January 28, 2005

Who do they think they are?

by Mary Madigan

The trial of Mohammed Bouyeri, the alleged murderer of Theo Van Gogh, began yesterday. According to MSNBC:

  • A note impaled in van Gogh’s chest threatened prominent politicians and vowed Islamic holy war, or jihad, against nonbelievers.

    A bystander who witnessed the crime yelled at van Gogh’s killer "You can’t do that!" to which the suspect replied: "Oh, yes I can. ... Now you know what’s coming for you."

  • Bouyeri’s lawyer, Peter Plasman, said his client "wants to take responsibility for his actions" but gave no further explanation. He said Bouyeri agrees with the interpretation of Dutch Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm that van Gogh’s killing was a declaration of war.
According to the Globe and Mail, prosecuters said that Bouyeri dreamed of replacing the Dutch government with an Islamic theocracy. He wanted to be held accountable for his actions, and sees them as part of a religious war.

The Dutch media believe that Bouyeri attended the El Tawheed mosque, an institution that shared Bouyeri's views. It is considered to be the epicenter of extremism in Amsterdam.

This mosque was previously associated with a Saudi-based charity, Al Haramain. Recently, the mosque has been criticized for selling books espousing extremist views, including female circumcision and the punishment of homosexuals by throwing them off tall buildings.

According to the IHT, "several legislators have called for the mosque to be shut down, but under the Dutch constitution it is difficult to do."

According to the German publication, Der Spiegel, the killer’s actual target was Dutch legislator Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali immigrant. She and other legislators were so unable to ensure their security against extremist death threats, they had to leave the Netherlands to hide in the United States.

In short, a Western nation couldn't defend its own legislators against an occupying paramilitary group.

Fortunately, Hirsi Ali has returned. According to Spiegel’s report:

Hirsi Ali made championing the cause of Muslim women her career and eventually got elected to parliament. When the ambassador of Saudi Arabia called for her to be removed from office because of her polemics against Islam she just scored even more points with Dutch voters. In a survey of the most-popular Dutch people in 2003, she landed in second place.
The Saudi ambassador felt he had the right to call for an elected legislator to be removed from office. Who does he think he is?

Hirsi Ali’s homeland of Somalia understands something about Saudi influence. Somali journalist Bashir Goth wrote about the influence of Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi Islam in Somalia:

"Nowadays, it is sad to see… that the ideal harmony between Islam and Somali culture is swept aside by a new brand of Islam that is being pushed down the throat of our people - Wahhabism. Anywhere one looks, one finds that alien, perverted version of Islam that depends on punctilious manners more than it depends on deep-rooted faith. A strange uniformity… has crept into the social manners of our people. The unique fashion and identity of our people has changed forever. We have become a people without fashion, without culture, and without identity…

"It is a pity… to see that, at a time when Saudi Arabia, the home of Wahhabism, is reassessing the damage that Wahhabism and extremism had done to their country's name and to the reputation of Islam all over the world… that Wahhabism has to find a save-haven in our country."

… "These people love to live in the dark. They thrive on the silence of the unwilling intellectuals and the gullibility of the ignorant majority. They hide under the cloak of religion and scare people with their indiscriminate use of terms such as blasphemous, infidels, apostates, sacrilegious, atheists, westernized minds and many others. They use the available democratic atmosphere to herd us towards the abyss.

They use the available democratic atmosphere, as they do in the Netherlands, in Beslan and in the Sudan

One result of the Wahhabi influence on the Somailis from the BBC:

Militias from the Islamic courts set up in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, are destroying a colonial Italian cemetery.

They are digging up the graves and dumping human remains near the airport.

The BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan says he was horrified to see a large number of abandoned human skulls. Young boys were playing with one as a toy.

According to Sufi scholar Stephen Schwartz, grave desecration is a Wahhabi tradition:
Saudi agents uprooted graveyards in Kosovo even before the war began there in the late 1990s, and Wahhabi missionaries have sought to demolish Sufi tombs in Kurdistan. Late in 2002, the Saudi government tore down the historic Ottoman fortress of Ajyad in Mecca, causing outrage in many Muslim countries.
Jill at Legacy Matters said that the horrific grave desecration in Somalia was "beyond the Pale":
Deep in all of us is a revulsion at certain behavior - torture, beheadings and the physical abuse of the weak and powerless, for example. Whether it's in our DNA or our souls, revulsion, I believe, makes us more human. By turning away with a feeling of violent disgust at certain acts, we shun the perpetrators. They are not recognizably part of anything with which we can identify. They are beyond the pale, outside the bounds of acceptable and civilized behavior.
In most cultures, beheading, amputation as punishment, spreading genocidal hatred and desecrating graveyards are beyond the pale.

In Saudi Arabia these activities are an established part of their culture and their laws. World leaders know about this, but they don’t turn away from them in disgust. Instead, they encourage these Wahhabis to join our society.

Wahhabi 'charities' still contribute heavily to American Universities, mosques, pacifist groups and Muslim special interest groups.

So, who do these Wahhabis think they are? Apparently they think they have the right to influence and attempt to overthrow established governments around the world. And the world is not doing enough to prove them wrong. Posted by Mary Madigan at January 28, 2005 08:15 AM

Comments

Good question, Mary.

I think the US is afraid that the Wahabbis will take over there if they push too hard, and then it will be an all out WWIII. In the meantime, though, they are playing on our weaknesses, as in the Netherlands.

You put it well: an occupying paramilitary force.

Posted by: Patricia at January 28, 2005 08:50 AM

Now, now, now Mary, musn't say any thing to upset the Saudis, especially in America. Why their allies in the Liberal press will paint you as intolerant, or worse, as Conservative!

Posted by: mike at January 28, 2005 09:35 AM

A columnist for the Dallas Morning News provided a link to a report published by Freedom House about Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi material that can be found in mosques around the country. It's in PDF form and it can be found here.

Posted by: Shawn at January 28, 2005 09:48 AM

"In most cultures, beheading, amputation as punishment, spreading genocidal hatred and desecrating graveyards are beyond the pale."

“According to the IHT, "several legislators have called for the mosque to be shut down, but under the Dutch constitution it is difficult to do."”

Is that because of free-speech laws or because of protections accorded to “religion”? Because it should be self-evident that this is not religion and it does not deserve to be granted the protections accorded to religions in civilized societies. The sooner we come to some common agreement on that, the sooner we'll do what needs to be done - close down those mosques. The emperor quite obviously has no clothes, yet no one will just come right out and say it.

I am curious about something. If I make the claim that God (a female!) has spoken to me and told me that women have the right to castrate all males whenever they have the opportunity and other assorted claims (let’s assume that most of these claims are anti-male) and I write it all up in a book and get a bunch of followers, do I now have a “religion”? Am I due special protections? I am not a lawyer so I am really quite unfamiliar with what legally constitutes a “religion”.

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 09:52 AM

Great piece. It speaks to a lot of what we're seeing. I think it's wrong to refer to the large Arab migrations to Western Europe as 'immigration'.

What do you call the phenomenon, where a group of people move into an area, refuse assimilation, remain loyal to a foreign power, and seek to force their way of life on the existing populace?

Immigration isn't the right term. I think a better one, for what we're seeing in Europe is 'colonization'.

Posted by: Mark at January 28, 2005 09:59 AM

Why don't you write a letter to the prez, Mary?

Maybe he could put in a good word at his next tete a tete with Bandar Bush. Or his daddy could ask James Baker to have a word with his client, Prince Sultan, whom he is defending against those pesky 9/11 victims.

Stephen Schwartz is a nutcase, but to his credit, he's the only one on the right who dares to put his finger in the wound.

Posted by: novakant at January 28, 2005 10:06 AM

The Saudi's should familiarize themselves with an American phrase:

"What goes around, comes around"

It's ironic to think that they Saudi's believe the worst they have to fear from us is our military. Therefore by buying off presidents and senators they can protect themselves from American wrath while perpetuating the social disease of Wahabism.

Unfortunately they don't realize that there is a true and present disconnect between the American Gov't and the American people. Should they push too hard or too far, they will incur the wrath of a beast unlike they have ever seen or imagined.

Posted by: Mike at January 28, 2005 10:17 AM

If I make the claim that God (a female!) has spoken to me and told me that women have the right to castrate all males whenever they have the opportunity--Caroline

Please remind me not to get on your bad side,during the culture wars here--- :-)

Posted by: dougf at January 28, 2005 10:27 AM

Shawn - thanks for the link to the Freedom House Report. It's more damning of the Saudi government than anything Schwartz has ever written. The comparison between Saudi Arabia now and Germany pre-WWII is pretty clear.

The Sauds like to talk about how they've modified textbooks for Saudi children to take out the extremism and the hate. But the textbooks in American Islamic schools are still full of it.

No suprise that Freedom House was created by one of those old-style liberals, Eleanor Roosevelt. Boy, I really miss them. I guess they'd call Eleanor a neo-con now.

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2005 10:36 AM

The Saudi Oil money funded Wahhabis are a BIG part of the terrorist enemy.

Before Bush is out of office, there is likely to be some movement on the reform of Saudi Arabia. The fact that some cities have had elections is an extremely important point.

Corrupting materialism is the most likely "peaceful" way to combat the Wahhabi extremism. But crazed terrorists will continue to kill, until more of the world takes their words seriously.

Why doesn't the CIA have an open-source Arabic - English automtic translation service available?
(Kerry's critique of Bush on lack of translators was a strong point, but perhaps more damning against Clinton? Bush has failed, there, so far.)

Let the words from the death squads be understood more widely.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at January 28, 2005 10:42 AM

Oh Mary, great great post -- better than most of Michael's!

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at January 28, 2005 10:42 AM

Which prez should I write to, novakant - Bill Clinton, who accepted a donation of 5 million dollars from the Saudis for his library? Jimmy Carter, who has received even more millions for his 'peace' efforts in Africa?

As Mike said, there is a disconnect between the Government (Dems and Republicans) and the people. Since 2002, more the 70% of Americans believe that Saudis are not our allies.

Wahhabism is more of a political/legal system than than a religion, and it should be classified that way.

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2005 10:44 AM

Dougf: "Please remind me not to get on your bad side,during the culture wars here--- :-)"

I should have clarified - she said castrate all MUSLIM males but she (God) also said that all household chores are to be done exclusively by men! Hey, this prophet stuff is fun! :-)

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 10:44 AM

"Wahhabism is more of a political/legal system than than a religion, and it should be classified that way."

I agree but it raises the sticky issue of whether there is actually something called "moderate Islam" that is distinct from radical Islam (i.e. a religion as opposed to a political ideology). Because if not, we have major problem. Lawrence Auster has an excellent article addressing this issue in frontpagemag today.

I'll try my first bona fide link:

Islam

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 11:05 AM

Yes!! My first link! Thank you DPU! (gonna have to smoke a cigarette after that!)

But - the problem with the links at this site is that it doesn't produce a full screen. You can't expand the borders for some reason.

its probably easier to read with a copy and paste:

http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=16798

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 11:08 AM

Why doesn't the CIA have an open-source Arabic - English automtic translation service available?

I asked the woman who is working on the Arabic translation for Spirit of America about automatic translators - she said the construction of sentences, phrases and vowels in Arabic makes it almost impossible to translate into English. It's not doable, software-wise.

I've just started learning Arabic, and the vowels would be a problem. They omit them half the time.

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2005 11:24 AM

Mary,

I am extremely interested in learning Arabic myself, but I would have to do it by myself on my own time. Where would be a good place for me to start?

Posted by: Mike at January 28, 2005 11:46 AM

Caroline - thanks for the link (and thanks to DPU for posting HTML hints).

The Muslim world is comparable to Europe, pre-WWII. During the 30's, most of Europe was leaning towards totalitarianism – some were leaning towards fascism, some towards communism.

If we declared a war on all European totalitarianism, it would have been an overwhelming war to fight. Instead, we chose to attack the nations and the armies where the power was centered. Germany (and Italy) was our target, but they weren’t the only Europeans who supported fascism. We didn’t target the philosophy, though, we just attacked the power structure, and that strategy worked.

Defeating Wahhabism would be a matter of identifying the political power structure and dismantling it. That’s within our abilities. An attack against Islam in general would be as unmanageable as a war against all non-democratic Euros.

Like the Europeans, Muslims weren’t always anti-democracy. Extremism has become a problem since the late 90’s. Strangely enough, most Muslims hate the Wahhabis with a passion (kind of like 30’s Europe’s attitudes towards the Germans) The only friends the Saudis have are the ones they buy, but they can buy a lot.

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2005 11:48 AM

Mike - Our class book is called Alif Baa, and it's a good introduction to the hardest part of Arabic, the alphabet.

Kids books, like My first 100 words in Arabic are also helpful for learning street signs and shop names. The Pimsleur series is good, but they don't write things out, it's all just listening. Still, it's something you can listen to in your car.

I'm reading at toddler level now :-)

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2005 11:56 AM

That's the way it has to be. I appreciate you pointing me in the right direction. I've inquired at our local university for adult night classes but got a less than helpful response.

Posted by: Mike at January 28, 2005 12:02 PM

Caroline,

While I appreciate your humor, I think you are approaching it the wrong way. First, who can say that Islam is not a bonafide religion? The worse one can say in terms of questioning its validity is that it is heretical Christianity. (The Muslims would disagree of course.) But that is not the point. The constitution and common decency both reject the notion of thought crimes. Can we really legislate what people believe? We cannot really control beliefs. Christianity began and grew under persecution. First, and most effective, was the Jewish persecution. (They think that Christianity is heretical Judaism.)

Indeed, a large part of the offensiveness of Islam is the notion of theocracy.

We should not try to focus on what is a bonafide religion. After all, who gets to decide what a bonafide religion is? Instead, we should focus on behavior. You believe castration is the will of God? Fine, I will not try to argue or prohibit your beliefs. Nonetheless, if you attempt to do such a thing, you should be punished.

I like the old story about Sutee. The British discovered that the Indian has this tradition of burning widows alive. They immediately declared it illegal. The Indians loudly protested that this was part of their religion and culture. The British said, "Fine. But you have to understand, old chap, that our tradition is to hang people who burn wives alive."

Posted by: JBP at January 28, 2005 12:06 PM

JBP: "The British said, "Fine. But you have to understand, old chap, that our tradition is to hang people who burn wives alive.""

I guess the advantage of defining Wahabbism as a political ideology vs a religion, is that you can ban a political ideology, can't you? (correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the Nazi party banned in the US)? But assuming we must recognize it as a religion (which we really have no choice to do b/c it comes straight out of the Koran (which was channelled by a psychopathic madman - but let's set that aside too). Is there any legal precedent (using your example) for shutting down gathering places that openly discuss overthrowing our own government (eventually), murdering people and so on? E.g. you're not alowed to talk openly of plans to murder the US president, to my knowledge. I'm not talking about "hate speech" (such as anti-semitic statements). I guess I'm asking, is there any legal basis whatsoever to shut down Wahabbi funded mosques in this country that spew this murderous bile? Or any legal basis to prevent the building of new ones? Or must we put up with this insane situation?

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 12:27 PM

The name of the Mosque, Al Tawheed mosque, is a dead givaway that it is a wahabi mosque. Tawheed is the 'oneness' of G-d, no trinity, no idols (this includes the Shi'ite's saint Hussein).
A great primer on wahabism and its bloody history on the Arabian peninsula is Dore Gold's Hatred's Kingdom, which is obstensibly about the KSA, but is really about the wahabs. Their vision of the world and of Islam, is dangerous, fanatical and deadly.
Reading the book also provides a great way to 'decode' why the terrorist say certain things and how they say them in their media releases.

Posted by: Scott at January 28, 2005 12:29 PM

Apparently they think they have the right to influence and attempt to overthrow established governments around the world. - mary

Some Saudi clerks think they have the right to direct terror to derail democracies before they are even established.

Caroline - On many sites includin MJT's, if you click on the "permalink" instead of "comments button on the main page, your link will open in a full page.

Posted by: d-rod at January 28, 2005 12:46 PM

Link in last comment.

Posted by: d-rod at January 28, 2005 12:49 PM

"So, who do these Wahhabis think they are? Apparently they think they have the right to influence and attempt to overthrow established governments around the world."

The United States has, very recently, acted to overthrow established governments around the world and has tried to influence many more. It does this because, rightly or wrongly, it feels that it is in a priveledged position to do so.

Likewise, the Saudis, rightly or wrongly, believe they are in a priveleged position. An American might say "The US government was justified in overthrowing Saddam, because he was a threat to our interests. We also wish to bring democracy, a very good thing, to the Iraqi people." A Saudi might say "the Saudi government is justified in trying to influence another government because it is a threat to our interests. We also with to bring Wahhabism, a very good thing, to the rest of the world."

The question of whether someone has the "right" to do something is irrelevant. The real questions that matter are: do they have the power to act on this? What are the consequences if they do? If we don't like those consequences, how do we stop them?

And Caroline, the Nazi Party is not banned in this country. Nor would it be particularly desireable to attempt to do so. If you find the Nazi Party's ideology to be repugnant, and use state power to ban the party, what happens if the Nazis find your beliefs and way of life to be repugnant, and use state power to ban them?

In this country, people can think anything they want, and say anything they want (with exceedingly few exceptions). They cannot, however, do anything they want. There are laws against most of the things extremists (of any stripe) would want to do. Wouldn't it be best to rely on existing laws against this behavior, and deny the state the power to ban both the Nazi Party and what you believe?

Posted by: Blogtheist at January 28, 2005 01:02 PM

Caroline,

(correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the Nazi party banned in the US)?

Nope. We deal with the .0000001 percent of the population who is NAZI by making fun of them or otherwise applying social pressure. Sometimes social pressure is more effective than legal pressure. "Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand."-- Mark Twain. In fact, a couple of years ago, I remember reading about a KKK group that hired a black woman as their national secretary. There were so few of them that none of them had actually seen her!

But assuming we must recognize it as a religion (which we really have no choice to do b/c it comes straight out of the Koran (which was channelled by a psychopathic madman - but let's set that aside too). Is there any legal precedent (using your example) for shutting down gathering places that openly discuss overthrowing our own government (eventually), murdering people and so on? ...

American Law makes a distinction between two types of statements. You may say, I hope people revolt and kill millions of Americans all day long on the capital steps. You may say, "I think NAZIs ought to kill all the Jews." You may say, "We ought to revolt and impose an Islamic theocracy in the US." You may say, "I like to kill police. I want to kill police." On the other hand, it is illegal to say, "I will pay you $1,000 to kill Fred." It is illegal to say, "Will you help me kill the president!" It is illegal to shout "FIRE!" in a crowded theater. The legal phrases are merely expression. The illegal phrases are both expression and an attempt to cause something to happen. In other words, we are still punishing, not opinions or beliefs, but actions.

is there any legal basis whatsoever to shut down Wahabbi funded mosques in this country that spew this murderous bile?

It depends upon whether the Wahabbi mosques speech rises to the level of an actual conspiracy or incitement to violence -- whether the speech contains not merely opinions and beliefs, but actions.

As an aside, we are able to control NAZI's, the KKK, etc. through social pressure. The problem with trying to control mosques with social pressure is that too many people will say that we are being prejudicial. In other words, too many people try to control the people who criticize such behavior with social pressure.

Posted by: JBP at January 28, 2005 01:21 PM

Caroline,

Neither the American Nazi Party nor the Communist Party of the USA is banned in the US. There is no prohibition against the propagation of the Wahabbi sect's murderous theology whatsoever nor should there be. There are prohibitions against incitement to violence that may apply to statements made by Wahabbi imams directing specific acts but it is a very difficult area of the law.

I sometimes wonder if the whole of this conflict does not boil down to the inalienable right to liberty confronting the undeniable duty to submit. It's too bad that we can't dig Hegel up and ask for a miracle of synthesis. Or at least ask him to admit that he propounded an idiocy.

Posted by: at January 28, 2005 01:26 PM

d-rod - well how about that! Thanks!

Blogtheist: "what happens if the Nazis find your beliefs and way of life to be repugnant, and use state power to ban them?"

Well thats exactly what is going to happen in Europe and possibly here as well in the long run if the Islamists carry out their stated goal of conquering us demographically. The tolerance thing appears to be a one-way street. Bit of a conundrum isn't it?

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 01:27 PM

Blogtheist,

It does this because, rightly or wrongly, it feels that it is in a priveledged position to do so.

Nonsense.

The U.S. did this because it was in a cold war with rotten dictatorships. You may disagree with the policy, but the people who tried to overthrow these governments -- most of whom were Democrats -- were trying to protect the American people and liberate oppressed people.

It is O.K. to disagree with the policy, but it is not right to simply assume the worst of people who disagree.

Posted by: JBP at January 28, 2005 01:29 PM

JBP - thanks for that clarification re the language issue. What about "It is your duty to join the jihad." Is that an attempt to cause something to happen? -like "Will you help me kill...." (i.e. - its not "I hope you join", I "like" the jihad, and so on).

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 01:38 PM

Mary, A terrific post. The tentacles of Wahhabism seem to be driving out the good muslims much as bad money drives out the good. It's our central dilemma in dealing with Wahhabism that, given our democratic traditions, we can't ban it as a political/legal system or as a religion. It's up to individual people and bloggers to speak up and to shun it -to put it and its practioners "beyond the pale" (thanks for the link). How interesting this week when we've looked again at the Holocaust on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, that we wonder at the complicity of the German people, that the vast bulk of the population did not take a stand against the organized murder of millions. Yet, today, people are afraid to stand up against Wahhabism because they might be called 'intolerant' or 'prejudiced' or 'politically incorrect' And others are afraid to support the Iraqi elections because they hate George Bush. Too many of those who want to speak truth to power can't speak truth to themselves.

Posted by: Jill Fallon at January 28, 2005 01:52 PM

Bit late to the show, but I wanted to add:

Excellent post, Mary.

It's specifically Wahhabis, more than any other islamic group, that's the problem. And the Wahhabis control SA.

novakant, much as we may otherwise disagree politically you're right to criticize W for his Saudi-philia.

Problem is, Mikie Moore took that criticism off the table with F9/11 by making it the province of leftist cranks. He missed and fudged so much good, legitimate information, and obliterated necessary details, that even solid conservatives can't bring up the inappropriateness of Saudi ties.

Thanks Moore!

Posted by: hobgoblin at January 28, 2005 01:59 PM

Caroline,

What about "It is your duty to join the jihad."

That is a hard one. Since I don't personally prosecute or defend such cases, I don't have a strong intuition as to how a jury or judge would tend to view that. On the whole, I think it would depend upon the context. For example, if he had just said, "you must do your duty!" Or if the other had just promised to do his duty, then that would make the statement seem to be more of an action.

Posted by: JBP at January 28, 2005 02:24 PM

JBP,

Perhaps you misunderstood. I was not trying to say "the US is wrong." I was trying to point out that the reason the Saudis feel they have the "right" to try and influence Holland's government is essentially the same reason that the US feels they have the "right" to influence or overthrow governments around the world: they feel that by doing so, they are protecting their interests and benefiting people.

You illustrate my point well. Yes, the Americans doing this believe that by bringing democracy to the people of Iraq, they are benefiting the people of Iraq. Likewise, no matter how illogical or alien it seems to us, the Saudis believe that by bringing Wahhabism to the rest of the world, they are in fact helping the rest of the world. Regardless of whether or not they are, they believe they are do-gooders, and from this comes the attitude they have the right to influence the governments of others.

A million and one other people have already said something along the lines of "democracy good, tyranny bad," including myself at various times, and by avoiding rehashing what is by now essentially a trusim among most good people, I was not condoning tyrrany or attacking democracy. I was trying to be concise. Look at the good that did me.

Posted by: Blogtheist at January 28, 2005 02:56 PM

What we may see more and more of is the "soft" component of the war -- which will involve fighting political correctness and Islamists who take advantage of it. Witness how in England billboards which feature women in revealing costumes have been covered with paint or taken down if they are anywhere in the vicinity of a mosque. Then there are the new "hate-speech" laws, which essentially propose that no one can make fun of Islam.

We've already seen in America at least one case where a woman went to court to allow herself to be veiled on her driver's license. And in a suburb of Detroit a mosque is now allowed to broadcast through loudspeakers the five times per day call to prayer.

So-called "voluntary" sharia courts have been established in some parts of Canada (though I think some feminists finally protested this).

In France, some neighborhood stores no longer sell alcohol or ham.

All of this kind of thing is going to be tough to combat. Anyone who protests will be called racist.

Posted by: miklos rosza at January 28, 2005 04:15 PM

"I agree but it raises the sticky issue of whether there is actually something called "moderate Islam" that is distinct from radical Islam (i.e. a religion as opposed to a political ideology). Because if not, we have major problem. Lawrence Auster has an excellent article addressing this issue in frontpagemag today." - Islam

Ahh the typical childish conservative view of islam. "They're all a bunch of islamofascists" right totten? Reminds of me of quotes from daniel pipes - "Islam is a barbaric religion that is opposed to democracy." You think the insurgents are a bunch of islamofascists, just like people said we were fighting communism in Vietnam. We're not. We're fighting a bunch of nationalists who see us as foreign invaders. Most insurgents don't want the fundamentalists to assume power they just want the U.S. out. Reminds me of the Iranian revolution - most people did not want the fundamentalists to assume power but their hatred for the Shah, who they saw as a puppet controlled by the U.S., was much stronger. In Iraq and Iran both, peoples' hatred of foreign domination is stronger than their dislike of the fundamentalists.

Posted by: mike at January 28, 2005 04:20 PM

And how do you know what "most insurgents" want, Mike? Are you fighting with them? In contact? Trading faxes and email? The people who murder civilians, assassinate poll workers, detonate polling places, and generally do everything in their power to incite terror and strangle democracy -- they are motivated by nationalist pride? You are a fool, Mike; I'm sorry to say, I don't like calling people fools. You're like one of those second string actors in a horror movie who can't see the monster until it frigging snaps his head off.

Posted by: Deuce at January 28, 2005 04:48 PM

Mike: “Ahh the typical childish conservative view of islam”

Can’t tell if you’re kidding Mike but no joke – a very legitimate question. Did you even read the Auster article? Re Iraq – of course we’re fighting Saddam loyalists but we’re also fighting Islamists from all over the world – including e.g. France – whose interests have nothing to do with Iraqi nationalism.

Miklos: “…which will involve fighting political correctness and Islamists who take advantage of it.”

Absolutely. Political correctness could potentially be the downfall of the West. Looks like the Europeans are already succumbing. Well welcome to America! Thank God for the red-staters is all I can say! Anyone who doesn’t understand that resisting PC is a major front in the war (recall that Bush said this war will be fought on many fronts) – has not been paying attention.

Blogtheist: “Likewise, no matter how illogical or alien it seems to us, the Saudis believe that by bringing Wahhabism to the rest of the world, they are in fact helping the rest of the world.”

Blogtheist - Please explain to me why you are so willing to suspend reason. When you say “no matter how illogical…” does that mean that logic means nothing to you? Are you an educated person or not?

Hobgoblin: “even solid conservatives can't bring up the inappropriateness of Saudi ties.”

Oh yes they can – liberals too! Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater!

Jill: “Yet, today, people are afraid to stand up against Wahhabism because they might be called 'intolerant' or 'prejudiced' or 'politically incorrect'”

Don’t succumb. We have to be willing to be called P-IC. How hard is that? Compared to people getting killed? I insult the prophet at my leisure (of course I am grateful that Michael has permitted anonymous posting).

JBP: “That is a hard one”.

I very much appreciate the expertise you have shed so far. If that is “a hard one” maybe there’s some hope!

Mary – Did I say, “Great post”?

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 04:50 PM

Reminds of me of quotes from daniel pipes - "Islam is a barbaric religion that is opposed to democracy."

(lowercase) mike - could you please find the link to that so-called quote from Daniel Pipes? Because I've never heard him say any such thing.

Zarqawi said that "Democracy is also based on the right to choose your religion," he said, and that is "against the rule of God."

Speaking of the Iranian revolution, Iranian leftists were very helpful in helping Khomeini rise to power. These leftists downplayed Khomeini's extremism, they cheered him on, and when he took all their rights away from them and destroyed their lives, they were so shocked!

It was one of the most profound examples of Leftist stupidity the world has ever seen, and believe me, that's saying a lot.

The only stupidity that tops it is that the Left does the same thing over and over, downplaying the crimes of totalitarian loons. From Walter Duranty to Noam Chomsky, they just keep making the same mistake, over and over again.

Can you explain why?

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2005 04:58 PM

Mary: "Defeating Wahhabism would be a matter of identifying the political power structure and dismantling it. That’s within our abilities."

Mary - a very intriguing statement. What did you have in mind?

...inquiring minds want to know :-)

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 04:59 PM

"Reminds of me of quotes from daniel pipes -"Islam is a barbaric religion that is opposed to democracy.""

Earlier - when I linked to the Lawrence Auster article (there were several parts) I should have also linked to Daniel Pipes response. He is much more optimistic about Islam but the entire debate is well worth reading:

Daniel Pipes responds

(Don't forget d-rod's invaluable advice to read links under "permalink" instead of "comments"!

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 05:06 PM

Here is a must-read article for those who believe that our republic cannot withstand any extreme measures (such as outlawing Wahabbi mosques) lest we sacrifice everything we stand for:

"Yet Lincoln was enough of a real world statesman to realize that an ill-defended democracy will be a short-lived democracy. He understood that, in times of crisis, autocracy is sometimes needed to preserve autonomy."

what Lincoln did

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 05:21 PM

I believe that the first step in reacting to the next domestic mass casualty attack we suffer will be the presentation of a conspiracy case against the Saudi/Wahhabist - funded network of mosques and madrassas that exist here now. I'm reasonably certain there is already an ample body of evidence existing to do just that.

The object of the Bush Doctrine is to seperate Islam itself from the targets list. How many adherents are "moderate"? How many are Wahabbist?

In a nation ruled by law, the actions of men are judged. Apostasy is not a crime prosecutable by a government of laws; that is the baliwick of a theocracy. That's why we have nazis in Skokie or communists in Berkely. Or in our congress. A thought cannot be chained (don't ask me my opinion of the crusade to codify hate crimes) but actions... actions are another matter entirely.

Wahhabism rejects outright secular political power seperate from theocracy; sharia is both a means and an end whereby clerics dictate.

I'd say that's incompatible with the concept of a republic. But in the world of "what can be done/politics of the possible" it's going to take a pretty deadbang case to strip the enemy's support network of the mantle of neutrality westerners have accorded religious edifices and personnel for centuries (finally formalized with the first Hague convention).

Yes, yes - if you go back to the crusades where it was Islam against Christendom, there were no reservations. I'd like to point out that here and now there's only one side making a conscious effort to desecrate or destroy cemetaries, shrines, or statues. Right? Somalia, Kosovo, the Buddhas in Afghanistan?

It is not the policy of the United States that the opponent is the religion of Islam. Even in spite of the best efforts on the part of the men who are rationalizing their actions as the product of religous edict.

Oh, and Mary - they don't have the slightest clue who we are. None.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 28, 2005 05:21 PM

Did I say Great Post?

Caroline - thanks.

I did write up an idea for dismantling the power structure (thanks for asking) - but the most important thing is to just to recognize what we're fighting. We're willing to acknowledge that Iran and Syria are a problem, but the government and the press ignores the largest terror supporter, Saudi Arabia. We can't fight a war that way.

[Just to note - aside from Jill's helpful input, nearly all of the quotes in this post are from Muslims. Stephen Schwartz, Hirsi Ali and Bashir Goth are (or were) all Muslims.

So if any non-Muslims like lowercase mike or "blogtheist" disagrees with what these Muslims are saying, and if they want to tell these Muslims that they don't know what they're talking about, they should probably learn a little about Islam before writing to them. Read up on Qutub, the hudud, things like that. Because if they don't, they will look appropriately silly.]

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2005 05:23 PM

Clarification:

Mrs. Tmj just read my last and said "So we have nazis in Congress?"

No - but I wrote imprecisely enough where that might be understood as the case.

We could have nazis - if they could win an election. "There is no law", etc. Again, deeds, not words. As far as the communists go, here's a link detailing the platform and composition of the Progressive Caucus.

Read it all. Communists, usefull fools, and the fallow ground in between. YMMV.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 28, 2005 05:31 PM

As an aside, we are able to control NAZI's, the KKK, etc. through social pressure.

We are able to control Nazis (and other white supremacist organziations) and the KKK mainly through throwing their leadership in jail when they commit felonies and using RICO statutes to go after their organizations as well. You demean those murdered by the organization when you pretend that the organizations were powerless and easily controlled in order to support a point.

Posted by: Kimmitt at January 28, 2005 05:35 PM

Mary - I read your link re the Saudi's - what can I say but - You Go Girl! You are simply being completely honest re who our real enemies are. Whatever the truth turns out to be re "extremist" Islam vs "moderate" Islam - will we ever really know unless we start first with our most obvious enemy? The Saudis? Of course the western intelligensia wants to put Israel first as the "root cause" - I despise that "final solution" thinking. And it is obvious to any thinking person that they are putting the cart before the horse. You are aiming at the horse! In other words - let's propose to shoot the horse first and then see how much momentum the cart actually has to cause destruction once the forward momentum - the gravitational forces of the horse as it were - is no longer in play.

Keep blogging is all I can say!

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 05:52 PM

Oh, they're just regular Dutch citizens like everybody else. Don't be so racist.

Posted by: Carlos at January 28, 2005 05:53 PM

So Mary - a pertinent question - how much does the western world depend on Saudi oil supplies? In the extreme case, if we simply acknowledged the obvious fact that they were enemy numero uno -what would be the global economic implications of acting on that fact?

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 06:06 PM

Tom Grey: "Corrupting materialism is the most likely "peaceful" way to combat the Wahhabi extremism"

Lberty Dad - Could you clarify what you mean by that? "Corrupting materialism"?

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 06:20 PM

JBP:"I like the old story about Sutee. The British discovered that the Indian has this tradition of burning widows alive. They immediately declared it illegal. The Indians loudly protested that this was part of their religion and culture. The British said, "Fine. But you have to understand, old chap, that our tradition is to hang people who burn wives alive."

Well, unless, of course, the woman in question was accused of being a "witch". Witch burning probably killed many more women in Europe than sati did in India. In addition, you are wrong about Indians' only response being loud protests. The Indians were also among those who actively campaigned for years for a sati ban before it became law. FYI, the first British victory that led to large scale political control was in 1757, and the sati ban was not passed until 1829 - hardly immediate.

It might be instructive for you to know how and why Sati happened. Sati was extremely rare in the pre-Islamic era and was entirely voluntary. The advent of jihad saw the jihadis carting off Hindu women to sexual slavery in Middle East. Today's Gypsies in Europe who number in the millions, are the descendants of these Indian sex slaves and Arab/Islamic men. As reports of the atrocities came back, the fight against the jihadis would consist of the men going out to fight them to the death, and if they were defeated, the women would commit ritual suicide, rather than be kidnapped into sexual slavery in far off lands. Somehow this voluntary thing over the centuries became an involuntary thing. When Islamic power waned, so did the kidnappings and thus the need for sati went away. That is why Indians wanted to do away with Sati as well. Involuntary sati was a terrible thing and it is good that it is gone.

I am generally sympathetic to anti-Jihadis and actually supported Bush. But if you are going to channel the 700 Club, you may find the support of Indians, both in India and the US, slipping. If you are going to spout off about India, at least have the grace to tell the full truth.

Posted by: JM at January 28, 2005 06:33 PM

The United States actually has quite a bit of case law regarding the restriction of religion when religious belief goes against the Constitution.

The U.S. Federal government outlawed the Mormon practice of polygamy. That law was challenged in the 1879 case Reynolds v. United States. The Federal anti-polygamy law was upheld. The logic of the decision was that the practice of a religious belief could not be held superior to the law of the land, because such a situation would lead to each person being de facto a law unto themselves. To bel clear, law cannot regulate religious belief, but it can regulate religious practice.

In addition to the Federal anti-polygamy laws Idaho passed the "Idaho Test Oath" which required citizens to swear they did support an organization that supported plural marriages. In Davis vs. Beason the Supreme Court upheld those loyalty oaths.

Off to the side, but perhaps of some interest regartding saudi money, the Edmund-Tucker Act divested the Mormon Church of for profit businessses it ran. That law likewise was upheld by the Supreme Court.

In addition to the Mormon cChurch in the 19th century, I believe there is case law involving Rastafarians and the Santeria type religions.

As a caveat, I'm not a lawyer. IKt might be interesting if some lawyers were to take a look at this case law and see if any of it might be applicable today. It may be that the State, rather then the Federal level, would be the place to start.

Posted by: ambisinistral at January 28, 2005 06:46 PM

Wahhabism rejects outright secular political power seperate from theocracy; sharia is both a means and an end whereby clerics dictate.

I'd say that's incompatible with the concept of a republic.

That's true - Wahhabism is a threat because of their laws. In most countries, murder, discrimination, slavery and genocide are against the law. Under Wahhabi laws, they're legal and often required.

9/11 was committed in accordance with those laws.
The establishment and continuation of the Islamic Caliphate (by force, if necessary) is a communal obligation

Offensive, military jihad against non-Muslims is a communal, religious obligation) That should be a strong case to strip the mantle of neutrality.

According to the Freedom House report that Shawn linked to, Saudi-funded madrassas are teaching kids these unconstitutional laws. That should teach the government that there’s a difference between Islam and political Islam. It should.

Other Wahhabi laws are:

A woman is only eligible to receive half the inheritance of a man;

A non-Arab man may not marry an Arab woman;

A woman must seek permission from her husband to leave the house;

A Muslim man cannot marry a woman who is a Zoroastrian, an idol worshipper, an apostate from Islam or a woman with one parent who is Jewish or Christian, with the other being Zoroastrian; a Muslim woman cannot marry anyone but a Muslim;

A free Muslim man may marry up to four women;

Non-Muslim subjects (Ahl al-Dhimma) of a Muslim state are subject to a series of discriminatory laws – “dhimmitude”;

The penalty for fornication or sodomy is being stoned to death;

The penalty for an initial theft is amputation of the right hand. Subsequent thefts are penalized by further amputations of feet and hand;

A non-Muslim cannot testify against a Muslim in court; a person who is “without respectability” cannot give legal testimony; a woman’s legal testimony is only given half the legal weight of a man’s (and is only acceptable in cases involving property); to legally prove fornication or sodomy requires 4 male witnesses who actually saw the act;

Sodomites and Lesbians must be killed;

Laughing too much is forbidden;

Slavery is permitted;

Beating a rebellious wife is permissible; and,

Lying is permissible in a time of war (or jihad).

All of these laws are unconstitutional.
I don’t think that even the Nazis wrote laws like these. They may have done similar things, but I don’t think they legalized and required them.

Since Wahhabi laws are clearly unconstitutional, and since it’s obviously a political organization, I’m not sure why people who preach that Americans should follow those laws aren’t prosecuted or deported.

Posted by: mary at January 28, 2005 07:04 PM

Ambisintral and Mary: I love you guys. I hope the lawyers pile on. See you in the morning...

Posted by: Caroline at January 28, 2005 07:11 PM

Ambi -

No argument that there's not a history of conflict and resolution - but it still came down to actual practices and acts.

The hold on actively and aggressively prosecuting the wahabbis among us is a strategic decision - just like leaving Our (superbly/bipartisanly connected) Friends The Saudis off the axis roster. Calculated risk; do we benefit more by observing and coopting, or confronting?

Trooping them out under guard without sterling proof of conspiracy would be translated as persecution onto the next morning's CNN lead story. We move on the madrassas, we are basically defining the Sauds as axis. It's not that time now. It may never come to it, either. No bets from here, though.

Posted by: TmjUtah at January 28, 2005 09:49 PM

I suppose I must be a bad writer, because people seem easily confused by what I have written.

Caroline, I really don't know what to make of your comment. The point of what I wrote wasn't that Wahhabism is illogical from our perspective (in fact, I have a feeling that plenty of Americans find Wahhabism and related ideologies to be totally familiar).

The point was that from the Wahhabist's perspective, what he is doing is right and good and just and moral. By spreading Wahhabism, he feels that he is doing a good thing that benefits the rest of humanity. It is likely the same urge that motivates many Americans to support the war in Iraq, in the hopes of bringing democracy to Iraqis. We believe Wahhabism is bad, the Wahhabists believe democracy is bad. I explicitly avoided making value-judgements in my post because the question asked wasn't "isn't democracy great?" but rather "why do they feel they have the right?" They feel they have the right because they believe they are right. That's all.

Posted by: Blogtheist at January 28, 2005 10:39 PM

TmjUtah,

I agree that a frontal attack would be viewed as nothing but naked persecution and would never fly. However, I had something rather more oblique in mind when I wrote my last post.

For example, and this is only a quick thuopught of the top of my head, imagine a State law that said if an organization threatened a departing member with physical injury or death the assets of the organization would be frozen and subject to seizure.

In a vacuum it would be a ridiculous law to write. However, from Wahabist viewpoint it is clearly a direct legal assualt on the their doctrine that the ultimate penalty for Moslem apostacy is death.

Further, confiscation of property is not the end, rather it is the lever to force Wahabists to litigate that doctrine. Their assests either get tied up, or they have the uneviable task of arguing why the death sentence for apostacy should be a protected right under the Freedom of Religion clause of the First Ammendment.

Mind you, while they are trying to make that argument they also have to try to keep taqiyya alive and well.

As for Saudia Arabia... at the moment they're sitting on oil, we're sitting on fresh water. They can be pushed.

Posted by: ambisinistral at January 28, 2005 11:39 PM

Blogtheist,

I understood your point, and I agree you need to judge things from their perspective to understand what they may do in the future.

Posted by: ambisinistral at January 28, 2005 11:41 PM

Sodomites and Lesbians must be killed;

I don’t think that even the Nazis wrote laws like these.

Okay, seriously, you are aware that one of the populations of the Nazi death camps was homosexuals, right?

Since Wahhabi laws are clearly unconstitutional . . . I’m not sure why people who preach that Americans should follow those laws aren’t prosecuted or deported.

Because we don't prosecute or deport those who preach that Americans shouldn't be allowed to get abortions either? That's also unconstitutional, and yet we don't throw Jerry Falwell in jail.

Dang I'm glad Michael's back. He may be a one issue voter that constructs post-hoc rationalizations, but at least he's a vaguely informed and sensible human being. This is like listening to my mom's depressingly ignorant hausfrau neighbors.

State law that said if an organization threatened a departing member with physical injury or death the assets of the organization would be frozen and subject to seizure.

Good grief, you are aware of the existence of RICO statutes, aren't you?

Posted by: Kimmitt at January 29, 2005 01:53 AM

Blogtheist - "By spreading Wahhabism, he feels that he is doing a good thing that benefits the rest of humanity"

I'm not sure I really buy that. From what I've heard about the Iranian mullahs, e.g., they are really quite debauched (e.g. heroin use is common). I don't know much about the Saudi clerics but I would guess pretty much the same. These people use religion to dominate and control people. Muhammed himself did pretty much the same thing. He couldn't actually have believed that the "rest of humanity" is benefited by laws that dictate their slavery, death and mutilation, the treatment of women as chattel and so on. Its a naked power grab. What makes you think that they are operating from altruistic motives as opposed to power motives? Now to some extent I suppose its fair to say that America's interest in spreading democracy is associated with spreading capitalism and therefore self-interested. But to a much greater degree its fair to say that we genuiniely believe that democracy is beneficial to all members of society. In other words, if it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, chances are it is a rat (or however that saying goes.)That's what I mean about suspending reason.

Posted by: Caroline at January 29, 2005 02:11 AM

Kimmitt: "Because we don't prosecute or deport those who preach that Americans shouldn't be allowed to get abortions either"

And you see no difference between preaching that abortion is wrong and preaching that apostasy mandates a death sentence or that it is a Muslim's duty to convert or kill the infidels etc? Have the Christian extremists among us been preaching that it is a Christian's duty to murder abortion doctors or women who get abortions?

"at least he's a vaguely informed and sensible human being. This is like listening to my mom's depressingly ignorant hausfrau neighbors."

I generally try to avoid ad hominum attacks but you're a jerk.

Sorry, but if the shoe fits...

Posted by: Caroline at January 29, 2005 03:33 AM

Blogtheist: "(in fact, I have a feeling that plenty of Americans find Wahhabism and related ideologies to be totally familiar)."

I assume you're referring to the extreme lefties among us? (sarcasm) My mistake. Of course you must be referring to the Christian fundamentalists who believe that it is their duty to either convert or kill non-Christians, murder apostates, circumcise their females, chop off appendages as penalty for theft, lie nakedly in order to recruit people to Christianity, stone women to death for adultery, prohibit excessive laughter, and murder homosexuals. Yeah - those people.

Posted by: Caroline at January 29, 2005 04:03 AM

I'd have to say Blogtheist finding familiarity Wahhabism and related ideologies does indeed apply to the extreme Leftist movement in America, after all, the extreme Leftist would rather exterminate those who oppose them than find any place for tolerance. I recall reading an article in the Village Voice written appropriately by a theater critic calling for the extermination of anything and all things 'Republican.

Consistant blubbering of the infamous extreme Leftist Sontag belief that ALL white men are evil seems to comply with the Wahhabist ideology.

Let's not forget the extreme Leftist ACLU's quest to completely bannish anything Christian from American's religious landscape.

Oh yeah, the Leftist NOW has been for decades controlling my body with fascist political policies and now, NOW is attempting to control my money by telling me I must not support Social Security reform for I will be an infidel to all those weak females who are at most risk for not having the ablility to support themselves financially. In other words, NOW considers females too weak to make our own choices because we are victims of the evil White Man Susan Sontag so righteously preached from the pulpit.

From my 21st century feminist perspective, sounds like Wahhabism is indeed familiar to the extreme Leftist ideology.

Posted by: susan at January 29, 2005 05:49 AM

Susan: "Consistant blubbering of the infamous extreme Leftist Sontag belief that ALL white men are evil seems to comply with the Wahhabist ideology."

yeah Blogtheist - and God has been talking to me about your punishment. But hey - I feel that I'm just doing a good thing that benefits the rest of humanity. So no argument there, right? Tolerance and all that?

Posted by: Caroline at January 29, 2005 06:19 AM

Kimmitt – Okay, seriously, you are aware that one of the populations of the Nazi death camps was homosexuals, right?

I do know that the Nazi death camps were populated by homosexual, gypsies, dissenters, the mentally retarded, the mentally disabled, Catholics, Jews and many others. This fact was spelled out, very simply and eloquently, by the Pastor Marin Neimoller:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

I’m not an expert in Nazi jurisprudence, but I believe that they didn’t write the death camp rules into their established system of laws. I could be wrong.

Like Hitler with his ‘Mein Kampf’, the Wahhabis are very honest about their intent. They are, in many ways, even more honest, incorporating every aspect into their already established laws. (well, except for the slavery. Slavery was outlawed, and Saudi homeowners call their slaves maids.)

In the Sudan, they’re more honest about their adherence to puritanical Islamic law. They call a slave a slave.

I was wondering if you could answer the question lowercase mike failed to answer:

Iranian leftists were very helpful in helping Khomeini rise to power. These leftists downplayed Khomeini's extremism, they cheered him on, and when he took all their rights away from them and destroyed their lives, they were so shocked! The Left does the same thing over and over, reflexively downplaying the crimes of totalitarian loons. From Walter Duranty to Noam Chomsky, they just keep making the same mistake, over and over again. Can you explain why?

Why don’t leftists/activists learn from experience?

I’m not a lawyer, and when I discuss the issue of Wahhabis teaching children to hate, I’m trying to come up with new ideas and suggestions. Some may be workable, some may not.

Exchanging new ideas, sharing knowledge and learning from experience are what makes us adaptable, functioning beings.

Kimmitt, what do you think we should do about the fact that Wahhabists are teaching American children that they are required to hate others?

Posted by: mary at January 29, 2005 08:27 AM

The point was that from the Wahhabist's perspective, what he is doing is right and good and just and moral

From Hitler's perspective, what he was doing was right and good for the German Volk.

From Ghandi's perspective, what he was doing was right and good for India as a nation.

From Stalin's perspective, what he was doing was right and good for Russia as a nation.

From Jesus' perspective, what he was doing was right and good for humanity as a whole.

The sky is also blue.

All are true, all are value-judgement-free, but it's not clear how this increases our understanding of the situation.

Posted by: mary at January 29, 2005 08:36 AM

oops - Gandhi

Posted by: mary at January 29, 2005 08:38 AM

People doing evil rarely think of themselves as evil.

I remember reading Treblinka, by Jean-Francois Steiner and Helen Weaver. In it, a meeting is held by the camp's commandant to chastize the behavior of some of the Nazi officers. One of them, he reported, had kept a house full of young Jewish boys for his pleasure. He was a bad Nazi, because he was a pervert.

Another officer, he reported, was a sadist. He enjoyed torturing the Jews, he said, and this was wrong. There was to be no pleasure in killing them. No, he said, a good Nazi knew that killing the Jews was in the interest of both the Germans and the Jews, that it was best for all, that it was a duty to be performed and nothing else.

So yes, evil people can frequently believe that what they are doing is good and not evil. Certainly, there have been plenty of evil people who have couched their actions in the words of morality, but I have a feeling that most evil people truly believe they are doing good. Even Hitler.

The point of this, as I said, was not to assign value to either side. The point, which ambisinistral fortunately saw, was that to understand the goals and motivations of an enemy is to be able to fight the enemy better.

And while Mohammed's vision for Islam certainly was a brutal one, it was no more vile than most of the other religions and cultures of the time, and if fact was considerably more tolerant than Christianity, for example, in its treatment of women and in its tolerance for religious dissent. Bernard Lewis's The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years is an excellent, dispassionate place to start.

And when I speak of many Americans finding Wahhabism very familiar, I speak of anyone with the impulse to tell other people what to do because their behavior is found distasteful. I have a feeling that, in the course of human history, the vast majority of people have fit this bill, and that it has been a minority that truly believes in classical liberalism, that the social contract should never be used to force people to behave in certain ways. Humans can't escape their evolutionary behavior, which includes tribalism and deference to authority, among other distasteful aspects.

I love that your first impulse, on reading that I believe that many Americans (and by proxy, I'll say many humans) have totalitarian impulses, is to say "I bet you mean conservative Christians!" You said it, not me.

Christian Scientists, who let their children die rather than get them medical treatment, anyone?

Posted by: Blogtheist at January 29, 2005 09:56 AM

And you see no difference between preaching that abortion is wrong and preaching that apostasy mandates a death sentence or that it is a Muslim's duty to convert or kill the infidels etc?

Any crank can say whatever the heck he wants. It's when he (or someone in his organization) takes illegal action that the RICO statutes kick in and we're done.

We have laws which we have used to dismantle equally violent and pernicious organizations. We should go ahead and use them.

Posted by: Kimmitt at January 29, 2005 10:44 AM

Why I love Ali Sina (a Muslim apostate):

"What insanity is this that in this day and age a billion people believe in absurdities, feed their minds with lies, fill their hearts with hatred of their fellow beings, and are ready to commit atrocities and blow up this world? What insanity is this that their to-be victims, those who are the objects of the hatred of these billion zombies, do nothing to stop this madness and accept the right of these benighted souls to continue with their insanity, to promote their hatred and to plan for the destruction of the world?"

Ali Sina

Posted by: Caroline at January 29, 2005 12:52 PM

kimmet,

You quoted on a part of my post which wasn't really the central argument I was making (and I part I had stated was simply an example off the top of my head). To clarify, in the early legal cases between the Mormon Church and the government a specific point of Mormon doctrine was singled out and explicitly declared illegal. Because that point of doctrine was contrary to the US Constitution the Supreme Court upheld those laws. It was not an attack on the Mormon Church per se, only an attack on thast part of its doctrine which was deemed contrary to the US Constitution.

I am suggesting the same tactic against Wahabism. Single out those portions of Wahabist doctrine deemed contrary to the US Constitution and explicitly declare them to be illegal. In short, through the processes of our courts settle the Constitutionality of offensive portions of the shi'ra.

Of course, as your fondness for the RICO statutes indicates, other laws cover these crimes. The point of singling them out is to shine light on them. To shine light on Mosques teaching Wahabism and force a serious public debate on its doctrines.

Posted by: ambisinistral at January 29, 2005 01:12 PM

I've been waiting for women to take up the anti political correctness "soft" fight against Islamic fundamentalism. More, please. Mary you're doing a great job.

Posted by: miklos rosza at January 29, 2005 02:08 PM

Mary –

Not sure if you’ve seen it but I noticed today that LGF had a thread on the Freedom House Report posted by Shawn. I read through the entire lengthy thread and found the following comments most pertinent:

From a legal standpoint:

Athos: “This publication can be considered an act of war by the Saudi government against the US - and we should stuff it right back at them - to the point of barring Saudi immigration to this country until the Saudi government stops promoting the overthrow of this government."

Athos: “We need to revisit the Sedition Act. The Blind Sheik Rahmann was convicted under the Sedition Act, and if needed, all imans / mullahs promoting Sedition in their mosques will need to stand trial and be either imprisoned or deported depending on their citizenship.”

Beagle: “I think there is more than enough evidence to declare Wahhabi Islam a terrorist organization, organized crime syndicate, and treat it accordingly."

Someone posted this link from an article at frontpage mag:

frontpagemag

“Saudi support of jihad outside the Kingdom and against U.S. troops was recently the subject of a fatwa by 26 leading Saudi religious scholars from the most prominent universities in the Kingdom. According to the fatwa, released in November, killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq is allowed. The fatwa, which came one month before the suicide attack by a Saudi bomber on an American mess hall in Mosul that killed 14 U.S. soldiers, stated: “Fighting the occupiers is a religious duty…It is a jihad to push back the assailants…Resistance is a legitimate right." The Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C., tried to distance itself from the fatwa. However, according to Saudi law, the government is the only body that can lawfully issue such a fatwa. The unauthorized religious authorities who sanctioned the killing of U.S. troops have yet to be punished. “

There was much discussion re our oil imports from SA.

Sarah posted this helpful link re our oil imports:

oil imports

Gymnast added: “Saudi Arabia supplies us with about 12% of our oil imports and the Gulf total is about 23% of imports and imports make up about half of our oil supply”

Clio said: “In 1973. The Saudis and other Arab oil producers hit the US and the Netherlands with oil embargoes. At that time, there were very serious and knowledgable people in the US developed plans of energy independence, through development of alternative energy sources combined with a reasonable amount of conservation of energy. …But the plans and programs were never put into effect because they were sabotaged by the US oil companies and by other international corporations that did big business with the Arabs, for which the Arabs needed to go on collecting US dollars for their oil…Even today, any efforts to cut loose from the Saudis -- those Saudis to whom George Bush proclaims himself "bonded" -- will meet the same kind of resistance.”

However, there was a lot of disagreement re whether cutting our imports of their oil would make much difference anyway since others would pick up the slack or some thought it would result in major blowback to ours and other economies.

Finally, on the foreign policy front, there was this:

Kenneth: “Saudi Arabia is very tricky to deal with. Some people claim a civil war has already started between the pro-Western and pro Al-Qaeda factions within the gov't & security forces. It will only get worse as time goes on. Their oil reserves are in the one part of their country where Shias are the majority, & they will be watching their Shia brothers in Iraq with great interest this Sunday. “

Well – at least people are talking about it!
(and although that was a long post, maybe I saved you some time reading through several hundred posts at LGF!)

Posted by: Caroline at January 29, 2005 04:39 PM

Miklos – thanks. I’m not sure if the women (myself included) in this comment string are concentrating on the softer aspects of this fight, but, speaking of peaceful ways to confront Islamic extremism, Bernard Lewis (mentioned by Blogtheist) has said that the status of women is the most profound difference between Western and Islamic civilizations. He has suggested that one source of the growth of extremism was the influence of feminism in the Middle East after the first Gulf War. Political extremism rose as a way of controlling the womenfolk.

Women in a country like Saudi Arabia, who can’t drive, vote, or even leave the house without the permission of their husbands, are prisoners of political Islam, and therefore, political prisoners. The least the US can do is to offer these political prisoners refuge. If a goal of the extremists is to control the womenfolk, the least we can do is to sabotage them.

Western Feminists responded to Islamist extremism by sympathizing with the extremists. Before the Iraq war, they claimed that Saddam empowered women (in contrast with Bush, who was 'blood thirsty').

As usual, leftist special interest groups have no interest in opposing totalitarianism. As usual, they only oppose liberal democracy.

Posted by: mary at January 29, 2005 06:54 PM

People doing evil rarely think of themselves as doing evil

Anti-capitalists whose only goal is to destroy liberal democracy and functioning economies for the 'good of the poor' don't think they're evil.

When I think of totalitarianism in America, I think of 'anti-capitalist' cop kilers like Andy McCrae and anti-capitalists who cheer for other acts of terror. They don't understand Wahhabism, but they sympathize with it.

Posted by: mary at January 29, 2005 07:08 PM

Caroline - I always read LGF posts (I liked Iraqis Vote Despite Ted Kennedy, but the comment strings are usually too long to read. Thanks for finding the best of that bunch!

Ex-CIA agent Robert Baer said that there has been a low-level civil war in Saudi Arabia for a long time. According to Baer, 9/11 and worldwide terrorism is the result of their attempt to export the problem.

Cutting our imports might have some effect, but it wouldn't change worldwide consumption. There a lot of interesting alternatives to oil, but it's not clear how long it would take to implement them.

In any case, it is clear that leaving the world's oil supply, and the world's economy under the control of the Wahhabis is a dangerous situation.

Posted by: mary at January 29, 2005 07:33 PM

To shine light on Mosques teaching Wahabism and force a serious public debate on its doctrines.

I really don't think we want to reopen the question of whether or not freedom of religion is to be allowed in this country. Yes, their teachings are foul and harmful. But I feel very much the same way about Protestant fundies who try to keep their children in ignorance regarding their own sexuality or their evolutionary origins. And I'm sure they feel the same way about me. One of the things you have to suck up when you live in a pluralistic society that lets you do your own thing is that others will do the same. The only standard to which we can hold anyone is to adherence to the law. If we start policing thoughts, we deliberately throw away the freedom which so many of our ancestors have fought and died to create and preserve.

Posted by: Kimmitt at January 31, 2005 09:57 PM

Jihad Watch had a thread yesterday addressing some of the legal issues re dealing with the Saudi mosques.

Hugh Fitzjerald

"The First Amendment is not absolute. Incitement which leads to an imminent threat of violence -- the test from Brandenburg v. Ohio -- has replaced Holmes's "clear and present danger," or is, rather, its latest incarnation.

The threat of mass terrorism, which was not foreseen at the time of Brandenburg, in which an audience of Muslims, already raised on a steady diet of inculcated hatred, are simply whipped up to commit crimes against Infidels, may not in every case meet the test of "imminent." But the relation between Muslim whipping-up and attacks, whehter or not the time between the whipping-up -- which may be constant -- and the resultant act, should no longer have to be "imminent.""
(from the comments thread)

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