"Clash of civilizations" my rosy bar-mitvahed tuchas! A prerequisite for engaging in a clash of civilizations is that the parties be civilized. Violent anti-cartoon demonstrators are not. And those Muslim haters who keep fueling the fire, and who would paint all Islam by the action of a tiny minority, aren't civilized either. Take Alan Dershowitz - please.
(I've put section headings up in case you want to skip right to the good parts ... the numbers ...)
Dershowitz joins self-righteous gambling addict Bill Bennett in lecturing the US press because they haven't printed the offending cartoons (following in the tracks of fellow Muslim loathers Christopher Hitchens and Andrew Sullivan). So? We know what the cartoons depict. What could motivate Bennett and Dershowitz to insist that failure to print the cartoons themselves is a failure of the press?
Painting themselves as an alliance of left and right (Alan, get over the "I'm a liberal" schtick - nobody's buying it anymore), they write "without broad freedom, without responsibility for the right to know carried out by courageous writers, editors, political cartoonists and publishers, our democracy would be weaker, if not nonexistent."
So why didn't this "liberal" and his conservative pal speak out against the Judith Miller misinformation scam, the suppression of the Downing Street memos, or the hundred other press atrocities we experience daily? Why is this the issue that motivates them to speak out? One word answer: Muslims.
Dershowitz can't wait to torture them - hence his self-imposed exile from civilized company. After all, that's not what civilized nations do. (Gandhi's experience with beatings and torture might have prompted his response when asked during a visit to England what he thought of "Western civilization": He said, "I think it would be a good idea.")
As for Dershowitz, the law professor's flimsy arguments on behalf of torture (he's a brilliant lawyer, but even the best of 'em can only work with the case they're given) are more baffling that enlightening. And his argument that racist caricatures of Jews would have been printed, and have been printed, rings decidely false. When has an anti-Semitic cartoon been published in a major paper, Alan?
So the cartoon story won't die. Why? Because a) some radical imams know a rabble-rousing incident when they see one, and b) the Muslim bashers are using it to pile onto the Islamic faith. Bill Maher rode the pony a couple of times in these pages (but in his defense, his material was funny), Sam Harris asked the intellectually dishonest question "Where are the moderate Muslims?" (answer: they're the 1.2999 billion people leading their daily lives), and the aforementioned Muslim-bashers lept into the fray. (Or should that be "Frey," as the new synonym for "falsified"?)
Fun With Numbers
So let's have some fun with numbers. If 30,000 Muslims have rioted (probably a high number, but if you've got a more accurate one let's hear it), that's 0.000023% of all Muslims, or one Muslim out of every 43,000 worldwide. The frequency of reported rapes in the US suggests that an American is one hundred times more likely to be a rapist than a Muslim is to be a cartoon rioter.
As for the myth that all Muslims are terrorists, commentators should do the numbers, too. The Fundamentalism Project (Marty/Appleby) has found that 20% percentage of Muslims fit the "fundamentalist" criteria - a figure that is essentially the same for all major religions. (For a good reality-based introduction to Islam, I recommend Discovering Muhammad by Carl Ernst, Ph.D.)
[Interregnum: A remarkable thing just happened. When I googled "number rapists United States" it came back with, "Do you mean 'number priests United States?'" Speaking of which: What do you suppose is a typical Muslim's reaction to this survey for the US Bishops, which reported that 4,450 priests - about 4% - have been accused of sexual abuse? That means a priest is 1,700 times more likely to be a pedophile than a Muslim is to be a rioter.]
Let's have some more fun with numbers, to help out our misguided friends like Dershowitz, Sullivan, Maher, and Hitchens. Guys, that tiny percentage of rioting Muslims is equal to (or significantly less than) the percentage of :
* political commentators who have accepted secret government money to promote certain programs
* conservative 'morality' advocates who have been caught in morally compromising positions
* professional comedians who have recorded "One Night With Dice: Andrew Dice Clay Live"
* Israeli citizens who have rioted against Ariel Sharon's government
* disbarred attorneys
* Christian ministers convicted of sexual offenses
* self-professed atheists who participated in acts of mass genocide
* alcoholic writers who are as incoherent and pompous as ... well, as Christopher Hitchens
Oh, one other thing, fellas. To get your off that phony "where are the moderates?" jag, I give you this: The Muslim Institute in Germany invited Mahmud Ahmadinejad to visit Auschwitz. "In this place of horror he can again deny the Holocaust, if he has the courage," a spokesman said. Yes, they got right in the face of Iran's jackass President. I have dozens more of these links to moderate Muslim leaders, and their condemnations of terrorism and violence. All it takes to find them is a little time and honesty.
Sex With Animals
Oh, yeah! "Jackass" reminds me - I promised you "sex with animals"! In this HuffPo story about a Sudanese man forced to "marry" his goat after being caught having sex with it, the Muslim haters got predictably aroused. One comment read: " the moral of the story is that Islam condones BEASTIALITY... of course it also condones murder of non-believers i.e. infidels thus confirming one of Dubya Gump's biggest lies was the old Islam is a peaceful religion'."
Of course, the "murder of infidels" canard is repeated by Harris et al., too, by taking Qu'ran quotes intended as instructions for specific battles (e.g. "strike off the tips of their fingers") out of context. But as for the sex ... I point you to this interview between Alan Colmes and Christian anti-abortion activist Neal Horsley, with exchanges like these:
AC: "You had sex with animals?"
NH: "Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule."
AC: "Are you suggesting that everybody who grows up on a farm in Georgia has a mule as a girlfriend?"
NH: It has historically been the case. You people are so far removed from the reality... Welcome to domestic life on the farm..."
Horsley later said, "If it's warm and it's damp and it vibrates you might in fact have sex with it." There it is, folks: Testimony from a God-fearing Christian about life in the heartland. Reminds me of that serial horse rapist that Harper's reported was on the loose in Montana ...
Of course, I don't think all farm people have sex with animals - or all Christian fundamentalists, either. Muslim animal lovers have one advantage over their Christian brethren, though: When the Muslim gets caught he can marry the whole flock!
See, I may hate Muslim-bashing but we kid everybody in the US, right? Wherever they live or whatever they believe, though, most people have sex with other people - which, we've learned, is 400 times more satisfying then, uh, sex by yourself.
No figures on the satisfaction level when the sex is with an animal. Ask Neal Horsley.