Tag Archives: crusade

Guess the Benighted Wasteland

State number one sports a former president on trial for war crimes. He claims he is innocent of all charges and that his acts of genocide were merely self-defense. He says his cause was “just and holy.” He says they were only defending themselves from perceived Muslim aggression.

No, it’s not the United States, despite the parallels. Ha ha! No American politician is going to go on trial for war crimes. No, it’s former Serb president Radovan Karadzic.

Former leader Radovan Karadzic has said the Serb cause in the Bosnian war was “just and holy” as he began his defence at his genocide trial at The Hague.

Mr Karadzic, who led the Bosnian Serbs during the war in the 1990s, said there was a core group of Muslims in Bosnia – then and now – who wanted 100% power.

Mr Karadzic faces two charges of genocide – including the killing in Srebrenica of more than 7,000 men and boys – as well as nine other counts including murder, extermination, persecution and forced deportation.

Prosecutors say he orchestrated a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” against Muslims and Croats in eastern Bosnia to create an ethnically pure Serbian state.

In his opening statement last October, prosecutor Alan Tieger said Mr Karadzic “harnessed the forces of nationalism, hatred and fear to pursue his vision of an ethnically segregated Bosnia”.

Legislators in State number two have introduced a bill that would criminalize miscarriage of a pregnancy.

Says one lawmaker, “If he’s insinuating because I ran this bill, because I’m pro-life and anti abortion and I’m doing everything in my power to restrict abortions [here], then he’s absolutely correct.”

Perhaps the most troubling part of the bill is a standard that could make women legally responsible for miscarriages caused by so-called “reckless” behavior. Under the “reckless behavior” standard, an attorney only needs to show that the woman behaved in a manner that is thought to cause miscarriage, even if she did not intend to lose the pregnancy. Under this law, if a woman drinks too much and has a miscarriage, she could face prosecution.

Many states have fetal homicide laws, most of which apply only in the third trimester. [This] bill, however, would apply through the entire duration of a woman’s pregnancy. Even common first trimester miscarriages could trigger a murder trial.

The bill does exempt from prosecution fetal deaths due to failure to follow medical advice, accept treatment, or refuse a cesarean section.

What could possibly go wrong?

Miscarriage occurs in about 15-20% of all recognized pregnancies, and usually occurs before the 13th week of pregnancy. The actual percentage of miscarriages is estimated to be as high as 50% of all pregnancies, since many miscarriages occur without the woman ever having known she was pregnant.

So what backwards, misogynist, woman-hating, gynophobic, phallocentric culture are we talking about? If you guessed Utah, you’re right.

rare photo of Utah women

Utahns compel their women to wear concealing garments, because their stern god commands them to. They wear flowing garments that cover them from neck to toes and fingers, leaving only the head exposed.


Filed under church and state, domestic terrorism, hijab


I’m just posting this here so that I can find it again when I want it.

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Filed under language, miscellaneous

The Caped Mujahid

Recently I took part in a seminar that touched on Islam and Arabs, and the subject came up of how the US views the word “crusader” and the Arab world views the word “jihad.”

(Mujahid, which I use in the title of this post, is the same, but more Arabic word, as Jihadist).

Just as “crusader” is seen as a positive thing in the US, “jihad” is seen as universally positive in the Arab world.

From Wikipedia:

Jihad (Arabic: جهاد‎ IPA: [ʤɪhæːd]), an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihad is a noun meaning “the struggle” Jihad appears frequently in the Qur’an and common usage as the idiomatic expression “striving in the way of Allah (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)”.[1][2] A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid, the plural is mujahideen.


In Modern Standard Arabic, jihad is one of the correct terms for a struggle for any cause, violent or not, religious or secular (though كفاح kifāḥ is also used).[citation needed] For instance, Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle for Indian independence is called a “jihad” in Modern Standard Arabic (as well as many other dialects of Arabic); the terminology is applied to the fight for women’s liberation.[19]

So while several decades of the US media have used “jihad” exclusively to mean “violent killing of innocent people by bloodthirsty savages,” that is not what it means and certainly not how it is seen in the Arab and Muslim worlds. (Which overlap, but aren’t the same thing).

In the US, we think of “crusader” as a wholly positive thing. I believe that most Americans don’t even think about The Crusades when they hear the word “crusader.” They think of Batman, the Caped Crusader, or some local citizen who is “on a crusade against illiteracy.”

From Wikpedia:

The word “crusade” is also used vernacularly to signify any struggle for a worthy cause, a meaning that is extruded from the memory of the historical Crusades as seen from the perspective of the Christian partisans.

Meanwhile, the Arab world sees “crusader” much the way we see “jihad.” Crusaders were filthy, violent barbarians who came from abroad and killed and plundered and destroyed, just like Huns or Mongols. And that explains why Arabs and Muslims were horrified to hear Bush talk about a crusade against terrorism, especially as his administration was already implying that Islam equals terrorism.

1950 cartoon “Crusader Rabbit.”

I find that if I switch “mujahid” for “crusader” and vice versa, they pretty much mean the same thing in the popular psyche. If Batman had been “the Caped Mujahid,” instead of “the Caped Crusader,” we would feel the same way about the word “jihad” that the Arab world does. And if Bush had said “this is a jihad against terrorism,” it would have gone over better.


Filed under arab, arabic, arabist, language, pedantry, War in Iraq