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12 October 2014


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Perhaps a reasoned counter-balance to the author's rather sanguine take on Islam, and more importantly, from my narrow perspective, Monotheism in general.



As for the MSM and religious far right demonizing of Islam, you will know the true barbarians by their attempts to destroy anything they do not understand.



First I am not a expert on Islam, second I am not a Christian, third I must take issue with Mr. Sale's views on the mainstream media in regards to Islam. My experience has been the main stream media has bent over backwards not to offend Muslims. The Islam as a religion of Peace meme is a constant in the MSM. Maybe like my views on Ebola I'm mistaken. Media bias towards Christians I thought would have fairly well known.

I have never read the Koran, but I've read about Islam and have tried to keep an open mind. My reading tells me that the men running the Islamic State are Islamic Fundamentalists a term that has gone out of fashion. They are taking a literal reading of the Koran and implementing it. To these men they making a world that will be pleasing to God, they see everyone else not working towards this end as they see it as evil.



I suspect that it is that general contempt for religion in general evident in Sullivan's piece (and expressed in much more vituperative form by such miscreants as Hitchens and Dawkins) that drives liberal elites' hostility to Islam. They may be secretly contemptuous of all religions, but attacking Islam is more socially acceptable than others.

I suspect that the conservative right's hostility is different, more "tribal." The same sort of hostility was once directed at Jews, "papists," and "secular humanists" such (and still can be heard occasionally...or more often) The point is simply that Islam is the religion of those whom they regard as their enemies (and to be fair, it IS, since Islamic extremists are claiming to act in the name of Islam, even if most adherents of Islam are not enemies of the West.) As such, they want to slander and denigrate it any way they can.


Yeah, I'm with you here. The "Media," in general, have up to this point not turned a critical eye to the "core teachings" of Islam, whatever those core teachings are considered to be. It took "Ben Affleck" to show up on a liberal HBO talk show to get a semblance of a discussion started -- which imo again demonstrates the shabby state of affairs of our media. But, if you buy what Sale and some comments here are saying, both the liberals and right wing have been consistently criticizing Islam for years....I just don't see it, and I've been pretty attentive to the issue.


I recall in the immediate aftermath of 9-11 there was at least some effort on behalf of the media and politicians to carefully draw a distinction between those perps and islam in general. I don't see that nowadays much.



I disagree with you about a bias against Christianity today.

The place of religion in politics was a hot issue in the early days of the US. For example--the issue of paying a pastor to lead prayers in the New York state legislature in the early 19th century was debated on terms that would wreck a pol's career today. And I doubt if much of the public is aware of Jefferson's questioning of the divinity of Christ.

You won't find Chuck Todd, if he even knows, asking a Mike Huckabee about those examples.

Debates on those issues along the lines of what was being done in the late 18th, early 19th centuries would kill any pol's career today. In recent times at least, and beginning with Jimmy Carter, profession of a personal religion is a requisite for political success.

Jack Connor

The following is opinion and not theology –
I spent many happy years in the Muslim world, from modernizing Indonesia to very conservative Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Throughout that time I have found that the vast majority of devout Muslims to be a sincerely decent people, living by a strong moral compass. However (and here it is) – Islam, being a religion in which orthodoxy has little consensus, that all too often allows the “believer” to find justification for any of variety of opinions or actions. (As with many belief systems.)

Of course Muslim “orthodoxy” is far more complex than just the Sunna and Shi’a issue, but if there is a general theme to Islamic thought it is encapsulated by the concept of Sharia. I would suggest that the central issue which separates the “philosophy” of Islam from the "modern world" it is this underlying influence Sharia - with all its various interpretations. Yes, few Muslim governments have implemented in its entirety, but it remains a fundamental foundation of the Faith that has failed to “evolve” by virtue of its divine nature.

It is therefore hard to reconcile this central influence on Islam with modern liberal democracy. Full freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of conscience and religion, as well as the rights of women, are essentially incompatible with virtually every interpretation of Sharia. (Again – My opinion.)

The longing of the Salafis for their Golden Age of the past is so regrettable flawed. I would suggest that the Golden Age of Islam was actually the imposition of stability and order brought to the declining classical world (e.g., in the Mediterranean and Persia) but as Islamic thought and conformity ultimately penetrated these diverse cultures I believe that it caused their vibrancy to atrophy.

As said, this is opinion not theology. While our Western concept of God and Faith has evolved, as has our culture, this seminal issue in Islam remains to be reconciled before their Faith acquires the sympathy that many millions of decent Muslims deserve. It’s important to remember that Islam doesn’t really mean peace, it means submission.


probably depends on the specific media. The "bending over backwards so as not to offend" is genuine in some places, but also takes the form of condescending lip-service, a cheap righteous preface to a the various jingoistic nonsense you get on fox news and the like.



Jack Connor, TTG and I are all retired Army SF officers. Jack, like me, was a specialist in the Middle East/North Africa region. I welcome his presence on SST. pl


Oh I remember that quite well. I'd say most such talk in 2002 was a sort of cover-your-ass lip service. The same people looked the other way while some really hateful islamophobia took over the country, cheerleading for the destruction of Iraq as "revenge on the a-rabs". This phenomenon was actually what tipped me off to the phoniness of just about everything behind that war.

Kyle Pearson

Thank you, Mr. Sale, for so eloquently stating what should be obvious to any educated person who has been paying even passing attention to the US media, these last 20 years or so.

Islam is routinely maligned without a second thought by nearly all media, government, and social commentators, and its virtues only defended by rare guests who are generally marginalized as "apologists" even before they get a chance to speak.

The ignorance of Islam among the general US public is not surprising, but the willingness of the media and social leadership to exploit that, and unashamedly portray it as some monolithic evil, is reminiscent of how Bircher fanaticism over Communism was commonly promoted by the China Lobby, back in the not-so-distant past. It is unsurprising that much of the vilest bigotry originates from that same organization (now largely funded by oil magnates), bolstered by Zionist money and media managers.


Thank you, Mr. Sales.

FB Ali

For another take on Islam, see:


BabaK Makkinejad

That is all fine but I think it misses the central question: "Why are the United States fighting a war among Muslims?"

Elie Elhadj

Some apologist!
What about the following Quranic verses:

3:56, 3:151, 4:74, 4:76, 4:89, 4:95, 4:104, 5:33, 8:12, 8:39, 8:67, 8:59-60, 8:65, 9:5, 9:14, 9:29, 9:30, 9:73, 9:123, 25:52, 47:4, 61:4, 61:10, 66:9

They are clear and easy to understand. They have no differing interpretation. They are violent and full of hatred toward the other.

Yes, there are Quranic verse that are kind and loving. But, what about these?


Dear FB Ali,

This should be mandatory reading for Muslims! Thanks so much for putting your thoughts on paper. Any other writings in the same vein that you could direct me (and others) to?
Obviously, if the illuminati get to you, to me or the many other thoughtful Muslims, it would be off with our collective heads.
People tend to forget that these raving lunatics pose the greatest threat to their fellow Muslims...


In fact, among the many points I took from Hitchen's brief talk was you don't need to be "enemies" of the 'West', as you call it to be perceived as a threat. One only needs to be a passive supporter (often times by being silent in the face of religious tyranny and physical violence)to become a danger. Such passivity and silent support is the ocean certain people swim, and campaign in. However, objectively, it is a wise option to grasp the mantel of the eternal victim of the 'West'. The 'liberal elites' you speak of are suckers for that kind of pitch no matter who it from. So, have at it.

richard sale

An excellent and penetrating reply.

You are in no position to criticize a religion if you don't believe in their merits.

What irked me about Mahr was a certain glib flippancy about the existence of religions.

Richard Sale

richard sale

"I have never read the Koran, but I've read about Islam and have tried to keep an open mind."

That is equivalent to saying you have read a lot about Christianity but have never read the New Testament.
What were keeping an open mind about?

Richard Sale

richard sale

You would think that the rich in America would be especially uncomfortable with the New Testament which flatly declares that "The meek shall inherit the Earth," and the statements pointing out that the rich man can never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Scary words if you have created an oligarchy.

Richard Sale

richard sale

truly excellent.

Richard Sale


Richard, with all due respect, if you don't want superficial glibness you really should not be watching Mahr et al. They are one trick ponies...glibness and flippancy are what they do and not to well at that.

And with a general sense of bafflement, I ask you Richard...why is it wrong for a person who does not "believe in [the alleged] merits" of a religion lose the ability to criticize its alleged excesses. How does that work?

Babak Makkinejad

Well, Islam is not a religion for the dead-dog liberals; it is a religion for both Peace and War.

Specifically about 9:123, I should think you would not object designating NAZIs as "disbelievers" who deserved death?


Did you write that? Excellent.

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