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Sassan K. Sam Harris - Christian Terrorism and Islamophobia

Christian Terrorism and Islamophobia

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At certain points near the extremity of human evil it becomes difficult, and perhaps pointless, to make ethical distinctions. However, I cannot shake the feeling that detonating a large bomb in the center of a peaceful city with the intent of killing vast numbers of innocent people was the lesser of Anders Behring Breivik’s transgressions last week. It seems to me that it required greater malice, and even less humanity, to have intended this atrocity to be a mere diversion, so that he could then commit nearly one hundred separate murders on the tiny Island of Utoya later in the day.

And just when one thought the human mind could grow no more depraved, one learns details like the following:

After killing several people on one part of the island, he went to the other, and, dressed in his police uniform, calmly convinced the children huddled there that he meant to save them. When they emerged into the open, he fired again and again. (“For Young Campers, Island Turned Into Fatal Trap.” The New York Times, July 23, 2011)

Other unsettling facts will surely surface in the coming weeks. Some might even be vaguely exculpatory. Is Breivik mentally ill? Judging from his behavior, it is difficult to imagine a definition of “sanity” that could contain him.

It has been widely reported that Breivik is a “Christian fundamentalist.” Having read parts of his 1500-page manifesto (2083: A European Declaration of Independence), I must say that I have my doubts. These do not appear to be the ruminations of an especially committed Christian:

I’m not going to pretend I’m a very religious person as that would be a lie. I’ve always been very pragmatic and influenced by my secular surroundings and environment. In the past, I remember I used to think;

“Religion is a crutch for weak people. What is the point in believing in a higher power if you have confidence in yourself!? Pathetic.”

Perhaps this is true for many cases. Religion is a crutch for many weak people and many embrace religion for self serving reasons as a source for drawing mental strength (to feed their weak emotional state f example during illness, death, poverty etc.). Since I am not a hypocrite, I’ll say directly that this is my agenda as well. However, I have not yet felt the need to ask God for strength, yet… But I’m pretty sure I will pray to God as I’m rushing through my city, guns blazing, with 100 armed system protectors pursuing me with the intention to stop and/or kill. I know there is a 80%+ chance I am going to die during the operation as I have no intention to surrender to them until I have completed all three primary objectives AND the bonus mission. When I initiate (providing I haven’t been apprehended before then), there is a 70% chance that I will complete the first objective, 40% for the second, 20% for the third and less than 5% chance that I will be able to complete the bonus mission. It is likely that I will pray to God for strength at one point during that operation, as I think most people in that situation would….If praying will act as an additional mental boost/soothing it is the pragmatical thing to do. I guess I will find out… If there is a God I will be allowed to enter heaven as all other martyrs for the Church in the past. (p. 1344)

As I have only read parts of this document, I cannot say whether signs of a deeper religious motive appear elsewhere in it. Nevertheless, the above passages would seem to undermine any claim that Breivik is a Christian fundamentalist in the usual sense. What cannot be doubted, however, is that Breivik’s explicit goal was to punish European liberals for their timidity in the face of Islam.

I have written a fair amount about the threat that Islam poses to open societies, but I am happy to say that Breivik appears never to have heard of me. He has, however, digested the opinions of many writers who share my general concerns—Theodore Dalrymple, Robert D. Kaplan, Lee Harris, Ibn Warraq, Bernard Lewis, Andrew Bostom, Robert Spencer, Walid Shoebat, Daniel Pipes, Bat Ye’or, Mark Steyn, Samuel Huntington, et al. He even singles out my friend and colleague Ayaan Hirsi Ali for special praise, repeatedly quoting a blogger who thinks she deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. With a friend like Breivik, one will never want for enemies.

One can only hope that the horror and outrage provoked by Breivik’s behavior will temper the growing enthusiasm for right-wing, racist nationalism in Europe. However, one now fears the swing of another pendulum: We are bound to hear a lot of deluded talk about the dangers of “Islamophobia” and about the need to address the threat of “terrorism” in purely generic terms.

The emergence of “Christian” terrorism in Europe does absolutely nothing to diminish or simplify the problem of Islam—its repression of women, its hostility toward free speech, and its all-too-facile and frequent resort to threats and violence. Islam remains the most retrograde and ill-behaved religion on earth. And the final irony of Breivik’s despicable life is that he has made that truth even more difficult to speak about.

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Comment by Sassan K. on August 5, 2011 at 2:41pm

I will post this again:

I don't buy those numbers because under Taqiyya - Muslims are allowed to lie to benefit their faith. No other faith has such a concept.

Comment by Adriana on August 3, 2011 at 9:55am

Sam Harris is a scientist. Yet he has the bad habit of making pronouncements that are not based on data.

 

frequent resort to threats and violence

 

Not as frequent as other religious groups, even not as frequent as atheists. At least not in Muslim Americans.

 

August 2, 2011

Most Muslim Americans See No Justification for Violence

Muslims Americans more likely than other faith groups to reject attacks on civilians

by Nicole Naurath

ABU DHABI -- Muslim Americans are the staunchest opponents of military attacks on civilians, compared with members of other major religious groups Gallup has studied in the United States. Seventy-eight percent of Muslim Americans say military attacks on civilians are never justified.

military target civilians.gif

These findings are among the many featured in a new report released Tuesday by the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center, Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future, based on Gallup surveys conducted throughout 2010. Building on Gallup's early 2009 report on America's Muslim community, Muslim Americans: A National Portrait, this analysis tracks changes since 2008, delves into current social and political research topics, and provides a series of data-driven policy recommendations.

In sharp contrast with Americans who identify themselves with other faith groups, Muslim Americans are more likely to say military attacks on civilians are never justified (78%) than sometimes justified (21%). Respondents from other faith groups, particularly Mormon Americans, are more likely to say military attacks are sometimes justified than never justified. The opinions of Americans who don't identify themselves with any religion are more in line with those of Muslim Americans, but they are also more divided.

There is wider agreement that attacks on civilians by individuals or small groups are never justified. At least 7 in 10 American adults from all major religious groups agree that these attacks are never justified, but Muslim Americans again are most opposed, with 89% rejecting such attacks.

individual or small group target civilians.gif

 

Read the rest here.

 

Oh, I forget! these are probably fake Muslims. True Muslims are bloodthirsty. The same way true Christians would never commit violence :-P

 

Frankly, after 76 people, mostly young people, have been butchered by this right-wing extremist who admired Islamophobes, I find Pat Condell, Sam Harris's attitude revolting: their biggest worry seems to be not the senseless loss of life, but rather that it would turn people away from focusing exclusively on Islamist terrorism.

 

A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, it does not matter. We must keep an vigilant eye on ALL of them, on ALL calls for violence, on ALL attitudes of supremacy, on ALL racist appeals, on ALL veiled threats and hints at violence.

Comment by Neal on August 3, 2011 at 9:00am

 

Meet the Right-Wing Hatemongers Who Inspired the Norway Killer

Why were America's Islamophobes able to avoid accountability for so long?

August 2, 2011 |

 

Few political terrorists in recent history took as much care to articulate their ideological influences and political views as Anders Hans Breivik did. The right-wing Norwegian Islamophobe who murdered 76 children and adults in Oslo and at a government-run youth camp spent months, if not years, preparing his 1,500 page manifesto.

 

Besides its length, one of the most remarkable aspects of the manifesto is the extent to which its European author quoted from the writings of figures from the American conservative movement. Though he referred heavily to his fellow Norwegian, the blogger Fjordman, it was Robert Spencer, the American Islamophobic pseudo-academic, who received the most references from Breivik -- 55 in all. Then there was Daniel Pipes, the Muslim-bashing American neoconservative who earned 18 citations from the terrorist. Other American anti-Muslim characters appear prominently in the manifesto, including the extremist blogger Pam Geller, who operates an Islamophobic organization in partnership with Spencer.

 

Breivik may have developed his destructive sensibility in the stark political environment of a European continent riveted by mass immigration from the Muslim world, but his conceptualization of the changes he was witnessing reflect the influence of a cadre of far-right bloggers and activists from across the Atlantic Ocean. He not only mimicked their terminology and emulated their language, he substantially adopted their political worldview. The profound impact of the American right's Islamophobic subculture on Breivik's thinking raises a question that has not been adequately explored: Where is the American version of Breivik and why has he not struck yet? Or has he?

 

Many of the American writers who influenced Breivik spent years churning out calls for the mass murder of Muslims, Palestinians and their left-wing Western supporters. But the sort of terrorism these US-based rightists incited for was not the style the Norwegian killer would eventually adopt. Instead of Breivik's renegade free-booting, they preferred the "shock and awe" brand of state terror perfected by Western armies against the brown hordes threatening to impose Sharia law on the people in Peoria. This kind of violence provides a righteous satisfaction so powerful it can be experienced from thousands of miles away.

 

And so most American Islamophobes simply sit back from the comfort of their homes and cheer as American and Israeli troops -- and their remote-controlled aerial drones -- leave a trail of charred bodies from Waziristan to Gaza City. Only a select group of able-bodied Islamophobes are willing to suit up in a uniform and rush to the front lines of the clash of civilizations. There, they have discovered that they can mow down Muslim non-combatants without much fear of legal consequences, and that when they return, they will be celebrated as the elite Crusader-warriors of the new Islamophobic right -- a few particularly violent figures have been rewarded with seats in Congress. Given the variety of culturally acceptable, officially approved outlets for venting violent anti-Muslim resentment, there is little reason for any American to follow in Breivik's path of infamy.

 

Alternet.

 

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