Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 30, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SUDAN....I've missed commenting on a lot of stories this week just out of sheer busy-busy, and one of them was the conviction of a British teacher in Sudan for allowing the kids in her class to name a teddy bear Muhammad. Here's the aftermath:

Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear "Muhammad."

..."Imprisoning this lady does not satisfy the thirst of Muslims in Sudan. But we welcome imprisonment and expulsion," the cleric, Abdul-Jalil Nazeer al-Karouri, a well-known hard-liner, told worshippers. "This an arrogant woman who came to our country, cashing her salary in dollars, teaching our children hatred of our Prophet Muhammad," he said.

....Most Britons expressed shock at the verdict by a court in Khartoum, alongside hope it would not raise tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims in Britain.

"One of the good things is the U.K. Muslims who've condemned the charge as completely out of proportion," said Paul Wishart, 37, a student in London. "In the past, people have been a bit upset when different atrocities have happened and there hasn't been much voice in the U.K. Islamic population, whereas with this, they've quickly condemned it."

There isn't much we can do about this, but it's still appalling and worth highlighting. In any case, good for the Brits.

Kevin Drum 2:36 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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Comments

I hope some entrepreneurs make Mohammed teddy bears available for Christmas, for I would like to buy one for my neice.

The bastards.

Posted by: Bob M on November 30, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Hostages taken in Cliton Boston office....

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/14737866/detail.html

Posted by: John on November 30, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think it would be nice to have a muppet named Muhammed on Sesame Street.

Posted by: David W. on November 30, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

And people ask why we need seperation of church and state!

Posted by: George Arndt on November 30, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Just make sure you don't change Inkblot's name to you know what.

At what point will this stop? This is over a teddy bear.

Posted by: optical weenie on November 30, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear "Muhammad."

Remind me again just why it is we are all so concerned with anything that happens in Africa?

Posted by: JeffII on November 30, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Now there are protesters demanding...get this...demanding that this teacher be put to death for naming a Teddy bear the most common given names in Islam.

“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.”
in a letter to John Adams (4/11/1823)
- Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: MsNThrope on November 30, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

It’s things like this that make me sour on the whole concept of religion. People just plain do strange (and often bad) things when they are convinced they have the God of the whole universe backing them up.

Posted by: fafner1 on November 30, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

I think we should treat the lovely residents of Sudan to a thermonuclear firestorm that leaves the entire country a smouldering, radioactive hunk of coal. I'm just sayin'

Posted by: The Operator on November 30, 2007 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

You guys, just because it's reported in the newspapers a certain way doesn't mean that's what actually happened.

On several occasions, such as the Qur'an desecration matter, I later learned that newsmedia coverage was entirely misleading. Newspapers universally reported that riots had occurred in various Muslim cities, leading to some variable number of deaths. By accident and Greg Palast, I learned that the "riots" were almost exclusively tiny groups of unemployed misfits chanting slogans, and the [only] "riot" was actually a demonstration in Jalalabad, Afghanistan which had almost nothing at all to do with religion--it had to do with the massacre of dissidents against the totalitarian regime of Islam Karimov in Uzbekistan. That particular demonstration was peaceful until the local warlord (a Karimov-Washington ally) attacked it.

You really need to remember that, while the media has a "conservative" slant when reporting on the USA, it is positively John Birch-ish when reporting on the world abroad.

Posted by: James R MacLean on November 30, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Gotta love that Religion of Peace.

Posted by: Brian on November 30, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

You guys, just because it's reported in the newspapers a certain way doesn't mean that's what actually happened. Posted by: James R MacLean

I don't care if it was just six people protesting. The very fact that they have such stupid laws pretty much consigns the country to the "Always less than" category of countries. Of course, that's pretty much true for most of the Muslim world, isn't it?

Posted by: JeffII on November 30, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

>"The very fact that they have such stupid laws pretty much consigns the country to the "Always less than" category of countries."

Don't get too chuffed. Remember that that the Scopes monkey trial, KKK lynchings, Jim Crow Laws, and 'Separate but Equal' are realities from our own very recent past... and are really still 'current' issues here in the good 'ol USA.

The forces of ignorance are at work everywhere in the world... and they never sleep.

Posted by: Buford on November 30, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Israelis have to sit back and laugh when they see stuff like this. Wow!

I take your point about the slanted media, James, but I am so sick of hearing about the prophet blah blah blah. I had an older Muslim in a course, and the things he said, especially in private, are worse. I just let him go to see what was inside.

I'm willing to accept heated remarks about political enemies, but to attack doctors and nurses in Libya and this teacher in Sudan, all for politics. Yuck. I am so proud I am a free man, and not a scumbag like these lowlifes.

Posted by: Bob M on November 30, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

If it's any comfort, the NY Times' report seems to confirm James MacLean's statement that Moslems are not QUITE as loony as this.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/01/world/africa/01sudan.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin :

"Despite the display of outrage, witnesses said that many of the protesters were government employees who had been ordered to demonstrate, and that aside from a large gathering outside the presidential palace, most of Khartoum was quiet. Imams across the city did bring up the controversial case in sermons after Friday Prayers. But few called for violence.

" 'This woman gave an idol the name of Muhammad, which is not acceptable,' said Ahmed Muhammad, the imam at a mosque in Khartoum 2, an upscale section of town. But, he added, the proper response was more nuanced: 'We have to first respect ourselves and then others will respect us.' "...

"It seems that Ms. Gibbons and the teddy bear got sucked into the larger struggle between the Sudanese government, which routinely accuses its Western critics of being anti-Islamic, and European and American officials pressing for an end to the crisis in Darfur.

"Earlier this month, Sudanese officials said that peacekeepers from Scandinavia could not serve in Darfur, the troubled region of western Sudan, because of what happened two years ago, when several Scandinavian newspapers published controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

"United Nations officials have said that the Sudanese government was simply looking for ways to block or delay the deployment of an expanded peacekeeping force to Darfur. This week, United Nations officials said that unless the Sudanese government starts cooperating, the expanded mission may not be possible."

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on November 30, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Just some observations:

1: Thousands dancing in the streets with swords over their heads, chanting something or another, and preprinted banners saying something or another.

2: Since I don't know arabic, and I don't know sudanese for all I know they could've been demanding the return to Classic Coke and the removal vanilla coke from the store shelves.

3: The poor lady looks more like the sort to be seving tea on Sunday that leading a religious revolt against a dead guy who kept contradicting what he wrote with his actions.

4: Remember, these are the same rabid mullahs who sanctioned the death, rape, and dismemberment in Darfur...really, they're a misunderstood group of socio-psychopaths with delusions of political power and divine sanction.

and lastly,

5: People like this aren't a threat to anyone else except in their own country where, if left to their own devices, will meet fitting ends that I like to call "poetic justice."

So, lets go have pie, and let them all rot where they stand in Sudan.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on November 30, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Apostate Windbag (who is an extremely zealous atheist) discusses the problems of this sort of attitude towards the religious. His is a critique of Dawkin's snotty approach towards the lower class religious; we all understand, I trust, that the rich adherents of the religious right are just collecting their trust fund disbursements (so to speak), and it makes no sense railing at THEIR irrationality.

(A.W. is ETREMELY HOSTILE--repeat--EXTREMELY HOSTILE--to religious belief per se. I selected him because his atheist credentials are totally unimpeachable)

Here, we are talking about a movement in a destitute country struggling against the re-colonization of their region. That's not religion that's the only weapon the poor have--to be united and unreasonable.

And let me repeat: YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING. The people in the square in Sudan may be there for something else entirely, or they may have heard something totally different.

The problem with Dawkin's arguments about the social impact of religion is that he doesn't entertain the possibility that people may have other (compelling) reasons for being truculent about their associations. For example, if we all knew that attacking the (imaginary) Atheist Society would possibly get me killed, I would need to present myself as being as pro-AS as possible. Eventually, should my faction win control of the AS, it will have been by marginalizing the true believers (by definition) since politics follows different rules than philosophical inquiry. Eventually, when (say) Dawkins had died of old age, we could deify him (anyone who criticizes him for any reason must be, you know, a Christian or Muslim fundamentalist), and in a few centuries "Dawkinism" would be ideologically indistinguishable from fundamentalist Christianity.


Meanwhile, when people are driven to the wall and have nothing to loose, they aren't necessarily very nuanced in their responses.

Sorry for the length and excessive scope of this post.

Posted by: James R MacLean on November 30, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Seemed pretty mild to me considering the alternatives. I was worried Sudan would try to use her as a bargaining chip over Darfur.

Posted by: ArkPanda on November 30, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

" 'This woman gave an idol the name of Muhammad, which is not acceptable,' said Ahmed Muhammad,
Posted by: Bruce Moomaw

No. An idol is a physical representation of or substitute for a god. She had the class name a Teddy Bear Muhammad. She did not then tell them they must bow before or bring offerings to the Teddy Bear. Nothing too Baalish in any of this. Just the overly religious behaving badly, again.

Posted by: JeffII on November 30, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

The forces of ignorance are at work everywhere in the world... and they never sleep. Posted by: Buford

True. But in the West, it usually takes something a bit more serious than a Teddy Bear to get the mob foaming.

Sorry for the length and excessive scope of this post. Posted by: James R MacLean

Aren't you going to apologize for being an ignorant tit as well?

Posted by: JeffII on November 30, 2007 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Aren't you going to apologize for being an ignorant tit as well?

How am I an ignorant tit?

Just wondering--is it for doubting the testimony of the categorically pro-imperialist press?

Posted by: James R MacLean on November 30, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Some of the Sudanese demonstrators were recent members of a Republican focus group.

Posted by: Brojo on November 30, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII:
That's about right. It can be argued that she should have known better (though she may have thought she had all bases covered) but in the long run her only crime was saying "Yeah sure" when the kids decided to name the bear.

A stuffed bear?

Posted by: Daryl on November 30, 2007 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution...

Not too long ago in America thousands would rally in town squares demanding the execution of an African American. Then they would storm the jail drag their victim out, severly beat him, hang him, and then desecrate his body. Those Sudanese have a lot to learn about becoming Americans.

Posted by: Brojo on November 30, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Despite the display of outrage, witnesses said that many of the protesters were government employees who had been ordered to demonstrate, and that aside from a large gathering outside the presidential palace, most of Khartoum was quiet. Imams across the city did bring up the controversial case in sermons after Friday Prayers. But few called for violence."

It's not like this would be the first time that a government had used a feeble excuse to whip up their populace and distract everyone from what the government is actually doing. Egypt and Syria, just to name two, are well-known for these kinds of shenanigans.

Plus it lets the government in question look all martyred: See, you keep pressing us to do something about Darfur, but we can't even control our own people! Pity us! Though maybe if you send just a little more foreign aid ...

In other words: blackmail. That was the situation in Libya, too, with the doctors and nurses: Libya was trying to shake down various European countries for money to battle AIDS and was basically holding them hostage.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on November 30, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

>>>>
5: People like this aren't a threat to anyone else except in their own country where, if left to their own devices, will meet fitting ends that I like to call "poetic justice."
>>>>

Have you seen the lunatics in Paris burning cars and attacking police? Have you seen the murderous thugs in the Netherlands killing anyone who "insults" Islam? Did you see the World Trade Center falling? Islamic lunatics are a threat anywhere, but especially in the Western world where they can hide behind our civil liberties and our desire for "tolerance" [see CAIR].

Nice on topic post Brojo. Not too long ago Germans were committing genocide and carrying out a war that killed 40M people. So does that mean no German can ever point out violations of human rights or genocide in foreign countries ever again for the rest of time?

Posted by: Paul Kohnhorst on November 30, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

I think they are clamoring for the death of the wrong adult(s). Those poor little apostates have been failed by their parents! Those parents should be arrested and prosecuted! They are raising heretical little heathens that don't know any better than to name a Teddy Bear Mohammad! Seize them! Flog them! And the Imams who have failed the parents, too! They are all at fault!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 30, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Not too long ago Germans were committing genocide and carrying out a war that killed 40M people.

Don't forget that they were Christians.

Again, Christians slaughtered the Native Americans as well.

Islamic lunatics are a threat anywhere...

Therefore, I think the sentence sans "Islamic" fits the bill.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on November 30, 2007 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

How about the case in Saudi Arabia, where a woman who was raped and then sentenced to jail and lashings because she had been alone with man (not the rapists) and when there was criticism of the sentence, the sentence was increased (to 200 lashes and 6 months in jail (see here
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/01/world/01saudi.html?hp). Sounds bad, but here's a reaction from a judge:
"A Saudi judge, Ibrahim bin Salih Al-Khudairi of the Riyadh Appeals Court, said in an interview published in Okaz newspaper on Nov. 27 that if he were a judge in the Qatif court that he would have sentenced her, her male companion and the seven rapists to death and that they should be lucky that they did not get the death penalty."

Posted by: JohnL on November 30, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Have you seen the lunatics in Paris burning cars and attacking police?

You mean the ones who are pissed off because two teenagers died in a crash with a police car?

You did know that there's an actual story behind those riots, right? Or did you just hear "Muslim" and flip your shit so much that you didn't bother to listen to the part where those riots aren't about religion?

Buy some new Depends and take a Xanax. "They" are not coming to get you. I promise.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on November 30, 2007 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

Not too long ago Germans were committing genocide and carrying out a war that killed 40M people.
>>> Don't forget that they were Christians.
Well, not really. But they were certainly white Europeans if that is what you mean.

Islamic lunatics are a threat anywhere...
>>> Therefore, I think the sentence sans "Islamic" fits the bill.
If your point is that there are evil people of all races, religions and political philosophies I will concede the point. Ummm…so what? How does that change the point about the dangers of Islamic lunatics in Western countries?

Posted by: Paul Kohnhorst on November 30, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

You did know that there's an actual story behind those riots, right? Or did you just hear "Muslim" and flip your shit so much that you didn't bother to listen to the part where those riots aren't about religion?

>>>
Oh my God!!! I violated the PC rule and identified the nuts in the suburbs of Paris as Muslims!!!

Sorry, I meant to say, “youths”. That is the right code word isn’t it ;-)

Nope, none of the riots over the past 3 years have had anything to do with their religion. Ha, ha, ha….

Buy some new Depends and take a Xanax. "They" are not coming to get you. I promise.
>>>
Grow up and face reality. You probably said that to Theo Van Gogh too. Of course, he was just a right wing meanie who deserved to die too I guess.
>>>

Posted by: Paul Kohnhorst on November 30, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps others have said this, but your post could have mentioned what's actually going to happen to the teacher in question. Namely, the teacher has been given a 15-day sentence, and will presumably be rushed back to England once that's over. Also:

Britain, meanwhile, pursued diplomatic moves to free Gibbons. Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke with a member of her family to convey his regret, his spokeswoman said.

"He set out his concern and the fact that we were doing all we could to secure her release," spokeswoman Emily Hands told reporters.

Posted by: Tony on November 30, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

A teddy bear can't be a good muslim?

But they loved the teddy bear.

And what does this have to do with the teacher? Can't they just say 'no, you cannot have a muslim teddy bear.' to the classroom?

Posted by: Crissa on November 30, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

Muhammad didn't write the Qur'an. He was probably illiterate, and the text was compiled after his death (nothing documents its existence even a century later) -- therefore long after he was capable of actions that contradicted the Quran. This is like referring to The Gospels as something Jesus wrote. Perhaps you're referring to some other heretofore unknown writings of the prophet? The content of the Qur'an is supposed to be not the word of Muhammad, but the word of Allah, revealed by Gabriel, and then uttered by Muhammed.

But yeah, Ms Gibbons is hardly blaspheming when she allows her students to choose a name for a teddy bear, and they respond by choosing the most common male first name in all of Islam.

3: The poor lady looks more like the sort to be seving tea on Sunday that leading a religious revolt against a dead guy who kept contradicting what he wrote with his actions.
Posted by: sheerahkahn on November 30, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: keith on November 30, 2007 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Oh my God!!! I violated the PC rule and identified the nuts in the suburbs of Paris as Muslims!!! ...

Nope, none of the riots over the past 3 years have had anything to do with their religion. Ha, ha, ha….

Again, if you would read a single article about the riots, you would know that they were triggered by the deaths of two teenagers who collided with a police car. Saying that they're happening just for religious reasons is like saying we had the Rodney King riots because those blacks are just violent people. Savvy?

Grow up and face reality. You probably said that to Theo Van Gogh too. Of course, he was just a right wing meanie who deserved to die too I guess.

I didn't realize that you were getting specific death threats from particular groups because of a work of art that you'd created, or that you had discussed these death threats publicly with the press. You sounded like you were just another conservative bedwetter who's convinced that because someone in another country that you didn't know got death threats and was murdered, that must mean that those death threats were really meant for you and the murderers really meant to kill you and not van Gogh! Better call the police right now and let them know you're in personal danger because Theo van Gogh was murdered!

Posted by: Mnemosyne on November 30, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK
Sorry for the length and excessive scope of this post. Posted by: James R MacLean

Aren't you going to apologize for being an ignorant tit as well?
Posted by: JeffII on November 30, 2007 at 4:00 PM |

Don't take it personally, James. When JeffII is grumpy, anyone he disagrees with becomes an ignorant tit, a moron, or something of the sort. Whether you are correct or incorrect, and whether he has any demonstrable knowledge of the subject, has nothing to do with it.

Posted by: keith on November 30, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Paul Kornhorst @ 4:45PM "Islamic lunatics are a threat anywhere, but especially in the Western world..."
I seem to recall an awful lot of communist "lunatics" rioted in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia during the last century. How'd that turn out, by the way?
Idiot.

Posted by: Doug on November 30, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

You mean the ones who are pissed off because two teenagers died in a crash with a police car?

You did know that there's an actual story behind those riots, right? Or did you just hear "Muslim" and flip your shit so much that you didn't bother to listen to the part where those riots aren't about religion?

Buy some new Depends and take a Xanax. "They" are not coming to get you. I promise.
Posted by: Mnemosyne on November 30, 2007 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

M,

Do you think that if two Jewish kids had killed themselves by running into a police car that Jews would be rioting?

Posted by: Brian on November 30, 2007 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Muhammad didn't write the Qur'an. He was probably illiterate, and the text was compiled after his death (nothing documents its existence even a century later) -- therefore long after he was capable of actions that contradicted the Quran. This is like referring to The Gospels as something Jesus wrote. Perhaps you're referring to some other heretofore unknown writings of the prophet? The content of the Qur'an is supposed to be not the word of Muhammad, but the word of Allah, revealed by Gabriel, and then uttered by Muhammed. "

Keith,
You got a link for me to read about Muhammad being illiterate, because all sources I have point towards him as the scribe and panderer of the texts. Not saying your wrong, but just that I haven't run into this idea...well, till now.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on November 30, 2007 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

Do you think that if two Jewish kids had killed themselves by running into a police car that Jews would be rioting?

If within the context of a police force that had a history of targeting Jews and a high-level of mistrust between the Jewish community and the police, hell, yes. C-O-N-T-E-X-T I-S E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G (okay, well, not quite... but it's important, yeah?)

I see a future for a Muhammed series of stuffed toys... Let's start with Muhammed the stuffed pig.

Posted by: snicker-snack on November 30, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

M:

First, thank you for the thoughts.

Of course, none of the riots in Paris over the past 3 years have had anything to do with the religion of the "youths". I'm sure if Buddhists had killed themselves by ramming into a police car they would be rioting too. I'm sure that if you published "offensive" cartoons of Jesus or Shiva or Buddha or L Ron Hubbard in Denmark the followers of these religions would riot too. And I'm sure that if Theo Van Gogh had made his movie about Jews he would be dead now too.

Wow. You have convinced me. Now let us all sing Kumbaya and bury our heads in the sand.

And actually, I am threatened when someone like Theo Van Gogh can be murdered for telling the truth and the response of “liberals” in the West is to shrug their shoulders and continue apologizing for Islam and trying to appease the people holding a gun to their heads. Everyone who likes living in the West is.

If Mr. Van Gogh had criticized Christianity or global corporations or evil white people or meat eaters he would be a martyred saint amongst the PC lefties of the world and Hollywood would already have made 3 epics about his life. He had the guts to break the PC taboo of our time and paid for it with his life.

Posted by: Paul Kohnhorst on November 30, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

..the Quran..text was compiled after his death (nothing documents its existence even a century later)

Just like the gospels, John's being the earliest and that was a century after the death of INRI (just in case there are some crazy protestants out there who can't utter the name of you know who).

Posted by: TJM on November 30, 2007 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

I seem to recall an awful lot of communist "lunatics" rioted in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia during the last century. How'd that turn out, by the way?
Idiot.
=======================
Doug:

I don't like communism either. Um...your point is, what, exactly? That because communism was evil and killed 100 M people that we shouldn't oppose Islamofascism in our day?

And thanks for calling me an idiot. It added a lot to the conversation.

Hugs and Kisses

Posted by: Paul on November 30, 2007 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Paul, will you be coming around to collect my leftie membership card? I am obviously unfit since the only thing I can muster for the Sudanese right now is mockery, and I am rather a fan of both Theo Van Gogh and Ayan Hirsi Ali.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 30, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

(I meant the Paul at 9:48)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on November 30, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

It seems Muslims have a large, over the top, capacity to show the world why Islam should be destroyed rather than show behavior as to why it should be kept around.

Granted, most, if not all, religions have a tendency to do just that.

Starship, Warm them phasers up.

Vulcan Lt, (Puzzled look): "Sir, Why did the humans do that?"

Mr Spock, (Raising eyebrow): "Lt. You asked a question, and answered it, at the exact same time."

Vulcan Lt, (Comprehending): "Ah...Indeed."

Posted by: James on November 30, 2007 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

From now on, all Presidential pets will be named
Mohammed

His Terrible Swift Sword

Posted by: Jabajax, Fort Lauderdale, FL on November 30, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

For Pete's sake, this actually only vaguely about Islam. The regime in Khartoum clings to Islam because it gives them some fig leaf of legitimacy. They are generally despised around the nation, and now keep themselves afloat primarily because of oil revenues and because the international community is too scared to topple them (China might get mad).

Bashir's junta has a history of selectively enforcing ridiculous orders of God. His is a recent Islamist school of thought with no roots in the sufi Islam native to Sudan which, though fairly reactionary, is only tangently political.

There is no need to join Ayan Hirsi Ali's War On Islam over TeddyBearGate 2007. This is simply the equivalent of a right-wing regime (albeit one of the most brutal on the planet) wrapping itself in the flag. They WANT ignorant westerners to sputter with rage and say nasty shit about Islam, because it helps them legitimize their regime. After all, why would westerners criticize Islam over this incident if the regime was not Islamic?

Don't be fooled. Most Sudanese are not. The Bashir regime represents Islam about as faithfully as Pope Alexander IV represented Christianity.

Posted by: sweaty guy on November 30, 2007 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if I erected on my front lawn in a red state a nativity scene depicting Santa in the manger? The only difference between Christian and Moslem fundamentalists is the ham-handedness the Moslems enforce their beliefs. Here you would suddenly see local authorities tormenting you with everything from unfair assessments to a slew of traffic tickets. Our fundies are much more sophisticated.

Posted by: bruce from chicago on December 1, 2007 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Bruce, I doubt that you would have to stray too far from Chicago for that to happen. Not too far out of town from where I live (about 70% RED), someone had a big wood cross near the beginning of their driveway with white Christmas lights all over it. I wasn't sure if it was a flag-waving expression of sentiment for Christianity or they were KKK supporters (or KKK members!). Thought about stopping by and asking, and then thought.. "Nah"

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on December 1, 2007 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Almost all Germans who participated in the Holocaust were baptized and catechized as Christians, yet the Holocaust is not usually called a Christofascist event. Same goes for the decades of daily lynchings in the US, which were perpetrated by Americans who practice complete submersion baptism. Those lynchings are never described as Christian events, but the descendants of those hanging Christians insist all crimes perpetrated by Moslems are religiously driven.

Al Bashir's Islamic faith is as authentic as W. Bush's Christian faith. Both use religion to appeal to a fundamentalist religious base in order to justify their use of violence.

Posted by: Brojo on December 1, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

An English woman letting children name a teddy bear 'Mohammed' is an outrage, but repeatedly blowing fellow Muslims to smithereens is OK. No comment required.

Posted by: DNS on December 1, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

[unsigned comment deleted]

Posted by: on December 1, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

We do need a reminder that American progressives do not treat lunatic Islamic nutcases as fellow revolutionaries.

Posted by: Matt on December 1, 2007 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Mnemosyne - "Have you seen the lunatics in Paris burning cars and attacking police? You mean the ones who are pissed off because two teenagers died in a crash with a police car? You did know that there's an actual story behind those riots, right? Or did you just hear "Muslim" and flip your shit so much that you didn't bother to listen to the part where those riots aren't about religion?"

Jesus, you're an asshole, M. Complete and utter poo-wank. How's this for context: Two idiots ramed their moped into a police car. They died. People who act stupidly in traffic die all the time. It happens to Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and WhatHaveU's. Here's what *one* of those kinds of people (guess which) do next:

France stunned by rioters’ savagery (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article2983714.ece)

The 43-year-old commissaire realised it was time to leave, but that was not possible: they set his car ablaze. He stood as the mob closed in on him, parrying the first few baseball bat blows with his arms. An iron bar in the face knocked him down. “I tried to roll myself into a ball on the ground,” said Illy from his hospital bed. He was breathing with difficulty because several of his ribs had been broken and one had punctured his lung. His bruised and bloodied face signalled a worrying new level of barbarity in the mainly Muslim banlieues, where organised gangs of rioters used guns against police in a two-day rampage of looting and burning last week. Not far from where Illy was lying was a policeman who lost his right eye after being hit by pellets from a shotgun. Another policeman displayed a hole the size of a 10p coin in his shoulder where a bullet had passed through his body armour.
Altogether 130 policemen were injured, dozens by shotgun pellets and shells packed with nails that were fired from a homemade bazooka. It prompted talk of urban “guerrilla warfare” being waged on French streets against the forces of law and order.

Posted by: on December 2, 2007 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

The English are so PC, we should not prejudge the preferences of the British teacher. She may well have rejected the racist notion that white justice is superior to black Moslem justice. I would hope we have put white colonial mentalities behind us.

Posted by: Luther on December 3, 2007 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Here, we are talking about a movement in a destitute country struggling against the re-colonization of their region. That's not religion that's the only weapon the poor have--to be united and unreasonable...
Meanwhile, when people are driven to the wall and have nothing to loose, they aren't necessarily very nuanced in their responses.
Posted by: James R MacLean on November 30, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh. I know you think you are standing up for the burdened masses of the earth and making a just stand. But you're not. Your standing with the forces of reaction and obscurantism that threaten violence on all who stand in their way. You need to educate yourself a little more about Sudan and Islamic history. I won't give away the story but let's just say that once you're done you won't be so quick to cast moral judgement on the West and so quick to stand with the yelling men in a foreign land. You won't project your subconscious christian morality onto their outrage, as if it was the outrage of injustice, it is not, it is the rage of power and a rage to power. It's an imperialist rage we see in the street of Kharthoum.

If you doubt me you can ask the dead of Darfour.

"re-colonization, driven to the wall"; my ass they are. These are not the midlands coal miners here or the califonia vegitable pickers, learn to understand the difference. I thought Hitchens was full of it when he wrote that the British far left was in bed with hard core islamists in london, now I am not so sure.
This is a misidentification problem. The men in Kharthoum aren't the proletariat guys; they're viscious reactionaires. And showing 'understanding' and accomodation in the face of their violence simply leads to more injustice rather than less.

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