Islam: The Third and Troubling Child

It’s no secret, I think all religion, being a practice on faith rather than reason, is a poor life style. However, current events demonstrate there is only one deserving special attention if not out right combat for hearts and minds. That is Islam.

I’ve addressed my concerns herehere and here. And here. This short piece is a reminder in light of current events that it’s still a generational battle. The question is, why does this seem to only come from Islam and not its older siblings of Judeo-Christianity?

Let’s spell some things out.

Judaism, as told in the Tanakh, justified through mythological origins a piece of land known as Israel for the Hebrews. No more, no less. Despite the tales of conquest of the land by Moses, Joshua, etc, these are not historical. Therefore, unlike Islam, there never was a time of conquering armies for the Jewish people. At most, they’ve been the most oppressed. And all Israel wants today is Israel. Not the world.

Christianity did one better. The first Christians did their best to separate from society. Their secrecy is what got them into trouble with Rome. Romans 13 tells them to not interfere with existing government. And in the very first gospel the other three copied from, Mark 12:17 has Jesus saying, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” So Christianity started as non-combative, non-interfering in the lives of others, despite what happened centuries later. They didn’t even want land. Their souls and bodies were enough.

Islam, however, began as a political philosophy that Muhammad could not convince people to follow. And therefore, started forcing it at the point of the sword from Saudi Arabia all the way to Spain. Read the damn Qur’an already. It’s impossible to miss the orders to kill any non-Muslim, conquer the lands of others, etc. Until you understand what Islam is, you’re doomed to be its victim.

So while it is worthwhile to draw attention to the lack of logic in religion in general, Islam is the one that needs our most attention today.

ISIS isn’t a deviation. ISIS is it.

Read the damn Qur’an to understand what the civilized world is up against.

The World Won’t Listen

In the third week of February 2015, the Anti-Extremism Summit commenced. At the behest of President Barack Obama and the White House, said Summit was held over a three day period and welcomed some world leaders to discuss reasons why someone might become “radicalized” or turn to an “extreme” belief system and engage in acts of terrorism. Remarks by the President and United States attendees centered around the argument that we could curb the desire to join an extreme group by offering better employment opportunities or more integration, less separation in society. Or maybe better, inclusive government. Or maybe education? Yet, for all the time spent on the subject of what draws someone into a radical view, one thing wasn’t said: That this summit was really all about Islamism.

If it weren’t for the assassinations at satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo and the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, we wouldn’t have held this summit. So why not call it what it is? The Anti-Islamism Summit. Well, actually, I can understand why not. It would immediately shut out the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, thinking that their religion was on trial. So calling it Anti-Extremism is fine and would have allowed the Summit to talk about all groups, like neo-nazis, if they wanted to. But they didn’t. Without saying it, this was really about what’s been happening in Islam’s name. So call it Anti-Extremism if you want. But whereas I am certain Adolf Hitler and Mein Kampf would have been brought up to discuss neo-nazis, we never heard about how Islam may be part of the Islamic State.

Islam is a religion.

Muslim is a person who practices the religion of Islam.

Islamism is the desire to govern under the rules of Islam, Sharia Law.

Most Muslims practice bits and pieces of Islam, most ignoring the violent parts, engaging in Ramadan and other peaceful festivals. In summary, they keep it to themselves. Just like most practitioners of other religions, you might not even know someone was a Muslim if you just saw them in a shopping mall unless they wore clothing associated with Islam. Even then you might be wrong.

And then there are the few who want everyone to live under Sharia Law, live under the rules of Islam. These are the Muslims that make up the Islamic State. These are the ones who shoot up cartoonists. These are the ones we are at war with. These are the ones violently working to achieve Islamism.

It is Islamism that should have been put on trial. This is what the Summit danced around. Yet no one said it. Why?

On February 20, 2015, TIME published “Obama is Right Not to talk about ‘Islamic’ Terrorism” (1). Said opinion piece claimed that President Obama was right not to say we’re at war with Islamic terrorism because doing so would eventually lead people to believe we’re at war with Islam itself. In other words, people would start to think all Muslims are terrorists. Maybe. Maybe not. But it is what was on the table without a label at this summit. I suspect there is a taboo so big here that we risk continued violence if we avoid saying it.

My attention to the TIME article was from a Tweet from the Counsil on American-Islamic Relations (@CAIRNational), clearly in support of the opinion piece and reasoning not to call a spade a spade. And it occurred to me, the problem is going to have to start with Muslim organizations themselves. These organizations are going to have to stop pretending their holy books don’t say what they say. It has to start with them. After that, it’ll be okay for everyone to say such things. We can poke fun all we want at Moses and Jesus without being shot, right? We’ve yet to see that kind of tolerance about Muhammed.

What if King Salman of Saudi Arabia held this summit and declared Islam has a problem? What if Iran held such a summit? Here’s the point: The problem has to be recognized, named and analyzed by those practicing Islam. Then maybe all of us outsiders can join in without being told we’re being bigots or racists. Maybe we’ll have some momentum.

A collective group of, primarily atheists, have been pointing out that cases like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, or Boko Haram or any other organization operating like them, are not radical Islam, but Islam per se. That is, Islam exactly as it’s written. We have it backwards. It isn’t the radicals that are promoting violence. The radicals are the majority of Muslims who don’t fight Christians, Jews and unbelievers. The radicals are not the ones who are beheading. The radicals are the Muslims not taking the Qur’an or Hadith seriously, the ones who practice like most Christians and Jews, taking the “good” parts and ignoring the bad. The radicals are the ones who have integrated into a secular society, living under secular rules and laws and not attempting to put their country under Sharia Law. We need Islam’s version of Martin Luther, who needs to pin the list of grievances on the doors of Mecca.

Consider the Catholic religion. The Vatican has laid out it’s rules: No birth control, no abortions, observe Lent, go through the acts of Catechism and so forth. But lots of Catholics use birth control, have had abortions and still call themselves Catholics. These are the radical Catholics. The real Catholics are the ones practicing Catholicism as close to Vatican orders as possible. The radical Muslims are the majority who operate the same as the radical Catholics. Those adherents that take seriously the exact word of the Qur’an and Hadith, those are the ones to be worried about. Just as I’d worry about a Christian who suggested we bring back Deuteronomy.

I’d like to stop using radical to name the problem Muslims. The radicals are the good guys. They are thankfully more numerous and work and play and do business with and make enjoyable company with the rest of us. The problem is Islamism, those Muslims using violence to make everyone convert to Islam. And they are honoring their rule book as close to what is written in it as possible. By not naming the problem, all the wrong reasons for why someone would join the Islamic State or shoot up editors over cartoons is missed. Instead of just saying what the problem is, in order not to offend the majority of Muslim people, we act like it’s bad economics or adventure seeking or anything but Islam.

We must say that yes, the world, not just the United States, is at war with Islamism. We are at war with people who wish to force Islam onto the world. Any part of the world that wishes to live free must start calling it like it is. Any part of the world that wishes to not be held hostage to the rules held in an old book, written by a not so humble merchant thirteen-hundred-years ago.

According to the Wikipedia article on the Smiths’ album, “The World Won’t Listen”, the reason Morrissey named it such was out of his frustration with radio and record buyers ignoring his band. I couldn’t help but title this essay the same, feeling like an outsider, an atheist but raised as a Catholic, trying to make the world listen.

I’m afraid we’ll end up with more cartoonists dying over this ideology or men and women joining groups like the Islamic State, until Islam has its reformation. Until we stop thinking these men and women are joining these groups because they don’t have a good education or jobs or enough likes on Facebook, we’ll never solve this.

The first step is getting Muslim organizations and governments to admit the Islamic State is practicing according to the orders laid out in their holy books. Second is to admit that today (never mind back then) living under such orders is not reasonable. Third, calling for a complete separation of mosque and state.

Then…the President of the United States can say it.

Then…other world leaders can say it.

Then…everyone can say it.

Then…the world will listen.

(1) http://time.com/3716980/obama-is-right-not-to-talk-about-islamic-terrorism/

The ISIS Play Book

How did Adolf Hitler manage to get so deep, push so far and take over so much territory before the allied powers saw the writing on the wall and struck back? After all, he told the world what his intentions were back in 1925 (Volume 1) and 1926 (Volume 2) in Mein Kampf. It wasn’t until ten years later, in 1936, that the Nazi military marched into the Rhineland. What was the rest of the free world doing for ten years? Didn’t anybody READ Mein Kampf? Roosevelt? Churchill? Stalin? Frank from Ohio? Anyone? Hitler’s moves were hardly surprising. He TOLD us what he was going to do. Wasn’t Mein Kampf grounds for an early intervention?

Every election season, at least here in the United States, the major contenders for the White House release campaign books. Within the pages, the candidate tells us exactly his/her positions on the hot topics of the day. Mein Kampf was no different. After 1926, after the Reichstag fire, after the Night of the Long Knives, after Kristallnacht, after (enter atrocity here), where were the future opponents of the Nazi regime? Why did it take the actual 1939 invasion of Poland for reasonable minds to act?

It is unacceptable to claim that it wasn’t until 1933 that Mein Kampf was officially translated into English (or any other language), as if to say that non-German speaking world leaders had to wait until the publishing world got them a readable copy. As Hitler was breaking the Treaty of Versailles like a communion wafer, world leaders, especially the French and Russians who were near paranoia in their feelings about a regeneration of German power, would have found someone to read it to them. Don’t ya think?

Sir Winston Churchill read Mein Kampf. He even wrote about it in the late 1930s. Apparently, President Franklin D. Roosevelt read it and warned about the peril of the Jews under a Hitler regime. Yet I can’t find any indication Stalin read it. But the fact is, no one felt the urge over the years leading to war to take pre-emptive action. It is justified to say, even in the most laziest of terms, that perhaps the stance was taken that what Germany did within its borders was its own business. But when they marched into the Rhineland, why didn’t anyone put Mein Kampf together with it and have an “Ah Ha” moment? Then Austria and Czechoslovakia yet, not a batted eyelash. It took the full scale invasion of Poland for righter reigns to move.

Feel free to count up the above question marks and go seeking answers but I’ll leave it here for historians to sort all that out. What we know is that enough people read Mein Kampf to have made an early difference but no one took Hitler’s words seriously. No one moved beyond the op-ed piece or speech or essay to prevent Hitler from carrying out the plan he so boldly notified the world of. The “why” is history, the lesson, is our future.

ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, (also known as ISIL, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) this plague is currently romping around these two countries, rolling over anyone who gets in their way. They’re literally rolling them over, shoving crucifixes into the throats of children, carrying out actual crucifixions, murdering and maiming everyone and anyone that isn’t like them. And they seem to have sprung up from no where. A few months ago, ISIS was a blip. Now it’s taken enough territory to declare itself its own country. And they went from speck to unavoidable stain via blitzkrieg…just like ole’ Adolf. When ISIS was taking territory in Syria, America was more concerned about overthrowing Assad. In fact, the United States was assisting those who opposed Assad with weapons and funding. Surely some of that ended up in ISIS hands. Yet now that ISIS has breached the border and run a muck in Iraq, it’s Hitler-Takes-Poland all over again. America is about ready to team up with Assad to fry the bigger fish. If only America hadn’t funded the enemies of Assad in the first place, if only there was an intervention when Hitler rolled into the Rhineland. If only…

Did anyone see this coming? Those of us who remember September 11, 2001 did. Did anyone besides me, at least since 9/11, bother to read the book that those nineteen hijackers and their funders used to justify the attack? Osama Bin Laden et al justified their attack with the Qur’an. They justified it by the Word of God, as they believed is written in the Qur’an. It might have been a good idea if world leaders, especially those in the United States, took an evening or two to read it.

The Qur’an is said to have been written circa early to mid 600s AD. It is said to have been written by Muhammad, an unextraordinary merchant who, at the age of forty, claimed to have been visited by the Archangel Gabriel who dictated over many years what eventually became the Qur’an. Let’s stop here a minute. Now find a copy of the Qur’an. They’re free and online. Copyright law expired around 700AD. Open it up at random and read a few pages. If you think this was the dictation of an Archangel, you’re nuts. Yet millions world-wide believe this. And some of them base their lives and actions on the literal translation of this horrible piece of literature, this fraud. ISIS is one of the worst offenders the world has ever seen. They are so vicious that their parent group, the notorious al-Qaeda, disowned them. When Ayman al-Zawahiri won’t even hang with you because you’re too violent, that says something.

If you haven’t read the Qur’an, you will remain confused as to what justifies ISIS in its actions. If you haven’t’ read Mein Kampf, you won’t know why Hitler did what he did. Look, this is easy, when your enemy has a play book, READ IT! In the case of the Qur’an, read any page to see how its complete make up is based on how to punish the unbeliever. In many areas, it instructs Muslims to not befriend the Christian or the Jew (although it does lament the deeds of Moses and the older prophets, including Jesus). Read the countless ways anyone not of the Muslim faith is to be tortured, maimed and killed. Sure the Bible has its share of vicious passages but the Qur’an is one big vicious passage. Where as you can (and thankfully most Christians and Jews have) abandon the savagery found in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, you can’t do that with the Qur’an. If you wished to remove the intolerant passages from the Qur’an, you’d have to throw away the whole book. The Qur’an is one big threat and list of punishments for unbelievers.

Some argue that Muslim extremist groups like ISIS have nothing to do with Islam. They claim that the reason young men join these groups is for a sense of purpose, to be part of a greater conflict. They join to earn a glory or praise that they’re not getting at home. They claim that these men lack employment, education or have an all around geopolitical outrage over American imperialism. And they point to the men’s general lack of “understanding” the Qur’an and Islam in general. All or some of these things are partially true, perhaps in the ranks of the groups’ “muscle”. But, at the same time, many participants are well educated and well financed. Remember that Osama Bin Laden came from a wealthy, large family who owned a world recognized construction business. Ayman al-Zawahiri, current head of al-Qaeda, is a doctor from Egypt, having a masters degree in surgery. Also, Mohammed Atta, hijacker pilot of flight 11 on 9/11 was studying to be an architect. Ziad Jarrah, hijacker pilot of flight 93 was studying aerospace engineering. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, considered the mastermind of 9/11, has a bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering – from an America university. And Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the current head of ISIS, has a masters degree in Islamic Studies. You’d think he’d know what Islam is all about. And look what he’s doing with it.

These are not uneducated men. The common denominator is Islam. And they may have been angry at the United States for supporting Israel and infringing in the Middle East but it comes from a belief that Islam should take precedent. How many countries has the United States meddled in, yet, it is only from Muslim extremists that planes come crashing into our buildings as retribution?

It only happens with Islam. There is no ISIS or al-Qaeda equivalent in the other two monotheisms. Yet, there are poor, uneducated, purpose seeking Jews and Christians who aren’t cutting off the heads of other faiths. No, if it wasn’t for Islam, there would be no ISIS, no al-Qaeda. And I beg to differ with the apologists who want to give every excuse but Islam as a reason for their behavior. These thugs do understand the Qur’an. There is nothing to misinterpret about “kill them (unbelievers) where ever you find them.” (2:191) or anywhere else in the numerous, countless verses that say the same kind of rhetoric. And a constant state of warfare is expressly prescribed for the budding Muslim where it reads, “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.” (2:216) In other words, ye sprouting Muslim, you may not like it, but Allah knows what’s best for you. So fight.

Since the Qur’an is the play book of ISIS, there is no reasoning with them. There is no chance to talk our way out of whatever atrocity they will eventually come at us with. ISIS takes the Qur’an at face value, carries out Allah’s orders to torture and kill unbelievers (this goes for Muslims who are not in line with ISIS’s version of Islam – yes, there are different versions of Islam just as there are different parties in Christianity). There is only one way to deal with them and that is for the strength of secular governments to push back, with force. It is not because force is all they understand. On the contrary, these are not entirely stupid people (as noted above). They just follow a stupid ideology. This must be addressed with violence because, as I said, this is not an enemy you can negotiate with. For them, it’s convert to Islam or be killed. They will not accept the west to live in peace with its freedom of all religions. They will not rest their guns until Islam is supreme. So before this cancer (as President Obama rightly called it) grows and strangles civilized society, civilized society must fight back. And we better do it quick. Mohammed Atta funded the 9/11 attacks on a mere $400,000. ISIS is earning millions per day on the black market from seized oil fields. Imagine what they can do.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in my brief review (because there isn’t much else to expand upon) of the Qur’an, you can find it here, at Goodreads. It’ll save you the trouble of reading this piece of garbage in its entirety, although I’d still recommend it.

The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste

In 1989, the Industrial-Metal band, Ministry, released one of the greatest records of all time (my opinion, of course) entitled, The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste. I spent about two hours locked in my room with the volume cranked up to eleven. And that was just on the first track. It took me the third-or-so hour to reach the second track. I kept playing the first track, Thieves, over and over and over and over and…

That’s about as close to a religious experience I ever had. Locked in solitary with my kind of chanting. Unless you count the several times I’ve listened to Smiths and Morrissey records in a similar environment. But the The Mind album, along with the band’s name, (Ministry) and that first track, (Thieves), go hand-in-hand, speculating on a flock’s mind being stolen away by thievery, well, I’m reaching. Or preaching? Joseph Smith says he was contacted by the Archangel Gabriel, shown hidden golden tablets and then tasked to translate them. So if that shit can be bought, so can mine with an Industrial-Metal band from the eighties/nineties. But where as I’m good enough to tell you that tidbit of spiritual revival, I’m not about to insist you get into Ministry. Or follow my Ministry. Or do as I say. Others would. Others do. Others take their conversions, their revelations, and force them upon others. Some do so with life and death consequences.

Some say that gay marriage cheapens marriage but I think heterosexual couples have already done that by allowing more than fifty-percent of them (in the United States) to terminate. And that number doesn’t count those who feel locked in, not wanting to waste the past by throwing away the future. A more reliable scale of testing would be to spend more time asking heterosexual couples how happy they are. Have a one-to-ten scale of questioning if you like, but grading rates of success, true success of happiness until death duly parts. That would be a more accurate portrayal as to whether or not heterosexual, monogamous couples are the best. But you’d have to match them over years of sampling of long time homosexual marriages (as well as other arrangements, like polygamy). I don’t believe enough time has passed to get a good sampling.

I respect the human mind way too highly to let some use theirs so carelessly. Heterosexuals who waste their upper-most-body-matter telling homosexuals they can’t be married is one such exercise. Other wastes are allowing the brain in one person to ban the space travel of another brain that constructs a machine to allow him such an adventure. The former doing so on behalf of an invisible being that; while was capable in the distant past of creating the entire universe, now feels compelled to ban his most precious creation to explore it. Or, regarding human relations, if said being is all that powerful, why does he care where you put your genitals?

The common denominator in the above cases is a religious one. Those against gay marriage are against it for religious reasons. They may use the word “tradition” but said tradition is a religious one (albeit faulty as, biblically and Qu’ranically speaking, a male may have many wives). In any case, the holder of the view that homosexuals can not marry claim to just be messengers, pointing out that the commanded Order comes from a higher power – God. Who are they to bend the judgment of God? Anyone can read the Order for themselves in the Bible or Qu’ran, right?

That’s precisely the problem. Joseph Campbell said, “Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.”

When my daughter discusses the ongoings of her relationship with her invisible friend, I humor her, ask questions concerning the nature of this friend. But should this rite of childhood never pass, its time to seek psychological counseling. So when I see grown adults engaging is such behaviors, well, I can respect the person but I can not respect the belief. Christopher Hitchens wrote, “If religious instruction were not allowed until the child had attained the age of reason, we would be living in a quite different world.” I concur. Is it any coincidence that the religion of the child is the religion of the parents?

You could never point to a five-year-old child and claim this child is a Republican child. You could never put a Detroit Piston’s jersey on a one-year-old and claim this child is a basketball fan, particularly of the Detroit Pistons. And you can’t label a child a Muslim or Jewish child. Just because the parents are something doesn’t mean the child is too. Those choices are adult choices. And when adults make said choices to be those things, we can only then use the label.

It’s why I’m so hard on religious talk. It’s why I protest so highly against indoctrination of children. In all other lines of inquiry, a child taught a certain subject has the right to ask questions, has the right to conduct his/her own experiments to replicate the findings. And, if what that child had been told turns out to be wrong, text books can change. Not so with the Holy books. There is no room for discussion or engagement. It’s written down by mystics of old and you obey. That’s it. No questions. And if a Holy text says homosexuals can not marry…

Or can not eat anything that mixes meat and dairy,

Or can not cut the hair on the side of your head,

Or can not touch a dead pig (bacon!),

Or can not…then you can not.

The above are a few prohibitions in the Bible. There’s plenty more. I won’t list them all for you. If you wanna check out the entire list, check into any hotel room in the United States. The Gideons were kind enough to litter every establishment with a Bible for your perusal. We can be thankful that most Jews and Christians don’t follow the rules of Leviticus and Deuteronomy to the letter, don’t pass down the ludicrous to their children. The Golden Rule, I suppose, is practiced by most while the more “primitive” Orders are discarded. And while I may snicker at someone who believes in a magic Jewish carpenter who died two-thousand-years ago and will return soon to fix things, I kinda gotta shrug sometimes and say, “Well, what’s it to me?” My friends and family (and total strangers) who practice in the Judea-Christian faith generally leave me alone. Sometimes we even have rather fine, engaging discussions.

At worst, Judea-Christians try to use the force of government to ban homosexual marriages or put prayer back in school. They don’t draw swords. And yes, there is the occasional wacko assault on a doctor performing abortions. But these are more Man Bite Dog stories than regular occurrences. Bull horning or trying to legislate based on the Bible is one thing. Ramming a 757 into your face is another.

From it’s very beginning, the United States has been at war with the Muslim faith. Documented here, I pointed out that 9/11 was a continuation of that war. And it continues to this day. Where as all other religions get mouthy or try to force themselves through legislation at worst, Islam is the only religion on the physical offense.

In every debate, we must pick our battles. In the contest with reason and logic on one side and the authority of religion on the other, the former is the clear winner. But should we spend our energies shouting down all practices of Woo? Resources are limited. If there are a number of parasites eating away at the host, shouldn’t the most time be spent on the worst pest?

Christians, Jews, Jains, Buddhists, astrologers, alchemists, Urantians, they pale in comparison to the mayhem Islam has caused. It is Islam that we must be confronted head on. It is Islam where we must spend most of our time. This isn’t entirely about 9/11. This is about the day-to-day censorship and life threats (and executions) that come from them.

Let us be reminded of the case of Umm Nidal, noted for counseling three of her six sons to commit suicide attacks against Israel. Let us be reminded of the ever present Al-Qaeda. Let us be reminded of the Boston Marathon 2013. Let us be reminded of the treatment of Daniel Pearl. Let us be reminded of every journalist, musician, author, or otherwise that said a sour word against Islam. Let us be reminded of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a well known critic of Islam and a supporter of women wishing to withdraw from the binds that Islam offers them. Born in Somalia, Ms. Hirsi Ali, herself, suffered the ritual of female genital mutilation at the age of five, was chastised by family to participate in an arranged marriage (which she refused) and eventually sought political asylum in the Netherlands in 1992. She went on to hold political office in the Dutch House of Representatives from 2003 to 2006. She is well published with four books on the subject of women in Muslim communities and her own life within. Finally, Ms. Hirsi Ali heads the AHA Foundation, a non-profit in the United States set to protect women from the abuses of Islam. With all her accomplishments, Ms. Hirsi Ali has been awarded several times by various agencies and was supposed to be awarded an honorary degree by Brandeis University located in Waltham, Massachusetts on May 18, 2014. But said degree was withdrawn when Muslim groups protested. Why? Because of everything I just told you about her. Apparently, the Muslims who protested the degree are upset because she’s been an ardent critic of Islam and their hideous practices. And, I’ll state it again, these practices include female genital mutilation, forced marriages, kept/beaten women, honor killings, etc, etc. which is what she’s been most opposed to.

Being denied an honorary degree is one thing. Having one’s life threatened: Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote the screenplay to the 2004 film, Submission. Directed by Theo Van Gogh, said film shows female women, Muslim women, abused through the permission of Islam. And like Salman Rushdie, who after publication of The Satanic Verses, found himself rushed into protective custody because of Muslim death threats, Ms. Hirsi Ali and Mr. Van Gogh were treated to the same negative applause. But while Ms. Hirsi Ali remains alive, Mr. Van Gogh was not so lucky. On November 2, 2004, he was assassinated at the hands of a Muslim man who took his Holy Book a little too seriously, a little too “At-Face-Value”.

The American University, western universities, have long been harbors of learning and higher education. Places where young adults go to ask questions, conduct experiments, challenge old thesis. But the Brandeis University/Ayaan Hirsi Ali censorship case isn’t a secluded man chews hide of canine. A few weeks ago, both the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois were scheduled to screen the documentary, Honor Diaries but found their events cancelled, again, at the behest of uptight Muslims groups. What was the problem this time? Honor Diaries documents the testimony of nine Muslim, Muslim, women, telling the stories of genital mutilation, honor killings and submission in the name of the Faith. Yet, instead of taking the opportunity to admit the problem, correct the problem, and walk out of the Dark Ages, the Council on American-Islamic Relations chose to complain. And to complain loud enough to cry “Islamophobe” and have the screenings cancelled. Think about it. This was their chance to absolve themselves from the barbaric practices, to come out and say, “Yes, yes, it was done in the past. But we’re up to speed now.” But no. Their choice to shut it down suggests complete acceptance of these practices into the present age.

A few months ago, pop music star, Katy Perry, released her music video for Dark Horse. In that video, Ms. Perry, playing a queen of some sorts, punishes a subject by zapping him with a lighting bolt from her fingers. The bolt lands on the man’s chest, upon a necklace with a pendant engraved with the word, “Allah” and kills him. Out came the petitions and demands for censorship because it is apparently blasphemous. The Muslim outcry was enough that Ms. Perry had the video edited to remove the pendant. Why? What was she scared of? (See Ayaan Hirsi Ali).

Those who call for censorship or violence in the name of Islam are not only granted an exception but have their bad behavior over looked. On April 10, 2014, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Cat Stevens. Cat Stevens supported the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s call to murder author, Salman Rushie. after publication of his, Satanic Verses. Amazing! Imagine if Fred Phelps were more than the instigator of the “God Hates Fags” protests outside military funerals. Imagine if he started first as a major figure in music or literature. Would he be welcomed like Mr. Stevens…or, I mean, Yusuf Islam? Religion allows the unallowable.

Why is it that a university or author or other talent can lodge criticism or outright eviscerate any other religion without cause for apology or reversal? What is it about criticizing Islam that is so different, so life threatening? The fact is, a display by an artist of a crucifix submerged in a bottle of urine may furrow brows, but a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb on his head can get you killed.

I urge you to consult the Qur’an itself for the answer. This is the bases of Islam. Read where it is expected to put terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, to abstain from friendship and alliances of unbelievers and to punish people who ignore the “revelations”. Then you’ll know why. Then you’ll know Al-Qaeda. Then you’ll know Umm Nidal, Osama Bin Laden, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. You’ll know those terrible minds and why western, secular, reasonable organizations cave. Self preservation.

Regarding Islam, Sam Harris wrote in The End of Faith, “…in the year 2006 a person can have sufficient intellectual and material resources to build a nuclear bomb and still believe that he will get 72 virgins in Paradise. Western secularists, liberals, and moderates have been very slow to understand this. The cause of their confusion is simple: They don’t know what it is like to really believe in God.” In other words, we are witnessing Muslims, enough to make an impact, taking the Qur’an at face value and not plucking out the parts that should have been extinguished along with the Biblical Order to stone to death disobedient children. Islam, it appears, is the last of the Woo, last of the nonsense that remains a real threat to civilized society.

Am I being unfair, presenting the worst of the worst? I’ll let Ayaan Hirsi Ali have the final word. After a speech where Ms. Hirsi Ali was confronted by two Muslims claiming she misrepresented Muslims, she was quick enough to note, “Then why do I have to travel with armed protection?”

We can not be canceling television shows and publications and movie screenings because someone is offended, not here, not in the town of Thomas Jefferson. Muslims have managed to make it happen because of the extreme in their group, engaging in assassinations and fatwas over the smallest of things. Do not let a religion, one alledegedly founded on a man claiming an angel dictated to him like Joseph Smith, tell you what you can read, see or feel. Do not let them steal the ideals of western universities. Do not allow them to be the thieves of our children’s higher learning and well being. You can start, simply, by pushing play.

With Friends Like These…

June 2012, President Mohamed Morsi took office in Egypt after the overthrow of President Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak. And there was much rejoicing. President Morsi is the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Why should this matter? Because the U.S. Secretary of State gave him and his administration $250 million U.S. Dollars in support. And when one gives another money, it’s either because the givee has an interest to protect and nourish or they’re friends. But do we want friends like these?

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt, in 1928, with the purpose of setting up a government based on the Qur’an. The Qur’an, who’s authorship is as shady as the Book of Mormon (Both Muhammad and Joseph Smith claimed an Angel assisted in the dictation of their book). The same Qur’an that subjugates women to men. The same Qur’an that says it’s okay to put “terror into the hearts of the unbelievers”. The same Qur’an that instructs the believers to abstain from friendship and alliances of unbelievers. The same Qur’an that makes it okay to punish people who ignore the “revelations”. Yeah, that one. President Morsi and company are already showing their strict gold and green colors.

A report from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which has not been entirely released to date, is said to address the rights of women – on their rights of sexuality, reproductive rights, rights against violence, etc. But the peaceful, loving Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt are looking to opt-out of the declaration. Apparently the defense of a woman’s right to be equal to a man; ya know, instead of requiring his permission to engage in society, is the problem. A free woman goes against Islamic Law.

As a sovereign nation, Egypt should have the right to opt-out of anything outside of their country. They have the right to not participate with the United Nations. Their sovereignty is not being judged. What is being judged is their reason for wanting out – to continue to treat women as property. But even if the world community could shame President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood to treat the fairer sex more humanely, their choice to act in the strict accordance with the Qur’an also needs to be called out.

How come only a handful of intellectuals are willing to step out of the comfy zone and call bunk! How come only Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris types are brave enough? The lack of backbone on the world’s political leaders to address this is mind boggling. Their choice to appease rather than risk offending is insulting. This is no time to be playing happy footsies with a government stuck in the Dark Ages. Any half-wit who denies the right of anyone based on a book written by an unproven authority, who probably knew less than my seven year old, is not worth taking seriously. And certainly deserves to be left out of the world buffet. This is what Egypt has come to. In a land where women were essentially equals to men under the rule of Pharaoh, they are now in the hands of an ignoramus group of men who treat them like donkeys. Take away the Qur’an and you take away the reason for poor judgement.

Apparently, United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, has no idea or doesn’t care because he recently funnelled $250 million US dollars to Egypt’s government. It was done to assist financial troubles and to promote democracy in the land where North is South (as the Nile runs).

Dear SOS Kerry: There is no democracy in Islam. Only obedience. Obedience to the man who runs things and tells women they must cover themselves in public or risk a good stoning.

The claim that the $250 million was a first installment on a proposed $4.8 billion, promised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is said to be needed to support a financial collapse. Said to have been secured to prop up the economy and address budget deficits. But the full loan has run into snags. No, the IMF hasn’t asked that the Muslim Brotherhood start treating women equally, they have concerns over financial issues like fuel and sales taxes. Nothing at all to do with conditions of equal rights.

Shouldn’t a country like the United States, who thumps its chest at every opportunity to assist worldwide causes towards freedom, exempt itself from this? First and foremost, the United States should never give money to another country. Period. No “Entangling Alliances”, ever. Giving money to one side assures the creation of an enemy on the other side. Once a friend, ends up an enemy. (Note that Hamid Karzai, the guy left to pick up the pieces of Afghanistan after the Taliban / Al-Qaeda alliance broke, is now asking the US to leave his country. So long and thanks for all the fish.) Even if the other country were peaceful Hobbits at the Shire, deserving the support against Sauron, why does any money flow out of the United States until things are fixed here?

We, at Freedom Cocktail have addressed the dangerous dancing the United States has done with Muslim Extremism before. The hand-off of millions of dollars to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt shows that, undoubtedly, the DJ keeps spinning the tunes and the couple remains in an embrace.

This is Detroit today. Kinda looks like a financial crisis here, eh?

Detroitsmall

It’s time to realize

There is something alarming taking place in our country and I think it’s time for us here at Freedom Cocktail to weigh in on it. After all, we tout ourselves as a site focused on the deliberate application of logic and reason when trying to understand the events of the day. And it’s time to do that here.

There is an organization in our country with roots dating all the way back to 1946. Since that time, they have managed to expand to over 1,615 locations in 39 states and Washington, D.C., with annual sales over $4.1 billion. They have had 44 consecutive years of positive gains in the market, even though they choose to remain closed 14% of the year.

Fifteen years ago, this organization had the audacity to be the first-ever title sponsor of the Peach Bowl, eventually having it renamed after their enterprise five years later. This bowl is the annual site of a classic college football match-up and longest-running rivalry between Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Southeastern Conference (SEC) teams. The bowl continues to set records. Just last year, that bowl drew a 15th consecutive sellout crowd to Atlanta’s Georgia Dome to witness the December 31 clash between the ACC’s Virginia Cavaliers and the SEC’s Auburn Tigers.

Because of this, that one game continues to lead all bowls in charitable donations to a variety of charities, including WinShape Homes, and provided a record $6.7 million total payout to participating universities. They have even gone further in college sports to become a corporate sponsor and partner with the Big 12.

Continuing their reach into the world of academia, this company created a Leadership Scholarship Program, offering $1,000 college scholarships to qualified employees, a tradition that has awarded over $30 million in scholarships thus far.

But this is only the tip of this iceberg.

With such wealth, the business owners (who may or may not have done this all on their own — that jury seems to still be out depending on whether you are driven by logic or emotion) created the WinShape Foundation more than 20 years ago.

Under the WinShape Foundation umbrella, there are several programs, including WinShape Homes, which currently operates 11 foster care homes in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. The WinShape College Program at Berry College in Rome, Georgia, is a co-op program offering joint four-year scholarship funding to incoming freshmen of up to $32,000. WinShape Camps offers boys and girls summer programs, which will be attended by more than 15,000 campers this year alone.

Additionally, WinShape also operates the WinShape Retreat, which offers a sequestered setting for marriage support and counseling and other gatherings on the Mountain Campus of Berry College. Held at WinShape Retreat, WinShape Marriage aims to help married couples by offering intervention for couples in crisis, preparation for engaged couples and enrichment for those interested in growing their marriage.

And, like those late-night TV infomercials, just wait, there’s more!

WinShape Wilderness is dedicated to using adventure to equip people to experience real change, not just in a team setting, but also through personal transformation. WinShape Wilderness is an outdoor adventure program that facilitates experiential learning for all audiences in ropes course settings as well as canoeing, rock climbing and backpacking venues.

And WinShape International was founded in January 2005 with a mission to mobilize leaders to transform young people and communities around the world.

BUT…

They are a Christian-based company. They have the audacity to put their faith and their respect for the traditional family before profits, electing to close every single location on Sundays. They have deluded themselves into thinking that this nation of ours was based on the principles of religious freedom. They further elicit a lack of understanding of our society by believing there is right to freedom of speech and expression. They honestly believe that they have the freedom to structure their business as they want — to enact policies and procedures that align with their moral and religious core.

Where do they think they live? This is America, dammit, a land where everyone is free to think what they want as long as it’s not different from those on the militant left. Liberals will fight tooth and nail for Islamists to build a mosque at ground zero, even though the tenants of Islam are far more severe against homosexuality than their Christian brethren, while fighting equally hard to make sure this company never opens another shop again. Why? Because this business chooses to believe in the traditional definition of marriage.

How dare they?

Now, they may have never refused to serve someone based on age, ethnicity, gender, orientation or religious view, but that doesn’t matter. They choose to revere the family and keep a religious center and this is why they must pay. It’s better for the more than 35,000 people to have their jobs taken away so they can go work for a more acceptable company — one for which the left has provided its stamp of approval. After all, history is replete with examples of how much better society is when the fringe can make decisions for everyone else.

It’s time this company recognizes that individuality and uniqueness are no longer acceptable and the sooner they can merge with the collective and embrace sameness, the better. Life is always more enjoyable when we are all identical, with the same beliefs, especially when those beliefs are force-fed to us.

One final note: it’s time to recognize that when a militant movement is filled with indignation, anger, bile and outrage, anything they say is good and righteous. Yes, that may seem like an oxymoron, but that’s only because most people in this country are not educated enough to understand intellectual nuance. When the militant minority, who isn’t having a single right infringed upon, runs into a group that thinks differently than they do, it’s their duty to tear that group apart. They deserve to be impugned, castigated, vilified and eventually destroyed. And since that is being done for a good reason, there is nothing hateful about doing this.

For example, Roseanne Barr nailed it with her back-to-back tweets:

“Anyone who eats S%#@ Fil-A deserves to get the cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ,” later adding, “off to grab a s%#@ fil-A sandwich on my way to worshipping Christ, supporting Aipac and war in Iran.”

This is not hateful because, as we have said, her self-righteous position absolves her from any negative connotation. Her comments represent a wish and hope for the greater good — a wish for people who disagree to contract cancer and die, therefore eliminating those wicked individuals. See how this works? Because the greater good is achieved (the elimination of those who think the wrong way), the comments cannot possibly hold any rancor. Again, as history has demonstrated, this way of thinking always leads to a positive outcome.

True hate can only come from an inherent belief in family traditions, Christian values and the Constitution along with the Bill of Rights.

And that’s why Chick-fil-A is hateful and evil and must burn!

Oh, if you haven’t figured out my tone by now, do us all a favor and stay home on November 6th.

And eat a burger.

Or a celery stalk.