Nicholas Kristof attempts an undisguised defense of Islam-
The New York Times reported recently on a Pew Research Center poll in which religious people turned out to be remarkably uninformed about religion…. And atheists were among the best informed about religion.
So let me give everybody another chance. And given the uproar about Islam, I’ll focus on extremism and fundamentalism….
3. The terrorists who pioneered the suicide vest in modern times, and the use of women in terror attacks, were affiliated with which major religion?
[T]he point of this little quiz is that religion is more complicated than it sometimes seems, and that we should be wary of rushing to inflammatory conclusions about any faith, especially based on cherry-picking texts.
The answer to the question: “3. c. Most early suicide bombings were by Tamil Hindus (some secular) in Sri Lanka and India.”
Which proves what, exactly? I wrote a post against such facile arguments, which conflate the incidental with the significant, in late ’08-
About not referring to terrorists by their religion – ideology, what the ‘liberal’ media and other ‘liberals’ do is indulge in semantic warfare. The statement “All Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims” is blatantly false. But that does not mean that we don’t label outfits according to their ideology – the Naxalites are called Maoists because their ideology derives from Mao; the ULFA are called separatists because their terror is based on nationhood for Assam; Sikh terrorism – the one related to Khalistan – is called that because their ideology revolved around a separate homeland for Sikhs. So, if a terror group fights under the banner of Islam, regardless of how many Muslims actually support them, not calling them Islamic or at least Islamist is dishonest and an act of deluding oneself. And if someone calls the ULFA or Maoists “Hindu terrorists” – to make a point – they basically have their head up their arse, or as the BJP would say, they are being pseudo secular, or as Benkin says, they are creating a moral equivalence that is non-existent. Before labeling someone – look at the ideology, then look at the scale.
The Hindu-ness of the LTTE or the religious affiliations of the various sides to the Irish conflict are of secondary importance; these conflicts were about ethnicity and nationalism, not religion. Which cannot be said about Islam, barring minor exceptions such as Kashmiri separatism.
Christianity and Islam are religions that were born in conflict. The former has grudgingly accepted the idea of separation of church and state; the latter hasn’t. It was, is, and will always be political unless it is seriously reformed. When Saudi Arabia becomes a secular state, one will know that the movement was a success. Till that happens, pretending that it’s only the odd Bin Laden who is perverting an innocent religion is like adopting the mentality of an ostrich. This is the mentality that results in Orwellian newspeak like “‘man-caused’ disasters.” On 9/11/01, some man-caused-disaster-causing-men caused a man-caused disaster…
PS: While tagging this post, I very nearly used “Nicholas Ostrich” before correcting it. The subconscious at work.