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tieInterceptor's Avatar Comment 1 by tieInterceptor

the 'God 3.0 + economic and social failure = envious anger at the unbelievers' is something I always suspected,

the Muslim fear of liberated women seems so childishly man-baby attitude that it would be lol funny if it didn't enslave women by the millions.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 07:11:00 UTC | #50824

Cool on Oolon's Avatar Comment 2 by Cool on Oolon

To be fair, condemnation is coming in from some British muslim leaders:

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 07:20:00 UTC | #50825

Duff's Avatar Comment 3 by Duff

Condemnation from a few English Muslims is hardly sufficient to change the Muslim world. The real question is whether or not there are leading Muslims in the Muslim world who have the courage and the wisdom to step forward and say, "No one did this to us, we have humiliated ourselves. We used to be one of the most advanced cultures in the world and now we are pariahs, making fools of ourselves and our religion. It's time to get out of the 12th century and get real or we will be left so far behind we will be the enemy of the entire world."
I won't be holding my breath.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 07:28:00 UTC | #50826

HelloLOL's Avatar Comment 4 by HelloLOL

Man, this is crazy, huh?

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 07:29:00 UTC | #50827

Dunc-uk's Avatar Comment 5 by Dunc-uk

I would agree with most of this article... it is fair in not blaming moderate Muslims, but places the onus of reform at their feet.

I am ideologically behind "new atheism" (or whatever you want to call it), but I don't see the intellectual marginalisation of faith as a viable short or medium term solution to the extremist problem. That is not to say that we shouldn't try anyway (the long term is a worthy goal), but something else is needed. I do see it as inevitable in the long term, as suggested by the increasing irreligious nature of the west and Europe in particular. However, there is almost nothing that I, as an atheist, can do or say to prevent borderline-radical Muslims from taking that final step into madness. Change has to be affected by other Muslims.

Moderate, peace-loving Muslims must align themselves with non-Muslim, anti-terrorist sentiment and openly oppose radicalism (and to be fair, many are). They must fight it on an ideological level in the mosques and amongst their peers, and if necessary combat extremism via collusion with the authorities.

Aggressive foreign policies on the part of the west are definitely not helping, but these are slowly being quashed by the weight of shifting public opinion - a far more legitimate, peaceful and democratic process. Call me a raving liberal, but I really do think change cannot be properly affected by force. Governments can be fought and defeated militarily, but ideoligies have to be fought on an intelllectual level. Nevertheless, much islamic terrorism is independent of the west or our actions... obvious examples would be the recent shoot-outs in Pakistan by those supporting Sharia Law, or the sunni-shia infighting all over the world.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 07:45:00 UTC | #50829

Mango's Avatar Comment 6 by Mango

"Norwegians aren't doing this — nor are starving Africans or unemployed Mexicans."

He can't compare religions with nationalities.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 07:50:00 UTC | #50831

geckoman's Avatar Comment 7 by geckoman

Duff is on the money.

Condemnation so far emanates from muslim leaders in liberal democracies.

Have Jordanian muslims condemned the attack on Glasgow airport? Yeah, right. They are denying that Jordanian Dr Asha was even involved, yet alone an extremist.

This despite film of him screaming "Allah" as he ran into the terminal on fire, his car crashed at the door. Presumably a guy that looks like him had a run in with his zippo lighter and lost control of his car. The gas canisters and nails were in the vehicle as he was planning a massive barbecue and home improvement charity event, no doubt.

A muslim solution to a muslim problem would be great. But I fear it is as likely as Colin Montgomerie winning the Open.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 07:56:00 UTC | #50832

geckoman's Avatar Comment 8 by geckoman

And another thing!

Our Foreign Secretary should be hauling in the Jordanian Ambassador and asking him to explain what conditions allowed one of his citizens to perpetuate this monstrosity.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 08:08:00 UTC | #50834

eye of horus's Avatar Comment 10 by eye of horus

** Look upon U.S. you mighty, and despair **

In the U.S. we don't need terrorists, foreign or domestic, to undermine our secular state and institute religious law. We have Bush/Cheney/5 Supremes well on their way to ending what little remains of the Republic.

Those wretched ephemeral babblers lusting for the purple in '08 notwithstanding, a slide into the abyss can only be slowed, not reversed. No political force exists which can not be enslaved or aborted by MIXR -- the military industrial Xian right.

De facto dictator Cheney, a postmodern Sejanus, does more to catalyze the rot of Empire than any external threat or internal disaster.

This is not necessarily a bad thing.

Since . . . Carthago delenda est.

copyright asserted 2007

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 08:14:00 UTC | #50836

Dunc-uk's Avatar Comment 9 by Dunc-uk

"Condemnation so far emanates from muslim leaders in liberal democracies."

Then again, so does alot of support for extremism. It has to be fought on home turf before we have any chance of any sucesses propogating back to the middle east.

"A muslim solution to a muslim problem would be great. But I fear it is as likely as Colin Montgomerie winning the Open."

I agree, but that shouldn't stop us demanding it.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 08:14:00 UTC | #50835

Pieter's Avatar Comment 11 by Pieter

The real problem for islamic moderates is that there really aren't that many out there. Of the 1.2 billion muslims that supposedly exist how many are older than 25 years? How many are literate? How many are educated? How many can we say form this elite core of muslim intelligentsia that holds sway over their co-religionists? And how many of these men are not the hate spewing university educated wahhabi funded salafist mullahs?

And then if we do manage to track down the elite moderate core of islamic thought (bear in mind it will probably still seem pretty fundamentalist to us; even Jordan's King Abdullah condemned Denmark for the cartoons, instead of supporting free speech) what do you people think they will be branded as when they being to speak up? Apostates! Traitors! Not true muslims, becasue they have been posioned by western influence. See the case of Irshad Manji if you don't believe me. And here's another possibility to bear in mind, for it is happening as well, that plenty of muslims who are, in a sense, moderated by exposure to non-islamic ideas actually do become apostates. They abandon the religion altogether, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is case and point here.

I think that at its basics Islam is not a moderate religion. As Harris has written, moderation comes from hammer blows of modernity blasting away at faith. Moderate christians and jews do not take the bible/torah literally. How could they, and still seem like reasonable people. The problem for muslims is that they are all essentially fundamentalists. They are scriptural literalists. Whereas the torah and bible are assembled texts by many many different authors, the koran has supposedly one author, is dictated explicitly, and meant to be taken literally and no other way.

In the past islam may have been moderated by bulky amounts of theology and mysticism, but the wahabbi and salafist movements have done away with all that. I don't think we have the time nor the patience to let islam build up centuries of obscure theology again. Supporting the moderates is not going to work. There aren't that many of them, they aren't effective spokespeople, and they won't be what we're looking for.

Better to meet it head on, confront islam for what it is, and at least in the west assert more control over who gets let into our countries and what kind of rabid fascist filth they can spew in their houses of worship. Deport anyone who treasonously supports the destruction of the very political system that grants them the freedom to say what they want. Tolerance cannot abide intolerance, and that does not make it contradictory (read Voltaire). Allow we to close with my favorite south park quote, done in the redneck voice: "if you don't like [America] then all of you can just get out."

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 08:16:00 UTC | #50838

bitbutter's Avatar Comment 12 by bitbutter

@anyone living in the UK reading this: please consider registering at and adding your comments next to the transcription on debate on Counter terrorism (which addresses these attacks) in the house of commons here:

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 08:34:00 UTC | #50840

jonecc's Avatar Comment 13 by jonecc

There's been an interesting debate at the Guardian website here.

The thing that strikes me from a purely "military" point of view is that the old Al Qaeda, the one that knocked down the twin towers and blew up a Spanish train and a Balinese nightclub, knew what they were doing. This new lot are rubbish. Bombs that don't go off, or go off too early, bombs that fizz visibly in car parks, Molotov cocktails instead of bombs. It's the worst British military performance since Singapore. Fortunately.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 09:02:00 UTC | #50843

Shrunk's Avatar Comment 14 by Shrunk

I don't pretend to understand the reasons for the rise of suicide bombing by Muslims, and certainly this article is correct in saying that the recent arrests in the UK challenge, to say the least, the belief that it is a reaction of the downtrodden and disenfranchised to their situation.

However, I think the phenomenon is most likely to be understood if we can figure out how faith manifests itself in particular behaviours. Faith makes people do all sorts of crazy things. For Catholics to believe that a cracker can be turned into the body of a 2000 year old dead man by saying a few words over it, and that you should then eat it, is crazy. Crazy but harmless.

In the same way, a significant number of Muslims have come to the conclusion that their faith is best expressed by strapping explosives to their body and killing themselves, along with as many innocent bystanders they can. This is obviously a more dangerous manifestation of faith than the eucharist, but it seems to me that the two phenomena are of a kind. In both instances, otherwise rational people have suspended logical thought and are acting on the dictates of faith without questioning what they are doing.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 09:04:00 UTC | #50844

Moebius's Avatar Comment 15 by Moebius

I've been among the "New Atheists" long before the term was even developed and eagerly read Harris, Dawkins and Hitchens as soon as their books were released. I agree that the tactic of suicide bombing is specific to Muslim fanatics (not counting Kamikaze pilots of WWII) and that the ideology of political Islam is as absurd and dangerous as political Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, etc.

However Thomas Friedman's assertion that Muslim "humiliation" is the result of anger because other nations have advanced while Islamic states have stagnated is wrong, simplistic and patently offensive to thinking people. The individuals who choose to martyr themselves (which is how they view it) do so for real grievances that we in the West would be wise to acknowledge. The three primary grievances that these suicide murderers believe they're fighting for include:

1. Western expansion into Arab territories for geopolitical influence and control of vital resources.

2. Western support for corrupt and brutal Arab regimes ranging from the family dictatorship of Saudi Arabia (the "good Taliban") to the secular dictatorships of Jordan and Pakistan and the dictatorship in all but name in Egypt.

3. Perhaps most importantly, the political and economic support for the apartheid conditions in Palestine and the brutal Israeli occupation that has resulted in 750,000 refugees, tens of thousands killed and thousands more arrested without charge.

These three factors are then mixed with extreme religiosity that purports Islam to be the most perfect and true belief system and a conviction that these killers will be rewarded in the afterlife. The best way to combat this on the ground is, not through military force, but through police action. There is no central hierarchy that can be dismantled because the individuals only share common motivations but no shared infrastructure. However, police tactics will ultimately fail as "new recruits just keep sprouting" if we don't address the larger motivations. If we're serious about stopping terrorism the best way to go about it is to eliminate the base of support for terrorists.

Obviously addressing these concerns will do little to reduce the civil war in Iraq with Sunni and Shia antagonism so firmly entrenched (and exaggerated as the result of colonial policies and Sunni brutality under Saddam Hussein's regime). But if we seriously engage these political grievances we will, not only support Western rhetoric of justice and fairness, we will undermine many of the reasons people see suicide bombing as the only solution.

For more information about these issues I'd recommend Robert Fisk's reporting in the London Independent, Norman Finkelstein's "Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict" and Noam Chomsky's "Middle East Illusions."

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 09:09:00 UTC | #50845

howtoplayalone's Avatar Comment 16 by howtoplayalone

Mango said:

""Norwegians aren't doing this — nor are starving Africans or unemployed Mexicans.""

"He can't compare religions with nationalities."

Of course he can, and he is doing so here to show that religion, particularly this one from which essentially all suicide murderers come (recall Tibet), is more likely to produce suicides for a cause and murder of disco-goers than nationalities alone.

Duff, in comment 3, is right on the money indeed. What we need to hope is happening is that Muslim parents (never mind clergy) are telling their kids "These people do not represent you or your faith. They are evil, don't romanticize them." That is not happening enough, though, and the kids are often hearing "They deserve it; They weren't Muslims who did it; it was a set up [or even] it was the Jews."

And wasn't this likely about Salman Rushdie getting tapped on the shoulder with a sword? Holy shit.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 09:15:00 UTC | #50846

geckoman's Avatar Comment 17 by geckoman


I too was struck that the recent attempts in the UK were amateurish (thankfully). Molotov cocktails are 60 year old technology and their use and that of other legal weapons (gas cylinders and nails) smack of desperation.

Perhaps we should praise the security services for limiting access to dangerous substances and generally practicing better vigilance. Hopefully too,we are seeing a fall in the calibre of terrorist-in terms of his training and experience.

Let's hope this is not a temporary blip..

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 09:17:00 UTC | #50847

Serious's Avatar Comment 18 by Serious

but has muslim *religious* leaders (as opposed to "community leaders") in the UK or elsewhere condemned the attacks?

I think not.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 09:20:00 UTC | #50848

jonecc's Avatar Comment 19 by jonecc


As you say. It's a bit like football hooliganism. The hard core crews mainly got locked up, or got exclusion orders against them, and were policed out of the game. The field was then left to the enthusiastic amateurs.

Part of the problem for English terrorists is that they just don't get the practice. It doesn't matter how hard you pray, growing up in Bradford or London just isn't like growing up in Grozny.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 09:39:00 UTC | #50849

howtoplayalone's Avatar Comment 20 by howtoplayalone

Moebius (comment 15) -

For more information about why making rationalizations for suicide bombing that the bombers don't make for themselves and often (doctors or engineers or not) can't even articulate is not in anyone's interest, I'd recommend Johann Hari and Nick Cohen in the Guardian, Benny Morris' "Righteous Victims" on Palestine and Israel, and Paul Berman's "Terror and Liberalism" (which, for those interested, is the best non-fiction book I've ever read. Further selling points, it's easily read in a day (meaning only that it's not a commitment one need fear adding to the stack on the shelf) and the prose is fantastic).

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 09:41:00 UTC | #50850

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 21 by Bonzai

What is a "moderate muslim"? It seems that the official line considers any Muslim who doesn't openly call for terrorism and violence as a moderate. Never mind he may hold truly repugnant ideas about women, non muslims and gays. A muslim can be more exterme than the late Jerry Falwell and still be a 'moderate' as long as he is not a jihadist. Based on this concept of moderation Josef Qarawadi is considered a great liberal by Ken Livingstone and he is probably correct.

The bar of "moderate Islam" is set really low.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 10:05:00 UTC | #50853

pewkatchoo's Avatar Comment 22 by pewkatchoo

Abdul Bari is not someone whose words I would treat with any seriousness, unless of course he is inciting people to stone homosexuals, as is his usual mode.

As to the final point of the article. I would suggest that it is already to late. I think that relations between muslims and everyone else have already been poisoned beyond easy repair. It is going to be very difficult for people to trust Islam any more.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 10:06:00 UTC | #50854

pewkatchoo's Avatar Comment 23 by pewkatchoo

Dunk uk, I don't think that we can demand that Colin Montgomerie win the Open! Tiger Woods and Ernie Els might have something to say about that.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 10:11:00 UTC | #50856

gordon's Avatar Comment 24 by gordon


You say,

'As to the final point of the article. I would suggest that it is already too late. I think that relations between Muslims and everyone else have already been poisoned beyond easy repair. It is going to be very difficult for people to trust Islam any more.'

I have a great many Muslim friends. I even brought one chap into the country from Yemen to work in a London hospital as a plastic surgeon. He works here still, passing another examination last week (for which I give thanks to the Celestial Teapot, Blessed Be Its Lid). Guess who was the first to get a call when he passed? They are far removed form these lunatics as is possible and they are still my friends. I helped a Palestinian friend who worked for me in the Middle East to get residency in Ireland, where he now has children and is very happy thank you. The events of this week have not soured my affection for them or their families. Whilst agreeing that all religious moderates support the extremists (fundamentalists) by their acquiescence, the people at the top have to be seen in the light of their actions. These people are gangsters, we should stop calling them terrorists. You do not see a cleric strapping a bomb to his body and launching himself at a nightclub full of slags. You hear him convincing others to do so. The people on whom the message falls are not always disenfranchised but they are brainwashed. It is after all a very powerful message. Our own message is too weak. We set a poor example in the manner in which we have lived our lives over the last couple of centuries in the worship of capitalism and money. I am not suggesting that capitalism should or could be replaced but I am suggesting that the systems we have at present are jaded and overgrown. We are over populated (as a planet) and for everyone to have what we have is not possible within the resources we have available. Something has to give. Science will provide many answers, it always does, but we need to have a say in how the science is used by powerful corporations and governments or we will simply exacerbate the condition. In the mean time, the problems will get worse. Any time soon the US will attack Iran. Pakistan will explode and the Saudi monarchy will be overthrown. Yemen is already on the brink, partly due to Al Qaeda and partly due to the extraordinary corruption of the rulers there and in many other Middle East countries. Fasten your belts; it will be a long and bumpy ride.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 10:39:00 UTC | #50858

Salvatore's Avatar Comment 25 by Salvatore

A good point, Moebius.

There is sometimes the tendency to describe the motivations of terrorists as empty-headedly as G.W. Bush's "They hate us because we are free."

The economic and social troubles in islamic counties -- and hence the dissatisfaction with the secular, "western" way among the youth-- though, is probably also a factor.

Also, the imperialism of the west isn't seen as just economic and political, but also social: no good muslim wants their country flooded with booze and pornography.

And one must admit, there are a lot of U.S. warships floating around in the Persian Gulf, and, I imagine, a lot of U.S. soldiers mulling around in certain quarters of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. It must be easy to build resentment...

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 11:50:00 UTC | #50862

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 26 by Bonzai

Not all terrorists are motivated by the same reasons.

Some no doubt carry out terrorist attacks for tangible grievances. They usually live in the trouble spots and carry out their attacks locally. The Palestinian suicide bombers belong to this category. There is always a clear political context for this kind of terrorism. I agree that it would be gross simplification to blame religion only in these cases.

However, I cannot see what on earth do foreign policies have to do with young, U.K born and educated, newly radicalized or recently converted Muslim men trying to blow up bars because Allah hates loose women. Whenever such people are caught they talk about some general "Muslim oppression" and may mention Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine or Kashmir. In other words places that they have never been to and have no tie to whatsoever. The only reason why these places enter their consciousness is because they are all hot "Islamic causes". These people are motivated by Islam and Islam only. They mention foreign policies,--if at all,-- only as an afterthought.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 12:10:00 UTC | #50865

Bremas's Avatar Comment 27 by Bremas

Just want to second the link put up by jonecc (post 13).

It's a thought provoking debate.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 12:44:00 UTC | #50870

Vinelectric's Avatar Comment 28 by Vinelectric

Problem is that the same Islamic ideolgoy motivates others to charity and other humane activities. Religion is tactically used by the clerics as a tool to manipulate the emotionally charged angry members of society for some political gain and for some fundamentally political grievance. Islamic fundamentalists have existed for many years yet active terrorism has surfaced relatively late.

The Islamic model does relatively well in times of economic health (Andalusia, modern Gulf countries). Historically, hostile Islamic activity was almost invariably linked to colonial exapnsion of its empire. If Islam on its own has the power to persuade its members to self destruct for no reason then the muslim community would have disappreard off the face of the earth centuries ago.

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 12:51:00 UTC | #50871

Dr Benway's Avatar Comment 29 by Dr Benway


Problem is that the same Islamic ideology motivates others to charity and other humane activities.
True. Debate over the good vs. evil done in the name of religion may lead nowhere.

I do think we ought to hold people to account for their intentions. Treatment of non-believers and homosexuals is a good test. If the believer has a holy book, we ought to point out the bits that put the infidels and queers at a disadvantage. We say, "what's up with that?"

If they say, well that's what God wants. Then we poop upon their heads.

If they say, oh that's backward thinking we don't follow any longer, we say "ok then."

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 13:37:00 UTC | #50876

Johnny O's Avatar Comment 30 by Johnny O

>>the 'God 3.0 + economic and social failure = envious anger at the unbelievers' is something I always suspected<<

These guys weren't failures at anything other than bomb making. They were qualified Doctors. My mother actually works at the hospital where two of them had previously worked and one is being treated for burns. This is pure and simple Religious Ideology.

The guy was actually trying to get into the back of the jeep to set the bomb off whilst on fire. Until several people jumped on him and kicked the shit out of him.

You really don't want to be trying that kind of thing in Glasgow... The locals don't like it.

Click the link to see what I mean (Possibly the best newspaper headline ever)

And this one shows you where the guy's priorities

Wed, 04 Jul 2007 14:29:00 UTC | #50879