Soft on Islam?

Andrew Sullivan notes an irony in the Islam debate:

It’s a little amazing to me to watch some liberals who get extremely upset at religious people refusing to bake a cake for someone else’s wedding on religious grounds, suddenly seeing nuance when a religion believes that anyone who leaves it should be executed. If you’re against fundamentalism of the mildest variety here, why are you so forgiving of it elsewhere?

Good question.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Soft on Islam?

  1. Mikels Skele says:

    Because we’re against everything conservatives are for, and vice versa. Logic does not enter into it. It’s tribalism at its virtual worst.

  2. AndrewMac says:

    Bill Maher had this right from the beginning. The question is not how many Muslims out of the whole commit attrocities, which of course is a small percentage, but rather how many Muslims (followers of Islamic teachings) out of the whole share these intolerant beliefs. By that measure, it is a remarkably high percentage.The religion itself is a major part of the problem.

  3. Staffan says:

    It may not be the religion per se, but the clannishness of these people. As you may have noticed, they all fight for Islam but they never join together. It’s always Sunni versus Shia or Sunni versus Sunni, right down fights between clans or coalitions of clans. When these countries are stable it is always because one clan has managed to subjugate the others.

    • Santi Tafarella says:


      How do you account for the fact that, while Islam is comparatively more violent than other religions so far in the 21st century, that nevertheless global violence and war are plunging per capita? In other words, secular ideologies, Islam, and all other religions are far, far less crazy and violent than they were even 100 years ago. Why should we be so worried about a trend-line that actually looks to be going in the right direction?

      • Staffan says:

        My point wasn’t that wars are increasing but that clannishness, rather than religion, can explain the violence in the Muslim world. One reason for conflicts being resolved more peacefully these days may well be that there is less inbreeding – the biological base of clannishness – in most of the world. The religions or ideologies these people use to justifiy their actions are secondary and not causal factors.

        Most Westerners fail to grasp this and think it’s their ideas and institutions that are pacifying the world. This does make me concerned as the attempts at introducing democracy in the Middle East has destabilized the region further. A sizable part of the region is controlled by barbarians who probably aren’t one bit better than they were 100 years ago.

        As for the general idea of a decline in violence, I’m not sure it’s all that impressive if we control for ageing and improved emergency healthcare (deaths being a common measure). There is a long-term decline as shown by Pinker, and looking at that chart may be comforting. But that trend predates multiculturalism and the data are for Western countries only. They also show a recent increase which may well be due to the advent of multiculturalism (aggravating clannish or tribal behavior). It’s similar to bubbles: people look at the trend and stop thinking about reality.

    • Longtooth says:

      Population percentage wise the raise in Christian fundamentalism/evangelism in America might also be characterized as a product of inbreeding so to speak. They are, I believe, more likely to marry within their own sectarian circle. And according to PEW, they marry earlier and produce more offspring than any other American Christian persuasion. This has to account for the rise in exoteric Christian fervor in America in general and its corresponding rise in the armed services.

    • Longtooth says:

      I think I’d prefer to pass on that one 🙂

  4. Santi Tafarella says:

    Andrew M:

    Google “Washington Post” and “Ben Affleck” and “Bill Maher” and “poll.” That should bring up actual poll numbers on what Muslims believe. It’s interesting.

    • Staffan says:

      PEW data match inbreeding stats very well:

      Less inbredd Muslims like those in the Balkan and Southeast Asia are considerably more tolerant (although not very tolerant by Western standards).

    • May I chime in? Regardless if there are Muslims that support honour killings and or stoning, those two punishments are not Islamic. Honour killings are forbidden in Islamic sharia (law), and stoning is from the Old Testament, the Qur’an & hadith does not have the punishment.


      • Longtooth says:

        I’m not a defender of biblical religion. But if what you say is true, then why are honor killings and stoning for adultery and execution for apostasy relatively frequent in the Qur’an and Islamic sharia dominated Middle East, but virtually unheard of in the heavily biblically dominated West?

  5. @Longtooth seems that I cannot reply to you directly, so you may not be notified of this, however…

    1) The West is not biblically dominated, it is ruled under secular law. Religion has no play in justice in the West.

    2) Stoning, does not appear in the Qur’an however it does appear in the hadith. Both the Qur’an and hadith condemn honour killing (also taking the law into one owns hand is forbidden.) For time, and a long time stoning was the common punishment culturally and religiously in the Middle East (as is honour killings). This is not Islamic, but cultural.

    3) While there are accounts of stoning in hadith, the rules for stoning is clear. Those to be stoned are only one group. It is those who were married and committed adultery. Those who committed adultery unmarried, receive 100 lashes.

    4) The Islamic apostasy ruling has specific circumstances to be carried out, the most common among scholars today are:

    1) A caliphate must be present.
    2) The person must pronounce his own apostasy.
    3) The person must not mentally ill, if he is then he is forgiven.
    4) The person must present risk to the ummah (the people of Islam.).

    Those all must be matched, if not then the ruling may not be carried out. Today not apostasy killings are justified because most people are taking the law into their own hands which is forbidden.

    Note: Islam is quite diverse, equally or even more diverse than Christianity. Some scholar hold that the apostasy ruling does not hold. They argue that the Qur’an chapter 2 verse 256 agrees with them, in which it does. The topic of apostasy is not a closed book and is still openly discussed by scholars today. There are Muslim countries that rule under Sharia law, that do not punish apostasy using this logic, which is justifiable. There are also some Muslim countries that view stoning to be to outdated of a method to kill a person, and argue since in the end the person who committed adultery ran, and was then killed by hand it is justifiable that the punishment can be death through other methods such as lethal injection, or hanging.

    • Longtooth says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed response. Of course you are correct about secular law being dominant in the West. My intended meaning was that biblicalism, as collectively rendered through Christianity, is the dominant religion in the west. But also, being an American, I witness a world that’s different in some degree from its western counterparts. Here in America the exoteric (evangelical and closely aligned fundamentalist) sects of Christianity are if anything on the raise. They are politically activated and exercise considerable clout in that regard. At the highest legislative and judicial levels there are those who openly endeavor to bend or change the established law so to break down the barriers between secular government and religion. Their goals are age old. To dictate public ideology and morality according to their religious dogmas (or their interpretation thereof) and to line their religion’s pocketbooks with government money at the taxpaying public’s expense. Although biblicalism doesn’t currently hold the crown of law in America the persistent efforts of its henchmen toward that end are unmistakable. In America there’s a power struggle between the secular and the religious that’s gone on since the foundation of the nation. Although secular law is the law of the land in most regards the pressures imposed by religion make its continued status always a bit tenuous.

      • Indeed I see you thought, may I make a notion? I do not see that religion being a driving force of politics. In the theory of economics, a theory exists of the idea, that a consumer will side with what he has affiliated with (e.g. brand buying). The same idea applies with politics, when we look at it like an economics system. It is not that religion holds ground on politics, but that politics uses religion as exploitation grounds. I believe it would be of the best interest of the world that schools taught disciplined critical thinking, regardless of personal affiliations then the politics ground field would be levelled to pure competition of ethics/actions. I enjoyed your insights, and agree with some of your thoughts. Kudos.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s