students seen dressed as Arabs mocking them by carrying toy machine guns


It is difficult to reconstruct the teachings of the historical Jesus, as opposed to the character who is depicted in the gospels–which were composed a generation later, by sectarian religious devotees who had every reason to minimize the perception of conflict between their founder and the Roman government which executed him (for rebellion). It is not crazy to wonder whether his “Kingdom of God” (or Heaven) may have originally referred to a restored Davidic kingdom, free of Roman occupation.

Meanwhile, the tribal authorities whose authority the Prophet Muhammad displaced were hardly sterling examples of humane government. The Qur’an depicts God as condemning the infanticide of girl children, for example.

Anyway, do we really need to resolve the central questions of religion in order to say something sensible about displays of ethno-religious prejudice here in Taiwan? (The original topic of this thread, you’ll recall.)


Take your pick:

Response 1: Dey stawdid it.

Response 2 (with apologies to Winston Churchill): No, sir, we don’t actually need to, it’s strictly discretionary.

Response 3: Good question. However, I can’t see that it’s a rhetorical one, given the context of the thread. :slight_smile:

Well, going into the thread, my brain had probably set the range of the issues as lying somewhere around the limits of (1) the level of seriousness of the boys’ acts, and (2) what, if anything, should be done about the matter (with, of course, some (apparently) obligatory criticism of local folk (which I confess that I, too, have indulged in from time to time)). My thinking was very limited.

I should have known better, though. All kinds of stuff has been discussed on this board.

Anyway, I apologize. :oops:


Really? Because there are so many Christians that think that. I think you continue to miss the point. Im not just comparing Christianity and Islam. Any other major religion would do. I’m right there with you critical chrisitan institutions. But I’m saying there’s a reason that Islam is perpetuating a cycle of oppressive and backwards societies that leave kids like the ones posted with the impression that they are terrorists.

This isn’t a question of if Christianity is all great and the right religion, it’s a criticism of Islam and what it has done to the Arabic world that perpetuate the stereotypes like the one the kids dressed up as.

There’s a reason why we aren’t fearing Buddhist terror attacks, or whatever other religion. Is that true or false?
Is the huge overwhelming terrorist attacks based on religious faith from the Islamic faith or not?

Are you saying when terrorist claim attacks in the name of Islam they are really not?:joy:


With 1.8 billion Muslims in the world. Something like 1 in 5, 20% support the idea of the caliphate in some form. That’s about 360 million people. Can you tell me the number of Christians that support a davidic time of government? Or any religion that is on that level?


There’s a law in Taiwan that adultery is a criminal offence. I shit you not. Supposedly it’s supported by the majority of the population. The majority! Unbelievable.


I can’t say that they’re not done in the name of Islam, but I have observed that Islamism seems to be more prominent since around the time of the fall of the Soviet Union.

Using the PLO as an example, if you look at the Wikipedia article on them, it says that the group was founded in 1964.

The PLO is a group of groups, and if you look at the member groups, they all seem to be on the Left politically.

Under “Secularism vs. Adherence to Islam,” the article says:

The National Charter has no reference to religion. Under President Arafat, the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority adopted the 2003 Amended Basic Law, which stipulates Islam as the sole official religion in Palestine and the principles of Islamic sharia as a principal source of legislation.

Egypt is another example. Nasser was, as far as I can tell, on the Left politically, and if I recall rightly, he jailed outspoken members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Under Mubarak, there was a military dictatorship, but it was overthrown and free elections were held. Pursuant to the elections, the Muslim Brotherhood gained control of the government. It seems that then, those that had earlier favored democracy now favored the military over the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.—July_2013_protests_and_overthrow

The leader of the Algerian independence movement was called, in English, the National Liberation Front. It was founded in 1954, and it called itself a socialist organization. Algeria got its independence from France in 1962 (I think), and the NLF then set about getting rid of its enemies, most of whom, I think, were Muslims.

I remember that years ago, around the time of the fall of the Soviet Union, the Algerian government held elections, and an Islamic party won.

However, a year or so later, the military took over the government, and a civil war followed.

When I was trying to learn how to read Arabic between beer-drinking sessions, in reading samples that were assigned us, I kept seeing the phrase “Alwatan AlArabi” (the Arab homeland). I asked my Iraqi instructor what that meant, and I think he said something on the order of “Iraq,” or whatever Arab country the text originated in. However, I had also read that phrase in a sample that originated in some other Arabic-speaking country. I also recalled from, I guess the sixties, or thereabouts, that Egypt and Syria had tried to unite to form the United Arab Republic, but that it hadn’t worked out. (I see now from Wikipedia that it was formed in the 1950s and broke up in 1961.)

I see the current Islamist movement as at least partially a filler of the vacuum left by the Left. (I also see Communism as a way to disguise nationalism, but that’s another subject.)

One more thing:

In the 1950s, Iran (not an Arab country, but a predominantly Muslim one) elected as its Prime Minister a secular sort of person named Mohammad Mosaddegh. Mosaddegh nationalized the oil company, whereupon the CIA (and perhaps others) somehow arranged for his government to be overthrown and replaced by the Shah.

In 1979 there was serious unrest in Iran, and President Carter persuaded the Shah to leave Iran. Shortly after that, Iran became an Islamic Republic under Ayatollah Khomeini.

I’m not blaming Carter, but it does look like my country first meddled in one direction under Ike, and then meddled in the other direction under Carter.

We just don’t seem to know how to leave things alone over there.


Ok I agree with you. Of course I’m not claiming I know exactly how it would have been. But do you not see at least some reason why I don’t think they would have been any better off. We’re past what could have been. Your predictions of what could have been I don’t think is really that much more accurate than mine. I do acknowledge they could have turned out better. I’m not saying theres no chance in the infinite numbers of probable outcomes they would have always been repressive and backwards. But it just seem to me the evidence points to they would not have been much better off in most cases.

But part why I think the picture is funny is not because I actually think all Muslims are terrorists. It’s because there’s some truth in comedy and even in really poorly done ones like the kids. The humor for me is this is what Taiwanese kids think of when they think of Muslims. It’s their ignorance I’m laughing at, but at the same time I recognize there’s so truth in why they think this way even though it’s not completely true. There’s humor in their ignorance that’s also based on some reality from my point of view.


We have some points of agreement. About those kids: I came of age in the time of the National Lampoon and the first Saturday Night Live crew. I had sort of been trained to laugh at outrageous stuff (up to a point), so one of my first thoughts was “Goofy kids,” and I inwardly laughed a little bit.

And I agree with you about “the infinite numbers of probable outcomes.” It’s hard to say.

About the role the U. S. has played, almost nine years ago I wrote:

My country somehow keeps wandering into the haunted ruins of empires and getting lost among the ghosts and demons there.

I still feel pretty much that way. (And I wasn’t just talking about the Middle East.)

Cheers, Andrew!


Both things can be true at the same time. Islamic expansionism and terrorism far outdates Western meddling in the Middle East.

Western meddling just accelerated an already existing issue.


I know it’s not your intention, but there is a distinct racist undercurrent to your comments that you should maybe reflect on. You think you know the motives of the brown mans behavior better than he does himself. It’s condescending and ethnocentric that you feel the need to reinterpret the behavior of others to be about yourself as the white savior.

The brown man says “I commit these acts in the name of Allah, in line with the prophecies of my scriptures”

You : “No no silly brown man, it’s not about you it’s about me. I know you better than you know yourself. You are only doing this because we placed Shah Pahlavi in Iran. Yes me again. No need to open your mouth brown man, I have got you covered”


Some heavy-duty interpretation going on there.

Besides, I thought the Iranians were white.


That was my point. Heavy interpretation


Okay, what I wrote was merely my interpretation of events that I’ve had, to one degree or another an awareness of beginning in the 1960s (when I was in junior high school and high school) and occasion to think about. Maybe my interpretation is all bunk, but it’s mine, and it’s sort of evolved (although that may be too dignified of a word) over a pretty long period of time.

But if being patronizing is my worst sin, I’d say I’m in pretty good shape. “He’s patronizing” looks about like a cousin to “I don’t like the cut of his jib.”


I’d like to know how Islamic kids recognize western countries too.


But do you understand my point? I understand your motivations and used to think the same way and say similar things myself. It’s just a tendency of Westerners to interpret the world to all be about them and not let others have the autonomy to decide their own motives.

I’m sure it wasn’t your intention, but I’ve read enough accounts from both ex Muslims and Islamic reformers who hate opinions like yours and deride them as racist.


Uh, Alexander the Great? Antony and Cleopatra?


Well, yeah, I understand that, but I also know that, being me, I’m stuck inside me, so it’s not possible for me to be anything like perfectly objective. Also, I wasn’t recommending any kind of remedy for any of the societies under discussion (at least not that I know of–not that I don’t want them to be lucky and prosperous).

I was being selfish and thinking more about my own society and polity. Whether logically or not (and I hope no one’s offended by this, but they probably will be), I thought of Lincoln’s having said something like, “They say that the negro is inferior so that they can justify enslaving him,” and related kinds of thought.

In other words, if I have any loony messianic impulses, they’re most likely aimed at my own people (although I thought I outgrew that kind of thing, but who knows?).


Whataboutery? Didn’t say Islam invented expansionism or colonialism


What I said was weak paraphrasing of this famous post from an Iraqi reformer:

It must be incredibly frustrating as an Islamic Jihadist not to have your views and motives taken seriously by the societies you terrorize, even after you have explicitly and repeatedly stated them. Even worse, those on the regressive left, in their endless capacity for masochism and self-loathing, have attempted to shift blame inwardly on themselves, denying the Jihadists even the satisfaction of claiming responsibility.
It’s like a bad Monty Python sketch:
“We did this because our holy texts exhort us to to do it.”
“No you didn’t.”
“Wait, what? Yes we did…”
“No, this has nothing to do with religion. You guys are just using religion as a front for social and geopolitical reasons.”
“WHAT!? Did you even read our official statement? We give explicit Quranic justification. This is jihad, a holy crusade against pagans, blasphemers, and disbelievers.”
“No, this is definitely not a Muslim thing. You guys are not true Muslims, and you defame a great religion by saying so.”
“Huh!? Who are you to tell us we’re not true Muslims!? Islam is literally at the core of everything we do, and we have implemented the truest most literal and honest interpretation of its founding texts. It is our very reason for being.”
“Nope. We created you. We installed a social and economic system that alienates and disenfranchises you, and that’s why you did this. We’re sorry.”
“What? Why are you apologizing? We just slaughtered you mercilessly in the streets. We targeted unwitting civilians – disenfranchisement doesn’t even enter into it!”
“Listen, it’s our fault. We don’t blame you for feeling unwelcome and lashing out.”
“Seriously, stop taking credit for this! We worked really hard to pull this off, and we’re not going to let you take it away from us.”
“No, we nourished your extremism. We accept full blame.”
“OMG, how many people do we have to kill around here to finally get our message across?”