Are Muslim Extremists a Fringe Group?

There’s been plenty of talk already about Newsweek‘s offensive cover… and the backlash… and the backlash to the backlash

… but Ayaan Hirsi Ali‘s cover story is worth discussing just on its own:

The Muslim men and women (and yes, there are plenty of women) who support — whether actively or passively — the idea that blasphemers deserve to suffer punishment are not a fringe group. On the contrary, they represent the mainstream of contemporary Islam. Of course, there are many Muslims and ex-Muslims, in Libya, Egypt, and elsewhere, who unambiguously condemn not only the murders and riots, as well as the idea that dissenters from this mainstream should be punished. But they are marginalized and all too often indirectly held responsible for the very provocation. In the age of globalization and mass immigration, such intolerance has crossed borders and become the defining characteristic of Islam.

It was Voltaire who once said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” As Salman Rushdie discovered, as we are reminded again as the Arab street burns, that sentiment is seldom heard in our time. Once I was ready to burn The Satanic Verses. Now I know that his right to publish it was a more sacred thing than any religion.

Gianluca Mezzofiore at the International Business Times takes issue with Hirsi Ali’s ideas:

Megan Reif, assistant professor of political science at the University of Colorado Denver, has compiled a spread sheet comparing the crowds involved in the so-called Arab Spring and those which have congregated for the current protests.

The result is that the percentages involved in the anti-American incidents are much smaller than those in the Arab uprising in their respective countries. The author also noted that the deaths involved in the so-called Arab Spring were much higher.

“Given that the U.S. is the target of this anger, this disproportionate emphasis is not surprising, but it discounts the fact that the vast majority of Muslims are not protesting the film, US values, or even US policy,” Reif added.

Max Fisher at The Atlantic supports that idea with some numbers:

the fact that these enormous populations — 76 million Muslims in Nigeria, 75 million in Turkey, 29 million in Ethiopia, and so on — across dozens of countries are not protesting shows the extent to which violent protests are the exceptions rather than the norm.

I’m inclined to agree with the Hirsi Ali-dissenters on this one. The extremists are a small but vocal (and dangerous) minority. But when your life has been threatened by those extremists, no doubt the anti-American, anti-secularism rhetoric seems even more overblown than it already is.

That’s not to say we should ignore them or just brush them aside. But let’s not lose perspective and make the false assumption that the majority of Muslims around the world take the Koran as literally as the fundamentalists do. Not all, not the vast majority, not most Muslims are hellbent on killing the infidels. But it sure as hell would be nice if more of them would say that out loud.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Coyotenose

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but it reads like her critics don’t realize that not every potential protester or protest supporter spends his time on the street shouting.

    • David S

      Exactly this. No one thinks every Muslim in the world is ready to head out onto the street and start shouting and breaking things. But I think that a very large percentage, almost certainly above 50 or 70%, of Muslims believe that the death penalty for blasphemy is okay, and sympathize more with the protesters than with the Western ideals of freedom of expression and non-violence in response to disagreement and offense. Islam has always been inherently belligerent and aggressive and violent towards its critics.

      • Hello_world125

        Muslims are also upset at the 10 year occupation/annexation of Iraq by a War-mongering USA who engaged in an illegal and offensive war. A war crime for which the warlord Bush never got to see justice at the international tribunal.

        • http://www.facebook.com/gwydionfrost Daniel Parker

          They are…? How come nobody is carrying “Bring me the head of Bush” signs…?

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pj-Crepeau/1183389480 Pj Crepeau

          Give me a break.
          It’s been nearly 30 years since my friend’s father was killed in the (second) bombing of the Beirut embassy.
          Were they mad about the Iraq War in 1983?

        • Alchemist Soapmaker

          I’m sorry, but what has Bush got to do with this? He’s not the one “blaspheming” Islam. He didn’t make a movie about the bloody prophet, he’s not wiping his backside on any “holy books”. I mean he is a pimple of a man, who has a good deal to answer for, but on this occasion it’s not him.
          I call red herring on this.

      • http://twitter.com/blamer ɹǝɯɐןq

        Where are you pulling 50% from? HUGELY diverse across countries.

        Wrt how many admit they’re okay with those killing for islam (certainly some sympathy in some countries) look down this Pew Survey chart on suicide bombers: http://www.pewforum.org/uploadedImages/Topics/Issues/Politics_and_Elections/bombing[1].gif

        Perhaps that being less than 100% across the board is what terrifies us.

        As for those who’re unconcerned/apathetic wrt those killing for islam (must below 70-50% within these countries) see bottom chart: http://www.pewforum.org/uploadedImages/Topics/Issues/Politics_and_Elections/mainstream[1].gif

        Perhaps a half/third of muslims being equally terrified of extremists might serve to scare the rest of us even further.

  • KP

    I’ve never understood the ‘extremists are a small but vocal minority’ garbage that so many spew out with seemingly little or no basis other than as a cowardice disclaimer to keep their head attached to their shoulders. Where does that come from? How does anyone know how small or large the number is? Personally I’ve seen a smaller minority of Muslims condemning extremism than I have seen extremism, but even that is just a personal observation. Would you say “Mitt Romney is part of a small but vocal minority of extreme conservatism.”? I don’t think so, and I wouldn’t say that as a whole, extremism in Islam is at all rare.

    • David S

      Many people, including many atheists and secularists like Hemant, want desperately to believe that one day we will live in a world where Muslims and Christians and atheists can live side-by-side, and while we may disagree, we’ll all get along in a tolerationist, secular society. I’d like that, too, but our desire for that to happen should not prevent us from identifying evil where it exists and calling it out. People want to seem “tolerant” and avoid “racist” labels. It’s not tolerant to tolerate violence, and criticizing a religion for its teachings and attitudes is in no way racist. 

      Islam *is* *inherently* *violent*, and the majority of Muslims support the stoning of homosexuals and the killing of blasphemers and such, even if they’re not there out on the streets themselves. I’ve never met a Mosque-going Muslim who disagreed with Islam’s penalties for blasphemy, and I live in the States.

      • KP

        Exactly, it’s the same thing as if someone were to avoid calling out the Nazis because, well, they built good highways. Maybe not all Nazis actively took part in killing Jews, but I’m willing to bet they didn’t miss them. Islam is largely an active hate organization that should be treated as such.

  • Fuzz

    Agree with Coyotenose. Ali seems to be suggesting that while the crowds actively and visibly protesting might be small in numbers, the number of people who are not on the streets but still supporting the idea that blasphemy is wrong and should not be allowed (and therefore tacitly supporting the idea behind the protests, if not the method) is quite large. That is a valid point that is not countered by a numerical count of the crowds. The comments I’ve seen from my quite liberal/progressive Muslim friends bears this out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    I’m confused. I get the point from critics that the violent protesters are fringe, but Hirsi Ali never said they weren’t. She said the Muslims who believe blasphemy should be a punishable offence are not fringe. Is this true or not?

    • JC

      Exactly. I do know that it’s true, but I wouldn’t surprised if it was, perhaps just because of what they are used to, but most Muslims currently live under blasphemy laws.

    • Hello_world125

       As it is illegal to question the validity of the Holocaust in most European countries, it is illegal to defame and insult religion in most Muslim countries.

      Law of the land, just as it is the law of the land not to wear niqab in France.

      • Hello, my name is…

         History and religious beliefs aren’t equivalent. And “Look at the bad thing someone else has done” is not a counterargument to “look at the bad thing you’ve done.” Google “deflection”.

        People don’t get lynched, beheaded or blown up for questioning the Holocaust. Google “false equivalency”.

        • Sohan

          It may not be a counterargument, but it does raise a valid point. Supporting the right to free speech means you have to also support the right to Holocaust denial. I do. I think people who deny the holocaust look like fools, but prosecuting them (doesn’t have to be lynching – degree is irrelevant here as long as there is a legal penalty) reeks of hypocrisy and only gives them more legitimacy.

          • Angtpy

            The only thing that reams of hypocrisy is the fact that so called “liberals ” support Muslims while their culture is the most fascist on earth.

    • http://twitter.com/blamer ɹǝɯɐןq

      One is tempted to suggest if unpopular than the global trend would be winding back blasphemy laws…

      >>59 countries (30%) have a law, rule or policy at some level of government forbidding blasphemy, apostasy, or defamation of particular religions or religion in general. >>Penalties for violating these laws, ranging from fines to imprisonment to death, enforced in 44 of the 59 countries.

      Pew @ August 2011, http://www.pewforum.org/Government/Rising-Restrictions-on-Religion(6).aspx

  • TheG

    If the number of protesters against the films is much smaller than the number of demonstrators in the Arab Spring, does this really show there is more support for democracy than punishing blasphemers? Because if it does, the much, much smaller number (zero) of Muslims protesting the murder of US State Officials and destroying embassies shows how few Muslims support rational discourse over violence.

    • Hello_world125

       Using your assumed logic, the number of Muslims (zero) demonstrating in support of the Murder of the US State Officials is also descriptive of the number of Muslims who support his murder.

      • TheG

        That’s the point.  The logic they are using could be used to extrapolate just about anything.  I don’t see any Muslims protesting the McRib, therefore Islam must be in support of that delicious pork-fest.

      • Hello, my name is…

         Your knee-jerk opposition is causing you to lash out without reading and thinking, HW.

    • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

      “Because if it does, the much, much smaller number (zero) of Muslims protesting the murder of US State Officials and destroying embassies shows how few Muslims support rational discourse over violence.”

      That’s not accurate. Many major Islamic organizations came out to say they weren’t ok with this violence. There were direct rallies for the US. See for example 
      http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/pro-american-rallies-benghazi-libya-gallery-1.1158457

  • shouldbeworkin

    It should be pointed out that while Coyotenose and KP are correct in their assessment, we also do not have data behind Ayaan Hirsi Ali‘s claim either.

  • shouldbeworkin
  • http://twitter.com/AchronTimeless Achron Timeless

    There’s really only one response to this:
    If they’re so fringe, then do something about them. They’re making you and your entire culture look bad… unless you really agree with what they’re doing and just know you have to sit nodding your head on the sidelines unless you want to look like a psychopath. 

    If that’s not the case, then take this supposed overwhelming majority of rational peace loving people and put a stop to the extremists.

    There you have it, a short and sweet open letter to all muslims. One which, unfortunately, we already pretty much know the answer to.

    • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

      Well said. If the extremists are truly such a minority, they’d long ago have been silenced by the more moderate majority. My own guess is that the non-rioting majority is either entertained by the extremists, or sympathetic with them to a degree (but not to the point of wanting to join them in the streets). In other words, the extremists aren’t really as much of a “fringe” as is being said.

      I note, however, that this is hardly a Middle Eastern or Muslim failing. Here in the US among Christians we have guys like Marion “Pat” Robertson who say outrageous things almost constantly; more moderate Christians always disavow them, but they never manage to do anything to rebuke them, revoke their ordinations, silence them, get them off the air, etc. They all appear happy to let them blather on however they want. I suspect a lot of them are actually more like these cranks than they’ll admit to. They HAVE to be … because otherwise the wingnuts would have no source of funding and no audience to play up to.

      • http://twitter.com/AchronTimeless Achron Timeless

        I’m not sure which I love more, your response or your user name.

        “The Corps is mother, the Corps is father”

        • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

          “The Psi Corps is your friend, trust the Corps.”

          “We’re everywhere … for your convenience.”

          “We know what you’re thinking.”

      • Angpty

        I would love to see these moderate Muslims speak up. Remember who it was who brings down Muslims speaking out against radicalism, it is Muslims themselves. So, there you have it.

    • Denis Robert

       Yet, people still firebomb abortion clinics… Why aren’t Americans up in arms that this is still happening?

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

      There have been counter-protests in many Muslim countries, just as we do here for the Westboro-Babtist church.

      Some quick Google results:http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/09/does-not-represent-us-moving-photos-pro-american-rallies-libya/56803/ http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2012/09/14/libyan-american-protests 

      What do you mean by “shut down” other than this?

      • http://twitter.com/AchronTimeless Achron Timeless

        Well, other than the fact that I’d have to actually say the quote “shut down” to mean anything by it…

        Let’s just assume I did for expediency. The actions in those links accomplishes little if anything. You want an end to this? Stop going to churches/temples/mosques/grass huts/wooded areas with people who hold extremist views. Stop electing them into positions of power. Stop doing business with them. Stop supporting the same ideals but differing on the level of action that should be taken. Stop condoning or giving the slightest endorsement or aide to those who are “extremists” if you truly don’t believe the same exact thing they do. Once you have completely ostracized them from your society, they cease to have any power. 

        If they’re just a fringe minority, that should be easy to accomplish within a few months. If it’s actually the majority with only a few going as far as carrying out their marching orders at the moment, well then it’s time to be honest about the situation isn’t it?

        • http://twitter.com/__ICoraxI__ Corax

          If the solution was that easy, every single extremist religious group in every religion would be wiped out. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

          • http://twitter.com/AchronTimeless Achron Timeless

            The solution IS that easy, the problem is that they’re not really fringe minorities. There’s not enough people willing to do it because they actually agree with what’s happening.

        • http://twitter.com/blamer ɹǝɯɐןq

          >>Stop going to… mosques… with people who hold extremist views. Stop electing them into positions of power. Stop doing business with them.

          That isn’t what’s happening, according to the papers here in Melbourne Australia. Our latest arrest; within a local mosque, a charismatic person more strict than the imam began attracting like-minded young men, they broke away starting their own more fundamentalist group, which radicalised itself ever more violently and (allegedly) criminally.

          Peaceful Islam might be somewhat “morally responsible” but it seems rather less involved in aiding-and-abetting its terrifying satellites than @twitter-33835174:disqus might want to suggest.

          Perhaps the masses [no pun] are even more fully unaware, albeit passively or naively. The cops sure were… until they weren’t.

          • http://twitter.com/AchronTimeless Achron Timeless

            Forgive me being blunt, as I was about to crawl into bed and have far too much blood in my caffeine system to draw this out, but as much as you may like your own country, it’s not exactly a seat of power for.. well much of anything except an alarming amount of lethal wildlife. Especially not islam. Whatever bizarre offshoot of islam you’ve got going on over there is a peculiarity at best and I’m not able nor inclined to custom tailor a 30 page document on the regional practices of a particular faith.

            This was over events in a region that spawned the religion  about people who are in that region and commentary on the political and terrorist groups that vie for power using the same religion as justification and often doing similarly terrible things to people. Sorry Melbourne didn’t exactly fit into that dialog because it didn’t have much to do with it.

            • http://twitter.com/blamer ɹǝɯɐןq

              fwiw We’re in furious agreement and I smiled at your ribbing about our alarming wildlife.

              I think my little aussie point still stands; that across the globe, insiders aren’t as actively involved in enforcing Peace as they ought to become.

              The reality of 2012 is, that the rhetoric of Peace we’re hearing –outside mosques– in reaction to riotous murder (emphasizing the “red line” that delineates the muslim world from its imagined infidel enemies) http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/2280812847/Sydney-protest-Uthman-Badar-interview
              sounds like the local holymen of Peace are irresponsibly perpetuating this slippery slope into violent extremism http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafist_jihadism.

              • http://twitter.com/blamer ɹǝɯɐןq

                No doubt this is a global phenomenon, the aussie spruiking in my first link, is #13 here on Why Evolution Is True: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/a-frightening-video-of-muslim-academics-and-scholars-defending-their-faith/

                • http://twitter.com/AchronTimeless Achron Timeless

                  The best credit I’ll give your bunch is that they’re just doing what the others are. If they go further, it’s to show they’re REAL muslims to the rest of the bunch. The seat of power is in the middle east, cut off the head and the body will die.

                  Don’t get me wrong though, I’ve got a few aussie friends I’m always joking with and would love to visit some day except for 2 issues:

                  1. The aforementioned wildlife. Seriously, what the heck is going on over there? Everything can kill you within minutes. I’d never leave my hotel room.

                  2. The irrational fear I’d end up trapped on a magical moving island on my way home. Damn show gets in your head…

    • Amakudari

      Exactly. And we can find proxies for this support of religious fundamentalism very easily, such as the penalties for apostasy and blasphemy. In most Islamic countries it’s death and long prison terms for both. Some countries are far better than others, but it’s in the worst where these protests occur generally.

      I really hate a “with us or against us” attitude, but it’s far more disingenuous for people to imply that these protesting minorities are actively opposed by their fellow citizens.

  • L.Long

    I say for islam the same as I do for Xtians.  The moderates are just as guilty as the extremist .  When the moderates say ” the (insert text) is not literal and the violent parts are to be removed.” is when I believe they are moderates. Till then they are extremists without balls. And they give extremists a place to hide when needed.

    • Angpty

      Yes because Christians riot and kill on the sight of cartoons and movies.

    • http://twitter.com/blamer ɹǝɯɐןq

      Not “just as guilty” but yes to some extent “morally responsible”. 

      And you and I are too, just to a lesser extent again. “What can we do about it?” is no longer a reasonable excuse for outsiders. Alas most of us value our personal safety more than we value improving the world for the next generation. Bravery sure ain’t for everyone, including for sure this little black duck.

  • Sven

    The difference is this: education.
    The rioters are overwhelmingly uneducated.  Most of them are completely illiterate.  They are poor, highly superstitious and -this part is critical- they believe what they are told to believe.  Think about it: how are all these bumpkins even HEARING about some low-budget YouTube trailer?  Because they’re being manipulated by people.

    Among educated, literate Muslims, the riots have been met with near-universal condemnation.  Among educated, literate Muslims, it is TRUE that almost nobody is a crazy extremist.  Unfortunately, in that part of the world, most people (including Muslims) have received almost no education, and the literacy rate is staggeringly low.

    This is a trend.  Among American Christians, you’ll see a higher rate of fundamentalism among people who are poorer and less-educated.

    • ortcutt

       Most the 9/11 terrorists had college degrees.  Greater education doesn’t always equate with greater moderation.

      • Sven

        There is a distinction to be made between the “fundamentalists” and the “terrorists”.  The terrorists have political agendas.  The fundamentalists are simple gullible angry people.

  • Mairianna

    Important to note that she says that those who do nothing are as dangerous as the extremists themselves and there are MANY Muslims who passively let this happen; out of ignorance and fear.  Non-extremist Muslims are afraid to speak out in the countries where Islam is in the majority or controls the government.   I totally understand what she is saying.   She has said it before:  This religion is dangerous. 

    • Hello_world125

       “Non-extremist Muslims are afraid to speak out in the countries where Islam is in the majority or controls the government.  ”

      Non-extremist Muslims are vocal and do talk out. It doesn’t always get on youtube. There is a lot that happens in the world that doesn’t get recorded and put on youtube. Sitting behind a computer without ever stepping foot in a Muslim country and forming all your ‘informed’ opinions based on what you read on the internet or see in TV brings to mind the adage that a little knowledge is more dangerous than complete ignorance. Step into a Friday sermon in downtown Cairo or Tunis or Abu Dhabi (where yes women do attend as well) and you would find Imam’s imploring the worshipers not to react to the anti-islam video. Imam’s using Hadith to counter the logic put forward by those who do froth at the mouth. Such sermons, debates don’t get recorded, published, broadcasted, but the impact is not any less in that particular community, neighborhood.

      If you totally understand what a bigotted islamophobe and supporter of a far-right wing party who counts among her friends a Hitleresque Geert Wilders, is saying, then it is evident how dangerous you are.

      • Hello, my name is…

         You’re ignorant of how many people we collectively know who have come from or been in Muslim countries and have shared their experiences. Very odd, considering the Person Who Is The Focus Of This Blog Post.

        The fact that these imams even have to tell their people to be calm and not react violently to a badly made video from another continent in another language that would have gone almost unnoticed except for the aggressive responses to it, a video that was obviously made to draw out the bad behavior of ignorant, violent people, a video that almost none of them even saw, is support for our case, not yours. If the only religious leaders who are putting their ideas out there for everyone to see are the extremists, GUESS WHOSE FAULT THAT IS.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

           Won’t let me “Like” this, +1 to you.

      • SabsDkPrncs

         Can you tell me, because as a person living in Abu Dhabi I don’t know about it, where other than the Grand Mosque a woman can attend “sermons” (which here they call prayers).

        • Hello_world125

           Women can attend mosques. Are you having fun with your fat salary pay check living in Abu Dhabi and yet being a closet bigoted Islamophobe? Scumbags like you should be sent back where you came from.

          • Angpry

            Scumbags like you should live with sharia law. Ignorant liberal.

      • Angpry

        Either you are a Muslim yourself, or an ignorant liberal who defends a fascist culture which supports sharia Law because you don’t want to be called a racist. Am I correct? If not please explain. How is Islam not a dangerouse religion and culture?

  • Octoberfurst

      I have mixed feelings about this. Yes the crowds that are rioting are relatively small—several thousand people usually.  But does this mean they are the “fringe?”  There were counter-demonstrations, in Libya for instance, where a very small number of people came out with signs saying that this violence did not represent Islam & apologized for the attacks.  Do they represent the silent majority or do the rioters?  Is the majority silent out of fear? Or do they say nothing because they agree with the rioters? Frankly I have no idea. I’d like to think it is the former but I fear it might be the latter.
       This reminds me of when my progressive Christian friends say that the Religious Right/Tea Party represents only a tiny minority of Christians. But yet they have had tremendous success in getting their people elected. So who really is in the minority here?  It seems to me  that the majority of  Christians like the Religious Right and what it stands for.  Why else would they be so successful?  Where are all the “moderate” Christians standing up against the theocrats on the Right?  I find such things disturbing.   It is my personal opinion that religious people LIKE those who are hard-core and have a take-no-prisoners attitude even if they themselves aren’t overly religious.  They admire them for their zeal.  (I was that way when I was a Christian.)
       Religion will always be a danger to freedom and it is our job to be vigilant and try to keep the crazies in check.
     

    • http://twitter.com/blamer ɹǝɯɐןq

      I agree. “Minority” is a misleading word. If the minority of people control the majority of resources, they are no longer a minority at all. 

      The minority of catholics are the pope.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Sigh.  I know I’m cursed with being anal retentive about such things, but

    It was Voltaire who once said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

    No.  He didn’t.  Not even in French. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Beatrice_Hall

    • LesterBallard

      I thought it was “I don’t understand a word you say, but I’ll fight to the death your right to confuse me”.

    • Drew M.

      Well, then I am anal retentive too, because it irked the shit out of me as well.

  • ZenDruid

    Westboro Salafi Madrassa….

  • George Peterson

    As long as there is anyone who believes in a holy book that prescribes death to nonbelievers, I will not be satisfied with the notion that a majority of those faithful are moderates.  This is true for The Bible and Koran.

    • Angpty

      The bible tells you to try and convert those non-Christians, it doesent tell you to murder them as does the Koran. There is the difference.

      • http://twitter.com/blamer ɹǝɯɐןq

        The bible is full of fables containing nonchristians and violent rhetoric.

        John 3:36 he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

        If @google-9784067fc7d10b4633065f18a0565236:disqus is a charismatic enough leader he can start a christian cult that insists strictly that verse is literal and instructive (so the prophets say of the god they have in mind) not merely fictional and descriptive.

        Just like Genesis 1:1-3.

  • Vincevanburen

    The cover is sensationalist, but it contains a harsh reality — namely that there is as you point out a vocal and dangerous minority of those who believe they’re entitled to never be offended by anyone, anywhere. 

    http://www.policymic.com/articles/14948/newsweek-cover-muslim-rage-headline-gets-it-right

  • Glasofruix

    The muslim faith must be reeeeeeally shallow if it can’t stand the slightest criticizm (constructive or not) without sending thousands of idiots into a murderous frenzy.

  • ortcutt

     84% of Egyptian Muslims, 86% of Jordanian Muslims and 76% of Pakistani Muslims support the death penalty for people who leave Islam.  That’s a lot of people who support a very extreme and violent position.

    http://www.pewglobal.org/2010/12/02/muslims-around-the-world-divided-on-hamas-and-hezbollah/

  • Gordon Duffy

    Cenk Ugyur was very clear and passionate about this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PaOfycgyCg

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pj-Crepeau/1183389480 Pj Crepeau

    This is one of those points where the accommodationists and the more hard-core atheists part company.

    The violent ones may be a small minority of Muslims, but they are the driving force behind Islam, and nothing can change that.

    And some people refuse to acknowledge that.

  • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

    She said “actively or passively”. You cannot measure the passive supporters by protest numbers. You measure them indirectly by how many people aren’t speaking against violence. Those violent mandates are in their Koran, but how many Muslims are telling us that their guidebook is wrong?

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Ummm… ZERO.

    • Angpty

      Thank you; the problem with Islam lies within the Koran itself. Anyone who is serious about the religion of islam will very likely support killing of any Christian or non-Muslim (otherwise known as infidels ) if you do not agree, please educate yourself by reading the Koran. It is very different from any religion you may know.when political correctness causes you to lie to yourself, you tend to lose a little sense of pride.

  • Georgina

    I am so tired of the minority/majority argument. In 1921 Adolf Hitler became head of the socialist/Labour party.
    In 1933, his National Socialist German Labour Party won – with the backing of  all the country’s socialists (NOT nationalists!) and the communist contingent, at which point he cancelled all elections.

    In 1939, just a few percent of the countries 80 millions were actually members of the so-called  “Nazi Party”, although many were socialists.

    The ‘extremists’ had taken over the country, and woe betide anyone opposing them.

    We see this pattern again and again, people believe in religion & democracy – in comes the Muslim Brotherhood. 
    People believe in socialism and prosperity, in come the fascists.

    It is not the numbers of the extremists that is important – it is the extremes to which they are willing to go. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Kokch/100000074576649 Sandy Kokch

    Ayaan is having a stopped clock moment. She is utterly wrong in her portrayal as the facts bear out.

    And as for all these false arguments points about how the Muslim world does not speak out – again utterly untrue. Some clerics do condemn the violence after every such event.

    And I will start lending credence to that line of argument the day I hear a senior official of the Catholic Church specifically condemn Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich for the stuff they say and propose that is diametrically opposite to RCC central doctrine, yet they sell it as being in line with their Catholic beliefs. Or the heads of the Southern Baptists condemn that church where the couple could not get married because they were black. Or…. and on and on and on.

    • Angpry

      Not speaking out about something that does not conform with the RCC is different then sitting by while your religion supports MURDER. It’s really a joke that you liberals defend the most fascist culture in the world. It’s a JOKE.

  • Zomgjesuswasgay

    christopher is dead…. long live ayaan!

  • Alchemist Soapmaker

    I once heard a theory ( can’t be sure where but perhaps Dawkins?) that it is not the fundamentalist Christians we should fear, but rather the moderates, for it is they who make such ridiculous ideas respectable in the first place.
    Perhaps this theory can be applied to Islam too?
    ( Sorry to Mr. Dawkins if I have assigned this to him in error, or misquoted.)

  • Maxov Max

    The vast majority of Muslims do not control the direction of Islam. They are not in control of their religion.The Radical Muslims are the true Muslims that dictate and control Islam. They are the ones that fight to get what they want based on Islamic Law. Fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history as they always have. It is the fanatics who march and protest. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.This is a war. Where is moderate Islam? Does it exist? If so, then where?We must also encourage the debate on Islam. Is Islam a religion or a political movement in the guise of religion? What is the ultimate goal of Islam? Isn’t it true that Muslims everywhere must strive to overthrow the government and establish the caliphate? How can Muslims be loyal to the country in which they live, to its democracy and constitution, and at the same time belong to a party or cult that aims to destroy that democracy and subdue that country? These questions should not be swept under the carpet. They must be discussed in open debates and Muslims must be asked to answer them.It’s never too late to make a change in your life. ……
    http://max-balkanboy.blogspot.nl/2012/09/we-are-living-in-middle-of-global-jihad.html

  • Mikc78

    So what should be done about the protesters?

    Where they break the law – they should be punished in accordance with each countries laws.
    The fact that they might be nut-jobs and believe in beheading non-believers is largely irrelevant. Until they break the law they can think whatever they want.

    I will never respect religion – they can’t make me. The extremists will never respect freedom, we can’t make them.

    However laws can be upheld. If they behead someone, expect repercussions. other than that protests all you like extremists – your just taking your organisation one step closer to be declared a terrorist organisation and having the west confiscate your assets (read mosques).

  • Brucepurdum

    If ‘Muslim extremists’ are a minority,
    Where is the majority Muslim condemnation and discouragement of the radical acts of violence and distruction so common in the world today?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001834819552 Stefan Perovic

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