Muslims’ beliefs are ‘untrue’ and ‘ridiculous,’ ‘Salon’ author says, offering support for Maher’s intolerance

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Bill Maher’s demagogic slurry of Islam-bashing continues to resonate. On October 31, Rula Jebreal appeared on Maher’s HBO show to defend a campaign to disinvite him as a commencement speaker at Berkeley in December. Jebreal said that Maher was generalizing about Islam in negative and abusive ways that would never be tolerated if he were speaking about other groups.

Maher: “All I’ve ever done is basically read facts.”

Jebreal: “What facts did you read?… You are comparing Jihadists, Salafis, Sunnis. You don’t know the difference…It’s offensive and some people feel threatened.”

Maher: “You are a Palestinian…. Can you be gay in Gaza?”

Jebreal: “Yes you can.”

Maher: “And live? Because I’ve heard different.”…

Jebreal: “You are comparing the majority of Islamic states with Saudi Arabia…. The Muslim community in this country, you are treating them like a fifth columnist… And they are underepresented in the media and underrepresented in political avenues.”

Maher: “They’re here all the time… I want to stop talking about this. I can’t.”

Jebreal: “If you want to have a serious discussion about Islam… What I want is not a war on Islam, I want to win the war on terror. You are saying the same things that actually Al Qaeda says… Zawahiri and bin Laden used tos ay, This is not a war on terror, it’s a war on Islam… For you we are all jihadists… If you would have said some of the things you… said about African Americans and Jews, you would be fired.

Maher: But African Americans and Jews don’t belong to a religion that wanted to kill Salman Rushdie for writing a book.”

Jebreal: “You are representing the whole group as one. You are actually viewing Islam as jihadists do, in a literalist way.”

Two weeks after that appearance, Salon took a strong stance against Maher’s casual prejudice by publishing an interview with Jebreal. But Salon has now run a piece trashing Islam as a religion of “ridiculous” beliefs. It’s interesting to watch author Jeffrey Tayler (who’s written a book about a group of topless women who take on fundamentalism in Europe) jump from atrocities that Muslims perpetrate to an attack on their religion per se.

The need for frank talk about religion is …  urgent concerning Islam, the canonical texts of which inveigh against “unbelievers” and advocate violence and even warfare against them, with, at best, subservient dhimmi status and a special tax, the jizyah, imposed upon Jews and Christians — a species of “tolerance” stemming only from Islam’s roots in both faiths. Buddhists, Hindus and nonbelievers receive no such largesse. In view of this, atheists in secular countries can hardly be expected to exempt Islam from criticism. Loathsome iniquities such as female genital mutilation, honor killings and domestic violence, which are all problematic in Muslim communities in the West, also call Islam into question. More, not less, open discourse about these outrages is just what is needed to end them.

And it turns out that a lot of Islamic beliefs are “untrue” and “ridiculous.”

Did Jebreal really think she would help her cause by chastising Maher for speaking his mind and thereby reminding us of the intolerance that has so frequently characterized Islam? (To wit: the longstanding Muslim-led campaign to make blasphemy against Islam an international crime.) The rush among Muslims to condemn their faith’s critics discloses a valid underlying fear — that possibly those critics are onto something, that maybe the religious beliefs in question are untrue and even ridiculous.

Yes what about the virgin birth, the parting of the Red Sea, the angel staying the binding of Isaac, the burning bush, the slaying of the first sons…. All true?

Jebreal– a friend of our site– gives the lie to Tayler’s claims in that interview she did with Salon two weeks back. I don’t know why Salon is retrenching on this issue. It needs to defend this position:

even if you’re a secular Muslim or Sufi or Sunni Shafi’i who looks at the jihadis and is appalled by them – and look at the father, the Nigerian father of the Christmas bomber, who actually denounced his own son – and look at the rise of ISIS with a lot of concern and worry – then hear on TV shows that this is Islam, it’s a sweeping generalization. It’s collective. There’s no nuance. No history.

To say that the rise of ISIS is Islamic is simply wrong. There is a theology that’s wrong and needs to be reformed. But also, unfortunately, the rise of ISIS is a byproduct of the Iraq War and the terrible way that Iraq was administrated

I’d point out that anti-Zionists seek to distinguish Israel’s actions from Jewish religious ordinance. The religion and the ideology are often and sloppily confused, including by Zionists themselves; and that’s a form of anti-Semitism. Jebreal distinguishes between Islamic radical interpretations and Islam:

If he focused on Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia, I would be with him on that. If we would focus on going against extremists – jihadists, the Haqqani network in Pakistan, al-Qaida in Yemen. It’s true that there’s an ideology called Wahhabism that is extremist, that fights the pluralistic Islam of which I’m a product.

I’m married to a Jew and have a Catholic daughter. That’s the Islam I came from.

Maher has praised General al-Sisi’s regime in Egypt because he’s keeping the Islamists down. So Maher endorses dictatorship for a nation of 85 million people and ignores the persecution of the Palestinians next door. Jebreal:

the basic issue is we don’t consider Muslims as equal. We consider them inferior. You wouldn’t accept to be a people run by dictators – and brutalized, and oppressed, and imprisoned. If you were really liberal, you wouldn’t accept that. But to say, “I’m liberal because I agree on gay rights” – it’s a selective way of being liberal. I want gay rights, but also I want freedom. I want freedom of movement, freedom of electing a government. You know, Bill brought up the gay issue in Gaza, and I just thought Bill and the whole panel were very hostile.

Finally, Jebreal told an anecdote about Maher’s incuriosity about Islam. She gave Maher a book, and–

I actually left him a book, and the book is Karen Armstrong’s Muhammad [A Prophet for Our Time], a beautiful book that was written after September 11 about how Muhammad behaved in his life. He said don’t go after others, because that would mean you are going after me….  the book that I gave him – he took it and left it on a chair. He said, “Oh, thank you for the book,” and then took it and left it on the chair. I said, “You know what, I gave him this book, he took it and left it on the chair.”

Here’s that original appearance by Rula Jebreal, October 31:

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89 Responses

  1. Walid
    November 18, 2014, 12:17 pm

    Repeat scenario. Rula tried to chase and corner the vile-mouthed Maher in the washroom. She should have known better than to take on a comedian with a serious discussion. Maher is trash.

    • bintbiba
      November 18, 2014, 12:53 pm

      The first time I ever saw Bill Maher’s show …and it had nothing about Islam or religion …just innocuous shallow stuff , my first and lasting impression was “What a pompous , self important ,arrogant man ! ” He has proved me right. He ‘s not even funny .

      • Donald
        November 18, 2014, 5:11 pm

        “my first and lasting impression was “What a pompous , self important ,arrogant man ! ”

        100 percent agreement. Even without his Islamophobia, he always struck me the same way. It’s no credit to American liberals that many seem to like him because he agrees with them on some issues.

    • Marnie
      November 18, 2014, 4:24 pm

      I enjoyed watching her try to educate the pompous little idiot, but he refused to listen and brought up Gaza over and over again. “Is there a gay bar in Gaza?” It’s not that he cares about gays, Gaza or gays in Gaza, but only to deflect and rudely put her off like a low life bully on a street corner. Jerk!

      • bintbiba
        November 18, 2014, 6:50 pm

        And what a misnomer : Maher .In Arabic it means ‘ accomplished,’ or ‘ expert ‘…!!!
        Pronounced : Maa- her.

      • chris o
        November 19, 2014, 11:24 am

        Edifying commentar;y. “Trash. Pompous. Self-important. Arrogant. Pompous little idiot. Low life bully. Jerk.”

        I pay for HBO to watch Bill Maher’s show. Because it is very good. And his commentary is mostly very good. I don’t agree with him on everything, just like everyone else in the world. But I am an atheist and I scoff and laugh at all religions, including Islam, which in 2014 is especially problematic.

      • Wisdo
        November 20, 2014, 7:25 am

        One could point to disparate events like the worldwide economic collapse, Americans wars in the levant and the remnants of the IRA and say look “christianity is a big problem”. Thats the magnitude of generalisation being done about Islam.

        Ist a howl bunch of countries and cultures which have this or that aspect of a religion in common, and demonise every single person in those countries as backward, bigoted and violent.

        I have no truck with religion per se, but I realise that people under the rubric of Judaism, or Christianity or Islam or Buddhism comprise a culture, and to demonise an entire culture is ludicrous, dangerous and ignorant.

        Maher is pig headedly ignorant on this. He is deliberately ignorant, choosing to remain oblivious of the facts so that he can continue to enjoy the dubious pleasures of hatred without being tempered with the knowledge that he might be wrong. The man is in the same category of broadcasting ‘professional’ as Bill O Reilly.

    • Chu
      November 19, 2014, 2:55 pm

      “Are there gay bars in Gaza?” ~What a chump Maher is. Funny that the three white guys
      are putting down the one minority woman, and the audience roars in favor of Maher.
      Go American liberalism on HBO. That’s how we do it here…

  2. Kay24
    November 18, 2014, 1:10 pm

    Maher’s inability to reason this out, despite various opinions in his own show, by intellects, journalists, and religious scholars, pointing out the fact that he keeps tarring all Muslims with the same brush, be unable able to separate the extremists from the majority moderates, and that ALL Islamic nations are not the same, shows a biased mind, and a stubbornness that prevents him from researching or learning more. He shoots down an expert in religion who states that other religions have violence too , and does not give his guests who oppose his biased opinion, a chance to talk and explain.

    It is obvious that Maher is a strong zionists, who depend on said zionists to get lucrative contracts, and that he is an ignorant Islamaphobe, who refuses to listen to the facts.

    To quote Reza Aslan: “When it comes to the topic of religion he’s not very sophisticated in the way that he thinks”.

  3. Citizen
    November 18, 2014, 2:41 pm

    The likes of Maher and Gruber, they run the show.

  4. MRW
    November 18, 2014, 3:04 pm

    The problem is that Maher is fucking uneducated; he’s a low-rent thinker. I admit that I went to a then $22Gs, now $55Gs/ year private highschool, and the education was superior even if I didn’t pay much attention–it got banged into me–but this guy is a public figure. You’d think he’d hire sufficient producers to cover his lack. You want to read the history of Islam? You want to understand how Europe wouldn’t have had any science if it hadn’t have been for the Moors (Black Muslims of North Africa) in Cordova who brought literature, culture, science, and math to Europe? Take 20 minutes and start reading Robert Briffault here; start at page 188.

    The profundity of our ignorance here in the US is just gob-smacking. We’re getting dumber with each passing day.

    • MRW
      November 18, 2014, 3:06 pm

      You can also read Joseph McCabe.

    • gamal
      November 18, 2014, 4:18 pm

      why 188, i would guess the casual reader would be better starting from the beginning of chapter of 5 and though there is much to dispute with Briffault about, it is interesting and he has read some stuff, he is a relief from the utter inanity of discussions of Islam current in western media and popular discourse. He is particularly remembered by some for his “Decline and fall of the British Empire”, naughty, naughty boy, he died mid last century, and was not a social anthropologist by training, a medical man if memory serves.

      As we are getting all Islamic studies might I offer two brief pieces one some poems by a well known Cadi ( Sharia Judge) and scholar
      and a little hadith scholarship by his best known pupil, enjoy.

      http://www.ibnarabisociety.org/articles/sellstarjuman.html

      http://www.ibnarabisociety.org/articles/hadith_commentary.html

      • MRW
        November 18, 2014, 6:36 pm

        @gamal,

        Footnotes 8 & 9 on the second link (Hadith Commentary) were just fascinating.

      • bintbiba
        November 18, 2014, 7:02 pm

        Gamal, you have graced this page with the poetry of the Cadi. Thank you . I shall duly go back and read the hadith scholarship by his pupil.

      • just
        November 18, 2014, 7:13 pm

        many, many thanks for the links, gamal! ;)

      • RoHa
        November 19, 2014, 4:28 am

        Thank you for that glimpse into an intellectual tradition that most of us know too little of. Very rewarding, even just as a reminder of the extent of my own ignorance.

      • NickJOCW
        November 19, 2014, 10:53 am

        So each outward thing derives from an inward reality. Just like objects of the physical world and Socratic forms. Awe inspiring.

      • Mooser
        November 19, 2014, 12:08 pm

        Thanks Gamal. I thought a little background on Briffault would be nice.

      • Mooser
        November 19, 2014, 2:47 pm

        “The female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place. — Robert Briffault, The Mothers, Vol. I, p. 191”

        It’s called Briffault’s Law. I sure as hell wish somebody would have explained that to me a long time ago, would have saved me a lot of grief. But, of course, I went to public schools.

  5. chet
    November 18, 2014, 3:42 pm

    Have a look at Maher’s ass-kissing interview of Netanyahu and you will have no doubt where he’s coming from.

    • gamal
      November 18, 2014, 9:33 pm

      sorry to interject chet this is the nearest reply button, to MRW, bintbiba and just, it was entirely MRW’s post, and you are all too gracious i am very moved, it reminded me of the great Yitzhack Yehuda “Ignacs” Goldziher and a western scholarship of Islam that was erudite profound and free of the claustrophobic idiocy that passes for such today, though his reach was limited and inspired many reactions from Muslim scholars, with scholars such as him dialogue is fruitful he has no peer today. I could not recommend his work highly enough, I met people who had studied under him, MRW’s generous link brought it all back, I can not recommend him highly enough, I think one Azami (?) wrote an interesting defense of the Ulema view of these same topics, the recently deceased Nehemia Levtzion was another great Jewish and Israeli scholar, we will not see their like again. Walahi barakficum.

      http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/238541.Muslim_Studies

      http://www.amazon.com/Conversion-Islam-Nehemia-Levtzion/dp/0841903433

      • gamal
        November 18, 2014, 9:48 pm

        oh and just an irrelevant point those not familiar with Vajrayana Buddhist esoteric philosophy might not get the links with Qunawi’s commetary and the five Buddha families etc, I would contend that “A Treasure Trove of Scriptural Transmission” the commentary by Lonchenpa (Longchen Rabjam) on his “Basic Space of Phenomena” and its epitomes of the various classes of Tantra in particular, “The Dynamic Energy of the Lion”, “The all Creating Monarch” and “The Reverberation of Sound” and many others are indispensable to the understanding of all religion including Islam, but they are very difficult and require determined application.

        well pip pip and on to the next Abrahamic catastrophe.

      • seafoid
        November 19, 2014, 5:12 am

        Gamal

        That post above reminds me of J-live. It’s such a great time for jihliyeh everywhere

        “My people’s under a spell
        And under duress
        Underemployed uninformed undernourished underdressed
        Under the weather but avoid the undertaker like whatever the underdogs underground
        Holding it together

        The radio is quid pro quo
        The videos they show
        All dealing with gangstas pimps and hos
        I’m not even trying to turn up my nose
        But I know we got so much more to offer on the low
        They run you like a remote control
        The trolls from the bridge to the generation gap I been told
        We just trying to feed your soul
        Plant these seeds “child it flows”
        So the youth can grow

        nowadays you can show you got something to play
        They ain’t supposed to
        Time brings change and that’s not what I’m opposed to
        Recognise what the elders had to go through
        So that you wouldn’t have to
        Ask and they show you
        That’s how you build a nation.. civilisation
        We do it through the music if you don’t use it you lose it
        You show the people clear water how can they refuse it
        But if they never knew it existed they couldn’t choose it
        The rich ones they plan it so you never understand it
        We take this shit for granted til it’s missing from the planet”

      • Mooser
        November 19, 2014, 2:13 pm

        Okay, I have a tiny little bone to pick with the Muslim religion. I think the Phillip George boards should be used, the ones without the Name of God worked into the design, anyway.

  6. Shingo
    November 18, 2014, 4:00 pm

    I wish that every time Maher brought up Rushdie, soon robe would remind him that Gideon Levy is under 24/7 protection over death threats he received in reaction to his criticism if the IDF.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      November 18, 2014, 4:15 pm

      People have made a career out of receiving death threats from Muslims – Ayaan Hirsi Magan being an obvious case. But when the same happens to critics of Israel – Ilan Pappe, Edward Said, Vanessa Redgrave – it’s barely considered worthy of a mention.

      • piotr
        November 18, 2014, 6:11 pm

        Didn’t Conflict Kitchen got a death threat about a week ago?

        I am only a hobby historian, but it seems that Quranic idea of “Holy War” was borrowed from Torah, more or less with the attribution. Every religion and every secular ideology has a dark side, and usually the bright side too.

        It is a matter of record that prominent rabbis called for a holy war of retribution, and offered curses for soldiers showing mercy to enemies, while other prominent rabbis cannot stop talking about “unprecedented measures to spare innocent lives” when they discuss slaughter of thousands and massive destruction of human habitation and basic infrastructure. Regretfully, nowadays they are the mainstream of Judaism.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        November 18, 2014, 6:22 pm

        ”Didn’t Conflict Kitchen got a death threat about a week ago?”

        Yup.

        Imagine if the owner of a restaurant serving ‘Israeli food’ – which we all know is stolen from the Palestinians but whatever – got a death threat? I guarantee it would make the NYT and CNN.

      • Mooser
        November 19, 2014, 3:10 pm

        “Every religion and every secular ideology has a dark side, and usually the bright side too.”

        That’s true, but I’m stickin’ with the Carter Family advice, whenever possible.

      • Citizen
        November 19, 2014, 3:59 pm

        @ Mooser
        Thanks for sharing the Carter Family’s Sunny Side! You are quite a guy, er, I mean moose.

    • Kay24
      November 18, 2014, 4:34 pm

      Good point. Or when Helen Thomas criticized Israel, that she was viciously attacked and made to look anti-semitic. There may have not been people rioting in the streets, but zioland made sure the zio media whacked her with hard, insulting words. When it comes to our zio masters, there is no free speech in the US. Go ahead and insult Obama, but dare not say a word about dear Israel’s crimes, that is “anti-semitic”.

      • yonah fredman
        November 18, 2014, 5:33 pm

        To compare death threats against Gideon Levy and the firing of Helen Thomas to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie is symptomatic that your logical system of analogy has been ruined by sitting inside your bubble and preaching to the choir.

      • RoHa
        November 18, 2014, 6:00 pm

        Help us, please, yonah. Show us a table of similarities and differences between the analogue and the primary subject. Point out which ones are relevant, and explain why they are sufficient for the analogy to fail.

        A good example of argument analysis is always worthwhile reading.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        November 18, 2014, 6:19 pm

        Yonah,

        I get that English may not be your first language, but you really should proof read your comments before posting, as they just sound like a stream of muddled consciousness.

      • gamal
        November 18, 2014, 6:39 pm

        “but it seems that Quranic idea of “Holy War” was borrowed from Torah,”

        the Quranic idea of holy war? no such idea exists either in the Quran or Islamic literature generally, Jihad does not mean war, holy or otherwise. The phrase Holy war ( al-harb al-muqadassah) is unknown in Arabic. Muslim rulers got up to all sorts, as did their hired hand scholars, Islam being essentially discursive is full of myriad disputes, the expansionist rulers and their lackeys made no utterances that were not derided by other scholars, who represents Islam? not a single one of them on any side of any argument, not very satisfactory perhaps but there we are, it is what it is. I suspect Muslim rulers got the idea of aggressive war the same place everyone else does, Muslims i suspect are much less interested in Islam than are some non-Muslims. Calling something a Jihad solved many legal problems they would have faced in compelling folk to provide troops, booty is at all times, even our own, a great motivator.

      • Mooser
        November 19, 2014, 12:13 pm

        ” get that English may not be your first language, but you really should proof read your comments before posting, as they just sound like a stream of muddled consciousness.”

        He’s from freakin’ New York City, New York State, United States of America. And for this he went to college. Pretty friggin’ sad, ain’t it?

      • Annie Robbins
        November 19, 2014, 12:31 pm

        your logical system of analogy has been ruined

        yonah, here’s a great article that might interest you. http://www.williamgaddis.org/marcus.pdf

        it talks about how the mind works, creatively and otherwise. if i were a great writer i could explain that better. bottom line you’re not looking at the value in kay’s idea. both groups have ways it attacks and you’re unable to appreciate the value/weight of the attack/counter attack.

        either way, you should try making your argument by offering a little more than an ad hominem, because that’s all you’re saying.

      • Mooser
        November 19, 2014, 2:38 pm

        Yonah, here’s a great article that might interest you “

        Annie, I don’t know if it’s true but I’ve heard that Wernicke’s area has a covenants saying Zionists can’t live there.

    • Wisdo
      November 20, 2014, 7:28 am

      It’s also worth noting that Salmon Rushdie himself is Muslim. So how does that work with the “all muslims are…” whatever trash Maher comes up with.

      • Citizen
        November 20, 2014, 9:02 pm

        Maher constantly slams Christianity and Islam with such a broad brush; so it’s really annoying as he is very alert to even the slightest remote and indirectly implied imaginary generalization about Jews or Judaism.

  7. bilal a
    November 18, 2014, 4:52 pm

    Taylor is correct to identify religion as a component of behavior . And it is not Islamaphobic or antisemetic to see the connections. But unfortunately he slanders Islam , tells a knowing lie. Islam categorically condemsn FGM Female Genital Mutiliation (although it does permit a cosmetic circumcision procedre much less invasive than male circumcision in the usa). Homor killings and domestic violence are strictly prohibted in Islam , period. And rates of domestic violence are much higher in majority Christian countries than in IMuslim majority nations. In historic Islam there is a special tax for non-Muslims, but it is less than the mandatory tax for Muslims, and non-Muslims are exempt from military conscription but this is hardly relevant since no Islamic state ruled by traditional shariah exists today. Indeed the same political regulations prohibit usury and income / retail taxes, only a tax on unused wealth is allowed.

    Weiss and others should counter the slander with an Islamic scholars correction rather than point to the nonsensical metaphysics of all religions.

    • just
      November 18, 2014, 7:00 pm

      thanks for that.

    • Citizen
      November 18, 2014, 7:09 pm

      All forms of female circumcision, including symbolic forms, are banned in the USA, where the custom is routine circumcision of boy babies

    • gamal
      November 19, 2014, 7:33 am

      and of course no Islamic polity was ever ruled exclusively by Sharia, I think Seafoid once mentioned Kanun (from Canon Law) which under the provisions of “Urf” etc was usually a component of the legal structure where Chritstinity had once been practised and though Hinduism is an anachronism both the Indic religions and specifically Budhhism were recognized and accepted as “Divine” religions, in the case of Buddhism Gautama was their Prophet and Abhidharma was their Book. Abdallah Ansari of Herat drew heavily from Buddhism in the writing of the “Hundred Grounds”. I will have to check with the Caliph, if he is still with us. I always liked Kishks summation of modern Islamic scholarship “They have read three pages of Ibni Taymiyyah and pose as defenders of the faith, its a farce”

  8. bilal a
    November 18, 2014, 4:58 pm

    what is the probability that all four of the dead in the deplorable synagogue attack were non israeli ?

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/middle-east-unrest/jerusalem-attack-look-victims-n250711

  9. Donald
    November 18, 2014, 5:13 pm

    Maher himself supported Israel’s conduct in the Gaza War. He’s just another ideologue who is morally outraged by a certain category of atrocities–those committed by people he doesn’t like. He’s fine with atrocities committed by people like him.

    • Giles
      November 18, 2014, 5:59 pm

      Hey Yonah. Explain to me how the death threats against Gideon Levy are of so little consequence when stacked up against whatever is being done to Salman Rushdie (which does not seem to be much given how much time he spends on mainstream media, apparently without fear). In English, please. “….is symptomatic that your logical system of analogy has been ruined by sitting inside your bubble and preaching to the choir” not qualifying as English. Maybe Ziobabble.

    • Giles
      November 19, 2014, 5:50 pm

      Maher is a pathetic and naïve believer in all things Israel but you have to give him credit (assuming he has say in this) in that he does have on guests who will disabuse him of his anti-Muslim mindset. What other mainstream show will have Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, and Rula Jebreal.

      And I was glad he had Bibi on too. Maher fawned all over him and the crowd cheered when he was introduced, but I got the feeling that after listening to Bibi for a few minutes much of the crowd began to see him for just what he is.

      • Wisdo
        November 20, 2014, 7:29 am

        Would they have cheered if Tony Blair came on I wonder?

  10. David Doppler
    November 18, 2014, 7:15 pm

    Off topic, but this is an important bit of news from Antiwar.com: “Mossad-Backed Jundallah Pledge Support to ISIS” http://news.antiwar.com/2014/11/17/mossad-backed-jundallah-pledges-support-for-isil/

    It reports that Jundallah, a terrorist group in Western Pakistan and Eastern Iran, was getting funding during the Bush Administration from Mossad agents disguised as CIA agents, there handing out dollars to support terrorism in Iran. I had heard rumors to this effect, but never such a detailed report, and that it was a sore point between Bush and the Israelis. Now they are signing on with ISIS.

    I hope Mondoweiss looks into this story. If true, the details should come out: our “closest ally” posing as CIA agents to support terrorists against Iran and Pakistan. It’s unforgivable that our media don’t explore such stories. It’s enough to worry about the CIA creating havoc, but to have our allies impersonating our CIA in order to create havoc takes it to a whole nother level.

    • Annie Robbins
      November 19, 2014, 3:15 am

      all/most(as far as i know) Balochistan separatists have always had supporters in congress (they have a free balochistan act from years ago) and the Jundallah/israel/cia impersonation is old story. the new middle east map has a free balochistan state. so this comes as no surprise. jundallah has carried out numerous attacks in iran, big ones. so yeah, they are on the team of the US/IS.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        November 19, 2014, 5:38 am

        It must really really frustrate the would-be divide and conquerors that the Iranian state, for all its faults, is very stable and the minorities – which make up nearly half the population – are mostly well integrated. The Azeris and Kurds aren’t remotely interested in seperatism, so they’re having to make do with a few Baluchis.

        You can be certain they’d be stirring up unrest among the larger minorities- as they have done elsewhere in the region – if they thought it had the slightest chance of succeeding.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 19, 2014, 2:19 pm

        maximus,
        the ptb want control of baluchistan for geostrategic reasons, partly because of gwadar port http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwadar_Port which the chinese have been developing much to the chagrin of the US. china has also invested a lot in iran. Iran is supposed to set up oil refinery in Gwadar

        i recommend and trust b moon of alabama on balochistan news. this is from the nov 10 “(Not) U.S. (Not) Israel Utilized Anti-Iranian Terror Group Jundallah” http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/11/not-us-not-israel-utilized-anti-iranian-terror-group-jundallah.html

        i recall having first read this great article “Free Baluchistan” the day it was published. at the time i had never heard of balochistan http://www.moonofalabama.org/2005/04/free_baluchista.html (read this)

        The United States is still dreaming of a gas pipeline from the Turkmenistan south through Afghanistan and Baluchistan to the Arabian see. Long term troop stationing in landlocked Afghanistan will also demand a safe line of communication to a seaport.

        India wants a gas pipeline from Iran eastward through Baluchistan to Delhi.

        But the biggest interest in Baluchistan is Chinese. All sea traffic from the Middle Easter resource fields and East Africa to China now has to go through the Malacca Strait and also pass India and the Philippines. Strategically it is a nightmare to keep this route open in case of a hot or cold global conflict.

        China has therefore invested $420 million into developing a deep sea harbor at Gawadar in Baluchistan. A second investment phase of $600 million is planed. From Gawadar land transport routes lead up in north eastern direction to the Chinese-Pakistan boarder. To protect the new harbor Pakistan will even get four modern Chinese frigates.

        i’m not an expert in this but i think the plan is to chop off southern afghanistan and southern pakistan via baloch separatists to control the coast line because of gas/oil. US/IS is heavily infiltrated into this area and has been for a long time.

      • just
        November 19, 2014, 2:30 pm

        sounds exactly right, Annie.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        November 20, 2014, 7:00 am

        Thanks for the links, Annie. Will deffo check it out.

        As Asa’d Abu Khalil has said, Israel has supported every seccesionist movement in the Middle East, from ‘Kurdistan’ to the George Clooney Republic of South Sudan. And now this. Quelle surprise.

  11. just
    November 18, 2014, 8:59 pm

    Bill Maher & Dennis Miller both embraced Islamophobia & the ‘GWOT’ with zeal when it became mainstream American. Luntz must be sooo proud.

    not.funny.anymore.

    they’re bigots.

    • Chu
      November 19, 2014, 3:03 pm

      Dennis Miller – what a saccastic hack he was. Bill Maher’s comic shit is starting to stink real bad, and more people are taking notice. Him and Miller could do a self-serving comic road tour in Israel one day, paid for by the neo-cons.

  12. jayn0t
    November 18, 2014, 9:05 pm

    “the religious beliefs in question are untrue and even ridiculous”.
    This criticism of Islam doesn’t imply that the virgin birth, the parting of the Red Sea, the burning bush, etc. are any more true or less ridiculous. You can criticize the barbarity and moronity of Islam without being obliged to criticize other religions at the same time.

    • talknic
      November 19, 2014, 6:22 am

      @ jayn0t “You can criticize the barbarity and moronity of Islam without being obliged to criticize other religions at the same time”

      Odd. If we criticize Israel’s illegal policies in territories“outside the State of Israel” it seems we are obliged to criticize events within Syria and everywhere else there are Muslims in the world e.g., http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/criticizing-israel-and-ignoring-syria-anti-semitism-or-slacktivism/

      If we should take your stance and hold a critical dialogue on the Jewish texts and their moronic barbarity, misogyny, bigotry, racism, intolerance, incitements to hatred and calls to enslave and to slaughter even innocent children, you’d be OK with that …. right?

      “I remember her apologies for stoning people to death – it was that people had different standards in those days.”

      She was right http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoning#In_Judaism

      Did you have a point?

      “She should be regarded with Dawkins/Harris/Denett/Hitchens contempt”

      Uh huh. So we should all believe in a G-d who didn’t even bother to turn up for the Holocaust? I’ll take my chances elsewhere thx

      • just
        November 19, 2014, 9:10 am

        +1

    • Mooser
      November 19, 2014, 12:23 pm

      “You can criticize the barbarity and moronity of Islam without being obliged to criticize other religions at the same time.”

      There’s that sound, and that awful smell, as “jaynOt” steps deep off in it.

      So I guess we can now criticize Judaism with no comparisons or context? Whoopee! Where shall we start?

      • jayn0t
        November 20, 2014, 12:21 am

        “So I guess we can now criticize Judaism with no comparisons or context?” Sure. Why not? Why do you have to compare misogynistic, genocidal creeds with others? What do you mean by ‘context’? ‘Oh, they couldn’t help it, it was the times they lived in’ – like Karen Armstrong?

      • Mooser
        November 21, 2014, 11:42 am

        ” ‘Oh, they couldn’t help it, it was the times they lived in’ – like Karen Armstrong?”

        Oh, surely you don’t think I want to criticize the practices of the ancient Jews, things out of the Bronze Age. They are long gone, and I wouldn’t even think of criticizing them. Or what Medieval Jews did, or any others up till my own lifetime and experience? That would be bigoted.

  13. jayn0t
    November 18, 2014, 9:17 pm

    Bill Maher was right not to read a book by Karen Armstrong. I wasted my time reading one of her books once. She’s a once-Catholic nun who converted to Islam. I remember her apologies for stoning people to death – it was that people had different standards in those days. She should be regarded with Dawkins/Harris/Denett/Hitchens contempt.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      November 19, 2014, 5:35 am

      ”She’s a once-Catholic nun who converted to Islam.”

      Wrong.

      Karen Armstrong is not, and never has been, a Muslim.

    • Donald
      November 19, 2014, 9:36 am

      Any cites to prove your claims about Armstrong? This should be fun. Converting to Islam? Seriously? And I doubt you understood a thing she wrote. As for Dawkins, Harris and the others, if those are your authorities you need to find some new ones. You might as well cite Dershowitz as an authority on Palestinians.

    • Citizen
      November 19, 2014, 11:05 am

      @ jayn0t

      What is your source for saying Armstrong converted to Islam?

    • just
      November 19, 2014, 2:28 pm

      you obviously try to smear/lie about anyone who actually has anything positive and informed to say about Islam, jaynut. I seriously doubt that you’ve ever read even a chapter of one of Karen Armstrong’s books.

      I’ll add my voice asking you for a citation, knowing that you’ve already slithered away.

      • Mooser
        November 19, 2014, 4:39 pm

        ” I seriously doubt that you’ve ever read even a chapter of one of Karen Armstrong’s books”

        Fer Gawd’s sake, “just” do you need it on a Times Square billboard? “Karen” and “Koran” okay? Could they be any closer?

        But seriously, the fact that “Jayn0t” and the others bring these ‘arguments’ here makes me think that these are about the level of argument considered dispositive in their circle. It’s scary.

      • just
        November 19, 2014, 11:27 pm

        heh.

  14. OlegR
    November 19, 2014, 4:06 am

    /I’m married to a Jew and have a Catholic daughter. That’s the Islam I came from./

    The Homeopathic Islam i would say because that is not something most devote Muslims would consider mainstream.

    • just
      November 19, 2014, 11:26 pm

      huh?

      • OlegR
        November 20, 2014, 3:05 am

        A Muslim woman marrying a Jew (and i am guessing a convert to Christianity )
        would not be considered a good Muslim in most Islamic country therefore her version of Islam
        probably is a lot less widespread then she would let us think.

        It’s the same with the Ben Affleks argument that (most Muslims are not that religious
        Most Muslims, he said, just want to have a sandwich and get through their lives)
        Which is true but entirely beside the point.
        Because when talking about Islam and the problems it poses as an ideology we are talking about people who are religious who take the faith seriously and a large percentage of them believe in stuff that belong to the middle ages and another large percent of them are willing to act upon it.
        Which is something that does not exist currently in modern Judaism or Christianity
        which have their share of problems.

      • OlegR
        November 20, 2014, 3:07 am

        And most of all i don’t understand the leftist aversion to criticize religion and treat it differently
        than any other human made ideology , that’s just crazy.

      • Mooser
        November 21, 2014, 11:45 am

        “And most of all i don’t understand the leftist aversion to criticize religion and treat it differently
        than any other human made ideology , that’s just crazy.”

        I don’t get it, first we’re supposed to be all sorry about the four Rabbis, and now, you declare ‘open season’ on them? Okay, then if that’s what you want, then, those four Rabbis and their beliefs and practices are open for discussion!

      • Mooser
        November 21, 2014, 11:56 am

        “And most of all i don’t understand the leftist aversion to criticize religion and treat it differently
        than any other human made ideology , that’s just crazy.”

        You know, you are right, “OlegR”. There are so many ways the “ideology” of Judaism could serve Israel and Zionism even better! Why if more people just took your view, and were willing to engage in the dialectical struggle, JUdaism could be criticized on a Zionist ideological basis, and the utility of the Jewish “ideology” vastly increased for Israel!

        Plus, think of the synergistic benefits!
        Once people all over the world know that the ideology of Judaism has been integrated with the religion of Zionism, it’s good-bye, anti-Semitism! Everybody will know that the integrated Zionist-Jewish ideology/religion will be unstoppable!, and there’s no reason for anybody to be the least bit suspicious of it.
        Of course our religion, Zionism, and our ideology, Judaism, should be integrated! I mean, if you want something, religion and ideology are supposed to help, right?
        Who could think there was anything bad about that?

  15. Rayyan Al-Shawaf
    November 19, 2014, 6:30 am

    “Yes what about the virgin birth, the parting of the Red Sea, the angel staying the binding of Issac, the burning bush, the slaying of the first sons…. All true?”

    But that’s precisely the point. Lots of people criticize or mock stories in both the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible) and the New. Bill Maher often does so himself — see his film “Religulous,” for example. And Jeffrey Taylor, who is also discussed in the above article, writes, “Not just belief in the Koran leads to mayhem, though,” before going on to tackle passages in both the Old and New Testaments that he finds objectionable: http://www.salon.com/2014/10/25/reza_aslans_atheism_problem_fundamentalist_atheists_arent_the_issue_apologists_for_religions_are/

    In light of this reality, it would be inconsistent to make criticizing or mocking Islamic scripture off-limits.

    As for Rula Jebreal, she made some good points. (Not the one about a gay identity being acceptable in Gaza, though.) For example: “To say that the rise of ISIS is Islamic is simply wrong. There is a theology that’s wrong and needs to be reformed.”

    I’m not sure who gets to decide if a theology is “wrong,” let alone reform it, but she’s right about misguided or malicious people’s attempts to collapse the length and breadth of Islam into terrorism.

    Her next sentence, though, strikes me as problematic: “But also, unfortunately, the rise of ISIS is a byproduct of the Iraq War and the terrible way that Iraq was administrated.”

    This seems to me only partly true. There is nothing foreordained about the way a human being will react to marginalization or oppression, which is what the Sunni Arabs of Iraq have suffered under a succession of sectarian Shiite governments enabled by the US and then backed by Iran. If you choose to resist, and even if you choose violent resistance, it does not have to be Islamist in orientation, let alone of the ISIS variety. For example, you could decide to fight under the banner of a secular ideology, one that would deny the majority religious denomination in your country the right to transform the state into its image and discriminate against or persecute your and other minority communities.

    But there’s something else to keep in mind when discussing ISIS. The ISIS phenomenon is much bigger than a resistance movement against the Shiite-dominated government. For example, the group has made clear that it opposes the way Shiites worship, irrespective of their political affiliation. As a result, it hasn’t just executed captured Shiite soldiers, but blown up Shiite mosques and husseiniyyas in areas it has cleared of Iraqi troops. ISIS has also sought to turn Christians into second-class citizens. And why has the group been harder on Yazidis than Christians? Because, in its view, Yazidis (unlike Christians) are not “people of the book” deserving of Muslims’ protection so long as they accept second-class status.

    In other words, it’s a pretty big leap to go from wanting to resist the Shiite government that’s oppressing you to considering Shiite rituals (and even Shiite Islam itself) unacceptable, relegating Christians to an inferior legal status, and presenting Yazidis with the choice of converting to Islam or facing execution. For this reason, coupled with the group’s harsh rule in areas it has taken over, many if not most Iraqi Sunni Arabs oppose ISIS. Those who join or support it are not doing something “inevitable,” but exercising their free will, either because for them the fact that ISIS fights the Shiite-dominated government trumps its ideological fanaticism and its violence against innocent people, or because they buy into the whole ideological package and attendant violent practices.

    • gamal
      November 20, 2014, 11:41 am

      Rayyan, you are the well known reviewer and writer I guess, if so I enjoyed your review of Massads “Desiring Arabs” and would recomend your oevre to all, so not to demur from the points you raise, but have you seen Waltons piece linked below, as to the Da’ish sure but the political realities from which it is emerging are determinative, perhaps Jebreal would have been better to say poorly attested, but people do have the right to interpret as they see fit.

      http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/19907/the-poverty-of-moral-answers-to-political-question

      • just
        November 21, 2014, 9:27 am

        Thank you Rayyan and gamal.

  16. chuckcarlos
    November 19, 2014, 8:50 pm

    how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

    anybody who argues religious beliefs, superstition, astrology, joseph smith, kolob, the bible, king david

    is an idiot

    but joe smith and the prophet were actual historical figures who have left a record…

    good or bad

    now worshiping termites is a worthwhile occupation…since the apes ain’t gonna inherit the earth, it’s the damn insects

  17. jayn0t
    November 19, 2014, 11:34 pm

    I have to withdraw my statement that Karen Armstrong converted to Islam. It was the result of reading her apologia: ‘Muhammad: A Prophet For Our Time’. However, the response ‘you obviously try to smear/lie about anyone who actually has anything positive and informed to say about Islam’ is a bit over the top. I genuinely believe what I say about Islam and other religions.

    • gamal
      November 21, 2014, 12:18 am

      ” I genuinely believe what I say about Islam and other religions.”

      but on the basis of what knowledge? and her book is no “apologia”, virulent ignorance is a poor basis for “belief”, however “genuine”.

    • Mooser
      November 21, 2014, 12:00 pm

      “I genuinely believe what I say about Islam and other religions.”

      That is so sad. Such a sad thing to say, but what’s really sad is that you would say it.

      • Mooser
        November 21, 2014, 12:02 pm

        “I have to withdraw my statement that Karen Armstrong converted to Islam.”

        Which makes me wonder if there isn’t some virtue in not/i> having an “edit” button.

  18. Mooser
    November 20, 2014, 10:19 am

    “now worshiping termites is a worthwhile occupation…since the apes ain’t gonna inherit the earth, it’s the damn insects”

    For many years I believed that the Meeki would inherit the earth. The Cichlisoma Meeki. But ’twas not to be.

    • Qualtrough
      November 21, 2014, 1:33 am

      Even if the meek were to inherit the earth, they wouldn’t have the guts to accept it.

  19. Ross
    November 21, 2014, 9:10 pm

    Wow, aren’t you the hard-nosed tough-guy.

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