English Islam Politics Terrorism

After the Kenyan Mall Attack: against anti-Islamic propaganda

Nothing can hurt Islam like the awful behavior of those who pretend they’re defending it.

That’s quite a general statement. Replace “Islam” with whatever else highly-held concept, and it works just as well. Nothing hurt Communism like Stalin. Nothing hurt Roman Catholicism like Torquemada. Nothing hurt Anthropogenic Climate Change like Michael Mann. Etc etc.

And yet that is a valid point mostly if not only from a propaganda point-of-view. There comes a point when one has to stand and state that the same awful behavior is no indication of there necessarily being anything intrinsically wrong with Islam, Communism, Roman Catholicism or Anthropogenic Climate Change.

The actual flaws, if there are any, must be discovered and argued for what they are. A simple labelling “Some of their supporters are up to no good” cannot demonstrate if Milwall is or isn’t a good team. Likewise the millions killed by Tamerlane have zero logical relationship with the standard of behavior of the average Muslim citizen. And the fact that France and Germany started a war 99 years ago that led to more than 100 million dead, does not necessarily mean there is something very wrong with France and Germany.

There could be, but we cannot know before finding a proper argument above and beyond the behavioral one.

The above is an introduction to a series of comments I have made in another blog, where the diffuse anti-Islam propaganda has unfortunately found some new victims. I’m posting most of the comments unedited or slightly so.

  1. The attack in Kenya is news – usually “Islamic” terrorists are busy killing Muslims
  2. Muslims didn’t do much killing for centuries (Ottoman Empire) and then only started recently, when hit by Modernity. In the meanwhile the followers of a guy who, as God incarnate, _commanded_ to love one’s enemy, destroyed their civilization with two World Wars.
  3. History IS history eg – read also about the Sack of Magdeburg and the Sack of Rome of 1527. Then we have the Troubles in Northern Ireland. And so on and so forth.
  4. 20,000 killed to defend Christianity: “put to the sword, regardless of rank, age, or sex”
  5. [For me] this is a simple point…people have used religion to kill other people INDEPENDENTLY FROM WHATEVER THE RELIGION’S FOUNDERS HAVE TOLD THEM TO DO. In other words, the exact words of the founders of any religion ARE FOREIGN TO THE DISCUSSION about which religions are more prone to inspire people to kill or not to kill. If Wikipedia is not enough reach out for the local library and ask a book about the “Piedmont Easter” of 1655.
  6. These sorry episodes, of which the Christian world has a neverending collection, TELL US NOTHING AT ALL ABOUT CHRISTIANITY PER SE…obviously, say, a crusader killing little children in Aleppo cannot be considered a follower of the most important Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40). OTOH the crusader killing little children in Aleppo was a representative of Christianity as of its time. Go figure.
  7. ANALOGOUSLY it is NOT possible to, say, blame Judaism as inspirer of terrorism because of the King David Hotel massacre, or because some idiot in the Irgun was the first to have the idea of placing bombs at bus stops. And the self-exploding Tamils of Sri-Lanka tell us ZERO about Hinduism.
  8. Likewise, if in contemporary times there are groups of Muslims trying to combat modernity by using weapons, we CANNOT blame that on Islam per se, even if those same people use Muslim symbols and words (most likely, they know of nothing else to rally for). There is always a political, societal, historical component, and (like in the children-killing crusaders) it inevitably trumps whatever precepts the religion provides.
  9. What do we know, the largest mass murders in the history of the world (both in absolute terms and in percentage to the local population) have been committed in the name of a bearded German philosopher who had some ideas on how to make people happier.
  10. If even Jesus, who killed nobody, and actually told people to love each other, ended up being carried around in crosses by mass killers convinced they were impaling people for the good of Christianity, it seems obvious that founders don’t matter.
  11. I’m not excusing anybody. The opposite, in truth. Homicidal Christians won’t find refuge in their founder’s good deeds.
  12. The Kenya attack was no “terrorism”. It is a direct military response to Kenya’s involvement in Somalia. The fact that civilians were the victims doesn’t make it automatically “terrorism” (otherwise all those drones…).
  13. It is terrorism when the aim is to terrorize the civilian population for political reasons. In Kenya the aim is to push the Government to get the troops out of Somalia, where the “al-Shabaab” is losing the war.
  14. You don’t terrorize anybody with a single attack. Terrorists in fact use bombs (or planes) and in multiple co-ordinated actions happening at the same time or at a certain rate, and/or attack people that cannot possibly expect anything. In Kenya, with Kenyan troops in Somalia, a single attack against a shopping mall is a military operation. If there will be a wave of attacks against malls, that will be more like terrorism.
  15. If a follower of Muhammad has to murder people to remain as such, then hundreds of millions of Muslims must be wrong.
  16. Nothing I have written can be interpreted as justifying any act of violence.
  17. I have seen these discourses built up against Christianity in the past. Now they are used against Muslims, and before WWII it was common (in Europe) to use them against Jews. I know what’s at the end of the tunnel, and that’s persecution against anybody holding any Faith. It happened already:… – So I shan’t cooperate to the disparagement of any religion, thank you.
  18. I am not “rationalizing” anything. The Kenyan mall attack is a clear war atrocity. Unfortunately modern warfare is evolving towards having fewer military casualties and massive civilian ones (compare WWI to WWII, and see the popularity of the use of drones in populated areas increase just as politicians try to promise never again to put “boots on the ground”, ie combat troops in harm’s way). This can’t be good.
  19. As in Benghazi, we must be careful not to be taken advantage by those too quick to say the word “terrorism!” for their own gain. It is simply too easy to label everything and anything “terrorism”, something against which the only possible response is to rally around the Government, renounce yet more civil liberties, etc.
  20. In fact if you read the NY Times you will find at the same time talks of al-Shabaab losing ground in Somalia and somehow expanding its reach in the region. Obviously the two things can’t happen at the same time. However, if we get somehow convinced that crazied Somali teenagers can explode the local corner store at will in rural Alaska, there will come the NSA putting sensors and listening devices into everything including our waste pipes.
  21. There is a war going on in Somalia for 22 years. Untold numbers of civilians have been killed and are still being killed. Hardened by a million atrocities, one faction called al-Shabaab has committed another atrocity, this time in Kenya, whose Government is however participant in the same war. This makes the mall attack an episode of the Somali war, wholly different from the situations in Madrid, New York City and Washington, D.C., and London. And Bali.
  22. The fact that al-Shabaab is religion-based is easily understood considering those people have nothing else to rally for, now that Communism has collapsed, apart from tribal allegiance…but in the case of tribal allegiance, numbers and resources will be forever limited (by the size of the tribe). This is why, like in Afghanistan, a prolonged civil war ends up with the prevalence of religion-based movements, the only ones capable to cross the tribal boundaries and manage enough resources to take the rest of the country under their control. That’s what happened in Russia and then in China, where movements based around the “religion” of Communism once again took advantage of civil wars and scooped up the whole of the country. That’s what happened in the formation of Saudi Arabia too.

15 replies on “After the Kenyan Mall Attack: against anti-Islamic propaganda”

Long before Christianity and Islam appeared on the scene, polytheistic Greeks were happily slaughtering each other for much the same kinds of reasons as people slaughter each other now. The politically sophisticated 5th century BC Athenians were, as documented by the contemporary Athenian historian Thucydides, as ruthless and brutal as any Greeks.

‘There is a war going on in Somalia for 22 years.’. As your English is so nearly perfect, I hope you don’t mind me suggesting that ‘has been’ rather than ‘is’ would be a more common English usage.

Shooter -it’s obviously impossible to change a mind as entrenched as yours. I challenge you to love thy enemy.

These are people we’re talking about. Your words have been spoken for centuries already, against the Jews.

Maurizio, you could tell the same about Nazism and Islam.

If I told you Nazism is not this bad, just a little tiny fraction of them is extremists and it is unjust to blame them all for the actions of a tiny fraction, you probably would not buy it.
And I’m sure you would not tell the Jews to “love thy enemy” in regard of Nazists.

Well, I do not buy it for Islam. Their entire history is full of mass killing in the name of Islam and nearly nothing about mercy for not muslims. It is not a case slavery was eradicated in the West first, reintroduced after the West was invaded by Muslims and eradicated again in the West first and in the Muslims land by the cannons of westerns. They thrived on slaves raided from everywhere (Africa, South Russia and Ukraine, India, and so on).

I challenge you: point me any muslim text before 1800 where a reputed Muslim Scholar at the time decried the enslavement of not Muslims. It would be better if the said scholar was not killed because of his opinions.

When the Muslims chant in the street of Oslo “Khaibar, Khaibar, the Army of the Prophet will return” for a learned Jews is not very different from “Auschwitz, Auschwitz, the SS of the Fuhrer will return” . Just learn what they did at Khaibar.

Mirco -your simplification of history is mind boggling. The Quran was probably quite advanced in slavery issues for its time. It’s for me self-evident from XIX and XX century history that each “Islamic” problem we’re facing is an accident of contemporary history and not a defining character of a religion covering a diverse range of humanity .

No, Maurizio, the Quran was pretty backward for its time about slavery:
Even in the ancient roman empire the slaves rarely were worked until dead by their masters or castrated en masse.
The institution of slavery was near extinguished at the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Muslim Conquest reestablished a florid commerce of slaves captured in Europe (both West and East), India, Africa. All needed by the M.E. slave markets. And it continued until 1800 openly and until today covertly; until the US Marines started kicking asses and the British and France Navy started doing the same.

Mauritania officially abolished the slavery just ten years ago!!!

Mohammed was a slaver (it guided raids to attack villages, enslave people and sell them off for money).
It is not my word, it is not the word of some one hostile to Islam, it is the word of the Sacred Textes of Islam.

Mohammed is the founder of Islam, he is considered the perfect example all Muslims must follow and imitate (it is in the Quran and in the Hadit). So, if he captured slaves, had slaves, sold and acquired slaves, why common Muslims should not?

Islam is not about good or evil, it is about what is allowed and what is not allowed. If it is allowed by Allah (and if Mohammed did it is allowed) no one have the authority to prohibit it.

Again you link and presumably quote from a website dedicated to hating Islam. As I said I could find similar websites explaining how Christians or Jews are evil ‘because of the Bible’ with verbatim quotes from the Sacred Texts. Same no doubt applies to most other religions (don’t make me start with Hinduism and the caste system!!).

But it leaves us completely in the dark on how to find the true from the fake in the diatribes.

FYI I just checked the archives of the New York Times and the first mention of “Islamic terrorist” is from 1980 (then nothing until 1987). There is even a 1993 article tracing it back to just two decades before.

This is further evidence that the “terrorist” side of Islam is a modern construct, an accident of contemporary history, rather than a common tract of Islam itself that somehow went magically dormant for many, many, many decades if not centuries.

Just a question, if you mind to answer:

What does Muslims protesters want to say when they chant “Khaybar Khaybar ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad sa ya’ud,” means “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Mohammed is returning.”?

Not what I think, not what you think, but what THEY think.

If you was able to find the BBC’s list, you can find the answer.
Would you write what you found, even if it displeased you?

I envy your simple world of certainties, where cultures ranging from central Africa to the Philippines are defined by Churchill’s impressions of the “Mohammedans” and thousands of years of religious violence are swept aside, confusing the present times with the absolute, and politics with the transcendent.

Islamic Terror was not dormant for centuries: it just lacked the ability to attack the west, so westerns are able to be ignorant of it. It is like watching polar bears on TV, they appear all fluffy and playful and believing it is harmless. It is not when you are in their habitat without any protection between you and them.

This was written in 1899 by Winston Churchill:
Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion
paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde
force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant
and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising
fearless warriors at every step, and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the
strong arms of science, the science against which it (Islam) has vainly struggled,
the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.

Interesting enough about slavery this other quote:

The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

So slavery was present and diffused at the end of XIX century (1899) in the Muslims World.
What a surprise.

Islam is a violent religion. And the comment that “Muslims didn’t kill anyone recently” is wrong on all accounts. Since Islam’s birth, they have waged a war against the West. In the Koran, it is perfectly acceptable to subjugate non-Muslims and claim their wives as “booty”. Don’t compare Christianity to Islam in the excuse that “Oh, people kill people. Religion has nothing to do with it.” Ahem, Islam has EVERYTHING to do with it.

Terrorism doesn’t always have to be waged with bombs. It can be a psychological war as well.

If Muslims “didn’t do much killing for centuries” perhaps you’d like to explain the Siege of Vienna, the Fall of Constantinople, and the droves of women from all cultures sold to slave markets because of Islam. Islam is full of paedophiles, incestuous couples, female genital mutilation, and terrorism. This comment that they are innocent is the claim Muslims make, and if it were true, there would not have been so much outrage and calls for death of the Mohammed cartoonist. Christians don’t do that, and they endure twice as much. Perhaps you’d also like to explain the massacres of Christians by Muslims in Syria. – Yes, and Muslims are entirely innocent. That’s why they invade countries and want everyone to die by the sword.

The Kenyan mall attack? A combination of spontaneous blackness, a backwards nation, a backwards people, a backwards continent, and a backwards religion. Islam, innocent? You have a lot of nations to convince, dear sir. Better stick with climate and avoid issues you don’t know much about.

I believe having read certain chapters of the Koran ( which I CAN reference ) there is very little in Islam which in any way could be considered theological, Islam is at it’s very best a very poor parody of Christianity with the tolerance and compassion completely erased.

Maurizio, the problem are not the followers of Islam, but what Islam teach.
Did you read the texts of Islam?
Muslims books teach, for example, that Mohammad asked who would free him from a defenceless woman that told her tribesmen they were weak to bow to Mohammed will. And the volunteer had permission to go in the night and kill her as she slept.
On another episode, Mohammed ordered to torture a Jew he suspected to hide a large treasure of gold and silver. He also forced married the widow (apparently a beautiful young woman) the same night of the torture and the killing (no treasure was recovered) of her husband.

“If a follower of Muhammad has to murder people to remain as such, then hundreds of millions of Muslims must be wrong.”

The duty is not to kill, but to submit to Islam. If it can be done without violence, they do it without violence, but if must be done with violence, they have no problem with it. The only preoccupation is about the feasibility and the costs of doing so.

The Quran and the texts are clear there is no compulsion in respecting any agreement with unbelievers. Mohammed made an example of it with the Hudna with Meccans. The peace would last 10 years and it lasted one.

If a Christian follow the example of Christ he is, usually, a better person.
If a Muslims follow the example of Mohammed it is usually not a better person.

Guys -there are pages and books out there quoting the Bible verbatim to denigrate Christianity (and Judaism). They are as absurd and detached from reality as a bunch of non-Muslims opining on the divine nature of the Quran.

People ain’t better or worse because of their religion. God is transcendence, human behavior is immanent .The parable of the pharisee and the tax collector is very clear .

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