January 8, 2007

Muslims praying in the cathedral.

Dangerous?
Spanish Muslims have for years been petitioning for the right to celebrate Friday prayer in the [Córdoba Cathedral]. Up until now these requests have been denied, which is a good thing according to Spanish politician Gustavo de Arístegui, the nation’s foremost expert on Islamic terrorism. Arístegui explains that if this request were to be granted, it would set a dangerous precedent. Similar demands would follow in ancient mosques throughout the Iberian Peninsula. Far from satisfying Muslims, initial concessions would only serve to inspire Islamic extremists and their potential recruits.
You have a beautiful, historic building, and a religious group that has its sabbath on a different day. Does accommodating them really only inspire radical demands? If you truly believe that aren't you revealing that you think nothing would encourage moderation and assimilation?

(Link via Instapundit.)

ADDED: Stephen Bainbridge, like many of the commenters, just can't believe Muslims want a modest accommodation.

157 comments:

Tim said...

"You have a beautiful, historic building, and a religious group that has its sabbath on a different day. Does accommodating them really only inspire radical demands? If you really believe that aren't you revealing that you think nothing would encourage moderation and assimilation?

Curious thought, that. Peace, love, understanding and all that. Are you familiar with this:?

From the Pajamas Media story:

"...Heeding the warning of Islamic protestors (sic) who hours earlier had shouted “Pope, don’t make a mistake, don’t wear out our patience,” Benedict made every attempt to avoid hurting the feelings of sensitive Muslims who feared the Pope was attempting to reclaim the Hagia Sophia’s status as a great Christian church.
(Also known as the Church of Holy Wisdom, the Hagia Sophia was converted to a mosque after the conquest of Istanbul by Ottoman Turks in 1453.)"

If it were a two way street, then yes, I suppose some accommodation could be reached. But there is slight evidence of it being a two way street, and mountains of evidence the street runs in one direction, against Christianity and toward Islam. Somebody has to say "Stop." And after their shameful appeasement in their elections after the Madrid bombing, it's probably a good thing it's the Spanish saying it now.

Robert said...

The "religious group" is the group that the cathedral was taken from by force (in a series of back-and-forth conquests), in a war that looks like it might just do a repeat.

I don't think you have to have given up all hope of moderation to think that permitting gatherings which are morally certain to serve as a focus for irredentism is a bad idea.

David said...

The questions to be answered are:
1. Why now?;
2. Why there?

Since Spain caved to the attacks in Madrid and turned it's back on the gwot, the radicals are pushing the boundaries because of the perception that Spain is weak.

The radical mullahs are on the attack to bring dhimmitude to the West. In the U.S. the radical mullahs are using CAIR as a shill for the spread of their perverted form of Islam in pursuit of the same goal.

In Michigan it started with the swearing in ceremony that used an Islamic text instead of the Bible. The Democrats will be used by the radical Islamists to weaken our Judeo-Christian principles in their quest for creeping Shari-a law.

Anonymous said...

If you really believe that aren't you revealing that you think nothing would encourage moderation and assimilation?

Perhaps Senor Aristegui has been reading John Gray's Al Qaeda and What It Means to Be Modern. I doubt the book has garnered much attention...largely, I'd guess because of its title. The title of the book doesn't do it justice. There's maybe one chapter about Al Qaeda and modernity. Apart from that, it's largely a political philosophy book.

In it Gray contends that "The flaw with the modern myth [moderation and assimilation] is that it tethers us to a hope of unity, when we should be learning to live with conflict."* Gray is basically saying that the people we are trying to assimilate to Western ways don't want to be assimilated. So instead of forcing them, he says, we should leave them to their own devices and instead focus our efforts on dealing with any fallout that comes from that.

So maybe Senor Aristegui thinks nothing "will encourage moderation and assimilation." Gray makes a good argument for it in his book.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Professor A: From what I've seen, you have a beautiful historic home in a lovely historic district. I also notice that you're dining out a lot. I'm planning on using your home every Saturday that you're out. Don't consider it an intrusion or a desecration. Just consider it "encouraging moderation and assimilation" of your upper middle class professorial lifestyle.

Pogo said...

I do not beleive anything we do or say will encourage moderation and assimilation.

They're still fighting the Crusades, and we want to be left alone. The latter won't happen by repeatedly paying the danegeld.

Anonymous said...

islam demands everything but gives nothing.

Try and name one concession that muslims have made in the last 100 years. You can't, because they haven't. Now think of all of the demands that they make on a daily basis. The list is endless.

It is not a two way street. Most major mosques are built on the ruins of churches. It is not an accident but rather a deliberate policy that is still active.

And it is not just against the Christians. The dome of the rock in Jerusalem was built to spite the Jews, and it is maintained for the same reason.

Mario Stelzner said...

Muslims are really nice people at heart. They don't smoke or drink, but by gosh keep them away from guns, bullet, and bombs!

Anonymous said...

I guess that it depends on who is asking. I mean, if the radicals are the one's who want to do something, and threaten to blow something up if we don't give in, then we should probably not give them what they want.

But aren't we fulfilling the reasons that extremist Muslims don't like us by being intolerant of the (most likely) moderates who want to use a building they built and we stole?

PatCA said...

"Does accommodating them really only inspire radical demands?"

Judging by historical precedent, I would say yes.

And, ben, why do you assume they are moderates?

rightwingprof said...

First, it's not a beautiful, historic building; it's a cathedral. A church.

Second, such services would be prohibited by church law. That's quite enough all by itself. They're churches, not government buildings. The church, and only the church, should decide who may and may not use their buildings.

Why do Muslims want to pray in infidel buildings? There's the real question.

Mike said...

I'm sympathetic to your point Ann, but you can't operate with blinders on. Many recent experiences lead me to believe that de Arístegui's fears would play out exactly as he states. Do you honestly believe otherwise?

I think you would be foolish to allow this before explicit discussions and assurances with the petioning group on exactly this point. You'd still be taking a risk even then (in fact, I give it a very low probability of not escalating into violence), but that might be worth it as a gesture. But given the recent behavior of Muslim extremists, it is Polyannish to just assume that your good will would be reciprocated.

Too Many Jims said...

Does accommodating them really only inspire radical demands? If you truly believe that aren't you revealing that you think nothing would encourage moderation and assimilation?

I suspect the reportager for PJ Media thinks that nothing would encourage moderation and assimilation. And/or that encouraging moderation and assimilation is a good thing.

Ann Althouse said...

If the point is that the Church has some religious doctrine that would be violated by permitting outsiders to have a service there, that is a different matter, and I've expressed no opinion about that (though I don't mind saying that I think religious groups ought to believe in getting along with each other). The article is not presenting that as a problem. I am addressing the objection raised in the article. I think there is something quite ugly about it.

Jeff said...

Appeasement is never a good idea.

Pogo said...

The ugliness is all within Islam. This tiny bit of pushback is not xenophobic, racist, or unChristian behavior.

Islam wants to destroy every other religion. There's no 'live and let live' capacity in its tenets. To believe that is dangerous.

They abuse our desire to get along, our friendliness, our Christian selflessness. Islam talks about "intolerance" not because they believe it, but because we do.

Anonymous said...

Ben,

If they give back the The Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (Lets use the old name...maybe they should give that whole city back to the Greek Orthodox that they stole it from) If they tear down the Dome of the Rock mosque so that the Jews may rebuild their Temple, then maybe we can give back a church in Spain.

But as all that is ancient History, why not leave them as they are. We can all build new churchs and mosques and not ask for the old ones back.

Anonymous said...

As the Córdoba Cathedral is the property of the Roman Catholic Curch, it is their business, not mine.

That said, it seems to me that any church has the perfect right to decide that their sacred space is reserved for the practice of their religion alone. I am uncomfortable criticizing them for that decision no matter what slant others who view that decision choose to publicize that decision.

ShadyCharacter said...

Well, regardless of whether the article raises it as an issue, my understanding ist that it is. Catholic churches can't be used for non-catholic religious celebrations unless they have been desanctified (ie are no longer Catholic churches).

I guess to many that is not too extreme a request. No more so than public swimming pools in europe banning women... It would simply be bad manners not to accede to any request from such civil and considerate people as muslims have proven themselves to be, time and again over the last 1400 years...

ShadyCharacter said...

Ann, what do you mean "ought to believe in getting along with each other"? I get along with a lot of people, but that doesn't give them a right to live in my house. Exxon can get along with Chevron, but it doesn't mean Chevron can hold a corporate retreat at Exxon's headquarters.

Given that a Christian would be physically attacked for ostentatiously praying in any mosque (or simply carrying a bible in Saudi Arabia, which provides the funding for the groups agitating for this concession) how do you justify placing the onus of conceding ground only on the Christians (or have I missed something and you have equal expectations that Muslims anywhere would reciprocate?)

Elizabeth said...

So this is a PJ Media report? Well, it has to be accurate, then. Did you know that Iran's supreme ayatollah Khamenei is dead? A guy told PJ Media he was, and PJs ran it, so it must be true. They're doing a whole new journalism, you know, so unlike the old, out-of-date journalism, they didn't bother to get a confirming source. Sources are so MSM!

Balfegor said...

If the point is that the Church has some religious doctrine that would be violated by permitting outsiders to have a service there, that is a different matter

I'd be pretty shocked if this were the case. If it is, it strikes me it must be kind of new, since when Muslims conquered Christian territory, they always had a little ceremony in the churches, converting them to mosques. In the case of Constantinople, for example, Mehmet II, the Conqueror, had the greatest church in all Christendom, the Hagia Sophia, converted to a mosque promptly after he had conquered the city -- reportedly before the bodies had all been cleaned out from the massacre. I am certain similar consecrations and reconsecrations occurred in Spain, first during the Muslim conquest, and then during the centuries of the Christian reconquest.

Even between Christian sects, between the Protestants and the Catholics, and the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox, weren't there consecrations and reconsecrations as the various sects took and retook the churches of Europe, during the Thirty Years War and suchlike? Returning to the St. Sophia cathedral in Constantinople, I vaguely recall reading that when the Latins occupied the city in 1204, they had it consecrated as a Roman Catholic cathedral, and that when the remnants of the Roman Empire retook the city, they had it re-consecrated as an Orthodox cathedral.

The article notes very clearly the heavy symbolism of permitting the Pope even to make the sign of the Cross -- let alone worship or hold mass or whatever -- within the Hagia Sophia, and ferocious Muslim opposition to any sign of a resurgent Christian claim to the Great Church. Even if it's no longer being used as a mosque -- it's a museum now.

The symbolism is, of course, parallel in the case of Moslems worshipping formally in the cathedral at Cordoba, and heightened all the more given that the cathedral remains a house of worship under the Catholics. The reconquest of the Iberian peninsula was completed only in 1492, 39 years after the Fall of Constantinople. The Mosque at Cordoba and the Hagia Sophia are as parallel as you can get in these things.

The question was settled five centuries ago, and we want it to remain settled. No more Russian Emperors dreaming of Tsarigrad restored to the Emperors (Moscow, the Third Rome), no more Byrons dreaming of Byzantine glory, no more Osamas bin Laden, dreaming of Al-Andalus. Why reopen it, why tempt them, even symbolically?

TabithaRuth said...

Cathedrals, chapels and mosques are dedicated to their respective gods.

It's not like the library which has books on all subjects. It is a place of worship and Muslims and Christians worship different gods.

Not to mention property rights.

It also flunks the sniff test. Smells fishy.

Gerry said...

"If you truly believe that aren't you revealing that you think nothing would encourage moderation and assimilation?"

I am on the fence. I am not sure that there is anything that would. In the past, what has worked?

Anonymous said...

Ann,

Perhaps it's ugly. Being ugly doesn't make it untrue.

Anonymous said...

I am addressing the objection raised in the article. I think there is something quite ugly about it.

I'm not seeing the ugliness at all. This is a political issue and not a religious one. It's not as if the Muslims have no other place to worship. They just want to worship at that particular site because a mosque once stood there -- never mind that that mosque, now gone for some 700 years, was built on the site of another Catholic church. (Yes, I am using the ridiculously lame "we were there first" argument, but only because the Muslims are doing the same thing.)

The article cites problems that have arisen with Muslim use of Catholic churches in Belgium. Muslims don't respect Catholic teachings and don't allow Christians to pray in their mosques. Why should Catholics agree to their ridiculous demands? Because it "looks ugly" not to? To me the request itself is ugly.

Anonymous said...

Islam wants to destroy every other religion. There's no 'live and let live' capacity in its tenets. To believe that is dangerous.

If this is true, what are you doing just sitting there typing away? Your country needs you. You need to start killing now, and no need to go to Iraq, there 5 million muslims living here already.

Why aren't you killing?

Anonymous said...

The Pope was warned not to show any sign of Catholicism when visiting Santa Sophia a beautiful, historic building that was built as a cathedral by Justinian the First in the 6th century and was subsequently taken over by the Turks and converted to a mosque.

How do you think it would fly for the Catholic Church to petition to be allowed to hold masses in Santa Sophia on Sundays? After all it would only be accommodating to the original builder's intent. Riiiight. And monkeys will fly from my nether regions first before the Muslims would consider that.

There is no intention of, or evidence of moderation and assimilation in the demands by the Muslim communities. As the first commentator said, until it is a two way street there should be NO accommodation. Each time we give in or compromise we further confirm in the eyes of the Muslim community our weakness and cowardice. It is a cultural discrepancy that we in a western civiliation need to be aware of.

We are NOT playing by the same rules and if we don't wake up to that fact, we are going to be in for a very bumpy ride.

Al Maviva said...

They want to worship because, having once been Muslim territory, Cordoba is within the Dar Al Islam, even if dog-touching wine drinkers now (temporarily) run Al Andalus. Once it is conquered by Islam, so the doctrine goes, then it is Muslim forever, and that applies to land, buildings, and individuals. In this way it is identical a substantial portion of the South of France, the central and southern Balkans, and the Western suburbs of Vienna.

A blanket assumption that this push to use the cathedral for worship services is completely innocent, is just as silly as a blanket assumption that this is an ominous portent.

Couldn't they just find a nice Reform synagogue to host their services?

tjl said...

Yes, let's take action to encourage moderation and assimilation. Step One: the Archbishop of Cordoba should announce that Muslims will be welcome to pray ecumenically in the cathedral on the day that Muslims welcome Jews to pray in the Dome of the Rock, site of the Temple. Step Two: wait hopefully for that day to arrive.

Robert said...

I think there is something quite ugly about it.

Indeed. War is ugly.

So is getting killed because you won't fight.

Aesthetics aren't the final value.

vbspurs said...

Hey, this story echoes for me, the theme of the pig farmer in Texas, who was told by his new neighbours that his pigs had to go.

When the new neighbours bought the 11 acre homestead, they knew about the pigs, and were told repeatedly they wouldn't be removed. New people accused pig farmer of being a liar in a town hall meeting.

What happened? Farmer staged pig races on Fridays.

Nothing new there, right? Just neighbours fussin' at each other, a tale as old as man.

Right.

But the new neighbours are Muslims -- they bought the land to build a Mosque and Islamic Community Centre on the land next to the pig farm.

I mean, hello, it's a pig farm. It's been there for 200 years.

When you go to a new place, you can't start making demands as if you owned it.

It's the NY cabbies with alcohol, it's the pig farm, it's the cathedral.

It's always something.

Cheers,
Victoria

Anonymous said...

I suppose that I'd be more open to it if I weren't aware of all the strife over locations of holy sites in India. (Well, and the Holy Land itself, but that's a whole other issue.)

I'm of the "this can only lead to trouble" school.

Of course, if similar accomodations were offered at former Christian sites in Turkey and other parts of the Muslim world, I'd be willing to talk about it.

Pogo said...

Re: "Why aren't you killing?"

It's just like 'Naked Lunch' to prefer a violent approach to solving his problems.

Hatcher said...

As I've noted both at my blog and at TPM, the article seeks to excite rather than inform.

Hagia Sofia (or Ayasofya as it's now called) was decommissioned as a mosque in 1932. It is now a museum, with remnants of its history as both a church and mosque visible. Some Muslms still pray there, as do some Christians.

It is not, however, a consecrated Catholic church. There is no 'sacred presence' in the form of the 'Blessed Sacrament' in residence in a tabernacle, thus there's nothing to which one would genuflect. Equally, there is no altar with relics inside it, something required of all Catholic churches.

As for making a sign of the cross, that's not mandatory even of the Pope in secular locations.

I'll again propose a 50-year Statute of Limitations for Historic Atrocities. If the wrong can't be righted in 50 years after the fact, then it goes into the history books as given fact. All attempts thereafter to change the fact by force are illegitimate.

This should apply to N. Ireland as well as Kosovo, Jerusalem as well as Tibet. Consider it a utilitarian approach to resolving unresolvable problems brought about through long memories.

Harkonnendog said...

Ann,
I don't see the logic in your question. How would allowing Muslims to pray in a Christian church encourage assimilation or moderation?

Anonymous said...

What's missing here?

That's right, personal insults directed at this blog's author.

Say something that goes against the grain with conservatives, and they'll be disappointed, debate the merits of what you say, but leave the personal insults aside.

Say something that goes against the grain with liberals . . .

(this particular issue isn't purely left/right conservative/liberal, but I think there's a very strong correlation between liberalism and the attitude expressed in the original post)

The biggest crime for some would seem to be a lack of relativism (moral and otherwise).

It's just a place, so why shouldn't they share? To do any less would be to claim that somehow Catholicism is inherently more holy than Islam, or so it would seem is the heart of the matter.

You can view this as an appropriate request for a reasonable accommodation, but I personally feel that would be wrong.

This request hasn't come at a time when vocal members of Islam have been behaving moderately and inclusively within pluralistic societies, rather this request comes at a time when radical elements within the faith believe they recognize elements of weakness within institutions of faith throughout Europe, and are probing for the weakest points where they can do the most damage.

To truly believe that some Muslims mean harm to all others not of their faith is not to believe that all Muslims feel that way, all that belief reveals is an attentiveness to current events and historical trends.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Christians generally are not permitted to go into a mosque and start holding services, and rightly so. And it should not be expected that Jews should allow Christians, or Christians should allow Islamic people, into their places of worship to hold services.

Why? Because each group has different beliefs, and further, some groups believe the others are quite wrong and preaching a type of heresy.

Those who practice Islam think that Jesus was not part of the Godhead, just a swell guy, another prophet perhaps.

Those who practice Judaism deeply believe Jesus either was a nice guy, or somewhat of a black sheep, turning their scriptures upside down (much in the same way Christians say Mormons have extended and distorted scripture).

And Christians believe that Mohammed was fundamentally a ruthless political leader, who created a derivative religion to further political goals, and that Jews will need Jesus to ultimately go to heaven. (We don't say it these days, but it's there, the belief that everyone ultimately has to accept Jesus in order to join God).

So while all three religions might preach a type of loving your fellow man, that does not compel you to accept beliefs that, by virtue of accepting them, rather decertify the god you believe in.

Why would I want someone who believes Jesus is not God to worship in my church? Why should I want someone who believes Mohammed is a violent political leader to sit in my mosque? Why should I want someone who thinks I have to except Jesus to go to heaven to sing to that Jesus in my synagogue?

There are actual real and believed differences that make sharing buildings for "worship" (as opposed to ecumenical gatherings and social events) quite absurd.

I really don't think non-believers know enough about religion to understand that absurdity.

vbspurs said...

I've been thinking about this post, since I first replied to it.

Why is it that we Christians or Westerners always have to be the one extending the hand of friendship, and accomodation to Islam? Why isn't it the other way around, today?

E.G.:

Why is it that we allow non-Catholics/Christians inside the Vatican, and Muslims put to death any non-Muslim caught inside the Holy City of Mecca? Why?

Just saying that our culture(s) and religion(s) have more elasticity, is no real answer and actually is insulting to Muslims.

It precludes thinking of them as moderate, and reasonable, the majority of whom most definitely are (it's just that they are the true Silent Majority, for whom speaking out amongst their own, means certain death).

I'm sorry, but it's not unreasonable or racist (as some would have it) to say 'no' to this idea of having non-Catholics hold prayer services in a Roman Catholic cathedral.

Not only does it send the wrong signal that our holy ground, despite being consecrated as such, isn't particularly sacred to us, but...

...call me crazy, but we non-Muslims are infidels and therefore, unclean in their eyes (ergo, why we cannot enter Mecca).

Once we touch, or interact with anything sacred in Islam, we defile it, and it has to be cleansed before a Muslim can re-use it.

What would make the Cordoba Cathedral any different, if that is the case?

To me, as it seems to Gustavo de Aristegui, and others, this is a stealth petition.

You don't have to think of Al-Andalus and the vaunted dreams of Bin Laden about its re-reconquista.

You just have to have a little self-respect as a Catholic.

Cheers,
Victoria

Bob said...

At this point in time, I think that the Muslims need to go first with the tolerance. Let them open Mecca and Medina to non-muslims, and maybe we can talk further.

Sanjay said...

I am thoroughly amazed at the naked bigotry against Muslims that appears to be acceptable here. I really am.

That said, I think Professor Althouse has inadvertently raised a problem. I am what most people here would call a Hindu; my wife is Episcopalian. Finding a site for our wedding was rather difficult and churches, as it turned out, were right out: it was explained to me numerous times that the way Christians understood the consecration of their churches, you basicallly couldn't perform a different ceremony (or indeed a ceremony from a different Christian rite) in the church.

The assertion that Muslims and Christians pray to different gods is ludicrous. From where I stand, Islam and Christianity are basically sects of the same religion, much as most Christians might view (say) Russian Orthodoxy and Presbyterianism. But Muslims are particularly aware of that link, and of turning to the God of Abraham: in fact they used to pray toward Jerusalem, not Mecca, to honor that. That perhaps answers rightwingprof's idea about why Muslims would worship in a heathen church.

This appears to be a constant among the Abrahamic faiths: Christians come along and build upon Judaism, and recognize their kinship to Jews, while Jews understandably say, uh, no. Then Muslims and Mormons each come along and add to Christian doctrine and both recognize a spiritual kinship with Christians and Jews that Christians and Jews themselves deny. And something similar has happened with Bahasi and Islam.

Sigivald said...

Ben: No.

The reasons "they" (the Wahhabists and irredentists) give for not "liking" us have nothing much to do with having taken over a building in Spain, and everything to do with:

A) Perceived decadence and immorality (ie, Western culture).

B) Non-Muslims ever being in political power over Muslims, and really, being in power at all, ever.

C) Land ever having been ruled by Muslims not being ruled by Muslims now (half of Europe). (See also B.)

D) Not being Muslim.

Pray don't assume that simply because there's a grievance, that there's a legitimate cause for it, or that the reasons they have and state for their grievance have anything to do with what a reasonable non-extremist might think are good ones.

(Of course, this has nothing to do with the beliefs of moderate Muslims, but they're not exactly relevant to the issue of "Why they don't like us", because the moderate Muslims aren't the ones who "don't like" (ie. hate) "us" (the West).)

Harry Eagar said...

Two words, professor: Temple Mount.

We've all seen how accommodating and ecumenical the Muslims have been there, haven't we?

Seven Machos said...

Not 30 posts in and Naked Lunch plays the dumber-than-a-box-of-hair why-aren't-you-in-the-army card. Man, what happened to the left? What happened to the wit? The verve? The basic ability to think beyond gotcha?

Lunch: why don't people who want -- oh, gosh, I don't know -- "energy independence" out creating alternative fuels? Why aren't people who want "the creation of good jobs" out there starting businesses and manufacturing stuff? These are just two canards I pulled from the 2004 Democratic Party platform, Lunch. There are many, many others.

Perhaps you are are the one who needs to get off your lazy duff. There's a whole world to save, for you and your obviously better and enlightened chums.

Joe Baby said...

Same Saudis will confiscate your bible if you arrive in the country with one.

It's war. Just being fought with a variety of means.

Gerry said...

Your problem with Blogger screwing up the link to the individual post pages/comments pages is baaaaaack.

Daryl Herbert said...

If Muslims were warm and friendly and I thought they were interested in assimilation and being buddies, then this would be a question about assimilation.

But they're not, and it's not. It's about power and dominance. Radical Muslims try to get special privileges that they won't extend to other groups. They revel in those slights and power differentials. It's a matter of pride and their preening vanity.

Radical Muslims are freaking out (among other reasons) because they can't reconcile two conflicting extremes: they're extremely, extremely proud of Islam/Muslims/themselves and they are extremely ashamed of how poor, backwards and violent Islam is and is perceived as being.

Playing to their pride (or wounding it) can't solve this problem, because either way, you've just made the situation worse (you've created more pride or more shame--neither of which helps)

vbspurs said...

Professor A: From what I've seen, you have a beautiful historic home in a lovely historic district. I also notice that you're dining out a lot. I'm planning on using your home every Saturday that you're out. Don't consider it an intrusion or a desecration. Just consider it "encouraging moderation and assimilation" of your upper middle class professorial lifestyle.

Best Commentary of the Week (and it's only Monday).

Cheers,
Victoria

PeterVE said...

I just finished reading Lord Norwich's three volume history of the Byzantine Empire. When the Muslims took Jerusalem in 638, the Arab leader Omar asked the Patriarch for permission to pray in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Permission was denied, and Omar prayed on the porch of the church. The porch is still under the control of Muslim religious authorities.... but the church is not.

vbspurs said...

I have another analogy, apropos to Ruth Anne's scenario of "fair usage" standards.

Having read up on the matter online, I have found out that these Muslims in Cordoba believe they are at least PARTLY entitled to use the Mosque, as of course, it used to be a Mosque during Al-Andalus times (although reconsecrated a Roman Catholic edifice, in the 12th century).

They point that the locals to this day, call it La Mesquita (which they do, since I've been there), suggesting a link which the Roman Catholic Church wants to discredit somehow, by ignoring their entreaties to pray there.

In other words, to them that Cathedral isn't just a wonderful place to pray, which they could do so anywhere in Cordoba, including renting out one of those huge tapas restaurant halls I went to, but a symbol of a history which was overturned by reconquest.

I mentioned the Texas Pig Farmer earlier.

Here is another anecdote, of non-religious nature.

During WWII, Nazis of course invaded many countries, and set up governments staffed with hundreds of German bureaucrats in these outposts.

One such was the Netherlands.

As recently as a few years ago, there were still German tourists who went up to some of these residences, rang the doorbell, and asked to see inside this or that Amsterdam flat.

"Because we used to live there during the war."

You can imagine the instant bristling of anger that must've overcome these poor Dutchmen and women.

Sure, it's history. But dammit, the nerve.

Cheers,
Victoria

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Spanish remember the old Arab tale about the camel and the tent, and they don't want to be out in the cold.

One day an Arab and his camel were crossing the desert. Night came and the temperature became colder. The Arab put up his tent and tied the camel to it. The Arab went to sleep.

The temperature became slightly colder and the camel asked the Arab if he (camel) could just put his nose in the tent to warm up. The Arab agreed that the camel could just put his nose in, because the tent was small and there was no room for 2. So the camel's nose became warm and after a while the temperature went down even more.

The camel asked the Arab again, if he (camel) could just put his fore legs in because they were very cold. The Arab reluctantly agreed that the camel could only put his fore legs in and no more. So the camel moved in his fore legs and they became warm. After sometime the camel asked the Arab again that he had to put in his hind legs or else he won't be able to make the journey the next morning with frozen legs. So the Arab agreed and once the camel moved his hind legs in, there was no more room in the tent for the Arab and the Arab was kicked out.

Revenant said...

You have a beautiful, historic building, and a religious group that has its sabbath on a different day. Does accommodating them really only inspire radical demands?

I'd say that the request to bring your religion into another person's church is in itself a pretty radical demand. There are hundreds of mosques in Spain -- the Muslims can go pray there. They don't need to pray in an ancient Spanish church that was, centuries ago, converted to a mosque at swordpoint, and later restored to Christian ownership.

If you truly believe that aren't you revealing that you think nothing would encourage moderation and assimilation?

I would think telling the Muslims to go pray in their own mosques instead of thinking that their past campaign of religious conquest gave them an "in" in Cordoba would encourage moderation and assimilation.

Harkonnendog said...

Sanjay,
"The assertion that Muslims and Christians pray to different gods is ludicrous."
Christians pray to Christ because Christians believe Christ is God. Muslims do NOT pray to Christ, because they do not believe Christ is God. If you can't follow that simple logic you're helpless.

Beyond that, if you think the Abrahamic religions are the same, or even fundamentally similar, you haven't studied them. Christianity isn't Jusaism 2.0- neither is Islam Judaism 2.1.

There are fundamental, massive differences between these three religions.

I don't know enough about Hinduism to decide whether or not it is the same as Buddhism. But why should that stop me? Buddhists and Hindus pray to the same god. Hey, that feels good. Let's do another one... um... Humans and apes are the same animal. Yeah I liiiike it.

That really makes life simple!

Harkonnendog said...

Ann,

I followed the link to Bainbridge's site, and your characterization of what he said is way off. Instead of "Brainbridge... just can't believe Muslims want a modest accommodation" you could have, SHOULD have written Brainbridge explains why he believes Muslims may want more than just a modest accomodation."

I think you "just can't believe" this may be an aggressive act, not because there's any rational reason to think that way, but because
1) it is less scary to think that way and
2) you'd rather be irrational than chance being a bigot.

David said...

Pajama Media had it correct. Khamenei had a cerebral stroke in addition to his cancer of the digestive system which has spread to his prostate. Although doctors from Germany and Switzerland stabilized him for a photo-op it looks like Iranian politics are in for trouble.

Interesting how these guys always look to the decadent west when it comes to the life-saving fruits of Western technology!

Gahrie said...

I would like just one example of where a Muslim community has assimilated into a western society.

Hell, we can't even convince Muslim cabbies in Minn. to give rides to people with dogs or alcohol in their luggage.

We have multiple examples of native born muslims in the UK and the US commiting acts of terror.

Until shown some evidence to the contrary, I can only deduce that the Muslim world is not interested in accomodation, and Muslims aren't interested in assimilation.

Sanjay said...

Harkonnendog, I think you're flat wrong.

But first let's dispose of some examples:

Humans and apes are classified in a way, btw, that indicates in some sense they are the same animal -- if say, you're a fish. Or a tree! That's a good example of what I'm saying, yes.

Buddhists come in a lot of different stripes. But most what-you-call-Hindus do in fact recognize Buddha (for example I keep icons of Lord Buddha on my altar at home). And almost all would say, Buddhism is an offshoot of Hinduism, much as the Abrahamic faiths descended from Judaism. Again: a good example, yes.

My own knowledge of the Abrahamic faiths pales in relation to many: but I'm more familiar with both Testaments and the Quran than most, too, and I have studied both under competent tutors (a Catholic preist and an imam) in the language of the text (well, not for the Quran: Idon't know any Arabic). I also go to church weekly, make food for coffee hour, etc. I suspect I'm on very very different ground talking about Christianity, than you would be talking about Hinduism.

Now: I think very very few Christians would say, they pray to a different God than the Jews do (any Christians out there disagree?). Well, that's the God Muslims pray to. Yes: Jews and Muslims don't accept the divinity of Jesus. But Christians have a Trinity concept which makes Jesus not the sole manifestation of God, at the same time as the claim not to be polytheists [I think they are, but it's for a reason not to do with the Trinity, so not germane]. And certainly Muslims make the claim that they pray to the same God, which really I think answers the question about why Muslims would pray in a heathen church. (they do revere Christ and some may "pray" to him in the same sense Christians may "pray" to saints, by the way).

What makes you the "same" religion, is a matter of degree. I mean, sure: Episcopalianism and Lutheranism aren't the "same" religion. There are profound theological points of dispute (though weirdly they recognize each other's rites in a way other Christian sects do not). But those differences are rather insignificant besides, say, the differences between Lutheranism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Which in turn pale besides the distinction between Lutheranism and, say, Ismaili Islam. And those distinctions again are insignificant when both are compared to what you call Hinduism.

Historically, these are branches of the same religion. Jews had scripture. Christians came along, modified some of that scripture, said, it's good but we've got this newer book and basically that's the one you need to know. Mormonism and Islam have done something similar and in fact Islamic myth recognizes the holy nature of the Old and New Testaments, essentially (to them) true scripture corrupted by the unholiness of its deliverers. I don't really recognize the divisions between Islam and Christianity as significant. I know its practitioners do, but the differences in doctrine seem at best minor to me, and Muslims will surely assert that they pray to the same God as Christians: in fact I think almost all of them would.

Harkonnendog said...

Gahrie,

There was a group of fully integrated Muslims in England before the current wave of Muslim immigrants. I can't remember the name of that sect of Islam but they were/are fully integrated, I believe. I'm sure there are lots of other examples... you just don't hear about them. I believe the vast majority of 2nd and 3rd generation Muslim Americans are integrated as well.

Ann Althouse said...

Some of you people need to explain how you propose to live in a world with so many Muslims. It's not enough to express hopeless mistrust. You must reach out to the decent people who belong to this culture. Everyone knows about the extremists. The challenge is to live with the good people and the people who care about finding the good. If you don't care about that, you have to convince me why I should see you as good.

PatCA said...

"Everyone knows about the extremists."

I think what everyone is saying is that the people who continually petition to pray in the cathedral are indeed those extremists, by virtue of what is clearly a political goal of getting 'their' cathedral back. The moderates are being ignored by the West while the extremists get all the attention (teaching posts, government task forces, speaking gigs) and accommodation.

The Drill SGT said...

Islam is extremely inflexible about a number of things, e.g. it abhors the following:

Muslims that convert are to be put to death

attempts to convert Muslims are punishable by death

Land and peoples conquered by Islam are forever Islamic

Rule of Muslims by non-Muslims is horrendous and must be overturned by the sword
---------

see a trend? Islam sees the give and take of religion as a one sided battle. People and lands can become Islamic peacefully, but the reverse is apostasy. It's like the world's biggest ratchet.

Abraham was Jewish as far as I know. The shrine at Mecca is dedicated to him. When Jews can pray there and at the Dome of the Rock and when Christians can bring bibles and ministries into Saudi Arabia and worship at the Haggia Sophia, then we should talk about use of cathedrals in Spain.

-------------------
Why is Saudi money allowed to finance religious activity and evangelism in other countries?

Revenant said...

Some of you people need to explain how you propose to live in a world with so many Muslims.

Allow immigration from Muslims who are willing to assimilate into our culture. Keep the rest contained in their nations of origin, and keep those nations weak and helpless compared to us. Then wait patiently for a few centuries while Muslim culture slowly shifts to become compatable with enlightened democracy and freedom.

What we don't need to do is compromise or "meet them halfway" or any of that nonsense, as they're not offering us anything beyond "not acting like psychos". If "living in a world with so many Muslims" means giving up my freedoms to suit their wishes, I'd just as soon live in a world with a lot fewer Muslims, euphemistically speaking.

Harkonnendog said...

Sanjay,

Go ask a a Muslim if he prays to Jesus. If he says yes, you're right, he's praying to the same god. Go ask a Jew if he prays to Jesus, if he says yes, you're right. Otherwise you are wrong. Some Christians MIGHT say they pray to the same God as Jews, but this doesn't mean they pray to the same God, it means they think Jews are praying imperfectly... ask a Christian if a Jew prays to Jesus and they STILL might say yes, again, thinking Jews are praying imperfectly. This doesn't mean they are praying to the same god, it means the Christian is wrong about the Jew. Just as the Muslim is wrong about the Christian when the Muslim says the Christian is praying to the same god as the Muslim.

If you want to pretend the identity of the god being prayed to is just a minor difference when it comes to differentiating religions nobody can change your mind, you've already chosen to be irrational.

Also this: "Christians came along, modified some of that scripture, said, it's good but we've got this newer book and basically that's the one you need to know." is based on ignorance. Christians say the messiah arrived. Try to understand that. The believe the messiah ARRIVED. Not that Christ rewrote the law, but that he fulfilled it. In other words something happened. It isn't a different version of the same story, as you pretend.
Islam and Judaism are more similar to each other than to Christianity in that neither of them agrees with Christianity on this point. And really the idea that Christ, the Messiah, arrived is the central tenet of Christianity.

Anyway, I have a hard time believing you've read the New and Old Testament if you can't recognize the thematic, stylistic, etc. etc. etc. differences between them.

"I don't really recognize the divisions between Islam and Christianity as significant."
Obviously.

"I know its practitioners do, but the differences in doctrine seem at best minor to me,"
Yeah, these are pretty minor: different god; one religion has been fulfilled, another hasn't; one says to turn the other cheek, the other says kill or conquer unbelievers; one has a gentle loving God on earth, the other has a slave trading warlord for its final prophet; one stresses obedience, the other love; these are all minor differences if you really REALLY want them to be.

"and Muslims will surely assert that they pray to the same God as Christians: in fact I think almost all of them would."
I agree with you on this. They won't say they pray to Jesus, but they will say it is basically the same god, but the Christians and Jews pray imperfectly. By lumping all 3 religions together you accept the Muslim position. I've spoken to a preacher who did the same, it is a pretty widely held belief, actually. It doesn't stand up to a single minute of rational thought, but that doesn't stop people from going with it.

The Drill SGT said...

Some of you people need to explain how you propose to live in a world with so many Muslims. ...snip...If you don't care about that, you have to convince me why I should see you as good.


There are many good Muslims, the problem lies with the major underlying beliefs of the religion to wit:

1. The Koran is the final word of God (aka Allah), given directly without error.

2. The Koran can not be altered/ see rule 1

3. All societies should be ruled by Islamic law, based on the Koran, the final word, etc.... see rule 2

4. Islam shall be the religion of th world, by peaceful means or by the sword. see rule 3

5. Any behavior or activity is acceptable as long as it furthers the spread of Islam. see rule 4

We are in a fundamental conflict with Islam until they find their Martin Luther and break rule 2. The conflict may be philosophical, it may be economic, it may be military, but there is a conflict. The Islamists think they will win and Demography is destiny. Spain and France will be Muslim before the next century.

Bird Dog said...

AA -
A couple of points:
1. I think you have a double standard. You want flexibility and good manners from "our culture" but not from others. That's fine, but it is not just.
2. Different religions cannot truly "get along." They can be mannerly, and civilized, but religion is not about "getting along" - it's about much bigger things.
3. Different cultures play by different rule books. We have to know what rule-book another culture is using before we play the game. What game are these folks playing - and by what rules?

Harkonnendog said...

Ann,

"If you don't care about that, you have to convince me why I should see you as good." You have a bad habit of demanding those who disagree with you prove they aren't evil.

Has it occurred to you that decent Muslims don't petition Christians to let them perform Muslim ceremonies in churches? I mean how would you feel if Christians repeatedly petitioned to perform baptisms in a synagogue? Can't you see that that would be wrong?

Most Christians would be ashamed if Christians tried to pull a stunt like that. Decent Muslims feel the same about this group in Spain, I guess. Well, I don't guess. I mean that would be a litmus test for whether a Muslim was a decent person or not, for me.

I don't see why Muslims should be held to a lower standard than other religious groups. We should live by the same rules and social norms, regardless of what god we pray to. And I think submitting to outlandish demands of Muslims, as you suggest, encourages the radical Muslims.

vbspurs said...

If you don't care about that, you have to convince me why I should see you as good.

Everyone talks about moderate Muslims, but moderate Muslims don't talk.

That's the biggest problem we have today.

My warm handshake of friendship is nothing compared to the cold steel against a neck.

I offer tolerance. They offer violence.

If I go against my religion's extremists, what happens to me? Ex-communication? And they?

It's grand to debate about tolerance, compromise, even acceptance.

But placing the onus always on us, to prove ourselves, is not fair.

In fact, it's demeaning.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

XWL wrote:

You can view this as an appropriate request for a reasonable accommodation, but I personally feel that would be wrong.

This request hasn't come at a time when vocal members of Islam have been behaving moderately and inclusively within pluralistic societies, rather this request comes at a time when radical elements within the faith believe they recognize elements of weakness within institutions of faith throughout Europe, and are probing for the weakest points where they can do the most damage.


This is the argument as I see it, in a nutshell, and stated more elegantly and econimically than I ever could.

Cheers,
Victoria

Revenant said...

Sorry, meant to add an extra comment:

You must reach out to the decent people who belong to this culture.

First of all, it isn't clear why these particular people deserve to be called "decent". If a group of Christians demanded the right to pray to Jesus Christ in the biggest synagogue in town I wouldn't consider that decent behavior. I'd consider it extremely rude -- even moreso if the synagogue had a history of having been forcibly converted to Christian use in the past.

Secondly, the problem I see there is that there are virtually no "decent people" with voices in the Muslim community. The term "moderate Muslim" tends to mean "Muslim who thinks atheism and criticism of Allah and/or Mohammed should be illegal but not punished by death". That's not a moderate by American standards -- that's a religious zealot.

Show me a large group of Muslims that truly embraces freedom and peace and I'll be more than happy to chat with them. But I'm sick to death of all this talk of extending olive branches to "moderates" who, if they ran this country, would see me stripped of my rights.

tjl said...

"You must reach out to the decent people who belong to this culture."

Ann, I've met many kind and decent individuals who happened to be Muslim. Collectively, though, I've seen no sign of a reaching out by Muslims to people of other faith traditions. Instead, there are frequent demands by organized Muslim groups for rights and privileges not granted in Muslim lands to non-Muslims.

In Turkey, the Greek and Armenian communities are nearly extinct. In Egypt, the Copts face discrimination by the government as well as assaults, church-burnings, and forced conversions. In the Palestinian territories, Arab Christians' lives have been made so difficult by Hamas that emigration will soon put an end to this ancient community. In no Arab country is it safe to be a Jew. And of couse there's Saudi Arabia, about which nothing more needs to be said.


When there is reciprocity, when Muslims afford Christians and Jews the respect they demand for themselves, when non-Muslims are free to practice their faith in Saudi Arabia in peace and safety, when Christians may pray once again in the Hagia Sophia, then the time will be ripe to open the doors of the cathedral of Cordoba to Muslims without fear that they'll claim it for their own.

Anonymous said...

Not 30 posts in and Naked Lunch plays the dumber-than-a-box-of-hair why-aren't-you-in-the-army card

You didn't read closely. I asked why he wasn't killing Muslims here, in the U.S.

If all this sophistry is true about Islam and its followers, then the only logical conclusion is we had better get busy and stop it. Every single one of them.

But it's just zero sum rhetoric, just take a look at this thread, and almost every other thread on the internet concerning Muslims. People talk of them as if they are cattle, and the irony is that it's painfully clear now we don't know jack sh!t about their religion. And yet people that read an article on Powerline think they do.

What kind of a pussy would talk smack about Keith Ellison on his blog, but yet didn't have the chutzpah to, you know, drive 15 mins over and have a talk with him to find out the real deal? But you guys are suckers for this kind of nonsense, and anything you will be right about, will be lost in the daily histrionics about burqas being sold in shopping malls across America.

Harry Eagar said...

Daryl said:

'Radical Muslims try to get special privileges that they won't extend to other groups'

That is exactly right. Furthermore, and this is the point Professor Althouse is not addressing, they demand these privileges or concessions in the language of 'rights.'

As for how I intend to get along with Muslims, that problem is going to solve itself pretty soon. Right now, the infidels have chosen appeasement in the face of assault.

The extremist Muslims are bound and determined to create a crime against the infidels that in their view will bring about the promise of the House of Islam -- the conversion or extinction of the House of War (that would be us).

I believe that what will happen then is that the hard men will take over from pantywaists, and the Muslims will be crushed, and without any more reference to which are 'moderate' and which are 'extreme' than the hard men made during World War II.

You can like or dislike that outcome, but there's not a damn thing the infidels can do to stop it. Only Muslims could.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ann,

I am not a regular reader of your blog, and when I do read it, I rarely agree with you, but I thought your post yesterday was very brave and enlightened given your devout following of right-wing morons.

Reading the comments on this post is one of the most depressing nights blogging I think that I ever had. What a sad bunch of losers you have hanging out here. A bunch of guys crapping their pants that some Muslims might get to pray in church. Nothing says Scared Whitey better than that. They want to pray, in a church, which used to be a mosque, what the hell is your problem? Praying is now a threat to the American way of life, even when it happens in Spain – ie not America? The volume of ignorance and intolerance spouted in this thread is almost impressive and definitely worthy of LGF. Moderate Muslims are not speaking up, Muslims do not pray to the same God, Islam seeks to take over the world yadda yadda. I used to think that the majority of Americans were ignorant tossers, but now I am convinced. If you have never been to Europe, or, in fact, if you have never left your own state – STFU – you are only humiliating yourselves. The biggest threat to Americans is still and will remain, other Americans – radical Islamic terrorists are no match for your home grown muggers, snipers and serial killers. Once you get your shit together, then I’d be really interested to hear your tales of oppression and the nightmares you have of Mohammed and his Pizza delivery bike.

Seven Machos said...

A.J. -- Isn't the issue that certain Muslims want to pray in a church but that the owners of the church don't want them to pray there? If you have even a flicker of basic respect for real property rights, doesn't the story end when the owners decline?

Pogo said...

Re: "Mohammed and his Pizza delivery bike."

Miss Bladderwait: I'm sure you would be comfortable enough at one of those benign English mosques holding up a huge drawing of their prophet on a bicycle for all to see. I wonder what would happen to her? 3 guesses, and all involve violence.

Fact is, you're a fool. The only reason people in the US do in fact have more to fear from each other than from Muslim violence is that Islamists fear us, at least so far.

You, on the other hand, you fear them, and your people are giving them everything they want. Let's talk in 10 years and see whose approach was superior.

Hint: the 100 cars burned every night by Muslim youths isn't an example of reciprocal tolerance by Islam.

Ann, why is it that the Islamists don't have to prove they aren't evil? The framing of your statement suggests a soft bigotry.

Sanjay: Sorry, man, but some terrorists have walked away with Islam and redefined it as a murderous cult. It isn't my problem to sort out the good guys from the bad. Not anymore; it's far too late for that. If you want to save your religion, do it. I'm through with tolerance for the intolerant. Maybe you're a great guy, but your religion has a cancer. If it's a religion of peace, I want some action and now. Other wise, you're complaining to the wrong folks.

Pat Patterson said...

Al Maviva is on the right track in that the status of Christian buildings becomes ambigious once Muslims have prayed inside. Peter VE, relying on outdated material, has the outline correct. The 2nd Caliph, Umar ibin al-Khattab came to Jerusalem and was welcomed by Bishop Sophronius. The Bishop offered to allow the Caliph an area inside the church to pray until suitable space could be found. The Caliph rejected this offer because his fellow Muslims would thus have a claim on the property as it no longer was dedicated for worship by its Christian congregation. The site where the Dome of the Rock was and is reputed to be where the Caliph prayed and Muhammad ascended. And as many others have pointed out Muslims have not offered to allow Jews to pray inside the mosque, under any circumstances.

Goesh said...

When I can take a Bible to Makah or a Torah, then all will be equal. It's called an even playing field, bladderwait. An example of that would be, ah, like, ah, say some of the M people started burning cars here like they do in France? You know France, right? Then, like, ah, for every car burned there would probably be one of the M people shot by one of the A people, that would be, ah, like the A would stand for American. This of course doesn't mean that I think you are a jerk but your name suggests you might be full of piss.

Tim said...

"A: Some of you people need to explain how you propose to live in a world with so many Muslims.”

Q: Peacefully, as long as they seek to live peacefully in a world with so many who aren’t Muslim.

"A: It's not enough to express hopeless mistrust. You must reach out to the decent people who belong to this culture."

Q: And the decent people who belong to this culture must reach out to us, and help us defeat the extremists.

”A: Everyone knows about the extremists. The challenge is to live with the good people and the people who care about finding the good.”

Q: Sorry, but this is wrong. The challenge is to defeat the extremists before they secure the means to destroy us; the good people and the people who care about finding the good will be identified by their actions to help defeat the extremists.

”A: If you don't care about that, you have to convince me why I should see you as good.”

Q: I care, and many of us care, but there is little evidence the “moderate Muslims” care, or care enough.

Regardless, the report doesn’t suggest there is any shortage of mosques for the local Muslims in which to pray; most of us with any faith would be too polite and embarrassed to demand the right to pray in a house of worship of another faith; similarly, we’d be offended if anyone of another faith demanded the right to pray in our house of worship. The historic fact the Muslims built the building more than seven centuries ago doesn’t change that fact. Decent people, regardless of their faith, don’t behave that way. They also don't have double standards, as the situation with the Pope's visit to the Hagia Sophia strongly suggests.

Or do you support prayer in public school classrooms, too? Or do decent people not have the right to pray in public schools while being expected to let others of a different faith pray in their churches?

Robert said...

You must reach out to the decent people who belong to this culture. Everyone knows about the extremists. The challenge is to live with the good people and the people who care about finding the good.

The decent people can demonstrate their decency, and can put a fact on the ground that they are the true representatives of this culture/faith, by taking care of their own dirty laundry instead of sitting idly and hoping that we crusaders take care of it for them.

Until they do that, the existence of a majority Muslim world that can coexist with the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, secular, etc. worlds, is wishful thinking, not a fact on the ground.

To put it another way, Muslim nations are trying to develop nuclear bombs and talking about their urgent desire to exterminate the Jews - a continuation of an exterminating history. Christian nations have had the bombs for generations, and have exterminated no one - a radical change from an exterminating history.

It isn't the people who have already made the radical change who you need to worry about.

If you don't care about that, you have to convince me why I should see you as good.

"Why do you call me good? No one is good but God."

If you're willing to settle for a lesser value of good, then your choice is between bad men who want to kill you for what you are, or bad men who don't much like what you are but don't like the consequences of doing something about it, and so leave you alone.

Sanjay said...

The bigotry unashamedly on display here is appalling.

Harkonnendog, you are simply wrong. If you aren't a practicing Christian, this is ridiculous. If you are: by all means, go to your spiritual advisor and ask him whether the God to whom you pray, is the God of Noah, of Abraham, of David. He will say yes. What you claim is fundamentally blasphemous from a Christian standpoint. Period. Does anybody else doubt that, just out of curiosity? What can I say, h-dog: I'm just not as impressed as you are by the guy who took his pique out on the poor innocent fig tree, and told me he came bringing not peace, but the sword, to reave apart families. He's fine in his way; personally I find Mohammed more compelling.

The Drill SGT speaks from ignorance. In India, Indonesia, Malaysia I have met lapsed Muslims and seen people trying to convert Muslims safely. In much of sub-saharan Africa Islam has been tolerant and there is some history of religiously tolerant Muslim rulers. Most famously in the West of course there are the Moors of Spain -- only after the Christians chased them out, were they able to demonstrate to the Jews their moral superiority over the Muslims. Funny how that worked out. Similarly one could compare Muslim and Christian rule of Jerusalem. There are certainly sects of Muslims who believe as the Drill SGT says -- there have been Christians similarly inclined. Indeed -- your five claims about the bases of Islam (oddly, NOT the three things most Muslims would call the bases of Islam -- funny that) have analogous Christian beliefs. Your brush is far far too broad and your motives questionable.

The Muslims aren't decent people, because they asked if they might worship in a church? Well, I asked to be married in one so I know what you think of me. Screw you too.

(btw, "the tiger" is wrong: I'd have a hard time not assigning most of blame to "strife over holy sites in India" to Hindu nationalists --- NOT Muslims. I have vivid memories of dropping in on the normally freakishly calm and impassive Hindu holy man who married us, and seeing him choking and weeping over the pettiness of our co-religionists).

Moderate Muslims talk quite loud: you guys aren't listening. Here's a personal note.

I grew up what you'd call Hindu in America. Most of my life, the South Asian groceries/dry goods stores I've known of -- where my mother, now I, shop --- were run by Muslims. Besides selling us Indian groceries, they would pick up the special incenses, idols and other prayer items we need for our rituals. That's right: Hinduism has been able to persist in America because of the decency of kind, tolerant Muslims. It is a level of tolerance I have not seen echoed among my Christian friends. Today I live up the street from two Muslim groceries. I have been a vegetarian almost a decade but my wife is not: I tipped her off that she could get GREAT meat at a decent price by buying the halal stuff at those stores, much as I used to shop Orthodox Jewish stores in the Northeast (OK, well, you can't get pork).

They recognize my family now, they're kind to us, we've been invited to celebrate Eid there, the Pakistani guys there wish us happiness on Christian and Hindu festivals (and the Arab guys on the Christian festivals; they don't know when the Hindu ones are). The moderate Muslims speak loud and clear: you guys want them to kiss your feet, though.

One other personal note: I've turned my back on a lot of stuff to accept a military commission some time back. As I've said, I am one of many non-Muslims in the debt of decent, kind Muslims, so I hope I hope I hope I can contribute something to helping our country, which has gotten tied up in those Muslims' need to be free from fear. So, there's a better answer for "naked lunch": what the hell are you doing, besides bitching and moaning on blogs? These people are ignorant and bigoted, and maybe scared. You think your carping helps? Think again. "Decent Muslims" need your help more than bigots need your bitching.

Professor Althouse: your blog, your rules. But if I can request, with respect to what you said above: louder, louder, louder please. These people deserve better.

The Drill SGT said...

Pogo,

while I agree with your general thread, 2 corrections.

1. Arthur J. Bladderwait is male. Per his www site.

2. Sanjay says he is Hindu, married to a Christian, and with some exposure to Islam. That likely means he has better basic understanding of the differences thatn I do certainly, though we can differ on whether his conclusions are correct.

Cedarford said...

Althouse - If the point is that the Church has some religious doctrine that would be violated by permitting outsiders to have a service there, that is a different matter, and I've expressed no opinion about that (though I don't mind saying that I think religious groups ought to believe in getting along with each other). The article is not presenting that as a problem. I am addressing the objection raised in the article. I think there is something quite ugly about it.

Nothing ugly about it. It is the matter of reciprocity, as Pope Benedict said. Muslims demand tolerance, even abandonment of our customs for sensitivity to them - while reserving death for those attempting to proselytize a non Islamic religion, build churches or Hindi temples on "always Muslim land".

A demand for freedom to trespass or force changes in the West or non-Muslim Asia.

Converting beaches in Australia to "Muslim -only", demands that public swimming pools have Muslim-only hours in Britain.

The icing on the cake this year was air travelers in Minneapolis-St Paul confronted by Muslim taxi cab drivers who will enforce Sharia law and refuse lifts to those with alcohol, who appear gay, carry food with pork in it, or who have a "haram" pet with them like a dog.

There is nothing "ugly" about conditioning tolerance on reciprocity.

When Jews in Mississippi lost a synogogue to Katrina, Christian churches opened their doors because they were convinced that Jews would do the same if the shoe was on the other foot. Same with white Catholic churches that opened their church to black Baptists from NOLA metro to worship in.

The Muslims remind me of a tale of dogs. Claiming this bit or that bit of the West is either open to Muslims or under Muslim control in the name of "fighting bigotry and Islamophobia" is like a group of dogs seeing a rival dog is chained by something more substantial than PC who delight in tormenting the dog by deliberated going around and pissing on it's territorial markers.

The Muslim demand for free access to worship in all the cathedrals of Andalusia while making trespass or worship in Mosques a criminal, even capital offense is dogs pissing. And that is what is ugly, not a WTF?? reaction to the unmitigated brass of Muslim activists, but radical Islamists embarling on aggressive cultural Jihads outside the Ummah.

Anonymous said...

Sanjay, you're missing the forest for the trees. Many, many people know wonderful Muslim individuals, families, business owners, what-have-you. They are excellent friends, members of the community, contributors to the good of society. No one has a problem with these people.

The problem is that there is no one who speaks for these people from a position of authority. There is no Muslim Pope, there isn't even a council from which pronouncements can be made. The only Muslim voices of influence we ever hear are the extremists. This is compounded by the media which rarely covers any moderate Muslims speaking against extremism, it's true, but the fact is that the vast majority of news-making Muslims are not moderate. And when the not-moderates are getting all sorts of airplay, the moderates are strangely silent. There are no widespread denunciations coming from all corners of the moderate Muslim population -- where there should be an outcry, there is a murmur, the mumbling of a crowd that's unhappy but leaderless and also afraid, and so unwilling to make a voice for itself to speak out against what they abhor.

Public perceptions, as seen on this thread, aren't going to change until that supposedly huge, murmuring crowd finds its voice to denounce Radical Islam and its methods. Don't look to non-Muslims to rehabilitate Islam's reputation here or anywhere else. We couldn't do it even if the Muslims wanted us to; it's not going to work until Muslims settle for themselves what their religion is really about.

Cedarford said...

Quite the statement -

Naked Lunch said, responding to:
Islam wants to destroy every other religion. There's no 'live and let live' capacity in its tenets. To believe that is dangerous.

If this is true, what are you doing just sitting there typing away? Your country needs you. You need to start killing now, and no need to go to Iraq, there 5 million muslims living here already.

Why aren't you killing?


Generally, the brainless Lefty comeback to any criticism of Islam "Oh yeah? Then why aren't you killing or dying in Iraq???" does more to mark enemy-enablers and betray their true sympathies than it does to show any hypocrisy by the critics.

As the original poster said, Islam does indeed with to destroy every other religion in time.

Within Islam, the Word of Allah himself is that Mohammed is the Final Prophet. There are no more coming, and no insight or accomodation of any other religion possible in the future. Islam is the Final religion. Islamic teachings state that it is good and holy to wage Jihad and conversion by the sword to expand Dar al Islam over Dar al Harb until there is no Dar of lands needing Holy War left and all the World is the Ummah under the caliphate.

Conquered peoples may be slain, or shown the mercy of a lifetime, intergenerational existence as 2nd-class inferiors until they convert.

The Drill SGT - Why is Saudi money allowed to finance religious activity and evangelism in other countries?

Because the ACLU lacks the balls to actually go after anyone that is establishing state-sponsored religion in America. The non-Christians running the ACLU only hate Christians and use the 1st Amendment as a tool to bash them.

The French have gone after the Saudis on various issues - especially funding radical Wahabbi mullahs that breed hatred of infidel Frenchmen...but PC and the rest of the Euroweenies give the spread and proselytization of intolerant Islam the same free ride clueless America has so far, including the leading anti-Christian outfit, the wealthy ACLU.

Sanjay said...

Pogo's response to me above, tells yo exactly why he probably should learn a little about "sorting."

Sanjay said...

Drill SGT:
That's big of you. You have always been a gentleman posting here. Please please rethink your opinion of Islam: many fine imams would be happy to answer your questions, and there ARE some in or near your community, be sure of it.

It's not that "moderate Muslims expect the crusaders to do their work for them." America put WAY more men in Iraq than Poland. The moderate Arabs live under oppression in poorer less capable countries. As with every other thing in the world, we can do more than they: and will! That is our noble tradition as Americans.

The ONLY place where I would accuse the good Prof of a "soft bigotry" -- and that excusable and understandable because she is repeating a stupid line used a lot -- is in the idea of reaching out to moderate Muslims. Decent Muslims are all around you: they are your neighbors and important in your community and have been for years. All over the world there are Muslims who want to modernize and live freely. Screw "reaching out to them" -- just don't push them away, for starters.

Harry Eagar said...

In 1919, when the British occupied Constantinople/Istanbul, the Archbishop of Canterbury proposed, in the House of Lords, to re-Christianize Hagia Sophia.

After all, Christians built it, it was a Christian church for a thousand years almost.

It didn't happen. We know why. The blood would have flowed in the streets from Morocco to India.

Funny thing, though. The Muslims in Stamboul did not volunteer to allow the Christians to share a corner of their mosque.

There are not any moderate Muslims, if by 'moderate' you mean 'believes in freedom of conscience and freedom of speech and equality before the law.'

All are forbidden by the Koran.

There may be people who want to be Muslim who also want to subscribe to that, to my mind, very moderate version of moderation, but it's doubtful other Muslims would accept them.

The only good Muslim is a bad Muslim.

Daryl Herbert said...

Some of you people need to explain how you propose to live in a world with so many Muslims. It's not enough to express hopeless mistrust. You must reach out to the decent people who belong to this culture. Everyone knows about the extremists.

I disagree. The extremists are not well-reported on. The media goes out of its way to paint every Muslim possible as a "moderate" and is loathe to report what those "moderate" Muslims are actually saying, for instance in their sermons.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is up to its neck in terrorist ties, and always takes the side of the extremists, yet it's treated as if it's full of moderates.

Western governments have reached out to mosques and Muslim groups and held them up as examples of moderation, when in fact they are run by radicals.

The word "moderate" is so overused as to become a running joke. If the media could get away with calling Mullah Omar a moderate, they would.

They have to say something so outlandish (like: all women who are raped deserve it because they dress slutty) before the media will take notice.

An honest look at the situation is the first necessary step towards evaluating what to do.

The lack of willingness to look at the problem honestly is frustrating. There's a blanket assertion that anyone who worries about this stuff is a racist or a bigot (witness: the demonization of Charles Johnson, for pointing out inconvenient information)

The challenge is to live with the good people and the people who care about finding the good. If you don't care about that, you have to convince me why I should see you as good.

No, living with good people who want good things is easy. A very small number of commenters here do have a problem with that (whining about a Muslim taking the oath of office on the Koran is stupid, naked bigotry).

The challenge is living in a world with so many radicals. Pretending radical Muslims aren't really radical or aren't so numerous is not a valid option. I have firsthand experience with large numbers of delusional Muslims in this country, so don't tell me I'm uninformed.

The question is, how can we avoid unnecessary war and violence? How can we protect our freedoms and our interests and our multicultural society? Because these things are under attack. And until people are willing to take an unsparing look at the reality of the situation (instead of reflexively playing the bigot card) we can't even begin to discuss it.

As far as supporting decent Muslims--that's why I support backing the Iraqi government, democracy-loving Arabs in Lebanon, Muslim victims of attempted genocide in the Balkans, etc. That's why I support Ayan Hirsi Ali and other (ex) Muslims who talk about the problem we face in unsparing terms.

Elizabeth said...

David, if PJ Media had reported Khamenei was damned near dead, or getting closer and closer to being dead, they'd have got it right. But they reported him dead. So they were dead wrong, and they made the report on a single source. They're hacks and amateurs. I keep thinking of the old Saturday Night Live news reports that Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead. At least they got that right.

Daryl Herbert said...

Christians believe Jesus Christ is God. Muslims and Jews don't.

To say they believe in the "same god," except Christians think Jesus is also part of that God, doesn't make much sense if you think Jesus is the #1 important figure to your religion.

If on the other hand you think Jesus is not so important, maybe it makes a lot of sense to say it's the "same God." (whether or not He has the same teachings, etc.)

Anonymous said...

The idea that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all the same religion is unserious nonsense. I am a Christian, and I have had both Jewish and Muslim friends. I can assure you that we do not consider ourselves to be of the same religion. I can also assure you that none of us has ever asked to hold our own religious services in another's house of worship.

Why would tolerance require such unwarranted accommodation? You have to let other people do things in your space just because they want to? How is this required for getting along?

My friends and I have always gotten along just fine without demanding ecumenicalism from each other.

vbspurs said...

Upon returning to this thread, after a night out, I see that suddenly Mr/Miss Bladderwait sees everyone on Ann's blog as white, right-wing, and American.

I'm white, I'm right-wing, but I'm only a naturalised American.

I'm as British as his inane matey-pub slang phrases would suggest he is.

So before you start throwing that net of suspicion about "Americans", stop.

You're just spouting drivel, uninformed drivel, and rather narrow-minded drivel at that.

Cheers,
Victoria

Pogo said...

Drill Sgt.; Re: ". Arthur J. Bladderwait is male. Per his www site."
I know. It was an intentional foul.

And as for Sanjay says he is Hindu, I read that before posting to. I meant by 'his' only that he's defending it, so it's "his". It's meant to provoke a response, to make him rethink his defense of what has become a death cult in much of the world.

And Sanjay: I'll let the Muslims sort each other out. In the past 50 years, all across the world, the Religion of Peace is known primarily now by its repeated acts of intolerance and violence.

In business, it's called 'branding': people learn about a company by their reputation. I don't have to try every car put out by FIAT to know it probably is a lemon. Similarly, it's not my job to sort out the good and bad Muslims. All I can see of their public face since at least the 1980s is a militant death machine. (In contrast, I see little reason to fear Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, Christians, and Mormons.)

From my vantage point, it's foolish to extend a hand when I see absolutely no evidence they are willing to live by the rules of western civilization, but just the opposite. I'll let you know if that changes.

Pogo said...

T.S. Eliot's work should be updated, where Murder In The Cathedral shows how the Church can be cowed, not by the State, but by the Caliphate.

And then it can be renamed: Murder Of The Cathedral .

class-factotum said...

Christianity, Judaism and Islam are not the same. You can't be all of them at once. Of the great religions of the Book, you can be only one of those. If you believe in one, by definition, you cannot believe in the other. Either Jesus is the Messiah or He isn't.

As far as the moderate Muslims, perhaps they exist (I have no doubt they do -- they are probably all in the US), but they are not speaking officially. My parents lived in Saudi Arabia for five years. They were not allowed to have religious services (we are Catholic). I was not permitted to send them Christmas cards with religious images. (The post office has an long list of restrictions of what could not be sent to that APO zip code. I also could not send pornography or pork.) They were not allowed to have a Bible.

I have been to Morocco twice in the past two years to visit Peace Corps friends. Every time we have travelled around, we have been amused (and insulted) at the prohibition on non-Muslims visiting mosques. Should the Vatican close St Peter's and every cathedral in Europe to non-Christians? Is a house of worship a sacred space or not? Apparently, the Muslims think a mosque is so sacred that the mere presence of non-believers will violate it. So why should the Catholic Church let Muslims worship in their church?

Anonymous said...

Generally, the brainless Lefty comeback to any criticism of Islam "Oh yeah? Then why aren't you killing or dying in Iraq???" does more to mark enemy-enablers and betray their true sympathies than it does to show any hypocrisy by the critics

Again, I didn't say join the Army, or go to Iraq. The fact remains if it is truly a clash of civilizations, and its US against THEM, then it's going to take more than hysterical posts from your computer to combat it.

Pogo said...

Nekkid Lunch said if it is truly a clash of civilizations ...then it's going to take more than hysterical posts from your computer to combat it.

Well said.
Options?
...or are you being facetious?

Cedarford said...

Althouse - Some of you people need to explain how you propose to live in a world with so many Muslims. It's not enough to express hopeless mistrust. You must reach out to the decent people who belong to this culture. Everyone knows about the extremists. The challenge is to live with the good people and the people who care about finding the good. If you don't care about that, you have to convince me why I should see you as good.

We live in a world with many Chinese. At various times, either the Chinese or the West found each other's culture and rule unacceptable to interact with and chose isolation, not war. So the answer is not WE MUST find a way to live with massed waves of Muslims pouring into the West, given there are so many of them, but re-ask ourselves is this a time for integration or isolation.

The evidence appears to be that Muslims are not interested in assimilation and accomodation to Asian, Western culture - but in urging our cultures to change to accomodate them, with no reciprocity.

As many have said, you cannot have durable, lasting one-sided friendship&toleration without reciprocity offered in turn.

And it does not matter "moderate Muslims" assert only part of the Muslim community is intolerant, aggressive and pursues cultural dominance and taqqiyah (sanctioned deceit and guile). If "moderates" are ineffectual in establishing true reciprocity and mutual respect, unable to stop violence and discrimination against infidels - then they are irrelevant.

Reaching out to them is, in turn, irrelevant.

The challenge is not to live together with the inamicable, to tolerate the intolerant, regardless of the facts, wishfully hoping for an unlikely future of kumbayah.

Separation or war is the eventual outcome if assimilation and accomodation fail with newcomers, and existing populations refuse to just cave and be dominated. History is replete with such cases.

Calling it good or evil is not germane to the point. It was found to be necessary.

If Islam fails to integrate in an acceptable way, we have the physical power to send them back to the Ummah, if the people wish it. Law can always be modified by the people of any nation.

Right now, as we consider terrorism, the Muslim crime wave and militant demands in Europe, and burning banueils of
France we are at a stage of only questioning the future - not taking action one way or the other. The failure of "moderate Muslims" is becoming a consideration. I'm sure in Germany's darkest days there were plenty of "good Germans" and "moderate, rational Nazis" who did not see National Socialism as the extremists did. Too bad. The worst Nazis called the shots and the "good and moderate" Germans and Nazis paid a justly deserved, heavy price along with them.

Harry Eagar said...

Daryl said, 'No, living with good people who want good things is easy'

Amen.

You don't even have to bring sectarianism into it. Muslims have a terrible time even living with other Muslims, and I don't mean the Shia-Sunni divide in Iraq. How about the war between West Pakistan and East Pakistan?

The Germans and the Stalinists made it a habit of executing intellectuals, but even they never got to the point of doing it in a football stadium in front of 50,000 cheering spectators.

Muslims really are not like us.

Anonymous said...

Because of the trouble I had trying to post comments on the blog (something about updating the old blogger or something) - I've posted my response to people on my own blog.

Here are my thoughts.

I welcome people who'd like to continue the discussion at my place, since Professor Althouse seems to have moved on.

ShadyCharacter said...

"Muslims have a terrible time even living with other Muslims, and I don't mean the Shia-Sunni divide in Iraq. How about the war between West Pakistan and East Pakistan?"

Hell, what about the war between the eastern 2 square miles of Palestine and the western 2 square miles of Palestin (leaving aside completely the intifada against Israel)...


THAILAND?!? WTF? I bet we hear about muslim terrorists in Japan next...

Harkonnendog said...

Sanjay,

"The Muslims aren't decent people, because they asked if they might worship in a church? Well, I asked to be married in one so I know what you think of me. Screw you too.""

Roflmao! Sanjay you are marvelously talented when it comes to ignoring context when it suits you. Now asking to be married in a church, to a Christian, is the same thing as Muslims repeatedly petitioning to have Muslim ceremonies in that particular cathedral, a cathdral with a particular history, in Al Andalusia. Having said that, you're right and I'm wrong on this one. It is an indecent act- that doesn't mean the people doing it are necessarily indecent.

"If you are: by all means, go to your spiritual advisor and ask him whether the God to whom you pray, is the God of Noah, of Abraham, of David." This is beyond stupid, now. How about if I ask Christian spiritual advisers if the God to whom Christians pray is the God of Mohammed? Rofl. Or how about if I ask whether Christians pray to a God that never sent Christ to earth? Roflmao! No no no, I just have to pay attention to certain things because Sanjay says those are the only ones that matter. :)

"What you claim is fundamentally blasphemous from a Christian standpoint." Again you make me laugh. Claiming that a Muslim doesn't worship the same god as a Christian is fundamentally blasphemous. Rofl. This is an argument about how one defines identity. You seem to think major similarites trump major differences. A car and a bicycle are the same because both have wheels, lol.

And I have no feelings whatsoever towards you, certainly I didn't say "screw you," I just think you're wrong about this particular subject. I'm sorry you have decided to make this personal, but I understand that you have no choice because you simply are wrong and don't want to admit that to yourself.

As for your preference for Mohammed over Christ,given your talent for not seeing what you don't want to see, it is not surprising. Never mind the raping and pillaging committed by his followers under his command, nor the buying and selling of human beings for profit. That meany Christ withered a fig tree!!! (And no, it is not bigotry to state that Mohammed was involved in all those things. Not unless you think the Koran is bigoted against Muslims. And I agree that many posters on this thread go way too far, or at least don't bother to make necessary distinctions.)

Some other things that have similarities but are not the same: Two brothers are not the same person, thought they have the same parents.Two strangers are not the same person, though they are both named John Smith.A dog and cat are not the same animal, though they may be pets of the same family. Three religions are not the same, though they may trace their origins back to similar patriarchs.

Anonymous said...

I see no reason at all for the Catholic church to turn itself into an interfaith worship center by capitulating to the Moslem demands.

I suggest a little experiment: have a Christian congregation somewhere ask to be allowed to use a Mosque for their worship services.

See how eager the Moslems are to accomodate them.

Bottom line: Islam isn't interested in moderation and assimilation. They are not interested in meeting us halfway. Therefore, all demands made by them should be refused until they are willing to compromise.

Anonymous said...

Some of you people need to explain how you propose to live in a world with so many Muslims.

Really? How come we don't see the need to explain how we propose to live in a world with so many Asians? Or any other group? Why is it Moslems that are unique in causing friction? I would love nothing more than to live and let live. However, they are not interested in that.

You must reach out to the decent people who belong to this culture. Everyone knows about the extremists. The challenge is to live with the good people and the people who care about finding the good. If you don't care about that, you have to convince me why I should see you as good.

By your definition, shouldn't the good moslem be reaching out to us as well? I don't see much evidence of that at all. This 'reaching out' needs to be a two way street. Mostly though, it seems were reduced to searching for the elusive and retiring 'moderate moslem' who might be willing to speak out against the excesses of his more fanatical brethren.

I agree our administration does a poor job of reaching out to these people. We need to stop empowring terrorist apologists like CAIR and actually open up dialogue with decent, moderate muslims.

And by definition, these will not be muslims demanding other faiths open up places of worhsip to them.

Anonymous said...

Harkonnendog, you are simply wrong. If you aren't a practicing Christian, this is ridiculous. If you are: by all means, go to your spiritual advisor and ask him whether the God to whom you pray, is the God of Noah, of Abraham, of David. He will say yes. What you claim is fundamentally blasphemous from a Christian standpoint. Period.

No, he's exactly correct. You clearly do not understand the Christian standpoint at all.

Christians believe God sent his Son, Jesus, to save the world. Jews do not. Therefore, they are not worshipping the same God.

Moslems believe God sent Mohammed to be his prophet. Christians do not. Therefore, they are not worshipping the same god.

And even if they *were* worshipping the same God, what of it? They do it in different ways. Do you think this somehow implies an inability to fight religious wars? Cast your eyes to Europe, my friend, and look at the absolutely vicious religious wars that crippled France and Germany, where Catholics and Protestants (who are far closer to worshipping 'the same God' than are Christians and Moslems) fought each other tooth and nail.

Revenant said...

The Muslims aren't decent people, because they asked if they might worship in a church? Well, I asked to be married in one so I know what you think of me. Screw you too

Your argument seems to be based on the assumption that you're a decent person. Feel free to offer supporting evidence for your claim.

In any case, I said that that Muslims were not decent people because they *demanded* the right to violate someone else's center of worship for their own benefit, not because they simply asked to do so. I'm an atheist. If I asked for the right to deliver a speech on the non-existance of God in the middle of a cathedral and the church said "no", I'd drop it. I wouldn't raise an international stink about it -- doing that would make me an asshole, not a "decent atheist".

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Christians have a Trinitarian God--
God the Father,
God the Son and
God the Holy Spirit.

While I would say that God the Father is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I would also say God the Son is Jesus, the son of God. Jews part company there.

Not all monotheistic religions are the same.

Anonymous said...

Dewave: "I see no reason at all for the Catholic church to turn itself into an interfaith worship center by capitulating to the Moslem demands."

That sounds reasonable - of course, no one wants the whole catholic church to turn itself into an interfaith worship center. Some people are asking for a particular church with specific, special circumstances to consider taking an unprecedented action that could not help but promote interfaith dialog (a specific goal promoted by the current Pope) and moderate Muslims. I don't see an immediate problem.

Dewave: "I suggest a little experiment: have a Christian congregation somewhere ask to be allowed to use a Mosque for their worship services.
See how eager the Moslems are to accomodate them."

This is a good point, and it would be wonderful if this happened. However, why should the actions of the other side stop us (broadly, Christians and the West) from doing something good? If we think it's a good thing, why should taking the action depend on the actions of the other side?

(italics, my comments)
Dewave: "Bottom line: A significant part of Islam isn't interested in moderation and assimilation. [This part is] not interested in meeting us halfway. Therefore, all demands made by them should be refused until they are willing to compromise.

Sorry about taking some liberties with your wording. I'm not picking on you in particular, merely point out a thread of thought that seems to be prevalent in this discussion. The radical Islamists are not the mainstream. They do not have a monopoly on interpreting the Koran. While their demands should be ignored, we should actively seek to compromise with authentic moderate elements of modern Islam.

That being said, I now agree with your statement, as modified. We should ignore the demands of the Muslims that have shown themselves to be unreasonable.

Revenant said...

Some people are asking for a particular church with specific, special circumstances to consider taking an unprecedented action

The "specific, special circumstance" being that, several centuries ago, Muslims seized the church and forbade Christians from praying there, upon penalty of death.

... left unexplained is why it would "promote interfaith dialog" to let Muslims back into the place. It would do more to promote interfaith dialog if Muslims realized they were morally wrong to have seized the church in the first place, and went and prayed someplace else.

Sanjay said...

Y'know, Althouse surely has many Muslim readers. I know of one pretty decent, freewheeling one for a fact who reads every post and the comments. And I'm not going to even ask her why she's not commenting here: it's an invitation for crass asininity from uneducated bigots. Why aren't moderate Muslims speaking? You guys don't want to hear them. You want to abuse them.

Nice save, Pogo, but it doesn't read that way, and it's still bigoted.

Now, some clarification. Christianity, Islam and Judaism (and Bahasi) are the same religion, to within a certain degree of focus. Obviously with a certain precision they aren't the same religon: but within a certain precision, Episcopalianism and Lutheranism aren't the same religion. "class-factotum" gets this point exactly wrong. After all, you can't be both Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic, either. But they're both Christianity; we don't say they're different religions.

I give you three religions -- Christianity, Judaism, Islam -- which have the same mythological figures, the same rough cosmology, many of the same holy sites, and the same creating God. Were this a different system -- say Greek mythology, where profound (and actually rather greater) differences existed among different sects, or Egyptian mythology, or in fact Hinduism (where again the sectarian differences are quite large), you'd all happily point at it, and say, well, that's all one religion. But you wouldn't get to defend your little fiefdom, now, would you?

Obviously the monotheistic religions aren't the same. But they are vastly similar. Like humans and chimps: basically the same, 99% identical.

Too much work to go ask the preacher, H-dog? Look, Jesus was a Jew. The God he talks about is the God of Moses. To this day most Christian services include readings from the Old Testament. You have a tripartite God, yes, but Christian doctrine is also unambiguous that it is really only one God: anyone worshipping the God of Moses worships the One God, and there's only one [not saying I believe this is what they believe: but it's what they say they believe]. Now, if you are real sure you don't worship the God of Moses, fine. Go ahead, make your own faith: you'll have to sit on your hands during the Nicene creed, and edit out some bits of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, get rid of the whole section of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis that begins with "Credo" -- and you're good. You can call it Harkonnendoggism. No doubt soon some bigoted asses will be explaining to me how evil it is.

How impressive that, unread in the Quran and Hadith (and apparently the Testaments), you can slime Mohammed.

Look: history is what it is. The claim that Islam somehow can't coexist with other religions is clearly, factually untrue. If you were to draw a line under the Renaissance and look at times previous to that, the Muslims would come off great: and the Christians guilty of every evil you accuse them of, and then some. Muslims ruled lands with many religions and offered far better protection to non-Muslim residents than Christian rulers ever did to non-Christians, and in particular the differences between Muslim and Christian rule of Jerusalem are well-established history. Remember the Mamelukes? Muslims so revered the idea that they shouldn't raise swords against each other, that they had to train non-Muslim slaves in warfare. The Mamelukes were the greatest warriors of the pre-firearm age and consequently often ended up ruling the very lands to which they were in theory slaves -- but the Muslims submitted to that repeatedly, rather than raise swords against other monotheists. I can think of no comparable feat in Christendom.

Yet, despite the history, and the fact that even today there are parts of the world where Muslims are tolerant and open, you find the weird making up of facts here, like H-dog's weird belief in some other sect of Islam that used to supply immigrants to Europe and America. Otherwise reasonable people like Drill SGT are saying things which are easily disproved by the historical record or by a walk through Muslim communities. Why is that? Well, for the same reason Muslims believe goofy lies about Jews. These are the same type of lies, spread by the same type of grubby little men, for the same reasons. Try to do better.

-->Part the second, where I say something flat-out true, which I'm still gonna regret saying<--

And hey: I love this country. I have benefitted from its finest products and tried to do my bit for it. I married a Christian and try to make my daughter respect their ways. But let's be real real clear here. What you want from minorities who keep their ethnic identities -- who, say, think Christmas trees are goofy, or want to build their temples and mosques in your neighborhoods, or would like to be left alone by people who come to their doors, eager to save their souls, yet arrogantly unaware of anything the people on the other side may believe -- is not tolerance. It is submission and shame and I have sat through far too much crap in my life not to know it. And if decent, kind Muslims give you that -- which is what it will take to make you happy -- they will earn far more contempt from me than all ther bigots here put together can give 'em.

-->Part the third, in which I throw down with a nice lady who probably doesn't deserve this<--

And as for you, Professor Althouse:

Some days back, with regards to a certain conference, you argued eloquently and at length that a roomful of bigots, divorced from actually looking at reality, should be vigorously confronted, named and shamed: that you strongly felt that that kind of attitude was unacceptable.

Yeah? Prove it.

Harry Eagar said...

OK, Ben, if we are to reach out to moderate Muslims, we have know who they are. You tell us.

I cannot name any.

(Cleveland had a Muslim head of its ecumenical interfaith group. He used to punch all your buttons. He was deported this past week for terrorist associations. They got him on tape recruiting Muslims to pay for murdering Jews.)

Ann Althouse said...

Sanjay: I am not keeping up with these comments. I've taken my positions on this. I'm not going to individually chide commenters I disagree with (assuming I read some of them), and I don't appreciate your attributing meaning to my lack of comments here.

Pogo said...

Sanjay said "Nice save, Pogo, but it doesn't read that way, and it's still bigoted."

Meh. Were Islam to be recognized for its lack of violence over a 10 year span, and yet I remined skeptical of them, you'd have a point.

But right now the supposedly moderate Muslims are frighteningly quiet while cars burn in France, Palestinian grandmas blow themselves up in Israeli restaurants, Spanish trains explode, US buildings have planes fly into them, Danish filmmakers are knifed to death, British subways are bombed, Bali discos detonate....
The list goes on and on across the world.
Where are the moderates?
What have they done to reclaim their religion from the killers?

And I suspect why you aren't decrying their bigotry is because you know calling me a bigot hurts me, but calling them bigots has no effect at all.
And why is that, do you suppose?

Anyway, the ball's in their court. I am stuck playing defense until they decide whether they want to become civilized or remain barbarians.

Ann Althouse said...

And I never said people "should be vigorously confronted, named and shamed." That's not an accurate account of that conference, where as I said, I had committed to spending 9 hours in a room with people and was seated at a dinner table with people I had to interact with. I don't go actively trying to get into situations like that.

Anonymous said...

Sanjay,

Who are you to tell Christians what they believe? How arrogant is that?

You may have read the Bible, but either you didn't read it closely or are choosing to ignore the parts that don't fit with your idea that monotheism = same religion.

You have a tripartite God, yes

No. That is not what Christians believe. Your inability or unwillingness to grasp trinitarian doctrine reinforces that you don't know what you're talking about.

Let me clear up something for you. Christians believe the whole Bible -- actually, all of reality and existence -- is about Jesus. You cannot approach God except through Jesus. You cannot know God except through Jesus. That's what Jesus said.

You apparently disagree. That's your prerogative.

But please drop the ignorant, offensive and patronizing World Council of Churches garbage. I can guarantee you that I know more about Christianity than you do, and you're talking theological nonsense.

And that other line you're spouting?

What you want from minorities who keep their ethnic identities ... is not tolerance. It is submission and shame

Yep. That's why Americans have outlawed Chinatown and Little Italy. We go around in mobs forcing people to use mayonnaise and vote Republican. We burn down ethnic restaurants. We riot in the streets when someone defames our prophet.

I can't speak for your personal experiences, but what I want is to not have to live in fear of being killed for being an American or a Christian. What I want is for people coming to here to be willing to assimilate into American society and respect American values instead of imposing their own on everyone else.

America is 100 times as open, safe, and tolerant as any Muslim country. Maybe you've had some bad experiences here. If so, I'm sorry. But do you live in fear of your life because your faith is illegal? Is it unsafe for you publicly declare non-state-sponsored beliefs? The worst that's happened here is you've been called a fool. Where are the Americans demanding your submission? Who's forcing you to convert at knifepoint?

This whole thread started because a group of Spanish Muslims want to use a private Catholic church for their non-Christian religous services. I can't imagine an evangelical or conservative church in America which would welcome non-Christians using their worship space. And because you can't or won't comprehend why that's an offensive request to Christians, that means Americans are intolerant xenophobes.

Nice.

vbspurs said...

assuming I read some of them

That's right. Ann Althouse has a blogscript which tells her when Ann Althouse has been used in a reply in Blogosphere.

Thus alerted, Ann Althouse reads the reply, whereby Ann Althouse then weighs in with a followup. There is no need for Ann Althouse to micromanage threads, so if you want a reply, including Ann Althouse in your message.

Cheers,
Victoria

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't raise an international stink about it -- doing that would make me an asshole, not a "decent atheist".

That's the problem. They weren't raising an international stink about it. They sent a letter asking to pray there, they were denied. That's life. The only people making the stink about it are wingnuts at Pajamas Media, complete with links to Dhimmi Watch, and Frontpagemag.

Again, why are you guys SUCH suckers for this crap? Can you not distinguish real terror threats from this letter for crying out loud?

Spanish Muslims said they had appealed to Pope Benedict XVI to be allowed to prostrate themselves in worship in Córdoba Cathedral, built as a mosque in southern Spain during the nation’s centuries of Islamic rule and converted into a church in the 13th century. “What we wanted was not to take over that holy place, but to create in it, together with you and other faiths, an ecumenical space unique in the world which would have been of great significance in bringing peace to humanity,” the Islamic Board said in its letter. This month the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Spain issued a statement saying it was not prepared to negotiate for other faiths to use the building.

Sounds pretty scary.

vbspurs said...

This whole thread started because a group of Spanish Muslims want to use a private Catholic church for their non-Christian religous services. I can't imagine an evangelical or conservative church in America which would welcome non-Christians using their worship space. And because you can't or won't comprehend why that's an offensive request to Christians, that means Americans are intolerant xenophobes.

Nice.


I found your reply one of the highlights of this thread, Pastor Jeff.

But note, people who take your opposite viewpoint can point out that this is an historical matter, which few churches in the US could possibly be likened to.

The Muslims in Southern Spain want to pray/worship at the Cordoba Cathedral because it was once a mosque.

They could (and I'm sure, do) pray anywhere else, but they want to do it there SPECIFICALLY because of its historical connotations.

This is different, say, from the Immaculate Conception cathedral in Washington DC which was the church used for the late William Rehnquist, though he wasn't Catholic, nor was the service held under the Catholic rites.

What they want, isn't an one-off, but a permanent state of affairs.

Once again, great reply though.

Cheers,
Victoria

Sanjay said...

Pastor Jeff -- Americans aren't intolerant xenophobes because a Spanish church doesn't want to admit Muslims (or, for that matter, because finding a church that would let me stand peaceably with my wife and the godfather at the baptism of my own daughter, even in the San Francisco Bay Area, was a major hassle -- all I conlude from that is that many Christians are intolerant xenophobes). Americans are intolerant because they can post factually incorrect smack about Muslims -- whose bnooks they have not read, whose communities they have not been to -- and then can nonetheless bitch that "moderate Muslims" aren't coming out of the woodwork to amen their bigotry.

Sanjay said...

And, freakishly, naked lunch hits it spot on in the last post. Yes, yes, yes. It is not the Muslims who look nasty here, as Professor Althouse got the first go-round.

tjl said...

"Americans are intolerant because they can post factually incorrect smack about Muslims."

Well, Sanjay, why don't you try practicing your Hindu faith in public in Saudi Arabia? We'll all look forward to your description of how warmly you were welcomed. Once you confirm to us that we've been sadly misinformed about the role of the Saudi religious police, we'll all be happy to revise our views of Islam.

Revenant said...

Lunch,

That's the problem. They weren't raising an international stink about it. They sent a letter asking to pray there, they were denied.

Meanwhile, back in reality, they sent the letter and then announced to the media that their request had been denied. Which is how the people at PJ media heard about it. What, you thought they had secret contacts at the Vatican?

Again, why are you guys SUCH suckers for this crap? Can you not distinguish real terror threats from this letter for crying out loud?

Nobody's called this a terror threat, so I'm not sure what the purpose of your little hissy fit is. The Muslims have unreasonable expectations and should therefore be rebuked, not compromised with -- that's the lesson here. What I and others were objecting to was the notion that we need to throw the Muslims a bone in order to live with them in peace.

Sanjay,

Yet, despite the history, and the fact that even today there are parts of the world where Muslims are tolerant and open

Oh really? Name one part of the world where Muslims are "tolerant and open" without a non-Muslim majority enforcing that tolerance and openness. The closest match is Turkey, which only achieves the degree of freedom it has by openly practicing state religious discrimination against fundamentalist Muslims.

Harkonnendog said...

Oh Sanjay...

You were ALMOST there... you admitted that they are the same within certain parameters and different outside them- BUT you couldn't let it go. You had to hold on!

"I give you three religions -- Christianity, Judaism, Islam -- which have the same mythological figures, the same rough cosmology, many of the same holy sites, and the same creating God"

Same figures... except two of them don't have Christ, the central figure of Christianity... Oh, and two of them don't have Mohammed, the central figure, or I should say the 2nd most central figure of Islam. Lol. Don't let that bother you, though.

"Now, if you are real sure you don't worship the God of Moses, fine." Nice bit of sophistry there. However, Christians DO worship the God of Moses, but they do NOT pray to the same God Jews do. This is hard for you to understand, I know. It is complicated and would require you to think hard and be open to a new idea and all... But try, Sanjay, try! Jews don't worship Christ, and Christians do. Christians believe Jews worship imperfectly. So while a Christian believes he worships the God of Moses, he does not believe that means Christians worship the same deity Jews do, because Christians pray to Christ. See, CHRIST is central to a CHRISTian.

"Too much work to go ask the preacher, H-dog?" I had an online discussion about this with a reverend, and he took your position, actually. He changed his mind, though it took him a couple of years.

"like H-dog's weird belief in some other sect of Islam that used to supply immigrants to Europe and America." Cripes, Sanjay, you don't even read what I write. What I said is that there is an assimilated sect of Muslims in ENGLAND that has been there for many decades. It happens to be true, but again, don't let that bother you.

Sanjay, how did I slime Mohammed? I simply stated what the Koran says about him. You claim I haven't read it but if you are familiar with it you'll agree that the Koran says Mohammed did such things. Have you ever asked a Muslim if Mohammed did such things? I have. It isn't like they deny it, any more than I'd deny Washington owned slaves.

"The claim that Islam somehow can't coexist with other religions is clearly, factually untrue." This is correct, obviously. However, note this:

"Muslims ruled lands with many religions and offered far better protection to non-Muslim residents than Christian rulers ever did to non-Christians,"
They RULED them. That's important in this discussion. Again, don't let the distinction between peacefully coexisting and RULING bother you- tell yourself that people who make that distinction are xenephobes or bigots instead. Also, you should remember that most of the West has Christian roots. And religious freedom abounds. Not rule by Christians over other religions, as you cited, but religious freedom.

Here is a difference between you and I Sanjay:
"Hinduism (where again the sectarian differences are quite large), you'd all happily point at it, and say, well, that's all one religion." I would not presume (except ironically) to tell a Hindu whether or not his religion was a single religion or part of another religion. I would not be that arrogant, nor that rude. You, on the other hand, have gone out of your way to tell a Christian pastor that his religion prays to the same god that two religions, who deny the divinity of Christ, pray to... Think about that.

Anonymous said...

Americans are intolerant because they can post factually incorrect smack about Muslims

And what does that say about you, Sanjay?

You presume to tell Christians what they ought to believe about their own faith.

You get offended that people come to your door uninvited to share their faith with you, but Catholics ought to invite Muslims into their sacred space to hold religious services which they would find offensive.

Why? Because Sanjay has decided for them that they worship the same God.

You don't understand the difference between Catholics and Unitarians. So when are you going to stop posting "factually incorrect smack" about Christians?

Sanjay said...

I have been to Saudi Arabia. I've even practiced what you call Hinduism there. Next?

Ah, the lovely bigotry of Pastor Jeff. I grew up in a Christian society. I spend more time in church than most American practicing Christians. I am not fool enough to say I know scripture better than a man called "pastor" (although I bet I know my Aquinas and Augustine better), but Iknow it better than most. And that I have the arrogance to comment on what I understand Christian belief to be, sends you into high dudgeon

BUT when oodles of people who have nt read Quran or Hadith, not travelled in a Muslim land, and don't seem to be able to find the nice normal Muslims that seem to be everywhere I go, opine long and loud about what _Muslims_ believe -- not a word. No offense there, eh, PJ?

And _that_ is wanting sumbission and shame, not equality and tolerance -- the Muslims have to suck this up, but don't you DARE do it to one of the almighty Christians. Yeah: I know this game. Wow, how cn those moderate Muslims not be dying to c'mon out and bathe in the warm Christian tolerance, man?

You also, btw, commit a macaca offense, which I humored but better stop now. I am an American. I don't think Americans are intolerant xenophobes (hell, I've got a job defending them). I think the asses commenting so boldly on Muslims they don't know, are. But your comment is revealing.

Revenant: easy. Turkey is pretty good. Ben to Bosnia: pretty religiously tolerant. India does OK. Malaysia does OK (though it's prime minister is given to stupid statements). Indonesia does pretty good. I've been to Kuwait, Dubai and Saudi Arabia and not concealed my religion even slightly. Been to Mali and Ethiopia and seen Muslims and Christians coexisting reasonably well -- I'd like better, but. Where you been, baby?

Harkonnendog said...

Sanjay,

""like H-dog's weird belief in some other sect of Islam that used to supply immigrants to Europe and America." Cripes, Sanjay, you don't even read what I write. What I said is that there is an assimilated sect of Muslims in ENGLAND that has been there for many decades."

There were sustained, though small, waves of immigration to Britain from India, Bangladesh, Yemen in the 19th century. Again, I don't know what sect of Islam they were.

You might find this interesting:
http://www.mcb.org.uk/
library/scrd181298.php

ShadyCharacter said...

Sanjay is not real. Come on people, think about it! No one could be that dense unless they were playing a role to get your goat. Plus, he's given a number of clues.

"Sanjay" spelled backwards is "Yajnas", the hindu god of stupidity. Who, by the way is the same as Krishna, the hindu god of destruction and ponds (but not lakes, that's Buddha), but actually, they're all the same becuase all Hindu gods are the same god, because all are worshipped by people in the same general region, who have similar histories and mythologies and eat the same kinds of food.

Sanjay has also given a challenge: name a religion MORE peaceful than Islam. Hah! See, you can't do it.

ShadyCharacter said...

Please note, there may have been a couple of very minor facutal inaccuracies in my previous post about Hinduism, but in spite of my seeming absolute ignorance about the religion, I stand by my general assertion that all Hindu gods are the same, including the Buddha and Mohammed/Moses. In the sense that all of these entites are alike in that they are entities that are worshipped, like Jesus and that Mormon guy, Adam Smith, who I believe had some kind of invisible hand.

The fact that you may not be willing to accept my wisdom about theology just shows that you're a bigot.

ShadyCharacter said...

One last thing. Before you accuse me of ignorance like you ignorant Christians are accusing Yajnas of ignorance, I assert strongly that I have read (and translated from the original sanscrit) the Dead Sea Scrolls (the founding texts of Hinduism for those that don't even know that much) AND lived in Saudi Arabia for SIXTEEN years where I ran a school teaching comparative religion and co-ed synchronized swimming to open minded members of the Saudi religous police. In fact, it was in Saudi Arabia that I met and married my Sikh bride (she has since become an episcopal priest).

Sanjay, can you please share your wisdom about economics? With all of your great theological insight I bet you have some really great theories to share about how Marxism, capitalism and socialism are all basically the same basic economic theory...

Kirk Parker said...

Sanjay,

No, Turkey is not good, not in comparison with anywhere you or I would want to live. Is it better than Saudi is, or Afghanistan was under the Taliban? Of course it is, it's light years better; but try comparing it to Denmark or New Zealand instead.

And Indonesia? Sure, it's much, much better than any Arab country, with the possible exception of Lebanon, but the more pertinent question is: where is it headed? Ever heard of Sulawesi? Any idea what's going on in Banda Aceh these days? The trends aren't looking to so good. Or even Thailand? The coup there hasn't put the damper on Islamist violence in the south.

Harry Eagar said...

When Sanjay says, 'because finding a church that would let me stand peaceably with my wife and the godfather at the baptism of my own daughter, even in the San Francisco Bay Area, was a major hassle,' I don't believe him.

I will go so far as to say it is the opposite: it would be impossible to find such a church anywhere (except the Mormons, who have a rule about non-Mormons in their temples).

ShadyCharacter said...

But Kirk, have you ever been to Kuala Lampur or Khazakstan? I thought not. Until you've been to Kuala Lampur you have no leg to stand on to criticise Islam...

Sanjay's been many many places more than you. We should defer to his wisdom, no matter how much it may sound like the ravings of a lunatic. He's been to Dubai AND Mali. I mean, wow! Failure to recognize the awesomeness of Sanjay is naked bigotry. And xenophobia.

Sanjay said...

No, Kirk Parker, that's wrong -- I was naming places where a Muslim government was tolerant with a non-Muslim majority forcing it, in response to Revenant. Indonesia is such a place. There are indeed Muslim fundamentalist movements in Banda Aceh and Celebes (although it's unclear to me that the former isn;t really a separatist movement using religion when it can, a la Sri Lanka). But government troops -- muslim troops from a Muslim country -- are fighting them.

Hee, hee -- in ignorance Shady Character gets it close to right.....amazing.

ShadyCharacter said...

Everyone should try it. Write gibberish and see if Sanjay sees truth in what your write.

Bananas and monkeys are the same thing, as both are yellow and full of potasium. Islam is a religion of peace. Up is white, but forwards is typewriter.

hee hee indeed.

Anonymous said...

Untwist your panties, there, fella. In case you missed it, I didn't say anything about what Muslims believe, ought to believe, or how they ought to behave -- beyond saying that people who choose to come to America have a responsibity to fit into the existing system, not the other way around. You want to keep your wife in a burqa, that's your business. But keep your hands off my pork sandwich.

No, I'm not upset that you think you understand Christianity. It's that you claim to understand other people's faith for them and then tell them they have no basis for denying worship space to people of another faith.

Which is exactly why I haven't commented on what others have said about Islam: I don't know enough about it to comment intelligently. Given the ignorance of Christiantity you've displayed, I suspect you don't, either.

And what the hell was the macaca comment? You want to trumpet your wide-ranging background and how you proudly stand above and outside us all, but then get upset because I used the word American in a context you don't like?

Where in the hell do you get off accusing me of wanting Muslims to "bow in shame"? Because I think that Muslims in a pluralistic society should learn to deal with piggy banks and swirls on ice cream cups that look vaguely Arabic?

If the situation were reversed, I criticize the Christians for demanding worship space in a historic mosque. Is that good enough for you?

Probabaly not. You've got a chip on your shoulder the size of the Kaaba.

And you've managed to move the goalposts a few dozen times over the course of this "discussion." The thread was about Christians not wanting to share their church with non-believers -- an understandable position, which they share with Muslims.

You jumped in to say the Christians were out of line because you think they worship the same God as Muslims, and then you called anyone who disagreed with you ignorant. I called you on your BS and you don't like it.

You're the one whose towering arrogance allows you to determine what people of another faith in another country ought to believe and do.

It doesn't matter what you think they ought to believe. It doesn't matter who you think they worship.

That's the point.

The other being that you are a tiresome fool.

JDM said...

Well, I disagree with Sanjay, but can we please leave personal attacks out of it. I believe Sanjay is arguing in good faith and deserves better than some responses he has received.

I would point out that the Muslim golden age that Sanjay apparently refers to was a long time ago, and that since then there is much to indict Islam for, IMO.

Sanjay - I would be interested in your views on the Janissaries, in the context of the Mamelukes you discussed earlier.

Anonymous said...

Revenant said: "The "specific, special circumstance" being that, several centuries ago, Muslims seized the church and forbade Christians from praying there, upon penalty of death.
... left unexplained is why it would "promote interfaith dialog" to let Muslims back into the place. It would do more to promote interfaith dialog if Muslims realized they were morally wrong to have seized the church in the first place, and went and prayed someplace else."

The building in question last changed hands when the Christians stole it (in the 1400's-ish) from the Muslims who built it (Over the course of hundreds of years previous, back to about the 800's-ish, probably). The ground that this building was built on was previously home to several incarnations of a Christian Church (though more like a chapel which got bigger over time), which was built on the ground where a Roman temple was built (the ruins of this temple were later used to build the columns in the mosque, which is probably why they are probably the most different and original mix of colors in columns anywhere in the world). This Roman Temple was built on a spot revered by the local pagans, which they probably liked because they saw a bird sitting on a cow or something.

The area has changed hands many times, and I don't think the "who had it first" question has much relevance here. The building that currently occupies the space was built first as a mosque, next to the Christian Church that was there previously. They two faiths shared the space, but when declining numbers of Christians was combined with the rising numbers of Muslims in the city, the Christians (!) decided to relocate to one of the hundreds of other churches in the city. Then, when the Christians took over the mosque, they again shared the space for a period of time. However, a power hungry cardinal decided to rip out some of the columns from the center (bringing the total number down to just over 1000) and build a Cathedral like nave in the middle, they decided not to share anymore.

The history is much more complicated than you have alluded to.

Having the Catholic church find a moderate Muslim Imam to teach in the Cordoba Mosque/Cathedral would at least lead the two faiths to discuss what would happen on Good Friday. Though, I think that both Moderate Muslims and all Catholics would benefit from giving a hugely public pulpit to a moderate. He would at least get widespread media coverage, and because of the history involved in the Mosque, he would also probably get major ammounts of influence. That depends both on how we (in the west) spin the issue, and how the moderates decide to do it.
I think it would work - so there, that's how sharing the space (really, the space around the cathedral, not the cathedral itself) would help promote interfaith dialog.


Harry Eagar said..."OK, Ben, if we are to reach out to moderate Muslims, we have know who they are. You tell us.

I cannot name any.

(Cleveland had a Muslim head of its ecumenical interfaith group. He used to punch all your buttons. He was deported this past week for terrorist associations. They got him on tape recruiting Muslims to pay for murdering Jews.)"

I have had serious friendships and conversations with about 20 Muslims. This is because I live in the whitest state in America (Maine), though I have met several on my travels to different places, including two from Iran, several from Turkey, and one from Libya. I'm not counting passing acquaintances. I'm only considering people that I have had serious conversations with. Of those 20ish people, two were radicals. The rest were peace-loving, faithful people. We disagreed about how to pray, we disagreed about who to pray to, but we agreed about the standards of decency for everyday life, and several other important things.
In fact, I feel like I can relate to those faithful people more easily than I can relate to some of the Atheists I know. Our mindset is somewhat similar, though there are very important differences.

Since I, a relatively young white person who hasn't had all that much exposure to the Muslim world, have met so many moderate Muslims, doesn't that mean that there has to be at least a few Moderate Imams? I mean, think rationally about the issue, please. Don't we conservatives (and believe, me, I'm considered a fascist on my very liberal campus by some people) say that part of the problem with reporting from Iraq is that the media only tells us about the bad stuff, which causes ordinary people to have a distorted view of what is happening over there? Don't you think the same principle would work with the Radical vs. Moderate views of Muslims? I mean, one wants to live life like we do, and one wants to blow us up. Which group would the news say more about?

I agree with most everyone here that the confrontation with Radical Islam is the biggest fight that my generation will have to face. However, I don't think that means that all Muslims are radicals, nor are they immediately my enemy. It just makes sense to me to try and gather allies by finding ways to right wrongs and bring our communities together.

If we don't agree now, we probably won't, and I've spent too much time on this thread anyway. If you want to see more of my thoughts about this, I've got them on my blog, which you should be able to find.

It was a fun discussion, see you later.

Sanjay said...

Pastor Jeff,

Actually, no. In fact when I first posted I pointed out that I think Christian doctrine basically doesn't allow what the Muslims wanted (as it wouldn't allow my wedding). I haven't yet said that they had no good basis for denying that (well, though: I don't think they do. But I think their religion prohibits it, and in fact prohibits rituals from other Christian rites. I think I said this. You appear to read as well as Pogo).

The "same God" issue came up because rightwingprof said, why would muslims want to pray in a heathen church? And I pointed out, they're pretty sure they worship the same God. And I'm right. I also pointed out that the Abrahamic faiths are trememdously similar. They are. You haven't yet "called my BS" -- as h-dog points out, there are preachers who agree.

Your "macaca" moment:
because you can't or won't comprehend why that's an offensive request to Christians, that means Americans are intolerant xenophobes

uh, no. I'm an American: don't try to make this, me versus "Americans," bucko. My family is as American as anybody's. I serve and love the country. But the people writing here are intolerant xenophobes (like the folks in the Keith Ellison thread below). Nice assumption, there, though.

Ah, so you don't know enough about Islam, do ya? And yet lots and lots of people who also don't seem to know much about it, have been pontificating high and low about it, haven't they? A lot more of it before I ever spoke up, in fact, and a hell of a lot more negative than anything I've yet said about Christianity. But it doesn't bother you, does it?

Sorry, Harry, that's wrong. You try it. It was a major pain in the ass; we went through four churches, leaving the one where we'd been going for a year. Somehow a year of coffee hours and collection plates couldn't buy the idea of my standing quietly in front with my kid while my wife read from the BCP what was required. Admittedly at one they seemed to be considering it and I think the godfather (a coptic guy) pushed them over the edge. If I hadn't insisted my wife would've given up hope. (Hell, finding a minister for the marriage -- well, that's a 'nother story). But, yeah, correction: they were all willing to do it: but I had either to read along, or sit down. Submission or shame: I could choose.

jdm -- well, no, I think the point is, it's suspect to talk about what there is to indict Islam for. Islamic countries have performed better, in terms of pluralistic tolerance, than Christian countries in similar circumstances. Today, there is a rich world/poor world divide that largely mirrors an Islamic/Christian one: but among Christian countries in the poor world it is in fact quite often as bad as anything in the Islamic ones! That "golden age" suggests that the problem (and the no-less reprehensible actions it engenders) isn't Islam -- but people here, knowing nothing of it, are leaping to assume it is. And what does that tell you?

That's not to deny there's such a thing as violent Islamic fundamentalism. (But again, in places like Aceh or the Phillipines or Kashmir I question that what's driving people is Islam). But it is clearly not an inherent problem of Islam; impoverished, ill-governed people are vulnerable to this kind of thing, just as the asses here are vulnerable to believing crap about Muslims sans information. You have a problem: a band of massively impoverished, totalitarian Islamic nations embracing a destructive, intolerant ideology. Question: is it the society, or the religion? History makes the argument that it is the religion poor; if it were, the Christians would never have made it.

My knowledge of Ottoman history is weak -- if I recall the Janissaries were post-firearms and consequently not the absolute military masters the Mamelukes were in their day; they never seized the absolute control the Mamelukes did. Is that wrong?

Way to go, shadycharacter, show those Christian colors there. If it influences you, you'll not much bother me -- I've been the victim of enough of the things PJ seems to think don't occur, that your making fun of the heathen is -- well, you're just a piker. But you might want to cool it because PJ gets a bit pissy about people up and talking about religions they don't --- oh, uh, never mind. You'll be OK.

kettle said...

The building is the legal property of the Catholic Church, right? Let them decide.

The many comments here about 'christian selflessness' next to Muslim extremism are disturbing though. Western governments are no longer Christian; they may possess a christian heritage but they are not governed by any church doctrine; and the political sway of the church is considerably less than it was even 100 years ago.

Prior to that - when we were Christian Nations - we were just as naughty as today's muslim extremists and a damn sight more effective at disseminating our worldview through coercion.

Insinuating that Islam is less tolerant than Christianity is ridiculous. The main problem is much more likely tied to the fact majority muslim nations have not yet managed to give up the bad habit of mixing faith with secular law.

Behavior probably won't improve until these nations decouple their religious and political identities.

Pogo said...

Sanjay sez: "the people writing here are intolerant xenophobes"

Huh. What term do you use for radical Islamic imams, since you believe "it is clearly not an inherent problem of Islam"? When the leader of Iran calls for the Jews to be wiped off the map, what's that called? When Islamic people tell us they want a new Caliphate across Europe, does that warrant its own term?

Really Sanjay, your initial arguments had a veneer of truth, but failed under close scrutiny. Due to the enormous degree of violence by Islamic peoples in the last century (in the name of Islam) the onus of proof for moderation is on the Muslim community itself.

Your failure to grant even the recognition that their radical brethren have poisoned the well of compassion by infidels is a mark not of your greater generosity of spirit or tolerance, but of an invincible ignorance.

Anonymous said...

I pointed out, they're pretty sure they worship the same God. And I'm right.

No, you're not, as I and many have tried to explain. And not only aren't you right, it doesn't matter what you think Catholics ought to believe or do. Yet you hang on to this wrong idea like a dog on a bone and so refuse to see any legitimacy to refusing the Muslims' request. It must be intolerance!

uh, no. I'm an American

That may be, but you've obviously missed what America is about -- a delicate balance of personal freedom and public accomodation. You apparently think that expecting Muslims to operate within that framework is somehow demanding a shameful humiliation.

Answer me this: Should Muslim cabdrivers in Minneapolis have the right to refuse blind people with their service dogs? Should Muslims in Britain be able to have pork taken off the menu in a public hospital? Because that's what I'm talking about.

If you don't understand why those things are offensive to Americans, then you can wave a flag all day long, but it won't make you American.

It has nothing to do with your race, color or origin, and everything to do with loving freedom and being willing to tolerate differences you personally find offensive. That's what makes someone American.

Kirk Parker said...

Sanjay,

"No, Kirk Parker, that's wrong -- I was naming places where a Muslim government was tolerant with[out?] a non-Muslim majority forcing it, in response to Revenant."

I still disagree (and am I correct that you accidently left a not out of there?). Turkey is only "tolerant and open" by redefining those words beyond recognition. Sure, you can buy alcohol in Istanbul (and many other places), but intead of that let's talk about how many Christians there are in Ismir, compared to how many there used to be, and how fervently they keep their heads down.

class-factotum said...

Somehow a year of coffee hours and collection plates couldn't buy the idea of my standing quietly in front with my kid while my wife read from the BCP what was required. Admittedly at one they seemed to be considering it and I think the godfather (a coptic guy) pushed them over the edge. If I hadn't insisted my wife would've given up hope. (Hell, finding a minister for the marriage -- well, that's a 'nother story). But, yeah, correction: they were all willing to do it: but I had either to read along, or sit down.

Sanjay, with all due respect, you don’t seem to understand Christianity or what is involved with the baptism of a child. The point of baptism in the Catholic Church – and I don’t think the Episcopalians are that different – is to bring the child into the faith. The role of the parents in the baptism is to promise to raise the child in the faith and the role of the godparents is to promise to raise the child in the faith should something happen to the parents.

If I read your comment correctly, you, by refusing to read from the BCP, were essentially refusing to endorse the baptism. If you weren’t going to endorse it and hence weren’t going to promise to help raise the child in the faith, then a priest could not in good conscience allow that baptism to take place.

It sounds like the godfather you chose was not Episcopalian but Coptic. Yes, Christian, so the same religion, but a different denomination. We Christians take our denominations seriously. The Catholic Church will not permit inter-denominational marriages in the Church unless the couple promises that the children will be raised Catholic. I suspect the Episcopal Church would not see a Coptic godfather as doing much toward raising an Episcopalian child.

Baptism is a sacrament, not an empty ceremony. It isn’t “bought” with coffee hours and collection plates. It isn’t even bought with celebrity. TomKat’s baby Suri probably won’t be baptized by any Catholic priest because it’s clear that neither Tom nor Katie are interested in being practicing Catholics.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Harry, that's wrong. You try it. It was a major pain in the ass; we went through four churches... (Hell, finding a minister for the marriage -- well, that's a 'nother story).

I wasn't a Christian when I got married, but my husband was. We eloped on our own but then exchanged vows in a ceremony for the family. The first Christian minister we asked to preside agreed to do so even though I insisted that the service be rewritten to eliminate any specifically Christian references (i.e. no readings about Jesus or mentions of Christ among other things).

Also, there is an Episcopal church in the next town that has already allowed Sufi, Wiccan, and Buddhist services to be held on its grounds.

If such can be found in Arkansas, hardly a bastion of liberal religion, it's hard to believe that you couldn't find it in San Francisco.

(All of that said, that doesn't mean I think that every minister and church should be like those mentioned above--only that such ministers and churches are easily found.)

Sanjay said...

Thanks in general for improving the tone everyone; you clearly did it despite me! I'm sorry. Many Muslims are very dear to me and I am incensed over what I see here as naked bigotry. I am no expert on Christian theology of course.

Side note: my brother points out our what-you-would-call-Hindu uncle also lived in Saudi Arabia and practiced his faith a couple years. The assertion that this is not possible, is simply a lie.

Freeman: yeah, you can. We did! But it's tricky. And I have to back off a little in that all decisions on Christian ritual matters are made 100% by my wife: if she'd told me, suck it up and sit without us, I'd have done it. But it's harder than you'd think. For our wedding people directed us to San Fran's ultra-liberal Grace Cathedral -- and it was a no-go with the one preacher we talked to, and that made my wife angry enough that she didn't want to go anymore. I will say I like Christianity as a faith much less than I did before getting married because of the frequency with which they seem intent upon humiliating her for having a not-quite-Christian family. Chip on my shoulder, PJ? You put it there. There is nothing my temple will do for any woman in it, which it will not do for my wife (or, for that matter, yours).

PJ: so I called our preacher. Nice old guy, he likes to talk to me about grammar at coffee hour (I'm a Sanskrit/Latin/Greek guy). I don't think our church is one of the hippy-dippy ones around here (although my in-laws are pretty conservative wrt religion -- intra-family relations are tricky -- and two stormed out during the baptism because there was a notice in the circular saying the church ministered to gays and lesbians -- so maybe it's a hippy-dippy one, I don't have the experience to know. The median age in there is maybe 55). His answer to, "Do Jews and Muslims pray to the same God" is, he doesn't know about Muslims, Jews do, absolutely. To, but aren't Jews blocked from being saved because they don't have Jesus, his answer is, "Nobody seriously says that anymore." (which I'll grant is I know wrong). His answer to how that works -- I get the feeling I'll hear a lot about this on Sunday -- is something to do with Jesus basically interceding for them when/after they die, which I admit makes me cringe: sounds like Mormons' post-death baptisms. Jesus, if you're reading: I got it under control, OK? Stay away when I go.

Now I'll admit there's a sample bias in that I seriously doubt many preachers will tell me Jews are damned (since it's pretty clear what that makes me). But there ya go. At ther very least it is an open question.

Your examples are goofy. Yep, Muslim groups have asked for some ridiculous things. So have Christian groups. I grew up here, remember? But I have spent my life around Muslims. The examples you cite aren't representative. Or would you like me to ask, what the hell is your problem with Disney films? Tell me again how gays caused the 9/11 attacks? Hey, I can pick your loons too.

BTW -- from Winter 2001 the temple we usually attend had to hire 24 hour guards (big burly Sikh guys -- it was cool) in the wake of some threats. (Sometime in 2005 they stopped having them after things cooled down). Sikhs in the area were killed for being Sikh in 2001 and 2003. I certainly have had the crap beaten out of me by yahoo Christians who wouldn't have been surprised -- or cared -- if I didn't get up, on account of my religion. This society does in fact make religious outsiders live in fear; if you believe otherwise, you have a head/alimentary canal problem. It is not, thank God, our government policy -- any more than it is Indonesian government policy.

My father is old enough to have good memory of many religious wars with Muslims; he grew up during partition. He has had more direct experience with fundamentalist and violent Islam, I'd wager, than any of you. And again: I grew up with Muslim family friends. He hears people talking this kind of crap about what Muslims do and don't believe -- what they do and don't want from the societies they live in -- and calls it what it is. Bigotry.

Sanjay said...

PJ: you misread. "I pointed out, they're pretty sure they worship the same God. And I'm right."

No, I AM right. Muslims are pretty sure they worship the same God. You missed the context.

Harry Eagar said...

So, I challenged Sanjay and he admits that what he said was untrue.

The Christian ministers did not exclude him in any way. They merely asked if he would -- quel horreur! -- behave during their rituals.

Now I will call out Sanjay on another of his falsehoods, the one about Indonesia being relatively good as far as Muslims not persecuting infidels.

Again, as with the church fable, Sanjay has it exactly backwards. In no country in the 20th century did Muslims kill more infidels than in Indonesia. The total may approach half a million, including about 250,000 Chinese, tens of thousands of Christians on east Timor etc.

In the 21st century, the slaughter continues.

Sanjay said...

Oh, and PJ? Thanks for explaining to me, nice and slow, what America and Americans are about. That's helpful to us macacas.

Sanjay said...

Harry, wow, you nutball. No, what I said was exactly true -- the first go round I said, I couldn't find a church that would let me stand peaceably with my wife and the godfather. I couldn't. What I said was not untrue.

And, again: the Indonesian government has a policy of promoting religious pluralism. In fact they do OK. 'Til recently it has a (Werstern-backed) dictator: the free Muslim government there now promotes plurlalism. It is not the government that killed all the Chinese, and for that matter nor is that killing actually well characterized as a religious war, it was just the normal kind of racism -- but again: in Indonesia you have a Muslim government which encourages religious pluralism without being forced to do so by non-Muslims.

(Muslim buddy here is telling me, see? She's right.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for explaining to me, nice and slow, what America and Americans are about.

You're welcome. You might ry taking it to heart since you still don't get the point:

It makes absolutely no difference what you or I or Muslims or your pastor or anyone thinks Catholics believe about God, worship, and the appropriate use of churches.

You've burned a lot of ones and zeroes trying to argue they're wrong and you know what Christians believe.

Be sure to forward your comments to the Catholics in Cordoba, and encourage them to read it "nice and slow" so they'll understand what Catholicism is.

Oh, and Sanjay? If Muslims are so sure they worship the same God as Christians and Jews, please let us all know which mosques (especially in the Middle East) Christians and Jews are allowed to use for their worship services. And please direct me to the ones where Jesus is prayed to as God.

JDM said...

Sanjay, my point about Janissaries was simply this, which should also serve as an indictment of Islam: Janissaries were the result of a "human tax" on Christians living under Muslim rule.

Young boys were taken from their families, trained as elite warriors and converted to Islam. They then served the Ottoman empire as shock troops.

Not exactly religious plurality at its finest.

Harkonnendog said...

Sanjay,

"I certainly have had the crap beaten out of me by yahoo Christians who wouldn't have been surprised -- or cared -- if I didn't get up, on account of my religion."

I call shenanigans.

Anonymous said...

Sanjay, Christians saying stupid things hardly corresponds to Muslim groups demanding special religious accomodations.

Muslim cabdrivers have refused service to people with alcohol and service dog;, to priests, gays, and women in short skirts.

And their "right" to strand 100 passengers a month is being supported by the Islamic Law Institute, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, and CAIR.

Are those fringe groups or "loons"?

Sanjay said...

jdm --

THe only book I have to hand on the Jannissaaries says they're Muslim, but it's late in the empire. It also says they were often the controlling power. So I can't say a lot.

Fortunately what you describe pretty much exactly suits the Mamelukes so I think you might not have understood the example I gave (and it's possible you have them confused? or more likely the J's were patterenrd after them). If it's OK, I'll answer your objection with reference to those.

I assume your problem is not that they were slaves, since basically all imperial warriors (before Napoleon) were slaves or mercenaries, and mostly the former: Muslim empires explicitly used slaves, often bought, wheraes others used draftees, which as Friedman pointed out are the same thing. Or warriors like Shaka's were bound by fear and strong tradition.

I also assume your problem isn't demanding forces as tribute from conquered peoples either since, again, that's not particularly Muslim, its imperial. Your issue is that it sems like they specifically recruited Dhimmi (non-Muslims).

John Keegan has written nicely on this. Sultans had a problem: Islam puts very strict boundaries on when you can use force. SO if you're a power-hungry sultan, attacking "People of the book" is a bitch. Attacking Muslims, of whatever sect, is a super bitch. Muslims cannot be made do to it. And converts (as in all religions) tend to be particularly zealous, so, no luck there. But non-Muslims: they could be compelled to fight at your command.

Yhus the Mamelukes. Slaves were bought or compelled from Dhimmi as children. They then entered a kind of monastery to study furissiya -- arms. NB these ain't slaves in the sanse you might think of them: as masters of arms they very often became the real powers controlling the empire (as when Napoleon marhed in, and taught them that artillery had made them obsolete). They gained their freedom quite early, actually -- I think typically on completing arms instruction. It was a great system, militarily, because it was a true mertiocracy: the sons of Mamelukes were of course raised as Muslims and so wouldn't become Mamelukes, so the Mamelukes themselves obtained and trained each new batch of slaves as proteges.

This is what struck me: so strong were the Muslim provisions against war that they had to maintain a dangerous power which was non-Muslim, and frequently subjected themselves to its rule, rather than break those rules. In that sene the selection of Dhimmi wasn't by the Sltan (who clearly wants to make war on other Muslims, so he doesn't give a crap) -- it was by the subjugated peoples themselves: the Muslims had a higher standard for when they would fight. From what you say it sounds like they tried to resurrect the system and as the empire crumbled and Mulsim inhibitions fell they at last could recruit Muslim warriors. Anyway: that's why I thought it spoke well of them (and still do).

Sanjay said...

Geez, PJ, powerful, well-connected Christian groups don't make demands? Pull the other one.

I can ony aspire to be so good an American as you, but I do have better reading skills. FGor the fourth time: I brought up the "same God" thing in answering rightwingprof's question, "Why would Muslims want to pray in a heathen church?" The only opinion that matters in answering that question is, in fact, the Muslims' -- it isn't heathen to them. Not the Catholics, not the Christians, not yours. My answer is right. A separate issue came up of whether, from a Christian standpoint, it is the same God. The answer seems to be, responsible informed opinions differ. Because they do.

Now, some specific questions of yours:
which mosques (especially in the Middle East) Christians and Jews are allowed to use for their worship services
I imagine none. But it's for the same reason as Christian churches don't let other rites use them. And I think the decision is, in both cases, the stupid decision of xenophobes, and I commend the Cordoban Muslims for making a case for rising above it. On the other hand, if you support it in one, you got no business bitching about it in the other.

Now the funny one.
And please direct me to the ones where Jesus is prayed to as God
Uh, in all of them, people claim to pray exactly as per the teachings of Jesus.

Now, an aside -- you tell me, when a bunch of people who have no contact with folks who aren't there to defend themselves say a bunch of crap about them, you don't speak up because, hey, you don't know much either. Wow, that's big. You just figure it's true? Turn the other cheek so the other ear can hear, too? But when someone who does know at least a little about Muslims tells you that Jesus is revered and sometimes prayed to among them, it seems you ignore it.

Some relevant bits of the Quran would be chapter 3 verse 84 and chapter 2 verse 87.

What you get? Jesus has a status in many ways equal to Mohammed's.

My quick NON-MUSLIM summary of the situation as they see it (I do not endorse this), as I understand it.

God gave his law to his chosen prophet Moses. But the people were unworthy of it and went and partied while he was on Sinai, his brother bitched him out, etc., so he was unable to spread God's word through the Holy Land.

God gave his law -- his entire law -- to his chosen prophet Jesus. But the people were crappy about it and crucified him, and same problem. Consequently Christians are, you'll note, missing a Gospel -- which sucks, because it's the one that makes the others useless (Norman Mailer had some fun with this some years back) (And around now you might see why I make an equation between the roots of Islam and Mormonism). So you only have third hand accounts: what Matthew, Mark, Luke and John say Jesus says the Lord wants.

But God's a nice guy, and he gave the identical revelation to a remarkable guy -- a guy who, by his teen years, looked like a failure, and who alone among the Abrahamic leaders seems often to realize his job as a leader is usually to choose the least sucky of two alternatives -- which is anyway what I personally ever found compelling about the guy. And that guy, Mohammed, succeeded where the others failed: he spread the law --- Jesus' law --- through the holy land. If that seems to suggest that Muslims see a certain equivalence between Jesus and Mohammed --- that's how I understand it too. Picked by the same God for the same mission, just failed because the people refused to listen. And that's in those verses.

So: _all_ mosques would tell you, we follow Jesus' law to a T, those guys don't. Just as different Christian sects would tell you that, in fact Or so I was taught. And as an outsider I don't exactly see where you claim to have a better grasp than they do, or the reverse: you do have that missing book.

As for you, H-dog:
I call shenanigans.
Wow. I mean, wow. What has me bowled over is the realization that nobody here is going to call you on that. Hell, I'm stunned that made it through the winner. I was really speechless for a while. Shadycharacter is a piker -- you aren't.

You win, bigots, I'm done now. Declare victory.

Anonymous said...

powerful, well-connected Christian groups don't make demands?

Way to keep moving those goalposts. I thought those Muslims were "goofy" examples of "loons on the fringe"?


On the theological issues, what you've written runs counter in every instance to what the Church has taught and believed for centuries -- and to what Jesus said about himself. What you're describing would be acceptable to Unitarians, but not to Christians. You're asking that Christians act according to beliefs which they don't actually hold.

Jesus has a status in many ways equal to Mohammed's.

No, no, a thousand times no. For Christians, JESUS IS GOD -- not a prophet, not a saint, not a martyr -- God incarnate. I'm not asking you to believe it, but why can't you understand it? There is nothing like that in Islam. The very idea is a hateful blasphemy to Muslims.

Christians are, you'll note, missing a Gospel -- which sucks, because it's the one that makes the others useless ... But God's a nice guy, and he gave the identical revelation to a remarkable guy ... And that guy, Mohammed, succeeded where the others failed

Well, I'll agree with you that Muslims believe that, but can you not see why those beliefs are extremely offensive to Christians?

Jesus emphatically stated that he completed what he came to do -- to offer his life as a sacrifical atonement for human sin. That is absolutely the center of orthodox, historic Christian faith. Thus the idea that Mohammed could "succeed where [Jesus] failed" is repugnant and blasphemous to Christians.

I think this is exactly why Catholics don't want Muslims holding services in their cathedral. It would be equivalent to Antiochus Epiphanes setting up a statue to Zeus in the Temple in Jerusalem and sprinkling pig's blood on the altar.

That you don't understand (or choose to ignore) the central message of Christianity tells me you have another agenda or some preconceived idea about religion which makes you force Christianity into your mold. You want monotheistic faiths to be equivalent, so you argue that they are -- in spite of what their own adherents will tell you.

And you want me to criticize others a hundred comments up in the thread for making what you think are ignorant comments about Islam? Not only are you doing the same thing yourself, but you have demonstrated a dishonesty and ignorance of Christianity and Islam which disqualifies you as a judge of others' theological statements.

Yet I do know enough about Islam to know that Muslims emphatically reject the idea of Mohammed being fully equal to God -- even moreso Jesus. So I have to believe that you really don't know either Islam or Christianity as well as you claim.

You may not believe me at this point, but I'm genuinely sorry if you've suffered persecution for your faith. That's wrong and un-Christian. I believe that in America people of differing faiths can get along and practice tolerance towards one another. But pretending all religions really are the same is ignorant, offensive, dishonest, and unhelpful. You can't magically wish away central tenets of others' faiths.

So all we can do at this point is agree to disagree because you're not being honest with the facts.

Balfegor said...

Re: Sanjay

Well, I asked to be married in one so I know what you think of me. Screw you too.

Well. I'm an atheist. And though I may visit a church or for a concert or a funeral and things like that, I generally move away to the back (if it is not disruptive) when any actual service begins. I wouldn't dream of trying to hold my wedding in a church, or of receiving a sacrament, or anything like that, even though I find the pageantry very exotic, the surroundings often very picturesque.

Because, see, even if I don't believe in their god, I have respect for their traditions, and can recognise that their church is a holy place for them, consecrated to the worship of their god. That it is a place for them, as believers, and not for me. And I have no right to push my way in the door.