Christians victims of religious cleansing in Middle East … for centuries

posted at 4:01 pm on September 14, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

It’s not just Maaloula, as Reza Aslan informs us, and not just the Arab Spring, either.  The process of cleansing Christians from their oldest communities — predating the Islam, which now dominates the region — has been in motion for decades, perhaps a century.  The Foreign Affairs essayist connects a lot of dots in an essay that must be read in full, but Aslan’s historical perspective is key:

Christianity was born in the Middle East and had a deep, penetrating presence in the region for hundreds of years before the rise of Islam. In the fourth and fifth centuries, when tens of thousands of heterodox Christians were forced to flee a Roman Empire that considered them heretics, the lands of the Middle East and North Africa became a haven for them. In the years thereafter, the region became the epicenter of Christian theology. In the Arabian peninsula, a large, thriving Christian population played a pivotal role in influencing the early theological and political development of Islam. During the Inquisition (the twelfth to fourteenth centuries), Christian sectarians found refuge under Islamic rule, which classed all Christians, regardless of their doctrinal differences, as “people of the Book” and accorded them protected, albeit inferior, societal status.

The situation for Middle Eastern Christians changed dramatically in the colonial era. Because the colonial experiment was also an unapologetically Christianizing mission, one that overtly privileged indigenous Christians over Muslims and framed Islam as a backward culture in need of civilization, political tensions between the two communities erupted throughout the Middle East. Muslims tended to view their Christian neighbors as complicit in colonial oppression; indigenous Christians became the target of anticolonial backlash.

With the end of colonial rule in the twentieth century, the governments of the Middle East’s newly independent nation-states actively encouraged the exodus of their Christian citizens from the region by enacting laws limiting their rights to proselytize or build places of worship. The lot of the Christians who remained in the region worsened with the rise of political Islam in the 1950s and ’60s, as groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood encouraged Middle Eastern Muslims  to think of nationalism and citizenship strictly through the lens of Islamic identity. The irony was that, at the same time, the secular authoritarian regimes in the Middle East burnished their reputations in the West by presenting themselves as protecting Christian minorities from Islamist fanatics.

The ascension of transnational jihadism over the last two decades raised the campaign against Christians to a fever pitch. Jihadist groups such as al Qaeda have been remarkably successful at framing conflicts as an all-out war between Christianity and Islam. Many of the region’s Muslims, even those who do not support al Qaeda, now profess to believe that Middle Eastern Christians are firmly aligned either with the “crusading” West (as in Iraq) or the “godless” tyrants and dictators (as in Syria and Egypt).

In other words, what we have seen over the last two years isn’t really new; it’s just a lot more accelerated.  The acceleration comes from the rapid collapse of dictatorial regimes that served their own ends to be sure, but also survived only by suppressing radical Islamists.  The fall of Ben-Ali in Tunisia, Mubarak in Egypt, and Qaddafi in Libya in what is historically speaking an eyeblink just makes the problem a lot more visible.  The same thing happened in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, for instance (which Aslan notes), where many of the perhaps millions of Christian refugees ended up in Syria, only to be refugees once again.

This doesn’t really start during the post-Ottoman colonial period, as Aslan suggests, but that is once again another acceleration point.  The Ottoman Empire conducted more than one massive cleansing of Christians in the century previous to its collapse in 1920, the most famous of which was the Armenian genocide of 1915 that killed perhaps 2.5 million.  Preceding that were the 1842 Assyrian massacre, and another between 1894-97 of Assyrians, Armenians, and Kurds that supported both.  All of these were efforts to not only provide political cohesion but also to stamp out religious diversity from Ottoman by the pan-Islamist imperial government.

The genocidal/religious-cleansing impulse of the Islamists far predates the colonial period, but that’s not to say that the colonial period doesn’t play a role in the crisis now. The victorious West imposed a nation-state model through Versailles on the collapsed Ottoman Empire that fit neither religious sects nor ethnic/tribal patterns.  (They did the same thing in eastern Europe as well.)  Potentates rose to power in Saudi Arabia, Transjordan, Syria, Iraq, and throughout the region on the strength of Western military and political dominance, which acted to protect the indigenous Christian populations.  That created the alliances that Aslan notes in this column, but that was no accident of history, and Christians had plenty of reasons to fear the rise of another Caliphate after the genocides of the previous century and more.  Those alliances deepened the hatred of the Islamists, and … well, that pretty much brings us to today.

In conclusion, Aslan makes a compelling argument that the Islamists are essentially cutting off their noses to spite their faces:

But it is important to note that the removal of the region’s Christians is a disaster for Muslims as well. They are the ones who will be left with the task of building decent societies in the aftermath of these atrocities. And that task will be made immeasurably harder by the removal of Christians from their midst. It is not just that the memory of these brutal actions will taint these societies — perpetrators and victims alike — for the indefinite future; it is also that Muslims are removing the sort of pluralism that is the foundation for any truly democratic public life. One of the refrains of the Arab Spring has been that Muslims want to put an end to tyranny. But the only lasting guarantor of political rights is the sort of social and religious diversity that Muslims in the region are in the process of extinguishing. If nothing is done to reverse the situation, the hope for peace and prosperity in the Middle East may vanish along with the region’s Christian population.

That assumes, however, that the Islamists want a “truly democratic public life.” The Muslim Brotherhood may have wanted to use democracy to create an Islamist state, but it was clear by the constitution they shoved down the throats of Egyptians that they had no desire for a pluralistic and tolerant secular republic, a la Kemal Ataturk’s vision for Turkey.  The radicals in Libya and Syria have been plainly outspoken in rejecting that as an end state; for them the goal is to restore the Caliphate, not to have a United States of Pan-Arabia with religious and political diversity.  It underscores the fact that there are truly no good choices on either end of the gun, but instead just a lot of people — Christians, Muslims, and Jews — stuck in between the extremes of violent, oppressive warlords … as it ever was, unfortunately.


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Oh what a disgrace if such a despised and base cult, which worships a misogynist pedophile demon, should be allowed to assault those of the Christian faith! With what reproaches will the Lord overwhelm us if we do not promptly and fully stand with those who are being attacked and even murdered for processing the Christian faith! Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against other of the faithful now all unite and go against the Mohammedans in a Holy Crusade and end with total victory this war against monstrous evil which should have been begun and completed long ago.

Let those who for too long a time have been dhimmis, now become knights. Let those who have been fighting in service of Mohammedans against their own Christian brothers and sisters and their own Jewish cousins now fight in a proper way against all the followers of the misogynist pedophile demon. Let those who have been wearing themselves out in both body and soul in vain attempt to win the small minds and dark hearts of the Mohammedans now labor for glorious honor against them. Behold! On the one side will be the completely destroyed Mohammedans, on the other the fierce and righteous protectors of humanity. On the one side will be the destroyed enemies of the Lord, on the other, his friends who will shout at all the Mohammedans and their enablers as they destroy them, “Deus vult! Deus vult! Deus vult!

RasThavas on September 14, 2013 at 4:09 PM

That assumes, however, that the Islamists want a “truly democratic public life.” The Muslim Brotherhood may have wanted to use democracy to create an Islamist state, but it was clear by the constitution they shoved down the throats of Egyptians that they had no desire for a pluralistic and tolerant secular republic, a la Kemal Ataturk’s vision for Turkey. The radicals in Libya and Syria have been plainly outspoken in rejecting that as an end state; for them the goal is to restore the Caliphate, not to have a United States of Pan-Arabia with religious and political diversity.

I suspect they think the oil will continue coming, if not from their country, then from Saudi Arabia, and they will not have to worry about building an economy with a solid, diverse foundation. They frightened away the tourist trade. Oil is all they have left.

Wethal on September 14, 2013 at 4:10 PM

I guess then the anti-Christian attitudes openly accepted today here in America must have been caused by:

a: Islamists

b: Communists/socialists/humanism/

c: The breakdown of Christian moral codes

d: Competition from the welfare state

e: The rise of the individual as God

f:__________________________________

Don L on September 14, 2013 at 4:21 PM

They are the ones who will be left with the task of building decent societies in the aftermath of these atrocities.

Muslems want to live under savage, brutal, and profoundly anti-democratic sharia law.

The real issue is, they want everyone else to live under it also.

Rebar on September 14, 2013 at 4:29 PM

United States of Pan-Arabia with religious and political diversity.

I loled. That should be on a T shirt.

BL@KBIRD on September 14, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Roughly 75% of the religious persecution happening today is directed at Christians. For a look at what’s happening work-wide try the web sites of The Voice of the Martyrs or the Barnabas Fund.

The reason you don’t read about it in the American media is because deep down, the American media approves.

oldleprechaun on September 14, 2013 at 4:46 PM

framed Islam as a backward culture in need of civilization

No way!!!

Cindy Munford on September 14, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Strange, it always seems to be the Christians and Jews that get wiped out. I’m wondering, anyone know of any other religion that gets persecuted through history anywhere near as much? Do Hindus or Budist suffer the same through history? I honestly don’t know, just wondering if anyone knows off the cuff.

Alinsky on September 14, 2013 at 4:52 PM

It boggles my mind that Bush didn’t see this coming when he decided it would be a neat idea to invade the Middle East and try to make it Cincinnati.

Cleombrotus on September 14, 2013 at 4:52 PM

I wonder if Lauren Green is going to try to make the case that since Reza Aslan is a former Christian turned Muslim, that the article linked above isn’t true. /distaste.

But Aslan is correct. The atrocities committed against Middle Eastern Christians are horrendous. Millions have been forced from their homes or killed in recent years, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop. This is why I hope the secularists in these states (Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq) are able to strip any Islamist groups from holding any reign of power. Any scenario otherwise would lead to the continued persecution, killing and flagrant human right abuses.

ZachV on September 14, 2013 at 5:12 PM

Really Ed? Why quote someone like Reza Aslan when many other anti-jihad writers are writing about this? Andrew McCarthy, Robert Spencer, Raymond Ibrahim, to name a few…Lets get the truth out about Mr. Aslan..he is

http://www.jihadwatch.org/2013/07/liberal-media-love-new-jesus-book-zealot-fail-to-mention-author-is-muslim—-and-member-of-lobbying-.html

Even worse, Aslan has tried to pass off Iran’s genocidally-minded outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a liberal reformer and has called on the U.S. Government to negotiate with Ahmadinejad himself, as well as with the jihad terror group Hamas. Aslan has even praised the jihad terror group Hizballah as “the most dynamic political and social organization in Lebanon,” as well as the anti-Semitic, misogynist, Islamic supremacist Muslim Brotherhood, which is dedicated in its own words, according to a captured internal document, to “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within.” Aslan wrote: “The Muslim Brotherhood will have a significant role to play in post-Mubarak Egypt. And that is good thing.” Millions of Egyptians obviously disagree.

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/07/29/scholarly-misrepresentation/

I am a scholar of religions with four degrees including one in the New Testament . . . I am an expert with a Ph.D. in the history of religions . . . I am a professor of religions, including the New Testament–that’s what I do for a living, actually . . . To be clear, I want to emphasize one more time, I am a historian, I am a Ph.D. in the history of religions.

Aslan does have four degrees, as Joe Carter has noted: a 1995 B.A. in religion from Santa Clara University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa and wrote his senior thesis on “The Messianic Secret in the Gospel of Mark”; a 1999 Master of Theological Studies from Harvard; a 2002 Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from the University of Iowa; and a 2009 Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

None of these degrees is in history, so Aslan’s repeated claims that he has “a Ph.D. in the history of religions” and that he is “a historian” are false. Nor is “professor of religions” what he does “for a living.” He is an associate professor in the Creative Writing program at the University of California, Riverside, where his terminal MFA in fiction from Iowa is his relevant academic credential. It appears he has taught some courses on Islam in the past, and he may do so now, moonlighting from his creative writing duties at Riverside. Aslan has been a busy popular writer, and he is certainly a tireless self-promoter, but he is nowhere known in the academic world as a scholar of the history of religion. And a scholarly historian of early Christianity? Nope.

lets get a more trusted source on the persecution of Christians please.

sadsushi on September 14, 2013 at 5:12 PM

I think that assessment has significantly more problems than just that one, but that’s really all I can say without trying to write a book in the comments. There’s not much about it that’s right.

Axe on September 14, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Obama will be sure to praise the Muslim Brotherhood in his next speech. Isn’t it about time for another Muslim dinner at the White House?

albill on September 14, 2013 at 5:16 PM

I’m pretty sure this is the reason Islam was founded in the first place.

Cylor on September 14, 2013 at 5:21 PM

If there is an anti-Christ, he already came long time ago… His name was Mohammed and he founded the most evil and destructive cult in history of mankind…

The modern cleansing of Christians in the Middle East began during the Lebanese civil war… And it is worth noting that Bashar Assad father, Hafez Assad, killed more Christians in Lebanon than anybody else… and the Christians in Syria were back then cheering their leader Assad massacring Lebanese Christians because they considered them “Zionists” and agents of Israel…

mnjg on September 14, 2013 at 5:27 PM

But it is important to note that the removal of the region America’s Christian influence is a disaster for Muslims Progressives as well. They are the ones who will be left with the task of building decent societies in the aftermath of these atrocities absence of a philosophically sound moral code and a coherent worldview. And that task will be made immeasurably harder by the removal of Christians a Biblical perspective from their midst. It is not just that memory of these brutal actions will taint these societies — perpetrators and victims alike — for the indefinite future the basis of Leftist ideals is centered in the unproven concept of a perfectible society; it is also that Muslims Liberals are removing the sort of pluralism that is the foundation for any truly democratic public life. One of the refrains of the Arab Spring Left has been that Muslims they want to put an end to tyranny intolerance, dogma, and judgmentalism. But the only lasting guarantor of individual political and human rights is the sort of social and religious diversity concepts of Grace and Redemption that Western Civilization took centuries to acquire and that Muslims Humanists in the region West are in the process of extinguishing. If nothing is done to reverse the situation, the hope for peace and prosperity in the Middle East America and the greater West may vanish along with the region’s Christian population interpretation of reality.

Cleombrotus on September 14, 2013 at 5:32 PM

….Crusade!

KOOLAID2 on September 14, 2013 at 5:41 PM

In other words, what we have seen over the last two years isn’t really new; it’s just a lot more accelerated.

And in the heart of old Vienna there is the Judenplatz where Jews were persecuted in the 1420s. A circumstance that, of course, repeated itself in the 1930s and at many times in-between. As a historian, I think that the “it really isn’t new” explanation is way too simplistic. The effects of the Treaty of Versailles on the Ottoman Empire is getting closer to a real explanation. But the reality is that neither dig deep enough to explain why Islamists are taking over the Middle East. I don’t see a religious re-awakening despite all the rhetoric.

In the end, I suspect that unrest in the Middle East has less to do with religion than it has to do with using religion as a cudgel to whip up the (largely uneducated and poor) populace in such a way that dictatorships can be established. Even if that means kicking out the previous dictator.

Happy Nomad on September 14, 2013 at 5:43 PM

If there is an anti-Christ, he already came long time ago… His name was Mohammed and he founded the most evil and destructive cult in history of mankind…

mnjg on September 14, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Now, that is some high-quality stupid right there. And BTW, without any basis in the tenets of the Christian faith.

Happy Nomad on September 14, 2013 at 5:46 PM

….Crusade!

KOOLAID2 on September 14, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Funny you should use the “C” word.

During that pathetic speech on Tuesday, the thin-skinned rat tied in America bombing the crap out of Syria in terms of the use of CW. My first thought was questioning why he would cite the use of CW as a casus belli but not the persecution of Christians. If you are going to bomb a country when there is nothing in the national interest to do so, why rely on the use of chemical weapons when this was hardly the first time? Why not tie it to the way Christians are being killed and persecuted.

Then it dawned on me. Three Islamic words. Barak Hussein Obama.

Happy Nomad on September 14, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Now, that is some high-quality stupid right there. And BTW, without any basis in the tenets of the Christian faith.

Happy Nomad on September 14, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Is your objection that if there is an anti-Christ it was Mohammed? Or is it that Mohammed founded the most evil and destructive cult in history of mankind?…

mnjg on September 14, 2013 at 5:55 PM

mnjg on September 14, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Happy Nomad on September 14, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Actually, HN, he’s not all wrong. Scritpure speaks of “many antichrists” and Biblical prophecy is always repetitive PATTERNS leading to one ultimate fulfillment.

Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. 1 John 2:18

John further illustrated that the basis of an “antichrist spirit” was the denial of the Father and Son relationship. On the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem there is an inscription which reads that “God has no Son”, clearly an anti-Christ statement and belief.

Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:22

There is much we can learn about the ultimate AntiChrist from studying the writings of John and the other historical figures who prefigure him, Judas being just one example, Pharaoh another, and on and on.

I think Muhammad qualifies.

Cleombrotus on September 14, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Is your objection that if there is an anti-Christ it was Mohammed? Or is it that Mohammed founded the most evil and destructive cult in history of mankind?…

mnjg on September 14, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Neither, now shoo you stupid troll.

Happy Nomad on September 14, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Ed, are you crazy? This write-up by you is a disgrace. How could you possibly attach any currency whatsoever to the writing of Reza Aslan? He’s a frickin jihadist of the pen. I swear to G-d Ed, you can do some great analysis of certain domestic issues, but when it comes to the global jihad you are a complete imbecile. Why don’t you just do the jihadists job for them and kill yourself.

Like, seriously, Christians have been victims of religious cleansing in Middle East for centuries? No kidding. Really Ed? When did you figure this out genius? The whole point of Islam is wiping out other religions. It’s all Muslims have done for 1,400 years. That is historical fact.

You are allowing Reza Aslan to try to obfuscate that this persecution has been undertaken almost entirely at the hands of MUSLIMS. Ed, are you so stupid that you seriously cannot see what Aslan is trying to do here?

And this:

It underscores the fact that there are truly no good choices on either end of the gun, but instead just a lot of people — Christians, Muslims, and Jews — stuck in between the extremes of violent, oppressive warlords … as it ever was, unfortunately.

Well golly, Ed. I guess that’s just the way of the world, eh? What a load of nonsense. Ed, why don’t you tell the truth? That Muslims are frickin killing non-Muslims because that’s what Islam is. It isn’t “extremists,” it isn’t “warlords,” it isn’t “radicals,” it isn’t unicorns. It’s MUSLIMS. All Muslims. You lying about this makes you as guilty of the Christian genocide as Muslims are. You are a disgrace. You are Ned Flanders on steroids. People like you need to go the hell away. Disgusting. You are pathetic. Traitor.

WhatSlushfund on September 14, 2013 at 6:33 PM

All Religions are stupid. Stop beliving this made up stories and praying to imaginary Gods. It irritates me because as much as people say they believe in the lord..they really don’t.

If you kill some one and go to court and put your hand on the bible and say God tols you to do it they’re going to think you’re crazy. But if you really believed in God why wouldn’t you believe that? There’s stories in the bible of God directing people to kill right? And if you believe then who are you to question him anyway?

If I walk up to you on the street and say God wants me to test you by asking you to clear out your bank account and give it too me, again you would look at me like I was crazy.

We are one species on one planet in one tiny miniscule corner of space, space that is sized beyond our scope of understanding yet people really think some super natural being that created all of this really cares about how you live your day to day life. When you sit down and think about it it makes zero sense, but people have to feel important…so they make up this God.

Yeah okay..

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 6:36 PM

WhatSlushFund if all muslims are evil then why do we have millions of muslims in the u.s. who aren’t out raping, robbing and pillaging.

I don’t know about where you live but where I live the mormons bother me more than a muslim ever has.

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 6:36 PM

One heck of a confession there buddy. Weird forum for it though.

Murphy9 on September 14, 2013 at 6:40 PM

WhatSlushFund if all muslims are evil then why do we have millions of muslims in the u.s. who aren’t out raping, robbing and pillaging.

I don’t know about where you live but where I live the mormons bother me more than a muslim ever has.

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 6:39 PM

I didn’t use the word ‘evil,’ and just because you might see a Muslim in a supermarket who isn’t at that very moment trying to blow you up, it doesn’t mean that they don’t religiously support the idea of blowing you up.

And whether or not Mormons bother you is irrelevant.

WhatSlushfund on September 14, 2013 at 6:48 PM

All Religions are stupid. Stop beliving this made up stories and praying to imaginary Gods. It irritates me because as much as people say they believe in the lord..they really don’t.

If you kill some one and go to court and put your hand on the bible and say God tols you to do it they’re going to think you’re crazy. But if you really believed in God why wouldn’t you believe that? There’s stories in the bible of God directing people to kill right? And if you believe then who are you to question him anyway?

If I walk up to you on the street and say God wants me to test you by asking you to clear out your bank account and give it too me, again you would look at me like I was crazy.

^ You go through all that trouble to lampoon what you think is arbitrary and capricious belief, even though you lampoon it by making one arbitrary statement after another.

We are one species on one planet in one tiny miniscule corner of space, space that is sized beyond our scope of understanding

^ Then you step outside of human experience, the Universe, and physics, and you survey existence as if you were some weird god declaring a prime perspective — which is that the significance of human life approaches nothing.

yet people really think some super natural being that created all of this really cares about how you live your day to day life. When you sit down and think about it it makes zero sense, but people have to feel important…so they make up this God.

^ Then you return to lampooning what you think is arbitrary and capricious belief, even though you lampoon it by making one arbitrary statement after another.

Yeah okay..

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Axe on September 14, 2013 at 7:18 PM

Axe there is no God. Religion was created to keep the mindless masses in check. The fact that religions fight amongst each other about who has the one and only true imagainary God is laughable.

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Also axe I’m not stepping outside human existence when I say our existence is .000000000000001 of known existence. That is proveable fact. Proven by science. No faith neccesary.

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 7:27 PM

I don’t know about where you live but where I live the mormons bother me more than a muslim ever has.

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 6:39 PM

And flies probably bother you more than sharks do, but you would change your mind fast if you were swimming in shark invested waters.

All of Islam is evil. All of it. Bush was a crackpot with his hijackers of the religion of peace and Ed is as naive on this subject as a very young child is, or should be, about sex.

VorDaj on September 14, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Axe there is no God. Religion was created to keep the mindless masses in check. The fact that religions fight amongst each other about who has the one and only true imagainary God is laughable.

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Also axe I’m not stepping outside human existence when I say our existence is .000000000000001 of known existence. That is proveable fact. Proven by science. No faith neccesary.

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 7:27 PM

i assume these are jokes…right? The first makes no sense, you can speculate on Why we need to invent God if He did not exist…but your first comment is a satire of the question

Of course, the second post is evidence of what? Our uniqueness? The miracle of who we are…yes, indeed.

r keller on September 14, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Axe there is no God. Religion was created to keep the mindless masses in check. The fact that religions fight amongst each other about who has the one and only true imagainary God is laughable.

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 7:23 PM

So you’ll have it for future reference, the reason you can’t get any traction with a guy like me is because I know God. There’s no question within me about whether or not he exists, only questions about his nature. It’s not a matter of trying to work anything out. You would have the same luck converting a guy like me as you would convincing me my mother doesn’t exist, or my son. They do. We’ve met.

So things like, “Religion was created to keep the mindless masses in check,” — these statements are just . . . pointless.

The only thing you can do with a person like me is label me insane. This is why the argument shifts to memes like, “the God delusion.” If you are comfortable looking people over, and having no other reason to label them insane but their acceptance of the existence of God, declaring them insane –

Otherwise, all I can tell you is that God exists.

Axe on September 14, 2013 at 7:36 PM

“Muhammad declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion against all the rest of mankind.” -John Quincy Adams

That’s from when we had a President who had a brain and a clue.

Mohammad, all Muslim’s “Perfect Man”, was a torture loving, mass murdering, mass enslaving, misogynist, little girl raping, sadistic ghoul – The Monster Who Walked The Earth. Islam has not one redeeming feature – it is the Plague.

VorDaj on September 14, 2013 at 7:37 PM

i think Aslan is trying to portray himself as a hip Muslim. His argument about religious pluralism, democracy, and progress is hardly what Sharia is about. Afghanistan would be perfectly happy with no Christians or Westerners for that matter.

and of course he’s hip enough to blame the whole thing on colonialism…and its collapse. That’s an easy argument for those on the left.

r keller on September 14, 2013 at 7:40 PM

Proven by science. No faith neccesary.

lol

Murphy9 on September 14, 2013 at 7:40 PM

Also axe I’m not stepping outside human existence when I say our existence is .000000000000001 of known existence. That is proveable fact. Proven by science. No faith neccesary.

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 7:27 PM

That number is arbitrary. Human life is more than physical mass, anyway, and you have no definition for existence to begin with that might be meaningful. But if you are limiting the definition of existence to the mass of a person compared to all mass, then that number is wrong. And that’s a demonstrable fact, provable by mathematics. Take the ratio of the number 1 to another number, starting at 1, and increasing without limit. Even then, we have to presuppose an unproven “infinity” — because we roll like that when we’re at the kitchen table screwing around.

(Science, by the way, can’t prove anything. It can only disprove things.)

You are taking a lot of things for granted, you just don’t recognize it.

Axe on September 14, 2013 at 7:46 PM

framed Islam as a backward culture in need of civilization

No way!!!

Cindy Munford on September 14, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Still is.

slickwillie2001 on September 14, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Not a good move to use Aslan as a source, Ed.

Connie on September 14, 2013 at 7:52 PM

Aslan? Aslan?

CS is spinning in his grave…

Kraken on September 14, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Reza Aslan? Author of the recent hatchet job on the Lord? No. See Jihad Watch for details.

Islam was violent and supremacist from its inception. More precisely, it turned from philosophic to militaristic as soon as Muhammad gained the upper hand in Mecca. IOW, the earlier, more peaceful parts of the Koran are Taqiyya. Islam spread by the sword, it held onto control by the sword. This is a subtle attempt to blame Islam’s inherent violent nature on purported hegemony by Christian nations.

paul1149 on September 14, 2013 at 8:23 PM

Christianity was born in the Middle East and had a deep, penetrating presence in the region for hundreds of years before the rise of Islam.

Very true.

In the fourth and fifth centuries, when tens of thousands of heterodox Christians were forced to flee a Roman Empire that considered them heretics, the lands of the Middle East and North Africa became a haven for them. In the years thereafter, the region became the epicenter of Christian theology. In the Arabian peninsula, a large, thriving Christian population played a pivotal role in influencing the early theological and political development of Islam.

To be exact, Monophysitism (the belief that there was only one God, and that the Trinity was a false construct), which both the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholic Churches regarded as heretical.

During the Inquisition (the twelfth to fourteenth centuries), Christian sectarians found refuge under Islamic rule, which classed all Christians, regardless of their doctrinal differences, as “people of the Book” and accorded them protected, albeit inferior, societal status.

Only to the extent that they “behaved properly”- i.e., paid jizya, did not proselytize, and made no attempt to build churches or even worship in congregation. Hardly seems like a “haven”, in the accepted sense.

Oh, BTW, the Spanish Inquisition (the real one, not the Monty Python version) learned most of its tricks for getting “confessions” from people from… the Muslims, who had ruled Spain until just a few years before Columbus set sail west across the Atlantic. Ferdinand, who footed the bill for both, was King of Castile before he was King of the whole peninsula, and was called “Defender of the Faith” for defeating the army of the last Muslim Caliph of al-Andalus at Malaga in 1490.

The situation for Middle Eastern Christians changed dramatically in the colonial era. Because the colonial experiment was also an unapologetically Christianizing mission, one that overtly privileged indigenous Christians over Muslims and framed Islam as a backward culture in need of civilization, political tensions between the two communities erupted throughout the Middle East. Muslims tended to view their Christian neighbors as complicit in colonial oppression; indigenous Christians became the target of anticolonial backlash.

Maybe so. bBut I have to call BS on this as an explanation for Muslim/Christian animosity. From Mohamed’s conversion onward (see “Hegira”), Islam was aggressively and militarily expansionist. In the century following his death, Islamic armies rampaged west across North Africa, rolling up the Christian kingdoms of the region like so many prayer rugs.

They were finally stopped in 732 at the Battle of Tours, aka Poitiers (which is easy to confuse with the battle of that name during the Hundred Years’ War).

At that point, they were only one hundred and thirty miles from Paris. They weren’t coming to see the sights.

The warfare between Islam and everybody else they could reach continued from there. The Crusades which are today invariably cited as “Christian aggression against the peaceful Muslims” began as an attempt to stop the Muslim overlords of the Holy Land from robbing and killing Christian pilgrims, or enslaving them- after they had agreed to provide them with safe conduct and protection in return for yearly payments from Rome. (Their excuse? A contract with an “infidel” was not enforceable, and anyway all infidels were only fit to be slaves- seven centuries later, the Barbary ruler would tell Jefferson much the same thing, and get a very similar result.)

In the long run, the Crusades acted as strategic “spoiling attacks”, forcing the Islamic armies to fall back and defend their base area. As opposed to continuing their invasions of the West. Once the Crusades ended, the Islamists were soon back on the road to conquest again, notably through the Balkans.

People like Aslan can play this word game all they like, but the fact is that Islam is aggressive, expansionist, and holds all non-Muslims in contempt, as a part of the basic tenets of the faith.

The only reason anything lik e” peaceful coexistence” worked before the last century was purely technical. An Islamic warrior on horseback or camel-back, wielding a black-powder musket, had an effect only about as far as he could hit somebody. (And he was even then using somebody else’s idea; black powder was, of course, a Chinese invention, as was the gun.)

His range doubled when he acquired a Western weapon, like a Mauser or Enfield bolt-action, but was still fairly limited.

Today, his descendants have acquired even more “developed world” technology. And their capacity for violence and destruction has grown proportionately, in both expansiveness and range. And they still aren’t really “innovating”; a Sukhoi Su-35 may be their chosen weapon today, but they didn’t create it.

By comparison, when was the last time any Islamic state went out of its way to acquire advanced medical technology?

They don’t. Except for their rulers’ benefit. Because the Qu’ran holds that only the rulers matter, and everyone else will live or die, “as Allah wills”.

Look at anything in Islam that seems conpletely illogical by our standards, and you can almost be assured that a verse from the Qu’ran is the reason for it.

And Westerners, especially Christians, are supposedly the main reason for Islam’s troubles over the centuries?

As Poirot would say, Non, je ne pense pas.

clear ether

eon

eon on September 14, 2013 at 9:35 PM

WhatSlushfund on September 14, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Exactly. I’m starting to see more muslim women that are dressed less western. Most of the-maybe none of them-or their masters husbands will become terrorists…but you can bet your azz that they support those who will!

annoyinglittletwerp on September 14, 2013 at 10:27 PM

WhatSlushfund on September 14, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Exactly. I’m starting to see more muslim women that are dressed less western. Most of the-maybe none of them-or their masters husbands will become terrorists…but you can bet your azz that they support those who will!

annoyinglittletwerp on September 14, 2013 at 10:27 PM

There are so many things that I wish I could say on this site, but if I did, people would know who I am. I know for a fact that there are people who lurk here who know who I am. Stay strong folks. Tell everyone you can. We’ve got a BIG problem.

WhatSlushfund on September 14, 2013 at 10:45 PM

WhatSlushfund on September 14, 2013 at 10:45 PM

I’m starting to refer to my city as ‘Lubbockistan’.

annoyinglittletwerp on September 14, 2013 at 10:52 PM

And Reza says it’s all the fault of the colonialists.

kcewa on September 15, 2013 at 1:21 AM

Ed this post by you proves why we should not be involved in the Middle East. If you can’t id who the “good guys” are from the “bad guys” then how can we ever do any good in the region. One Reza is one of the “bad guys”. Two Islam is a political system as much as it is a religion. Three anything not Islamic is an enemy of Islam, religious or political. Until the influence of Islam is reduced in that part of the world, or until Islam is fundamentally changed, if that is even possible, then that part of the world is going to be bloody, and lots of people will be killed.

It is really that simple.

William Eaton on September 15, 2013 at 1:46 AM

Islam plagiarized the worst of the Old Testament and the craziest of the New (actually the Gnostic Christians’ heretical variations more than the Synoptic Gospels… [Islam could be considered an Arian heresy, technically]-), stewed them through the revenge fantasies of Mohammad’s vicious megalomania, and came up with a Death Cult called “Submission” (Islam).

Nothing good can come of it.

And all of its rationalizations for its murderous behavior since 622 A.D. (Viz- “The colonialists made me do it!“) are transparent b.s. to exonerate its core malignancy and sucker the historically uninformed or wishfully naive.

profitsbeard on September 15, 2013 at 3:45 AM

All Religions are stupid. Stop beliving this made up stories and praying to imaginary Gods. It irritates me because as much as people say they believe in the lord..they really don’t.

If you kill some one and go to court and put your hand on the bible and say God tols you to do it they’re going to think you’re crazy. But if you really believed in God why wouldn’t you believe that? There’s stories in the bible of God directing people to kill right? And if you believe then who are you to question him anyway?

If I walk up to you on the street and say God wants me to test you by asking you to clear out your bank account and give it too me, again you would look at me like I was crazy.

We are one species on one planet in one tiny miniscule corner of space, space that is sized beyond our scope of understanding yet people really think some super natural being that created all of this really cares about how you live your day to day life. When you sit down and think about it it makes zero sense, but people have to feel important…so they make up this God.

Yeah okay..

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 6:36 PM

Wow. Ignorant on so many levels.

Has it dawned on you that it’s the Muslim’s faith that is giving it the upper hand right now. Belief in something other than your own self-serving, sorry assed hedonism actually has always been associated with society building. Your viewpoint always has led to decay and collapse.
Look at the “golden” ages of ANY civilization. You won’t find much secular hedonism there.

Doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not. It’s powerful nonetheless, and you ignore it at your peril.

The Muslims kill atheists with just as much relish. Your Gaia religion will comfort you as they slit your throat

WryTrvllr on September 15, 2013 at 3:51 AM

WhatSlushFund if all muslims are evil then why do we have millions of muslims in the u.s. who aren’t out raping, robbing and pillaging.

I don’t know about where you live but where I live the mormons bother me more than a muslim ever has.

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Again, flagrant stupidity.

1. Taqqiya. Look it up.
2. While such a minority ANY group would behave and try to fit in. What happens when they are at 30%? Can you find ONE country where they approach 50% and peacefully coexist?
3. Haven’t heard about too many Mormon suicide bombers. Or Fort Hood attacks.

Hey, and for shits and giggles look up the “sack of Baltimore” It predates all the colonial bullshit arguments.

WryTrvllr on September 15, 2013 at 4:00 AM

We are one species on one planet in one tiny miniscule corner of space, space that is sized beyond our scope of understanding yet people really think some super natural being that created all of this really cares about how you live your day to day life. When you sit down and think about it it makes zero sense, but people have to feel important…so they make up this God.

Yeah okay..

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 6:36 PM

This crap gets me every time. If we HUMANS genetically engineer a better cockroach that survives the next asteroid strike, while everything else perishes, no doubt 100 million years after that
some self deprecating liberal bug will be asking the same question

WryTrvllr on September 15, 2013 at 4:03 AM

Axe there is no God. Religion was created to keep the mindless masses in check. The fact that religions fight amongst each other about who has the one and only true imagainary God is laughable.

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 7:23 PM

You absolutely cannot prove that anymore than I could prove there is.

But throughout history decadence and atheism always seem to accompany the collapse of empires and cultures. Imagine that.

WryTrvllr on September 15, 2013 at 4:07 AM

Religion Islam was created to keep give the mindless masses in check license for perfidy.

The problem with Islam is they don’t know who they’re messing with. What we need is a leader like Xerxes. Soon as we ditch President Momjeans and get a real leader, paraphrasing.

Xerxes: There will be no glory in your sacrifice. I will erase even the memory of Islam from the histories! Every piece of Muslim parchment shall be burned. Every Muslim historian, and every scribe shall have their eyes pulled out, and their tongues cut from their mouths. Why, uttering the very name Islam, or Mohommad, will be punishable by death! The world will never know you existed at all!

Extreme? I don’t know about that. For a thousand years Muslim recruitment was coerced at sword point. If you don’t become Muslim they take your head.
Worked pretty well during the dark ages, but imagine if the tune was reversed? How many Muslims would be left a year after a death penalty for Islamics was instituted universally?

Not too many, I reckon.

papertiger on September 15, 2013 at 7:51 AM

Reza Aslan’s acts do not match his words.

unclesmrgol on September 15, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Also axe I’m not stepping outside human existence when I say our existence is .000000000000001 of known existence. That is proveable fact. Proven by science. No faith neccesary.

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 7:27 PM

“Proven by science” is itself a statement of deep and abiding faith. Fifty years from now, things we currently declare to be “settled science” will be viewed as laughably backward. As an inductive process, science is poorly equipped to “prove” anything.

cavalier973 on September 15, 2013 at 11:09 AM

I don’t know about where you live but where I live the mormons bother me more than a muslim ever has.

Politricks on September 14, 2013 at 6:39 PM

I live in a city where my church (St. Augustine’s Catholic Church) is right down the street from King Fahd Mosque. We are also within about four miles of a Mormon church, and about five miles from a temple.

The first imam of the mosque was deported for being an undesirable alien in 2003, for his support of terrorism. Further, my church was vandalized — a marble statue of St. Rita damaged, and a bronze statue of Junipero Serra taken from the schoolyard and hidden in a room in the mosque. The imam of the mosque noticed the statue and informed police — turned out it was one of his congregants acting on one of his own sermons.

On 9/11, two of the hijackers who flew planes into buildings came from King Fahd Mosque.

So, I can say personally that none of the Mormons in my area have damaged my church, or flown airliners into buildings in the name of their religion… but several of the Muslims from the mosque right down the street have done both.

And you worry about the Mormons. I have no great love for Mormons as I spent a year in Granger, Utah and discovered how clannish they can be — but the types of violence I have seen come out of King Fahd dwarfs anything the Mormons did to me in my youth.

unclesmrgol on September 15, 2013 at 11:26 AM

unclesmrgol on September 15, 2013 at 11:26 AM

I’m with you, how can anyone compare annoyance to plots of death or financial backing of said plots. A little perspective might be in order.

Cindy Munford on September 15, 2013 at 11:52 AM

The violent conflict between Muslims against non-Muslims is for as long as Islam exists, precisely because the Qur’an (Allah’s dictation) asserts

“Those who reject [Islam], among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein. They are the worst of creatures.” (Q98:6)

and commands

“Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allâh, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allâh and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islâm) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah[] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” Q 9:29

Furthermore

Q4:101 The disbelievers are an open enemy to you.
Q4:144 Do not choose disbelievers as friends.
Q5:51 Don’t take Jews or Christians for friends. If you do, then Allah will consider you to be one of them.

Q5:51 Jews and Christians are losers.

Q5:59 Jews and Christians are evil people.
Q5:57 Don’t choose Jews, Christians, or disbelievers as guardians.
Q9:30 Christians and Jews are perverse. Allah himself fights against them.
Q8:55 The worst beasts in Allah’s sight are the disbelievers.

Who are we suppose to believe? Muslim apologists or our lying eyes?

And don’t let Muslims tell you (as they often do after every Islamic terrorist attack) that the Qur’an says to kill someone is like killing all of mankind. That a distortion lie, a misquote of Q 5:32 – 5:33 explained here

http://bit.ly/16BYFkS

Chessplayer on September 15, 2013 at 1:20 PM

Too late. Internet is eternal.

papertiger on September 15, 2013 at 7:34 PM

Islam is the reason there will never be peace in the Middle East.

GardenGnome on September 16, 2013 at 1:14 PM