Can you leave Islam? In Malaysia, not so much.
Lina Joy, 42, had fought the decisions of Malaysia’s lower courts in an effort to have the word “Islam” removed from her identity card, arguing that the constitution guaranteed her religious freedom.
But the panel of three judges decided, in a majority verdict, that it had no power to intervene in cases of apostasy. These cases fall under the jurisdiction of Malaysia’s Sharia courts, which run in tandem with the country’s civil courts.
Man, that has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Sharia courts running in tandem with civil courts? Gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Who doesn’t want a court enforcing backwards laws from the 10th century? I mean, I know I’m all about submitting to a religion founded by a delusional pedophile. Aren’t you?
Two-hundred Muslim protesters who gathered in a prayer vigil outside the court yesterday greeted the verdict with cries of “Allahu Akbar” (God is great).
Hooray! Let’s force people to officially be Muslim, but not actually be one! Do these people think they get points or something for keeping people Muslim in the eyes of a government? I’m at a loss to explain the celebration here.
It’s my birthday! I give everyone the day off!
Jeez, I’m a couple years shy of a quarter-century. Sounds old.
More seriously, today is Memorial Day, so thanks to all those who have fought and died for our country and those who put their lives on the line today.
So I’m in Jackson, WY this weekend visiting my parents. It’s a strange town. Very much set up for tourists and rich people.
The weirdest thing is nearly all the stores look the same; they all have this damn wood paneling. It’s very strange to see a Staples and a tire shop in a wood paneled strip mall. It’s honestly quite frightening.
On the other hand, there’s a Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum thing and I want to go see some two headed kids in jars.
UPDATE: My mom requested that I point out that my parents are neither rich nor tourists.
Let’s start with Jay’s post. He quotes Dave Neiwert to claim that the this was “certain[ly]” a political statement:
What’s clear is that Hamilton fully intended to take as many people with him as possible; that’s why he began by targeting the dispatcher’s office, where he knew he would get police response. And considering his extremist background, it is certain this was intended as some kind of political statement. It was, by most definitions, an act of domestic terrorism.
It’s not certain. That’s a completely absurd statement. As Craig points out, that’s where the shooter’s wife works. It’s perfectly consistent with a personal rampage. It’s absolutely not anything approaching “certain.”
Jay then tries to spin the whole thing into a lesson that we should take Islamic terrorism less seriously:
Furthermore, 42% of Christians consider themselves “Christians first,” not “Americans first.”
And in a post today, Greenwald notes that Americans in general are much more likely to support the killing of civilians for political purposes (51%) than U.S. Muslims (13%) and even Iranians (16%).
Do I think that all American Christians are sadistic terrorists? Of course not. That would be a simplistic generalization based on a few isolated events. In other words, the same type of generalization that has created the idea of a worldwide “culture war” pitting “Islamicists” against “civilized nations.”
Yes, the most repressive regimes on the planet are Islamist and Islamist terrorist groups are by far the largest that are bent on attacking us. Just a few isolated incidents, ya see. No cause for alarm.
You can make the case that terrorism in general is over-hyped. It is, to some degree. But to inflate right-wing terrorism in the U.S. to anything approaching radical Islam is completely asinine. To say that Islamist thought is not in conflict with the values of civilized (I don’t like using that word here, but it works) nations (you know, human rights, liberty, democracy…) is extremely myopic.
Jay ends with some happy and useless platitudes about the fight against terrorism:
So let’s fight terrorism realistically. Through policing, not culture wars. Through prevention, not eradication. And, above all, let’s remember that the best path to fighting terror lies not through anger and authoritarianism, but with civility, diversity, and democracy.
Nonsense. Civility, diversity, and democracy have never stopped suicide terrorism. It’s been stopped by ending the conflicts at the root of it. Policing is nice, but it’s simply treading water. At least he gets points for being against authoritarianism. Curbing Islamism will take cultural reform in the Muslim world.
Now, Craig’s response. He rightly attacks the characterization of the Idaho incident. Actually, it’s a generally correct post. Except for one thing:
Now, apply Occam’s Razor to the situation. He was a violent guy with a history of domestic violence and animal cruelty. He killed his wife, and people who were associated with her. It just so happened that she worked at the courthouse. I’d put odds that if she worked at Pizza Hut, that’s where he would have gone instead of the courthouse.
But, that explanation does not fit with the left’s narrative, namely that right-wing extremists are a far worse danger than Islamists.
Where did that come from? Jay’s post? Nope. Hey, it was pulled out of thin air! It’s a fuckin’ miracle!
Another thing to note, acting like a violent asshole generally and making a violent political statement are not mutually exclusive courses of action. This could be an act of terrorism. Or it might not be. Who knows? I’ll just say that I doubt it. It is possible, however.
Let’s put it this way: yes, there are right-wing terrorists in this country. No, they shouldn’t be ignored. Yes, Islamists are a bigger threat. No, right-wing terrorism is not an equivalent danger to Islamism.
Was that so hard?
This is one of the most stunning things I’ve read in quite a while. I’ve been meaning to post about the recent PEW poll, but I wasn’t aware of those particular statistics.
Hey people in the Bozeman area reading this (all three of you). The software company I work for is hiring. A lot. Specifically, Quality Assurance (my department) and Systems Administration. Linux geeks especially for SA. So check it out.
I feel kinda weird saying that. Still, we need people.
I came across this quote in the book I’m reading that I like quite a bit. It’s from Berthold Brecht on the occasion of the 1953 East German workers demonstration:
Following the June Seventeenth uprising
the secretary of the Writers’ League
had leaflets distributed on Stalin Allee
where one could read that the people
had forfeited the confidence of the government
and could regain it only through redoubled efforts.
Wouldn’t it be simpler under these circumstances
for the government to dissolve the people
and elect another one?
The ACLU has filed suit against a Texas school district for offering a certain Bible elective in its schools. The Religious Right is having none of it:
The American Civil Liberties Union is being accused of filing a baseless lawsuit against a Texas public school district that allows Bible elective courses to be taught in two high schools. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight parents against the Ector County Independent School District in Odessa, challenging the Bible elective courses.
Hiram Sasser is with the Liberty Legal Institute, which is advising the school district. He says the Ector County schools are not doing anything wrong.
“The ACLU and people of that ilk, they just hate the Bible so much that they fundamentally disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court in its suggestion to be able to teach a Bible course in a secular way,” Sasser asserts. “That’s not even good enough for them. They just don’t want the Bible to even go into the schoolhouse gates at all,” he says.
Is that so? Not at all. You see, the Bible course in question is an obvious violation of church-state separation. Here’s a passage from the course material, as quoted in the ACLU brief (go here):
First, it (the gospel of Matthew) clearly establishes that Jesus was the Messiah that was prophesized (sic) throughout the Old Testament. Second, it proves that Jesus was the son of God, whom He claimed to be through living a sinless and perfect life.
There’s more, too. The ACLU brief claims:
Course materials characterize Roman Catholic beliefs in the transformation of communion bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ as “warped” thinking brought on my “mysticism.”
Well, that actually seems correct, but it probably shouldn’t be in a public school class.
So, the ACLU has sued the school, which is explicitly endorsing Protestant dogma in the classroom. Seems obvious to me.
CNN Headline News:
“There’s more sex and violence on primetime TV that ever before. Why has TV become so tawdry? Our investigation tomorrow.”
“Shocking new details from Anna Nicole Smith’s diary coming up next.”
Somehow, I think the answers to the first question and the why to the coverage of Smith are similar.
What’s the proper way to comment on Jerry Falwell’s death? I don’t typically wish death upon anyone and Falwell isn’t an exception. Do you say, I feel sorry for his family, but the man was an asshole? Seems weird. He was a negative influence on this country, so should I say we’re better off without him? Seems inappropriate.
UPDATE: I’m not even going to try to figure out if this is appropriate.