Dinesh D’Souza is right!

May 12, 2014 • 6:18 am

As the saying goes, even a blind pig can find an acorn. And even Dinesh D’Souza, a nasty piece of right-wing, religious work—now under indictment for campaign-fund shenanigans—can be right, as he is in this video from the HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher. Before you watch it, be aware of two tropes raised by defenders of Islam when its tenets, or the horrible actions it inspires, are criticized. (These came up in the discussion of Brunei this week.)

1. If your ancestors did anything wrong, you have to apologize for that before you criticize anyone else.

2. All bad acts are equally bad. That is, Western “imperialism”, or the forced circumcision of kids by Jewish mohels, is just as bad as Boko Haram’s kidnapping of schoolgirls, the throwing of acid in the faces of schoolgirls, and the aiming of missiles at civilian populations. State-sponsored religious hatred by Palestinians is no worse than the fulminations of a few extremist Israelis (not representatives of the government) who spew hatred towards Muslims.  I sometimes think that many have lost their moral compass.

Another defense of Islam is that only a very few Muslims engage in the acts of horror like the abduction of schoolgirls. True, but a much larger number of Muslims repress their women, brainwash their children, and, by their failure to speak up against their murderous co-religionists, tacitly give them approval. Poll after poll, even in Western countries, has shown that surprisingly high proportions of the world’s Muslims approve of the death penalty for apostasy. (Is over 30% of these in Bangladesh, Iraq, Malaysia, Jordan, Palestine, Pakistan, Egypt, and Afghanistan a “small minority of extremist Muslims”?) Here are some data from the Pew Poll:

death-penaltyAnd these views aren’t limited to majority-Islamic nations. Here are some data from a compilation of Muslim opinion polls, which is pretty scary:

Pew Research (2007): 26% of younger Muslims in America believe suicide bombings are justified.
35% of young Muslims in Britain believe suicide bombings are justified (24% overall).
42% of young Muslims in France believe suicide bombings are justified (35% overall).
22% of young Muslims in Germany believe suicide bombings are justified.(13% overall).
29% of young Muslims in Spain believe suicide bombings are justified.(25% overall).

In the video below, Bill Maher and Dinesh D’Souza agree on some of the points above, with libertarian author Matt Welch expressing agreement. They are opposed by the unctuous Ariana Huffington—to think I used to admire her!—and author/comedian Baratunde Thurston. Thurston manages to whitewash the whole issue with the true but misleading statement, “I don’t think Islam has any monopoly has any monopoly on darkness and nutbags and crazy rhetoric and violence.” The man doesn’t comprehend the difference between individual cases and statistics.

Now I don’t think D’Souza is criticizing Islam for the same reason that many of us—or Maher himself—do. He’s a Christian and is simply dissing another faith to buttress his own. Nevertheless, in this video he is largely right about the misguided defense of Islam. D’Souza’s money quote, to me, starts at 6:10:

“What’s going on here is that there is a civil war in the mind of the liberal. So on the one hand you’re a defender of individual rights and minorities; and if this were the Catholic Church you’d be all on it. But on the other hand you’re committed to multiculturalism. And Islam is the victim, and we don’t want to make the Muslims feel bad.  And so these two impulses have got to be brokered one against each other. The problem isn’t the Muslims; the problem is all the multiculturalists on campus who protect and defend them.”

Now I don’t agree that “the problem isn’t Muslims”, for it is; or rather, the problem is Islam. Without the tenets of that faith, we would have no problem. But the brokering that takes place in the liberal mind is true. Certainly Muslims should have free speech on campuses, and everywhere else too (including Muslim countries, where by and large they don’t). But free speech should also be the rule for those who criticize that faith, or any faith. The latter doesn’t happen, as we saw when Brandeis withdrew the offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Maher and D’Souza are right about the double standard applied to Islam versus religions like Catholicism. If 84% of Catholics called for the death penalty for those who left the Church, it would be a huge story!

I never thought the time would come that I would agree with something that D’Souza said in opposition to the views of Ariana Huffington. That’s how far the defense of the indefensible, in the name of multiculturalism, has come.

Do watch the whole video: it’s only 11 minutes long and exemplifies the views of both sides on this issue. Maher is, as usual, eloquent and straightforward about religion.

Some of the YouTube notes:

May 9, 2014 – Bill Maher took on Boko Haram Friday night and focused on what he believed was the most important aspect of the case: the religion of Islam itself influences this kind of brutality and is therefore a serious problem. But Maher was bothered by how liberals “do not stand up for liberalisms” and outright condemn brutal Islamic laws that go against values of equality and freedom, especially where women are concerned.

Reason’s Matt Welch agreed that Islam “is providing a disproportionate share of radical nut bags killing people.” Arianna Huffington and Baratunde Thurston pushed back a bit, arguing that you can’t condemn a whole faith just based on what the radicals do. Thurston pointed out that Islam doesn’t exactly have a monopoly on extremism.

BTW, one thing I don’t want to hear in the comments is that Bill Maher is anti-science. That may be true in part, but it’s completely irrelevant to this thread. People who believe this have had their say many times before, and so all comments to that effect will be considered expendible on this thread.

Remember, even reprehensible and right-wing people can sometimes be right.

h/t: Diana MacPherson

89 thoughts on “Dinesh D’Souza is right!

      1. I’m sorry for the mistake. I had not updated my primary blog on WordPress.com and it redirected to a very old url that I don’t have any more.


  1. You’re right, in this case the problem is Islam…and the problem in general is religion and any other “ism” or ideology wherein one accepts an entire set of rules or principles as part of a package as a prerequisite for joining an organization. People who are so committed to their ideology that they can’t even see that they’re on the wrong end of a reductio ad absurdum argument are dangerous.

  2. I would like a poll done in Western countries to see what Muslims consider to be appropriate treatment of people who leave Islam.

    I think it may be eye opening.

      1. If that’s how the question was asked in the survey, it reads like a question of fact regarding doctrine, not of personal approval.

        1. The statement “That Muslim conversion is forbidden and punishable by death” was one of five questions which were preceded by the following statement:

          “The following are a list of laws that are defined in most scholarly interpretations of sharia law. Please say if you personally agree or disagree with the law mentioned.”

          So it doesn’t really look if the respondents were explaining doctrinal definitions, but rather their own acceptance of the idea of murdering apostates.

    1. Polls like this have been done:

      For example:
      – Policy Exchange: One third of British Muslims believe anyone who leaves Islam should be killed
      – Die Presse (2013): 1 in 5 Muslims in Austria believe that anyone wanting to leave Islam should be killed.
      – NOP Research: 1 in 4 British Muslims say 7/7 bombings were justified
      – People-Press: 31% of Turks support suicide attacks against Westerners in Iraq.

  3. I don’t think the left defends Islam because of multiculturalism. If they really believed in that, they wouldn’t mock things like NASCAR. Bad example, but that’s all I got before 7am.

    I suspect the left defends Islam because the right is against it. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    1. I think they really do defend Islam because of multiculturalism. Liberals fee that people should be able to identify with their world in the manner that suits them. I think D’Souza is dead on when he says the liberal mind is in conflict with wanting to protect Muslims to live in a manner they see fit and with seeing Islamic practices as violating liberal ideals of freedom of speech, equality and freedom if expression. There is a nuance there and for liberals the tendency is to air on the side of multiculturalism. I know I struggled with this myself for years.

        1. But not all cultures are welcome the their multiculture club, though. Unless I’m missing something (which is probable), Islam is like Rush Limbaugh on meth. So why defend the more extreme evil? Maybe because calling out Islam for what it is might feel like conceding a few points to their political enemies at home.

          PS, I should mention that I’m one of those weirdos who doesn’t really identify with left/right stuff, mostly because I’m very aware of how little I understand that world; politics feels to me like walking through a circus with a bunch of carnies yelling at me to come to their booth. All that to say, I have no dog in that fight.

          1. Examples abound. My lovely wife and I disagree about the impact of religious morality and religious thought. I tend to engage in skeptical debate, especially the last few years and it distresses her. “Why can’t you leave religion alone? Don’t critique peoples’ beliefs, live and let live” she says.

            On discussion (which is difficult) she admits the tolerance she exhibits is partially based on religious freedom- and if i critique Islam, why is her faith exempt?

            Spoiler alert, it isn’t.

      1. One observation I find interesting is that such multiculturalists will tolerate behavior in people in foreign lands that they would not countenance in their neighbors. Someone who defends a violation of the liberal ideal of women’s equality, for instantce, would still want Bob from next door arrested for domestic abuse.

        It’s almost the reverse image of George Carlin’s “a**hole” sketch – “hey, you ever notice that the further away a cultural practice is, the less a**holish it is?”

        I think that this attitude comes from a consideration of our own past colonialism – ironically, it comes from both still being a bit colonial in mindset (“I’m not going to hold those other people to the standard of civilization I hold my own people to”) and wanting to avoid colonialism (“I don’t want to force everyone to adopt our first admendment”).

        As I say in @9, while I’m not sure there is a perfect way to navigate these issues, the way the US tries to protect multiculturalism within its borders seems pretty good to me. Yes, you do hold people from other cultures to the standard of civilization you hold for yourself – at least in matters of secular law. Because historically what we’ve seen in the US is that this encourages multiculturalism, rather than (as some liberal multiculturalists might claim) discouraging it. Holding every person to a basic set of secular laws does not create a cultural homogeny or hegemony, it creates St. Patrick’s day parades and Dearborn Arabic Festivals.

      2. Surely the defense of Islam is due to it being a religion, not just a different culture. If it wasn’t a religion, no one would tolerate any part of it. Because it is a religion, it gets the special white gloves treatment.

        1. I actually think it is because people see it as a culture or even more wrongly as a race. They will criticize Catholics but Islam not so much.

          1. Indeed. Due to the fact that Islam spread predominantly into southern Asia and northern Africa the number of WASPish looking Muslims is pretty much negligible.
            So for most Westerners it’s still “Muslims”=”Little Brown/Swarthy People”.
            And since the extreme right doesn’t like their kind around here, the liberals try to be especially forbearing.

            1. Yes. I know people who don’t understand the difference between “Muslim” and “Arab”–look at people who insist that Obama must be a Muslim because his father was, or that the fact that his father was a Muslim makes Obama an Arab. And yes, I know people on the left who not only equate “Arab” and “Muslim,” but “Arab” and “Black.” Some people, including some Blacks, believe that everyone who lives in North Africa or the Near East is Black: Moses, Cleopatra, the Carthaginians, Jesus, etc. When we went to war in Iraq, I heard lefties complaining about all the “Blacks” we were killing. So, if “Muslim”=”Arab”=”Black,” then “Anti-Muslim”=”Anti-Black.”


          2. Yes, but that in itself is a form of “racism” or `culturism.`It`s called the racism of low expectations. In excusing this sort of censorious iliberalism we are not allowing people from other cultures the agency we grant ourselves.

              1. Wasn`t at all suggesting that you were. Just making a general point about the multi-culti crowd.

          3. I can see that with regard to something like burkas, but I can’t see tolerating the violent things, like stoning, just to be anti-racial. That seems more like deference to religion to me.

      3. As a liberal I personally don’t particularly want to defend Islam, I just don’t want to be dragged down to their level while opposing them. I want to win fair and square in open debate, not by bigotry baiting or forcing counter clothing mandates. I often wonder if this is too nieve a stance to hold to, though.

        All too often people fall for the “your intolerance of my intolerance is wrong” gambit, which really needs to stop. Any Muslim appealing to multiculturalism is almost certainly engaged in hypocrisy, since only adherents are allowed in Mecca and apostasy penalties are well known and wide spread.

        1. often, I think it is the liberals who engage on multiculturalism as a defence more than Muslims do.

  4. “But free speech should also be the rule for those who criticize that faith.., The latter doesn’t happen, as we saw when Brandeis withdrew the offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. ”

    Free speech doesn’t mean that private organizations must give a platform to views they reject.

    1. What views of Ayaan Hirse Ali were they rejecting? Her view that FMG is an abomination? Possibley they rejected her view that apostates shouldn’t be murdered, or that women should have equal rights with muslim men?
      So it’s Ayaan’s fault that she got rejected. Well that’s OK then.

    2. I perceive that certain human primates – corporate and private Masters of Mankind tyrants (mostly “conservative,” at least in the U.S.) – wish to maximize “privatization” so that, among other reasons, they do not have to “give a platform to views they reject,” as they themselves do not feel that they owe such consideration to the human “resource” and “capital” servants who do their bidding.

        1. Yeah, I thought about that, but knew that no one would bring up mechanical digital devices. I haven’t seen one of those in many, many years.

          1. This is the Internet. Of course somebody is going to mention obscure shit that contradicts you!

            A friend’s over-the-range microwave actually has that type of clock. I never asked if it was a newer retro model or if it had somehow been miraculously preserved through the ages.


              1. I must admit, I don’t remember seeing any clocks in any Star Trek anything, and Teh Goggle didn’t help me remember anything. They sure sound like they should be cool, though…got any pointers…?


              2. A flip clock plays a critical role in TOS episode “Tomorrow Is Yesterday”; slingshot effect and all that.

              3. I’m pretty sure there is a sequence in TOS “Where no man has gone before” where the mechanical flip clock slows and even goes backwards to show weird things happening as they pass through the Edge Of The Galaxy. I seem to recall Sulu looking at it anxiously. (Sulu was the physicist still in this episode, he became the helmsman in a later episode.)

              4. “Diana MacPherson

                Posted May 12, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

                yeah I think Grania is right. It was cool in the 60s and 70s.”

                It wasn’t merely “cool” – it was “groovy”! 😉

              1. Ah — thank you!

                …amazing how transparent the “special effects” and stage props were…including the not-so-coordinated throwing of one’s self into the furniture….


              2. That’s the stuff that really cracks me up. Shaking cameras and flashing lights. They were really on a tight budget.

                I think I never saw that episode, because it really is light on drama… pretty horrible writing, really. I think they mostly re-ran stuff that had a bigger variety of dramatic points. This episode was kind-of incoherent. Really bad motivations that the actors had to work off of.

  5. It’s fascinating to watch exchanges like this, where people’s statements are always re-interpreted to the extremes. Someone says “a disproportionate number of Muslims hold to extremist views”.

    Somebody else replies “Oh, but not all Muslims are evil and extremist!”

    “I didn’t say that! I said a disproportionate number hold extremist views”.

    “You can’t say that – there are lots of Muslims who are peaceful and are not extremists!”

    “Yes I know! That’s what I said!”

    “Yes, but, you can’t condemn every Muslim because of a few extremists!”

    And round and round the conversation goes.

    Of course, D’Snozzled can’t help getting the boot in with his dissing of liberals. I wonder if many liberals become apologists for Islam precisely because of this tendency to take any criticism to be an argument from the extreme, which can make it appear to be uncomfortably close to actual racist arguments.

    1. “And round and round the conversation goes.”

      Yes, and it happens on both sides of the argument. It’s a lot easier to summon righteous indignation against extremist statements than it is against nuanced statements.

      1. I think much of that kind of thing is due to people focusing on winning the argument instead of focusing on understanding each others view points. Which leads directly to literally talking past each other, and blatant straw manning. Very typical human behavior I see everywhere from all kinds of people, including myself.

        1. ” Very typical human behavior I see everywhere from all kinds of people, including myself.”

          Here, too. Very often by the time I’ve finished constructing a counter-argument, the argument I’m countering has changed in my mind to something pretty different from that which was presented. Sometimes I have to delete my entire response, or even change it to agreement.

  6. on the one hand you’re a defender of individual rights and minorities; and if this were the Catholic Church you’d be all on it. But on the other hand you’re committed to multiculturalism

    I think the US notion of secular government resolves the conflict/cuts the gordion knot reasonably effectively. That notion (IMO) is: multiculturalism prospers when individual rights are protected. We are a very multicultural society, even while insisting that sects and insular communities generally obey the laws of the land. Yes, you are free to practice your faith, but no, you cannot kill another citizen for leaving it, because apostacy is not a punishable crime – and even if it were, the police and court system would do the punishing, not you.

    So I have very little ‘liberal angst’ about speaking out against abusive pratices, because I think the ‘American experiment’ shows that, despite any calls that the cultural sky will fall if practice X is forbidden, historically, the sky doesn’t fall. We’ve already got US mormons with no polygamy and US muslims that don’t operate sharia courts, so the idea that multiculturalism will fail if we don’t allow such pratices has been shown to be wrong.

    1. You are correct, well said. Not only the US, but all western nations have brought religion to heel through secularism.

      While D’Souza is correct in this short interchange, my quibble is that he implies that there is something special and fair about Christianity that makes it more respectful of individual rights, versus Islam. I disagree. I have no doubt that if Catholicism were unchecked by multicultural secular notions that, like Islam, 84% would indeed favor death for apostates.

      The fact that Islam’s failures have been allowed to fester are due to complex social and geopolitical forces, having to do with oil money and massive population growth. Given the crude paleolithic moorings of the human psyche, maybe it’s more remarkable that Christianity’s tribal and irrational failings has been mitigated than Islam’s have not.

      1. “maybe it’s more remarkable that Christianity’s tribal and irrational failings has been mitigated than Islam’s have not.


      2. The quran clearly instructs death to apostates. I was going to tell you that the bible does not give such an instruction, but I thought … better check first. And I found this in Deuteronomy:
        ““If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. ”

        But I meekly add that this view is not widely held today in Christianity. We have moved on.

        1. You missed the red-letter text in 19:27, where Jesus himself commands, “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”

          Yes, yes — “parable.” But the parable is about Jesus and Armageddon, where Jesus himself will say and do exactly that.

          …and let’s not forget that Jesus came not to bring peace but a sword, and to chase the corrupt Jewish bankers from the Temple, and to rip families asunder, and all the rest.

          One nasty goddamned motherfucking sonofabitch death god, that Jesus.



        2. “But I meekly add that this view is not widely held today in Christianity. We have moved on.”

          That’s the point of the OP: Why have we moved on and they have not? I suspect you can’t attribute that solely to the content of the Koran.

          1. Certainly not, but I think a major factor in their recalcitrance to move on is their ‘Not invented here’ mentality.
            We probably would have reacted just the same if for instance some Buddhist culture had come up with the Enlightenment first.

        3. Well, it’s in the book and creed on which the Christian faith is purportedly based. Who is a Christian to presume to disregard it?

      3. I think it has more to do with geopolitics than it does with Islamic apologetics. Again, it seems to me a reverse-Carlin sort of thing where the further removed some bad act is from our daily lives, the more likely we are to just shrug about it – regardless of what religion or tradition the bad act comes from.

        Look at how conservative Christians *in the US* are supporting the terrible human rights abuses in Africa right now. They are supporting churches over there that (in turn support people who) burn “witches” and kill gays. This makes it clear to me that Islam is not getting any particularly special bye.

        When muslims throw acid on young women in Egypt as a means of social disapproval and punishment, our government just shrugs. But when christians kill young women as witches as a form of social punishment…our government just shrugs then too.

        IOW yes we tolerate Islamic evil. But not because liberals are especially enamoured over Islam; rather because we tolerate all sorts of evils when they aren’t being done unto us.

  7. “All bad acts are equally bad. That is, Western “imperialism”, or the forced circumcision of kids by Jewish mohels, is just as bad as Boko Haram’s kidnapping of schoolgirls, the throwing of acid in the faces of schoolgirls, and the aiming of missiles at civilian populations.”

    I don’t think anyone makes that argument. Because on the face of it the 500,000 people killed in Iraq is a greater number than those killed by Boko Haram, acid-throwers, and Hamas put together. So it wouldn’t make sense to say they were all equally bad.

    1. Good point. Western nations tend to ignore or downplay the damage we do (directly and indirectly) by our actions.

      Would Wahhabism and radical Islam be as rampant if we had not supported sheikhs with our addiction to oil? What if these petro-dynasties had been compelled to educate their underclass to foster human resources instead given cash for their natural resources? Can we kill terrorists faster than we create them?

  8. The Q’ran is profoundly violent.

    The Gospels are profoundly violent.

    The Torah is profoundly violent.

    Literalists of all three Abrahamic religions are dangerous, and many are themselves violent, voice approval for violence, or refuse to voice disapproval for violence. We see that even with Christians who don’t see the problem with violence directed at women’s health clinics.

    Globally, the overwhelming majority of Muslims are strict literalists, while only a minority of Christians and a vanishingly small minority of Jews are strict literalists.

    The variable isn’t the violent nature of the fundamental holy text. The variable isn’t societal wealth; some of the richest societies on Earth are Muslim, and those same ones are often the most repressive and violent — see, for example, Saudi Arabia.

    The variable is the religion, the sum total of holy text and historical interpretation and social development and the rest.

    As Bill put it, religion is the problem. All religions, but especially Islam.



    1. The popularity of fundamentalism in each faith seems to be the driving factor in bad behavior. I’m conflicted as to how much one can pin the tendency of fundamentalism on the doctrine.

      Even so, it makes no sense that any religion should get more respect the more it ignores and explains away its doctrine. Clearly, if the more literal one is the worse one is, the Dogma most definitely has some problems.

    1. Because what some other folk might consider imperialism, we might not. One example would be a women’s right to vote. Is proposing that women should have equal voting rights western imperialism? The Saudis think so.

    1. Or Sri Lanka for that matter. But the fact is that most Muslim violence a. occurs outside the US and b. is inflicted not on Westerners, but on other Muslims. That’s what the article you linked to doesn’t say.

      By the way, heard of any Buddist fatwas lately, or official statements that anybody who leaves Buddhism should be killed?

      Once again we have a false equality: some instances of Buddhist violence somehow equates to the many more instances of Muslim violence, even when the latter are carried out against innocent people (i.e. 9/11).

      1. First, a few details for helpful context.


        Predominantly Buddhist nations are not recognized as less warlike. Buddhist sects are capable of great violence, as in the White Lotus rebellion in China. Red Turbans too I think.

        The Tamil rebellion essentially was crushed by Buddhist Sinhalese attacks on the entire Tamil population. The Buddhist Sinhalese army basically herded all the Tamils into a relatively small zone under the guns. I believe the violence continues on a smaller scale.

        Predominantly Buddhist nations are not recognized as less warlike. Buddhist sects are capable of great violence, as in the White Lotus rebellion in China. Red Turbans too I think.

        They’re going to start counting votes in India today. The last I looked they believe Narendra Modi will win, despite, or maybe because of, his involvement in massacres of Muslims in his home state.

        Christians have joined with their Buddhist and Hindu brothers against the very worst religion:

        Everyone knows 9/11 was carried out by Saudis who don’t think their government is pure enough. If you don’t have a problem with US government support for Saudi Arabia, do you really have a problem with its citizens most dedicated to the moral values the US has so vigorously helped to defend.

        That’s like saying you have a problem with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar!
        (That’s the guy who was most famous for throwing acid into girls’ faces. He was a favorite of the US government in the Afghan war.)

        That said, Boko Haram is terrible for kidnapping children. So were the rebels in Sierra Leone and Liberia years ago. And so is the Lord’s Resistance Army, a Christian group that may well be receiving covert assistance from “imperialists” in the endless wars in eastern Congo. I think the efforts to agitate against LRA focus on using Joseph Kony’s name rather than Lord’s Resistance Army, being more effective propaganda in the predominantly Christian West. I think it would be great if someone honest tried to investigate ties between US religious groups and corporations doing business in Africa, to expose and cut off all ties between them and Boko Haram and Lord’s Resistance Army.

        Just a few days ago the news said the US government is sending advanced missiles to Syria. My moral compass leads me to think that it’s more important to end this criminal policy than to berate liberals and multiculturalists for not condemning Islam as the worst religion.
        Besides, can you honestly think Islam is the worst religion when you’ve got no problem with giving Islamists missiles?

  9. D’Souza’s least bad book was his first major one, “Illiberal Education” which was a critique of multiculturalism in American Universities. (But a much better book on the same topic “The Shadow University” by Kors and Silvergate came out a few years later.) It was just about D’Souza’s only book to get some moderately favorable reviews from some liberal publications. And his rhetoric here echoes that of this book.

    The Unitarian church (in which I remain active though not a member) has particularly bad on bending over backwards to excuse the bizarre side of Islam, while also stereotyping all Christians as fundamentalists.

    Re blind pigs finding acorns- I like the saying that a clock that is stopped is correct twice a day. (In fact, a clock running backward is correct 4 times a day.)

  10. I just find quite surprising how our so called friends “Saudi Arabia” isn’t on that list.

  11. What I’d like to know is whether we can find examples of protesting groups or organisations run by other Muslims of different outlooks within these nations. I suspect there could be quite a few underground or even revolutionary movements within Islamic countries, and if so it might be the case that such “liberals” would listen to them.

    When the US were waging the Vietnam War, there were all kinds of protesters and critics coming out to condemn it, and arguably there were even more during the Iraq War. A promising sign would be to find evidence of similar growing movements within Islamic nations themselves, both because they could play a role in removing such cruelties, and because it would be harder for liberals to claim they’re silencing criticism of Islam out of respect for its practitioners. Where could we find a body of research and reports that suggest this is the case?

    1. A promising sign would be to find evidence of similar growing movements within Islamic nations themselves, both because they could play a role in removing such cruelties, and because it would be harder for liberals to claim they’re silencing criticism of Islam out of respect for its practitioners. Where could we find a body of research and reports that suggest this is the case?

      If two people qualify as a “growing movement,” there’s Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

      The fact that said “movement” is so small and has been the subject of so many death threats should tell you all the rest you need to know….


      1. Sir, there have been a large number of Muslims who broke with Islam and took up women’s rights and a whole multitude of other socially progressive causes. Every exmuslim Communist, for one. I thought it was notable that in the survey above the best percentages tended to correlate with countries cursed by the Godless Commies.

        And the countries with the worst percentages tend to be those blessed with US government support and/or intervention, overt or covert.
        It was legislation for women that triggered the greatest resistance to the Communist government of Afghanistan. And it was the US government that supported the suppression of women’s rights by violent counterrevolution.

        Oh, and Boko Haram? They have become so powerful because the anti-Gaddafi fighters have spread their weapons around to co-thinkers, just as they did in Mali. Gaddafi was a notable
        anti-jihadist (so anti, in fact, he could have been criticized on human rights grounds, providing you concede human rights to Muslims.)
        The US supported his overthrow.

        Left wing Muslim opposition (or even mildly, inconsistently, half fake opposition,) does exist. But the US government is mortally opposed to that. I think the real issue is why?
        That is much more useful than whipping up a hate minute against mulitculturalism and liberalism.

  12. “As the saying goes, even a blind pig can find an acorn. And even Dinesh D’Souza, a nasty piece of right-wing, religious work—now under indictment for campaign-fund shenanigans—can be right,”

    It is hardly surprisingly. A lot of the religious people can figure out lapses of logic in theology and the discussions of religion as long as it does not apply to their own faith. For example, any relatively intelligent Muslim will call the trinity doctrine of Christian theology meaningless bullshit. So I’m not surprised that Dinesh can see through the Muslim bullshit but I’ll be freaking surprised if he can see through the Christian bullshit.

  13. The Pew graphic is informative. The lowest fraction occurs in Kazakhstan. Why? This state is ~70% muslim and adjacent to Uzbekistan (~90%) and Turkmenistan (~89%) along its southern border. Can this be due to Kazakhstan’s culture and ethnic diversity? And/or its status as a secular state? And/or the influence of the old Soviet Union in suppressing religion? Still, there are about 500,000 muslims in Kazakhstan that favor the death penalty for apostasy. 500,000 too many.

  14. I tell you, there are things that I really do not agree with that Conservatives say but there are other things that they say that I am starting to see are actually correct.

  15. What about the data for Muslims who don’t want sharia-based law in their country? If they outnumber the ones who do, then isn’t this graph misleading us into thinking there are more death-mongering members than there really are?

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