Columns

Asker ’17: Conclusions after the Chapel Hill shooting

By
Opinions Columnist
Tuesday, February 24, 2015

After three Muslim students attending the University of North Carolina were shot dead in their apartment by a white, atheistic neighbor Feb. 11, many people across the nation and the world spoke out against the egregious murders. They expressed support for the friends and families of the victims and commemorated the deceased as exemplary students and good people.

In social media posts bearing the hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter, some alleged that the students had been murdered because of their religious beliefs. Speculation about the killer’s motives ignited when it was discovered that his Facebook profile contained posts expressing antipathy for all religions, despite the police releasing a preliminary statement indicating that the killing had been the result of a parking dispute, the New York Times reported.

As the Times highlighted in a different article, some social media users condemning what they saw as a hate crime also criticized the news media for their initially meager coverage of the shooting. They creatively argued that if the ancestry of the killer and the victims were reversed, the incident would have more immediately outraged the West and received more comprehensive coverage.

At the victims’ funeral assembly, the father of two of the students told the crowd of around 5,000 that “this (shooting) has hate crime written all over it,” the Times reported.

It is perfectly reasonable to demand that local, state and federal justice systems rigorously investigate all aspects of the case, including the possibility of religious hatred being a motivating factor. On the other hand, though it is understandable for family members and the world to be upset by the loss of life and to be angry at the murderer, it is not right to jump to conclusions and claim that this incident was a hate crime.

As a murder, it is an undeniably heinous act, one that deserves public censure and demands immediate justice before the law. And any person with half a heart agrees that the lives of the victims matter. But the number of people who have voiced with such conviction that the killing was motivated by religious hatred, as though it were an incontrovertible fact, is shocking. You can’t legitimately infer from the case as of now that the killer was motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment. Having an inkling does not warrant such a bold assertion.

Though it might appear hate-crime believers are only making innocuous overstatements — after all, the reasoning goes, the killer is a scumbag who deserves any criticism we can throw at him — what they’re doing is actually more harmful than they think. Prematurely labeling the incident a hate crime sensationalizes and foments an unproductive uproar from the previously uninformed, and now misinformed, masses. As a result, the facts — the firm foundation on which productive dialogue rests — are confused, turned into shifting sands, thereby miring constructive debate.

Even if the goal of the claims is to create a public conversation about minorities’ human rights, which I agree is a noble cause worth pursuing, it does not justify the use of false propaganda.

We need to realize that ends-justify-the-means rhetoric sets dangerous precedents and repurposes fanatical logic that has led to innumerable atrocities throughout history. We need to respect the intelligence of the masses we are trying to sway and show them facts. We can denounce Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiment by accurately depicting facts with which the public can engage. Why falsely cry wolf now when demonstrable wolves exist and will exist in the future?

Take, for instance, the fact that hate crimes against Muslims have jumped five-fold since 9/11, according to a Washington Post article citing data from the FBI. Though these hate crimes are rarely murders, this statistic shows that intimidation and violence are a reality for many American Muslims. To make things more concrete, we don’t have to look any further than West Warwick. Over the weekend, the Islamic School of Rhode Island was vandalized with orange spray paint covering its doors reading, “‘Now this is a hate crime’ and ‘pigs,’ along with expletives referring to the prophet Muhammad and to Allah,” according to the Providence Journal. These are just a few of the many facts we can appropriately use that speak to the injustice Muslims face in the United States today.

Moreover, drawing attention to the legitimate fear felt by Muslims across the United States because of gratuitous Islamophobic reactions to 9/11 — and, more recently, to the shootings in France and to the film “American Sniper” — is a more accurate way to appeal to the general public’s emotions and convince them that people’s basic human right to feel safe where they reside is being violated.

The demand for level-headed assertions is not limited to some hasty social justice advocates. American people generally, including those most susceptible to the fear-mongering television news channels, need to be open-minded and willing to accept reason as the basis of their sentiments toward others. We cannot let fear dictate our everyday actions and conversations.

It is all too predictable that, after a terrorist attack somewhere, ignorant people will indiscriminately alienate Muslims, not recognizing that for every belief, there are wingnuts whose views are in no way representative of the entire group.

Failure to understand this, and failure to call people out who commit these irrational generalizations, allows hate to thrive. It marginalizes communities that have a rightful place and play a valuable role in America. To those fanatics with whom the humanity argument doesn’t resonate, I say: Your zealotry ultimately fuels the very thing you single-mindedly try to prevent — terrorism.

Impulsivity and lack of reflectiveness are never excusable, no matter the hardship and how natural it is to fall prey to them. They lead to hatred like Islamophobia. And as much as people may balk at the assertion, they lead to assumptions of anti-Muslim motives in the Chapel Hill shooting. To prevent these undue reactions, our goal should be to have debates over the controversies of our time rooted in reason and reason-checked emotions.


Nick Asker ’17 can be reached at 
nicholas_asker@brown.edu

  • Arafat

    There are statistics and then there are statistics. I thought journalism was supposed to be about uncovering the truth – no matter how ugly it may be. Instead it has become about spinning a tale. Truth be damned!

    +++

    A detailed analysis of FBI statistics covering ten full calendar
    years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks reveals that, on a per capita basis,
    American Muslims, contrary to spin, have been subjected to hate crimes less
    often than other prominent minorities. From 2002 to 2011, Muslims are estimated
    to have suffered hate crimes at a frequency of 6.0 incidents per 100,000 per
    year – 10 percent lower than blacks (6.7), 48 percent lower than homosexuals
    and bisexuals (11.5), and 59 percent lower than Jews (14.8). Americans should
    keep these numbers in mind whenever Islamists attempt to silence critics by
    invoking Muslim victimhood.

    • Yassir

      Or it could be that it’s because people refuse to call hate crimes against Muslims hate crimes because they think it is a rational reaction to the core tenets of Islam.

      • Arafat

        Or it could be the world is flat as many Muslim imams insist.

        • Jesus

          Oh yeah, because the christian church has such a great track record with this stuff…

          • Arafat

            You’re right. It does not. But that does not mean they are the same.
            When Christians sin they sin. They are not behaving in accordance with the Golden Rule or as Jesus would have them act.
            When Muslims sin they are promised paradise and are emulating many of the same things Mohammed did.

          • Jesus
          • GopherPatriot

            Your narrative and knowledge of Islam is the same as ISIS and their like, which is to say, ignorant.

            So, you’re down with selling daughters into slavery as Judaism calls for in Exodus 21:7?
            Do you also endorse killing those who work on the Sabbath, as decreed in Exodus 35:2?
            Shall we all take up the sword and sow discord, as Christ taught us in Matthew 10:34?

            Arafat, do you support rabbis sucking infant genitals as part of circumcision? Tell us where that venerable tradition originated from?

            http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-features/.premium-1.644138

          • Arafat

            “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who
            disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads
            and strike off every fingertip of them.”
            “Allah” (Qur’an 8:12)

            “Fight everyone in the way of Allah and
            kill those who disbelieve in Allah.”
            Muhammad (Ibn Ishaq 992)

            “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
            Jesus (Matthew 5:14)

            Even though many Muslims regard terrorists who kill in the name of Allah as criminals, they cannot deny that Muhammad also killed in the name of Allah. What example of Jesus do Christians emulate which has them confused them with terrorists and criminals?

            Each year, thousands of Christian homes and churches are torched or bombed by Muslim mobs, and hundreds of Christians, including dozens of priests, pastors, nuns and other church workers are murdered at the hands of Islamic extremists. The so-called justification varies, from charges of apostasy or evangelism, to purported “blasphemy” or “insulting” Islam. Innocent people have even been hacked to death by devout Muslims over cartoons.

            Yet, there is little if any violent retaliation from religious Christians to the discrimination, kidnapping, rape, torture, mutilation and murder that is routinely reported from nations with Muslim majorities. Neither is there is any significant deadly terrorism in the name of Jesus, as there is in the stated cause of Allah each and every day. Muslim clerics in the West do not fear for their safety as do their Christian counterparts.

            The “Christian world” and the Islamic world contrast sharply in other ways as well, from the disparate condition of human rights and civil liberties to economic status. An astonishing 70% of the world’s refugees are Muslims – usually seeking to live in Christian-based countries.

            While Western societies take seriously “scandals” such as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo (where no one has actually been killed), Muslims routinely turn a blind eye to their own horrible atrocities, even those committed explicitly in the name of Allah. The Muslim world has yet to offer a single apology for the tens of millions of lives consumed by centuries of relentless Jihad and slavery.

          • GopherPatriot

            How come you didn’t answer the question? Dodging as usual because you’re dishonest and have the same interpretive skills as ignorant terrorists. You must be their PR firm.

            “Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel.” Deuteronomy 17:12

            ” A man or a woman who acts as a medium or fortuneteller shall be put to death by stoning; they have no one but themselves to blame for their death.” Leviticus 20:27

            “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death.” Leviticus 20:10

            Shall we go on? God of the Bible or the Quran doesn’t seem to like people who sin.

            But your ignorance leads you to simplistic conclusions. The only difference between an extremist who warps religion to suit their madness and you, is that you haven’t acted out yet. At least that we know of.. but clearly you’ve got the same fabric.

            Sick.

          • Arafat

            GP,
            You are obsessing over this and you need help. I am worried about your mental health.
            As I wrote yesterday our debate was getting circular, repetitive and boring; and today is no different. We both made our points and anything else we say on this topic is neither new or interesting.
            Please let it go and seek counseling if not for your sake then for the sake of the editors of the Brown Herald.
            As I promised yesterday: This will be my last comment on this specific article. And this time I mean it.

          • GopherPatriot

            So why don’t you answer? I figured you employed rhetorical dishonesty in discussion but I at least thought you had some integrity. I’m glad to see you are done. I’m sure there’s appreciation for the exchange of your rants and my rebuttals.

            Considering your 7,000+ posts usually maligning Muslims and others whenever you can find a tangential reason to do so, I think I’ve got a long, long way to go before I get to your level of obsession.

          • GopherPatriot

            “Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. “The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.” Deuteronomy 13:13-19

            I guess you condone mass killing, Arafat.

    • GopherPatriot

      No, Arafat. There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Disraeli seems to have been prescient about your rhetorical approach.

      • Arafat

        So, Gopher, I link evidence contradicting Nick’s and you call me names.
        Why does that not surprise me?

        • GopherPatriot

          I didn’t call you names. If I called you a moron, or a tard, as you’ve done many times to me, then that would be name calling.

          I’m critiquing your rhetorical style which is reductive, repetitive, decontextualized, and dishonest at best.

          Can you differentiate or is that too hard for you?

        • GopherPatriot

          Much as it is a surprise to you, I don’t hate you, Arafat. But what you do is dishonest and harmful because you’re not interested at examining root causes and fostering dialogue.

          You want to promote hate, plain and simple. In this case, toward Muslims. So you deserve to be stood up to.

          You wanna argue there is no God, that Islamic doctrine is backwards and all religions are bunk, that’s fine.

          But, make no mistake. This is a posting about three kids that got killed. They happened to be Muslim and by all accounts, led exemplary lives of contribution to society. You debase their memory by ignoring their lives and that their lives reflect Islam far more than the narrative you want to promote.

          You pour all this time and effort to try and get people to hate Islam and Muslims. That’s sad.

          • Arafat

            What I do is “dishonest and harmful” from your perspective, not from where I sit.

            Believe it or not, you do not get to define honesty just because you think a lie is true.

            Here is another man who wrote in a “dishonest and harmful” way and a person who I am honored to be of a like mind.

            ++

            John Quincy Adams on Islam

            “The precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Mahomet is the prophet of God. The vanquished may purchase their lives, by the payment of tribute; the victorious may be appeased by a false and delusive promise of peace; and the faithful follower of the prophet, may submit to the imperious necessities of defeat: but the command to propagate the Moslem creed by the sword is always obligatory, when it can be made effective. The commands of the prophet may be performed alike, by fraud, or by force.”

          • GopherPatriot

            You could not have more succinctly validated what I wrote above in regards to your approach.

          • Arafat

            So, GP, is John Adams an evil, prejudiced person like me too, or is he simply stating the obvious – the truth?

          • GopherPatriot

            Well, gosh, you have me there. A citation of the 6th President of the United States more than suffices. Let’s quote historical figures that align with the narrative of hate and voila, proof. You’re a rhetorical alchemist.

            Why do you also endorse the inferiority of blacks, support of slavery, disenfranchisement of women and other such views? There were many Founders who believed that. Or do you just like to cherry pick?

          • Arafat

            GP,

            Not surprising you make light of this as is your wont for anything I write that supports my point of view.

            So you would prefer I quote more contemporary figures? Well, then, here is one:

            Richard Dawkins on Islam

            “Islam deserves criticism on account of the logical consequences of its dogma, namely, that the murder of fellow human beings is to be rewarded with sensual pleasure in a hedonistic ‘Paradise’- a concept born in the fantasies of an Arab rebel some fourteen centuries ago. The religion of Mohammed is a dangerous system when the teachings and example of the ‘prophet’ are believed and followed.”

            ++
            Please tell me where his views differ from mine?

          • GopherPatriot

            I swear you must have watched Dodgeball because all you do is “dodge, dip, duck, dive, and dodge”.

            Do you go to an MD, DO, NP, PA for your medical care? Or do you go to someone on the internet who can share some quotes on health?

          • Arafat

            Accusing me of doing what you’re doing. Pretty laughable, pretty pathetic.

            Let me ask it again. How are my opinions about Islam different than Richard Dawkins? Why do you dodge answering this question?

            This is little different than your belittling John Adams views about Muslims because as you claimed he was an example of, “historical figures that align with the narrative of hate and voila, proof. You’re a rhetorical alchemist.”
            Why are you dodging this question while accusing me of doing this?

          • GopherPatriot

            Because neither Richard Dawkins, nor John Quincy Adams has standing in regards to establishing what is or is not valid doctrine in regard to the Islamic faith. And you don’t answer any question honestly, so why bother to answer your diversions?

            You have a right to peddle hate. People have a right to call it out and expose it for what it is.

            Have a nice day.

          • Arafat

            I see.
            So you have standing in regards to Islam but these men do not.
            Wow! You really are something.

          • GopherPatriot

            I am glad you acknowledge that standing is relevant. I’ll keep it short and sweet.

            Who determines what is valid, orthodox doctrine for Judaism? Christianity? Islam? or any -ism for that matter?

          • Arafat

            A great question! I’d guess the answer is for Christianity and particularly Judaism it is subject to interpretation within certain defined obvious truths. For instance, in Christianity the Golden Rule and the example that Jesus set defines certain parameters defining orthodox doctrine.
            ++
            And, of course, the same would be true for Islam. The example Mohammed set – as a lascivious megalomaniac – and the teachings set forth in the Qur’an about violent jihad and Islamic supremacism over all others sets parameters around which a valid and orthodox definition of Islam is.
            ++
            And, of course the same is true of Buddhism or Hinduism too. The fact that Buddha strived for enlightenment and cherished all life helps us understand this religion too.
            ++
            This is, of course, where you choose to live in denial. You refuse to acknowledge facts defining Mohammed’s personality and actions versus, say, those of Buddha or Jesus.
            Instead you embrace falsehoods about Mohammed that are easily contradicted by simply reading Islam’s core religious texts.

          • GopherPatriot

            Folks, it’s evident right there. Simple question. Dodge, malign, insult. The Arafat model of dialogue.

            So, you’re down with selling daughters, Judaism calls for in Exodus 21:7?
            Do you endorse killing those who work on the Sabbath, as decreed in Exodus 35:2?
            Shall we all take up the sword and sow discord, as Christ taught us in Matthew 10:34?

            Etc, etc, etc.

            You’re a dishonest discussant. Gave you a chance, and you proved to us all what you’re made of. Oh well.

          • ’09

            His views are equally critical and negative of all religions, not just islam. That’s where they differ from yours.

          • Arafat

            This is not true. I have no beef with any religion other than Islam.
            No other religion’s core tenets are inimical to my well-being.

          • Guest

            Dude every religion has crazy passages. Have you even read a bible?? And your mischaracterizing Dawkins.

          • Arafat

            I am quoting Dawkins verbatim.
            Yes, every religion has “crazy passages” but none other than Islam call for subjugation of all others and forever.

          • GopherPatriot

            “Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel.” Deuteronomy 17:12

            “[If you find disbelievers] you must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock. You are to gather all the plunder of the town into the middle of the public square and completely burn the town and all its plunder as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God. That town is to remain a ruin forever, never to be rebuilt” Deuteronomy 13

            Ya, that’s pretty pacifistic there. I didn’t realize how easy it is to take things out of context. Thanks for showing us.

          • ’09

            Thank you. You proved my point. Dawkins has beef with all religions. You only have beef with Islam.

            Good to know that the following are inimical to your well being. However, I think it’s reasonable to say that they are not inimical to any reasonable person:

            Shahadah: declaring there is no god except God, and Muhammad is God’s Messenger

            Salat: ritual prayer five times a day

            Zakat: giving 2.5% of one’s savings to the poor and needy

            Sawm: fasting and self-control during the holy month of Ramadan

            Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime[5][6] if one is able[7]

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Pillars_of_Islam

          • Arafat

            You claim I am not interested in discussing root causes, yet it is my experience that this fault lies with you. I have argued here on several occasions that the root cause is found in the example Mohammed set in his life, i.e, he raped, pillaged, tortured and killed (as is easily fond in the Hadiths and Sunna). In addition the root cause is easily found in the Qur’an which is filled with admonitions to believers to fight and conquer infidels.
            Are you saying anything I wrote here is dishonest? If so let’s have an open discussion with anything you disagree with.

          • GopherPatriot

            Arafat, your postings stretch back years. I’ve engaged you many times. You simply repeat your assertions, with various quotes and “facts”, all of which are decontextualized.

            Neither of us are scholars of Arabic and linguistics, or a lettered historian or theologian. Neither of us are scholars of the foundational texts of the religion. But there are those who are and in fact, learned individuals of the religion, in addition to well over a billion practitioners of that faith. Overwhelmingly, the practice of Islam according to these individuals is 180 degrees opposite your narrative.

            Oddly enough, your narrative is in line with extremists and people who have been denounced as having no standing. Yet, you take them as exemplary, which is what they want. They want validity. You and others similarly doing what you do, act as their PR firm. You share the same mindset of hating all who do not adhere to your contrived, warped narrative. Extremism and zealotry is a human failing for which any ideology, philosophy and religion is prone to being warped to create “justification”. Again, every nutjob thinks themselves rational.

            Your approach is wholly reductive as well. You ignore over a thousand years of rich history and contributions to civilization by Muslims who were spurred on by their faith. They were not angels nor were they the paragon of human achievement. But, neither were nor are they the monolithic boogeyman you insist they are. You ignore complex issues of local, regional and global geopolitics, the influence of colonial and neocolonial interference, and social and cultural problems as well. You simply state “Islam is the problem” which is banal and devoid of any value.

            Your approach always seeks to diminish any positive story involving Muslims or laudatory of Islam or Islamic tenets by way of highlighting the actions of criminals and terrorists whom you then hold up in order to ascribe their actions to the religion, and by proxy, all Muslims. It’s the same bigotry you just denounced elsewhere when it’s directed egregiously toward Jews for the repugnant actions of the Israeli government toward Jewish dissenters and Palestinian Christians and Muslims. But you welcome that approach when it comes to Muslims and their religion.

            So, don’t think you’re fooling anyone but yourself. You may post a million times and may convince a few of your hateful narrative. Maybe you’ll achieve your goal of having some nutjob get riled up to act on your hate. Good for you.

          • Arafat

            GP writes, “Neither of us are scholars of Arabic and linguistics, or a lettered historian or theologian. Neither of us are scholars of the foundational texts of the religion. But there are those who are and in fact, learned individuals of the religion, in addition to well over a billion practitioners of that faith. Overwhelmingly, the practice of Islam according to these individuals is 180 degrees opposite your narrative.”
            ++
            I would suggest the evidence is quite the contrary. One can easily YouTube Imams spreading the most despicable hatred in their sermons – hundreds of Imams doing so. Do these Imams not understand Arabic or Islam? Are you suggesting these Imams misunderstand their own religion?
            ++
            Additionally wherever we find Islam practiced we find some degree of hatred, repression and cruelty practiced. Be it in Saudi Arabia where women are treated as chattel (as are Shi’ites) and where no infidels are allowed citizenry; or in a dozen Muslim countries where murder of infidels is a common practice and goes unpunished.
            ++
            What you fail to understand is that one of Islam’s core tenets permits lying to infidels. You are naïve enough to believe lies told by liars despite the evidence to the contrary. You might try studying the use of taqiyya and kitman in Islam.
            ++
            And while you accuse me of being an extremist for daring to speak honestly about Islam are defending those who behead, burn alive, gang-rape in the name of Islam.
            ++
            You refuse to deal in facts concerning Islam because the facts support my side. So you generalize and obfuscate instead. The facts are that Islam’s prophet was a violent man, a man who either raped, tortured and killed or had his men do it instead. You cannot dispute these facts, so you gloss over them as if unimportant. Or you insinuate my facts are untrue because I do not understand Arabic, as if Arabic were unique among the world’s languages and impossible to translate.
            ++
            You continue to ignore my comments about Muslims being no different than anyone else when born, but that socialization plays a huge role in shaping people. Just as Amish generally share characteristics due to their socialization so too do Muslims. It is not my fault Islam is a hate-filled ideology and that it has a tendency to twist a meaningful percentage of Muslims into uncaring sadists. This is a fact not my opinion. No one can question the heightened sadism experienced in Islamic countries without denying reality.
            As I have written many times before: Muslims are Islam’s first victims as Islam crushed the human spirit. I feel sorry for Muslims and hope there comes a day when they can walk away from Islam and towards something more enriching without threat to their safety.

          • GopherPatriot

            Wow, YouTube? You can also find people on YouTube who believe 9/11 was an inside job, that we never landed on the moon, and rabbis, priests and clergy who call for eradication of those who don’t believe in their views. Is that your standard of validity?

            You want to critique Mideast countries? Fine by me, there’s plenty to argue. But again, you ignore the multiplicity of factors and ascribe everything to religion. That’s reductive and simplistic. It’s also narrow and arguable that in many aspects, those societies run counter to Islamic precepts. Saudi Arabian government does not equal Islam or all Muslims any more or less than Vatican government defines Catholics or Israel equates to all Jews.

            Really? I took an religion course once. I’m pretty sure I remember the Five Pillars and the central articles of faith including belief in God, their books, their prophets, their angels, their day of judgment, and fate. Lying to infidels isn’t among them. But that’s a convenient argument isn’t it? If some Muslim comes along to counter an argument, we can just brand them as lying.

            BTW, infidel, is a Middle French derived word used to denote people who did not believe in Christianity. I guess we can add English to the things wherein your scholarship is lacking.

            You repeat and drone on and on. It’s boring, Ari. Mohammad was this that and the other. Again, a billion people and over a thousand years of history and legitimate scholars, theologians, historians, and people with a modicum of critical thought argue more convincingly of what represents a truer indication of Islamic teaching than some guy hiding behind an Arabic name while posting dross on the internet.

            You just hope some nutjob will act on your hate. I hope by pointing out your hate and flimsy substance, it’ll give them pause to realize you peddle a sham narrative.

          • Arafat

            It’s my opinion we both drone on. Neither of us are particularly great debaters or communicators. I’m OK with that.

            Was the following man different than me? Was he also a prejudiced bigot? Why do you avoid this? Can you not acknowledge that my understanding of Islam is similar to that of many great men who have actually dealt with Islam first hand?

            ++

            Gregory Palamus of Thessalonica on Islam

            “For these impious people, hated by God and infamous, boast of having got the better of the Romans by their love of God…they live by the bow, the sword and debauchery, finding pleasure in taking slaves, devoting themselves to murder, pillage, spoil and not only do they commit these crimes, but even – what an aberration – they believe that God approves of them. This is what I think of them, now that I know precisely about their way of life.”

          • GopherPatriot

            Sorry, false equivalency. Your posts are repetitive and a rehash of snippits you’ve used all over Disqus comment boards.

            But I’m glad you are admitting your problem. That’s the first step. I admit your narrative is one that has been around for as long as there have been people wanting to hate another people for no other reason than they are ‘other’.

            There have been ‘great’ people and generations who were racist toward Africans, bigoted antisemitics toward Jews, misogynists toward women, homophobes toward gays, and hate filled people toward Catholics, Protestants, Irish, Italians, Mexicans, Chinese, etc, etc, etc.

            You just want to get in on the hate of Muslims and Islam among other minorities.

            Whatever floats your boat. But it’s pretty sick.

          • Arafat

            You simply do not understand and that’s OK with me. This explains your accusing me of things that are untrue. You just don’t get it. Let me try to keep it simple.
            ++
            Islam is similar in some ways to Nazism. Islam’s core belief that Muslims are superior to infidels is similar to Nazism. Islam’s core tenets about waging jihad as a means of conquering the world (something which, by the way, has proven very successful for Islam) is similar to Nazism.
            ++
            Your inability to acknowledge this is a problem that speaks volumes about you, but nothing about me or Islam.
            In any case I appreciate this exchange. It was civil and helped define our differences. It also hopefully helped others better understand the root causes of Islam’s aggression and sadism.

          • GopherPatriot

            It’s amazing how easily I can take you through your stages of deceptive dialogue. I am just glad it’s all available on Disqus.

            Keep up the hate. Love and humanity will win in the end despite you. But, hopefully one day you’ll wake up from committing to a life of peddling hate of others.

          • Arafat

            This is getting tedious.
            I am not peddling hate, I am peddling truisms about Islam. It is Islam that peddles hate as is witnessed every day in countries throughout the world.

          • GopherPatriot

            Every time you say something bigoted, reductive, and erroneously generalized, you’re going to get called out for saying it. What do you want?

          • Arafat

            What I try to do GP is educate people about Islam. And, yes, Islam is something to be hated. It is a supremacist doctrine filled with hatred of others.
            These killings were a tragedy. No question about it. But why is it that American Muslims pervert this into a hate crime when the evidence currently suggests this was a killing by a psychotic who lost it over a dispute over a parking lot? More importantly, why is it Muslims never hold vigils for people killed by Muslims? I mean there is not a day that goes by when we don’t read about people (journalists, aid workers, UN forces, Christian villagers, Jews at temple or at stores) being murdered by Muslims.
            In my pursuit to educate people about Islam I also focus on the hypocrisy of practicing Muslims. Of how they ignore crimes committed against infidels in the name of Islam, but if there own people are attacked by a psycho they shout out from the rooftops.
            I think this is worth noting. You do not. That’s life, dude. Get used to the fact that not everyone thinks like you or agrees with your misguided opinions.

  • Arafat

    Islamophobia = hatred. Really? Are you sure it is not a rational reaction to Islam and its core tenets of supremacism, disdain for infidels and goal of creating a worldwide caliphate?

    ++

    A beheading in Woolwich, a suicide bomb in Beijing, a blown-up marathon in
    Boston, a shooting in the head of a young Pakistani girl seeking education, a
    destroyed shopping mall in Nairobi – and so it continues, in the name of Islam,
    from south London to Timbuktu. It is time to take stock, especially on the
    left, since these things are part of the world’s daily round.

    Leave aside the parrot-cry of “Islamophobia” for a moment. I will return to
    it. Leave aside, too, the pretences that it is all beyond comprehension.
    “Progressives” might ask instead: what do Kabul, Karachi, Kashmir, Kunming and
    a Kansas airport have in common? Is it that they all begin with “K”? Yes. But
    all of them have been sites of recent Islamist or, in the case of Kansas, of
    wannabe-Islamist, attacks; at Wichita Airport planned by a Muslim convert ready
    to blow himself up, and others, “in support of al-Qaeda in the Arabian
    Peninsula”. “We cannot stop lone wolves,” a British counterterrorism expert
    told us after Woolwich. Are they “lone”? Of course not.

    A gas facility in southern Algeria, a hospital in Yemen, an Egyptian police
    convoy in the Sinai – it’s complex all right – a New Year’s party in the
    southern Philippines, a railway station in the Caucasus, a bus terminal in
    Nigeria’s capital, and on and on, have all been hit by jihadis, with hostages
    taken, suicide belts detonated, cars and trucks exploded, and bodies blown to
    bits. And Flight MH370? Perhaps. In other places – in Red Square and Times
    Square, in Jakarta and New Delhi, in Amman and who-knows-where in Britain –
    attacks have been thwarted. But in 2013 some 18 countries got it in the
    neck (so to speak) from Islam’s holy warriors….

  • GopherPatriot

    I’m wondering if Arafat is hoping some nutjob who reads his incessant hate based narrative of Muslims will maybe take actions into their own hands and act out to rid us of his contrived “threat” that every Muslim apparently represents.

    Pretty sure the Europe went through the result of an insidious, persistent, and pervasive contrived narrative about the “inherent evil” of one group of people.

    You sure you didn’t just time travel from 1930s Germany, Arafat?

    • Arafat

      GP,
      Your insinuation is offensive.
      Once again you defend those who burn people to death, behead people on a regular basis, kill in the name of Allah while castigating those who have the courage to discuss this openly.
      It is you who is enabling psychotics to ply their trade, not me.

      • GopherPatriot

        No, you do. You act as their PR firm and endorse their hate while promoting your own. Your hope is to generate hate and derision of Muslims and their faith. While it’s your right, in so doing, you pollute the public space and make fertile ground for nutjobs to take it to the next level. You welcome the vitriol in the hopes that we continue to bomb and destabilize parts of the world, which only adds fuel to the fire and helps those who sell the bullets and bombs and the gasoline. You’re all part and parcel of one sick group bent on peddling hate.

        My posts are all visible. So, you’re a liar and a poor interlocutor, Ari.

        And I’m not insinuating. I’m calling you out for your hate and your obvious thinly veiled intent.

        • Arafat

          GP, this is nothing more than your perception. You are not the end-all-be-all on all truths even though you evidently believe you are.
          ++
          You are also typical of those who cherry-pick facts to confirm their biases. For instance you insinuate America is at fault for radicalizing Muslims when Muslims are radicalized by anything and everything. In your opinion have Muslims killed 5,000 Buddhists in southern Thailand because Buddhists are bombing Muslims, or is it because Islam’s core tenets teach true followers to wage jihad against infidels?
          Or did Muslims kill upwards of 70 million Hindus in their centuries long jihad against the Hindus of southern Asia because Hindus were bombing them?
          Your opinions are neither consistent or jibe with the facts.

          • GopherPatriot

            You aren’t honest as a discussant.
            You accuse your opponent of that which you demonstrably are guilty of. You never carry a consistent line of engagement and toss in all manner of tangential items. You generalize and stereotype. You repeat, ad nauseam, the same things over and over while not comprehending that what you do is insufficient in developing a proof, but is clear that it’s an intent to peddle a narrative that foments hate.

            You want some nutjob to act out on your hate. Sad.

          • Arafat

            What I want is for people to understand Islam for what it is: a totalitarian ideology typical of all totalitarian ideologies where repression, groupthink rule the day and individual freedoms are all but non-existent.
            I know it’s important for you to insinuate otherwise, but that is your problem not mine.

          • GopherPatriot

            I know that’s what you want: you want people to ascribe to your narrative which promotes hate and anger and fear of a group of people. In that mix, all it takes is a nutjob to take it to the next step. And since you’re not unintelligent to know that, your persistence implies a willful desire. Short of that, you’ll hope to create a climate of hate no different than what was done to Jews.

            That’s all our problem, because unlike you, “never again” means “never again” for everyone. Go back to 1930s Germany.

          • Arafat

            GP,
            Let’s call it a day. You’re repeating yourself as am I. We’ve made our points and we disagree. Let’s leave it at that.

          • GopherPatriot

            Arafat, I’m sorry, but I don’t accept your false equivalency in this regard. You’ve demonstrated your repetitive approach and it’s been called out. I’ve argued that there is a far broader context that undermines your narrative, but you won’t acknowledge it. Given that you are intelligent enough to know that (admittedly, an assumption), we are left with seeing that your intent is clear to malign and distort a group of people and their faith. That serves no other purpose than to foster hate of them, with all its consequences.

            But, if you want to call it a day, I’ll give you that. If I see you post somewhere on Disqus, I’ll know how honest you are.

            Good day.

  • GopherPatriot

    Please see the dialogue below as an example of Arafat’s approach to peddle hate.

    God rest the souls of the three murdered kids. They lived exemplary lives. That’s worth remembering.

    • Not according to their Twitter feeds, it wasn’t. One was a blatant racist.

  • da Sage

    I do not know Arafat. I have seen several of his comments to this article and to other articles. It is clear that he has strong views. I think that I do not share some of Arafat’s views, but they do not really bother me. I see also in this blog that GopherPatriot and Arafat are at it like there is no tomorrow. Gopher’s dogged personality tells me something about him. Gopher himself holds that religion. He has content knowledge about that religion. He knows less about it than he thinks he does. As a matter of fact he knows less about anything than he thinks he knows. He is blindsided by his great impression of himself. In the rare moments when he has a good point to make, he does not know when or how to stop. He is a misogynist. He is himself a racist. If he is in fact getting a Brown University education, and if, god forbids, that will help him to have real roles amongst his ilk one day, he will be a problem. In the olden days, that would be a job for James Bond to deal with. But so that we do not dramatize anything, as James Bond deals with the Gopher type, it is typically only a 2-second clip, without any scratch on Bond himself, and without any increase in his body temperature or perspiration level. As a matter of fact, many of the moviegoers might not even remember anything about the Gopher type, because his will always be a side show. He is a problem – a small problem. Bond gets rid of him. That’s the end of that.