The dog returns to its own vomit…

As a dog that returneth to his vomit, so is a fool that repeateth his folly. Proverbs 26:11

This is truly the Age of Idiocy.

First we have a set of irresponsible so-called Christians in the USA making a childish hate film about Islam, flying in the face of their Lord because if ever there was a clear case of “What would Jesus NOT do?” this was it – that is, the film makers are clearly NOT doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. So the pea-brained film-makers, knowing full well the likely effects of their cheap drivel, crashed on in all their arrogance claiming “free speech” as a justification for gross irresponsibility.  See The ‘Maverick’ Egyptian-American Copt Behind the Anti-Muslim Film on Sojourners:

…Florida Pastor Terry Jones ignited deadly riots by threatening to burn Qurans in 2010, and by torching the Islamic holy text last year. Recently, Jones said he would promote a crude film that portrays Islam’s Prophet Muhammad as a foolish sexual pervert.

But in the days before the protests, Jones made no public mention of the film — called Innocence of Muslims — even as he prepared to stage an “International Judge Muhammad Day” on Sept. 11.

Instead, the man who translated the film into Arabic, sent it to Egyptian journalists, promoted it on his website and posted it on social media was an obscure Egyptian-born Coptic Christian who lives near Washington and proudly touts his ties to Jones…

…fellow Copts depict Sadek as a fringe figure and publicity hound whose Islamophobic invectives disrupt Copts’ quest for equal religious rights in Egypt.

“Mr. Sadek is a maverick who belongs to a very narrow extreme current of Coptic activists,” the Washington-based group Coptic Solidarity said in a statement. “He likes to use inflammatory and abrasive language to insult Muslims and Islam. As his actions agitate more the Islamic extremists, some people wonder if he is not in fact working to fulfill their agenda.”

Cynthia Farahat, Coptic Solidarity’s director of advocacy, said Sadek “has done a lot of harmful things for Copts in Egypt.”

“Every single thing he says is used by Islamists to justify terrorism against Copts,” Farahat said…

Second we have all these idiots who think Allah somehow needs a lot of angry and homicidal human beings to match hate with hate.

So we have responsible believers on all sides marginalised, as has so often happened over the past insane decade or so, by the worst and the totally demented and we all lose. And people actually die – let’s not forget that!

I am so sick of it.

Maybe the protestors should home in in stories like this one. I suspect Allah and The Prophet would be far better served by worrying about things like that and the greed and social injustice that fed it, rather than stupid bloody American fundamentalists and their movies.

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Look, I said everything I could say between 2001 and 2005.  Why the hell should I bother to repeat it all? Look in the side bar if you want to know more.

So the bottom line is this: Edward Gibbon was pretty much right about ALL the Abrahamic religions a couple of centuries ago. And yet we go on.

Why?

And all those who are now taking the chance to get up in arms about Muslims all over again: you know as well as I do that you have absolutely no bloody idea at all about what practically can be done about a world that contains what it contains.  Except that somehow, some day we do have to master the art of living together in peace, or at least with minimal mutual harm. And that means learning ON ALL SIDES the lesson of pluralism – because that is what reality is and you’ll be constantly kicked in the balls until that lesson is learned.

I really hate bigots, whoever they are, and I am still convinced that if God has been writing books, as some seem to believe, then he has made an awful mess of it.

So bugger off the lot of you. And leave us in peace.

I really don’t feel like wasting another word about it.

But do consider a couple of other people.

1. Ruby Hamad

CNN reports that the cast have issued a statement disavowing the film, claiming they had no idea they were hired to propagate anti-Islam propaganda:

The entire cast and crew are extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer. We are 100 per cent not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose … We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved.

Take a moment to absorb that information. The producers of the film, intent on enraging Muslims, hired actors without informing them exactly what they were participating in.

And just who are the producers? Originally thought to be one Sam Bacile, an Israeli-American living in California, that name is now known to be fake, and US law enforcement has just named Nakoula Bassely as the man behind it all. Astute enough to attempt conceal his own identity, Bassely was more than willing to place his cast and crew in danger.

Outrageous does not even begin to describe these actions. That is not to say that there is no room for criticism of Islam or Muslims. I myself have publically questioned what I consider to be problematic aspects of the religion I was raised in.

But there is a difference between reasoned criticism and the racist buffoonery of this video, which appeals to the lowest common denominator by portraying Mohammed as a mildly idiotic, sex-crazed paedophile.

Films like this actually create an environment that makes it more difficult for others to provide genuine critique. The West cannot bully a region of the world in which free speech is an alien concept into sharing a worldview that took us centuries to develop.

There is also a difference between sticking your own neck out for what you believe in and endangering other people. Bassely betrayed his own cast in order to deliberately enrage a region of the world so racked by war, poverty and oppression that many people feel they have nothing left but religion. And when that is desecrated, what do you have to lose by taking to the streets?

Nothing justifies violence but neither does intolerance alone explain it.

2. Irfan Yousef

MEDIA: Thoughts on stupid movie and stupider response …

[01] Professor Bruce Lawrence from Duke University wrote an incisive piece in Religion Dispatches that included the following:

Beyond all the issues that have been discussed, debated, and fine-tuned since the 9/11/12 tragedy in Benghazi, one central point has been missed, and it needs to be made again and again and again: expect the unexpected, look for the unrelated to be connected, then projected for the interest of dissident groups savvy about the nature of the modern world and, above all, media ‘neutrality.’ There are no topics so hateful or obscene that they’re debarred from the Internet. They travel virally in a world that welcomes them but cannot monitor either their content or their impact. What al-Qaeda did today, other ill-wishers or polemicists or terrorists can, and will likely, do tomorrow. This is the greatest, and sobering, lesson of the death and destruction that came out of the 9/11/12 debacle. Alas, it is a part of our brave new world of endless information and mindless usage of that information. Gertrude Himmelfarb once observed: “Like postmodernism, the Internet does not distinguish between the true and the false, the important and the trivial, the enduring and the ephemeral.”

… and he continues …

… the still young but perilous 21st century. It is a century, our century, that belongs neither to the USA nor to China, neither to imperialists nor terrorists, but to the CyberKingdom and to those who grasp the endless good and evil wrought by the Information Age.

We’ve just had a flash mob in Sydney ensuring that relations with the Muslim community will go backwards.

Next day

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Yesterday in Sydney —

that message is

totally and utterly UNACCEPTABLE

in Sydney

or anywhere

Please read To the Islamic protesters … by Peter FitzSimons.

…We have to ask: Do you have the first clue as to the ramifications of your actions? Do you not understand that the net result of such irresponsible, appalling action is to give ample fuel to every racist in the country to reinforce every bad stereotype they have ever had of you, and that will affect badly the hundreds of thousands of other peaceful and law-abiding Islamic Australians?

In short, WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!…

Racists have said for years, “If you don’t like the way we do things here, go back to where you came from.” The net result of your actions yesterday is that – for those people specifically disgracing themselves in the CBD yesterday, not the vast bulk of Islamic Australians – much of the country now feels the same.

Nice work.

But also read Paul McGeough: Light the touch paper and stand back.

What the hell was that? In a perfect global storm: massive over-reach by crackpot Christian fundamentalists in California collided with what may have been a lucky break for the remnants of al-Qaeda’s leadership hiding in the wilds of Pakistan – throwing the whole Arab Spring into question, upending the US presidential campaign and, leaving the rest of us gasping at the volatility of a region with too many naked flames.

Take out the tragic death of four American diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, and there’s an element of ”we’ve seen this before …”

A pox on ALL fundamentalists who believe God/Allah is so piss-weak, so impotent he needs their ignorance and rage….

Monday

I was hoping – expecting, rather – that Waleed Aly would have something useful to say.

WHERE do I start? Perhaps with the viral image that will come to define this episode: a child who’d be three or four hoisting a sign triumphantly above his head blaring ”Behead all those who insult the Prophet” while a woman, presumably his mother, thinks this is cute enough to capture on her smartphone. Alternatively, I could begin with the observation that the trailer for the anti-Islamic film that ostensibly started this all, Innocence of Muslims, is now a blockbuster, with YouTube hits in the millions thanks largely to the protesters around the world who think nobody should see it.

No. Let’s start with the fact that so few of the protesters who descended on Sydney’s CBD this weekend seem actually to have seen the film that so gravely offends them. When asked by journalists, they bluntly admit this, one even adding that she refuses to watch something so offensive. It’s almost impressive how cyclical this stupidity is. But it’s also instructive. In fact, this is the key to making sense of something so gobsmackingly senseless. The protesters – at least the ones quoted in news reports – know nothing except how offended they are…

We know because so much of the weekend’s ranting was nakedly gratuitous: ”Our dead are in paradise, your dead are in hell”. Pardon? Which dead? Weren’t we talking about a movie?

This is the behaviour of a drunkenly humiliated people: swinging wildly with the hope of landing a blow, any blow, somewhere, anywhere. There’s nothing strategic or calculated about this. It doesn’t matter that they are the film’s most effective publicists. It doesn’t matter that they protest using offensive slogans and signs, while protesting against people’s right to offend. It doesn’t matter that they object to insulting people on the basis of their religion, while declaring that Christians have no morals. This is baffling only until you realise these protesters are not truly protesting to make a point. The protest is the point…

The irony is that it grants an extraordinary level of power to those doing the offending. It puts them constantly at the centre of your world. That’s why, when Gallup polled 35 Muslim majority countries, it found that of all the gripes the Muslim world has against the West, among the most pervasive is the West’s ”disrespect for Islam”.

And it is this disrespect that is the overarching grievance that subsumes others. Everything, global and local, can be thrown into this vortex: Swiss minaret bans, French niqab bans, military invasions, drone strikes, racist stereotyping, anti-immigrant politics, and yes, even films so ridiculously bad that, left to their own devices, they would simply lampoon themselves.

This is what gives Innocence of Muslims meaning: not its content, but its context. It’s a symbol of contempt, which is why protests against it so quickly turn into an orgy of anti-Americanism…

The trouble is that in our digital world, there is always something to oblige. Anyone can Google their prejudices, and there is always enraging news to share with others. Entire online communities gather around the sharing of offensive material and subsequent communal venting. Soon you have a subculture: a sub-community whose very cohesion is based almost exclusively on shared grievance. Then you have an identity that has nothing to say about itself; an identity that holds an entirely impoverished position: that to be defiantly angry is to be.

Frankly, Muslims should find that prospect nothing short of catastrophic. It renders Islamic identity entirely hollow. All pride, all opposition, no substance. ”Like the Incredible Hulk,” observes Abdal Hakim Murad, a prominent British Islamic scholar, ”ineffectual until provoked.”

Sometimes you need a scandal to demonstrate an underlying disease. And that’s the good news here. The vast bulk of Saturday’s protesters were peaceful, and Muslim community organisations are lining up to condemn the outbreak of violence. But now a more serious conversation is necessary. One that’s not about how we should be speaking out to defend our prophet and ourselves. One that’s more about whether we can speak about anything else.

Whatever — there is a place too for this image:

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