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Reader comment on item: Mocking Muhammad Is Not Hate Speech
in response to reader comment: Videos are not the answer

Submitted by Sigmund Derman (United States), Sep 28, 2012 at 23:15

Dear Sara,

  1. "how can there be both a violent reaction and a successful convincing of 'some people'.?" I am surprised you ask this. Let's say we had 1000 people. 900 reacted violently and 100 were convinced. Not everyone has to react uniformly. A large group of people can have two different reactions. It can have three, four, or twenty reactions. Convincing even a small number of Muslims that they should try (or try harder) to adapt Islam to modern 1st world standards of conduct could be quite worthwhile.
  2. "It is wrong to persecute people because of their religious beliefs. You might might say that everybody really knows that but, if so, you are the one that is being naive.

I am being naive, how so? To think that 'everybody knows' that is truly truly naive! I think you will find that a quarter of the world population disagrees with you. What you meant to say is that everybody in your social strata and neighborhood knows that, right?"

I just noticed that I used the word "might" twice in a row ("might might") but that did not really change the meaning of my statement which you quoted.I think that the obvious meaning of my statement is in total agreement with your statement. In other words,I was saying that despite what some might think, there are people in the world who do NOT know that it is wrong to persecute people because of their religious beliefs.I do not think we are in disagreement.

  1. "'A huge problem in the world is that many people are inculcated in such totalitarian views (usually religious but sometimes purely political as in communism) that they really believe it is an important duty to attack those who believe otherwise.'

In theory, yes. In practice, last I checked it is mostly Muslims going around enforcing that notion."

Again, there really is no conflict between the views expressed in my statement and your statement.I did not specify the religious affiliation of the group that probably constitutes the majority of the "many people" to whom I referred.But I did not think it was necessary to do so because the whole discussion has been about the behavior of Muslims. But there are a surprisingly large number of non-Muslim groups who believe similarly.

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is a very large Christian terrorist group in Africa.The Army of God is a Christian terrorist group in the United States.There are Hindu terrorists.Such people attack those who oppose their views. I daresay there are Jews who also fit a similar description. There aren't very many such Jews, but there aren't very many Jews compared to Christians, Muslims, and Hindus.I would agree that there probably are more Muslims who fit such a description than the adherents of any other religion, but I must admit that I do not really know what the numbers are for sure. Some say otherwise. In the United States the majority of extremely intolerant people are Christians, if only because such a high percentage of the population is Christian. But it is irrelevant which group has the most intolerant adherents when we are talking about communicating with Muslims.

  1. "First of all, I would hesitate to assume that those with streaming internet access and those who go to Friday prayers to hear the world according to their Imams are dancing at the same parties. Second, any, and I mean any, depiction, drawing, reference to Mohamed is considered an insult, whether for educational or more nefarious purposes. There are requests from governments (Egypt) and Imams worldwide, including in the US, to prosecute or make blasphemy of Islam illegal."

Probably the only Muslims that non-Muslim Westerners have any hope of dialoguing with are the relatively elite individuals who do have streaming internet access. Many Muslim countries do not have highly developed power centers aside from the religious groups and the military. But developing business and educational interests can be counterweights to militant religious fanatics. Videos and other internet messages could be used to communicate with them. I would not assume that Muslims are impervious to reason.

  1. "No, No they are not at all the same thing Sigmund. Perhaps you miss the point of Dr. Pipes' suggestion. He is advocating that repeatedly publishing insulting pictures would eventually reach a saturation point where Imams would have trouble getting a rise out of their followers. After all, how many days in a row can they keep up the fervor? You are speaking of an entirely different proposition, a respectful and educational film to change hearts and minds, two totally different concepts."

I still think it's a dialogue. Out of 1.5 billion Muslims, just a tiny number are rioting at any one time. In fact, only a small percentage have ever rioted but there is an abundant supply of potential rioters. If the Imams wished, they could organize their rioters in shifts and keep it going forever. If repeated cartoons make them quit, I think it means they have gotten the following message: "Freedom of expression is every bit as important to people in the United States and other Western nations as the Muslims desire to make others kowtow to their (i.e. Muslim) beliefs." This is not physical exhaustion or lack of resources. This is exhaustion of the will to continue which comes from no longer believing that it is worthwhile to continue. This would mean that they got a message and sending messages back and forth is a communication, the result of a dialogue (albeit a strange one).

  1. "Once again, you are speaking in the theoretical and assuming that those who disagree with you are 'ranting'. I am not ranting, or at least I don't think I am. I am trying patiently to reason with you by presenting facts and realities so that you might understand that we all wish for the same."

I am not saying that those who disagree with me are ranting. I am not saying that you are ranting. If I thought that I would not have answered your comment in the first place. I am saying that an individual can either present some idea (which is generally going to be at least somewhat theoretical) about how progress might be made, or he/she can give an opinion about whether something is good or bad. Many such opinions are rants. I think that there have been some rants in this forum. But actually, there is a rather low percentage of rants here for such hot topics. Much of what is written here is just as "theoretical" as my comments. And I believe that this is good.

In any case, I agree that with your final conclusion that we want to get to peace. So, tell us how to do it. Do we get there by endlessly going over the same ground that has been gone over for decades? I believe we need some new ideas. Perhaps you have them.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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