Fundamentalists never tolerate moderation

The worst-case scenario is unfolding in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood has broken its pledge not to seek the presidency.

Since the ouster of Mr. Mubarak, however, many younger and reform-minded members have said they have grown disappointed with Mr. Shater. They say he has enforced an insular and hierarchical culture left over from the group’s decades underground. Mr. Shater led a push to bar Brotherhood members from dissenting from the political stands of its Freedom and Justice Party, and he led the expulsion of those who sought less conservative Islamist politics.

To those who reflexively blame President Obama, a question: Would you have intervened militarily to keep the Murbarak regime in power? Because that’s what it would have taken to prevent last year’s democratic uprising.

America has no business suppressing the will of the people, here or abroad. Unfortunately, the Muslim Brotherhood seems likely to impose its will on Egyptians whether they like it or not.

I think we can safely call Herman Cain a religious bigot

If the pattern continues Cain will apologize for these comments and say something similarly ignorant a week from now:

He did have a slight worry at one point during the chemotherapy process when he discovered that one of the surgeon’s name was “Dr. Abdallah.”

“I said to his physician assistant, I said, ‘That sounds foreign–not that I had anything against foreign doctors–but it sounded too foreign,” Cain tells the audience. “She said, ‘He’s from Lebanon.’ Oh, Lebanon! My mind immediately started thinking, wait a minute, maybe his religious persuasion is different than mine! She could see the look on my face and she said, ‘Don’t worry, Mr. Cain, he’s a Christian from Lebanon.'”

“Hallelujah!” Cain says. “Thank God!”

The crowd laughs uneasily.

The leader of the (sane) opposition

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie can forget ever getting the Republican presidential nomination after turning his trademark bluntness on a significant faction of the GOP base.

“This Sharia law business is crap,” said Christie, denouncing critics of a recently appointed Muslim judge. “It’s just crazy. And I’m tired of dealing with the crazies.”

Reaction from the Muslim world

A telling sampling, collected by Al Jazeera:

  • Libyan rebels, fighting to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, broadly welcome the news of the death of al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden.
  • Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told AFP in an interview that the US killing of Osama bin Laden, not far from the Pakistani capital, was a “great victory”.
  • The foreign ministers of Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, attending a meeting of Gulf foreign ministers in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, all declined to comment on bin Laden’s death.
  • “An official source expressed the hope of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia that the elimination of the leader of the terrorist al Qaeda organisation would be a step toward supporting international efforts aimed at fighting terrorism,” the news agency said.
  • Head of the Iranian parliament national security committee and foreign policy, Ala-addin Brojardi said killing Bin Laden was not a great victory for the US.
  • The Palestinian group Hamas condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden, saying that this was “a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood. We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.”

Good thing James Frey isn’t writing about Muhammad

Disgraced author James Frey, in a new tome chronicling the Second Coming of Christ, depicts the Messiah as “an active bisexual who supports his prostitute girlfriend when she aborts her first child.”

Replace Jesus with Muhammad and I think you can guess the consequences in places such as Kandahar. While forcing Frey into hiding might count as a good thing, innocent lives would likely be lost.

I bring this up not to to indulge in theological superiority but to consider the impact of such religious fervor on American foreign policy. Wishing it weren’t so and trying to rationalize the inexcusable gets us nowhere.

It’s also instructive to note the violent reaction to the idiot Florida pastor’s Koran burning was pretty much contained to Afghanistan. If, as Bachmann Palin Overdrive claim, Islamic extremists have taken over in Egypt (they heard it on Rush), why did they pass on an opportunity to stir up a frenzy? That’s what they do.

Note how our politicians tend to a.) minimize the threat posed by Muslim fanatics or b.) exaggerate their influence.

About that blood money, Beyonce (and Usher, and Mariah Carey …)

Glad to see Anderson Cooper holding greedy celebrities accountable for accepting millions to perform for Gadaffi’s son.

Better watch it, Anderson: Russell Simmons, who, in 2010, attended junior’s birthday party in St. Barts, might accuse you of Islamophobia.

Tavis Smiley at it again

The winner of 2010’s worst use of moral equivalence now asserts that it’s wrong for Americans to lecture the Arab world on gender, “as if somehow we treat women better in this country.” Is that up for debate?

Fortunately, Bill Maher called Tavis Smiley out on his absurd relativism: “When you tolerate intolerance, you’re not really being a liberal.” Amen.

Respecting modernity shouldn’t be controversial

Perhaps most controversially, [British Prime Minister David Cameron] called for an end to a double standard that he said had tolerated the propagation of radical views among nonwhite groups that would be suppressed if they involved radical groups among whites.

Muslim groups in Britain were quick to condemn the speech, among them the Muslim Council of Great Britain, a major recipient of government money for projects intended to combat extremism. Its assistant secretary general, Faisal Hanjra, said Mr. Cameron had treated Muslims “as part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution.”

A Muslim youth group, the Ramadhan Foundation, accused the prime minister of feeding “hysteria and paranoia.” Mohammed Shafiq, the group’s chief executive, said Mr. Cameron’s approach would harden the divide between Muslims and non-Muslims, “and we cannot allow that to happen.” …

The prime minister pointed to several steps the government planned that would tackle the rise of extremism. Among these, he said, would be barring “preachers of hate” from visiting Britain to speak in mosques and community centers; stopping Muslim groups that propagate views hostile to values of gender equality, democracy and human rights “from reaching people in publicly funded institutions like universities and prisons”; and cutting off government support for such groups.

What is controversial about expecting Muslims (or any group) to respect the values of their adopted homeland?

Pointless year in review presents … 2010’s worst use of moral equivalence

I don’t recall the Columbine killers invoking Jesus’ name as they executed their classmates. And, for the record, Timothy McVeigh was motivated by ideology, not religion.

If it makes Tavis Smiley feel better to think his faith is populated by as many dangerous extremists as Islam, fine. There was a time when he would’ve been right. But saying that in 2010 makes him an intellectual coward.

Nothing sane about Yusuf Islam

Why was the Islamic fundamentalist formerly known as Cat Stevens invited to the Stewart-Colbert rally? Salman Rushdie is right to gripe.

In my previous post about Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam I quoted Salman Rushdie’s surprise that Jon Stewart had given a starring role at his “Rally for Sanity” to a crooner who had previously opined that Rushdie deserved to die for deciding of his own free will to abandon Islam and criticise its texts.