Are Muslim Extremists Worse Than Extremists of Other Faiths?

On Friday night’s Real Time with Bill Maher, Maher interviewed Brian Levin of the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. As you might expect, the discussion began with a mention of the religious beliefs (Islam) of the Boston bombers. (There’s no evidence yet, of course, linking their religious beliefs to their actions.)

Levin argued that religious extremism, if that’s what this was, isn’t limited to Islam. There are extremists in just about every faith.

Maher called that “liberal bullshit” and the argument began:

Maher: I mean there’s only one faith, for example, that kills you, or wants to kill you, if you draw a bad cartoon of the Prophet. There’s only one faith that kills you, or wants to kill you, if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam. So, you know, I’m just saying, let’s keep it real.

I have to agree with that — let’s keep it all in perspective. Sure, there are fringe radicals everywhere — we’ve seen abortion doctors killed by Christian extremists — but when even “moderate” Muslims in America get wildly offended by mere drawings of their prophet, when honor killings occur to young women in Muslim families in westernized nations, when criticism of the faith is quickly labeled as “Islamophobia,” there’s a serious problem with the religious. Christians may be as wrong as Muslims, but they wouldn’t dream of killing you for leaving the faith or retaliating with violence at an offensive depiction of Jesus. They’ll get offended and say crazy things, but that’s usually as bad as it gets.

When I went to see “The Book of Mormon” musical — something Maher later refers to — the Playbill included cleverly-placed ads encouraging people to visit the (real) Mormon Church. Nice move on their part. Would that happen in the case of a musical that poked fun at Islam? Would such a production even be allowed to go on? Of course not. The fear that prevents that from happening is very real. And Maher was simply saying that there are more than just a few Muslim extremists who take extraordinary measures to respond to mild offenses.

The problem with Islam is not that most Muslims are bad people — that’s obviously not true. The problem is that even many of the moderates tend to view apostates and critics of their faith in the worst possible light. It’s hard to envision a “Muslim Left,” though there’s a very vocal Christians Left. It’s hard to find moderate Muslim groups that will defend freedom of speech on Everybody Draw Muhammad Day and not flip out over anyone who left the faith and now speaks out against it. People like Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali have had their lives threatened (and seen friends die) because they left Islam. Meanwhile, ex-Christians probably make up half the Internet.

The fact that Maher defended other religious groups just to prove his point shows you how easy this idea is to refute. All religions are not the same when it comes to their extremists. They differ in numbers and beliefs about how to handle opposition to their faith.

And let’s not forget that Maher himself is often billed as a “militant atheist” even though the most “militant” he’ll ever get is everything you just saw in that clip.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    this is funny, given that the last thread i just read was over at the gay blog, where a bunch of catholic loons sent bullets and a death threat to the French president, telling him they’ll kill him and his family if gay marriage passes in France.

    but sure, Islam is worse. or something.

    like i said on another post: call me when it’s militant muslims trying to keep me from having an abortion, marry my girlfriend, teach science in a public school science class, or get and keep a job as an out atheist and lesbian. in the Good Ole Freedumb lovin’ US of Krist, i mean America, muslims are not the problem.

    please don’t throw 9/11 in my face. that’s the great nullifier of rational argument in this country when it comes to religious extremism. because 9/11 happened, xtians and murderous haters in this country have gotten a pass, and the media continues to ignore the real, daily threat xtians present. Bill M is a member of that same media, and they have orders never to criticize the xtians too harshly.

    also: there’s soooooo much more money to be made, by warmongerers, mercenary outfits, arms dealers, security services, and the media in a perpetual War on Islam! Terrah! Terrah! Terrah! than on the relatively boring and “unsexy” project of combatting xtian fundamentalism in this country. that would take real political capital, long and concerted effort, and going against the social grain. in other words, bravery. again, another thing media bobbleheads like BM lack.

    • http://twitter.com/KevinSagui Kevin Sagui

      I don’t think your point and Maher’s point are mutually exclusive. The worst of fundamentalist Islam *is* worse than fundamentalist Christianity. That those atrocities by and large take place elsewhere around the globe doesn’t mean they aren’t worse than what Christians do. At the same time, they don’t have the same impact on our everyday life that Christian extremism does, because that’s the extremism we have here. We can and should acknowledge both points, instead of placing them in contrast to each other.

    • Matt

      Christians suck. I agree. Now, with that out of the way, let me pose a question: what do you think the chances are you’d still be alive to fight for gay rights and speak out against your governing body if you were born and raised in a Muslim nation?

      That’s why Islam is worse than Christianity.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

        i am an historian. i have many friends, as a result of my training, from the ME. i’m here to tell you friend: every “privilege” you think western women enjoy, that ME women don’t? you’re missing the point.

        not’s not religion, it’s class. it’s not race, it’s class. income, wealth, opportunity- the 1% have that, you don’t, i don’t. trust me when i say: there’s a Muslim woman out there who will have a better chance of making big $$$, getting into harvard, whatever standard you choose, than you will… and the fact that she covers her head won’t enter into that at all.

        religion is for dividing the Little People. very few of the oligarchs actually subscribe to the tenants of ‘faith.’ this is a harsh truth, for those of us participating in “get one half of the poor to kill the other half.” it’s still true.

        • vincent findley

          Matt is not missing the point at all, he hit a bullseye.

    • Rovin’ Rockhound

      I have to agree there. This post made me think of that college student who was enraged about having to step on a piece of notebook paper with “Jesus” written on it a few weeks ago, the death threats that students like Jessica Alquist get for trying to keep religion (in all cases it seems to be Christianity) out of schools, the condoned bullying of gay teens by school administrators, the death of children by parents who “trust god” and refuse medical care, child abuse a la Michael and Debi Pearl… sure, most of those cases are not outright murders like Muslim honor killings, but that might be different if there were enough people who would publicly accept the killings to lower the societal (and penal) pressures.

    • J-Rex

      There are more Christians in our country, which gives them a stronger influence and day to day, I feel a lot more anger towards them. But I still much prefer a predominantly Christian country to a predominantly Muslim one. I haven’t been killed for leaving Christianity and no one has threatened me for it.

      • phranckeaufile

        I don’t think the difference is so much between predominantly Christian and predominantly Muslim as it is between predominantly secular and predominantly theocratic.

    • LesterBallard

      They have orders? You mean like from some conspiracy?

      • allein

        was that on the flow chart from a couple posts ago?

        • LesterBallard

          Ha Ha!

    • DKeane123

      In the US, Christians are the ones to worry about (mostly from a theocracy point of view). When looking globally, Islam wins hands down. Strictly from the perspective of women we have:
      - Genital mutilation.
      - Women as property.
      - No education for women (poisoning of wells and shooting children for such an offense).
      - Not allowed to drive in many countries.
      - Type “What does stoning a person to death Iran” into Google Images. Check out the specific procedure for women.
      - Punishments for raped women (don’t worry about the dude). Usually a public flogging, jail time and rejection by her family

      Your Christian example is a threat from what is likely a very small minority in France – Islam carries this stuff out on a huge scale.

    • rhodent

      “like i said on another post: call me when it’s militant muslims trying
      to keep me from having an abortion, marry my girlfriend, teach science
      in a public school science class, or get and keep a job as an out
      atheist and lesbian.”

      Regarding the “keep you from having an abortion” part, please see the graph at this link (http://filipspagnoli.wordpress.com/stats-on-human-rights/statistics-on-health/statistics-on-abortion/) and note that abortion is illegal in most majority-Muslim nations, with many of them not even making exceptions to protect the life/health of the woman.

      Now, regarding the bit about marrying your girlfriend or get and keep a job as an out atheist and lesbian, check out this map (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2012/05/gay-marriage-where-its-allowed-around-the-world.html). Note how there’s not a single majority-Muslim country where same-sex marriage is legal, and there many where homosexuality is punishable. Note how every single country where homosexuality is a capital offense is majority-Muslim. There’s also this map (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/10/the-seven-countries-where-the-state-can-execute-you-for-being-atheist/) which shows where you can be jailed or executed for being an atheist. Again, they’re all majority-Muslim countries.

      So as best as I can tell, your post can basically be summed up as “I only care about who’s affecting me.” Needless to say, this is the very epitome of self-centeredness. The fact that you are alive and not in jail and able to stay that way after calling yourself “an out atheist and lesbian” is all the proof I need to show that yes, Muslim extremists really are worse than Christian extremists.

      • Spuddie

        Its a debate between apples and oranges. Between being critical of laws in a democracy and not bothering to acknowledge the other one is a dictatorship.

        Most of the majority muslim nations are dictatorships. They won’t do any civil liberties well. So comparing them to what goes on in a democracy will not be a real comparison. It certainly skews things enough that blaming the difference on religion becomes rather silly.

        • rhodent

          I don’t think the democracy/dictatorship difference explains what’s going on here, for a couple of reasons:

          1. As noted, every single country where homosexuality is a capital offense is majority-Muslim. There are dictatorships that are not majority-Muslim, and clearly none of them make homosexuality into a capital offense. So apparently Muslim dictatorships are more likely to kill you for being a homosexual than non-Muslim dictatorships.

          2. Indonesia is considered the most democratic Muslim nation, and it is one of the countries where atheism is against the law (it is not a capital offense but you can be jailed for it). So apparently Muslim democracies are still willing to jail you for atheism.

          • Spuddie

            You are completely incorrect.

            In most dictatorships it is a capital offense (or as close to one as you get). Even anti-religious Communist regimes made such things criminal and subject to either death or imprisonment. Even China does this.

            Any government “in bed” with religious authorities do this. Uganda is a perfect example of a democracy which does this. I challenge you to find a dictatorship which has liberal attitudes on the subject.

            Wrong on that one too. Bosnia is a more fully democratic nation and has no such laws. Turkey is muslim majority and does not have such laws either. Neither do several Central Asian republics.

            Indonesia is hardly the most democratic Muslim nation. It goes through occasional bouts of authoritarianism and has a government which uses Islam as a way to stave off the dozens of potential political/ethnic conflicts endemic tot he nation. Again, my point of a government in bed with religion. Indonesia only declares homosexuality illegal in Aceh province.Not the entire nation.

    • vincent findley

      You are only fooling yourself young lady if you think 911 is just a nullifier. Have you been following the news with blinders on the 12 1/2 years since.

      • John (not McCain)

        “Young lady”? Really? Next will you rap her knuckles with a ruler?

        • vincent findley

          What would have been an acceptable response for you John(not McCain)? She seems like a very intelligent person, one who probably speak for herself.

          • Charles Honeycutt

            And now you’re trying to cover up your dismissiveness with the incredibly disingenuous notion that people here aren’t allowed to speak on the behalf of others. You were condescending. Deal.

            • vincent findley

              Where did I say that Charlio? You do however have a penchant for sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. I’ve read her posts and she is more than capable of an intellectual rebuttal without the help of a monger.

            • vincent findley

              ..

            • vincent findley

              Where did I say thar Charlio? However I do notice that you have a penchant for sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. I have read her posts and she is perfectly capable of an intellectual rebuttal without the help of a monger. You know you can only kiss so much ass before you choke on shit.

        • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

          Seriously, what a condescending, patronizing way to refer to someone.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        You had to ignore the entire paragraph after the word “nullifier” to take that from what CD wrote. Was that intentional?

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

          Very much intentional. He learned it from his “uncle” (assuming “vincent” isn’t just a sockpuppet for Findouche312…)

          • vincent findley

            And you wonder why people crank on you oh pity party one.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

          anybody who has ever read “dune” by herbert will recall H telling the KH “but i’m Young! /stamps feet/ “young!”

          heh, thanks for the compliment. call me a whippersnapper anytime, buddy. ;-)

        • vincent findley

          Not at all.

    • http://profiles.google.com/uncoolmom Cary Whitman

      Very good points. From the standpoint of Americans, living in America and concerned for our own, and our families, safety and well being, Christian extremists are a much bigger threat. The analogy that immediately comes to my mind is people who consider flying too dangerous, yet commute to work by car every day, which is statistically MUCH more dangerous. When Muslim extremist blow something up in the US, it’s a huge deal, all over the news, everyone freaks out, it’s like an airplane falling out of the sky. But like the airplane, in the grand scheme of things, it hardly ever happens. Christian extremists are more like car accidents, you don’t hear about them unless their really big or right in your neighborhood, but they are much more likely to be detrimental to many, many more people as they elect tea party extremists, whittle away at our rights, destroy families, eliminate healthcare options, etc.. As an American the threats to my own well being are much greater from Christians than from Muslims.

      From a world wide perspective a lot of you have some good points about Muslim extremism being worse, but I question the value of having this debate at all. It seems a little like arguing who would win a fight between Superman and Spider-Man. What difference does it make? Both religions are threats to personal freedom and the well being of millions of people.

  • aoscott

    I can agree with this, but I think we need to be careful with how we react to this idea. Part of the big debate with Harris recently is that he used this opinion to give support to US policies that single out Muslim communities/countries and do some fucked up shit to them.

  • rustygh

    How come its so tough to get people to say the truth?
    Of course Muslim Islam is worse, they blow shit up, they attach bombs to their being. Duh!
    As far as I’m concerned, treat all religions like the nut jobs they are.
    But Islamic worse, yes!

    • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

      “they blow shit up”

      Add up the total amount of stuff and number of people blown up over the last decade by Islamist terrorist on one hand, and by the strongly Christian US military on the other. Considerably more shit has been blown up by the latter.

      • SeekerLancer

        While I want to agree with your sentiment of “Christians also kill people,” your statement is a false dichotomy. The army doesn’t act because someone blasphemed Christianity, it’s not commanded by a church and it’s not even entirely Christian.

        • KaeylynHunt

          Ask Mikey weinstein about that.Ask Bush,who publicly called it a “Crusade” and said that the “Right”God was on our side&that we would “stomp out The false God of Islam”.Ask the thousands of soldiers who were forced to convert Muslims at gunpoint if necessary whilst over there if our Military isn’t COMPLETELY Christian controlled and our wars not Religious Based.because you sir,are FULL OF IT if you think otherwise!

          • SeekerLancer

            I don’t like Bush, but just because he used some poorly worded rhetoric doesn’t actually make the war in Iraq a Christian crusade.

            As for “thousands of soldiers who were forced to convert Muslims at gunpoint,” I can only say “citation needed.”

            I’m not denying that there were probably soldiers who have done horrible things in the middle east in the name of Christianity but the stuff you’re saying is the realm of conspiracy theories.

            • Dubliner

              Do you remember the bible codes inscribed into the scopes for the military riffles. being used against the Afghans? And Crhis Rodda has many stories to tell of the Christian extremism in the US army.

              • SeekerLancer

                Like I said I’m not denying there are examples of individuals who are Christian extremists in the military. I’m also not trying to make the argument that Christian extremists are any less violent than Muslim ones.

              • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

                Yes, it’s true that Trijicon engraves a bible verse on their sights. So?
                Trijicon sights are made by religious people, but they work. Most people who’ve been using them for years–people like me–never realized the religious inscriptions were there.

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

                  Trijicon has (or had) a government contract, thus resulting in a de-facto government endorsement of Christianity — this is a violation of the Constitution.

                • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

                  I’m sorry, I don’t see how. The government does not endorse Christianity by ordering a product from a Christian manufacturer. Don’t get me wrong, I find the etching of one’s religious scripture on a tool I want to buy eye-rolling, but it’s a non-issue.

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

                  Government contract == DE FACTO ENDORSEMENT OF RELIGION.

          • Charles Honeycutt

            Conspiracy theory there. And Bush made a point of saying that Christians and Muslims worship the same god.

            • KaeylynHunt

              Consipracy?How so when he said it PUBLICLY?Here is not only a montage of Bush’s Freudian Slips,but a GREAT review of all the so called”peaceful’Bible verses used to JUSTIFY it.Including what”good Christians”teach their Kids:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O92Wpn3T3dw

          • http://twitter.com/Don_Gwinn Don_Gwinn

            OK, I’d like to ask some. Where can I go to find out about thousands of coalition soldiers forcing Muslims to undergo conversion to Christianity? I find it odd that I haven’t heard about this before, but I’ll be happy to look at your sources.

      • vincent findley

        Don’t forget the amount of non Christian US military doing the blowing up also. Regardless of how small the percentage there are some of your faction that does that too, correct?

      • rustygh

        False, not true, incorrect. This is the kind of BS expected. The US is not some religious entity going off because they don’t like other religions. Islamic terrorist do! The US also goes through NATO.

        • Gus Snarp

          Bush called the “war on terror” a crusade. There are similar comments from a number of highly ranked U.S. Military officers. And all of the stated reasons for invading Iraq were blatantly false. And NATO did not support the war in Iraq. Which alone killed more innocent civilians than every terrorist attack, ever.

          If you really want to argue that Islam is worse, then it would be wise to stick to honor killings and fatwahs, rather than focusing on terrorism, which is a geopolitical tool and can be fairly compared with war.

          • Charles Honeycutt

            terrorism, which is a geopolitical tool and can be fairly compared with war.

            Fair statement, even though it tends to make people instinctively bristle. Everyone forgets how many acts of terrorism were involved in the American War of Independence, or the Civil War.

      • Blacksheep

        The US Army is not a Christian organization.

        • baal

          Not for lack of trying. CF Chris Rodda (this week in christian nationalism) or Justin Griffith (Rock beyond Belief) blog on FTB.

        • Charles Honeycutt

          You haven’t read this blog very often to think that’s completely true.

          • Blacksheep

            Sure I have – you mean reading this blog would be my reason for believing that the US military is a Christian organization? I know that it’s not, it’s pretty clear and obvious.

      • NogahdzNoughmasters

        Wait..wut? how is that..I ..but..how can you…I just….GAH!
        I used to be in that organization (military). We blew PLENTY of shit up. None of it I was involved in had even a hint of it being religiously motivated, ever. If some schmucklehead did somewhere (which i’m sure has happened), It was at the lower levels in spite of a concerted effort by the leadership to stamp that stuff out. They know how stupid that would be, politically. Yes, even Bush [shudders] was not that dumb.

        • Charles Honeycutt

          He was that dumb, unfortunately. Bush’s religion was manipulated by those around him. Even the briefings handed to him contained Biblical quotes pasted over images of flags and military hardware in use in order to subtly encourage a connection between Christianity and his wars.

          It occurred at the lower levels, but also at the highest. Religion was the useful idiot of geopolitical, financial, and simple revenge concerns.

          • 3lemenope

            Nah, for me, watching the ’94 Texas gubernatorial debates put the “George W. Bush is a hapless idiot” theory to bed permanently. Ann Richards was a seriously accomplished, articulate, and effective debater. She got creamed. And while she might have been having an off-day, he wasn’t accidentally having an “on-day”.

            They also generally don’t put complete idiots in the pilot seats of multi-million dollar planes.

            The folksy charm thing was just that, a put on. The guy was smart enough. His failings were elsewhere.

  • http://twitter.com/daviddowdy01 David Dowdy

    As a rule, Xtian extremists don’t use terrorism. Instead, they undermine our gov’t from within the system.

    • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

      You might want to confirm that with the widow of Dr. George Tiller.

      Seriously, every White supremacist group in the US. has a Christian basis. I’d be willing to go as far as saying a “Protestant Christian” basis. There may be Catholic or Eastern Orthodox ones, but I’ve never heard of one. The KKK uses burning crosses, FFS.

    • Spuddie

      Wrong. As a rule Christian Extremists don’t have the connections to government to export terrorist acts in the same way that Muslims do. In Guatemala and Bosnia tens of thousands were killed in sectarian genocide by Christian extremists with the sanction of government(s). Both rampages ended in the early 90′s.

      • vincent findley

        Citation please.

        • Spuddie

          Look in Wikipedia for Peter Montt and the Bosnian conflict.

          You might also want to figure out why Saudi Arabia has thousands of extremist madrassas and no independent news sources.

          Maybe read a thing or two about how Pakistan cultivated Muslim extremists for fighting in Afghanistan but also for its efforts in Punjab and Kashmir. Its all out there.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        He was referring to American Christians, not worldwide.

        • Spuddie

          I don’t think so.

    • Sean Lissemore

      I had family die in the Holocaust.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        Okay, and?

        • Sean Lissemore

          Christian extremism led to mass genocide.

  • Lina Baker

    Wow. I so rarely disagree with you… but I’m going to have to this time.

    The first time I was truly afraid of religious extremists killing me? In California, when I volunteered regularly for pro-choice groups. I can’t even remember how many times clinics were blown up back in the 1990s in California – it seemed to happen at least yearly. And I was threatened at an event where I was staffing an information table by an oh-so-calm Christian – no screaming, just a simple statement of how easy it would be for her to pull out a knife and kill me.

    Eric Rudolph, Scott Roeder, Shelly Shannon, Paul Jennings Hill, and on and on – these are Christian terrorists, who killed in the name of their Christian God, and who were praised in pulpits and churches across the nation. Wiley Drake, vice-presidential candidate for the America’s Independent Party ticket in 2008 and the second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2006–2007, celebrated after George Tiller’s death: “I am happy; I am glad that he is dead.”

    And that’s just the anti-abortion folks. Right wing extremists, deeply immersed in their version of Christianity, still kill “non-whites”, and do so with religion on their side. It happens in the USA, it just happened in GERMANY!

    I fear Christians every bit as much as Muslims. Maybe if these terrorists were called “Christian terrorists” instead of the media preferred terms – right wing extremists, anti-abortion extremists, anti-government extremists, etc. – you and Bill Maher would fear them just as much too. And if you don’t think they are spitting fire every bit as much as Muslim extremists, you need to watch more Fox News and listen to more AM radio, particularly on Sundays in the South.

    • Matt

      You realize you’re essentially arguing that someone opposing religious fundies on the issue of abortion would have an easier time doing so in the Middle East than in California. You should probably think about that a little more…

      • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

        But that’s not the issue – it’s easier to oppose religious fundamentalism in California than in the Middle East because it’s not the religious fundamentalists who have power or the numbers to execute the worst atrocities of the religion in California, but that is the case in much of the Middle East. This issue is far more complex than many people are letting on.

        • SeekerLancer

          Essentially the question then becomes: Does Christianity have the potential to be as bad if it were the majority of a conservative theocratic environment like Islam is in parts of the Middle East?

          “Which is worse,” is definitely more complicated than simply tallying up acts of violence, I agree. There are other political and sociological elements (like numbers, as you said) that make the radicalized members of these religions capable of committing the acts they commit.

          • jdm8

            Currently, I think Islamic extremism is worse. But that doesn’t mean Christian extremism can’t be just as bad. In the European Middle Ages, you best not be a heretic. Or accused of being a witch. Or a Jew after the onset of the Plague, or whenever it was inconvenient for a Jew to be around. Also, look up the history of ghettos while you’re at it. A lot of people died during The Reformation period for being of the wrong persuasion of the local area. Then there’s the inquisitions and church-sponsored torture that went along with them.

            Even more recently, a lot of the strife in Northern Ireland was religious factionalism, how many died of the firefights and bombings in Belfast?

      • Spuddie

        Because in the Middle East, the government sanctions religious extremism as a way of consolidating power. Less to do with religion than it does it giving free reign to extremists for political expedience.

        • Matt

          So governments run by Muslims have a habit of sanctioning religious extremism as a way of consolidating power, but the governments run by Christians (like the US) … don’t? And this is supposed to show that religion is *not* a factor? I’m confused.

          • Spuddie

            No, you are misreading my argument completely.

            Dictatorships with a muslim majority will use religious extremism as a tool for maintaining power. It is Islamicist because the population is Islamic. It has less to do with religion than it does the political situation. Most governments with a Muslim majority are dictatorships. It is the dictatorship aspect which is more important than the Muslim part.

            Its not uncommon in all dictatorships to use religious extremism in service of the state. Christianity has been used by dictators in the past as well. Latin America is rife with dictatorships which worked hand in hand with the Catholic Church. Hitler co-opted Christian churches in service of the state. In Franco’s Spain the Catholic church wielded extreme power. Christianity was co-opted by Croat genocidal extremists in WWII and Serbian genocidal extremists in the 90′s.

            The US and other democracies put a tight rein on all religious extremism. Christian extremists are under tighter control because religion is never an apparatus of the state.

            • Stamen

              Spuddie I think you have the right idea except that the religion is not necessarily a tool of the state. If a population is repressed under a violent regime (ofter supported by western interests), religious institutions may be the only way people can have any control over their lives The Muslim Brotherhood, in Egypt, provided the only medical care available for many Egyptians and was despised by Mubarak. Hamas began by teaching and feeding Palistinians and is targeted by Israel. Hesbollah in Lebanon also provides social services the state wont. If violent uprisings occur against the state people will use whatever institutions available. Superficially religious violence may actually be oppressed citizens fighting for freedom.

              • Spuddie

                Muslim Brotherhood existed in Egypt because the government didn’t feel threatened by its existence. Certainly not in the same way democratic groups would. They were not even significant actors in the recent revolution until after the fact. When the military abandoned Mubarak. In many ways the extremists are used to drive out the democratic groups.

                Hezbollah was and still is a subsidiary of Iran and Syria. They were adjuncts to Syrian forces occupying Lebanon and under control by Iran.

                Hamas began as an attempt by Iran to get involved with the Palestinian conflict. To break the Arab League’s monopoly on influence in the region. Part of the “Cold War” between Muslim states. Iran and Saudi Arabia have been jockeying for power in the region for 30+ years. Supporting different terrorist groups is their primary way of fighting each other.

                Democratic moderate influences are much more dangerous to dictatorships since there is a greater chance of western pressure. Supporting religious extremists allows dictators to consolidate power, spread influence and avoid revolution.

      • Sean Lissemore

        You do realize American is a secular nation with a lot more secular and non-religious people?

        First world countries are routinely less religious than third world countries. Go to Uganda in Africa and protest in favor of gay marriage if you want to prove your point.

      • Dubliner

        Actually abortion is not a major issue in Islamic countries. Most Muslim women have better access to abortion than any Irish woman.

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

          Massive citation needed, there.

        • Guest

          Right and wrong. Abortion is not a major issue in Islamic countries. But not because they’re more progressive on the subject, it’s because the subject simply isn’t up for debate.

        • Glenn Taylor

          You have no idea of what you are typing, please shut the fuck up and go away.

      • smz

        Abortion is approved in Iran by fatwa from Khameini. Not a good issue to claim Christianity is less extreme on.

      • Glenn Taylor

        Matt, using liberal and think in the same sentence is just so silly.

    • JET

      I agree that Christian extremists can be, and have been, a very dangerous faction of Christianity. But where many Christians vocally condemn their murderous brethren, I have never seen a current Muslim do so. As much as I hate the “they are not true Christians” rhetoric, I have never heard a Muslim say “they are not true Muslims.” I knew a Muslim woman who, right after 9-11, would say nothing more than “we are a religion of peace.” She never once condemned the fundamentalist faction of her religion for their crimes. Yes, they are worse.

      • Michael

        “I have never seen a current Muslim do so.”

        To hear, you have to listen. A 5 minute search on google will show hundreds of official and unofficial statements by Muslim individuals or groups condemning acts of terrorism.

        • Glenn Taylor

          bullshit, shut up and please move out of America, you idiot,

      • Gus Snarp

        Here’s a statement by the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt in response to 9-11:

        [We] strongly condemn such activities that are against all humanist and Islamic morals. … [We] condemn and oppose all aggression on human life, freedom and dignity anywhere in the world.

        Here’s one by Shaykh Muhammad Hussein Fadallah of Hizbullah:

        Beside the fact that they are forbidden by Islam, these acts do not serve those who carried them out but their victims, who will reap the sympathy of the whole world. … Islamists who live according to the human values of Islam could not commit such crimes

        And from the chief mufti of Saudi Arabia:

        Firstly: the recent developments in the United States including hijacking planes, terrorizing innocent people and shedding blood, constitute a form of injustice that cannot be tolerated by Islam, which views them as gross crimes and sinful acts. Secondly: any Muslim who is aware of the teachings of his religion and who adheres to the directives of the Holy Qur’an and the sunnah (the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad) will never involve himself in such acts, because they will invoke the anger of God Almighty and lead to harm and corruption on earth.

        Several lists of similar statements can be found here:http://islam.about.com/cs/currentevents/a/9_11statements.htm

        Or you know, just Google it.

      • crden

        I’ve heard it frequently — pretty much all you have to do is listen. I’ve heard it from official spokespeople, of course, but also from Muslim individuals starting just hours after the planes crashed into the tower on 9/11. Said people were worried that the attackers were Muslim and wanted to make clear that it was not what their religion was about — that those people were not true Muslims.

    • Mario Strada

      One fundamental difference is that the majority of Christians actually do condemn those terrorist acts. Yes, a further fringe does not condemn them as vigorously as they should, betraying their moral support for the cause, but I would venture that a majority of Christians do not support, tacitly or not, xtian terrorists.

      In the Muslim camp support for the 911 terrorists was far more widespread than support by christians of the abortion clinic bombers. To this day many mainstream muslims still have a very hard time condemning atrocities committed by their coreligionists. Every time I read an article about this subject I come away mesmerized by the dissonance these people live in.

      I have a very westernized, very American palestinian friend, married to a christian, working in corporate america and I know for a fact he doesn’t pray or go to his mosque (else I would have seen him). Once I asked him straight up if he thought the death penalty for apostasy was justified. For starters, he took a long time to answer. Not a good sign, eventually he had to admit that if asked abruptly his first impulse is to say “yes”.

    • Theseus

      You are preaching to the choir so to speak ,about Christian fundies; I live in Texas. However, even with all that it is still different by degree. I submit that you are desensitized to the scale of the potential danger when it comes to Islamic extremists. No, “spitting fire” is not equivalent to the degree that it is being acted upon by these (Muslim) extremists. The only reason you fear Christian nut jobs more is because Muslim extremists are out side your day to day experiences and Christian fundies are not.

      A gay Muslim can in relative safety go on TV in the west, and say what they want. In some Muslim countries and communities? Hell no!! They are underground; they have to be.

      If we are talking about potential, then yes Christianity has that potential to become just as bad. It happened throughout the dark ages and early renaissance periods.

      However, that is not the reality proportionate to today. Hemant is right. There is not an equivalence as far as the degree in today’s world. Worrying about whether Muslims are going to throw a temper tantrum and riot and commit violence over drawings and cartoons, is the nail in the coffin to the “equivalence” argument.

      Also, the fact that we actually have secularists saying we should respect Islamic belief and not do anything to offend them is totally weird and inconsistent to say the least.

    • Randay

      Both Maher and Hemant are wrong about two things: how dangerous Xianity can be and that only Muslims violently react to criticism of their beliefs. Xian believers urged on by Catholic priests massacred a couple of million in Rwanda. That is surely more than all other terrorist acts combined.

      Back in 2004 in Britain, Sikh extremists violently forced a theater to close a play they found offensive. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/dec/20/arts.religion1

      A Sikh leader said, “Free speech can go so far. Maybe 5,000 people would have seen this play over the run. Are you going to upset 600,000 thousands Sikhs in
      Britain and maybe 20 million outside the UK for that?”
      “Religion is a very sensitive issue and you should be extremely careful.” That sounds like a threat. Yes I would upset those Sikhs to defend the freedom of speech.

      “The author[not of the play] Hanif Kureishi, however, defended the Birmingham Rep’s production of the play. He told Today: “I think the Sikh community should be ashamed of the fact that it is destroying theatres.
      “Destroying a theatre is like destroying a temple. Without our culture, we are
      nothing. Our culture is as crucial to the liberal community as temples
      are to the religious community.”
      The attack comes as the government attempts to usher through parliament a law against incitement to religious hatred.
      Although as a monoethnic religious group the Sikh community is already covered by specific race hate legislation, the Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris has argued that the proposed law on religious hatred creates a climate
      in which “any religion’s assertion is that their beliefs, leaders, icons
      and places of worship are protected from criticism, ridicule or parody”.

      This is exactly the thing that Christopher Hitchens warned us about: that “hate legislation” would be used by the religious bigots against us and our free speech rights. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyoOfRog1EM

  • Stephen Harred

    Comparisons like this are pretty un-skeptical. They leave out all of the other variables that lead to extremism and violence: poverty, war, and exploitation of ignorance by the powerful.

    They also involve a lot of cherry picking.

    Thought experiment: Which of the following groups is larger? A. Christians killed by Muslim “extremists” since 9/10/2001. B. Muslims killed by “mainstream” Christians in the same period.

    What does that tell us about which religion is “worse” vs. Maher’s argument? It tells me that Maher is motivated to find a reason to declare Muslim’s more dangerous than Christians.

    • Ders

      What a terrible thought experiment. I’m guessing you would agree that the number of “mainstream” Christians is many times greater than the number of Muslim “extremists”. If you bother using a division symbol at all I’m guessing you would find that Muslim “extremists” are far more likely to kill people than “mainstream” Christians.

      • Stephen Harred

        “If you bother using a division symbol at all I’m guessing you would find that Muslim “extremists” are far more likely to kill people than “mainstream” Christians.”

        Are you sure about that? Given the murder rate and religious demographics of the United States (75% Christian), I’d say it’s pretty likely that a mainstream Christian will kill someone.

        The point is that this sort of argument cherry picks facts in a way that skeptics would find unacceptable in almost any other context. Even discussing it in terms of “Muslim extremists” vs. “Christian extremists” is a way of stacking the deck, which is why I suggested looking at the Muslim death toll since 9/11.

        • Ders

          You’re the one who made the initial claim. I’m just saying you set up a horribly unfair comparison. I bet you “mainstream” Christians have killed more people than extremist Charles Manson followers.

    • KMR

      Or maybe C. Muslins killed by other Muslims.

    • Mario Strada

      The answer is clearly B if you take into consideration that the US Army is prevalently Christian and they killed a lot of folk in Iraq. Not sure if that was the OP intention but all such thought experiment only work with those that are unable to look at reality and require a laundry list of assumptions to be true. I assumed several things myself, but change the assumptions and then the answer would be A.

  • liu

    The only reason Muslims make up the majority of truly dangerous extremist is because they’re the only ones in a position to be truly extreme. Thankfukly, we have laws against murder in most of the civilized world, and religious people aren’t exempt from those laws in the same way that Muslims in theocracies are; otherwise, I can think of plenty of Christians in America who woukd have no problem killing or asullting people (some of them do regardless.) Might I remind you what Christian extremists were like back in the days when Christians were firmly in power? They burned people alive, commited genocide, tortured heretics and each other, castrated choir boys, and generally acted like huge dicks. They only reason they don’t do these things now is because society doesn’t permit it; they are no longer in power.

    • vincent findley

      So you have a list of all the Christians in America who would do this? Please let the CIA, Homeland security and all other law enforcement agencies know so we don’t have another Boston Marathon type incident. Also fork over the list of non-theists that would have no problem assaulting people, because some of them do too regardless.

      • liu
        • vincent findley

          Do non-theists have any moral resposabilities?

          • liu

            Sure. We just don’t base our morals on fairy-tails.

            • vincent findley

              Who gives a crap if you think it’s a fairytale, the ? was do non-theists also have a moral responsibility not to kill?

              • liu

                Depends on who you’re asking. I personally think that killing is wrong. However, someone who does no hold that belief, say for example, a Christian fundementalist who thinks that we have a duty to stone gay people or rebelious children, would say the exact opposite. The difference is that I base my moral convictions on empathy and logic, while the Christian in my example bases his on a book of fairytales.

      • KaeylynHunt

        Vincent,we already have that list,and it’s been given repeatedly to DHS.but thanks to Dominionist Christians like Bush being in charge of every single blasted Department including the Military,NOTHING gets done about them.And they continue to murder,maim,terrorize and destroy with Impunity.The DHS TRIED to put out a report warning of the dangers of Christian Extremists back in 2001,and Bush&crew SQUELCHED it.It’s hard to to get help&have things done right when it’s the Inmates running the Asylum.As far as your Non Theist Quip,go get back under The Priests robes,your Christian bias is showing.

        • vincent findley

          Who gives a rats ass if my believing in a higher power bias is showing. You all talk of how violent our ot and nt is, yet i can’t remember any of our faction hijacking planes and flying them into twin towers in Iran or setting of bombs at marathons in Iraq etc. etc. etc.etc. etc. or cutting testicles off in Uganda.

          • liu

            Really? Because the vast majority of people here seem to remember things like that, and have sources to back it up. Why are you ignoring everything bad that’s done by Christians?

            • vincent findley

              Putting Christians in the same category as these radical leftist Muslim terrorists is way off base. Not even close to reality.

              • liu

                And you think that the phrase “radical leftist Muslim terrorists” is closer?

                It’s clear that your ideas of what constitutes reality are completely removed from mine, and probably the vast majority of people here. I suggest you go back to watching Fox News.

    • Blacksheep

      Big difference: all of the heinous acts you mention are not in the Christian NT. They are, however, in the koran, more or less.

      • Spuddie

        Of course when Christians want to act tough and hateful, they forget the NT altogether. Watch how quickly Christians ignore the NT when the topic is marriage equality.

        • Dubliner

          Oh yes they start shouting about Leviticus and abominations but just the gay one – all the others would inconvenient them so we’ll just pretend they don’t exist like.

        • Blacksheep

          They act in all sorts of bad ways. They just can’t back it up with their book. Muslims can, that was my point.

          • Spuddie

            And you would be wrong.

            The Bible has plenty of passages about doing not at all nice things to non-believers.

            They should be killed in genocidal rampages in-
            Deuteronomy 13:6-10

            They should be shunned and avoided as the devil’s own 2 Corinthians 6:14-17
            http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/nonbelievers.html

            One always has to bear in mind Christians love to find excuses around the NT and resort to the OT when they want to act tough. They generally never feel constrained by Jesus’s commandments to love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek and embrace enemies. Its why pacifist Christian sects are a very very small, distinct minority.

      • Charles Honeycutt

        The vast majority of Christians both historically and today don’t ignore the Old Testament. Weird, huh?

        The moderation we see today is the result of secular Western values, not religion. Theists and nontheists alike act better thanks to the Age of Enlightenment.

        • Blacksheep

          They ignore most of the old laws, actually – there are many obscure OT laws that applied before Christ that no longer apply. The name “New Testament” literally means “New Covenant” – a new deal between God and man.

          But ignoring it is very different from putting it in the proper context based on Christ.

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

            And yet your lot is 100% hung up on one tiny bit of Leviticus that condemns gays…

          • KaeylynHunt

            As in”I come not to abolish the law,but to fulfill it” kind of “Context?Funny how you all like to Gloss over THAT little diddy of Jesus.No matter HOW you try&spin it Blacksheep,the Bible is every BIT as violnet,bloodthirsty&dangerous as The Koran.No getting out of it.The only difference is here in America,we have the good damn sense to hamstring it’s followers from making us into a Fascist Theocracy&are Secular,although if The Tea Taliban keeps at it,we’ll be right there along with the rest of the 3rd World hellhole backwaters that use religion as their law and any semblance of rights,be they Constitutional or Human,will be nothing but a footnote in history,and stonings,Beheadings,rape as Punishment,all without Trial will be the Order of The day for The good Ole U.S of A.

            Tony Perkins,Bryan Fisher,Pat Robertson&David Barton are Christianity’s Imams,who incessantly issue Fatwas against anyone not white,wealthy,straight Dominionist Christian males&call for nonstop Jihad against Muslims,Atheists,Women,blacks&other minorities,anyone who refuses to bow to THEIR brand of Nazi flavored Christianity..They have led The Modern day Crusades&continue to,especially in places like Uganda,where their”Kill the gays”legislation sails through with blinding speed.They are all also Traitors,as are their followers,and deserve a one way ticket to GITMO ASAP.

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

              *applause*

            • Psychotic Atheist

              If by blinding speed you mean, it was submitted 4 years ago, and although the signs are still pointing towards it being passed this year – there are some indications that the death penalty will not be included in the final law.

              As for OT law, while the Gospels have Jesus saying ‘ until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the
              least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law’, Paul (Galatians 3) writes that ‘For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse’ and, ‘no one who relies on the law is justified before God’, though in later letters his anti-law rhetoric has been softened considerably from the general contents of Galatians.

  • onamission5

    One word, Hemant: Bosnia.
    A second set of words: Uganda’s kill the gays bill.
    If one looks at christian extremism only through the lens of current US and western effects (completely ignoring that the war in Iraq was labeled a “crusade” by the US’s last president and has been effectively treated as such in many ways) then christians may seem as though they’ve mellowed with time and have less pointy teeth. Broaden your scope though and it becomes apparent that given the same length of rope, christian extremists will happily use that rope for hanging.

    • Blacksheep

      Very true. But the huge difference is that Christians can’t back up any violence if they follow Christ – it’s impossible to do in the NT. There are verses about God punishing people – but none about people taking vengeance, etc. into their own hands. On the contrary. Islam, on the other hand, can back up violence based on verses in the koran. (just google violence in the koran) Sure, they can choose not to follow those parts – but they’re in there. The koran literally says it’s OK to use violence against anything that threatens islam – and much more. Christians act crazy and violent sometimes – but they will not find permission to do so in their book.

      • GCT

        But the huge difference is that Christians can’t back up any violence if they follow Christ – it’s impossible to do in the NT.

        It’s not impossible. Jesus attacked people with a whip in the temple. Jesus spoke about following the OT law very strictly, which would include all the violence in those laws. Jesus talked about putting unbelievers to the sword. He spit racist epithets at a woman asking him to help her child. This idea of Jesus as some moral paragon that never did or said anything wrong and sat around the campfire singing Kumbaya and being perfect is simply not in accord with the Bible. It’s a modern day myth made up by Xians trying to pretend that their book and their leader is superior to all others and by extension that they are superior to all others.

        • meekinheritance

          Kumbaya my Me, kumbaya.
          Kumbaya my Me, kumbaya.
          Kumbaya my Me, kumbaya.
          Oh, Me, kumbaya.

        • Blacksheep

          You are quite wrong on a few of your points.

          Christianity, unlike islam, never teaches its followers to use violence. Turn the other cheek, love your enemies, and don’t judge others top the list.

          Jesus never spoke of following OT laws strictly, he said that all OT law would be fulfilled, and it was, with his death.

          I missed the verse where Jesus says that unbelievers should be “put to the sword” can you illuminate?

          Everything that I wrote is in accord with the Bible, not “made up by Christians”

          • SeekerLancer

            He’s not talking about your version of Christianity though, because the moderate religious like you aren’t the problem. The fact of the matter is there are fundamentalists who exist that use the Christian faith as a motive for their violence. You don’t need to tell us that the version of Christianity you preach is peaceful, we know. You need to condemn the versions that are not.

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

              Oh, but those violent people aren’t Real True Christians™!

              *barf*

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

            Then you clearly haven’t READ the bible!

        • Glenn Taylor

          Oh my God, you really need help. You are such a moron it isn’t feasible you are this stupid. I wish I knew who you were so I could come and beat the living shit out of you. YOu have not a clue of what you type, you are so stupid, stupid is an insult to stupid people. I would be more than happy to give you my address just so I can punch your fucking face.

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

            Hi. Threats of violence are, categorically, Not Cool. Please don’t do that again.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

        The Bible is ambiguous, even if you just restrict yourself to the traditionally-canonical descriptions of Jesus. GCT has given some examples of violence in those sections. The Skeptic’s Annotated gives many more. e.g: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/mt/cr_list.html

        • Blacksheep

          There is violence in the NT – but none of it is instructing Christians to commit violence against others. The Koran does just that.

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

            Luke 12:51

            Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

            The Qur’an assuredly describes violence and condones violent behavior. But so does the New Testament, as the examples given at the links and quoted here illustrate (one more example for you – Romans 1:32). There are also contradicting statements in the New Testament that the violent laws of the Old Testament are either still to be followed or are to be ignored (e.g. http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/otlaw.html ). These are understandable historically: Some early Christian groups were primarily former Jews, while others were mainly former gentiles who did not like the idea of following Jewish laws. And those contradicting viewpoints were reflected in the writers of the various texts that were later compiled into the various Biblical canons.

      • Bdole

        I just made this point over at Daylight Atheism. It irritates me that I have to draw these distinctions, but Islam does in fact seem to be the greater evil these days. And it’s not just cultural, it’s written into the religion in a way that isn’t so with Christianity – IFF you exclude the barbaric OT. My only hope is that they learn to cherry pick and ignore the bad stuff in their operating manual.

      • Crazy Russian

        Except you can’t really throw away the Old Testament. It is convenient to do so when talking about barbaric restrictions and punishments prescribed in Leviticus, but don’t forget where the 10 Commandments come from, either.

        • Blacksheep

          To follow Christ is not to throw away the old testament, it’s looking at it in a whole new context.

          • Crazy Russian

            I’ve heard all this before. What is the proper context for stoning disobedient children to death? How about the same for homosexual men?

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

        Matthew 10:34

        Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

        • Blacksheep

          I said that the NT never instructs Christians to inflict violence on one another. There is definitely judgement from God – but that’s very different from literally instructing followeres to kill others, as the Koran does.

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

            Oh, bollocks. Your Lord and Slaver very clearly was a violent man, who not only acted violently, but wanted to set families against one another, and didn’t care if people were killed.

            Luke 12:51

            Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

      • Psychotic Atheist

        Very true. But the huge difference is that Christians can’t back up any violence if they follow Christ

        Yes, they can, and have. We can even ignore the OT. If the rulers of your country command you, you should obey according to the NT, as they are ordained and blessed by the Lord. So, should your ruler command you to do violence, it is justified as it is a command from God so is therefore not immoral.

    • Spuddie

      It has more to do with politics than anyone is willing to give credit for. Islamicism flourishes in dictatorships where it was the only form of “dissent” allowed. In many cases they are kept around to drive out democratic and moderate influences in those countries. Prior to Al Queda it was easy to keep Islamicism tied to the state’s control. Even in secular dictatorships like Pakistan, Libya and Egypt.

      The reason why Islamic extremists have much more power to act than
      Christian extremists is because they usually have the sanction of
      government behind them. Islamicism is beginning to be corporatized by Iran and Saudi Arabia. Even when operating in democratic, western countries, the extremists can call upon outside resources that Christian Dominionalists can’t even dream of.

      One must bear in mind, Islamic Fundamentalism was a very minor point of view for the religion until the end of the Cold War. Prior to 1979, most of the world had never even heard of it. Nationalism and even leftist radicalism was the norm for the Middle East and South Asia. Even the terrorists at the time were more secular politically based than religious.

    • http://twitter.com/jfigdor Jonathan Figdor

      Bosnia was a Christian-Muslim conflict, no?

      • onamission5

        In the sense that genocide by orthodox Christians against Bosniaks can be considered a mutual conflict, sure. In other words, no, you’re grossly oversimplifying and dare I say hinting around at victim blame. By labeling it so simply as a Christian-Muslim conflict, you imply that the Bosniaks were responsible for getting themselves rounded up, gang-raped, “relocated” and slaughtered by the tens of thousands, just by virtue of being either Muslim or perceived as Muslim.

        • Charles Honeycutt

          Or it could be that he isn’t familiar with the conflict and was asking a question, as opposed to being a horrible person.

        • http://twitter.com/jfigdor Jonathan Figdor

          Also, you’re wrong. Educate yourself on the conflict. 5 minutes of wikipedia reading tells you that, vis-a-vis the Bosnian War, “In effect, the extremist Catholic and Orthodox forces were colluding in a bloody partition and cleansing of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They were, and still are, largely spared the public shame of this, because the world’s media preferred the simplification of “Croat” and “Serb, ” and only mentioned religion when discussing “the Muslims. ” But the triad of terms “Croat, ” “Serb, ” and “Muslim” is unequal and misleading, in that it equates two nationalities and one religion. (The same blunder is made in a different way in coverage of Iraq, with the “Sunni-Shia-Kurd” trilateral.)” to quote Christopher Hitchens.

          • Glenn Taylor

            Anyone that uses the expression you used in the first sentence invalidates everything else you say, shut up idiot..

    • Drew M.

      I kept misreading your username as “onan-emission.” Now that I read it right, I’m kind of sad…

      • onamission5

        Snork! It’s a nickname given by an old friend, nothing to do with onanism at all. Nor anything to do with missionaries or church missions at all whatsoever except in a thumb my nose ’cause I’m an atheist on a mission sense.

        • Drew M.

          To clarify, the “kind of sad” comment wasn’t because I assumed you’re Christian or anything. I was only slightly disappointed that it wasn’t a funny username. :)

      • Charles Honeycutt

        Dammit, now I can’t stop seeing it…

  • Anthony Torres

    Maybe Bill should take a trip into the bible belt and spew some anti christian beliefs and see if he makes it out in one piece!

    • Psychotic Atheist

      I believe Richard Dawkins survived doing just this, and I think he’s probably a less liked atheist than Maher!

    • Castilliano

      Uh…he did do that.
      It’s called “Religulous”

      • Anthony Torres

        So let me get this straight you saying he walked the streets alone yelling anti-Christian statements, and yes I am singling out one faith not all Religions and he walked out unscathed? Yeah, sure. He did that with a film crew and security. My point is, he makes it sound as people of the Islamic faith would be the only ones in this day and age to inflict harm on those who blaspheme their respective religion. I don’t want to hear the excuse (as Maher eluded to) that all of Christian atrocities were in the past, and so, should not matter to us today, that is total and absolute nonsense!

        • Charles Honeycutt

          So let me get this straight your saying he walked the streets alone yelling anti-Christian statements

          Ridiculously specific demand there. Would you also like him to be wearing red shoes and straddling a yardstick?

    • Vanadise

      Yeah! Threatening to kill somebody is a great way to demonstrate how your beliefs are respectable and valid.

      • Anthony Torres

        I’m an athiest…. And how am I making threats to kill anyone genius? It was a proposal for the man to walk the walk if he is going to talk the talk!

    • Charles Honeycutt

      There’s almost nowhere in the Bible Belt where you will get attacked for being a public antitheist.

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

        Maybe not, but in the Deep South….

      • Guesty von Guestheim

        You are either lying, or you have never been to the south. Which?

  • liu

    The only reason Muslims make up the majority of truly dangerous extremist is because they’re the only ones in a position to be truly extreme. Thankfukly, we have laws against murder in most of the civilized world, and religious people aren’t exempt from those laws in the same way that Muslims in theocracies are; otherwise, I can think of plenty of Christians in America who woukd have no problem killing or asullting people (some of them do regardless.) Might I remind you what Christian extremists were like back in the days when Christians were firmly in power? They burned people alive, commited genocide, tortured heretics and each other, castrated choir boys, and generally acted like huge dicks. They only reason they don’t do these things now is because society doesn’t permit it; they are no longer in power.

    • liu

      Whoops, double post.

    • Dubliner

      I agree with you. A lot of these Christian extremists would have no problem lynching a gay man if they thought they’d get away with it. Look at how some of them encouraged ‘hang the gay’ laws in Uganda.

  • Yoav

    The problem is that there are parts of the world where the worst elements of Islam are in charge. Just look at history and you can see that when they were in power christians were just as bad. The reason atheists in Europe are not getting BBQed by the catholic church anymore is not because they think being an atheist or drawing cartoons of jesus is OK (just listen to Bill Donahue anytime someone say anything about the pope), it’s because they can’t get away with it anymore.

  • SeekerLancer

    Still I wonder, with a lot of these African nations turning to Christianity, having witch hunts and trying to pass laws to sentence gays to death if more Islam-like Christian extremism is likely in the near future.

    • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

      You mean like where they make being gay a criminal offense and gay sex between consenting adults a capital crime? Cause, yeah, that’s happening. At the instigation of American Christians, by the way.

  • Sarah T.

    We apparantly live in a fantasy world where the long history of violence perpetrated against Mormons and by Mormon minorities in retaliation doesn’t exist. “Which extremists are worse?” is a question that is begging to be begged (heh), because how you define “worse” will define your answer.

    • Charles Honeycutt

      Mountain Meadows wasn’t retaliatory. It was based on cult paranoia and religious teachings.

      • Sarah T.

        You mean it might have been a… terrorist attack? But I thought only Muslim extremists are terrorists!

      • Sarah T.

        Please read the link before replying; otherwise offer contradictory citations to refute it.

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

          Please stop posting Moron propaganda.

          Mountain Meadows was orchestrated and carried out by Mormons. The Mormons deliberately killed women and children. They then tried to blame it on the natives.

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

      There has never been violence perpetrated *against* Mormons.

      Plenty perpetrated *by* them….

      • RobMcCune

        Who killed Joseph Smith again?

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

          My guess, since he had a habit of stealing other men’s wives, is that it was one of his fellow Morons.

          • RobMcCune

            Okay, that was a good one. :) But smith was killed by a lynch mob that broke into the jail he was being held in. In the early days, mormons were attacked for their beliefs, they moved around a quite a bit because the locals became too hostile.

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

              And they were hostile with good reason! Again, Smith had a nasty little habit of taking other men’s wives, “marrying” them, and claiming it was “God’s will”.

              • http://profiles.google.com/uncoolmom Cary Whitman

                Sorry wmdkitty, but you do need to brush up on your history. Not to say that early Mormons were free from committing some pretty bad things, but you can’t deny that they were treated like shit by the rest of the country in their early days. Yes, they were seen by the local Christians as a weirdo, dangerous cult, but does that make it right to kill their leader and run them all out of town? Sounds like Christian terrorism to me.

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

                  Uh, right, because running a scam and making off with other men’s wives is totally, like, normal and okay…

                  Nope. Anti-Moron “animosity” was well-justified, and they (and their con-man “prophet”) deserved every last bit of grief they got. Especially in light of the fact that the Moron Church has a long, sordid history of enslaving women, forcing teenagers into gulags to “fix” them, and inciting violence against LGBT people.

                  The whole organization is one big SCAM, and it damn well should have been brought down with the fully-justifiable “homicide” of Joe Smith.

                • http://profiles.google.com/uncoolmom Cary Whitman

                  So you are saying it’s OK to kill someone just because they are a creepy religious nut-case!!?! That’s exactly the kind of reasoning Muslim extremists and anti-abortion Christians use when they blow up buildings! KILL THE INFIDELS!!! That is truly appalling, you are just as bad as any religious extremist if you truly believe that! This is why a CIVILIZED society has laws and courts, to protect us all from wacko, extereme nut-cases like you!!!

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

                  You don’t let a predator loose among sheep, you relocate it if possible, and kill it if you can’t. The early Mormons were very much preying on other people, and relocating them didn’t work so well (Mountain Meadows Massacre)…

                • http://profiles.google.com/uncoolmom Cary Whitman

                  “I don’t condone violence except as an absolute last life-saving resort, and even then I don’t like it.”

                  And just ten minutes ago you said this:

                  “The whole organization is one big SCAM, and it damn well should have been brought down with the fully-justifiable “homicide” of Joe Smith.”

                  You a fucking hypocrite. You have sunk to the level of people who blow up 8-year old kids.

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

                  I did not condone violence. I said that the scam of mormonism should have fucking ENDED when the con-man who started it died.

                  His “murder” was simply justice. Justice applied crudely, and not in a way I would have done it, but justice nonetheless. I would love for this so-called “prophet” to have been brought up on any and all applicable charges, but I wasn’t there, and I wasn’t in charge. Done is done, man, and his death was certainly justified in light of the long trail of people who are still being victimized by his “harmless” little cult.

                  Tell me, how should he and his scam have been dealt with? Hmm? Because letting them go west and settle in Utah worked out so well…

                • http://profiles.google.com/uncoolmom Cary Whitman

                  You don’t condone violence, yet you call murder by lynch mob “justified”. I suppose you would also call the murder of abortion doctors “justified” because they were killing little babies, and 9/11 “justified” because the US has become such an immoral society.

                  All you are proving is that you can be a dangerous nut-case without necessairily being a religious extremist.

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

                  I’ve met kindergarteners with better reading comprehension than you.

                  Murdering abortion doctors, 9/11, totally NOT justified, as abortion doctors aren’t harming or scamming people, and the US did nothing to deserve a terrorist attack.

                  My point is, you can’t go around conning people and taking their wives — and Joseph Smith should very well have faced the courts for it. The fact that people took it into their own hands when the authorities did nothing to stop his illegal activities is irrelevant, and one should have every right to defend oneself and one’s community against criminals and con-men. After all, you wouldn’t condemn, say, someone who killed a meth cooker…

                • http://profiles.google.com/uncoolmom Cary Whitman

                  “After all, you wouldn’t condemn, say, someone who killed a meth cooker…”

                  Um…m… Yes, I would, because, you know, those of us who live in a civilized society believe that murder is wrong. It’s only you and the terrorists and the guys who shoot up schools and movie theaters who think it’s OK.

                  Is it really that hard to grasp the idea that murder is wrong?

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

                  Is it really that hard to grasp the concept of self fucking defense?

                  I AM NOT ADVOCATING MURDER OR VIOLENCE, I AM POINTING OUT THAT ON RARE OCCASIONS, WHEN ONE’S LIFE IS IN THE BALANCE, IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO KILL.

                  You are either extremely stupid, or deliberately misreading my words.

                • http://profiles.google.com/uncoolmom Cary Whitman

                  OK, glad you cleared that up, because when you said this:

                  “The whole organization is one big SCAM, and it damn well should have been brought down with the fully-justifiable “homicide” of Joe Smith.”

                  I thought you meant that killing him was justified because he was a con-man and all-around creepy, awful guy. But now I understand that what you really meant is that the angry mob killed him in self defense because when they broke into his prison cell… he somehow threatened them all with their lives… So they had no choice… now wait, how does this work again?

                  Maybe the meth cooker makes a little more sense…

                  When you said this:

                  “After all, you wouldn’t condemn, say, someone who killed a meth cooker…”

                  I thought you meant just some random meth cooker down my street, minding his own business. So while I certainly don’t like having meth cookers down the street, I would certainly condemn someone for killing him. And honestly I think the guy running around my neighborhood shooting random meth cookers is MUCH more dangerous and scary than the meth cookers!

                  Now, if you meant to say, “…someone who killed a meth cooker who was holding a gun to your head.”, that’s a whole different story!

                  I am not twisting your words around, this is the first time you said anything about self defense. Yes, I think we can all agree on that, self defense and protecting the innocent can justify a homicide, but the fact that the victim is a creep, murderer, criminal, con-man, pediphile or whatever, does not give anyone the right to take the law into their own hands perform their own version of justice. This is what seperates the barbarians from the civilized society. When you make the case that a meth cooker “had it coming” or a con-man “deserved to be lynched by an angry mob” you are using exactly the same kind of reasoning that pro-lifers use to justify killing doctors and Islamic extremists use to justify blowing up buildings, and you deserve to be called on it.

                • http://profiles.google.com/uncoolmom Cary Whitman

                  Life sucks when your own morals force you to defend Mormons :-P
                  This conversation is over.

                • vincent findley

                  Awsome job Cary, she definitly needed that foot inserted in that hole in her face!

      • Sarah T.

        Please read the link before replying, thanks!

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

          Please learn to history before posting Moron propaganda. The Mormons, at every turn, were the instigators — often by virtue of forcibly stealing and “marrying” other men’s wives.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

    It’s difficult because there’s such a tangled web of social, political, and religious factors. I think it’s largely a matter of what the culture allows. When the culture promotes and supports Christian extremism and violence, then you see Christian extremism and violence. I don’t think Christians are inherently more peaceful or that the theology of Christianity is less likely to lead to people being tortured or killed. We’ve seen in history that that’s not the case.

    It’s hard to envision a “Muslim Left,” though there’s a very vocal Christians Left. It’s hard to find moderate Muslim groups that will defend freedom of speech on Everybody Draw Muhammad Day and not flip out over anyone who left the faith and now speaks out against it.

    Incidentally, there are progressive Muslims out there who believe in LGBT rights, separation of church and state, equal roles for men and women, etc.

    http://mpvusa.org/mpv-unity-mosques

    It’s harder to find them, yes, but it’s certainly not impossible for them to exist. We have a leg up on Europe since our Muslim population does not tend to be ghettoized or marginalized. If families are moderate, and mosques are able to keep radical elements at bay, I see no reason why this can’t be more indicative of the future of Islam in the United States.

    • Sarah T.

      The Everybody Draw Muhammed day is the perfect example of a cultural clash between individualist and collectivist cultural philosophies – when I hear interviews with atheists and agnostics from collectivist cultures, they will also express dismay at the fact that we give primacy to what they see as harmful speech. Free speech is not considered in some cultures to be a universal right, plain and simple. That doesn’t make them horrible and Americans awesome – it is just a different philosophy. This includes secular cultures like France, which considers, for example, the right of women to wear whatever they want as a lesser concern than the protection of secularism. And yet, when talking about which extremists are “worst”, we rarely consider the actions of secular governments who attempt to oppress the free speech rights of religious citizens.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

        But it’s also worrying that Everybody Draw Muhammad Day elicited such negative reactions from American Muslims. The event took place primarily in the United States. It wasn’t a case of people from other countries objecting to it. There were also objections from those who had been born and raised in a culture where freedom of speech is seen as paramount.

        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2010/05/22/reactions-from-everybody-draw-muhammad-day/

        • Sarah T.

          That assumes that America is a homogenous culture (and that Muslims are a homogenous culture). That’s clearly not the case. Personally, I don’t care about EDMD either way, but an issue closer to my heart is gun control/2nd amendment/gun rights. To me, the government’s responsibility to protect me from violence is more important than a general right to bear all arms without any government intrusion. Obviously other people balance those rights differently. Another related issue in the US is the responsibility of the government to protect its citizens vs. an individual’s right to privacy. The intersections of various rights and responsibilities are always being balanced and negotiated. EDMD is not some special case.

          Personally, I don’t see a lot of unreasonable responses to EDMD from moderate American muslims in your link. Atheists/secularists have a right to draw Muhammed. Muslims have a right to call them jerks and bigots for doing so. They even have a right to take the “radical” action of asking people not to draw Muhammad. Free speech works both ways.

        • Dubliner

          Well I don’t blame them for being angry about that as long as it stops short of violence. That deliberate attempt to offend is selfish and immature and reflects very badly on us atheists. Likewise if we had a “smash a consecrated cracker ” day or “shit on a Mormon undergarment “day. It’s juvenile and deliberately inflammatory and makes us look like jerks.

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

      The UK muslim population voluntarily and deliberately ghettoized themselves in an effort to maintain their supremacy and privilege, and so they don’t have to submit to secular authority. This is most clearly illustrated by the sharia “courts” that are used to oppress and trap women and children in abusive situations.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

        Yes, that’s quite true. It’s certainly not a matter of Muslims in the UK being forced to live in segregated neighborhoods, although I wonder how our two countries ended up with such different outcomes. The United States has fewer Muslims, and they are less concentrated in particular areas. The UK (based on everything I’ve read) was not exactly friendly and welcoming towards Muslims in the 70s and 80s. Perhaps that led them to withdraw into their own communities. Perhaps, too, the countries from which they hailed were more conservative. I’d guess there are many factors at play.

  • Sean lissemore

    Mehta this post of yours is a bunch of vile bigotry. Could it be that a much larger percentage of Christians live in the first world and a much larger percentage of Muslims live in the first world and are therefore less educated? That seems like a very obvious answer but you are so blinded by your bigotry that you can’t see that.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

      The problem with that is that you also see radicalization among those who are educated and live in the first world.

      • Seam lissemore

        Anecdotal evidence. There are a bunch of studies showing religiosity is tied to education and SES.

        • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

          I did not make any claims as to how many terrorists are educated vs. uneducated, but given the case we are discussing, it’s certainly relevant to point out that radicalization can also be found among those who are educated and live in developed countries.

          • Sean Lissemore

            I think what we have here is a failure to communicate. Do you know what anecdotal evidence means? Do you understand why your argument is scientifically invalid?

            • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

              Scientifically invalid? I didn’t make any claims beyond the fact that radicalization is also seen among those who are educated and live in the first world. That is a fact. This case involves two young men who were educated and live in the first world.

              • Sean Lissemore

                In the scientific community there is a saying, “anecdotal evidence is not evidence at all.” If you are too ignorant to understand why your argument is invalid then that probably explains why you are a bigot. Bigotry and ignorance often go hand in hand.

                • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

                  Oh, please. I have not said anything inaccurate. There are cases of people born, raised, and educated in Western developed countries who have become radicalized. That is a fact, and pointing it out is not bigotry.

                • Sean Lissemore

                  [holds bridge of nose in extreme frustration] You still don’t understand what anecdotal evidence is and why it is a logical fallacy in arguments.

                • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

                  I’m not making any argument. I was simply stating a fact. I don’t know what point you’re trying to prove, but hurling the word “bigot” at anyone who says something you don’t like isn’t helpful. I have not said anything even remotely bigoted towards Muslims. In fact, I believe I am the only person who pointed out that there are, in fact, organized groups of progressive Muslims in the United States.

        • Charles Honeycutt

          The ratio of engineers recruited into Islamic terror groups is larger than that of engineers in the general population.

  • timberwraith

    Many, many countries with predominantly Muslim people have been pushed around by European/American imperialism and colonialism for centuries. When a group of people go up against a foe with superior military technologies and a greater breadth of financial and natural resources, what do you do?

    Answer: You engage in small, secretly planned acts of violence against the populace of your aggressors in the hope that you can eventually destabilize your foe’s economies and cultures.

    If you can find a body of ideology that can be manipulated in gaining more foot soldiers in waging this piecemeal battle, so much the better. Some use nationalism, some use the promise of a better economic system, some use religion, some use racist/ethnic/cultural hatred, and on, and on.

    I have to say, radical variants of Islam work fairly well in bringing foot soldiers to the cause of destroying the Western military/industrial imperialist apparatus. So, why should they stop? So long as the west continues its violence (which we all seem to be very, very unwilling to discuss or admit to), there is no motivation to stop.

    Let’s destroy Iran, next. Destroying Iraq and Afghanistan worked quite well. I’m sure these acts of retaliation will encourage radical Muslim folks to stop.

    Let’s shove a big police-state microscope up US and European Muslim people’s backsides, while we’re at it, too. I’m sure that will help, improve Muslim people’s perceptions of the West.

    Let’s fan the fires of racial and religious hatred while we’re at it, too. I’m sure that will help generate a willingness to serve as cannon fodder in the next US military adventure against those filthy people in the Middle East.

    Science/god bless.

    /sarcasm

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

      Here, let me call you a Whaaaambulance, you seem to be having an emogency…

  • Pureone

    Might as well ask which level 4 biohazard is the worst.

  • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

    You might want to look up Sufism. Sufi Muslims are very different from what we think of as Islam. They drink. The women don’t go veiled, and smoke and hang out with guys they don’t know in public. Sufi Islam is the form commonly followed in Chechnya. When you heard Ruslan Tsarnaev talking last week about how he advised his nephew Tamerlan to work on himself if he wanted to get ahead, he was doing something you would never hear in Syria or Jordan, where Muslims believe whatever happens is God’s will.

    We don’t hear much about it, because they are the moderates. When Christian teachers pass out the standard science books on evolution, we don’t talk about it much, either.

  • timberwraith

    This is the first in a swelling wave of effort to manipulate people’s reactions to Boston as a means of generating fear, hatred, and mistrust of Muslims. The great thing about hatred and prejudice is that it’s an equal opportunity employer. Atheists and theists are all welcome to participate. I’m sure both groups will add their own particular flare to the enterprise.

    • Matt

      Yea, because this topic definitely wasn’t being debated long before the Boston Marathon bombings.

      • timberwraith

        Of course, Matt, and why not use the bombings as a means to further that effort? I’m sure it will be quite effective. We’ve already got a fair amount of hatred going on both shores of the Atlantic. Let’s keep up the good work!

      • timberwraith

        And of course, timing is everything. You’ve got to get to work while that fear is still fresh!

  • chill

    Not directly on topic, but something I wanted to pick up on.

    Those last throwaway lines in that video about the USA being the ‘most friendly and welcoming country’ to immigrants compared to the UK is fantasy – and that’s a generous description.

    As for that ‘how minorities are treated’ stuff in the UK compared to the USA. Has he spent any time outside of TV studios in the USA lately? Sheesh.

    Speaking as a Brit who moved to the USA I can find this idea that the USA is so welcoming, as a lot of Americans I meet seem to assume, as downright laughable frankly. Sure, some people are definitely very nice, but a worryingly high number are rude, aggressive, anti-foreigner (oh, the irony) and worse.

    And that’s without counting USA immigration officials – which would be unfair, I’ve never met a more miserable bunch of people in my life O_o.

    I dread to think what it must be like for those with darker skin than mine..

    Disclaimer: I currently currently live in the South, so I’m sure my present geography has an impact. Friendly, it ain’t.

    My wife spent some quite some time in the UK, and she had a far, far better experience at being welcomed and found it to be staggeringly diverse and welcoming compared to the USA.

    I guess I needed to get that off my chest.

    Um… end rant? :D

    • Sarabird

      Interestingly, we’ve found the exact opposite to be true. I’m an American living in the UK, and the amount of anti-American/generally xenophobic behaviour I’ve encountered while living in England is astounding and, to be honest, truly disheartening.

      Meanwhile, my Glaswegian boyfriend goes to America and gets treated like a king.

      Admittedly, I now live on the South coast – when I lived in Glasgow it was fantastic. Apparently people get friendlier the further away from London you are. Just goes to show, intranational geography is important.

      • chill

        Sarabird, sorry to hear you’ve had your fair share of idiots. That’s not on.

        Certainly Brits can get a bit pointed about their US criticisms – my wife was in the UK during the Bush years, and he is generally viewed very poorly in the UK. But she found that lazy stereotypes could easily be challenged (try doing that out here, heh) and 99% of the time she loved showing the infrequent small minded / lazy idiot not to believe everything they see on TV reruns of Dallas.

        A lot of US culture horrifies Brits though – the ‘gun thing’, religion, a worrying obsession with Ayn Rand, people like Rick Perry, and Sarah Palin etc. So I think there’s a lot that Brits just don’t understand about the USA which comes over poorly. Come to think of it, I think a large number of Brits are just a horrified with US politicians as most Americans are, so there’s that in common at least :D

        We were in the Midlands in the UK, and while every town has its idiots for sure (Daily Mail readers, I’m, looking at you), my wife found it extremely welcoming and loved her time there once she figured out the extremely diverse range of accents!

        London can be a bit….um..well, odd – including to Brits from elsewhere in the country ;) Not a town I like spending much time in myself. Glasgow is very cool, loved spending time there. There was much beer involved.

        As for the USA, what makes me pause is this almost universal assumption that the Americans are the most friendly people you’ll meet. Like its a fact that everyone, of course, realizes.

        Um, no.

        It worse of course with those who’ve never stepped foot out of their state, let alone the country (hi Texas!).

        Oddly enough, people were very friendly when I used to visit the USA (before permanent relocation). Visitors seem to get treated differently. It like we’re happy to take their money, as long as they go away soon or something.

        Since relocating here, I routinely have days each week when I just have to remind myself that its best to ignore the ignorant, and go about my business.

        Again, I’m in the Bible Belt so all bets are off ;)

        • Sarabird

          Just goes to show, eh? It’s not all bad here – I’m pale and ginger, so with my muddled Glaswegian/American accent most people seem to assume I’m Irish.

          But if one more stranger pinches my side and tells me I’m “not fat enough to be American” – I might just lose it. Is it an insult? A compliment? Bah!

          Sorry to hear about your interactions with the American eejits down South – ignorance abounds no matter where you’re from it seems!

    • Spuddie

      “Disclaimer: I currently currently live in the South, so I’m sure my present geography has an impact. Friendly, it ain’t.”

      As a native born American living from the Northeast, I can attest geography is very important. If you think they are unfriendly to you, they are far worse to me. =)

      Despite the reputation New York City is pretty welcoming. Incredibly rude but pretty friendly.

      • chill

        Hah! Yes. There certainly is a pervasive attitude here that the northeast is responsible for ‘everything wrong in the USA’ (they’re not the most self-aware around here, regrettably).

        The one think certain southerners appear to dislike more than a foreigner……is a northerner.

        I haven’t got out to New York yet, plan to some day though :D

    • Gus Snarp

      This bothered me too. It was a classic jingoistic and unhelpful response. It may make Americans feel good about themselves, but it certainly doesn’t help us to actually look at the situation and ask what else might be going on. Why did they not have friends? They’re jerks! America is the best and friendliest! Why did they do it? They hate Freedom! USA! USA! USA!

      What you experience as an immigrant in the U.S.A. depends on a lot of factors, including your skin color, where you live and work, your accent or facility with English, and your religion. I’ve sat in the barber shop in my neighborhood and heard people rant about how the whole neighborhood was turning Mexican. Those people weren’t too friendly to Mexican immigrants. The Greek restaurant owner who was in that day was well respected though, and they seemed to think he’d join them. I loved his response when asked what he though of changes in the neighborhood. “Is their money green?”

      this “expert” on Bill’s show probably thinks, from his experience in a moderately well off area and a career in academia, that this really is a friendly country for all immigrants. But there’s a lot of America he doesn’t seem to know much about.

    • Dubliner

      I’ve been in the UK and in the USA and I agree that the UK is a much more friendly and egalitarian place. Those with African heritage achieve better educational attainments in the UK because they are less disadvantaged than people of African heritage in the US. It also seems to me that applies vocationally as well. I think the British are more colourblind than in the US and certainly far far more so than in the southern USA.

      On the other hand I think the British let themselves down by being dragged into the wars with the US. The British were not so immoral as to bomb the bejaysus out of Belfast and Dublin for the terrorist actions of a few so I don’t understand why they were prepared to do what they’ve done to Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • NogahdzNoughmasters

      Eh, zip it ya dern Feruner! ;)

      • chill

        You’ve been to the South then, I see… ;)

    • Anonymous Atheist

      IIRC, I’ve heard interracial relationships/marriages are much more common/accepted in the UK than the US, too.

      • chill

        Yeah, at least where & when I grew up (70′s / 80′s middle England).

        Comparing that to the southern USA is well….like another planet actually.

  • Gus Snarp

    It is difficult to separate the differences between Christianity and Islam from the differential in economic, political, and military power between Christians and Muslims.

    • Spuddie

      THANK YOU!!

      Someone who finally gets the point that there is more than difference in religion involved here.

      • Ders

        You should be allowed to make the argument though. Obviously bad arguments are bad arguments, but I get the feeling that many people here are not okay with people who give valid reasons for their opinions about Islam being worse than Christianity at the present moment. Violence happens on both sides, but one side is doing a lot more in the form of stifling opposition and intimidating their critics. That is what makes it worse today in my opinion. Is it alright for me to hold that opinion or am I immediately some kid of bigot (a word that is getting tossed around awfully freely around these parts today) for voicing my fairly apparent observation?

        • Spuddie

          I think the whole comparing Christian bad actors with Islamic bad actors misses the actual important facts in order to get mired in sectarian generalizing and silliness.

          Everyone seems to want to ignore the political factors involved here, but they are the most important things here.

          “Violence happens on both sides, but one side is doing a lot more in the form of stifling opposition and intimidating their critics.”

          And to blame religion for that is to be completely ignorant of the big picture here which is really political.

          “Is it alright for me to hold that opinion or am I immediately some kid of bigot”

          Well if you are going with the knee-jerk “its because they are Muslim” then yes you would be a kind of bigot. Because you would rather just make sweeping generalizations about a religion than fully understand the situation.

          • Ders

            If you take the political factors into account and every other possible factor you can think of, is it still bad to hold the opinion that one is worse than the other? I’m tired of this because you can’t prove that politics is the largest factor either. You just say it because it’s less offensive.

            • Spuddie

              Its never an intelligent decision to make wild sweeping generalizations of groups that number over a billion people. There is no way to rationally justify any argument made on such a basis. It doesn’t matter what the group is.

              You are tired of bothering to do more than make superficial, factually sketchy, predigested arguments.

              Its not a matter of giving offense, its a matter of being honest and making well reasoned arguments based on actual facts.

    • Ders

      So should we not try? Should we not talk about it? Let’s all just play Settlers of Catan and feel better about how nice we are to everybody. If you want to play that game, let’s just say that both are horrible horrible things. I’m alright with that. I’d like to be theistaphobic.

      • Gus Snarp

        Not try what? Not talk about what? Where did you get the idea that I’m telling anyone what to say or what arguments to have? But I am saying there’s more to think about that many Americans don’t seem to want to think about. I do think there’s a more responsible way to talk about this in a country where Muslims make up less of the population than self identified atheists and they suffer real discrimination.

        I don’t think we should do what Bill did in this piece, go off on his personal tirade against Islam because his guest had the temerity to mention, as an aside, that Muslims are not unique in their religious hypocrisy.

        Nor talk about how Islam is so much worse then Christianity, as if it’s some facet of the religion itself that makes it seem that way, while saying nothing at all about the other factors involved. Better to state what’s wrong with fundamentalism, with theocracy, with killing in the name of religion, with religion in general, with Islam, with Christianity, you choose, without feeling like we need to make a point about Islam being “worse”.

        But we absolutely should and must talk about talk about terrorism and what leads to it and how maybe it could be solved. But it would be nice if we recognized that Islamic terrorism arises out of a particular geopolitical situation. And if we don’t do that, and we pretend it’s all because Islam is the worst, then we’re never going to get at what’s really going on and solve any real problems. It’s no different than Bush saying they attacked us “because they hate freedom” and sending his Christian soldiers off to kill thousands of them. And then we continue to pretend that thousands of dead Muslims and the millions more who knew them and have seen what we can do with their own eyes aren’t going to lead to more terrorism.

        Also, in all honesty we probably don’t need to be speculating on these men’s religious beliefs when we don’t actually know how they played into this attack.

        But hey, if you want to do any of those things? It’s certainly within your rights.

        • Spuddie

          That was absolutely fantastic!

          I hope you don’t mind, but I will probably steal parts of this post for other discussions. There is too much good stuff here to just let sit.

        • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

          I can’t say for sure how true this statement is but, “Atheist’s, devoid of religious motivation, don’t commit terrorism.” If religion was removed from the equation, would there still be the fervency or the zealotry, that seems to motivate the perpetrators of these violent acts? Would someone really consider blowing himself up, i.e. on a bus in Israel, if there weren’t promises of exceptional rewards in the afterlife?

        • Ders

          I’m so tired of people blaming everything on politics as though the politics didn’t have some root in religion. Explain to me why Jerusalem is so important again. Does it ever occur to people that their religious institutions impact the geopolitics? It’s not a one way street where these particular geopolitical circumstances just so happen to exist where Islam is prevalent. Religion impacts geopolitics and geopolitics impact religion. If you’re too touchy about semantics, you never really say anything at all.

          • Gus Snarp

            I’m so tired of people trying to have arguments with me over things I never said.

    • Sean Lissemore

      But that doesn’t seem to stop bigots like Mehta, Maher, and Harris!

  • Ders

    The biggest problem I have with people who say that you can’t say that Islam is worse than Christianity is that you’re setting up a system where any religious beliefs are just equal. Are the Amish pretty much that same as the Muslims and the Christians? It’s fair to make a claim that one religion is currently worse than another, but you do have to support it. I think that Islam’s reaction to any and all critics in the present day is the thing that makes it the worst of the major religions currently. You can feel differently, but it’s fair to say it.

    • Sarah T.

      That’s a strawman argument. No one here has seriously argued that all religious beliefs are equal. In my case, that would presuppose that violence perpetrated by people of one faith and justified by that faith is purely a function of religious beliefs, which seems like an insupportable argument. For example, very few people argue that violence perpetrated by US soldiers is “radical Christian violence,” even though the vast majority of soldiers are Christians, their Commander in Chief is Christian, their primary form of mental health support is via Christian chaplains, and Christian bible references are used to justify and excuse acts of violence. And yet we can see why that army is “secular”, and why that violence is justified. But when the same is true for terrorist organizations which operate against us, all we can see is the surface justification, and for whatever reason we choose to ignore the vast political and cultural underpinning which is the real cause.

      • Ders

        My point is that it’s fair to say it, not that I’m correct about my viewpoint. Don’t just call someone an islamaphobe because they are saying that it is worse than Christianity right now. You can argue that Christianity is worse and I’m fine with that if you make decent points. Just don’t shut down the other side of the argument with a word or two. That’s all.

        • Sarah T.

          I, for one, don’t want to argue that Christianity is “worse” – like I said above, the question “Which religion is worse?” is designed to be begged, that is, the answer is designed to depend on whatever definition of “worse” you want. It’s pointless and intentionally provoking. Instead of arguing what religion is worse, let’s talk about what policies atheists can support in their home governments to prevent violence no matter the method or ideological reason.

          • Ders

            The question is only “designed to be begged” if possible answers don’t include: one, the other, or neither. There is a legitimate answer to that question and refusing to deal with it is cowardly. I think Christianity, as currently practiced in the world today, is horrible. I think Islam, as practiced in the world today, is somewhat more horrible because of the way it deals with it’s critics. With this in mind, I think it’s important to support policies that limit the ways in which people are allowed to silence or intimidate their critics. What say you to that?

            • Ders

              I’ll go further and say that I want my “home government” to support people in other places in the world that are being unjustly silenced and intimidated. I don’t see how this is somehow not fair game for discussion. I can be civilized about it and avoid questionable policies like profiling. Am i still a bigot for all of this? If you think I am I would submit that you’ve been taken in by the bullying that Islam has been engaged in for years on this front.

    • RobMcCune

      My objection to the question is that it’s usually not about the present day, but about some kind of intrinsic characteristic of a religion. For religions as large, diverse and old as the major religions of the world today, I don’t think they have those kind of characteristics, given the numerous historical eras and cultures they have existed in. Also making categorical statements about the “true character” of a religion is dangerously close to stereotyping.

  • Ders

    Is anybody on here going to respond to the question Maher asks about the possibility of a musical called, “The Book of Islam”? Or are we ignoring that entirely because it doesn’t fit the viewpoint we’re supposed to have?

    • Sean Lissemore

      How about the book of Torah, or the book of Jesus? How successful would those plays do in America?

      Of course Stone and Parker pick on one of the most persecuted religions in America. It is a lot easier than picking on Judaism or Methodism.

      • Carmelita Spats

        It’s a lot easier because the entire Book of Mormon is deliciously hilarious and it provided Stone/Parker with wonderful material that ANY comedy writer can adapt to a script. The bible is funny as well but the Book of Mormon is just pure dark comedy…It’s so goddamn, gut bustin’, funny that I can picture Rowan Atkinson playing “Nephi”…The BOM opens up with the insane musings of a pompous, Egyptian-speaking, Israelite from 600 BCE…You don’t even need to make much change. When I want a laugh, I recite Nephi’s rants. Methodism is utterly boring. There is nothing funny about the Wesleyan Church Articles of Doctrine.

        • Sean Lissemore

          There is nothing funny about a woman who gets knocked up by her boyfriend then convinces everyone it is god’s son and she is really a virgin? Or any and all of Jesus’s miracles? Jonah and the Whale is as crazy a story as anything in the Book of Mormon.

          Mainstream Christian religions are just as silly and ridiculous. But if Parker and Stone made fun of the story of Jesus the would get called bigots by the MSM. But since they are making fun of Mormons they are edgy. It is a ridiculous double standard, and it shows how cowardly those two are.

  • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

    We just don’t hear enough about Christian extremism from so-called moderates like as happened to the boy in South Carolina that challenged systematic violations of the 1st amendment in his middle school. He and his family received death threats, his father couldn’t get work, and his mother was subject to cat calls and derision in public. True you are less likely to be killed by Christians but I don’t find pointing out degrees of danger to be productive. Pointing out the dangers of Islam without also considering the danger of challenging Christian privilege is Islamophobic IMHO

  • Sean Lissemore

    I see a lot of idiots here defending the bible belt. I wonder if they realize that blacks and Jews used to get lynched in the bible belt regularly under the burning cross?

    The reason why they can’t do it anymore is because there are a lot more progressive and secular people in America now than there used to be. So it is the mere fact that American is less of a Christian nation that makes it less barbaric. If Saudi Arabia became less of a Muslim nation you would see the same thing. I’m not saying anything crazy here.

  • Sean Lissemore

    So according to some of the so-called “atheists” on this site Christianity is a religion of peace and harmony…. right.

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

    The apologists are having a field day with this one. History has proven that all religious adherents are bad by one point, they all believe that their religion is “the one true religion,” if you do not believe as they do then you are pretty much damned and then they are obligated to try to convert you or if not then do horrible things to you. The very few and far instances of religious communities thriving in tolerance of each other pales in comparison of the vast history of intolerance. On another note Bloody Mary’s campaign to Burn the Heretics probably outweighs then recent atrocities of Muslim extremism. And! Then you have the political and religious motives of the IRA, lest we forget many people viewed them as terrorists. Nobody expected the Inquisition neither, I’m just sayin’. Oh wait! You can also talk about the catholics muted approval of Hitler’s Final Solution. (all discussions eventually mention Hitler)

  • Sean Lissemore

    I would also like to point out that the most powerful Christian institution in the world – The Catholic Church – is a hotbed of pedophiles. And these pedophile priests were protected by leaders in the Church in the name of protecting the good name of their religion.

    But those dirty Moooooslems are so much worse! [/sarcasm].

  • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

    I can’t say for sure how true this statement is but, “Atheist’s, devoid of religious motivation, don’t commit terrorism.”
    If religion was removed from the equation, would there still be the
    fervency or the zealotry, that seems to motivate the perpetrators of
    these violent acts? Would someone really consider blowing himself up,
    i.e. on a bus in Israel, if there weren’t promises of exceptional
    rewards in the afterlife?

    • Sean Lissemore

      You do realize not all acts of terrorism involve killing oneself?

      In fact Likud’s (the ruling party in Israel) precursor organization, Irgun, regularly committed terrorist attacks against Palestinian civilians and the British. Irgun killed hundreds of people in terrorist attacks without the use of suicide bombers.

      • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

        Yes, and I also know that not all terrorism has a religious underpinning but that is an exception to the norm. Carlos The Jackal comes to mind. But yet one can say that he was acting in favor of religious extremists under the guise of fighting for Palestinian liberation. Since the establishment of a Palestinian state is equal to the establishment of a Muslim dominated nation with-in the borders of a Jewish dominated nation.

        • Sean Lissemore

          Muslim dominated, yes, but their is actually a large amount of Christians in the Palestinian population. Furthermore, Palestine wouldn’t be an Islamic state. Fatah and their leaders are a lot more popular than Hamas. Recent polling shows that various Fatah leaders would crush a Hamas candidate if there would be elections for a new President. Israel, however, is a Jewish State© .

  • Noor

    The problem is that liberal Muslims in western countries are unsuccessful in spreading their view of Islam in Muslim community.Muslim community is generally very closed to new ideas.Subjects like gay rights are almost never discussed.This environment makes it too easy for extremists to survive and recruit youths.But frankly it’s useless when people like Maher and Harris talk about Muslim extremism. It’s not something that could be solved by outsiders.It’s only moderate Muslims who can improve their community.

    • Sean Lissemore

      It’s a lot harder to spread new ideas when your country is impoverished and illiterate. Call me crazy, but that may be the problem. Not religion.

      • Noor

        I am speaking of Muslims who live in western countries.The situation is very different in the Middle East or Africa.

        • Sean Lissemore

          Most Muslims in the West are first or second generation immigrants from these impoverished countries, and the West (especially Europe) has hardly been welcoming of them.

          • Noor

            I don’t understand your point.Being from impoverished countries doesn’t stop people from being moderate.actually These immigrants are usually more moderate and educated compared to their peers in their native countries.They generally immigrate because life is difficult in their countries.If anything, they should feel friendly towards westerners.
            I think there are several reasons that Muslim community is generally rigid and closed.For starters Immigrant Muslims are in minority in a vastly different culture. a culture that historically was in war with their own culture.They are far from individualists, so they are more resistant to change. There are also religious implications against mixing with ajnabi ( people of different religions ) in Islam that encourages this segregation I am not saying that hostilities against Muslims does not affect them, but there are more important factors that should be considered.

      • Dubliner

        Yes I’ve often said that if the US and UK really cared about the women in Iraq and Afghanistan like they claim they would have dropped Ipads instead of bombs and deployed communications satellites instead of spy satellites. Instead they bomb them back to the stoneage and ensure educational deficits and religious extremism for another couple of generations.

        • Noor

          I can’t agree more.

        • Steve Brown

          Dubliner you are brain dead like hundreds of millions of sheeple. Your brain is gone.

  • Dubliner

    It occurred to me today that young males can be very dangerous regardless of ethnicity and religion. A certain number can be easily radicalised into any ’cause’ when they are in their teens and twenties. If they are still alive by the time the reach 30 they are often very different personalities and remorseful about their past actions.(Probably why the military wants them at 17 and not 28). In America most such young trigger happy males have a myriad of outlets for their aggression. They can join the army, or a militia or a gang. That is not so applicable to the Muslim young males. They don’t fit into Hells Angels or the Crips and their numbers are too small to form their own gangs. So they go looking for their ’cause’ and find it in Al Quieda type groups or ideologies. They remind me of the men from all different countries who went to fight with both sides in Spain during Franco’s time. This may actually be a function of evolution that we can re mediate with the right sort of social intervention and education but I doubt we’ll ever extinguish it.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ Bubba Tarandfeathered

      Yes, there is actually great science behind this theory. Though I can’t remember what it is called at the moment, it has to do with how the minds of teens and twenty somethings deal with rationalizing behaviors, essentially the area of the brain that functions as a stop gap to irrational behavior hasn’t fully developed all of its connections and thus (in a nutshell) they are ignorant to the consequences of their actions. Natural selection has favored this I would suppose to create Courageous Warriors and Fearless Hunters and possibly hierarchies of command.

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

    The danger with conceding that Islam can be called “more extreme” than other religions like Christianity, is that Christians will then take this concession and view it as “proof” that their religion is not dangerous at all. This, of course, is not true. Just ask Dr George Tiller or any of the many other victims of Christian terrorism whether or not they think Christianity is dangerous and harbors extremists. It absolutely is dangerous, and it absolutely does harbor violent extremists. Just because they don’t act out as often or as widely as Muslims, doesn’t mean they don’t exist or that they aren’t perilous to have around.

    Thus, it’s important to insist that, while there are certain problems with Islam (such as riots and murders over cartoons) which at the moment don’t appear to be an issue in other religions, that cannot be construed as taking those other religions “off the hook.” Any religion that claims exclusivity and presumes itself to be for all humanity, can and will — at times — have some extremists and will have violence erupt from within it. It’s unavoidable and inevitable, given that sort of philosophical and metaphysical assumption.

    Besides, we don’t know what the future holds. Perhaps in a few centuries, Islam might become meeker and Christianity more extreme than either is now. We have no way to know. The only thing we can say with certainty is that both religions do, in fact, harbor some violent extremists.

    • Sean Lissemore

      “Besides, we don’t know what the future holds. Perhaps in a few
      centuries, Islam might become meeker and Christianity more extreme than
      either is now.”

      Actually it was that way a thousand years ago when the Arab world was the center of science and learning and the Christian world was a dark, ignorant militaristic society and regularly raged wars on religion (see Crusades).

      • Sean Lissemore

        regularly waged religious wars* Ugh got to proof my stuff.

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

        You do have a point, although during the period of Islam’s peace, there was nevertheless a good deal of infighting among Muslims. Some of it was religiously-fueled (i.e. the Shi’a/Sunni schism which remains a point of contention even now), as well as ethnic (e.g. Turkish warlords taking over Arabic populations) and even plain-&-simple rivalries (e.g. some of the aforementioned Turkish warlords going after each other).

        • Sean Lissemore

          The Arab leaders at least had a de facto code of ethics in battle (see Saladin). The Crusaders routinely slaughtered civilians.

          Also the Arab world was a meritocracy. A Jew in the West could not have any career in government (I know in England it lasted that way until the 1800′s). The court physician and adviser to the Egyptian Sultans was Maimonides, one of the greatest Jewish thinkers of all time.

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

    In and of themselves, no.

    But their tactics…

  • DougI

    Here in Kansas an anti-choicer issued death threats against a doctor and was recently caught trying to recruit assassins in prison. Judges declared that doing so is well within her religious freedom. Of course, she’s a Christian.

    Another pastor is in court here in Wichita, after an operator of abortion clinic took him in court to get a restraining order. He stalked her at home, issued death threats. He isn’t in prison, because he’s a Christian.

    Had they been Muslim the decisions would have turned out differently.

  • MichaelD

    Umm frankly who cares which is worse… It’s like asking which is worse being smothered with a plastic bag or having your throat slit with a knife and be left to bleed out. They are both so unappealing and harmful that I don’t know why anyone wants to fight over which is worse.

  • Anonymous Atheist

    “And let’s not forget that Maher himself is often billed as a “militant atheist” even though the most “militant” he’ll ever get is everything you just saw in that clip.”

    By the way, I am SO tired of the word ‘militant’ being misused to deride atheists, where the appropriate word would be ‘passionate’, ‘outspoken’, or ‘activist’. If someone isn’t advocating or engaging in actual physical violence in the name of their cause, they are not ‘militant’.

  • Agrajag

    I don’t think Islam, as such, is really any worse than say Catholisism. But in Islam, the conservative block holds the power in a number of countries, and are essentially free to run those countries as they please. Even outside of this, the conservative minority somehow has managed to get a strong enough hold on many believers that they’ll atleast not publicly protest or disobey.

    It’s pretty easy to find a catholic who is willing to publicly say: “I use contraception, and I see nothing wrong with that, the church is wrong in condemning it.”

    It’s a lot harder, in practice, to find muslims who publicly say: “I eat bacon, and I see nothing wrong with that, the muslim schoolars are wrong in condemning it.” (it’s quite a lot easier to find muslims who will -privately- admit to not following the teachings)

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

    Do you seriously think that if the Christians in this country were actually able to enact a theocracy that it wouldn’t result in the same sort of horror that we see in theocratic Muslim countries?

    • Fools R’ Us

      It hasn’t yet. BEcause people CAN speak up and mock Christianity. Imagine if we couldn’t. Stop being a double standard fool

      • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

        And we can’t mock Islam? I don’t see any laws that state otherwise. If you’re talking about the fundie people who toss death threats at people who dare mock their religion, we’ve seen more evidence of Christians doing that than Muslims on TFA.
        If this was a theocratic society, you can bet your momma that if any of us atheists mocked Christianity, we’d be looking at jail time, violence, and perhaps even death.

        • Fools R’ Us

          But it isn’t and we don’t. We could play “ifs and buts” all day long, but it is make believe, while the Islamic threat is NOT make believe.

          I know it is uncomfortable when the facts do not mesh with your wishful need of your “wish it was world” but it is that simple.

          • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

            Islam is such a powerful force for evil precisely BECAUSE there are so many Islamic theocracies. The fundamentalists are given the run of the place, and they do with it what they please, making laws to make blasphemy and atheism illegal, to keep women in their place, to murder gay men, lesbian women, and trans* persons.
            Of the few Christian theocracies I can think of – Uganda comes to mind as another powerful force of evil. If there were no Islamic theocracies, then we’d have just another group of angry, violent fundamentalists – no different from every other angry, violent fundamentalist group.
            The reason I gave the “what if” was not to somehow pretend that Christianity was worse than Islam. The reason I gave that “what if” was merely to put forward the fact that given the ability, I’m sure Christianity would be just as bad as Islam.

            • Steve Brown

              Katherine; Where Christianity is the main religion of America, south america, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other countries life is not the barbaric hell on earth like it is in Islamic countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia where woman are slaves and a person can be killed for converting to a faith other than Islam. Wake up, my god wake up.

              • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

                There is a difference between a THEOCRACY and a majority religion.

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

    You are being more than a little dishonest here Hemant, as is Bill

    Honor killings have been in the news in the US in the past couple of years connected to Mormon and Amish communities.

    And yes while Islam may practice honor killings and female genital mutilation, it is to Christian communities in the US and across the world we must turn to for stories about beating and starving children to death because of witchcraft or disobedience. And lets not forget the good Christians who see their kids die from easily treated medical conditions cos they think prayer is a good replacement for medicine – and the Jehovas of course.

    You throw out the accusation that Muslims kill apostates, yet that is so rare it is insignificant – mostly they are shunned – just like apostates from Mormon, Evangelical and other Christian communities in the USA. Not so? Hmmmm….wonder what Damon Fowler would say.

    Terrorism? Ah well, I suppose like Bill you choose to ignore the abortion clinic murderers and bombers, and the protestant KKK men who blew up and burned down black churches (when not lynching and murdering black people and burning them crosses). Or the hateful scum who send death threats to people like yourself, Damon Fowler, Jessica Ahlquhist, or the King NC secularist protesters. Or is terrorism just bombs and stuff…. ah well….. how about the PIRA, RIRA and UDA then?

    See? Yes Islam is bad – but tell me that the other two Abrahamic faiths aint…. or in fact almost EVERY organized religious group.

    • Jerry to George

      You aren’t very smart are you?

  • Tom Mohammed Jesus Jones

    Bill is correct; Islam is a more violent and dangerous religion, to say otherwise is just disingenuous and nonsensical.

    The point he makes ala “Book of Mormon” vs. “Book of Islam” is a shining example of why Islam must be treated differently, and dealt with differently. I know this offends the delicate sensibilities of the liberal bubble, but truth hurts. The facts show it to be true. As the great Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “everyone is allowed their own opinion, but everyone is not allowed their own facts.”

    Yes, there needs to be solid plan of how to deal with Islam and the safety of (in this instance) America. Yes, it is a real problem. Notice, I am not trying to distract the conversation with the very real threat of idiots (very very rare) who kill abortion doctors (using this as example and metaphor) in the name of Jesus because that does not excuse the reality of the threat of Islam.

    DOn’t like this? Try walking around an Islamic neighborhood wearing a cartoon picture of Mohammed on your t shirt. See what happens. Now, go wear a t shirt with a disparaging picture of Jesus in a Christian neighborhood (anyplace in backwater Mississippi will do). You will get two very different and distinct reactions; one will be very threatening on a physical level, while the other will be social shunning. I’ll take shunning over physical threat any day of the week.

    To all the namby-pamby atheists/secularists who constantly deride christians (justifiably so) and then turn around and cry wahh wahh wahh when obvious fact is stated about Islam, well, you have just shown your bubble-head dwelling ignorance of reality.

    • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com Katherine Lorraine

      I think the response to a shirt mocking Mohammed and one mocking Jesus would be exactly the same, you’re foolish if you think otherwise.

  • latraviata

    Taqiyya means anything? Believe me (an atheist European) It exists and practiced daily. I’ve lived in MO for several years and could write a trilogy about it.
    and besides the aforementioned women’s oppression, gay sexuality, unbelievers everyone seems to forget the wave of vile Islamic anti-Semitism that infests Europe as we speak. Yes it is much , much worse than Christianity!!

  • Dee Dee

    The fact that Mormons so smartly fielded a great musical that focused on their religion (a musical which in the end really isn’t mean spirited about religion) says more about their ability to incorporate their identity into the broader culture of this country than about them not having crazy/ugly religious features. There is plenty of equity between truly crazy -seeming texts in the Mormon, Muslim and Christian holy books which become dangerous in the hands of any literalist. To me the variable that matters most is that Muslims are so identified with their states/governments as opposed to Christianity and Mormonism which have seemed to thrive with secular governments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/loisgh Lois Greene-Hernandez

    I’m really sorry that I have to disagree. Muslim extremists are worse ONLY because in the middle east they have political power. Yes I know they come here and commit mayhem but that’s because where they live their world view and their government often props up their totalitarian behavior. In neighborhoods that are hasidic you can see examples of that totalitarianism as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bernhard.rosenberg.3 Bernhard Rosenberg

    Prompted by conversion rumour, crowds attack church in central Egypt
    Sectarian tensions in Beni Suef erupt after reports that a Muslim woman had
    converted to Christianity and left the country with a Christian man
    Ahram Online , Friday 26 Apr 2013
    http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/70183/Egypt/Politics-/Prompted-by-conversion-rumour,-crowds-attack-churc.aspx

    Ahram Arabic website reported that clashes broke out between protesters and
    security forces at Saint George’s Church in Beni Suef, with eight people
    injured and 11 arrested. DR.. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  • Sebastian

    Wow you racist peice of shit.

    Last year Ander Behring Breivik a Christian man killed 77 people alone.

    He wasnt declared insane so dont try that bullshit.

    As a christian man i am ashamed i share beliefe with people who belive muslims är evil when they dont even know what muslim is about.

    The worst extremists are the christian because they justify hundred of thousands innocent childrens death by the death of 3000~ Americans you elitist assholes.

    You kill millions in the name of 3000~ and oil how do you justify that?

    is it worth killing 100 innocent in order to capture 1 terrorist?

    Only America would alove people that brain washed to run their own show/get fame.

    Maher is no better than the muslims who belive Jihad is a war against the none belivers sience he spread hate and intollerance against something you dont even know about.
    A man without honor…

  • Schmuelsons

    All faith have their own share of terrorists. It’s only the time and the magnitude of such extremism that need to be comprehended. Islam is perceived by the world as the most terrible contributors of terrorists today. It may seem right to blame them. but the Hindhus and Christians too are not spared. The world had seen among the greatest terror of all time in the form of the inquisition, or the Spanish Inquisition at it’s worst. The Christians particularly the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican had never apologized to the world on such a “crazy” unsubstantiated verdict to kill the witches, Jews and Muslims. It’s shameful that the West and the Vatican feel comfortably accusing the Muslims while conveniently forgetting their “not too distant” pasts.

  • Keith

    The problem is when people talk about Muslims they focus on anything negative and when you bring up something like oh that’s just a very small percentage, they dismiss that. It’s like if I only talked about Christianity and the priests raping little boys or the wesboro baptist church and that’s how I presented a whole religion and group of people, but let’s not talk about the rest of the Christians.

  • Glenn Taylor

    Bill Maher
    is the biggest idiot on the planet and has no place having a TV show much less an opinion, if he died today the world would be a much better place. He is a piece of cow shit.

  • Glenn Taylor

    My God, it amazes me that people can be this dumb and that people waste time typing dumb things about dumb things. This is like a thread of my God I don’t know, it’s such an idiotic waste of time. You people really need a life. You are all going to fucking hell.

    • http://rolltodisbelieve.wordpress.com/ Captain Cassidy

      That was very loving, meek, humble, and forgiving. Good job.

    • http://absurdlypointless.blogspot.com/ TBJ

      dude why don’t you stick your head in a boiling vat of hot grease, I’m am certain you could find one readily available

  • Glenn Taylor

    Fuck you.

  • Glenn Taylor

    Figures, how does it figure, fuckign Chicago, Goddam bastion of idiocy, you are a piece of shit. Latest book, what a fucking joke. How many copies did you sell idiot. Fuck you,die.

  • Glenn Taylor

    Go back to wherever the fuck you came from.

  • 3lemenope

    I have more to fear from the Christian down the street than the Muslim half a world away. This has been true my whole life.

    I would suggest that which one is worse is entirely a function of where one finds oneself and what about oneself a religious person might find objectionable.


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