Tag Archives: Muslim

Links to Stories

1- Over at Loonwatch they continue to expose Robert Spencer as a fool pretending to be a scholar.

2- Inexplicably popular gasbag Rush Limbaugh bloviates that Muslim contributions to math and science are mostly myths. Link to Media Matters, not Rush’s site. (He also says Barack Obama would be a tour guide except that he’s black, and that’s why he’s president).

3- Loonwatch again, a Muslim girl burned by Christians for being Muslim. In the UK.

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Filed under bigoted idiots, miscellaneous, movies and shows

That 30:1 Kill Ratio Might Have Something to do With It

Stephen M. Walt wrote a great column over at Foreign Policy in response to Tom “Friedman Unit” Friedman’s scrawlings about why Muslim extremists want to kill Americans. This was about two months ago, but somehow I forgot to blog about it earlier.

Tom Friedman had an especially fatuous column in Sunday’s New York Times, which is saying something given his well-established capacity for smug self-assurance. According to Friedman, the big challenge we face in the Arab and Islamic world is “the Narrative” — his patronizing term for Muslim views about America’s supposedly negative role in the region. If Muslims weren’t so irrational, he thinks, they would recognize that “U.S. foreign policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny.” He concedes that we made a few mistakes here and there (such as at Abu Ghraib), but the real problem is all those anti-American fairy tales that Muslims tell each other to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions.

I heard a different take on this subject at a recent conference on U.S. relations with the Islamic world. In addition to hearing a diverse set of views from different Islamic countries, one of the other participants (a prominent English journalist) put it quite simply. “If the United States wants to improve its image in the Islamic world,” he said, “it should stop killing Muslims.”

To repeat: I have deliberately selected “low-end” estimates for Muslim fatalities, so these figures present the “best case” for the United States. Even so, the United States has killed nearly 30 Muslims for every American lost. The real ratio is probably much higher, and a reasonable upper bound for Muslim fatalities (based mostly on higher estimates of “excess deaths” in Iraq due to the sanctions regime and the post-2003 occupation) is well over one million, equivalent to over 100 Muslim fatalities for every American lost.

It is also striking to observe that virtually all of the Muslim deaths were the direct or indirect consequence of official U.S. government policy. By contrast, most of the Americans killed by Muslims were the victims of non-state terrorist groups such as al Qaeda or the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Americans should also bear in mind that the figures reported above omit the Arabs and Muslims killed by Israel in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank. Given our generous and unconditional support for Israel’s policy towards the Arab world in general and the Palestinians in particular, Muslims rightly hold us partly responsible for those victims too.

Contrary to what Friedman thinks, our real problem isn’t a fictitious Muslim “narrative” about America’s role in the region; it is mostly the actual things we have been doing in recent years.

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This unrelated article at Dawn News says Predator drones in Pakistan have killed 700 civilians and 5 al-Qaeda or Taliban leades.

According to the statistics compiled by Pakistani authorities, the Afghanistan-based US drones killed 708 people in 44 predator attacks targeting the tribal areas between January 1 and December 31, 2009.

For each Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist killed by US drones, 140 innocent Pakistanis also had to die. Over 90 per cent of those killed in the deadly missile strikes were civilians, claim authorities.

The success percentage for the drone hits during 2009 was hardly 11 per cent. On average, 58 civilians were killed in these attacks every month, 12 persons every week and almost two people every day. Most of the attacks were carried out on the basis of human intelligence, reportedly provided by the Pakistani and Afghan tribesmen, who are spying for the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan.

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Filed under Our glorious war in Iraq, Our glorious war on terror, War in Iraq

Europe Not Overrun by Muslims

BBC News online has an article today about a YouTube video that has been viewed more than ten million times, and is a bunch of hooey.

Below is the entire article.

This seven-and-a-half minute video “Muslim Demographics” uses slick graphics, punctuated with dramatic music, to make some surprising claims, asserting that much of Europe will be majority Muslim in just a few decades. It says that in the past two decades, 90% of all population growth in Europe has been Muslim immigration.

In France, it says 30% of those aged 20 and younger are Muslim, with the birth rate for Muslim families massively exceeding that across all families. It says France will be an Islamic Republic within 39 years.

In the UK it says the Muslim population has risen 30-fold since the beginning of the 1980s.

But are any of the video’s statistics true?

Of the video’s claims that 90% of Europe’s population growth since 1990 is due Islamic immigration, only a fragment is true. Immigration is the main driver of population growth according to EU statistics and in some exceptional years, 90% of population growth has been down to net inward migration.

But that includes all immigrants coming into the EU, not just Muslims.

It is the claims made about individual countries that are most striking. The video says that a typical French family has 1.8 children but that French Muslim families have 8.1 children.

No source is given for this information and the French government doesn’t collect statistics by religion. So it is impossible to say what the precise fertility rates among different religious groups in France are.

But no country on earth has such a high fertility rate and in Algeria and Morocco, the two nations which send the largest numbers of Muslim immigrants to France, the fertility rate is 2.38, according to the UN’s 2008 figures.

In the Netherlands, according to the video, half of all newborns are Muslim, and in 15 years half the population will be Muslim.

But the Dutch office of statistics estimates that Muslims make up only 5% of the population. For Dutch Muslim women to produce half the nation’s babies, they would have to be giving birth at at least 14 times the rate of their non-Muslim neighbours.

Is 25% of the Belgian population Muslim, as the video asserts? No. The Belgian office of statistics points to a 2008 study which suggests the real figure is just 6%.

The video also states that the Muslim population of the UK has grown 30-fold in the past 30 years. They get the figure by estimating that the British Muslim population has risen from 82,000 to 2.5 million.

The firm data is in the 2001 census, which counted close to 1.6 million Muslims in England and Wales. That number will have risen since 2001 so 2.5 million is not impossible. The 2011 census will be looked to for clarification.

However, according to Dr Andrew Hinde, a demographer at Southampton University, the 82,000 figure is a gross under-estimate. “If you take the 1981 census there was no question asked on religious belief,” he says, “but if you take those born in Pakistan and Bangladesh as a minimum estimate of the number of Muslims in 1981, it’s about 300,000.”

That would mean the growth rate has been significantly slower than the video suggests.

But the video doesn’t just rely on statistics, it also uses an official Government statement. It quotes it as saying: “The fall in German population can no longer be stopped. Its downward spiral is no longer reversible. It will be a Muslim state by the year 2050.”

The statement in question was made by then vice-president of the Federal Statistics Office, Walter Radermacher, who is now chief statistician of the European Union. He says that while it is true he said Germany’s population was in decline, the last part of the quote [in italics] is just an invention. He said nothing about Germany becoming a Muslim state.

“The quotation which reads as if the German government believed that Germany will become a Muslim state is simply not true,” he says. “There is no source which can be quoted that the German government has published such an expression or opinion.”

Inexact science

The video also claims the German government believes the number of Muslims in Europe will double to 104 million.

Mr Radermacher adds: “That is not true. The German government does not believe that the Muslim population will double in the next 40 or 50 years. There are no reliable sources that give a proof for that assumption.”

Population projection is an inexact science. No-one knows how many Muslims will be living in Europe or anywhere else by 2050. The current trends suggest that by 2050 Europe will have a bigger proportion of Muslims, although nothing like the level suggested in the video.

But the big assumption here is current trends. Levels of immigration and fertility change over time.

It is certainly true that immigrant communities often have higher fertility rates but over time these usually fall into line with the indigenous population. This might not happen with Muslim immigrants. But nobody can know and that’s why, according to Dr Hinde, it is so hard to guess the future.

“In the 1930s there were population projections made of the UK that by the end of the century the UK population would be 20 million. Well, it turned out to be 50 million.

“That’s how far out you can get when you’re moving 40 or 50 years down the line and not taking into account the uncertainty.”

Published in 1994. England not on her knees yet.

Published in 1994. England not on her knees yet.

But scary, ooooooh.

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UPDATE: In reality, Muslims make up 3 percent of the population of Europe, and most of them oppose sharia law.

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Filed under arabist, bigoted idiots, Islamic relations

On Beheading

By early September of 2008, almost 200 people had been beheaded in Mexico that year, according to this Time magazine article.

The biggest mass beheading in recent history caused widespread revulsion in Mexico but little surprise. Decapitations have become as commonplace in the increasingly vicious narco turf battles as stabbings are in London. During August alone, gangsters hacked off 30 craniums across the country — adding to the total of almost 200 beheadings in 2008 so far. Heads have been stuck on crosses, shoved into iceboxes and left in car trunks along with snakes.

Decapitations were almost unheard of here before 2006. The first case related to the drug wars occurred in April of that year, when thugs left the craniums of two policemen in the seaside resort Acapulco, apparently in revenge for the shooting of four traffickers in a prolonged gun battle. The following September, thugs in ski masks rolled five severed heads onto a dance floor in the mountainous state of Michoacán. The cycle of beheadings intensified throughout 2007 until every gangster in Mexico seemed to have an executioner’s ax in his arsenal.

Why beheadings? The Time article gives us three theories.

Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna claims the inspiration for the terror tactic had been al-Qaeda in Iraq. “This began after there was an image that al-Qaeda sent out to the world via the Internet showing the execution of a prisoner in Iraq,” he told a news conference after the 2007 video.

Is that why? Or is it this:

There may also be more local influences at work. Following some early beheadings, Mexican police arrested former members of Guatemala’s élite Kaibil military unit, which carried out bloody atrocities against rebel villages during the nation’s four-decade civil war. “We have testimonies of the Kaibiles hacking off the heads of living people with knives to terrorize communities,” said Guatemalan Representative Otilia Lux de Coti, who served in the nation’s Truth Commission following the 1996 peace accord. “Many continue to be dangerous killers after they leave the military.” The Kaibiles are alleged to work with Mexico’s Zetas, many of whom were themselves defectors from élite military units. Beheadings are also a favored tactic of Central America’s bloody Mara Salvatrucha gangs, who have been enlisted as muscle by the Mexican mafias.

Isn’t there a more wacky theory out there, though?

Archaeologist Ernesto Vargas says the tactic could even reflect the pre-Columbian use of beheadings, a common tactic of the Mayan people who dominated southern Mexico and Guatemala before the Spanish conquest. “The Mayans cut off the heads of prisoners as a symbol of complete domination over their enemies,” Vargas says.

Yes. The recent spate of beheadings in Mexico started in 2006, but let’s trace it back to the Mayans.

Isn’t it interesting that with these various theories flying around, nobody is attributing the beheadings to Christianity? If Mexico were a majority Muslim nation, would there be any doubt in America’s collective mind that Islam was to blame for the beheading spree?

Mexico is 95% Christian. The Christians’ holy book is the bible, in which the heroic David slays the frightening Goliath and cuts off his head. Are we not to read this as a biblical endorsement of decapitation? Nay, an instruction from God to decapitate in his name? And Mexico has been Christian for several hundred years, much more recently than Mexico has been Mayan.

Dishonest debaters point to an Islamic verse instructing soldiers in battle to strike off their enemies’ heads as a blanket instruction to Muslims to behead at will. A truly dishonest debater even cites this verse as the reason a Muslim wife-abuser decapitates his wife, implying that all Muslim husbands will probably do the same, sooner or later.

Here is the verse in question. It is 8:12, al-Anfal, “the spoils of war.”

Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”

Can a reasonable person read that as an instruction to men to behead their wives? Is it any more belligerent than this verse from the bible?

Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:34-39 NASB)

Interestingly, other translations change the word “sword” to “division,” which only makes me wish I read Greek, so that I could read the original and decide for myself. Fortunately for me, I do read Arabic, and can decide for myself about the Qur’an.

Here’s a little something from the old testament that might inspire bad behavior, if we believed that modern Christians or Jews were ever inspired by their holy book to behave badly:

1 Samuel 15
Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ”

To go back to the Qur’anic verse, let’s get past our modern aversion to decapitation. This verse was revealed to the prophet in 624 CE, when a soldier’s weapon was a sword. If your weapon is a sword and your enemy is armored, it only makes sense to use your sword to strike off his head. It is true that today we’ve grown used to cutting our enemy in half with automatic weapons fire or atomizing him with a well-placed landmine, but are these methods actually any less icky?

As I mentioned in my last post, on The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, the crusaders cut off quite a few heads in their time. And it didn’t stop there. Several hundred years later, severed heads were regularly displayed on London Bridge as a disincentive to traitors and criminals. In 1789 the science of head chopping off was improved by the invention of the guillotine.

Christian hero Vlad III, prince of Wallachia, preferred impalement to beheading, but wasn’t always able to employ his favored method:

In Vlad’s own words -: “I have killed men and women, old and young…23,884 Turks and Bulgarians without counting those whom we burned alive in their homes or whose heads were not chopped off by our soldiers…”

Isnt that a stray head rolling on the ground?

Isn't that a stray head rolling on the ground?

In the days prior to the invention of the photographic camera, a portable piece of evidence testifying to a given individual’s death was his severed head, which could be packed in a box and sent to one’s sovereign. If you wanted to know how many folks you killed in a battle, you could do a headcount.

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In the last few months, there have been three news stories about beheadings. In one case a mentally-deranged man cut off a young man’s head on a bus in Canada. In another case, a man cut off his estranged wife’s head, and in the third case, a foreign graduate student cut off the head of a fellow foreign graduate student.

You probably never even heard about the third case. You probably heard about the first case; but you most assuredly heard about the second case, because the perpetrator was a Muslim. Incidentally, the perpetrators in both other cases were Chinese immigrants.

Let’s go to the story that got all the headlines. The husband was a 44-year old man who has lived in the United States since he was a teenager, about two-thirds of his life. He has an MBA from Rochester. He was previously married and divorced that wife without any beheading issues.

I do see the irony of someone starting a television station to increase understanding between people of his religion and people of the dominant religion of his country, and that person then committing a heinous crime. The sad part is that he wasn’t wrong when he said

“The climate still remains rather anti-Arab and anti-Muslim…”

and

“The level of ignorance regarding Muslims and Islam is very high in the United States and it will take a lot of time for non-Muslim Americans to realize that they and their Muslim neighbors share many of the same values — raising families, pursuing careers and finding peace.”

There’s nothing Muslim about killing your wife right after she files for divorce and gets a protection order against you. That’s exactly when most American wife-killers do it. And they do it a lot.

In the U.S., estimates from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) are that more than three women a day are killed by their intimate partners. Women are killed by intimate partners more often than by another acquaintance of stranger. Most of these murders involved were preceded by physical and psychological abuse.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, 1,055 women and 287 men were murdered by their intimate partners in 2005. These figures are striking, because in the past, in the 1970s and earlier, the numbers of men and women so victimized were about even. In other words, there has been a significant decline in the numbers of men killed by their partners but not for women.

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Update: March 30th 2009 – another American beheads a family member. The article doesn’t mention anyone’s religion, so of course, he’s probably not Muslim. However, a neighbor who was quoted in the article has a Muslim-sounding name, so this one might get into the media.
But wait, there’s more. This Boston Globe article (I don’t recommend clicking it–it’s wreaking hell with my pop-up blockers) says this about the killer, Kerby Revelus:

Sometimes he would talk cryptically about God’s purpose for him, Kamara said, and other times he acted edgy and hostile.

My stars and garters! This decapitator was a Christian.

The Rev. Rosette Falaise, pastor of Bethel Pentecostal Haitian Church in Dorchester’s Fields Corner, said the mother was a member. She said Kerby Revelus did not attend church often, but that from what she could see he loved his younger sisters.

UPDATE: Aug 2009. Another non-Muslim, white dude beheaded a fellow human being. Nicholas Bendle of Santa Maria, California, chopped an elderly man’s head off.

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Filed under bigoted idiots, outrages