Islam Deserves Criticism March 23, 2010

Islam Deserves Criticism

Thunderf00t has an excellent video in which he talks about the need to criticize Islam and why certain beliefs held by many Muslims can constitute hate crimes if acted upon — hell, any religion that punishes apostasy by death is hardly one of peace.

After seeing that, I’m just glad I live in a country that allows for freedom of religion as well as freedom from religion. People in Islamic nations don’t get that choice.

Watch the video before YouTube caves in and takes it down.


Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Autumnal Harvest

    . . .and why certain beliefs held by many Muslims constitute hate crimes.

    Ugh, ugh, ugh, and ugh again for emphasis.

    Holding beliefs should not constitute a crime unless you’re a fan of government thought control. Expressing those beliefs should not constitute a crime if you believe in freedom of speech.

    I have no problem with American-style hate crime legislation, which punishes certain otherwise illegal actions more harshly based on motivation – that’s a fairly unexceptional use of motivation on American criminal law. Claiming that certain beliefs or words should be regarded as “crimes” is different.

  • ChrisZ

    @Autumnal Harvest

    I think Hemant just made a mistake in his wording. I think what he meant to convey was that certain beliefs, if acted on, constitute a hate crime. I don’t think he in any way endorses punishing people merely for the beliefs they hold.

  • Holding certain beliefs is not itself a crime. I do not condone the creation of thought-crime, whether we’re talking about religions that say women are chattel or comic books that feature teenage cartoon characters having sex. Just because I find something offensive or distasteful does not give me a right to silence anyone.

    However, if, say, someone stoned a homosexual because their religion told them to, or threaten the life of a cartoonist because the cartoonist said something they found offensive, that’s a hate crime.

    Not that Islam should get a pass, or anything. It’s a despicable belief system that advocates horrible things. It’s all the worst aspects of Christianity rehashed and amplified.

  • I think Hemant just made a mistake in his wording.

    Perhaps when Hemant has a free minute (between classes or after school) he will correct the wording.

    Hateful thoughts should not be considered a crime unless acted upon.

  • I fully support free speech. Say I say such and such a group of people should be killed. Then say someone acts on my statement. I should be as guilty of murder as he. I should be responsible for my words.

    But should I be pro-actively stopped from uttering speech that asks for harm to be done to others? And is it ok to ask for harm to be done to groups such as terrorists?

  • Killer_Bee

    Tricky question with regard to speech that results in someone else taking action. It comes down to the extent to which free-will exists or to which we believe in it. Or the extent to which we are better off believing in it, even if it turns out to be mostly fiction.

  • Tom T

    @PrimeNumbers…

    I do and don’t agree with your statement:

    “But should I be pro-actively stopped from uttering speech that asks for harm to be done to others?”

    If an atheist voice his/her opinion of a Muslim’s statement, then it can be viewed as the atheist trying to stifle the Muslim’s freedom of speech.

    However…if another Muslim stood up objecting to the other’s comment, I don’t think that can be deemed as stifling freedom of speech, only because both base their belief on the same doctrine, but have different interpretations/stances on it.

  • Dan Covill

    I think the difference is clearly between voicing a contrary opinion and urging unlawful action.

    It gets a little grayer in the middle. There are undoubtedly a hundred shades of gray between “He deserves death” and “I will pay $1000 to anyone who kills him”. But so what, that’s true of life, and that’s why we have jury trials to make the tough decisions.

    Inciting unlawful action is itself unlawful.

  • Ron in Houston

    I really agree with Autumnal Harvest and feel that was a well thought out comment.

    In the US we live in a society where beliefs are protected from governmental action. We punish actions and not beliefs.

    I’m not even a big fan of “hate crimes” since it creates different classes of citizens.

  • Miko

    PrimeNumbers: I fully support free speech. Say I say such and such a group of people should be killed. Then say someone acts on my statement. I should be as guilty of murder as he.

    I fully support free speech. Say I say that medicine that cures cancer should be developed. Then say someone acts on my statement. I should get 50% of her profits.

  • To everyone — Thanks for making me clarify that. Certainly, I wasn’t referring to thought crimes or beliefs crimes. I intended to refer to actions which are condoned within certain groups of Muslims (such as honor killings).

  • CybrgnX

    Free speech is an absolute necessity!!!
    When speech becomes unlawful you will know it is time to find a space ship and leave.
    Hate crime is a bad word because of the meaning of crime. The little sheet heads in the video are guilty of hate crimes just as much as Hitler was. How many people did Hitler kill?? NONE!!! But his speech and orders lead directly to death. Yes on a debate or discussion saying the BS that the little sheet heads stated would not be a hate crime, screaming it at the 100 loyal suicide bombers makes them as guilty as Hitler.
    Its a fine point best left alone because it can be easily abused by the PowersThatBe. So I would never stop the speech and i would rename it to ‘hate speech’ as separate from a heated abate.
    Hate speech is good because it identifies the enemy to be closely watched.

  • ckitching

    We already have thought-crime and speech-crime. That’s what conspiracy and death threat laws (among others) prevent. In both cases, the physical crime these laws prohibit contemplation of does not need to actually have taken place.

  • Aj

    Punishing people more for the same crimes, not because of the intention or premeditation of the crime, but because the victims of crimes are a part of special classes of people with more worth, is thoroughly wrong. Crime already includes intention, murder and manslaughter are different crimes. Motivation, whether someone kills someone because of hatred or money, shouldn’t be a factor.

    There are laws against incitement to violence. Incitement to commit crimes, such as murder, can be found in religious texts. Does anyone think that hiring an assassin is protected free speech? I don’t think so. Someone saying whole texts that command violence are the word of God, thus must be followed completely, is inciting violence, and we see such violence acted out. It’s not the speech that is being punished, it’s the direct connection between a person’s intentions and the intended actions of others. Words don’t kill people, people do.

    Those that only use some of the Bible, as the word of God, to justify some of the commandments, are indirectly implicated. It’s immoral and irresponsible, but not the crime. They know that by omitting the parts they reject, instead of flatly claiming that they do not believe the whole thing, they’re protecting and promoting the authority of a book that contains incitement to violence.

    Beliefs in themselves, not connected to action, or actual crimes, should never be considered crimes. Expressing certain beliefs, can be incitement to commit crimes, which is a crime in itself. Carrying out certain actions based on beliefs are crimes.

  • Jon

    Atheists need to wake up and consider the causes of the growth of radical Islam. Videos like this perpetuate the very myths that cause radical Islam to spread.

    The cause of suicide terrorism is not religion. Read OBL’s letters to America. Watch his videos. Read Robert Pape’s book “Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism.” There is a reason that the most prolific suicide terrorists prior to 9/11 were the secular Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. They live in a country they regard as occupied by a foreign power that is vastly superior to them militarily.

    Ask yourself why Christians in Lebanon support Hezbollah and engaged in suicide terrorism to expel occupying Israeli forces. Was it because of Islam? Those planes would not have flown into the towers had the United States not set up puppet governments in that part of the world, built military bases on foreign countries, starved a million children in Iraq through sanctions, provided Israel the means to avoid a peaceful settlement, etc. You don’t have to be Muslim to become enraged by such activities. The world votes every year on a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Palestine. It’s the whole world on one side advocating peace. It’s Israel, the United States, and two or three obscure countries on the other. And we’re to believe the cause of the rage is Islam?

    So what has the U.S. done in response to OBL’s terror? An increase in the very activities that motivated his violence in the first place. That’s why Sri Lanka has been overtaken by Muslim suicide terrorists. No suicide terrorism in Iraq for hundreds of years. Now it is rampant as we should expect based on an analysis of the data.

  • Jon

    And by the way, it is true that OBL regards himself as involved in a holy war. Starve and kill millions of people and they tend to get very religious. If China came in to our country, starved a few million of our children, installed brutal dictators to rule over us, and exported our natural resources on terms favorable to themselves people would get very religious and very violent. After 9/11, which was really a small death toll relative to the death toll inflicted on the middle east regularly (the U.N. estimated 5000 dead children every month due to sanctions in Iraq and that went on for 12 years) people became very religious. How much more religious would they be in the face of an atrocity much greater than 9/11?

    And they’d start pointing to violent biblical texts, which in fact are much more violent than what is contained in the Quran. The bible clearly calls for genocide. Quranic violence amounts to retaliation due to an aggression or betrayal (see Sura 9 for instance) and still grants mercy in the case of those willing to turn from their ways. Contrast with I Sam 15. Slaughter the babes at the breast. No mercy.

  • Elis

    Jon, Muslims are not the only ones who are exploited, yet they are disproportionately more violent than other cultures in their response. To me that points clearly toward Islam as major culprit. But I agree to you to the extent that support for some regimes is a major problem.

  • Aj

    That there are secular motivations for suicide killers doesn’t mean that religion doesn’t play a role in suicide killing in other cases. It only proves that religion cannot be the only cause of suicide killing. There are plenty of beliefs people are willing to die for, the Japanese were willing to commit suicide for empire, patriotism, and monarchy. Religions definitely contain beliefs people are willing to die for, not just that, but they even promise that death is not the end, and even promises rewards after death. Religion is often one of the causes of conflict, and fuels or exacerbates it.

  • Jon

    Elis, Muslim nations as a whole are a lot less violent than the United States I’m afraid. The sanctions in Iraq alone starved a million. There’s hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq since the start of the U.S. invasion. Keep in mind that under international law aggression is the supreme war crime because all consequent violence finds it’s root in the initial act of aggression.

    People freak out about 13 dead at Ft. Hood. If Iraq saw only 13 dead in a day they’d probably consider that a good day. So I consider all the criticism of Islam as kind of ridiculous. Yes, there are things worthy of criticism but this is like pointing to the speck in their eyes while ignoring the beam in our own.

  • cathy

    @ Aj “Punishing people more for the same crimes, not because of the intention or premeditation of the crime, but because the victims of crimes are a part of special classes of people” This is false when it comes to US law. It is in fact, the intentional targeting of the victim based on their group membership that makes it a hate crime. If the killer goes on a random shooting spree on the street, it is not a hate crime if the victim happens to be gay. However, if the killer picks out and targets the victim specifically from a belief that he is gay, then it can be charged as a hate crime. The hate crime charge results in stricter sentencing if the jury finds the defendent (killer) guilty of the murder and that the motive was bias. Both of these must be proved by the prosecutor. A person can not be charged for a hate crime alone, the hate crime statute results in stricter punishment upon conviction but is not in and of itself a seperate criminal charge.

    As to criticizng Islam, yes we can criticize Islam, but we must remember to check our racism and imperialism at the door before we do so. If we assume that the problems in the middle east stem solely from Islam being a uniquely violent religion, then we fail to recognize the histories, situations, and political issues that underlie the dispute. When you do this, you end up making ignorant comments about other cultures and peoples and not actually addressing the problems. Consider Northern Ireland as a test case. While religion did play a role in the fighting, one of the central reasons that two religious groups were at odds was that they were in fact two distinct ethnic groups, one of which had been brought in to pacify Ireland and was given massive priviledge by the British while the other group starved and worked at slave wages (this situation is actually where the word plantation comes from and the American slave system was modeled after the system of Scott Irish land control). Reducing that situation down to ‘Catholics are overly violent people’ or the opposite, ‘protestants are overly violent’ does not really get you anywhere except in treating one group as a strawman villain.

  • To everyone,
    To those of you who don’t know me, I was raised Muslim and Catholic simultaneously. My first memory is that of being carried through the mosque in Detroit by my father. He was liberal enough to let my mother send me to Catholic schools. I was beat mercilessly from 4-6th grade for being a half-breed and having a father who was going to hell. When attending the mosque as a teen, I had to listen to the other teens drone on about the Christians and the Jews and how horrible they were. I remember when I was about 8 or 9 the imam made us watch a film of a sheep getting it’s throat cut. It was horrible and I still have that violent image in my mind.
    I served in Lebanon in 1982-83 as part of the multi-national peacekeeping force. A lot of good boys and men died there. I used to wish that I had been killed, too, but now I’m over that. I tried to visit my grandmother in Tebnine, but the fighting was too heavy and she was stopped from coming to Beirut. I was interrogated by a Navy Commander who looked to be about 12. He asked me if I was willing to kill relatives for America. I told him I would do my job. What else could I say? I eventually lost my secret clearance for being one of “them”. I heard the words “sand nigger” and “camel jockey” more than you could ever imagine. I joined the military because I always felt like an outsider and wanted to be an American. I understood that I would never be an American to some people,no matter how hard I tried. I did my four years and got out. When I went for a secret service interview, I was congratulated for scoring the highest out of 350 applicants on the admissions test. Then a white agent asked me about my military service and my ethnicity. I knew I was fucked. He asked me how the government could trust me to protect the Israeli embassy if my father was a Shiite Muslim from Lebanon. I told him that my father had no bearing on my ability to do my job, but he kept pressing. I lost my temper, told him to fuck off and left the interview. I recall the black agent was nice to me.
    Years later (in 2003), I was working as a private soldier in Saudi doing force protection in the Eastern Province. I was almost snatched about 2 clicks from the compound where I worked. Luckily the three Saudis were amateurs and I could drive better than they could or I would have ended up like that Apache technician from Riyadh who had his head sawn off on video. I was looked at with deep suspicion by the Saudis when I first arrived in country because of a Jewish first name combined with an Arabic last name. Due to Saudi Muslim prejudice and paranoia, it took me twice as long to get a driver’s license as it did for regular Americans.
    Some of these fuckers wanted to kill me, others treated me like their brother. I shared tea and birthday cake cut with a bayonet in a Ministry of Interior tent. I saw the tears of one of my I/T’s (interpreter/translator) when he heard my wife was divorcing me. He cried for me when I couldn’t cry.
    I’ve learned many things in my life, but there are two I want to impart to all of you now.
    People can be beautiful and they can be ugly. Sometimes the same person can be both. Religion, however, is always ugly. And like it or not, some religions are uglier than others. I’ve always identified as an Arab. I look like one. I act like one. But understand this. Islam is in no way a religion of peace. I have no problem stating that Islam is a greater threat to civilization than anything the modern world has faced in the last 100 years or more. Those who are worried about being politically correct or checking their racism…well, I appreciate the sentiment, but you’ve got bigger things to worry about than whether or not you hurt my feelings. Defend yourselves. Defend your way of life. Defend freedom.

  • Aj

    cathy,

    This is false when it comes to US law. It is in fact, the intentional targeting of the victim based on their group membership that makes it a hate crime. If the killer goes on a random shooting spree on the street, it is not a hate crime if the victim happens to be gay.

    Of course it is intentional targeting based on membership of groups, that doesn’t contradict what I have written. Not just any group though, special protected groups. It’s written in the laws, and different states have protected different groups, if you’re a victim of a crime motivated by membership of a group, but not one of the specially protected groups, there’s no hate crime. Also individuals who have crimes committed against them, don’t see equal justice, because individuals are apparantly not as worthy as members of certain groups.

  • Elis

    Jon, it’s possible to criticize both Islam and American foreign policy at the same time. I do.

    On this subject, there is the camp of Sam Harris who argues that Islam is violent (think terrorism) despite western interference. I’m not of that persuasion, but I still believe Islam deserves the criticism.

  • Autumnal Harvest

    Aj, Kathy’s post explains perfectly how hate crime laws work, and it does contradict your post. A law that raises penalties when you target the victim based on, for example, race is entirely different than one that raises penalties based on the victim’s race. This is a fairly straightforward logical distinction, I can’t explain it any more clearly than Kathy already has.

    Who are these mysterious “specially protected groups” that you keep talking about? Since hate crimes are equally hate crimes whether a person targets white people because they’re white, or black people because they’re black, or asians because they’re Asian, there’s not “members of certain groups” that hate crime legislation single out as getting special protection. People of all races are protected by hate crime legislation. Your comments about “individuals [who] are apparently not as worthy” only makes sense if you think that some individual have no race.

  • Aaron

    “Who are these mysterious “specially protected groups” that you keep talking about? ”

    Ok, here is how it works and why so many people are confused by hate crime legislation in the US.
    If it isn’t already an illegal act, hate crime laws do not make it an illegal act. They may increase the penalties or change the jurisdiction (federal v state) but nothing suddenly becomes illegal.
    The “special groups” are things like race or sexual orientation. The groups are not “black people” or “gays”. If a gay guy hurt a straight guy because he was straight (and the motivation could be proven, which is a tough trick) then it is a hate crime. Or if a black guy attacked a white guy because he was white. It does not give preference to certain types of people, it just draws certain lines that should not be crossed.
    People always assume that “race” only means minorities, but they are wrong, and “sexual orientation” does not only mean gays.
    Generally some sort of statements or association with certain hate groups must be shown to have something considered to be a hate crime.
    If a gay guy beat up a straight woman while screaming “Die breeder!” that could be considered a hate crime.

  • Aj

    Autumnal Harvest,

    Aj, Kathy’s post explains perfectly how hate crime laws work, and it does contradict your post. A law that raises penalties when you target the victim based on, for example, race is entirely different than one that raises penalties based on the victim’s race. This is a fairly straightforward logical distinction, I can’t explain it any more clearly than Kathy already has.

    But that’s not what I have written at all. In many cases, you don’t get punished for a crime you accidentally commit. The law is basically saying, because you didn’t mean to kill a specially protected group, then we’ll let you off on a tougher sentence. I don’t disagree with what cathy posted. Consequentially, the law creates special classes of people, that if you intend to commit a crime against because they’re a member of a special class, you get a harsher sentence.

    Who are these mysterious “specially protected groups” that you keep talking about? Since hate crimes are equally hate crimes whether a person targets white people because they’re white, or black people because they’re black, or asians because they’re Asian, there’s not “members of certain groups” that hate crime legislation single out as getting special protection. People of all races are protected by hate crime legislation. Your comments about “individuals [who] are apparently not as worthy” only makes sense if you think that some individual have no race.

    My point seems to have flown over your head. I’ll take responsibility for this, although I’m pretty sure you’ve read a fuller explanation before.

    a) Do you sincerely believe hate crime laws only apply to “race”, or are you being facetious? Not all of them can be applied to everyone. Religion, ethnicity, disability, gender-identity, and political affiliation are columns people can write “none”.

    b) Race is an arbitrary social construct, multiple different examples, and changing definitions. Why protect crimes commited because and between different “racial” groups? You can divide people into many groups: race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, gender, age, gender-identity, and political affiliation. That’s not going to cover all group biased conflict, and these categories aren’t even covered universally, only race, religion, and ethnicity are in 45 states.

    c) Individuals can be hated for who they are, not what groups they are categorized into. If the same crime is committed biased to an individual, not a group, does anyone think that the individual is not worthy of equal justice?

    d) Consider someone who becomes a victim of a crime, a brutal assault motivated by money, and your attacker gets less punishment than a similar assault but motivated by hatred towards a specially protected group. What is this saying about the worth of the victim?

    So there are two problems with “hate crimes”. Firstly, they don’t cover all groups because they only protect a list of named groups. Secondly, I question how it is fair or moral to distribute unequal justice based on motivation towards groups.

  • @Aj,
    I also support the concept of equal rights for all, special privileges for none.
    It seems everyone wants special treatment or dispensation.
    TGM

  • bigjohn756

    Islam is no more or less responsible for hate crime than was Christianity a few hundred years ago.
    Religion poisons everything. Wait…haven’t I heard that before?

  • @bigjohn756,

    Islam is no more or less responsible for hate crime than was Christianity a few hundred years ago.

    A total and complete intellectual and moral cop-out. I’m living NOW, not a few hundred years ago. If the civilized world abdicates its responsibility to deal with these primitives, then right wing Christian alarmists, neo-fascists and racists will attempt to fill the void.
    Islam is far more responsible for hate-crime NOW than any other religion. We’re going to have to deal with it eventually. Whether it is on our terms or theirs is up to us.