After Nice, We Should Fight Islamic State Terror With Ruthless Progressivism

Will this season of death ever stop? Nice, Dhaka, Istanbul, Orlando, Brussels, San Bernadino, Paris – and those are just the mass murders in cities we know. Over 1200 people have died in ISIS-inspired attacks around the world, not counting those in Iraq and Syria.

It is practically impossible to defend against an endless, global war of attrition like this one. ISIS is now more an idea than an organization, especially as it loses its hold on its home territory. Anyone can be “inspired by ISIS,” and the group will gladly take credit for the carnage. If they lack planes, they’ll use guns; if they lack guns, they’ll use cars; if they lack cars, they’ll use knives, machetes, even rocks.

But ISIS’s most dangerous weapon is us.

To achieve its ultimate goal of an end-times battle between Islam and the West, ISIS needs our participation. And it has honed its methods to provoke as much rage as possible. The more you know about the beheadings, drownings, rapes and mutilations, the more horrified you must, as a human being, become. The more you read about the victims of these attacks, from gay Puerto Ricans in Orlando to dancers and cosmopolitans in Istanbul, the more you must weep.

But the weeping and horror doesn’t last long. Rage comes to take its place. And so the West finds itself awash in nativism, right-wing populism, and xenophobia. It’s not inconceivable that Donald Trump will be president of the United States while Marine LePen is prime minister of France. It’s not impossible that a neo-Nazi will be the next leader of Austria. It’s quite possible that Europe, as we know it, will fall apart.

We stand at the brink of falling into a new dark age, with prejudice dignified as a form of political discourse and ignorance, as George Orwell foretold, being touted as strength.

We find ourselves magnifying ISIS’s body count. Now, not only do the casualties include 70 innocent people celebrating Bastille Day. Now they include our values, our freedoms and our friends.

Golda Meir once said, “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. But we can never forgive them for forcing us to kill their children.” The greatest casualty in Israel’s long battle with its enemies, Meir was saying, was Israel’s own humanity. Our own children, our own culture, had to become capable of killing.

This is the moral cost of responding to barbarism with barbarism. But there is also the practical cost. If, as nations in the West, we make rage our policy, we will do ISIS’s work for, and with, them.

If rage dictates our nation’s foreign policy, we will make foolish decisions, alienate our allies, and play right into ISIS’s strategy. We will turn more conservative Muslims into extremist Muslims. We will undermine the very moderates who are our greatest allies against religious extremist. If we say the West is at war with Islam (or “radical Islam,” whatever that means), we will make it so.

Progressives must not delude ourselves. Our goal must the complete, utter obliteration of ISIS and all that it stands for. No less than conservatives, we must hate this ideology and commit ourselves to wiping it off the face of the earth. This is our generation’s Amalek, and we must destroy them.

But conservatives must not delude themselves either. Amalek isn’t a people, religion, or culture, but an ideology that can be anywhere and everywhere at the same time. “Bombing the hell out of ISIS” will kill thousands of innocent people — in fact, the same people ISIS has been killing brutally for the last two years. Banning Muslims from entering our country won’t keep us any safer; it will just create more enemies from would-be compatriots. “Getting tough” makes sense on the ground in Iraq and Syria, where ISIS is, in fact, in retreat — but “getting tough” in fighting a shadowy enemy that is more an idea than a territory is stupid.

We need liberal means toward conservative ends: merciless moderation, ruthless education, overpowering carefulness. We must sublimate our rage into reason. Really, as I suggested after the Paris attacks, the real distinction shouldn’t be between Right and Left but between short-sighted emotional responses and cold, calculating rational ones.

For example, we must boost, support, fund, and amplify the voices of mainstream Muslim leaders who have condemned these attacks every time they have occurred — not simply because it is morally right to do so but because it is in our own best interests. The stronger moderate Muslims are, the weaker extremist Muslims will be.

Likewise, we must uproot Islamophobia, not simply because prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination are morally wrong –- but because they weaken moderates and strengthen extremists.

And, on a grand scale, we absolutely must stop the rise of nativist populism, because in the likes of Trump, LePen and Vladimir Putin, ISIS has indeed found its ideal dance partners: militaristic demagogues who will give them the “clash of civilizations” that they want. It is truly terrifying to imagine the consequences for the Middle East, Israel included, if Donald Trump becomes president. Nuclear war, which gave us nightmares in the 1980s but seemed to be extinguished in the 2000s, is no longer out of the question. Biological warfare has already taken place.

Indeed, if all this sounds like the end of the world, that suits the American Christian Right just fine. 77% of U.S. evangelicals believe the Rapture will take place during their lifetimes. Spookily, many have the same end-times scenario: a battle near Damascus, as prophesied by Isaiah 17:1, or near Megiddo, aka Armageddon. And they’ve put their checkbooks where their mouths are, with Christian Zionists funding the settlement enterprise and other initiatives that make confrontation more likely.

We are witnessing a nightmare unfolding around us in real-time: first and foremost, the unbearable losses to ISIS’s brutal barbarism; but secondarily, the evil it has awakened within ourselves. We face a moment of reckoning. Will we help ISIS destroy thousands, even millions, of lives? Or will we, individually and collectively, rise above our ‘inner ISIS’ and mercilessly uproot it from the world?


  1. Is there Islamophobia in Medina? Why did they bomb there?
    This is a completely Western-centric reading of the phenomena.Who now thinks the solution to groups like ISIS will involve an approach that,

    a) Depicts Mulsims as reactionary and lacking agency.
    b) Does not consider what is mandated in Koran and Hadiths.

  2. Agree with DaithiD. But also I would add, and this goes to all supposedly progressive thinkers, that what we mostly witness, from this article and from mainstream media is an outpouring of reactionary sentiment if not downright propaganda. If you are interested in rooting our Isis, as you put it, you have to first of all, not believe everything you are fed and secondly do some research about the root causes. Read John Pilger. It incenses me that people are so angry about certain deaths but say nothing about the millions bombed, killed and tortured in the Middle East. Direct your anger at that an maybe you might do something about ISIS.

  3. Buncrana, if you look at the Koran, you will see Muslims killing others for simply not being Muslims. Bombs, presume you mean US, in the ME are a neat liberal explanation of the phenomena that hits on the fronts they have always wanted to hit on, but it cant explain why this ISIS isnt a unique expression of this aspect of Islam, and has existed before America was born. ISIS exists because the whole world isnt Muslim and so is in a state of war,everything else follows from this, and every other explanation is opportunism.
    I dont care that most Muslims havent joined the Caliphate overtly, it just shows that some Muslims dont practice their faith just like some Catholics dont. It says nothing about the underlying doctrine.

  4. DaithiD,

    can the same not be said of the Christian faith in the case of those who refuse to renounce the Old Testament given its genocidal, murderous and rapacious entreaties? It hardly matters what the doctrine is if people refuse to abide by and apply it. Policy decisions not religious doctrine created ISIS.

  5. Now now Anthony, we have been through this haven't we?Things like stoning adulterers became 'let him without sin cast the first stone' and turning the other cheek instead of vengence because of the New Testament.Christ can't you see this? Abrogation takes place in the Koran buts its the more violent verses that are considered the final perspective.
    I invite anyone to read any biography of Mohammed and then consider what being a Muslim should mean.Utter horrors.Let us understand this now before some demagogue comes along to teach us it, and history rhymes.I honestly think something awful is on the way.

  6. DaithiD,

    because we have been thru it, I continue to wonder why you go on repeating shibboleths. I know about the NT Christ and asked specifically about those Christians who refuse to renounce the OT because of its advocacy of genocide, rape etc. Even with the Christian god we still have the wicked AIDS enabling ban on condoms to Africa to mention only one aspect of Christian evil.

    Something awful is on the way? Is it not already here? War in Iraq that helped spawn ISIS not register? That something terrible might come in the form of the Christian Trump.

  7. Munich is being treated to the gratitude of Herr Merkels favourite friends at the moment.

  8. AM, you spent 4 years on the Blanket but I'm sure you think the bible was the biggest piece of sh*t in the cell. I respect you too much to lecture you on its contents. I used to genuinely think the same things about all religions too, so I get it.

    Was the lack of civil rights the reason for the IRA campaign (1969+) after Operation Harvest ended? Or was it a convenient cover? The Iraq war was awful, but it didn't cause the expression of Islam that shocks us in the form of ISIS.

  9. DaithiD,

    if people would desist from the notion of believing in invisible men there would be no Islam. We would very much have ISIS under some other name.

    What provided the insurrectionary energy for the Provisional IRA campaign was how the British treated people while in Ireland not that they were in Ireland. That helps explain why the Provos settled up for so little.

    ISIS as an idea existed for yonks. What made it real was the war on Iraq. We will always have religious loons: the challenge is to refrain from practices that can only add legs to lunacy.

  10. AM that sustained an nurtured it. You know full well OIRA were stewarding marches before a British soldier landed in Ireland.My point is the same as a remark you made this week: things are more messy in reality. Why didn't US in the form of ISIS resemble Hegel reading Kurds? They read the Koran.If they resembled the Kurds who would care?

  11. DaithiD,

    Not sure what the point of OIRA is.

    Things are much more messy in reality is what I have tried to explain to you throughout. Simplistic analysis which neatly reduces everything to some doctrine has little sway in the messy world.

    Hegel and Kurds - no idea what you are talking about.

  12. Sorry Am , typing on a phone not a pc. I meant if the US occupation gave some impetus to ISIS, why does ISIs take this specific form and not some Socialist form like in Southern America. People in the region read hegel like the Kurds.My point is resistance to the US isn't the issue, its the form it took in Iraq.

  13. DaithiD,

    why then are so many reading the Koran and were not previously reading it? Much like people turning to ready made answers in republican ideology back in the 70s. They would never have gone near it had it not been for the way the Brits an Unionists managed the situation. I have not read any serious commentator who thinks ISIS would have happened without the war of terror waged by the US and UK.

  14. Sure. Like the experts chorus that said the GFA was a good deal for Republicans? I actually hate this form of argument but you are forcing me to it.

    I posted the Antlatic article on ISIS to here (what isis want). Obama was very upset that the article was all people wanted to talk about on his ISIS conference in the US.This is what experts say when their career doesn't depend on ' forced unnoticing' But you have seen this trait too. You suffered for it in others.

  15. DaithiD,

    I am not surprised you hate that form of argument: you seem to make no headway with it. too if I was making it as weakly as you seem to manage it.

    An abhorrence of Islam should not warp analysis. The doctrine is relatively immaterial if the conditions to make it real do not exist. Islam like Christianity is egregious. That forces are able to use Islam to tap into resentment caused by the Western murder machine should be of more concern than the annoyance caused by somebody else not believing in the invisible man you believe in.

    As a matter of interest do you think the Catholic Church should denounce and renounce the murderous Old Testament?

  16. DaithiD,

    to everything there is a season ... unfortunately not all chronometers are universally synchronised. Hopefully the wobble you're having is a precursor to a breakthrough!

  17. AM

    There is no doubt that US/Brit war machine is a factor in so far as increasing the ranks of Islamic extremism but DD is correct in saying that Islamic extremism has always been present -before the existence of the US. Here is a good video detailing Islams relentless historic crusade (specifically about 30minutes into video)

    As for the increase in those reading Islamic texts -lets not ignore the involuntary converts to Islam -who converted to escape all sorts of horrors and evils being inflicted upon them or their families. Let us not forget that once so cruelly converted to Islam the moderate Muslims might mouth the words of condemnation but such words are meaningless when the 'moderates' believe in death to apostates. So we the horrific situation for example where a woman or child has been converted to Islam by being raped by 11 Muslims and moderates believe that once a Muslim always a Muslim.

    I appreciate the comparisons you make between Islamic and Christian text but there is a distinction in so far as one is more real and imminent than the other even if you oppose one in principle which is a weak attempt at some sort of religious balancing act.

    The current demographics in Ireland is that Muslims make up about 1.1% of the population. Government statistics of halal slaughter in Ireland means that all meat on sale in Ireland will be 100% halal with only a 6% Muslim population. Moderate Muslims consider feeding non-Muslims halal as a form of 'cleansing the path for Islam'.

  18. Christy,

    Islamic extremism has always existed as has Christian extremism. Qutb, executed by Egypt in 66, is regarded by many as the ideologue of modern Islamic extremism even though his views were arguably more subtle.

    Both Islam and Christianity went on murderous crusades and inquisitions. The essential difference today is that Christianity has ben stripped of state power. We instinctively understand as a result of historical experience that were Christianity to have state power it would do much the same as it always did. It is the nature of the religious mind. That Islam is more real and imminent than Christianity it is not a result of Christian kindness but as a result of it being stripped of state power. If the Christian right gain sway in the US, we can stab a good guess at what crimes would be carried out in the name of Christianity. The problem as I see it is not Islam but political Islam.

    Would ISIS exist on anything like the scale it does sans the West's murderous wars? Other than the Neocon types few seem to think so. And the Neocons' insistence that it would still be the same are pushing their own logic and self interest.

    Moderates believing in death for apostasy seem little different from moderate Christians believing in death by AIDS in preference to the use of condoms. Islam alone it seems behaved admirably during the Rwandan genocide while the Christians merrily murdered. All religions have the potential for immense evil. I abhor the lot of them. Maybe that makes me a faithophobe to the politically correct.

    No concession should be made to any religious opinion that is not made to sporting opinion.

  19. HJ, it wont be a breakthrough, we are starting from the wrong place to have any hope of the correct end result unless by fluke. Another class of experts thought mortgage derivatives were a good investment in 2007. If im wrong , ill be wrong on my own terms, not because ive listened to others.
    AM, suprised at your approach here, scoring points not making them is another thing you have defended on here. I dont see why you cant consider the two faiths separate, why do i need to be painted a hypocrite? Im a Catholic, but i dont proselytize because I personally dont think it works and often masks negative things.
    How in hell is doctrine immaterial when this is what is in question? Islam isnt herd behaviour, it cant be. Ideologies shape the herd. In no other feild is this a defence.
    Christy, as ever, the way i would like of put things.

  20. Am

    I could not disagree with you more. For example, we can also find fault with Yazidism but I think we should support, help or stand in solidarity with the Yazidi people who are being subject to genocide by Muslims rather than nitpick about the ills of their faith. Christians are also being subject to genocide by Muslims. The Rwandian genocide was not religiously driven but arose from long standing ethnic grievances between the 2 main communities -so Islam/ Christianity had little to do with it. In fact a better example would have been the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia -which a predominantly Christian Army (NATO) brought to an end.

    I also do not agree with your comparing Muslims belief that apostates (and a bunch of other transgressors) should be killed for offending Islam against any Christian belief that AIDS is gods intervention against homosexuality. One is by mans hand while the other is an act of nature imagined to be an act of God's wrath. In addition, Christians are not stoning, beheading or hacking anyone to death for wearing condoms.

    The unfortunate fact of life for you and I to come to terms with is that the vast majority of mankind are part of 1 religion or another. But most reasonable people can discern a clear distinction between the extremities and barbarities of Islam and its hate the world philosophy with that of other religions and sects. Like everything else religions are not equal.

    What Christianity did historically is academic what matters right now is what Islam is doing today. Educated guessing on how Christians would behave if they had state power is just speculative. Islam always has been and always will be extreme regardless of any action by the west -that is not to say that western powers have clean hands in the matter.

  21. DaithiD,

    don't play the victim. We are not sentimental here. Your argument sounds very weak to me.

    I can consider the two faiths separately: as separate branches of the same tree of superstition. No tree, no branches.

    Hypocrisy was never mentioned: inconsistency was.

    People us to blame the Provisional IRA campaign on doctrine rather than conditions. Doctrine is not feeding ISIS. The Western doctrine of invade and plunder other countries is.

  22. Christy,

    re nitpicking on faith, fine. From that it follows that we need a halt to the Western invasions and the myth of humanitarian military intervention, stand with the victims of them rather than having a go at their faith. Although their faith is not beyond criticism.

    There were not two ethnically diverse communities in Rwanda but two arbitrarily created communities created by Belgian and German intervention. The Christians behaved abominably and often used doctrine to justify their stance, pastors murdering their flock as it was put. The conflict was not religious driven but nevertheless shows just what evils Christians are capable of and justify with Christian doctrine. The Argentine military also used Christianity as a weapon in their murderous Dirty War (76-83). But examples are legion.

    The Catholic Church pursued an active policy of denying condoms to Africa as a means to fight AIDS. That policy was an act of man. Christians are not hacking people to death for not wearing condoms but death by deprivation hardly absolves the deprivers of blame. So it is not a question of what Christianity did historically but what it is doing today. What Nazism did historically is not an academic point so I fail to see why it should be any different for Christianity. There seems to be a reluctance to ascribe evil to Christianity but not so when it comes to Islam.

  23. Its weak cause you deflect things.
    Your point Doesn't explain the ISIS satelites in other countries not related to US intervention. And doesn't explain why some form of fascistic Islam has existed since its inception.As per my first comment: you depict Muslims as lacking agency.
    How can a faith based on replicating a mass murderer ever be peaceful?

    But I won't labour the point, I think Christy puts things better than me anyway.

  24. Christy, what Christians did historically is academic? By the that logic what the Brits did historically is academic so what are we all crying about, get on with it! If you cannot see similarities between religious quest for domination you're delusional. Yes lets highlight Islam's brutality but don't pretend Christianity is superior. It demeans you. Did George Bush not manipulate Christianity?

  25. DaithiD,

    even the grammatical construction of the first line leaves me wondering what you are talking about.

    I would expect nothing but ISIS satellites when Western strategy is forging a community of activists and sympathisers.

    I don't depict Muslims as lacking agency - I don't think they are some undifferentiated whole. And where there is differentiation there is more than one agency.

    I abhor all religions including Islam. I just don't think.

    I'll put your own question back to you - your god from your bible was a mass murderer and genocidal tyranny but I don't expect you to be one just because you think you are made in his image. How can the Christian bible include the evil Old Testament and not be considered as evil?

    Time and again I refer to Steven Weinberg: "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

  26. AM/David H

    Academic when talking in terms of Old Testiment, inquistions and crusades centuries ago when Christians also stoned people to death and daughters committed suicide or were killed for bringing dishonour on their family because they had maybe been raped. This is archaic behaviour that for the most part Christianity has shed but Islam is embracing on a world scale. Christianity did all these things that Islam is doing today I make no denial of it but I think there is a huge difference when you are comparing how one bunch of fanatics are behaving today and sure didn't another bunch do just the same centuries ago?? Or more correctly both Islam and Christianity committed atrocities centuries and Islam is continuing to try and maintain the same medieval acts of horror. That is an academic exercise.

    As for the catholic Churches policy on supply of condoms it was wrong and did untold harm not lest in attempts to prevent the spread of AIDS but also in birth control where children dying of starvation where seen by the church as 'another mouth at gods table'. If any other Christians, Muslims or even Atheists wanted to distribute condoms nobody was being killed to stop them and nobody was being killed for using them. So I do not share your view that denial of condoms is just the same as Islamic genocide and war crimes. I am no fan of the Catholic Church but its position on these matters has changed for whatever reason.

    It is my view that any person who adheres to any religious teachings that advocates for the killing of any human being - any 'believer in any god' who believes their faith has the right to decide who lives and who dies is an extremist. That includes Catholics, protestants, Jews, Hindus or whatever. The article above creates this false image that ISIS is extreme and much of the rest of Islam is not -I do not buy that -A Christian or Muslim cleric who thinks it ok to kill apostates or any human being because of god word is an extremist. Moderate Muslims brag that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today -how many people converted to save their own lives or the lives of their families in the past few years alone??

    Academically speaking Christianity at one time also put people to the sword or convert but they do not do that anymore but Muslims still do and I think that makes Christianity superior to Islam. But do not make the mistake of thinking my reasoning must make me a christian it does not.

    And yes David much of what the Brits have done is historical and academic. But equally they have not stopped or quenched their thirst for war and conflict.

    As for the West v Islam: the West, meaning in this context the US and UK, are not religious orders searching for spiritual guidance and temperance -they are both ruthless and self-serving -we know that -and yes they commit atrocities -we have suffered them ourselves. So why was it not OK for Republicans/Loyalists to target civilians? I mean if you both think Islam is justified in its response to the West??

  27. I wonder do you pick foreigners up on their grammar Anthony? Its not the luvvie way though is it? It is a quick way to make something tiresome for everyone though. Still I'd prefer it to a bent logic that explains groups like Boko Haram via a war in another continent rather than the bloody obvious.

  28. DaithiD,

    I don't much care about grammar. Plenty here spell wrongly but they can convey their meaning nevertheless. When lazy grammar makes the meaning incomprehensible should we refrain from raising it?

    I'll ask again: should the Christian bible be renounced on the grounds that it contains the murder loving Old Testament?

  29. Ive used cause instead if because before with you, never was a problem when we were agreeing on stuff. You arent above a cheap shot clearly.
    But we can keep firing question at eachother . Or maybe engage eachothers points?
    I wonder if I search the last 10 articles in catholicism on this site, will we find you gallantly striving to include Islam in the discourse?
    Doh another question but maybe I know the answer.

  30. Ps larry, I heard that the munich shooter had pictures of Brevik on his phone (the Norweigan monster).
    So its probably not Islamic inspired, albeit he was a Muslim.Insanity knows no religion.(Or maybe AM would say it is religion!) But this affords us a good opportunity to compare the coverage with Islamic inspired killing. Those in power won't accept the perpetrators justification when it is the latter. Lets see how far they accept the former. Or if the Guardian or this sites author fight to include warnings of Islamic terror, or refuse to specify his motives when/if they cover it.
    Rest assured, if a neo-nazi verifiably kills even one, legislation will follow days later. It won't include classes teaching others tolerance of those tenets either.

  31. DaithiD,

    the problem is it doesn't even read as because but as cause in the sense of a cause but I guess when the pressure is on we clutch at any straw. Use cause or coz as much as you want but at least do it in an intelligible manner.

    Engage each other's points? For the fourth or fifth time then, should Christianity denounce and renounce the Old Testament because of its evil content?

  32. AM I'm sure if we were speaking face to face it wouldn't be a case if trying to force the other into traps but yeah this topic does pressure me. But remember people like jihadi Sid and the Giant were from my neighbourhood and now they saw people's heads off on film in Syria. My gay freinds have been attacked in Brick Lane. It's not a hypothetical grievance I chose, or even want to have.I have answered your point in the way I feel best, I see a distinction in both Testaments maybe you can't have one without the other.

  33. Christy,

    Academic when talking in terms of Old Testament, inquisitions and crusades centuries ago when Christians also stoned people to death and daughters committed suicide or were killed for bringing dishonour on their family because they had maybe been raped. This is archaic behaviour that for the most part Christianity has shed but Islam is embracing on a world scale.

    Which shows that what is in the texts and holy books that religious types place so much importance on.

    In my view no holy book is superior to another.

    Is Islam trying to pursue this on a world scale? Political Islam is. Sunni is behind ISIS but Shia is as much a victim of Sunni as anybody else.

    A few years ago I read a book by Michelle Goldberg called Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism. After it she wrote this:

    As George Grant, former executive director of D. James Kennedy’s influential Coral Ridge Ministries, wrote in his book “The Changing of the Guard:”

    Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ — to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness.

    But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice.

    It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.

    It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.

    It is dominion we are after.

    World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish.

    There is virtually no difference between that and the Islamic expansionism you refer to. For now Christian nationalism is not in the ascendancy although it remains influential. If ever given state power we know where it will go.

    The problem is less in the texts but in the way people want them to be read and more importantly implemented.

    When people cite one text as being superior to another then a discussion about what the Christian text has and can be used for is relevant and not merely academic.

    When dealing with the problems posed by today's religions we would be remiss not to confront the evil that they perpetrate. And many in Islam are quite prepared to perpetrate evil.

    I at no point said the Church policy on condoms was worse than genocide or war crimes. I did say it was worse than some cleric believing apostates should be killed.

    A number of years ago when the Church was lying about condoms, the World Health Organisation confronted it:

    These incorrect statements about condoms and HIV are dangerous when we are facing a global pandemic which has already killed more than 20 million people, and currently affects at least 42 million.

    In my view there is no other way to describe the Church on this issue as being guilty of a monstrous evil. For the victims of the Church any suggestion that they are somehow different from the victims of Islamic practice is what is really academic.

    Unlike yourself I agree with the author that ISIS is extremist and does not reflect Islam in general. I think Islam and Muslims are much too diverse to be so easily categorised. The need to differentiate within Islam has been one of the consistent points driven home by Maryam Namazie. I think she is right.

    Nor have I said Islam is justified in its response to the West. What was called "the Resistance" by the SWP during the early stages of the war on Iraq I regarded as theocratic fascism. But people, whether Muslim, Jew, Christian or whatever, where they are subject to an illegal war, mass murder, torture, repression, have a right to fight back. Their religion in that regard hardly matters. I very much doubt their religion is what draws them into the fight.

  34. DaithiD,

    what traps? I am simply trying to get you to answer a question. You are intent on criticising the Islam text when the Christian text is no better.

    Sawing people's heads off is something they might just have learned from the British Army.

    Christians too attack gays and discriminate against them and can find justification in the texts.

    Given that the Old Testament is so replete with evil should it be denounced and renounced. Or is that just something that should happen to the Koran? In answering my point in the way you feel best you really mean the best way for you not to answer.

  35. Christy, I don't know what you mean by Islam's reponses to the west. If you mean do I think it's ok to target civilians in shopping centres etc, then obviously not. While western powers maybe officially secular, they are predominantly Christian, some even have Christian slogans as their mottos so would Muslims who suffer indiscriminate murder at the hands of these powers not be justified in saying that the attacks committed against them are committed by Christians? In the same way that you seem to say that an attack by I.S is an attack by Islam

  36. AM

    I have never actually given any thought to the Koran/Bible as one being more superior to the other -and still don't. For the most part I think the hidith is cause of much of the problems.

    I assumed there might be Christians with the view point that you quote -they are not representative of christian practice as expressed by christian clerical leaders on how Christians should behave. Whereas, that is not the case with Islam where many of its clerical leaders are no more than brutal thugs or dictators directing acts of terrorism or advising families on what to do with a son or daughter who have dishonoured the family or Islam. Some Muslim clerics are even like Mafia godfathers putting a hit on the heads of certain journalists and authors they don't like for any Muslim to kill them in the name of Islam/Allah -we see this time and again from Salmon Rushdie to Charlie Hebdo or bloggers and academics recently in Bangladesh.

    I think I have been pretty clear on my views of Christianity and the 'what if' scenario if it was to seize the same sort of power and control Islam has on its followers. Until such time it is for now no more than an academic expression of concern that (to exaggerate the point) I think of it like I think of the possibility that the Vikings might invade Ireland again -in so far as I might be mindful of it but do not see it as realistic at present -for example the quote you cite has pretty much feel on deaf ears.

    We have confused or crossed views about the condom/genocide issue. The distinction I was making is that as influential as Catholic policy on condoms might be it was not engaged in gun and bomb attacks to prevent condoms from being distributed to those in need of them. I was drawing the distinction between Islamic/Christian hostilities in cases where outside agencies attempt to give aid to a class of people in danger --Muslims will also attack and kill anyone giving aid to the class of people who they are targeting for death. The WHO complaint might be better described as criticism of the Catholic Church for not helping in the distribution of aid rather than it posed an imminent threat or danger to anyone else wanting to assist.

    I agree with the author that ISIS is an extremist group but I say that is too narrow definition on religious/Islamic extremism. I made it pretty clear that any follower, of any religion, that calls for the death of a single human being for having offended that religion then that person is a religious extremist. So anyone who thinks that someone should be killed for apostasy or homosexuality etc is a religious extremist and they do not need to be a member or supporter of ISIS -that would include many Shia -and simply because ISIS/Sunni target them does not mean that Shia Muslims are not extremists themselves. So I think it dangerous to only consider ISIS as extremists and turn a blind eye on the every day acts of extremism from the rest of Islam. In fact I think FGM is pretty extreme thing to do and only extremist would do such thing.

    I see a distinction between insurgency and outright Islamic terrorism. The author is not talking about insurgent attacks against occupying Western forces but war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity because the targets are defenseless civilians -be that in Iraq, Syria or France. It is the authors view that it would be progressive to kiss the ass of most of Islamic extremism and just focus on the extremities of ISIS. ISIS is big on shock and awe but does the rest of extreme Islam pose less danger?

  37. Christy,

    I regard you as an atheist thinking your way through problems. That might be wrong but it is how I have come to see you. I never seen you as a Christian.

    I don't believe ISIS is representative of Islam. It cites the text when it suits it. No different from the Christian nationalist I cited.

    I am an avowed opponent of Islam and make no excuses for it. Fuck it is my attitude. I have long argued the case with detractors that it is a pernicious religion. But I have the same attitude to Christianity. I have a problem if I feel Islam is inaccurately depicted.

    I disagree that Christianity is on a par with the Vikings planning to invade Ireland. We have no Viking body with malign intent unless we include Brevik the Bastard. We have Christians trying relentlessly to impose their agenda.

    Regardless of your views on the condom issue, the Catholic Church has engaged in a policy that has caused countless deaths and misery. The Christian approach to condoms and AIDS is dishonest and evil. Why Christianity is triumphed as superior to Islam when its evils is simply insidious is something I fail to understand.

    The Christian bible advocates the murder of children, gays and lots of others. It steadfastly refuses to denounce the Old Testament as an unremitting evil. How can Christians be absolved yet followers of the Koran condemned?

    To9 the extent that Islam is evil it is no less so than Christianity.

    Rather than trying to compare one religion against another why not just say that that basis of them all - invisible man and afterlife is nonsense and is the source of evil?

  38. David

    You are not correct about what I say on ISIS. I don't single ISIS out as an narrow extremist representation of Islam like the Author above does -I am pretty explicit that there are vastly more Islamic extremists than ISIS alone represents.

    "... Muslims who suffer indiscriminate murder at the hands of these powers not be justified in saying that the attacks committed against them are committed by Christians?"

    If you can rationlise on behalf of Muslims in this way then what is your objection if non-Muslims rationalise in exactly the same way about Muslims? I don't agree with either scenario.

  39. AM

    I might share your views but tempered with the view that people have a right to believe in unicornology as you call it. I often feel ill at ease when I encounter a christian fundamentalist or some such and there is much to feel uncomfortable about but on the whole Islam poses the greater lets say in your face danger than Christianity. Once we remove the outward war path and decrees of fatwa's from Islamic fundamentalism then we can step back and compare the other malignant dangers of either religious creed -Islam will eventually have to face accountability for its own Magdalene Laundries and institutional abuses of Koranic schools and such like. Islam has a long way to go before it catches up with Christianity in so far as its power has been curbed (not removed) in western society. And as abhorrent as the Catholic Churches approach can be on fundamental human rights issues around AIDS other christian churches approach the issue differently -so why not apply the same rational to Christians as you argue for Muslims? Neither Islam nor the Catholic Church are responsible for AIDS and as much as we might object they have a right of sorts not to participate in any programs distributing condoms -especially where others like the WHO could have done it if they disagreed with the Catholic Churches approach.

    I do not think ISIS is representative of Islam but extremism is representative of Islam if one considers what the threshold for extremism is -are they confined to extreme murderous acts of shock and awe only? or, do we include things like wiping, forced amputations or killing a single individual because they have a vagina, or for apostasy, blasphemy, adultery, stealing food etc etc? So I think it not unreasonable to see Islamic extremism as a much more widespread practice than what ISIS alone do.

    So yes there are differences with religions --I have said on a number of occasions before that I do not think religion should be specifically included as a fundamental human right -freedom of conscience and belief are sufficient -but any religion that adheres to and respects human rights is would be a superior religion to those that do not -Christianity is not quite there yet but it is centuries ahead of Islam. Any Muslim who wishes to conform and adhere to Shari Law is against human rights because Articles contained in either the Universal Declaration or European Convention on Human Rights are not compatible with Shari Law.

  40. I wasn't rationalising, was trying to make a point, poorly obviously. Muslim extremists use religion as a vehicle, as numerous have done before them. I have no time for Islam, a backward religion, like the rest of them. The suppression of woman, the paedophilic attitudes towards marriage etc disgust me. Many liberals bury their heads in the sand on these issues. However I digress, blaming every attack on religious fanatics, even if there is obvious traits, is simplistic and counter productive. There is numerous reasons why people engage in these attacks, revenge mostly. Religion is just a comfort blanket for them.

  41. David

    If religious fanatics carry out attacks in the name of Islam that helps us narrow things down to Muslim religious fanatics and not Hindu or Scientology fanatics -why is that simplistic and counter-productive? Yes there are numerous reasons why people engage in violence, whether legitimate or illegitimate reasons -BUT, why are you trying to find an excuse for Islamic extremism?? It baffles me to try and follow your sort of rational, I have heard it before -that people are not really dying for the cause they claim allegiance to?? If some guy says he is going to blow himself up for Allah and does so -why not take him at his word on that?

  42. This is a classic, Syrian man with back pack bomb is turned away from a music festival, and he goes off near a wine bar, and the newspapers say:

    "It is unclear if he had planned to kill himself or 'take others with him into death' the Nordbayern website reported."

    What a decadent time we live in. I swear people are mentally broken with things like trans-ablism,trans-racialism etc. So when we are faced with the bloody obvious, people are incapable of questioning what they are told. Tbh this is the context ive read with AM remarks, im not bitching, just think he is the clever end of this sort thing.

  43. DaithiD,

    is that seriously how the press all over reported it or an example of one outlet? Andwe are all so broken we can't question it. Nonsense.

    It is much easier to believe in trans whatever than a super sky daddy who benignly looks after us all yet people, as you say, can't deal with the obvious and just believe what they are told about some guy called Jesus who was the son of the other fella in the Old Testament and he died to save the world but came back to life. FFS

  44. AM, i saw also saw BBC report "Syrian Migrant dies in blast" on the BBC.This is more worrying as its a state broadcaster.
    You know very well how the state directs (or deflects) in propaganda. Even if you didnt agree with me in detail, surely this sort of thing, along with Merkhel getting caught telling Zuckerberg to censor what users are saying about migrants, would lead one to wonder what exactly are they hiding? How many times did you see the (single)drowned childs corpse on the beach? How many of the 10 children killed have you seen from Nice?
    I didnt say we are all broken, and i dont blame those that feel it. But humans can only process so much information, it why its not helpful to cloud subjects when clarity is needed.

  45. Douglas Murray articulates every point i tried to make on here about the media, but better:

    Christy, you will appreaciate this i think.

  46. DaithiD,

    a pretty weak outing from Murray who can be much more erudite when he writes.

    We know there is a serious problem with how these matters can be handled. You just picked a poor example. We don't have to think back beyond Charlie Hebdo to see the attitude of the media. We also know the attitude towards the Danish anti-theocratic cartoons was not guided by principle. But none of this demonstrates in the slightest your assertion that Islam as a religious belief system is somehow much worse than the belief system spawned by the Christian bible or those fanatics that find justification in their holy book for murdering the Palestinians and maintaining the brutal Israeli state. Give the Christians political power and they will be back doing pretty much as they always did when they had such power.

    What is being done in the name of Islam is something else. But as Fisk suggests, the West having bombed those countries for years is now getting it back. Don't delude yourself that the mullahs and Imans suddenly got through to these people in a way that Western bombs failed to.

    Too much information? So we will control and filter it then - and who will do that? People should be told more rather than less.

  47. Christy,

    in my view the "in your face threat" is not posed by Islam per se but people carrying out attacks in the name of Islam. I prefer the term Islamicists.

    The problem faced by health authorities was that even when the Church was not trying to actively disrupt the distribution of condoms it was engaged in a strategy of deceit in a bid to discourage the use of them. This was not some benign approach or conscientious objection.

    There is extremism in Islam, much as there is with all religions. What Jewish extremism is doing to the Palestinians seems not to stir up the passion that Islamic extremism does. Take a look at the Christian right in the US. It is perpetually engaged in a battle to undermine rights and impose its belief system against women, gays, school children and whoever else incurs its wrath. I don't want to live in a society where the religious are in control - I see little difference between one theocrat and another and would feel as threatened by both.

    Sharia law should be permitted insofar as Canon Law should. But it can have no more power of enforcement than a chess society. Canon Law for years shielded paedophiles and did much more harm to Irish society than Sharia Law ever did. If people want to believe in the law of the unicorn, they are free to do so - they must still be subject to the law of society.

  48. Christy, am not finding excuses for anybody. And yes evidently they commit atrocities for their God, but to label them as purely religious fanatics misses the point. If it was purely about Islamic domination, where were the consistent attacks before" intervention "?

  49. David,

    I think this is the crux of it. There is no doubt that there is an impulse for domination within Islam. Just like all religions. And I would not term it theocratic fascism if I did not believe religion factored in. But I often ask if Islam is the motivating factor or is it the legitimising factor.

    Geopolitics has a lot to do with the mushrooming of religious extremism: power plays involving Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have been to the fore. Wahhabism predated Al Qaeda so the idea of Islamic imperialism has long existed. But it seems doubtful that we would be witnessing what we are today were it not for the policies of the West. Post 9/11 has seen Islamicism grow exponentially.

  50. I have no doubt about the aspirations of Islamic imperialism. My point is to focus solely on the religious aspect lets so many people of the hook, it irritates me. The inability of some people to accept similarities between religions bamboozles me

  51. David,

    I have problems when people rule out the religious input and blame it on everything else. This is where I come at it in relation to DaithiD who for some reason thinks his sacred text is less obnoxious than Islam's and wishes to blame Islam per se rather than the interpretation and use of the text for political reasons. Christy takes a more functional approach but still conflates the general religion too much with extremism. The seeds of extremism are in all religions. ISIS and its offshoots are trying to forge a Muslim community of aggression in a type of identity politics that does away with borders and nationalities. I think there were tensions between them and Hamas on this very issue. And their task is made much easier when they are able to depict the West as attacking Muslims or "Muslim" countries.

  52. AM,if it was a case of whose Unicorns horn is biggest in our fairytale, id understand your point. But its not,Islam is more than just a practice of faith, its a whole legal and economic system. You are the one that keeps trying to separate this aspect from Islam. as if its some fringe pursuit.Sharia Law is extremism in simple black and white. Its not an interpretation issue.

    If there is such a parallel between the Bible and the Koran, please answer this : Who in the Bible is representative of the role and purpose of Mohammed (Islams founder) ?

  53. DaithiD,

    that may be in the text but it is how it is lived out. Scholars have taken to quoting Mohammad against ISIS.

    Who in the bible? Well, try the murderous big lad himself who committed genocide; who inflicted mass infanticide on the Egyptian first born.

    Try this:

    Biblical scholar Raymond Schwager:

    "... has found 600 passages of explicit violence in the Hebrew Bible [a.k.a. Old Testament], 1000 verses where God's own violent actions of punishment are described, 100 passages where God expressly commands others to kill people, and several stories where God irrationally kills or tries to kill for no apparent reason. Violence ... is easily the most often mentioned activity in the Hebrew Bible."

    And Mohammad is supposed to be some sort of devil. Do you really expect people to buy that bull? Religions all have their murderous Mo types. Theirs has Mohammad and yours has Moses.

  54. AM, i carefully chose my question : its a pretty weird interpretation of the bible to think its an instruction to assume the role of God. Al-Qaeda quote scripture against ISIS too, it really says nothing about the scholars that condemn them, unless you know what they stand for.Much too much supposition.

  55. David

    Beheading hostages and such like long predate 9/11. In Egypt and Indonesia it was common place for non-Muslim school girls to be abducted going to or coming from school only to be married off within the hour to make them Muslim. Non-Muslims living in majority Muslim countries have to pay the government protection money just to exist, the list is endless of Islam's aggressive expansion policy. 9/11 did not spark Islam's evil plan of world domination but gave that plan more momentum. Long before 9/11 Muslims were already talking about out-breeding the European population.

    I understand that other factors might motivate a jihad -do we make excuses for the parachute regiment on Bloody Sunday -I have never heard anyone arguing the relevance of marginalization or prospect of a life of bleak poverty as an excuse that drove them into the army in the first place? So why should we accept these sort of crap excuses to excuse the religious evil jihads do? I also fail to see the connection between a young Muslim's lack of connection with his up bringing in London or because he is unemployed that his response is to drive a lorry load of explosives into a market place in the middle east? I think anyone grasping at these sorts of reasoning are, intentionally or not, making excuses on behalf of Islamic doctrine.


    It is easy to dismiss all religions as extremist on a par with Islam but they are not. I find the extremism of Jehovah's Witnesses refusal of basic live saving medical treatment as incomprehensible. But they only pose a threat to themselves and their children in some cases. When we encounter extremist Chirstian's most people pass them by in the street as raving lunatics and maybe take a flyer from them just to humour them.

    Yes I view Christianity and other religions as being superior to Islam for pragmatic and good reasonable grounds for doing so. I can bulk at what any religious text might say but I take how the believers conduct themselves much more seriously. Can either one of you honestly say that you would be no more wary of an Islamic Extremist living across the street from you than you would be of a Christian or Jehovah's Witness living next door; that they all pose the exact same threat to you or your family??


    I get you point on Mohammad v Moses but in real terms they are both very different -Moses was the messenger -and God carried out the atrocities if the message was not heeded -whereas, Mohammad was big on personally being involved in plunder and pillage and child brides and slavery - and wrote the 'Dummy's Guide to Beheading People' otherwise known as the Hidith in Arabic.

  56. Christy,

    I no longer know who wrote what in these holy books because they were all written by men putting words in the mouths of other men. Maybe it is the same with Mohammad too.

    God didn't actually exist to carry out any atrocities so I have to presume all the atrocities where they occurred were carried out by men using the usual old excuse. The point about the bible is it is as much a justification for murder and genocide as the other Holy books.

    Regarding your exchange with David it was often said during the Northern conflict that people joined the British Army to escape a life of deprivation in disadvantaged areas such as Glasgow and Liverpool. I suppose there has to be some truth in it. But I don't think that explains how they become war criminals. Regiment culture and the chain of command has some role to play.

    Interestingly we had Teresa May, a self professed Christian who claims Christianity is very important to how she lives her life, openly state she would press the nuclear button and massacre men women and children. That type of discourse must make ISIS feel they are pretty okay sort of guys.

    As for living across the street from me, there are quite a few Christians I would fear. Christopher Hitches once made the point very well when asked the same question. But in today's climate and location I would fear the Islamacist more. I didn't fear them at all prior to the war on Iraq. I remember being with the Dark in Hyde Park long before the war and the Nation of Islam guys were speaking. The Dark said they were fascists. They were a sinister menacing lot. But who feared attack before Iraq? As Fisk says, the West bombed them with impunity for long enough but can't anymore.

    I don't believe Islam has any evil plan for world domination but I do believe that theocratic fascists who are Islamicists very much do.

  57. DaithiD,

    Scholarly interpretation means scholars disagree on the text and it suggests there are different ways of reading these things.

    Cut to the chase - is the god of your bible a mass murderer or not? It can't be that hard to answer.

  58. AM

    Yes I know, I remember it being said of squadies and manys a squaddie would be obviously ill at ease doing a stop and search or something. I have read and heard interviews by soldiers where they talk of how if they grew up as nationalists in Belfast they would join the IRA. In fact thousands of Irish people joined the British Army as a means to excape their own background of poverty. That is all fair enough.

    But any deprived upbringing any soldier may have had would not excuse shooting an innocent person dead or taking pleasure in torturing someone. Islamists are not looking to better their lot in ways we might understand they are acting in barbaric ways to bring the non-believers death or Allah. If they were fighting an insurgency that I could understand but they are not.

  59. Christy,

    I think they are fighting both. But I have long viewed them as having no liberationist impulse but rather one that seeks to deny liberation and impose a theocracy or an authoritarian system. The question is how they become so powerful. It is not the persuasive power of Islam that has made them so.

  60. AM
    That sounds about right -but the persuasive power of Islam controls the populace -just look at how Hamas religious police whip people in the street if they step out of line or how the Sauadi's use Shari to maintain power.

  61. Christy,

    it seems to vary from country to country and there is no unified Islam. Within the OIC there is a lot of differentiation - although it is worthwhile noting how Geoffrey Robertson was very critical of it making common cause with the Vatican at the UN when it comes to denying rights and advancing reactionary agendas. The lesson the world learned from having to curb Christianity is to deny religion state power.

  62. Christy, you speak as if i am making excuses for jihad, I am merely pointing out the correlation between western expansionism and jihadi recruitment. I have no time for Islam and would oppose it's expansionism, but you seem to ignore the horrors of western 'democratic' expansionism. I don't think it's making excuses for slaughter wondering what could turn so many young men into the ranks of brutal bastards and looking beyond the religious connections. I don't agree that other religions are less violent. Every architect of Iraq etc was Christian and as for Israel, fuck me, you think they're less brutal than Islam. I lived next to religious extremists my whole life, none of them Muslim. In the current atmosphere you'd say a Muslim extremist is more dangerous but you never know

  63. David

    Perhaps the confusions stems from your reluctance to face factual reality in terms of religious extremism -you equivocate: "In the current atmosphere you'd say a Muslim extremist is more dangerous but you never know". Well actually we do know; there is only one religion dominating the news almost daily for the past few years.

  64. Christy, I am going to leave it at this. Just finish by saying, it all depends on interpretation or where you live in the world.

  65. David

    " it all depends on interpretation or where you live in the world"

    No it doesn't, it 'depends' on the global death count were religion was the reason. Universally it is undisputed that Muslims are killing more people in the name of Islam than any other religion. It is hard not to see what you are trying to do as anything other than attempting to excuse Islam by equating it to other religions. Islam is not comparable unless we are talking in terms of centuries ago.

  66. Christy, we're going round in circles here. Yes Muslims kill more people than other religions. Most of the wars are happening in Muslim's countries so obviously there's a higher death count, who's responsible for most, if not all of these conflicts? There's always a multitude of reasons for bloodshed, religion just makes people comfortable with it

  67. Christy, the mass enslavement of women/girls doesn't fit their counter violence theories either. What countries where Muslims are at least a sizable minority do they peacefully coexist with non-Muslims? This can't all be explained wih references to the US can it?

  68. DD

    Just the other day I saw what must have been a 3 or 4 year old girl (judging from her size and the way she was walking) with her head and face covered -that should be outlawed in Ireland.

  69. Christy, covering of some form is usually done after their first period, so its pretty awful to do it babies. But then what horrifies us is cheered on the Left as sign of yet more diversity. I don't want to live in a world like that.