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04 April 2011


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Patrick Lang


I have always hoped for "reform' in Islam. How vain and futile was that hope. Yes. Our way or the highway has been the message. Other views, like those of Brigadier Ali have been repressed. There are other, competing views of the nature of God's will within Islam. But, I am not a Muslim, so my opinion counts for nothing. As Someone said here, perhaps the GB mentality makes one an exile from all. Sob. pl

Ken Hoop

Yes, and I am not a European,so how France and other European nations decide to deal with their immigrant problems is not for me to say, nor did I imply that Jean Marie LePen was ever in a position to so work a deal with Saddam in that regard.

As an American, I would only counsel Europeans,whatever they decide in that regard, to develop a foreign policy completely unaligned with
American/Zionist imperialism.

More importantly as to the Quran burning subject at hand, careerist Petraeus criticised Jones, but the original CNN piece on the subject went on to quote an Afghani as blaming the US occupation for being an equal cause of the anti-American sentiment, and of course the General rather than throwing blame on Jones, could resign, knowing his mission impossible is not desired by the overwhelming majority of those occupied as polls show.

Just as Powell should have resigned rather than repeated lies at the UN provided by the OSP.

The beaver


This is the work of the Saudi Wahhabi forces attacking and desecrating a Shia mosque. Same M.O. as they have done in Eastern KSA.

House of Saud and its ilks are creating havoc in Muslim countries. Another example: the Sufis who were killed in Pakistan over the week-end- same gang sponsored and/or influenced and/or financed by the House of Saud. They are supposed to be the defenders of Islam but ....I'd rather not say the word.

Allen Thomson

I have no competence to have an opinion on such matters, but found this article interesting. Comments on it by those of you who know more would be appreciated.


Adam L. Silverman

Mr. Salomon: Wahabiyya Islam, which is the official religion of Saudi Arabia, takes the position that Shi'a are not Muslims and that they should be killed wherever they are found. From that dogmatic position the Shi'a mosque they burned down is not really a mosque.


If their medieval culture is ultimately responsible, does that mean the Afghans that killed the UN workers were not ultimately responsible? In the end, wasn't it they who decided to take life? Do they not have any moral agency to decide that the taking of life is wrong?

bill roche

Pat: i think you are wrong to "intellectualize" about this koran burning. ok jones is a dope. but he lives in the us and under our constitution he had the right to do this. when we allow others to influence, affect, dampen, encourage, or limit our public actions under our constitution than the terrorist have won. pat, that is exactly what terrorism is all about. these jihadist are bad people and they dont respect anything but violence angainst their violence. how long must we cower before them.
signed chas. martell

Doug Tunnell

"Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969), was a United States Supreme Court case based on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It held that government cannot punish inflammatory speech unless it is directed to inciting and likely to incite imminent lawless action."

Not a lawyer but I read that Brandenburg is still the standard for the limits of free speech. Our "crowded theater" is just a whole lot bigger now than in Oliver Wendell Holmes day. Wasn't it always clear to reasonable persons that the high profile destruction of a Qu'ran by a Christian clergyman would likely "incite imminent lawless action" in the impacted community.

We may have no standing when it comes to the killers in Afghanistan. But in the name of the families of those who have died (to date) as a result of Jones' action, can we not prosecute him under U.S. law ?

Patrick Lang


Some of you have hard time understanding the difference between "explaining" and "excusing."

Ditto the difference between "explaining" and "advocating."

Work on it. pl


A post with perfect pitch, as usual. If I may, I'd like to add two things, The first is that people who are not conditioned from birth with this consciousness can never really understand its implications, its real meaning in the life of ordinary Muslims. It is the heart and soul of taqwa. Unless you are bred to it, it remains an intellectual concept subject to debate.

The second is that even the merest attempt at trying to understand what an uncreated Qur'an means might help to understand the position that some people take toward sharia.

For Muslims, the aim of law, and society, is justice. How can G-d not be just? If the Qur'an is uncreated, it is timeless. If it is timeless, its expression of justice does not wax and wane with the whims of men who live and die in historical time.

It's a powerful argument. I've heard it made in more than one place.'Fundamentlaist' Muslims are often dismissed as reactionary lunatics. Some are, but others are trying to live up to what they believe is the real meaning of justice.

Indy Ike

Pastor Terry Jones' actions amount in part to being brave with the safety and well-being of others; others from whom he had no commitment to, nor consent of involvement in, his "cause".
He didn't know what was likely to happen as a result of his self-aggrandizing stunt?
Pull the other one, it has a bell on it.

There is a lot of sentiment flying about presently that, in my view, puts individual right of self-expression ahead of consideration for the welfare of others, in extremity.
This represents to me either appalling selfishness, ignorance, or a morality and ethic that I find repugnant.

Regarding Jones' action, I think the proprietor nailed it: stupidity.

-"But in the name of the families of those who have died (to date) as a result of Jones' action, can we not prosecute him under U.S. law ?"

Regarding survivors of victims (spouse, children) bringing a case in US civil court, could be someone might make a sufficiently compelling case.


@Ken Hoop
The “quranist movement” or qur'aniyah, is neither a newly formed sect, it dates back to the last Khalifat and is mainly geographically restrained to India. Nor is it a sect that is coming into prominence.

That you chose to mention them in this post is probably more telling of your own hidden agenda rather than a genuine attempt at adding value to this post.

“ [Jean Marie LePen] and Saddam conferred and the latter agreed tentatively to take significant numbers of Muslims off France's hands in return for a French absolute neutralist policy”

You don’t need to jump through hoops to say what you think.

To paraphrase someone: “Who the hell are these people who convince themselves and each other that fantasies like this are real possibilities. “ Col. Patrick Lang [for those who do not read each and every post and comment].

“ new and different interpretation of Islam is very likely to emerge in the US. This society is endlessly and remorselessly absorptive and synergistic but that "new" Islam is still "a borning." "

I do believe indeed that you “you have to talk to people and look in your heart”. I do that and I don’t see any new and different interpretation of Islam coming anytime soon.

There is already a whole branch of Islamic Jurisprudence devoted to Muslims living on non-Muslim land. Most of the issues that those Muslims face today in the US or in Europe have been dealt with by Islamic Scholars long ago.

However, I see within those Muslims living on non-Muslim land two main categories: the ones that are educated in the basics of Islamic theology and/or have easy access to literature and learned scholars, and the ones that do not have that knowledge. Nor is that knowledge readily available to them.

It is no coincidence that the first group is geographically located mainly in North America, while the second seems to be the majority in Europe.

As you mentioned, the American “society is endlessly and remorselessly absorptive and synergistic”. Muslims in the US do not systematically and automatically feel alienated and rejected from their fellow citizens; the way for example a French Muslim would when his society is forbidding the Muslim veil. Also, Muslims who migrate to the US or Americans who convert are statistically more affluent with a higher level of education than their counterparts in Europe. Furthermore, most of the Islamic literature accessible online and in books for non-Arabic speakers is written overwhelmingly in English.

In their quest for reconciliation between their faith and their living environment, the second group is economically and intellectually at a disadvantage. Lacking the intellectual tools necessary for reflection and having to face daily economic woes, they are more prone to ignorant, manipulative talking heads on both sides of the political and religious divide in their societies. Their tendency to ignore “usul al fiq”or “roots of the law” puts them at risk to either radically diverge from orthodoxy Islam to create a new interpretation of Islam or espouse views and methodologies that are considered even by the most conservative Islamic scholars of Al Azhar and Saudi Arabia as extrem. In both cases they represent a minority within their own communities but most importantly within their Ummah, or global community.

In America, I see little evidence of this happening. Although very much publicized by the MSM, self-proclaimed Islamic Scholars with their new interpretation of Islam the like of Al ‘Awlaki, are hard to come by. And they certainly do not have the following that was originally claimed by those same MSM that are more interested in sensationalist, dramatic news than real facts.
American Muslims seem better equipped socially, intellectually and spiritually to seek answers to their daily challenges through quality literature and learned scholars rather than through new ignorant self-proclaimed savior bent on politico-socialist rhetoric rather than opinions based on the "roots of the law”.

Talking to American Muslims, I hardly ever heard them express the need for a new interpretation of Islam. The daily challenges of American Muslims are not fundamentally different than the ones Christians or Jews face. Muslims are free to practice their faith. America is not Europe. Hence they do not feel the need for a new interpretation of Islam. As mentioned earlier, there is hardly any issue that they face regarding their cult that has not been already dealt by old or contemporary learned respected and recognized Islamic scholars.

American Muslim challenges as a community living in America are more organizational, social and political. But again those challenges are no different than the ones the Poles, the Jews or the Chinese faced throughout their immigration to the US. Because the “[American] society is endlessly and remorselessly absorptive and synergistic”, American Muslims will in time overcome those challenges.

“We don't see Christians attacking unarmed civilians in response to a blasphemy “
Examples throughout history abound. But the example that jumps to mind is contemporary: the bombing of a movie theater in Paris that decided to show the Last Temptation. The number of contemporary occurrences is of course different. Although I’m not sure we can say the same throughout history. But the principle remains.

Of course Muslims have lesser sentences. You might even like them better: flogging!

@Adam L. Silverman:
With all due respect Sir, Wahabiyya Islam does not exist and is not a religion.

@Byron Raum:
“such extreme sensitivity would appear to be a serious vulnerability.”

It is indeed. And if you talk to the people of substance who have positions of leadership in the Muslim world, many would tell you that it is something that they find harder and harder to manage. Others will of course use it to further whatever evil self-serving agenda they might have. But that’s in the realm of politics and not theology anymore. And in that respect no religion is spared.

The beaver :
“the Sufis who were killed in Pakistan.”

There is a piece of information that is missing here that will shed a different light on your comment:

Those are not your common regular sufis that you might encounter at book club in NYC or a spiritual retreat in LA. This is neither the Ibn Arabi type. There are called Sufi Quburia [grave worshiper sufi]. Meaning that they go to graveyard to worship and pray what they consider dead saints. For whoever is familiar with the concept of divine unicity in Islam [tawheed], this is tantamount to polytheism on the part of people who call themselves Muslims. It is considered heresy. No one is to be worshiped or prayed beside God. It's the first pillar of the 5 in Islam. There is no god but God. Hence no one beside God alone ought to be worshiped.

“Do they not have any moral agency to decide that the taking of life is wrong? “

Indeed you will find many respected religious scholars with authority that will tell you this was a crime. The question is how much weight is given to them by political leaders, the media and others who all have a definite image of what is and what is not and will give voice to those only that feeds into their own narrative willingly or not? Consider also that the best intentioned of those leaders might also be limited by the fact that the general Afghani population consider foreigners as an invader and not as guests, for which strict and generous laws of hospitality abounds.

The tyranny of the ignorant is indeed terrible. But it is something that any leader has to deal with. Let’s say that the medieval culture of some makes the challenge tougher on some of them.


In the 1920s, there was a pamphleteering war between some of the Muslim and Hindu sects of then-British Punjab.

A booklet "Rangila Rasul" (roughly, "Playboy Prophet"), which was a satirical take on the Prophet was published by Rajpal. He was prosecuted under the prevailing British Indian laws, but acquitted. Subsequently he was murdered by a (we are told illiterate) Muslim, Ilm-ud-din.

The British promptly arrested and tried the murderer. Ilm-ud-din's defence, we are told, was organized by such as Muhammad Iqbal, the national poet of Pakistan, and Muhammad Taseer, the professorial father of the recently murdered Salman Taseer, (governor of Punjab who was advocating changes in Pakistan's blasphemy law). Muhammad Ali Jinnah, supposed modernist, led the appeal against the death sentence.

Ilm-ud-din was executed; his funeral was the biggest gathering ever in Lahore till then and for many years to come. We are told Iqbal spoke at the funeral, that "this young man has surpassed us all".

Numerous poets wrote laudatory works on Ilm-ud-din (look up the British India Office library catalog).

There were two other cases like Rajpal's at that time, where blasphemers were murdered - in Karachi and in Calcutta, and the murderers were punished. Muhammad Iqbal wrote a poem in commemoration of these killers.

The Rajpal case also caused the British Indian Legislature to introduce section 295C of the penal code, to handle such "blasphemy" cases. This grew into Pakistan's much worse current law; and itremains on Indian law books where it is occasionally used against politically unpopular writers.

This has nothing to do with tribal society or such. It has to do with the exercise of power. The debates in the British Indian Legislature are available, and it is clear the threat of violence over "offending speech" is used as a political pressure point.


Bruno, two points:

1) the claim that there is no such thing as Wahhabi Islam is ridiculous. There is clearly a school of thought centred on S.A. which descends from Abdul Wahhab. (It's not a separate religion, admittedly)

2) your claim that the sufis killed in the bombing in Pakistan were " Sufi Quburia [grave worshiper sufi]" seemed almost to imply that this made it OK.
Sir, this is still murder!

Plus, they would not agree that they worship graves. This is not the place for theological discussion, but surely this is a place where we can agree that killing unarmed civilians is murder, even if you disagree with them.



"Wahabiyya Islam" per se does not exist. The juxtaposition of Wahabiyya next to Islam implies that just as Sunni and Shia Islam are the two main doctrinal branches of Islam, Abdul Wahhab writings would have created a third one. This is just not the case.

Also,I was merely trying to give more information on those Sufis to explain away what seemed to the author an incoherence or hypocrisy on the part of those who commited the crime. But never to justify or excuse the act.

Indeed, killing unarmed civilians is murder, even if you disagree with them.

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