Islamic radicals kill more polio workers

December 29, 2013 • 5:42 am

One of the most pernicious effects of religion is the opposition of some faiths to modern health care. I’ve posted on this frequently, especially about American religious sects which prohibit health care, vaccination, and blood transfusions for children, children who have no ability to make medical choices. As a result, many of those children have died. Although these faiths might be considered “extreme,” the rest of us have made the laws that exempt their adherents from the necessity to take proper care of their children.

Even more horrible is the tendency of militant Muslims, particularly the Taliban, to murder those who are trying to vaccinate children against polio. This is happening in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and parts of Africa. It’s not just the shots, either—oral polio vaccines are considered just as un-Islamic.

The Guardian, the New York Times, and Jihad Watch report that another five vaccination workers—all Pakistanis—were killed in the last two weeks. As the Guardian notes:

Five female health workers vaccinating children against polio have been shot dead in Pakistan in a series of attacks blamed on Islamist militants. One victim was a 17-year-old schoolgirl volunteer.

Four of the killings, which officials said were carried out by masked men on motorbikes, took place in the southern city of Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial capital, on the second day of a drive to eradicate the disease from the country.

The fifth, of the schoolgirl, occurred in the violent western city of Peshawar. According to some reports, a sixth health worker, a man, was also killed in Karachi.

It was not clear who was behind the shootings, but Taliban insurgents have repeatedly denounced the anti-polio campaign as a western plot.

The anti-Islamophobes can thus blame this on colonialism, but that’s a stretch, for anti-Westernism is a characteristic of Islamism (read The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright). And if that’s not enough, there are more explicit religious motivations for Islamic anti-vaxers. (By the way, midwives have also been killed.) As Jihad Watch notes:

The Times says that the Taliban “accuses the United States of using a drive to eradicate polio in the country as a cover for spying,” but that isn’t the only reason why they’re murdering polio workers. A Pakistani Muslim cleric has said that polio vaccinations are un-Islamic. And such “extremist” clerics are not just in Pakistan: in Nigeria, a Muslim cleric was arrested for playing a role in sparking the murders of polio workers.

From USA Today:

In Pakistan’s Northwest territories, where Taliban clerics have significant influence, polio vaccination teams are maligned as un-Islamic or Western purveyors of poison meant to sterilize Muslim women.

Without this Muslim opposition, the world was poised to eradicate polio from the planet, just as we have eradicated smallpox.

The Guardian adds:

Statistics released in October showed an improvement in the polio situation in Pakistan, with 47 children paralysed by the disease in 27 districts compared with 154 cases in 48 districts in 2011. However, in 2005 only 28 new cases were registered.

Just ponder what it’s like to be a paralyzed child.  When I was young, and polio vaccines were new,  we were often frightened by pictures of afflicted children confined in iron lungs. Only  47 paralyzed children may be an “improvement,” but those are 47 lives severely and unnecessarily damaged. And since polio is transmitted only between humans, the diseased are a reservoir to keep the virus alive,  leading to a serious danger of outbreaks in the Middle East.

98 thoughts on “Islamic radicals kill more polio workers

      1. Why is their interpretation of the Muslim holy books wrong ?

        Why do you get to say that they are less “Islamic” than say Malala Yousafzai, who by the way agrees with you, and claims that Islam is a religion of peace, humanity and brotherhood and The first thing is that the Taliban have misunderstood Islam.

        1. Because the overwhelming majority of the Taliban are illiterate and have therefore never read the Koran but are told by their twisted leaders what to believe and what to do.

          1. Islam is a religion based on oral tradition.

            Many of those illiterates have memorized the Koran and can recite it verse for verse.

            These illiterates and their “twisted” leaders can rationalize every action they take by reference to their holy books.

            Why are they less Islamic than other Muslims ?

            1. They can recite it verse for verse, but in Arabic, and they don’t know Arabic at all, they never were taught Arabic. So it is all Greek to them. They don’t have the first notion of what any of it means.

              Most Muslims in the world who are not from an Arab country don’t understand Arabic yet they read and recite the Koran in Arabic.

              1. So the issue in not that they are illiterate (so you claim) but that they don’t understand Arabic (so you claim).

                Strange that you didn’t mention that at first in your ongoing, goal post shifting attempts to excuse Taliban behaviour as the efforts of not true Scotsmen/Muslims.

                I find your treatment of these people quite condescending at best and downright racist at worst.

                It’s as if you believe that darker skinned tribes people in Pakistan are not worthy and indeed not capable of the same treatment that would be meted out to any other group that used holy books as an excuse to justify barbaric behaviour.

                Shame on you.

              2. I was merely quoting facts, your twisted extrapolations notwithstanding.

                In areas where Taliban or other extremists have control, children learn the Koran in Arabic by rote and constant repetition. They don’t actually learn to read it as such, and they have not the slightest notion of the meaning of the verses they can cite.

                In rural areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan (especially the Northwestern Frontier provinces where the Taliban rule), most people are indeed illiterate, including some of their imams.

                I am in no way racist, far from that – I have been to those areas and met those people (before the time of the Taliban), and they are good and very hospitable people, but have not received any school education and cannot read or write, but many can cite verses of the Koran in Arabic even though they do not know the language.

                You might find this informative:

                http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/language-ethnicity-and-tradition-in-the-middle-eas.html

              3. Why is it that it is only the Muslim illiterate people that are murdering polio workers? I don’t see Buddhist illiterates killing polio workers. I don’t see Jewish illiterates killing polio workers. I don’t see illiterate Christians killing polio workers.

                In the religious clashes I see on this earth, almost all of them include Muslims. Between the Muslims and Hindus, Muslims and Sihks, Muslims and Taoists, Muslims and Atheists, Muslims and Buddhists, Muslims and Coptics, Muslims and Zoroastrians, Muslims and every religion that Muslims come in contact with. Just look at the UK. I don’t see the native population of the UK have a problem with any of the other religious peoples moving into their country. But for some reason only the Muslims saw fit to blow up the UK subway on 7/7 or to saw the head off an off duty soldier in broad daylight.

                There were crazy Christian leaders telling illiterate people to go kill others in the past too. Do you know what happened to them? They got weeded out by the moderate Christian leaders. Why haven’t the Muslims done the same? Judeo Christian countries are the ones weeding out these diseases such as polio and smallpox in the first place. There’s a new campaign to weed out Malaria underway as we speak! How many of the 1.5-2 Billion Muslims on this planet have won the Nobel prize? Now compare that to how many of the less than 15 million Jews have won the prize. It is EMBARRASSING!

                Muslims are an embarrassment to the dignity of the human race. Record low literacy rates, record low GDP, record low tolerance to others beliefs and to the rights of women. Constant war. Constant strife. No Democracy. No dignity for minorities. No place in the 21st century.

                Just try to explain away all of these facts by saying the poor illiterates are under the power of the terrible people who misinterpret the “religion of peace.” But the simple fact that moderates have not done away with their extremist leaders shows either a shameful impotence of will or a blatant manifestation of extremism within the religion itself and it’s holy books.

              4. Blah, blah, blah, but of course you are entitled to hate and cast aspersions upon 1.62 billion humans and deem them all to be an embarrassment to the dignity of the human race.

                To how many Muslim countries have you been? In how many Muslim countries have you lived? How many Muslims do you personally know?

                Your words remind me of anti-Semitic rhetoric used by racists in many countries.

              5. Living in the US, and watching our Republican Party in action, I find the suggestion “moderates have not done away with their extremist leaders” only applies to Muslims just a bit hard to swallow. I am not aware of any abortion clinics in the US that have been blown up by Muslim extremists. George Tiller was not murdered by a follower of Islam.

                I am by no means letting Islam off the hook. And I detest attempts to blame Islamic violence on “colonialism”, etc. But all religion is poison and Christianity in particular continues to motivate a good deal of violence. Recent events in Myanmar suggest that Buddhists are not immune from the poison, either.

            2. gbjames Ok, you’re right to point out that Christians do commit crimes and murder for their extremist views. But ask yourself, how often has that happened? Seriously, you can probably count it on your fingers. To compare that to the thousands and thousands of confirmed Muslim extremist attacks just in the last decade alone is to compare a fly to a jumbo jet. Please, use some perspective. Yes I think Christianity can be a detriment to the world, but when you really look around and see how much good it has done in humanitarian work, and work for the homeless and helpless, compared to the bad “Christian extremists” can you truly state it is nearly as bad a threat to human progress that Islam is? For all intents and purposes Christianity has been neutered. I don’t see any states run by a Christian Theocracy in the world do you? (and if you say the UK is still run by a theocracy you are being disingenuous.) The worst Christian Extremist group in the world is probably Westboro baptist church.. and really comparing that church to Al Qaeda is like comparing Richard Simmons to Rambo. Pull your head out of your behind sir. If Islam could just progress half as far as Christianity has in the last 500 years I think we can agree the world would be WAY WAY WAY better off.

              And if you’re going to drag America into this then fine, I agree it is an Imperial state. Much like other imperial states in the pas like Britain, Spain, The Ottoman Empire, the Mongolian Empire, The Caliphate, The Romans and so on. But when America falls like all empires do at least America has left behind a legacy of how a free and just society should look like. Even if it hasn’t fully lived up to it, what other country on Earth has reached the levels of human progress that the US has reached? Not to mention all the Scientific, artistic, health, and technological advances that it has gave birth to. Can you say that the same advances came out of the Muslim world in the last 1400 years? No. A resounding NO! So please. Don’t pretend that Christian birthed countries are on the same level as Muslim birthed countries. The GOP notwithstanding.

              1. I don’t have enough fingers. You may want to do some googling about what is happening in Africa.

                Do not try to paint me as an apologist for Islam. I’m very far from that. I am fully aware that today’s Xtian church (in Europe and to a lesser extent) are relatively de-fanged compared to the ancestral version from five hundred years ago. And I agree that Islam is currently the most dangerous faith variant on the planet. But I do object to the failure to recognize that the root issue here is religious belief in general. Religion poisons everything. And Christianity is not excluded.

              2. If we are to consider the history of atrocity by Christians in the name of Christianity, it puts Muslim atrocities to shame. Nazism is the most infamous example, of course, but there’s also the Crusades, the Conquistadors, the Inquisition, and countless others.

                And, today, the Catholic Church continues to wage an all-out genocidal war on Africans by way of doing everything conceivable to promote the spread of AIDS. Uganda just passed an “imprison teh gheys for life” bill based solely on urgings from American Christian organizations. The Catholic Church continues to shelter known serial child rapists.

                Islam has lots of blood on its hands, too, but let’s not fool ourselves that Christianity is all sweetness and light. Yes, of course, that’s what the official propaganda states, but it also says that the Jesus character was a nice guy. No different from any other propaganda; lies, all of it.

                Cheers,

                b&

              3. YES CHRISTIANITY AS A RELIGION IS HORRIBLE!! I AGREE WITH YOU!! NO RELIGION IS COMPLETELY GOOD! Even athiest philosophies like communism have created atrocities. More than Nazi germany in the form of the USSR and Communist China. If a small group of people have power over the masses there will be atrocities. It started with Constantine hijacking Christianity for his purposes and went on until the 19th and 20th century. But we are talking about TODAY now. In history Christianity has had a lot to answer for. AND IT HAS! The church is still changing today. Look at pope Francais. He’s admitted that it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or athiest you’re alright in eyes of the church. THAT’S A HUGE STEP! but you would rather condemn th

                Putit in perspective please!!! For the love of… the great spaghetti monster in the sky! ISLAM NEEDS SPECIAL ATTENTION TODAY! You focus so much on Christianity when it has been almost completely vanquished! It’s done. No more do we have its tyranny controlling everything. And I’m so glad. I just know when I see something worse and I’m pointing it out. It’s like I’m pointing at the elephant in the room but you keep pointing at the mouse. Yes that mouse is a bad mouse but why are you pointing at it when CLEARLY there is an elephant!!! if you say the mouse is as big as the elephant you are clearly blind.

                MY point is, sure christianity has been bad for the world. But really when you study all that the Jessuits did for science. When you look at what the Union Gosple mission is doing all over the world. Chritian charitiesSalvation Army. The countless missionaries all over building water wells and handing out food and medicine, buiding facilities for the poor. Really, do you see the Muslims doing this AT THE SAME SCALE. you cant just say well i saw a muslim build a school once, when christians built 10,000 schools and say “its the same thing.” Please: Sure there are some Christian extremists in that continent. Off set by all the good work christians are doing there and have been doing for the last 60 years at least! Now look up how many Muslim charities are helping the world. Don’t be fececious. You know there is way less.

                Islam is way more destructive than positive. That’s the point i’m trying to make.

                USE PERSEPECTIVE.

              4. “Islam is way more destructive than positive. That’s the point i’m trying to make.”

                You are crashing through an open door.

                And please. There’s no need to SHOUT.

              5. @vierotchka It would be difficult or impossible to satisfy your demand for a “full” list, but if you are serious you might start out asking our friend Mr. Google. He starts to answer your request with this from Wikipedia.

              6. A few hundred at most – far from the “thousands and thousands”.

                And that’s why the words “start out” appear in my comment.

  1. Posting on this is important and as always it’s important to cite your sources. But I think quoting Jihad Watch or anything Spencer-related is a huge mistake. He’s awful and his childish, one-dimensional view of Islam and Muslims should be marginalised, not buttressed by citing them as evidence. He willfully ignores any attempts by moderate Muslims to reform the faith (he thinks Reza Aslan is an extremist for crying out loud) and is responsible for a lot of anti-Muslim hysteria.

    Speaking honestly about Islam is one of the most important things secularists should do. But the last thing we need is the bigotry and sophistry of the Spencer/Gellar types to poison the movement.

    1. I’m sorry but what Jihad Watch reports here is accurate, as far as I can determine. (Note that USA Today reports the same thing.) And I’ve reported exactly these facts from other sources in the past. So don’t use this post as a reason to attack Spencer, as it’s irrelevant. Just stick to the subject of the post, which is Muslim killing of polio workers.

      And Reza Aslan may not be an extremist, but I consider him as someone who deliberately tries to whitewash the darker face of Islam. In that sense he’s dangerously misleading.

      Again, as far as I know and have checked, the facts adduced above are true. One of Jihad Watch’s sources is rediff, and the other is the Associated Press. Do you have any issues with that? If not, then go elsewhere if you wish to criticize the messenger.

      It still amazes me that if this were a post about Catholic malfeasance, and I cited an anti-religious news source (like the FFRF’s “black collar crime” column) about, say, pedophilia in priests, nobody would object about the source being “biased”. It’s only when Muslim actions are the object of dislike do people suddenly appear and try to criticize the messenger as biased. Again, Islam gets breaks that Catholicism doesn’t.

      1. “So don’t use this post as a reason to attack Spencer…” – I didn’t. I used it to lament your citing probably the most-well known peddler of anti-Muslim sentiment in the US.

        “And Reza Aslan may not be an extremist, but I consider him as someone who deliberately tries to whitewash the darker face of Islam. In that sense he’s dangerously misleading.” – OK, fine. That doesn’t mean he’s an extremist or a homophobe as Spencer has described him (Regarding social issues, Aslan is as about as progressive as it goes). My point was to show how low Spencer has set the bar on extremist Islam and by deliberately calling one of America’s most outspoken liberal Muslims an extremist, he is declaring that no Muslim can be moderate – a position that perhaps you don’t disagree with, then?

        “One of Jihad Watch’s sources is rediff, and the other is the Associated Press. Do you have any issues with that?” – No, I don’t. But again, my problem is with your quoting a writer who quite obviously has an interest in seeing all Muslims demonised and is thus not someone whose opinions should be given any air.

        “if this were a post about Catholic malfeasance, and I cited an anti-religious news source (like the FFRF’s “black collar crime” column) about, say, pedophilia in priests, nobody would object about the source being “biased””. – Really? Nobody would object? Some people would if they are interested in accurate reporting.

        I agree that Islam gets a pass where other religions, especially Christianity, get run through the mill. And it’s annoying and possibly dangerous. But that doesn’t mean we should lower our standards in the search for honesty. Bad behaviour doesn’t excuse further bad behaviour. Your position seems to be: Aslan misrepresents Islam so who cares if someone misrepresents his opinions; Biased commentators are accepted when writing about Catholic malfeasance, so I’m going to accept them with regard to Islam.

        All bias and dishonest commentators should be jettisoned.

        1. All bias and dishonest commentators should be jettisoned.

          Be careful with that. Dishonesty is of course anathema, but in and of itself “bias” doesn’t necessarily fall into the same category. A source can be ‘biased’ because it’s objectively run through the evidence and drawn a conclusion which does not fall into the moderate middle. As you’re no doubt aware, the truth does not automatically fall between ‘extremes.’ And yet this is a popular fallacy often thrown into controversial issues as a self-evident clincher.

          If you modify it to “all unfairly biased and dishonest commentators should be jettisoned” then your point stands — but it might become trivial.

        2. a. Sastra is right; you have not shown that Spencer is UNFAIRLY biased, or even “biased” in the sense of passing judgement that is not warranted.

          b. You don’t get to be the judge of which commenters I use. One could easily say that Dan Barker, Richard Dawkins, etc. are “biased” in the sense you’re using. People say all the time that those two fine gentlemen want all religion “demonized.” Well, they certainly want religion to vanish, as do I. If that’s “bias,” then I’m biased too.

          If you don’t agree with the facts I cite, fine, but you don’t have the right to tell me which sources I can cite or not cite. I really do suggest you read websites who site commenters of whom you approve rather than those of us who are biased.

        3. Although I generally don’t like guilt by association arguments, sometimes they have validity. It should be noted that Spencer is intimately associated with dubious characters like Pam Geller and David Horowitz. It should be noted that he and Geller are the co-authors of a book entitled The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America.I would also note that he is a fellow of the American Freedom Alliance, a noted supporter of teaching creationism in the schools and also a noted global warming denialism outfit. If he was right on this particular subject, it is a case of the stopped 24 hour clock being right once a day.

      2. Any religion that prohibits its faithful from taking full advantage of modern medical practices is a menace to society in general. the “faithful” who are not immunized can pass unwanted microbes to non-adherants who for some reason cannot be immunized — they may be too young or may be allergic to the protective shots. This if just wrong; they should not be given a pass! I include Christian Scientists in this assessment. It has been demonstrated that you cannot pray disease away.

    2. I haven’t read anything by Reza Aslan but did attend an interview he gave a few months ago sponsored by the Commonwealth of California. In that presentation he definitely whitewashed the unpleasant aspects of Islam and resulting Muslim behavior and provided arguments for Islam that were no better than I’ve heard from Hamza Tzortsis. Which is to say, risible.

    3. ASLAN is a first-rate LIAR which bodes ill for his credibility–for crying out loud!!

      Aslan does have four degrees, as Joe Carter has noted: a 1995 B.A. in religion from Santa Clara University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa and wrote his senior thesis on “The Messianic Secret in the Gospel of Mark”; a 1999 Master of Theological Studies from Harvard; a 2002 Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from the University of Iowa; and a 2009 Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

      None of these degrees is in history, so Aslan’s repeated claims that he has “a Ph.D. in the history of religions” and that he is “a historian” are false.

    4. Spencer in his blog usually just gives reports from all over the world as to what muslims are doing. They are straightforward factual reports. It is not “bigotry” to point out what muslims are doing and sayin in the name of Islam. There are numerous surras in the Quran and also numerous hadith justifying muslims killing or subjugating non-muslims.That’s where th justificatoion of their jihad comes from.
      There are numerous literate and educated imams in the middle east and elsewhere who spout these verses and hadiths. It is not just the llliterates.
      The Quran, like the Bible was cobbled together years after Mohammed was dead. Only the other day an educated muslim acqaintance of mine was telling me that Mohammed had split the moon. They believe that as it is in the hadith. Many of them can quote the Quran in English and they believe every word of it is “Allah’s” word. It is impossible to argue with these people, and I know many muslims as acquaintances and friends. But I have no doubt that if they were to become a majority here in South Africa, they would be applying Sharia law, because that is what Mohammed said, and they would use violence if necessary, because they are muslims first and South Africans second.

      1. The Koran was written down from Prophet Mohammed’s dictations over some twenty years or more, during his life – it was not “cobbled together years after Mohammed was dead”.

        1. Actually, it’s highly unlikely that Mohammad was an historical figure any more than Jesus was. He’s a perfect fit for the pattern: a larger-than-life figure defined by miracles and societal upheaval who’s perfectly absent from the contemporary and near-contemporary historical record, about whom there was only an oral tradition for at least a couple / few generations, and whose official biography was canonized by committee and is nothing but blatant plagiarism from the popular heroes of surrounding mythology.

          Cheers,

          b&

            1. Well, he was…in the same sense that Tinkerbell had wings or that Paul Bunyan’s pet ox was blue.

              It’s still quite valid to describe fictional characters as having the properties attributed to them, so long as one doesn’t then make the leap to assuming that the properties are somehow more real than the character or that the properties make the character really real or whatever.

              So, yeah. Mohammad raped a pre-teen girl — a much less noble deed than, say, Androcles pulling the thorn from the lion’s paw.

              Cheers,

              b&

              1. Seeing as child brides were common in those days (and even in the US until early 20th century – my husband’s grandmother was married at the age of 9 and had her children only a few years later), and that the laws there at that time were to not consume the marriage before the wife reached her menarch, and considering that she was the only child with whom he had sex, he doesn’t qualify as a pedophile:

                Pedophilia or paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children, generally age 11 years or younger, though specific diagnostic criteria for the disorder extends the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13.[1][2][3][4] As a medical diagnosis, it is a psychiatric disorder in persons 16 years of age or older. An adolescent who is 16 years of age or older must be at least five years older than the prepubescent child before the attraction can be diagnosed as pedophilia.[1][2]

                The term has a range of definitions, as found in psychiatry, psychology, the vernacular, and law enforcement. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) defines pedophilia as a “disorder of adult personality and behaviour” in which there is a sexual preference for children of prepubertal or early pubertal age.[5] It is termed pedophilic disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and the manual defines it as a paraphilia in which adults or adolescents 16 years of age or older have intense and recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about prepubescent children that they have either acted on or which cause them distress or interpersonal difficulty.[1]

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

              2. But vierotchka, isn’t Mohammad the perfect example of a man for all time? Don’t the holy books of the Muslims claim this fact?

                If it is as you say, “normal” for people to have child brides in history, even in 20th century America then fine. But Mohammad is the perfect example FOR ALL TIME. Today, almost every country on earth (except, almost exclusively, Muslim dominated countries) rejects this practice. If Mohammad lived today and committed the atrocities that he did, he would be an international war criminal! So much for the perfect example for “all time.”
                A 9 year old is INCAPABLE of protecting herself from the advances of a 52 year old. If Mohammad was an honorable man he would not have taken advantage of her. But he was not honorable. I find it appalling and sickening that you would defend the act of an adult defiling a child.

                And by the way, even if a man is sexually attracted to predominantly adult women but defiles a child only once (and is convicted of it in court) he is still a pedophile. And so is Mohammad.

  2. I think the terms, “Islamic fundamentalist” or “Islamist”, rather than “Islamic radical”, or “Islamic extremist”, are more appropriate: they underscores the fact that these viciously deluded individuals are operating, for the most part, on a literal reading of the Koran and so, in a sense, are actually the “true” Muslims. The other two “P.C.” terms create the illusion that Islam is actually some kind of “normal” religion and that these people are just a sort of “lunatic fringe”; equivalent to our “harmless” (except to themselves and their children) Xtian snake handlers, tongue-talkers, prayer-healers, etc. Unlike the Babble, however, very little of the Koran is subject to any “interpretation” at all- believe in it literally, and you automatically turn into a lunatic. Act on that belief, in the manner decreed by the Koran, and you automatically turn into a violent lunatic!

  3. Grew up in a kind of mixed calvinistic and ‘Enlightenment’ environment
    The ‘black stockings’ crew denied polio vaccination to their children, and indeed a few of them were paralyzed. Due to the introduction of the oral Sabin vaccine (which stops the disease from spreading, and hence also protects the unvaccinated), there were luckily not many.
    But never ever could one imagine that fanatic fundamentalists (well one cannot possibly see them otherwise, unless they are unscrupulous Machiavellians) would actually murder health care workers dispensing the vaccine. Profoundly sickening.
    Would it not be possible to get into a dialogue with the Taliban leaders? Like: Allah gave us the means to combat this terrible disease? Maybe via ‘Western’ science, as His ways are impenetrable anyway?
    Do they really believe that polio vaccination is a ‘Western’ plot and opposing Allah’s will, or are they just using it as a Machiavellian easy target? We simply do not know.

    1. When we see how easy it is for otherwise reasonable, rational, intelligent people in our own society to believe the most bizarre and poorly evidenced things just because they’re considered “spiritual” or “religious,” I think it becomes easier to credit the Taliban leaders with actually believing their own propaganda. From what I can tell one of the most important selling points of Islam is that it is an entire world view, one which doesn’t bifurcate the natural world from the supernatural one.

      Once you start thinking ‘holistically’ in this sense, anything and everything seems possible and even plausible. It will entrench conspiracy-style thinking into even a normally moderate person. Could polio vaccination be a Western ‘plot’ to destroy Muslims? Sure — once you decide you’re going to interpret the world as if it were an exciting story about the struggle between good and evil. I have modern Western friends who are on the cusp of seeing modern medicine as a ‘plot’ to destroy natural health; they’ll go back and forth on that depending on how ‘spiritual’ the group they happen to be in at the time is.

      Merging your identity with your religion is dangerous.

    2. Do they really believe that polio vaccination is a ‘Western’ plot

      That is one of the claims that I’ve heard reported for the Boko Haram attacks in Northern Nigeria (and probably nearby Sahel areas) : that the vaccination campaign is a cover for injection of sterilisation agents under the control of [insert Black Helicopter organisation of choice].
      “Boko Haram”, a political movement, translates, approximately, as “Western ideas forbidden”. Secession from the more Christian southern parts of Nigeria is one of their aims – which on the history of the Biafran secession, is going to go really well.
      A former colleague – he’s now in Abu Dhabi, I think – used to run MWD tools in Northern Nigeria, having grown up there. It was a pleasure to see him back in the UK in 2000, only to hear that he was arranging accommodation for his family in the UK since things were getting decidedly “warm” ; in 2003, he quit that company (who’ve since pulled out of the provinces) and moved back to the UK himself, because he could see that things were going bad.
      Northern Nigeria is one of the places on my personal list of “Not working there” places. Somalia, by contrast, was on the “send us details on your security plans” list.

      1. Somalia, by contrast, was on the “send us details on your security plans” list.

        That was 2.5 years ago ; they haven’t replied yet TTBOMK, and I suspect the request was a fishing expedition to see if drilling there was credible. And the answer, at the moment, is “no”.

      2. Yeah, Nigeria is a scary place. I worked with a guy from there and he used to have a job fixing elections where he’d go with a bucket of money to the guy running opposition and he’d take it to drop out of the race. Of course, the guy I knew also skimmed a little off the top for himself.

        He told me he doesn’t take his family to Nigeria anymore to visit as it’s very dangerous and I suspect he himself has stopped going there. His take was there are a bunch of out of work farmers – big guys – employed by cartels of people involved in oil and their job was to guard things. They had all the latest toys – big powerboats, military weapons & they would not hesitate to shoot you dead.

        1. We get our security … well, probably best not to go into details, but it’s a lot more professional than that. Then again, we’re a lot further offshore than the typical swamp barge.

  4. Kind of a shame that the USA fed this by actually using a fake polio vaccination campaign in their hunt for Osama Bin Laden, don’t you think?

    1. Kind of a shame that Muslim anti-vaccination efforts long antedated our hunt for Osama Bin Laden, isn’t it? That ruse, admittedly a bad idea, took place in 2011.

      Sorry, but you’re not going to pin this one completely on the U.S.

      1. I certainly wouldn’t put all the blame on the CIA for this…but I would put a disproportionate amount on them.

        Imagine playing a practical joke on a schizophrenic patient that amounted to confirmation that his delusions were real and not just inside his head — say, getting the dentist to pretend that he’s fine-tuning the radios in the patient’s fillings during a routine cleaning. How much do you think that would set back the patient’s chances of recovery?

        The CIA did the same basic thing. Sure, things were bad before…but now there’s almost no hope of putting them right.

        b&

    2. Huh? A fake polio vaccination campaign to fish out Bin Laden? Now come on….
      Any substance to that claim? It really sounds kinda ‘conspiracy theory’-like. How can such a super-Machiavellian ploy possibly be kept secret? Would these health care workers inject just some water? Really…

      However, if true -which I can hardly imagine, and won’t believe with some very, very hard evidence- it would indeed put the USA gov. on the same level as the Taliban. It would be really outrageous.

      1. Huh? A fake polio vaccination campaign to fish out Bin Laden? Now come on….
        Any substance to that claim? It really sounds kinda ‘conspiracy theory’-like. How can such a super-Machiavellian ploy possibly be kept secret? Would these health care workers inject just some water? Really…

        However, if true -which I can hardly imagine, and won’t believe with some very, very hard evidence- it would indeed put the USA gov. on the same level as the Taliban. It would be really outrageous.

        And how could Fake or real Polio-vaccination campaign possible fish out Bin Laden? Makes no sense.

        1. Sorry that that first part got replicated, no idea how that happened. A conspiracy to make nicky look redundant, I suppose?

        2. It is true; the U.S. admitted it. (See the Guardian article here.) They sent a Pakistani team (at the behest of the USA) to Abbottabad, where Bin Laden’s compound was, to collect DNA from the kids under the pretense of immunizing them. They would then compare the DNA from the kids to see if it had half of Bin Laden’s DNA (the match was his sister in the USA, who had died). It didn’t work, but they should have figured out that it would provide fodder for Muslims to avoid getting vaccinated.

          1. This is still somewhat incredible, I mean if this were told in a spy-novel I would deem it too far-fetched and unrealistic to be credible, but then…
            I know ‘intelligence’ agencies such as the CIA can be murky, but this beats all we’ve seen before. At least not since the use of “agent Orange” (but there the disastrous results on fetal development were not really known yet, or were they?).
            Have they no brains or have they no hearts?
            Did they not forsee the results of their actions or were they just callous? The results being the murder of innocent health care workers and life-long preventable disability of possibly hundreds, if not thousands, of children.
            At least I understand the Taliban’s murderous actions now (which does NOT mean condoning them).
            How (if ever) can the damage be undone?
            Should the sicko’s who conceived this unwise or callous plan not stand trial? And stand trial ASAP? That is the only way I can see how at least some of the damage can be undone.

            My apologies if I sound a bit incoherent, but I’m still so shocked. I’m at a loss, is this what the ‘Enlightenment’ leads to? Can the US of A still be considered an embodiment of those ideals?

            1. The US has unquestionably long since surrendered the moral high ground, and isn’t even pretending much any more. The NSA, after being caught red-handed running a totalitarian domestic surveillance operation that would make the Stasi cream their pants (and which hasn’t even caught a whiff of a single terrorist plot), are insisting that they must be given even greater access to intrude upon American citizens’s lives. Obama was even handed, on a silver platter, a commission’s report strongly urging him to reign them in…and he’s instead demonstrated his commitment to stay the course and let the NSA have its way.

              There can be no question now but that the NSA has used its resources to blackmail all three branches of the Federal government into submission. The tail has now been wagging the dog for long enough that it really doesn’t give a damn if people notice what’s going on.

              How we get out of this I haven’t a clue. We’re almost undoubtedly beyond the hope of something like the Church Commission. However it ends, it won’t end well — for anybody.

              b&

  5. If people are honest, fair, and objective they would agree that at the moment Islam is the most horrible religion and the one what commits the vilest action most often.

    1. So? Islam does this, and Christianity murders pregnant women by denying them medically necessary abortions. It’s no comfort to a woman dying of septic shock in a Catholic hospital, or her family, that Islam is worse.

      By all means oppose the evils of religious anti-vaccination campaigns. And yes, murdering polio workers is worse than a Christian Scientist refusing vaccines for themselves and their families, and maybe losing a child–or a neighbor’s infant–to pertussis. But that doesn’t excuse the evils done in the name of religions other than Islam.

      1. Not to mention the complicity of the Raping Children Church in the spread of AIDS in Africa via their opposition to the use of condoms.

  6. The Taliban was also using a ban on vaccinations as an attempt to end US drone attacks. Adumbrations are dire for the children of Pakistan … just ask Muhammad Ishaq.

  7. I’m suffering today again with a migraine and it’s a horrible, painful thing. I couldn’t even look at my computer until I took a pill and now it’s much better. So, when I think about my own experience with pain, I can only see those who deliberately stifle efforts to stop pain and suffering as completely evil.

    I was thinking, while in pain, about how I had a fairly pain free childhood but things seemed to get worse as I aged. Imagine denying children the opportunity to have a pain free existence? An opportunity we all take for granted!

    I am convinced that religion is the tool of evil people.

  8. “Without this Muslim opposition, the world was poised to eradicate polio from the planet, just as we have eradicated smallpox.”

    And that’s the worst part in my view. The suffering could have been ended. But the ignorance wouldn’t allow it.

    1. As I noted above (did you read the comments?), vaccinations were being opposed by some Islamists on religious or anti-Western (read “modernity”) grounds well before the CIA did that in 2011. Okay?

      1. Yes, I read, one more reason not to use such an ill-conceived, callous plot. Have we not played the hand of these fundamentalists? They have got us now exactly were they want us to be, it appears to me….

  9. On the other hand, in the non-Taliban part of Pakistan (i.e. most of the country) as well as all other Muslim countries, there is no opposition to vaccinating children against polio or any other disease. Therefore, one cannot impugn Islam for the actions of a tiny fraction of ignorant Muslim extremists who, for the most part, are illiterate and never have read the Koran.

    1. Muslims in Nigeria are also preventing immunization taking place. Most muslims have probably never read the Quran, especially the Arabic version. The thing about religious fundamentalists is that there is plenty in their “holy books” that can justify anything they carry out. It only takes a few Imams/fundamentalist preachers to tell these people what is “in” the holy books and they take it as read. Even moderate muslims are convinced that the Quran is the final word of God, so they seldom speak out against the more fundamentalist adherents in my experience, and I know many muslims very well on a personal level.

      1. Nigeria is not a Muslim country even if it has a large Muslim population in the northern half, and most of that population is illiterate and therefore at the mercy of some extremist and violent leaders.

        1. I think you may be employing the “No True Scotsman” fallacy in your above posts. Just wondered if you are aware of this fallacy:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman
          In fact, fundamentalist Muslims (like the members of the Taliban) are, in a very real sense, the true Muslims. Moderates and progressives reinterpret or ignore much of what they are instructed to do by their holy book.

          1. Except that most of them, even though they can read and recite the Koran in Arabic, don’t speak Arabic and therefore have not the first notion of the meaning of what they are reading or reciting.

            1. Again… the same fallacy stated. Did you read the article he left? Here let me post it again for you http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

              The point is, there are good Muslims and there are bad Muslims. But there are disproportionately more bad members of the Muslim religion than there are of other religions on earth. And your argument “there is no “true” Scotsman.. I mean Muslim, that is bad” is a fallacy.

              1. Not all muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists are muslim. Muslims cause more problems than all the other religions put together. Wherever they are in power in a country that country’s political system loses freedom of speech and often freedom of religion.
                Islam is basically a politico/religious movement that views all other religions as infidels, and should be forced to follow Islam or die. It’s in the Quran and Hadiths.

              2. Trusting only google to make a point is unscholarly, lazy bs. And directing people to “loonwatch”, like you did in a previous comment, is just as bad as directing people to thereligionofpeace.com. Biased, agenda driven, drivel. Read some books. Which facts am I “impervious” to? That Muslims commit disproportionately more vile acts than any other religion more often? No, I think you’re an apologist for a vile religion. Are you a Muslim yourself vierotchka?

  10. 4- Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America:

    The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” with all the word means. The
    Ikhwan must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and
    destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their
    hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious
    over all other religions. Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and
    have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work
    wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that
    destiny except for those who chose to slack. But, would the slackers and the Mujahedeen be
    equal.

  11. Yes,Islam as a whole represents the most intolerant, misogynist, reactionary and violent religion on Earth, but to say these actions somehow illustrate the ‘true nature’ of Islam is going too far.

    These people represent a tiny fraction of Muslims, and their actions have been condemned not only by most Muslim religious leaders,but also by the governments in the countries involved.

    There are democratically elected governments in the Islamic majority countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangla Desh, yes, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Algeria, and in each case the government supports immunization, as do the monarchs of Islamic states from Morocco and Jordan to Saudi Arabia, and the remaining dictatorships- Syria, Sudan, the ‘stans.

    In Nigeria, the situation is strained due to the death by disease of the former Muslim president (who, of course, supported the immunization program) and the taking over of his position by the v-p, a Christian. There had been an informal agreement that the presidency should alternate between a Northern Muslim,and a Southern Christian- there’s a lot more than religion separating the two parts- and the Muslims felt cheated, saying there should have been a new election with a Muslim at the head of the ticket (the previous president had been a Christian).

    1. The “true” Islam is in the Quran and the Hadith. These sources are replete with verses and sayings that justify the killing and subjugating the infidels and the imposing of Sharia over all.
      In surveys done in Britain and Europe so-called Westernised or moderate muslims are overwhelmingly in favour of Sharia. Furthermore in all the countries that you mention as being democratic Christianity is under threat from muslims, in the Middle-East, the East and in central and Eastern Africa.
      Islam is only accomodationist as long as muslims are a minority in a country. As soon as they become the majority you will see how “moderate” they are.

        1. I have read both, with revulsion. Do you deny the Koran commands that infidels must be fought by Muslims until they pay the jizya and feel themselves subdued? Or how about having limbs lobbed off for stealing. How about death for apostasy? Vierotchka, stop pretending Islam isn’t vile. it is a abhorrent intolerant religion that stands in a class of its own for its abdominal nature in the 21st century. Muhammed, may piss be upon him, your great leader is a pedo. He diddled a freakin 9 year old. WTF!?

  12. Anyway, these groups from (see Boko Haram) the fringes are motivated by tribal, economic and traditional quarrels with central governments as much as religion, and are condemned by the established Islamic leaders in their countries (whom they, like Tea-Partiers looking at John Boehner, regard as sell-outs).

    So, terrible, yes. Representative of Islam, no.
    And, more people in Nigeria have been killed by international oil companies than by these groups.

    1. Oh! No problem, then. I guess we can all move along because there’s nothing to see here. Religious motivations clearly aren’t involved in in violence done by Muslims in the name of Islam.

    2. “So, terrible, yes. Representative of Islam, no.”
      Everything they do is representative of Islam, all muslims take the Quran as being the complete and perfect word of Allah(God). There is plenty in the Quran and the hadith that can be, and is, used to justify their actions. Read some of Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or any other apostate of Islam to understand Islam.

  13. In the first comment a reply trots out the ‘no true (Scot,Muslim,christian) fallacy. Why bother reading further comments ?

  14. just shows how incredibly moronic islam is,they kill you if dont join,kill you if want to leave,kill you if you want to save children from ravages of disease. ….if the vaccines were made from mohameds piss………they would be alright with that though,but would not allow jews,christians or athiests to be inoculated because we are not muslims……

  15. “All Qurans available in the world today are exactly identical to the Uthmani version, which was completed less than twenty years after the death of Prophet Muhammad.”
    See, the original version was completed 20 years after Mo’s death.
    The people who wrote it down decided in what order the suras should be written. The “revelations” in the Quran are not in the order that Mo “received” them. Prior to that the suras were written in bits and pieces by scribes,on bits of parchment and wood and anything else that they could find, and Mo couldn’t check it himself because he was illiterate. You know how things get twisted and exagerated as things are passed on by word of mouth.
    Anyway it’s all irrelevant as Mo had no more a direct line to any “god” than I do. Allah doesn’t exist and people were stupid enough to believe his bull.

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