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February 03, 2006

Sacred
Guest Author: Omid Paydar

sacred-r.jpg In the past days Muslims across the world have objected to a Danish newspaper running a series of cartoons that were deemed offensive to Islam. Danish embassies have been threatened, Danish goods boycotted etc. This has been the case in the past two decades with anything that was deemed to be taking Islam lightly, or anything that was deemed offensive. Islam is sacred and should not be talked about except for with total and absolute respect. On the other hand many Muslims do not see themselves responsible to respect the value systems of others with the same strictness.

Muslims may set fire to American flags (sacred to many Americans), call unbelievers najiss (impure), make racist remarks with regards to Jews etc. If the holocaust is a sensitive issue to the Jewish people, denying its existence by the Iranian president is met either with low-key encouragement or with implicit consent within the Muslim world. One could say this type of hypocrisy is also true of other religions and systems of beliefs (fundamentalists of other creeds need not take advantage), but in the case of Muslim communities it is quite prominent. The Fatwa against Rushdie (for one of his worst books that became best-selling because of the Fatwa), the threats against Aziz Nasin in Turkey, to the murder of Theo Van Gogh and the threats against countless intellectuals who intentionally or inadvertently managed to offend Islam are illustrations of the non-tolerance of Muslims with regards to their beliefs. This non-tolerance in my view illustrates the existence of a deep insecurity towards internal and external challenges.

There are three major consequences of this attitude. The first is without any room for challenging the sanctity of all aspects of Islam, there is little room for discussions and/or reformation. The second is that a lot of unhealthy dynamics that have evolved over the past 14 centuries through the interactions of Islam with various societies continue unquestioned and are considered part of a sacred tradition. What is sacred is beyond analysis. The third and most important consequence is that in applying the unquestioning surrender principle (Islam means surrendering to god's will) to crucial aspects of personal and social life, Muslim communities rarely encourage strong critical thinking skills within their members. This has had disastrous results for human rights and social welfare, as the current state of Muslim communities across the world demonstrates.

Muslims may succeed to force non-Muslims (or even enlightened Muslims) in not offending their religion by threatening them with assassinations, bombs and bullets, but increasingly they have a harder time to sell Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance. In fact sincere respect is rarely gained through initimidation.

Omid Paydar is an Iranian freelance researcher on Iranian and Middle Eastern affairs.
Comments
JP at February 3, 2006 04:03 PM [permalink]:

My favorite suject to comment on. But first of all thank you for the timely article.

With all due respect to fellow Iranians, however, I think the issue of easy "offendability" is not just an Islamic thing. True muslims find it justifiable to kill people who have said something they didn't like, but Iranians too, although to a lesser degree, have shown that they are also easily offendable, and once offended they too exhibit odd, immature, uncivilized behavior.

There seems be a link between our low threshold of taking offence and a deep inferiority complex. Imagine, if muslims were powerful in the world, then they wouldn't care if somebody drew a picture of their prophet. Anyway, more later, and after others' comments.

Rancher at February 3, 2006 05:46 PM [permalink]:

Exactly. You have to give respect to get respect. Which does more to harm Islam, a few irreverent cartoons or the Cartoon Chaos that followed?

An Iranian Student (AIS) at February 4, 2006 12:28 AM [permalink]:

Great post. I agree completely. Nice to see us speak out like this. :)

itchy_thoughts at February 4, 2006 02:04 PM [permalink]:

i have a word on both sides of this conflict:
freedom of speech is a virtue that is highly valued in the west. but there are other virtues like consideration and courteousy that are equally valued. I won't go around in my town and dish out insults at people just to prove that i live in a free society. i personally don't like dick-headed people who try to prove a point through in-your-face approaches. but that's the end of it. i simply don't like them and try not to bump into them (i.e. stop reading their papers or watching their programs). that's that for the people who started re-priniting the cartoons (i don't have anything against the original cartoonists).

having said that, this incidence simply shows muslims' collective hypocracy. they unitedly get angry and all worked up because of some drawings that don't kill or behead anyone. but where is the angry mob to stand up to those who in the name of islam cut off heads and spread its videos on the internet... issue death threats against people whose crimes are drawing or writing ... hang people for minor crimes in the public ... or stone women to death ... burn embassies etc.

it seems muslims know how to bully the easiest targets -- journalists, authors, and filmamkers, granted, idoit journalists authors and filmmakers, but when it comes to terrorists and blood thristy dictators, they are all for it since we don't hear an angry reaction that their religion is hijacked. i was under the impression that muslims aren't united, but it seems they have a crazy way of pulling together over the stupidest issues.

Rancher at February 5, 2006 03:41 PM [permalink]:

Muslims may succeed to force non-Muslims (or even enlightened Muslims) in not offending their religion by threatening them with assassinations, bombs and bullets, but increasingly they have a harder time to sell Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance. In fact sincere respect is rarely gained through initimidation.

Beautifully said. Iíve quoted you and other Middle Easterners in my post Cartoon Chaos Continues

Winston at February 5, 2006 05:30 PM [permalink]:

It is time to deal with these primitive radicals or it will be late tomorrow.

The muslim community should understand that the there is nothing sacred in today's world and every one is entitled to say whatever he/she likes.

Do the Muslims understand that the style of life in the western world is totally different than their owns in the mideast?

Nothing is sacred these days!

I also believe it is not europeans who have to apologize. It is time for the radical muslims and their backward governments in the middle east to apologize for years of oppression, suppression, stealing freedom of their own people, mass murdering prisoners and dissidents and lots of other shameful behaviors.

Will they ever apologize to the world for their dirty deeds?

I am absolutely angry at these pathetic muslims and I demand an apology from them for their wrongful actions and I'd like to remind them that the world we live in is a diverse one and we, who do not share your beliefs, have the right to live as we wish.

I have to remind you that our world is not, fortunately, ruled or regulated by your primitive ideas.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at February 5, 2006 11:53 PM [permalink]:

Winston,
Indeed. I agree 100%.

Iranian Freedom fighter at February 5, 2006 11:58 PM [permalink]:

We need a smart revolution. People of Iran need to oppose this oppressive government by staying at home and shout the word "Freedom" from their houses every night. It should start on Thursday 9th of February at 8 pm. And again on Saturday 11th Feb 2006 and every two days from then on. Pass this on to all your friends and relatives within Iran. With the help of the West and all decent human beings around the world, and the effort of the Iranians themselves, We as the community of decent humans around the world should be able to get rid of these murderers ruling Iran by force. Remember, Thursday Night, 9th February 2006 at 8 pm

Behnam at February 6, 2006 12:57 AM [permalink]:

I agree with most of what you have mentioned, specially the fact that practicing muslims have a very low tolerance when it comes to islam but in this case I have to say that it was very irresponsible of the Danish newspaper to print this cartoon using freedom of speech as an excuse.
Freedom of speech means you can constructively criticise anything and anybody that you don't feel is right but it does not give you the right to insult or make fun of other people's belief, race or color or religion. We are living in a world that criticising foriegn policiy of some countries such as Israel can be considered "racist" or "anti semetic" but why don't people show the same tolerance for muslims instead of mucking them?

An Iranian Student (AIS) at February 6, 2006 01:48 AM [permalink]:

Oh YES.
The lovely:
"I agree blah blah blah BUT blah blah blah..."
in all its glory once again in front of our eyes.

Isn't it lovely? Isn't that omnipresent BUT unbearably attractiv?
Even irresistably sexy!?

yeah, baby! yeah!

An Iranian Student (AIS) at February 6, 2006 01:50 AM [permalink]:

Correction:

"i agree blah blah blah BUT (the opposite of what I just said) blah blah blah..."

Andrew Baker at February 6, 2006 04:19 AM [permalink]:

The cartoon issue is one that reminds us that all pure intelectual theory founders on the relevance of context. It is the context that these images are read and received. This context is where Muslims living in the west are the prime subjects for arrest under emergency orders, with reduced rights for the person arrested. With the increased risk of being incarcerated and tortured.

The various examples of insults and alledged insults against Islam at Abhu Graib prison and elsewhere is also a relevant background for how things are received.

The boundaries of Freedom of speech is always being navigated however its moral authority founders when it seeks to defame, insult and degrade for its own sake, when no insight or additional knowledge is gained by such an action.

There is bias abound in the western media which refutes a relevant middle eastern perspective. The publication of these cartoons does nothing to change this view.

Winston at February 6, 2006 04:45 AM [permalink]:

you might be right but their actions have made many people wonder why they are doing this.

My point was that the universal defintion of freedom seems to be a strange one to radical muslims and they still seek to build their caliphate and rule us.

I, for one, will go to war to defend my limited freedom though and I dont compromise with these primitive few.

I'd say give them war, a total war, if they want one. I know it is not a solution but it seems that s what they want so lets fight them as we can.

I dont want my world to be ruled by these people. My country was ruined by them, I dont let them destroy my world though

JP at February 6, 2006 05:04 AM [permalink]:

All right! Let me now follow up on what I said about our low threshold for getting offended (which is connected to our painful sense of inferiority) and how we struggle to protect our "honor" (a kind of imaginary thing, but nonetheless usually the only thing that can heal our overwhelming sense of humiliation and save us from an outright plunge to complete despair).

A brilliant example of it (for us, Iranians) is the current issue of nuclear technology. The Iranian regime has been able to take advantage of our stupid thirst for keeping our "honor" (our country's elected president finally compared the issue with Nationalization of Oil. What crap!) and successfully lead the ship to the eye of the storm. Why? Because we would be "offended" if the West deprived us of our "obvious right".

An Iranian Student (AIS) at February 6, 2006 05:12 AM [permalink]:

Andrew,

"The various examples of insults and alledged insults against Islam at Abhu Graib prison"

Give us a break here ok? How about you actually go and read about something before issuing such fatwas huh? You know nothing about Islam and the roots ofthis. Has nothing to do with Abu Ghraib or any alleged curtailings of muslim rights in the West.

Andrew Baker at February 6, 2006 05:51 AM [permalink]:

An example of western bias is shown in the recent framing of the anti terror laws in the Uk Parliament. The wording specifically states that those arrested under these laws are allowed to go weekly to one stated mosque for worship. The fact that other places of worship such as churches, synagogues etc are ommitted shows the explicit target of this draconian legislation. Targeting solely the muslim community.

This implicit bias against muslim communities, and I speak as a non-muslim myself, shows that the pitch of tension of this clash of cultures is very high and I disagree for this and other reasons, that the threshold of reactions is low. To comment on the worthiness and morality at the targets you hit out at and the adopted strategies for response against cultural and religous bias is another question and perhaps needs a more calmer reflection in an atmostphere which is mutually tolerant.

Mark Leinauer at February 6, 2006 01:46 PM [permalink]:

This controversy is very enlightening. Publications in the middle east are riddled with blatantly anti-Semitic cartoons, tracks and articles. Christians fare no better. No one in the middle east takes umbrage at these. Moreover, no one in the west starts setting fire to mosques or threatening people with assination.

We hear time and time again that Islam is a religion of tolerance. Really? Should we not judge a religion by the actions of its adherents?

Maybe its time for the west to get off its politically correct fence. The Muslim world has absolutely no interest in being fair or tolerant. Why do we continue to extend them that courtesy.

Ron at February 6, 2006 03:03 PM [permalink]:

Two quotes from the BBC that struck me:

"The cartoons are humiliating and racist. Muslims love the Prophet more than their families"

"If someone insults your family then that is something you take very seriously, but this is worse than that
- this is the Prophet, who is higher than all of us."

Now, I can understand Muslims feeling offended by the cartoons. But to put the reputation of a man who lived
14 centuries ago, no matter how holy he is, before your closest relatives is more than a little bit perverse, IMHO.

It is just another example, along with "honor" killings and suicide bombings which demonstrates the devaluation of human life
below the level of pride and other FEELINGS by self-proclaimed pious Muslims.

My question is: Is this hierarchy of values consistent with mainstream Islam or some kind of anomaly?

Ben at February 6, 2006 07:21 PM [permalink]:

Andrew Baker,
These biased "anti terror laws in the Uk Parliament" that you talk about:
Where have you read them?
Did you read them yourself or read someones comment about them?

Stymie at February 6, 2006 07:31 PM [permalink]:

Mark,

BINGO!!!

There is no tolerance, there is not acceptance of others and there is no integration of ideas. It is their way or none. This is not just a culture clash. It is a clash of tolerance and freedom with intolerance and submission.

An iranian Student (AIS) at February 6, 2006 07:47 PM [permalink]:

Andrew,

No one usually incites on slaughter in churches or synagouges.Mosques are the breeding ground for fanatics.
Are you a staff memebre of Robert Fisk or Galloway by any chance?!

Ron,
yes. This is one of the main pillars of mainstream Islam. I think in places like the European parts of Turkey it is less strict or focused on although it still exists. Muhammad is considered to be pure and faultless and no picture of him is even allowed.
In Shiism it is an absolute, not only Muhammad but his descendents as well.
Whether in practice people would really put it abovetheir loved ones I don't know but if they don't that is seen as a deficiency. A pure hearted muslim definitely acts this way.

M at February 7, 2006 02:10 AM [permalink]:

Ron,
As far as I remember, there are paintings of the prophet and also Ali and Hossein (the first and the third Imam in Shiism) in iran, you can buy it in almost every religious bookstore. There are even a traditional re-enactments (called Ta'zieh) in which people play the role of different Imams of shia faith.
Yes there are some who believe depciting the prophet and Imams is forbidden. But there are numerous conterexamples especially in Shia faith. Even in some protests against these cartoons in iran I saw people (I saw them in news websites) who carry pictures of the prophet.

Ron at February 7, 2006 03:06 PM [permalink]:

Another gem from BBC's quote-a-muslim:

"These cartoons are more upsetting than the Egyptian ferry disaster last weekend, when 1,000 people drowned."

It's like the lunatics have taken control of the asylum.

Ben at February 7, 2006 03:39 PM [permalink]:

I think it's about time someone that paints good cartoons will paint a nice caricature of the protesters themselves and their violent acts at the scandinavian embassies!

Ben at February 7, 2006 08:47 PM [permalink]:

Always blame the Jews..
pfffft.. Why punish us if you have conflict with danish newspaper...Where is the LOGIC?
Can't these Iranian caricaturists be more creative and paint something really funny about the Danish? Ahem.. Like Vikings and stuff?


(CNN) -- "An Iranian newspaper says it is going to hold a competition for cartoons on the Holocaust"

"The competition is in response to the publication, mainly in European newspapers, of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, something which is forbidden under Muslim belief."

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/02/07/cartoon.protests/index.html

heydarbaba at February 7, 2006 10:35 PM [permalink]:
"In the past days Muslims across the world have objected to a Danish newspaper running a series of cartoons that were deemed offensive to Islam. Danish embassies have been threatened, Danish goods boycotted etc. This has been the case in the past two decades with anything that was deemed to be taking Islam lightly, or anything that was deemed offensive" I hope the author is not questioning the right of the Muslims to protest when they feel they have been offended. To raise your voice, to protest when somebody offends you is very normal and not so difficult to understand. However if the author is criticizing the violence that has occurred in case of few of these demonstrations and Danish embassies have been damaged, that I can agree with. "If the holocaust is a sensitive issue to the Jewish people, denying its existence by the Iranian president is met either with low-key encouragement or with implicit consent within the Muslim world" I think author is playing loose with facts here. The term "holocaust denier" is a vague term and I hope author's use of this vague term is more of a simple ignorance than a purposeful use of a vague word. Holocaust revisionist is probably a proper term. Lets remember that the term "holocaust industry" was coined by Norman Finkelstien, a Jew and son of a holocaust survivors. When Ahmadinejad made those statements, many of the Western leaders , newspapers, Israelis and their entire entourage of freindly papers around the world condemned Ahmadinejad, the very same people seem a bit baffled why Muslims are showing their dismay at those offending cartoons. This is interesting. "murder of Theo Van Gogh and the threats against countless intellectuals who intentionally or inadvertently managed to offend Islam are illustrations of the non-tolerance of Muslims with regards to their beliefs. " Van Gogh (a fanatic himself) was murdered by a Muslim fanatic, other threats have been issued by Muslim individuals or organizations and to use the word MUSLIMS in this regard is again playing loose with facts and abuse of a term. Ghandi was murdered by a fanatic Hindu, Rabin was murdered by a fanatic Jew, Indira Ghandi was murdered by a fanatic Sikh, almost one third of Imam Khomeini's senior advisors were assassinated by fanatic Muslims Mujahedin Khalgh organization MKO( the new darlings of the US , EU and Israel), how accurate would it be to condemn the entire communities of Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Muslims for the act of these fanatics? "This non-tolerance in my view illustrates the existence of a deep insecurity towards internal and external challenges" This conclusion is based on a false premise and therefore has no validity. It simply shows the burning desire of the author to announce a pre accepted , oft parroted statement in the form of a conclusion. "There are three major consequences of this attitude. The first is without any room for challenging the sanctity of all aspects of Islam, there is little room for discussions and/or reformation. The second is that a lot of unhealthy dynamics that have evolved over the past 14 centuries through the interactions of Islam with various societies continue unquestioned and are considered part of a sacred tradition. What is sacred is beyond analysis" As I said the author's argument that concluded Muslims are non tolerant was based on false statements and distortion ; how ever if the most sacred aspect of Islam so easily become the target of adventurers ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Robert Cohen at February 8, 2006 05:23 AM [permalink]:
I am an American, Jewish by ancestry, living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've never been to Iran; but I'd love to visit someday because I'm fascinated by your country's history and culture as well as the passion and curiosity of its people. But I'm very afraid for you and us; afraid that I won't be able to travel to your land anytime soon. The Iranian President certainly isn't doing the people of Iran or the world any favors (quite an understatement. Commissioning art lampooning the holocaust is gratuitous and offense and reeks of base, reflexive anti-semitism. Ahmadinejad is a provocateur; but I suspect he is being used by the clerical power structure to bait the US and present a hard line in the nuclear negotiations. He doesn't seem long for power anyway. From reading this biog. and other sources, one can see that conditions in Iran under the mullahs and particularly with the rise of Ahmadinejad are deplorable. The economy is stagnant, the attitude of the fundamentalists rulers and guardians to dissent and cultural express is dilatory at best, and the security situation has also deteriorated dramatically. But I fear for your country as well as mine. I don't know how much you are familiar with the dramatic decline political and social conditions in the US, particularly in the past 5 years under the Bush regime. The constitution and Bill of Rights here been effectively and essentially shredded. The Executive has run roughshod over the legislative; more or less ignoring or arrogating to themselves the interpretation of all bills emerging from Congress. Habeas corpus (criminal and civil rights) are under active challenge. The US treasury is fast being depleted by the thieves we were illegitimately place in power and who are spending it on ruinous war overseas --- particularly Iraq and Afghanistan but all over the world. Muslims are jailed and deported without charges, the state is actively spying on thousands and thousands of citizens and harassing and monitoring opposition groups and those who dissent. All demonstrations against the President are automatically confined to free speech zones welll away from our Dear Leader. Every federal Presidential election beginning with 2000's (Bush v. Gore) has been marred by massive vote fraud and theft via hacked electronic voting machines, voter suppression, invalidation of overseas votes (mostly Democratic), illegal purging of voters rolls, disinformation at polling places and a raft of other dirty stratagems. I'm talking about the 2000 election, 2002 Congressional elections, the 2004 Presidential rate which Kerry probably won by over 4 million votes (see markcrispinmiller.org). It's a foregone conclusion that 2006 will be stolen as well. We have one-party rule in this country by leaders who are in thrall to a dangerous Christian fundamentalist agenda which is hostile and is determined to either eliminate or suspend freedom of expression, free press, science, reproductive choice, constitutional liberties, and cross cultural understanding and tolerance. At the behest of their corporate sponsors, they have shredded the social safety net, wrecked environmental laws and enforcement, eviscerated almost all occupational, safety and health laws (including food inspection), made health care almost unaffordable (46 million people without health insurance in the US) and have facilitated a massive transfer of wealth to the top one percent. The mainstream corporate-controlled US media (print and el ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Ben at February 8, 2006 10:52 AM [permalink]:

Robert Cohen,

IMHO, you have some good points about the U.S health care system but thats where your good points end.

You're accusing the U.S, Europe, Russia and even China with countless charges.
Alot of what you said are your own opinions and for the reality you describe, you didn't bother presenting any solid sources for facts whatsoever.
Your neverending unfounded accusations including your illegal and unfair advertisement of multiple copies of your comment in more than one article in this website AND THE FACT THAT THEY DON'T form ANY chain with the articles -all these are more than enough clear patterns of brainwash attempt either by someone with clear interests of drastically influencing public opinion or by someone misguided by the brainwash he recived himself.
At this point I must point out that I seriously doubt your proclaimed identity or to be more exact, your loyalty to your proclaimed identity since you defend (oppose overthrowing) a regime that has already openly wished for Israel to be wiped off the map, openly finance and give shelter to terror organizations that act as its proxies, and even strive for nuclear weapon capabilities (and not for self defence).

Emerson at February 8, 2006 05:36 PM [permalink]:

I wonder if a significant percentage of the protesters would have engaged in such acts if they knew about the pure economic damage they were causing to themselves. (I think it's huge, if anybody needs to know why I can explain). I think what will bring some sense to the muslem world eventually is good mass-education of economics not ethics. I lived in Iran for 25 years and my understanding of muslem zealots in Iran is this: they may normally be ready to kill you if you insult their prophet, but give them a dollar and they'll curse the prophet in no time.

Bandeh at February 10, 2006 09:30 AM [permalink]:

Emerson,

Your understandfing of Muslim zealots in iran is inadequate. We the seculars of Iran are ready to give them each one million dollars to transfer to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, where they would be among likeminded people, but they would still not go :) Zeal for religion is their last shred of identity. They won't sell it for anything. There are some things money can't buy..for everything else there is...

Emerson at February 10, 2006 08:15 PM [permalink]:

I think unfortunately most Iranians (and not only Iranians, religious or not) are willing to risk their lives and kill someone for 10^6 dollars or roughly 10^9 tomans. I'm curious to know other Iranian's understanding of the situation in Iran.

what? at February 11, 2006 12:02 PM [permalink]:

Emerson,
Did you really "think" and came up with this studpid statement: "most iranians ... are willing ... to kill someone fir 10^6 dollars"?

Alice at February 11, 2006 02:00 PM [permalink]:

Hello,

i did not read all the comments, but will respond to your original article.
Im living in the Netherlands and am feeling
also confused about all the fuss over the cartoons
Even here in the Netherlands the youngsters seem to be 'infected' , really thats how i see it, infected by this outrage.
You all ready state in your article that there is al lot of hypocrisi in the world today.
I really some times wonder what our leaders are up to, because it seems to me that really the fast majority off people all over the world just simply want to live in peace and harmony with each other.

Hereby, i have streched out my hand.....
lets all join in blogs like this,
and change the world leading opinions.

Alice

( ps. Here we have a newspaper called ;
De Volkskrant, where bloggers have started a English blog to 'Brigde the Gap' check it out if you like http://www.volkskrantblog.nl/pub/blogs/blog.php?uid=3497 )

Emerson at February 11, 2006 02:14 PM [permalink]:

People kill more easily than you think. Soldiers have killed all through history for petty salaries. I have often seen taxi drivers in Tehran getting into fights over who gets a passenger that eventually gives them 10 cents. Maybe not most, but a significant percentage of people will kill for 10^9 tomans.

Bandeh at February 11, 2006 03:03 PM [permalink]:

Emerson,

I think the percentage of people who would kill for the same amount of money is relatively the same all the world over. U.S. soldiers kill many for $40,000 a year, Israeli soldiers kill for around 100,000 Shekels a year, Iranian Security Forces for probably 12,000,000 toomans per year. The difference is mainly in the cost of living index.

Your comments seem irrelevant. Economics is a mjor motivation for many things in society, but religous zeal is unfortunately soemthing that has substantial non-economic components. Look at the settlers in the West Bank whose presence is creating risks for themselves and IDF solders and stopping billions of dollars of investments from going to Israel. All over the world, ideologies and beliefs supersede mutual economic interests. It is unfortunate, but cannot be overlooked.

Ben at February 11, 2006 06:45 PM [permalink]:

Bandeh,
Your assumption of the Israeli soldiers paycheck is wrong....

Those that serve at the home front get 356 shekels a month. ($75)
Those from the combat units get about twice as much.

Also, I strongly oppose your presentation of argument in this manner:
"U.S. soldiers kill many for.."
"Israeli soldiers kill for.."

You're demonizing people when you say they are killing for money. What more is that it's a total fallacy.
Israeli soldiers don't kill for money. They serve in the army because it's crucial for the survival of their nation. And they certainly aren't killing anyone for monetary bonuses.

Your demonizing sentence was also blunt against the American soldiers.
They risk their lives more than the money they get worth, and certainly don't get money to launch a hunting journey.
I'm not even sure you got their salary correct either.

Craig at February 12, 2006 03:14 AM [permalink]:

I bet there's some soldiers someplace who would kill Bandeh and Emerson for free.

I wonder what the salary of a suicide bomber is. I wish it was really true that soldiers (and terrorists) killed for money. I'm pretty sure that the US could pay Iranian troops 100 times what the IRI pays them, without even denting the budget. Buh-bye, Islamic Republic of Iran. And how's about those insurgents in Iraq? I know they can't be taking much to the bank.

Too bad the world doesn't actually work that way, isn't it?

Bandeh at February 12, 2006 04:18 PM [permalink]:

Ben,

I didn't say the motivation was merely money in either case (although for U.S. soldiers who are mostly from lower economic strata the unemployment in inner cities and lack of opportunities does lead them to the army). I was saying they get paid to kill (guns are not meant to build bridges or do surgery, they are given to people to kill). For Israeli soliders, since they are drafted any way, the money may not be as much an issue, I give you that.\

But you are actually supporting my point, which is that economic compensation is not a way to deter people from not killing, or having them kill in many cases. So Toda.

Craig at February 13, 2006 03:08 AM [permalink]:

Bandeh, you last post was even more offensive and ignorant than the previous one. I spent 6 years as an infantryman in the US Marines and I'm from a white anglo-saxon upper middle class family. I wasn't even an officer, I enlisted after high school. Furthermore, I'm willing to bet I've got a double digit lead on you in IQ scores.

I'm probably taller and stronger than you, and better looking, too. What happened to make you hate military people so much? Did your wife run off with a soldier?

Ben at February 13, 2006 09:58 AM [permalink]:
Bandeh, You said: ["guns are not meant to build bridges or do surgery, they are given to people to kill"]. -I must say I disagree with you once again. Especially since a weapon isn't for killing only although this is what it's designed for. Did you ever consider deterrence as a factor? How about self defence? Guards hold weapons. Do they kill every day? Soldiers usually own weapons. This doesn't mean they're supposed to kill with it. this means that they are soldiers. Have you ever seen a soldier without a weapon? Why are you even questioning the guns issue? Do you want them to hold flowers? Cakes? Water balloons? Does your own opinion over this conflict blind you to such degree that prohibits you from considering more than one perspective? Craig, Salary for suicide bomber is supposed to be 72 virgins in heavens.. Religion which promises sexual rewards has no depth in my view.. Religion is supposed to be spiritual and above worldly pleasures. This isn't a joke. They really believe in the 72 virgins fairy tale after the decent brainwash they get from childhood from their religious clerics (which are also brainwashed from childhood =neverending magic circle). They wrap their genitals with layers of cloth in a futile attemt to keep them in one piece after the blast. This is how fleshy this religion is. I can see nothing truly spiritual in it. The monetary salary goes to their families. Families of suicide bombers get money. Alot of money. First of all any sum of money which numbers in thousands is ALOT of money in the Palestinian authority since the average income per month is $50. Now you can start counting many governing institutions and organizations that send money to the suiciders families: Rich activists from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and from other arabic oil wealthy countries, the governments of Iran, Syria and untill Saddam Hussein was in control: The Iraqi ragime.. The Palestinian authority itself also compensates their families with money. Each of the involved factors I mentioned and many others contribute an amount that varies between the $4,000 and the $30,000. And when one family gets their bonus from multiple sources at once, they become so rich even in terms of the western world, that you can imagine how they are able to live in their own area, where the average annual income doesn't go above the $600. 1) Imagine family A neighboring family B suddenly realizes that while they (B) are living in poverty, A became rich overnight. 2) Consider this with the fact that the average Palestinian family has 6 children and many families have more than 10 and the mothers themselves offer their children for suicide missions. 3) Also consider the the content of the religious preachings they hear every day. All of these 3 above lower the respect that they feel in their society to human life. Number 1: Example for cause: #843 - Saudi Iqra TV Raises Money for Palestinian Intifada http://switch5.castup.net/frames/20041020_MemriTV_Popup/video_480x360.asp?ai=214&ar=843wmv&ak=null Example for effect: http://www.expressen.se/content/1/c6/04/05/80/53dc076e.jpg Number 2: The Mother of a Palestinian "Shahid": I'm Sad but I Hope There Will Be Many More http://memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=297 and Mother of Palestinian Suicide Bomber Interviewed on PA TV http://memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=271 Number 3: Example for cause: #669 - Palestinian Friday Sermon by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris: Muslims Will Rule America and Britain, Jews Are a Virus Res ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Bandeh at February 13, 2006 10:08 AM [permalink]:

Craig,

Your anecdotal evidence does not constitute statistics. If you take the entire military you will see that the majority comes from lower income classes. This is a known fact, and one of the reasons the army is offering $40,000 bonuses to sign up. The fact that you came from a upper-middle class family background shows that you had other motives rather than compensation, but doesn't reflect on the statistics as a whole.

As to your other points, well what can I say :) The answer is self-evident in the level of your discourse.

Ben,

You went on a tangent. That topic may be interesting in itself, but doesn't pertain to my original point to Emerson, which is that economics while a factor is not the determining factor in ideological decision-making. Your general points seem to support that, so I don't see why you try so hard to disagree :)

Craig at February 13, 2006 01:58 PM [permalink]:

Bandeh, cite the statistics. The US Marine Corps is an exact cross section of America. Same demographics as society as a whole. Same economic backgrounds. Same everything. You've been reading too much Michael Moore, and spent too much time listening to Charlie Wrangle. Invalid and blatantly offensive, and demeaning, stereotype.

I say again, cite the statistics.

Craig at February 13, 2006 01:59 PM [permalink]:

Bandeh, cite the statistics. The US Marine Corps is an exact cross section of America. Same demographics as society as a whole. Same economic backgrounds. Same everything. You've been reading too much Michael Moore, and spent too much time listening to Charlie Wrangle. Invalid and blatantly offensive, and demeaning, stereotype.

I say again, cite the statistics.

Ben at February 13, 2006 02:48 PM [permalink]:

Bandeh,
I wasn't trying to interfere with your general points to Emerson either way.
I specifically said I didn't agree with the way you presented your opinion. First with the demonizing sentence and second with the purpose of a gun.

ScottVee at February 13, 2006 04:33 PM [permalink]:

The cartoon feakout proved that there are more then a few willing to push any button they see at a moments notice over such a stupid little thing. I'd bet Iran does the Hail Mary pass to some sick & twisted buch of human waste that kills for God and they will do the deed from the center of the country. I'm sorry but the jumping up and down shooting off rounds makes it hard to say that those folks are playing with a full deck.

How woud the world react if Bush said that he flat out wants to wipe Iran off the face of earth?

Iran has a bunch of total nut jobs running the show and you would have to be an idiot to say any different. The facts are that the US and west are getting tired of the constant nonsense that come from these religous freaks (and they are freaks) so the hammer is coming down, no more Mr. Nice guy, No more black hawk down type sheet. If they start the war the US/west will finish it once and for all.

Those freaks run around preaching GOD IS GREAT!! when they kill and mame innocents! WTF! how can you preach the word of a god when you kill others no matter who they are??!???!! What God is ok with that type of Love and devotion? Last I checked a God should be nice and fair to all his lambs not go around blowing them up or cutting off their heads.

Some paper in Denmark prints 11 campy cartoons of the prophet and then we see another 3 really bad ones thrown in from the same source that was protesting them in the first place?
Why is that retard not stoned to death or beheaded like the other artists are threatened to be?

Why the heck is the US flag being burned with the Danish flag? Oh it's the West as a whole they are mad at...Get freaking over it, put the guns down and get to work!

Where did they find all those Danish flags at a moments notice in the first place??

I'm pretty sure the facts on who is doing all the sick & twisted killing points towards the "GOD IS GREAT" crowd, it aint the US or the Jooooos. More pallys are killed in pally-stein from internal skermishes then are killed by the IDF. More jooo's are killed by those sicko bastards with bombs strapped around their waist.

When I see a sea of folks with bandannas that say "I am willing to kill for GOD" I get a little weary. They have guns and truly want to kill those that oppose their stupid ways. What part do you not get?

ScottVee at February 13, 2006 04:34 PM [permalink]:

The cartoon feakout proved that there are more then a few willing to push any button they see at a moments notice over such a stupid little thing. I'd bet Iran does the Hail Mary pass to some sick & twisted buch of human waste that kills for God and they will do the deed from the center of the country. I'm sorry but the jumping up and down shooting off rounds makes it hard to say that those folks are playing with a full deck.

How woud the world react if Bush said that he flat out wants to wipe Iran off the face of earth?

Iran has a bunch of total nut jobs running the show and you would have to be an idiot to say any different. The facts are that the US and west are getting tired of the constant nonsense that come from these religous freaks (and they are freaks) so the hammer is coming down, no more Mr. Nice guy, No more black hawk down type sheet. If they start the war the US/west will finish it once and for all.

Those freaks run around preaching GOD IS GREAT!! when they kill and mame innocents! WTF! how can you preach the word of a god when you kill others no matter who they are??!???!! What God is ok with that type of Love and devotion? Last I checked a God should be nice and fair to all his lambs not go around blowing them up or cutting off their heads.

Some paper in Denmark prints 11 campy cartoons of the prophet and then we see another 3 really bad ones thrown in from the same source that was protesting them in the first place?
Why is that retard not stoned to death or beheaded like the other artists are threatened to be?

Why the heck is the US flag being burned with the Danish flag? Oh it's the West as a whole they are mad at...Get freaking over it, put the guns down and get to work!

Where did they find all those Danish flags at a moments notice in the first place??

I'm pretty sure the facts on who is doing all the sick & twisted killing points towards the "GOD IS GREAT" crowd, it aint the US or the Jooooos. More pallys are killed in pally-stein from internal skermishes then are killed by the IDF. More jooo's are killed by those sicko bastards with bombs strapped around their waist.

When I see a sea of folks with bandannas that say "I am willing to kill for GOD" I get a little weary. They have guns and truly want to kill those that oppose their stupid ways. What part do you not get?

An Iranian Student (AIS) at February 13, 2006 08:45 PM [permalink]:

ScottVee,

Indeed! I can't agree with you more.


Ben at March 1, 2006 04:54 PM [permalink]:

Also relevant:
http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Images/DoubleStandard.jpg

Winston at March 3, 2006 02:42 AM [permalink]:

An Iranian Student

I hear ya!

An Iranian Student (AIS) at March 5, 2006 12:39 PM [permalink]:

Winston,

I hope you find something worthwhile to consider among what i say too.

Monika at March 8, 2006 03:10 PM [permalink]:

Gives ERRORS Ben :-l

Monika at March 8, 2006 03:44 PM [permalink]:

You guys oppose oppression, injustice, chaos and unhumanly conducts.
At its opposite, you encourage any move towards a smart revolution! I wonder, Is it not adding to the sores? Do you possibly ever consider those many families losing their youths for nothing?
Most of you saying these are far, you know, away from here. You are most definitely in your ideal places and long this perfectness for Iran- your motherland, as well.
But take into account that only you and your motivated friends do not count. For any change every single person in society is to react and believe. Just consider what proportion of the society salute Ahmadinejad in their towns,...or the funny cartoon case.
Iran will never see to itself any revolution of the kind you think or plan of, I bet. I am talking so, because I have seen different people in various jobs and social status, and different cities I`ve traveled. They need peace, even in the hands of a traitor.

Ben at March 9, 2006 04:41 PM [permalink]:

Monika,
The link is fine.
Do you live in Iran?

Monika at March 10, 2006 04:55 AM [permalink]:

Yes. I do, and the link does not open the second time I tried it.

Ben at March 10, 2006 05:19 PM [permalink]:

Monika,
It's a possiblity that your ISP is blocking this website. Of course there could be another explanation...
Try using anonymous proxies to find out.

A Reader at April 5, 2006 03:58 AM [permalink]:

سللیلللللللل
ننت
نتن
ددددددددددددددددذذذذذذذذذذذذذذذذذذذذذذذذئئئئئئئئئئووووووووووودد

Joseph Salomonsen at April 30, 2006 08:27 PM [permalink]:

and as most of you know the symbol on the danish flag is a cross, another holy relic

Stephen Kawamoto at March 4, 2007 03:22 AM [permalink]:

The day a Muslim family treats a daughter equally to her brother and favors neither is when this problem comes to an end.

The day when Muslim society does not treat a woman differently from a man is when this problem comes to an end.

The day when Muslim society transcends the Tribe, and each person listens to his or her own conscience carefully is when this problem comes to an end.

As long as a Muslim listens to his imam who listens to his mullah who listens to an ayatolah, this problem remains.

In America, the KKK acted like this.

In America, the criminals act like this.

Mob violence is a criminal act.