeli Air Force jets bombed a Palestinian camp deep inside Syrian territory, ostensibly in retaliation for an Islamic Jihad suicide bombing in Haifa the day before. However, the Sharon war cabinet had approved a Syrian bombing six weeks earlier. The Bolton appearance and the promotion of Wurmser into Cheney's inner sanctum just served as the green light.

    To make the linkage between the Israeli actions and the Cheney-led Bush Administration tilt even even more transparent, on Oct. 8 the White House announced that it would no longer oppose Congressional passage of the Syrian Accountability and Restoration of Lebanese Sovereignty Act, the equivalent to the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act which set in motion the drive towards war against Saddam Hussein.

    This time, Sharon and Cheney do not intend to wait five years to get their war. Unless they are stopped, their timetable is to have Israel launch war on Syria by November 2003. And heaven help the American GIs in Iraq if Sharon and Cheney get their way. As Lyndon LaRouche has demanded, "Beast-man" Cheney needs to be dumped from power within the next 30 days; and, along with him, the entire neo-con cabal. As Bush "41" and Karl Rove must understand by now, Cheney and his gang of "Clean Break" fanatics are the albatross around George W. Bush's neck, and time is running out.

    posted by: AHL on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    So far the tenor of the comments here is that it's all Islam's problem, they should grow up, get over it, etc. Go read the entire speech, and be frightened. It is saying precisely that they should indeed move beyond this, and adopt a new and long-term strategy. The two salient points are : 1) Israel was imposed on the Arab lands by the West, and 2) Israel and the West have begun to make mistakes. Both are true. Unless the West counters with a long-term metaphysical (you read that right) initiative to incorporate all religions into a new ecumenical understanding, we are heading straight into Armageddon--and all of the comments above will have fallen far far short.

    posted by: Lee A. on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    In case anyone is interested, the text of AHL's preceding post is taken from an article in Lyndon LaRouche's Executive Intelligence Review.

    posted by: Chuck on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Usama bin Ladin has issued a message to the American people, broadcast on Saturday on Aljazeera television. A full and exclusive translation follows:

    "Oppression will only go against the oppressors.

    "This is a message from Usama bin Muhammad bin Ladin to the American people regarding your aggression in Iraq. Peace be upon those who follow the righteous path.

    "Some have the impression that you are a reasonable people. But the majority of you are vulgar and without sound ethics or good manners. You elect the evil from among you, the greatest liars and the least decent and you are enslaved by your richest and the most influential among you, especially the Jews, who lead you using the lie of democracy to support the Israelis and their schemes and in complete antagonism towards our religion (Islam).

    "These schemes are paid for in our blood and land, and your blood and economy.

    "This has been proved by recent events. And the war on Iraq, which has nothing to do with you, is proof of that.

    "Bush and his gang, with their heavy sticks and hard hearts, are an evil to all humankind. They have stabbed into the truth, until they have killed it altogether in the eyes of the world.

    "With this behaviour they have encouraged hypocrisy, and spread vice and political bribes shamelessly at the level of heads of state.


    "This gang and their leader enjoy lying, war and looting to serve their own ambitions. The blood of the children of Vietnam, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq is still dripping from their teeth. They have fooled you and deceived you into invading Iraq a second time. And they have lied to you and the whole world.

    "Nations are nothing without ethics and morals. If these are gone, the nations are gone.

    Bush has sent your sons into the lion’s den, to slaughter and be slaughtered, claiming that this act was in defence of international peace and America’s security, thus concealing the facts.

    "On one hand he (Bush) is carrying out the demands of the Zionist lobby that helped him to enter the White House. These demands are to destroy the military strength of Iraq because it is too close to the Jews in occupied Palestine, regardless of the harm that will happen to your people and your economy.

    "On the other hand, he (Bush) is concealing his own ambitions and the ambitions of the Zionist lobby and their own desire for oil. He is still following the mentality of his ancestors who killed the Native Americans to take their land and wealth. He thought that this time it would be an easy task and a lie that would not be exposed.

    Profit into loss

    "But God sent him to Baghdad, the seat of the Caliphate, the homeland of people who prefer death to honey. So they (the Iraqis) turned his profits into losses, his joy into sadness and now he is merely looking for a way back home.

    "Thanks be to God Almighty who has exposed the lies of George Bush and made his term as president a term of continual catastrophe.

    "To Bush I say, you are begging the world to come to your aid, begging mercenaries from every corner of the world, even from small states. This begging has destroyed your pride and revealed how trivial and weak you are after claiming to defend the whole world.

    "Now you are like the knight who was trying to protect people from the Sword of Malik, and ended up begging someone to protect him.

    "We reserve the right to retaliate at the appropriate time and place against all countries involved, especially the UK, Spain, Australia, Poland, Japan and Italy, not to exclude those Muslim states that took part, especially the Gulf states, and in particular Kuwait, which has become a beachhead for the crusading forces.


    "And to the American soldiers in Iraq I say, now that all the lies have been exposed and the greatest liar has been revealed, your stay on Iraq’s land is compounding the oppression and is a great folly.

    "It shows you are selling your lives for the lives of others. And you are spilling your blood to swell the bank accounts of the White House gang and their fellow arms dealers and the proprietors of great companies. And the greatest folly in life is to sell your life for the lives of others.

    "In conclusion, I say to the American people we will continue to fight you and continue to conduct martyrdom operations inside and outside the United States until you depart from your oppressive course and abandon your follies and rein in your fools.

    "You have to know that we are counting our dead, may God bless them, especially in Palestine, who are killed by your allies the Jews. We are going to take revenge for them from your blood, God willing, as we did on the day of New York. Remember what I said to you on that day about our security and your security. Baghdad the seat of the Caliphate, will not fall to you, God willing, and we will fight you as long as we carry our guns. And if we fall, our sons will take our place.

    "And may our mothers become childless if we leave any of you alive on our soil."

    posted by: OBL on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Anyone here want to take a guess as to the Chinese perspective on this discussion?

    You do remember the Chinese, don't you -- a quarter of the human race, next superpower and so forth? My point is that a lot of people are getting awfully excited about some kind of apocalyptic clash between Islam and the West, overlooking not only the divisions within the Islamic world and the vast superiority of the West in all relevant measures of power but the fact that a great many people in the world do value their relations with the West but look on the Islamic countries as something less than their major concern.

    I would understand that an Israeli would think this point unimportant; for Israel there is no more important subject. The American perspective, however, must take into account the fact that the predominantly Muslim countries and especially the Arab ones include most of the least developed, most backward countries in the world, or at least in the world outside of sub-Saharan Africa. We are of necessity heavily involved in Iraq at the moment, and Muslim nations must receive some of our attention. But there are other things that are more important, and the conflicts that exist between the Islamic countries and the west are very far from being as dangerous to humanity's future as the conflict with Soviet Communism was.

    I hope, incidentally, that no one will think me petty if I point out that my suggestion early in this thread that Mahathir's speech be considered in the context of his position as the longtime leader of Malaysia has been ignored by everyone. At least as far as posters here are concerned he is primarily a visionary of world Islam. Some mean this as condemnation and others as praise -- either seems to me extravagant.

    posted by: Zathras on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Dear Chuck,

    "Atheists" (or more properly, skeptics) do not pretend to have "true knowledge" in the manner of religious adherents. They form theories based on experimentation and empirical evidence. These theories are open to debate and refutation if stronger, better theories present themselves. They form "best guesses." Religion presumes to have the final word on the matter, for example; Christians believe that Jesus was the only son of God - period. Christianity is not open to any kind of reasoned argument which will challenge this belief. Christians presume to KNOW that this is the case and do not question it. This is a vanity that skeptics do not have - the vanity that they KNOW. If one scientist's theory is refuted or challenged, you don't see blood baths and wars resulting from it.

    I disagree with your implication that Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. are men who operated using reason. I'm am sure that there are plenty of "atheists" who are illogical.

    I also disagree that the use of reason reduces everything to some "clanking, mechanical thing," since it would be "reasonable" to include human qualities, such as mercy and love, in any reasoned framework of morality.

    I admit I have a prejudice for Truth, which is hindered by irrational and illogical premises which exist in religious dogma.

    As a P&R major, I took courses in both formal and symbolic logic. Any argument can be reduced to a syllogism that is either valid or invalid -- it is like a form of mathematics. Whether or not the premises or conclusions are "true" has nothing to do with whether or not it is logically valid - it is simply a process to determine if the argument uses reason or not. However, if the premises are true and the argument is valid, then the conclusion is true.

    I do believe that there is a way to use logic and reason to develop premises of human morality and draw valid conclusions regarding how we deal with each other.

    I don't know if you read my other post regarding comparative religious quotes, but it does seem that every moral belief system has a prime directive which is equivalent to the Golden Rule - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This seems reasonable and logical to me and makes as much sense as the law of cause and effect (although it may not be as direct in isolated instances - I think it works in the long run).

    The problem with religion is not so much with morality as it is with dogma. In theory, if everyone followed their religious prime directive, their shouldn't be a problem between us. Since, apparently, all moral belief systems agree on some version of the GR prime directive, it might be possible to develop a reasonable and logical code of conduct which everyone (religious or not) could agree to - without infringing on anything else they might believe.

    I think that if we can develop some rational umbrella that we all can agree on, then not only will we all be better off, the prime directive of each religion will be supported by reason, giving it extra weight.

    It seems that you already understand the prime directive of your own religion because you "insist upon freedom of conscience for others to differ." I have no problem with that and will give you a great deal of credit for not being a hypocrite to your professed beliefs.

    posted by: Joseph on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    hmm the "crusades" werent initially to RECONQUER Jerusalem the most saint place for Christians ?
    Which were conquered military by Muslims in a usual RELIGIOUS BASED CONQUEST?

    So the military-religious based conquest of Jerusalem by Muslims arent criticisable but the Crusades are ? hmm...

    posted by: lucklucky on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Jim, Joseph, and Ryan,

    Enjoyed the thoughtful posts on comparative religion. I also liked Klaus' post echoing/presaging Den Beste's Traditional Arab Culture theme. I am thinking eventually a synthesis of religion, traditional culture, and economics will make the best fit for describing what is going on. Each of these factors can serve a catalyst or base depending on the event.

    One religious point, I have read the Bible, and perused the Koran (have not read any of the Jewish texts) and what I notice is that the violence in the Bible is written as historical narrative (... and God bade X to smite Y ...) while the Koran has several passages that use violence in the exhortative sense. Also, with Islam, you need to consider the Hadith, which are bizarre in places.

    I take the position that a fundamentalist Christian based in the King James Bible (I grew up as one) will consider non-believers lost and on the way to hell, but has no written instructions to send them there.

    Also, I suspect that much of the violence of Christianity during the middle ages was due to the mystical nature of Christianity mixed with the pagan cultures that it overlaid. Islam is actually more rational and strongly rejects the mystery of the trinity for example.

    posted by: jdwill on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]


    You are on the right track....

    posted by: Joseph on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Let's a post taking a world leader to task (rightfully so) for comments revealing his racism, bigotry, and possible desire to exterminate Jews, we get these nuggets of wisdom from the commentors:

    If Muslims could "get their act together," they wouldn't be Muslims.

    Islam delenda est.(Islam must be destroyed)

    It was obvious to me then that Islam, unlike any other major religion, had violence and treachery at its core.

    The Arabs owed almost all of their cultural zenith to the classical cultures of Greece, Rome, Egypt, Peria and Mesopotamia. Some superiority.

    [If Muslims] lay it out like that, they'll get the genocide they so eagerly desire for others. The west, today, has the ability to destroy every single aspect of islamic culture, decides not to (as being true to it's own cultural identity) and is replied with that fascist garbage? Good luck. Me? I'm buying Lockheed stock. (The sentiments here lead me to believe it is probably a wise investment)

    Mohammed did this:
    Lied, broke treaties, had sex with 9 year old, and lead armies to kill and subjugate non-Muslims.

    No kidding, Nr. Reece - We're all looking forward to the website. C'mon now, it would be a 'm' not an 'a', not that my great-grandchildren will live to see it.
    (This one is coded for those who, chuckle, get the joke. Thankfully, I don't. But I can guess that the author is pointing out the inferiority of Arabs, asking when they will have a space program. The "m" not an "a" refers to any scientific advancement would have to come from "M"uslims, not "A"rabs. Since the Arabs, as a race, are too stupid. Yeah, that's pretty funny)

    Is it naive to think Iraquis are capable of democracy? Maybe so.

    [...]you can immediately cease feeling guilty about the Palestinians. These people are the quintessential example of self pitying racists who are suffering primarily from their own self inflicted wounds. The Jews are mostly benevolent and just---and the Palestinians are cruel and despicable. It's as simple as that.

    I'm sure the Professor is very proud.

    I was going to replace every use of the word "Arab" or "Muslim" with "Jew," just so you guys could get a feel for what it sounds like (since apparently bigotry towards Arabs doesn't even register a second thought) but to me even that felt wrong.

    posted by: andrew on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]


    Colonel Dax, Indeed - In one of Kubricks Finest.

    If that's your real email, I'll contact you soon for your silver dollar.

    And speaking of great films - Dan - IS it possible that their is someone who has not yet seen Resevoir Dogs. Someone send me Easterbrooks adress, I'll mail him a copy.

    By the way - Dinner was great - and yes, Joe; I threw in a buck. ;)

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]


    Good bust - Chuck, (regarding AHL) Ouch- nothing like outing the source of a poster.

    God Save the Blogoshere. Instant Karma, Indeed.

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Lafontaine (hah)

    Well said - and Hey, Seasame Street-generation Americans: Remember the good citizens of mumble and Cowboy X?

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    IR - Your post makes sense to me. Want to go with me to the 11th? Should be a blast (sorry, poor choice of words).

    I should be able to right it of as a 'business' expense- considering...

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Oh, Andrew- no silver Dollar for you.

    Come now, you sound as if you've taken aptitude tests before.

    Here Try again: NASA stands for:
    National Aeronautics and Space ADMINISTRATION.

    In the West, while we tend to have Administrations, the East tends to have (blank)

    A is to ADMINISTRATION as M is to (BLANK)

    Now be honest, that's actually rather clever, not? You're smiling right now, are you not?

    Can I send you a copy of Resevoir Dogs? I'm assuming you already own Paths of Glory.

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Yikes - write, not right...

    posted by: Art Wellesley on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    I saw nothing wrong with the comments made by the Malaysian PM. It seems his speech came from a defensive perspective, and the most flagrant thing said was that there should be some counter; since the attacks on muslim countries have been military in nature it seems natural that they "strategise and then to counter attack" as opposed to just sitting as targets. Dan said nothing to suggest why the words of the speech were bad, no actual criticism of the speech. On the contrary it appears that it was a positive speech (besides legitimate concerns about the jews - which are put into words well by Fahmi Huwaidi) about muslim modernization and development. Then Dan and others commenting here run off on grander illfooted anti-muslim tangents. the article is loaded with emotional rhetoric and weak assumptions.
    what is so "alarming" about what was said in the speech ?
    Dan's article is unsupported garbage coloured with "alarming" rhetoric.

    posted by: lNTERNET on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    posted by: madhatter on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Art W.

    I don't understand your comments about those who died on 9/11 not agreeing with me. There's nothing to agree with. I'm not applauding Mahathi's speech only saying that he could never have made that speech before 9/11 and before we started fighting back.

    It's gotten through to Arab leaders that we are no longer going to appease them and bribe them not to bomb us. Our war against terrorism is making a huge difference in ways we may not see for a long time.

    Even if the Arab reforms Mahathi calls for have as their original goal better ways to kill us and Israeli's, there may be unintended results. People who have positive things going on in their lives are much less likely to throw their lives away in terrorist attacks.

    Looks like Andrew Sullivan read the speech the same way as I did.

    I don't pretend expertise in Muslim culture, but I do know a seed has been planted that Muslims rethink their dependence on violence.

    posted by: erp on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    A solitary thought about Mahathir's comment that Muslims should employ "thinking" instead of "hitting back". When it comes to enlightened thinking I will side with 12 million
    Jews vs. 1.3 billion Muslims. No contest........ somewhat similar to the Yankees vs. the Red

    posted by: R. A. Benfield on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    erp, Mahathir is not an Arab. With that caveat I agree with what you think he was trying to do. Whether the seed fell on fertile soil is another question. It's more likely the applause he got was for the part that sounded anti-Jewish, and that the rest of the speech was ignored.

    But I could be wrong about this. Governments in Muslim countries do not debate ideas in the public, open way we are familiar with. We know that many of them want to keep terrorists as far away from their countries as possible from the fact that they work with us to do this, but playing to the prejudices of terror sympathizers is another way toward this end. Maybe Mahathir is concerned about who gets to live on the West Bank, but does anyone think it his top priority? Hamid Karzai's? The Gulf State emirs? I'm not saying these guys are angels, only that they all have separate agendas, and are not fools enough to think their people will prosper just because blows are struck against Israel.

    posted by: Zathras on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Dan, great post, right analysis (as I said in comments in MJ Totten's blog).
    Mahathir clearly wants to reform Islam. So that Islam gets stronger, gets more respect, stops being humiliated.
    But Islam reform is hard (look how hard Catholic Church homosexual doctrine is). Really hard. There's no stick he can use, only a political promise. What promise?

    The promise of successfully killing Jews. His promise: first, reform Islam so we can study, then we study & think instead of wasting time fighting (like in Palestine). Then we get strong, and we get respect, and ... (cheering mightly) then we kill the Jews.

    I'm pretty sure he DOES believe the Jews run the world, and he hates them, but I suspect if he successfully reforms Islam enough for them to become strong enough -- the hate will mostly dissipate. Though certainly not all, so not sure how much.

    A successful, free, democratic, secular, voluntarily Islamic Iraq would be a huge boost to the likelihood of a reformed Islam with less Jew-hatred.

    posted by: Tom Grey on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Zathras, you are, of course, right. Slip of the "pen." Mahathir is not an Arab, nor are Pakistani's and other Asian Muslims.

    Indian Muslims, Hindus and Jews lived together in peace prior to Gandhi's interference. Perhaps Asia will lead the way and while we continue to fight terrorism militarily, secular Islamic leaders will emerge to bring Islam into the 21st century.

    posted by: erp on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Get a life. There is no GOD. We are all bickering over a sure fire god. The believe in GOD has no place in the 21st century. ALL this senseless fighting will eventually lead to either two things for sure
    1) The world goes made and kills itself over religion
    2) Everyone wakes up to the fact that there is no GOD, and religion and our so called messiahs are talking rubish when they apparently founded Christianity and Islam.

    Wake up humans. The meaning of G.O.D. is Good Only in Death

    posted by: human on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Mahathir is a truly wise man. He is just stating the fact what most american knows, the jews are controlling both he world economy and military. The jews over 2000years of oppression learned how to make the world play according to the rules they set. Obviously to redirect any hatred or prejudice away from themselves. That is abosulutely ok by me. Everyone has a right to defend themselves. Mahathir is neither arab nor fanatic, he is not calling for more suicide killing but indirectly asking the arabs to look in the mirror for a clear reflection on themselves. There is no other way to make the arabs realise that their way of thinking and islam is the problem. Although Mahathir is a muslim he is never a fanatic. In his country, Mahathir has used this strategy of condenming his own race, the Malays in order to make them change before. He wrote a book called the Malay Dilemma in which he criticised the Malays for being narrow minded and lazy. For yr info he got into hot soup over this book, but in the end it paid off. The malays improved. Otherwise Malaysia couldn't achieve the success it enjoys today. Similarly this old man knows that the arabs has a big problem on their hands, a religion that is intolerant, self centered, and lack freedom. You see Muslims in Arab are born into the religion withouyt much choice, once you are a muslim, you'll forever be a muslim, even your spouse has to be muslim. You cannot quit being a muslim even if you choose not. It is kinda like some fanatical Christian sects, except it is much more serious. You see Mahathr wants achange but he too can't change the way of the Muslims. To be a muslim you cant' argue or ask question, you just got to be dumb and follow the leader. That is the primary problem the muslim world face, unless it changes over time. The Christians were like that before in the middle ages. You cant quit being a Christian even if you wanted to then. REligious freedom to the muslim nation means they allow other races to practice other religions but should not overshadow their own. If the world is to move on, rteligion must take a back seat to politics and can never mix with it. Mahathir jut wanted the muslims to look in the mirror and see clearly that the religion has become somewhat agressive of late. It wasn't like that before. Politically motivated leaders used the religion and contorted it to fit their political and military goals. Bravo Mahathir you DARE to challenge what few dare to utter. And by doing so even your fellow muslims thinks you are a hero. Bush should realise this fact and change IRAQ when he still can. For IRAQ be really free, there must be a revolution in the thinking, a new law.
    - true religious freedom. An iraqi nomatter he was born a muslim or not can choose to alter his religious conviction without procecution from his fellow iraqi.
    - issue new IRAQI citizenship cards, with high tech smart cards to be worn as a ring to all iraqi who have been screeened and cleared to be non-terrorist. Green citizen for those who are for a new government, red for those who are still questionable. Citizenship can be scan from a distant away. This will help curb terorist attacks. Install surveillance cameras everywhere and really infiltrate the iraqi civilians with spys. Same thing should be done in Afganistan.

    posted by: ricardo on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

    Thankyou very much ricardo. At last a true and fair analysis of the situation. I agree entirely with your interpretation of mahathir's comments. Most of the red-neck jerks, jewish apologists, misinformed middle-class americans, downright xenophobes, zionists, anti-arabs, KKK members and Drezner yes-men who have contributed posts to this forum are completely off the mark with their poorly researched and illogically derived arguments. You guys need to grow up. Yes - mahathir probably is anti-semitic. But so what? The leaders of Israel have the blood of innocent Palestinians on their hands (pre-Israel and beyond). Dr Mahathir is an angel compared to those creeps. It seems that anyone who posts some well reasoned posts here is ridiculed by Drezner and his yes-men cronies. My advice to you - is to wake up, stop deluding yourselves and others who lack the true knowledge that some of you obviously possess but purposely conceal...
    Yep - Ricardo has hit the mark with his honest (but soon to be lambasted) post.
    Dr Mahathir is a hero in his own country and beyond. This honour is well deserved. His purpose is to rally moderate muslims to embrace the new technology, move with popular world opinion, achieve independence, stand up to political bullies (the enemy). He seeks not to pitch muslim against non-muslim. Does this seem plausible you may ask. I say yes it can. The muslim world is seen as barbaric - but let me mention a few luminaries of the world who are muslim. Professor Abdus Salaam (Nobel prize for Physics). Professor magdie Yacoub (World reknowned surgeon). Muhammad Ali (say no more). Mohammad Ali Jinnah (Single handed creator of a new country - Pakistan.)

    posted by: RayOlight on 10.17.03 at 11:33 AM [permalink]

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