Friday, February 11, 2011


I should probably let Mr. Coren handle this one but this was too tempting to sit on.

Said Musa, an Afghan Christian, is slated to die because, according to Islam, he is an apostate.

Mr. Coren's post entitled "Why We Fight":

Not sure if the title I’ve used in ironic or not. Either way, according to The Daily Mail, “An Afghan physiotherapist will be executed within three days for converting to Christianity. Said Musa – 45 -has been held for eight months in a Kabul prison were he claims he has been tortured and sexually abused by inmates and guards.

“He lost his left leg in a landmine explosion in the 1990s, has worked for the Red Cross for 15 years and helps to treat fellow amputees. Musa is facing execution unless he converts back to Islam.He was arrested in May last year as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy following a crackdown on Christians within Afghanistan.He claims he was visited by a judge who told him he would be hanged within days unless he converted back to Islam.But he remains defiant and said he would be willing to die for his faith.”

As we always hear in North America and Europe, all religions are the same really, and they all have their extremists. Thing is, some extremists write strong letters and moan a little, others cut your head off and slaughter your family.

One response in particular confirms rather than contradicts Coren's words. I will break it down paragraph by paragraph (it's rather long).

Paragraph the first:

Religion has always been an effective conduit for all manner of hate and horrific violence. Even saying this strikes me as incredibly banal. Almost as banal as this ever-durable straw man assertion that hordes of elitist westerners regularly make the relativist arguments that Coren is raging against. Who? Where? Unless anyone is really going to mount a reasoned argument as to why Christianity is empirically superior to Islam (which is by definition, impossible) then we’re left with sociology, politics and history, which I think are far more interesting ways to explore the roots and reality of Islamic terrorism than these endless shopping lists of horrific deeds and snide remarks. We get it. You root for the home team. Can we move on?

Uh, no, we can't move on.

First of all, making blanket statements about religion is a quick or lazy answer to the serious fundamental questions now posed to us. Yes, there have been religionists of all stripes doing monstrous things. There have also been religious adherents who have been remarkably humanitarian. Can one make blanket statements about Nazis and communists as well? Forget the liberal dance of denial and deflection regarding the pre- and post-Cold War world, both parties, though evil, were still different in their political aims and even strategies. As far serious analysis goes, lumping in political factions (or religions) robs the earnest scholar of the very character of what is being examined. Yes, Stalin and Hitler were evil, but only one of them lost the Second World War and is recognised- ad nauseum- as evil incarnate while the other has been relatively unscathed by criticism, which it deserves in spades. The only thing they have in common is the moral conclusion of evil. That's a five second answer. So, too, is it facile (being generous here) an answer to just sum up religion and its adherents, as if all could be described as such, anyway. Are all Sikhs evil because of Air India 182? Only a handful of Sikhs committed the atrocity. Should an entire community be judged as Leftist Hack Zealot deplores the Islamic community being judged?

If Mr. Zealot's own statement strikes him as banal, I hope the irony is not lost on him as he proceeds to run down a succinctly worded post.

Nowhere in Mr. Coren's post did he say Islam was somehow inferior. If anything, Mr. Coren has been largely apologetic to Muslim populations declaring that most Muslims are good, hard-working people who want what anyone else wants- peace and stability. His point, however, was the relativism and the ignorance of those who would lump all religions and cultures into one mass and deny what is painfully obvious to anyone who reads a newspaper, that being violence in the Islamic world is rampant.

If Mr. Zealot wishes to go that route, fine. Is Christianity empirically superior to Islam? Why not? Can Mr. Zealot show how Islam has positively affected both the West and the East? Christianity has built churches, museums, hospitals, charities, libraries, universities and produced art, literature, music, philosophy and science. World leaders don't worry about restive Christian populations. Will they assimilate? Will they be angered over this, that or the other? Look no further than the Danish cartoon crisis for an idea of how "peaceful" Muslim communities have dealt with it. If Mr. Zealot wants to use the more secular methods of sociology, history and politics to analyse Islam, that's fine, too. He still won't get far. When was the Golden Age of Islam? What are Islamic countries like? Surely Mr. Zealot has some easy answers for those questions.

The second paragraph:

I agree that the extremist excesses displayed by Islamic fundamentalists are more of an immediate worry than what the Christian wing of Crazytown is doing these days, but that doesn’t mean that these horrific acts exist in a vacuum either. It’s not just about religion.

"Extremist excesses"? Well, if that isn't an understatement. If whipping girls and women, beheading journalists, using airplanes as weapons, throwing firebombs, suicide killings and fatwas are simply "excesses", what does Mr. Zealot think about acts of terrorism from people like the IRA, the ETA or even the thugs at Caledonia? That euphemism is beyond insulting. "The Christian wing of Crazytown" isn't even worth responding to. I defy Mr. Zealot to back that up. When was the last time Lutherans beheaded a journalist and put it up on Youtube? Don't expect an answer. Furthermore, don't expect an explanation regarding the logistics of this vacuum. If it's not about religion, do enlighten the audience, Mr. Zealot.

Third paragraph:

Religion is a tool, and as tools go–they all pretty much do a good job of clouding men’s minds, especially if the other elements are in place. Elements such as abject poverty, an absence of secularist reason and leadership, years of brutal leadership (abetted in no small part by the “Christian” leadership of the US) a lifetime of war.

Religions cloud men's minds? Another blanket statement that holds as much water as a sieve. It is said that Kannada literature was quick revolutionary for its time (not so much Can Lit, however). Again, count the number of Christian writers and their works. Not bad for some mind clouding. Or did Mr. Zealot mean "Christian", some vague, fuzzy sort of personage or adjective? He doesn't say. He also fails to mention that abject poverty DID exist under secular leadership, followed by brutal violence. That was called Nazism and communism. All of that is beside the point as Mr. Zealot is free to make blanket and even absurd and unverifiable statements about religion (Christianity in particular) but seems reluctant to acknowledge violence in the Muslim world.

Fourth paragraph:

This doesn’t mean it’s OK to set bombs off in shopping malls, or that Operation Rescue is as dangerous as the Taliban. But that’s beside the point, it really is. On the rare occasions I’ve actually heard this “relativist” argument, it’s usually an attempt (sometimes misguided) to put religion in a historical context. What I find troubling about MC’s daily anti-Muslim post is not that he’s objectively wrong about what’s happening and who’s doing it- it’s that his analysis doesn’t go much further than his intimation (which is becoming less and less subtle) that Christianity is inherently superior to Islam, and that there is something inherent in Islam that drives men to commit these horrible deeds, something (we assume) that is absent from Christianity. (You know, that same Christian god who spoke to the American president and told him to invade Iraq.) 

Again, Mr. Zealot falls back onto blanket statements and accusations that Mr. Coren is not apologetic to Islam enough. He clearly has not read or watched Mr. Coren, otherwise he wouldn't be saying that. Oh, of course he would! Who calls daily acts of horrific violence "excesses" or jumps to a conclusion that Christianity is superior to Islam when that clearly wasn't the point of Mr. Coren's post (but thanks for bringing it up)? Mr. Zealot is welcome to show how Christianity has put the West in decline or how Islam is the pinnacle of humanity or even not respond to posts he finds so offensive. He hasn't put Christianity in some sort of "historical context". Then again, he hasn't done so for Islam or any other religion or philosophy, either. That would take work, objectivity, honesty and a lack of sneering tone.

"Christian god"? Is there another one? Shouldn't God be capitalised as it is a name? Or is English grammar "reactionary"?

The final paragraph:

All Muslims are by definition, prone to terrorism. This is what MC is arguing, even though he still seems unwilling to really stick his neck out. Maybe he’s right, but I do know that another go-round of gory rhetoric doesn’t actually prove anything.

No, that was not what Mr. Coren was saying. The gist of his post was how people would rather dance around something that is crystal-clear to an amoeba than ever admit there is a problem. How he has proven Mr. Coren right.

Leftist Hack Zealot has proved a few things with his voluminous post. He is quick to jump the gun, says bizarre and unsubstantiated things and really is a hack.

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