Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Retard! Or, How Not to Make Your Point

It's been a while since I was in school, but I remember the 'good old days,' when merry cries of "retard, retard, you're a retard!" would waft across the playground.

Apparently, not much has changed.

A discussion started in the comments of a previous post, which I believe demonstrates how not to make your point.

The post, "ISNA, Hamas, Obama's Inaugural, and the Usual Suspects " (January 19, 2009), was the second of two, with my take on some foolish, misguided, pot-stirring on the part of The Associated Press and others.

Here's the discussion got started, copied from the post's Comments (format altered to enhance readability):
  • Brigid said...
    • Gosh! I'm part Irish and I visited Ireland! I have ties to the IRA! Nooooooo!
    • *commence eye rolling now*
    • January 19, 2009 11:00 AM
  • Muslims Against Sharia said...
    • Brigid,
    • You being retarded has nothing to do with you being Irish.
    • January 19, 2009 8:23 PM ...
  • Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...
    • Muslims Against Sharia,
    • What gives you the idea that Brigid is retarded?
    • January 19, 2009 10:58 PM
  • Muslims Against Sharia said...
    • Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski,
    • Her comment.
    • January 19, 2009 11:26 PM
  • Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...
    • Muslims Against Sharia,
    • I see.
    • Interesting.
    • Brigid is an artist, my daughter, and has, I will grant, a rather informal way of expressing herself.
    • She is not "retarded." Unless you are using "retarded" in it's schoolyard taunt sense, as in "you dropped the ball, retard!"
    • She was clearly showing the ludicrous nature of The Associated Press's, and others, implied claims about the president of ISNA, by comparing that situation to a hypothetical case of her being accused of ties with the IRA, on the basis of her trip to Ireland.
    • I respectfully suggest that, if this is how you treat your friends, they will have to be very long-suffering.
    • January 19, 2009 11:48 PM
  • Muslims Against Sharia said...
    • OK, maybe retarded was not the proper term. However she so arrogantly displayed her ignorance, it was not uncalled for.
    • While Ingrid Mattson may not have direct ties to Hamas per se, some of ISNA's high-ranking members do. There is not dispute that ISNA is a front group for Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas is being touted as a Palestinian branch of MB. MB is not on the list of FTOs, some of its branches are. Same goes for the IRA. IRA is not on the list, but Real IRA is. Ingrid Mattson has ties to MB not because she is a Muslim, but because she is a president of the MB branch. Ridiculing this notion but saying: "I'm part Irish and I visited Ireland! I have ties to the IRA!" is ... retarded, in a schoolyard taunt sense.
    • Radical Muslims in America spend tens of millions of dollars every year to paint themselves as moderates. And it obviously works; they get to become a part of the inauguration. Comments by your daughter, however insignificant they may seem, play a role in whitewashing radical Islam. I suggest you explain to her what's at stake. We cannot afford to have another ignorant Westerner jumping on "Sharia is acceptable" bandwagon.
    • January 20, 2009 9:25 AM

Response, from Another Ignorant Westerner

I had a conversation with my daughter this evening, to see if she was "jumping on 'Sharia is acceptable' bandwagon."1 during the approximately 24 hours which had elapsed since we last spoke.

She's not.
Not on the "Sharia is acceptable" Bandwagon
In fact, she is as firmly convinced as ever that sharia law, together with other manifestations of pre-Magna-Carta systems of jurisprudence, are inappropriate for contemporary societies.

I have discussed with her certain inadequacies in the method by which she had attempted to express her point. She had, as I suspected, been employing sarcasm. More specifically, she had endeavored to demonstrate the absurdity of The Associated Press's attempt to link ISNA's president with Hamas, by repeating the argument, with different terms, as a hypothetical example.

Apparently, her effort to communicate her ideas was not entirely successful.

In fact, Muslims Against Sharia's belief, regarding her stand regarding sharia law is diametrically opposed to what she actually believes.
Muslims Against Sharia, ISNA, Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Unsupported Assertions
I think that part of the difficulty, apart from misapprehension of a somewhat informal expression of belief, lies with Muslims Against Sharia's assumption that ISNA must be linked to Hamas, and that all who are linked to ISNA must therefore be tainted by Hamas as well.

As Muslims Against Sharia said, "...While Ingrid Mattson may not have direct ties to Hamas per se, some of ISNA's high-ranking members do. There is not dispute that ISNA is a front group for Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas is being touted as a Palestinian branch of MB...."

This assertion may or may not be true, but it is unsupported in Muslims Against Sharia's comment. That is to say, there is no citation of a source which might support the assertion that: "There is not dispute that ISNA is a front group for Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas is being touted as a Palestinian branch of MB."2

Another unsupported assertion is "Ingrid Mattson has ties to MB not because she is a Muslim, but because she is a president of the MB branch."

Ingrid Mattson may, indeed, have ties to MB (Muslim Brotherhood). She may even be president of the MB branch. Muslims Against Sharia is not at all clear as to what MB branch they suppose Ingrid Mattson to be president of. Since Muslims Against Sharia assert that "Hamas is being touted as a Palestinian branch of MB" - perhaps they believe that Ingrid Mattson is president of Hamas.

I rather doubt that Muslims Against Sharia believes that, but that is a possible (although, in my opinion, unlikely) interpretation.
Muslims Against Sharia: Something of a Disappointment
I became aware of Muslims Against Sharia in 2007, while researching reactions in the Islamic world, to cartoons published by Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. The "Swedish dog" had upset quite a few Muslims, with a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed which were, at best, in rather dubious taste. Quite a few Muslims defined the cartoon as "blasphemous," and, given what little I understand of Islamic beliefs, they were probably right.

At that time, Muslims Against Sharia stated their belief that Lars Vilks should not be killed, and offered a monetary incentive to anyone who successfully undertook specified actions which would tend to preserve Mr. Vilks' life.

I made a cursory study of the Muslims Against Sharia website, decided that they had ideas and opinions which might be of interest, and added Muslims Against Sharia to this blog's blogroll.

Tonight, after reviewing yesterday's rather curious dialog between myself and Muslims Against Sharia, I made a slightly more detailed study of the organization. I found very little that I had not known before.

Muslims Against Sharia's mailing address is a post office box in Omaha, Nebraska. Their website's registrant is Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc., of Bellevue, Washington: which is also, purportedly, their website's administrator.

While such deliberate anonymity may be justified, by the admittedly lethal means of self-expression employed by a number of Islamic organizations, including but not limited to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, it does discourage an interested outsider from determining the bona fides of Muslims Against Sharia.

Given limitations which circumstance places on my time and other resources, it's unlikely that I will continue a study of Muslims Against Sharia. I have decided, tentatively, that the organization, although perhaps well-intentioned, values its own opinion over verifiable facts, and is much too eager to identify one who does not share Muslims Against Sharia's biases as an "ignorant Westerner."

Such lack of intellectual rigor, coupled with an eagerness to identify as "retarded" and an "ignorant Westerner" one who is, in fact, in general alignment with Muslims Against Sharia's alleged positions, does not encourage me to regard Muslims Against Sharia as a reasonable, reasoning, organization. As I said, in my final comment yesterday, "if this is how you treat your friends, they will have to be very long-suffering."

Islam, Muslims, Perception, and Reality

Saudi royalty and others have managed to give Islam and Muslims the reputation for being arrogant, rude, condescending, and more than a little ignorant. I have tried, from time to time, to correct this misapprehension. It is disappointing when Muslims in an Islamic group undercut my efforts.

Sharia Law? Never Heard of It

Princeton's WordNet Search defines "Sharia Law" as
"...Islamic law (the code of law derived from the Koran and from the teachings and example of Mohammed) 'sharia is only applicable to Muslims'; 'under Islamic law there is no separation of church and state' ".
According to WordNet, alternate spellings and terms are shariah, shariah law, and sharia.

I briefly discussed sharia law in September, 2007, and made a short list of related posts: As I wrote then, I recommend using this blog's search function to search for more commentary on sharia law.

Another post, not in that list, shows how sharia law gets used, and why it can be a problem, when used by countries living in the 21st century:
1 The last sentence in Muslims Against Sharia's final comment reads: "We cannot afford to have another ignorant Westerner jumping on 'Sharia is acceptable' bandwagon." It should have been "We cannot afford to have another ignorant Westerner jumping on the 'Sharia is acceptable' bandwagon."

While recognizing that definite and indefinite articles in American English can be something of a challenge for those learning the language, they are important elements, and their inclusion - or, in this case, non-inclusion - does make an impression on the reader.

2 Another syntactic blunder, but let it pass.

14 comments:

Muslims Against Sharia said...

'This assertion may or may not be true, but it is unsupported in Muslims Against Sharia's comment. That is to say, there is no citation of a source which might support the assertion that: "There is not dispute that ISNA is a front group for Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas is being touted as a Palestinian branch of MB."'

Are you fucking serious? Instead of displaying your ignorance, why don't you just ask for citation? As for Hamas being touted as Palestinian branch of MB, go to Hamas website.

Your immediate surrounding must consist of people who are full of shit, but have you seen anyone at MASH making an unsubstantiated claim? I'm sorry I called your daughter a retard, but it doesn't give you the reason to start acting like one.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

"In fact, she is as firmly convinced as ever that sharia law ... [is] inappropriate for contemporary societies."

Really? Then why did she jumped to the defense of the president of the organization that was a signatory to the following statement: '"Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America: The Process of settlement is a "Civilization-Jihadist Process" with all the word means. The Ikhwan [Muslim Brothers] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."'

"Muslims Against Sharia is not at all clear as to what MB branch they suppose Ingrid Mattson to be president of."

ISNA, you dumbass.

"I have decided, tentatively, that the organization, although perhaps well-intentioned, values its own opinion over verifiable facts"

That's because you are a retard. Your stupidity and ignorance of the verifiable facts does not make those facts unverifiable. All you had to do is ask, instead of going on a rant that made you look dumber than you are.

"Such lack of intellectual rigor"

Championing ignorance does not really qualify as "intellectual rigor"

"if this is how you treat your friends"

Friends? You have some perverted notions of friends. My friends, when in doubt, will ask a question instead of making idiotic accusations.

"and more than a little ignorant"

Projecting much?

"...Islamic law (the code of law derived from the Koran and from the teachings and example of Mohammed) 'sharia is only applicable to Muslims'; 'under Islamic law there is no separation of church and state' "

One idiot perpetuating another idiot's ignorance. Ever heard of the term "Dhimmi"? It is the status assigned to non-Muslims under Sharia. If Sharia did not apply to non-Muslims, why would this term even exist? Still think Sharia is not applicable to non-Muslims? Go to Saudi Arabia and bring a Bible. Just because you figured out how to use Princeton's WordNet Search, doesn't make you an expert on Islam.

"As I wrote then, I recommend using this blog's search function to search for more commentary on sharia law."

Since your ignorance about Sharia is so easily proven, (verifiable facts, remember?) who in their right mind would think of your blog as a reliable source to research this subject?

"Another syntactic blunder"

Well, at least you know English better than me, which, considering the fact that English is neither my first, nor my second language, I would readily admit. However, your dismal knowledge of radical Islam and your pathetic outrage about your daughter's bullshit being called speaks volumes.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

I was going to let this lie. These comments change that.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

The "accusation," as you put it, was not idiotic.

And your conversation, by the standards of the standards of the upper Midwest, where I live, is boorish.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

"And your conversation ... is boorish."

Coming from a fucking moron whose list of "useful resources for understanding the War on Terror" contains who is who of American Islamofascists, I am not surprised.

"Another War-on-Terror Blog"? What a fucking joke! Retards like you who promote and defend Islamofascists while pretending to understand the War on Terror are just as dangerous as those Islamofascists that they defend. You are nothing more than an arrogant, ignorant, self-righteous fuck. Those Islamofascists that you love so much knowingly working to advance Sharia. However, they would not be successful but for fucking morons like you. You wanna help the War on Terror? Shut the fuck up and go ice fishing, or whatever the fuck you retards do up there.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Your girlfriend in her own words:

1) Mattson places loyalty to Islam before loyalty to the United States of America:

If Muslim Americans are to participate in such a critique of American policy, however, they will only be effective if they do it, according to the Prophet's words, in a "brotherly" fashion. This implies a high degree of loyalty and affection. This does not mean, however, that citizenship and religious community are identical commitments, nor that they demand the same kind of loyalty. People of faith have a certain kind of solidarity with others of their faith community that transcends the basic rights and duties of citizenship.

2) Mattson on the possibility that Americans may "rise to the challenge of defining themselves as an ethical nation":

The first duty of Muslims in America, therefore, is to help shape American policies so they are in harmony with the essential values of this country. In the realm of foreign policy, this "idealistic" view has been out of fashion for some time. Indeed, the American Constitution, like foundational religious texts, can be read in many different ways. The true values of America are those which we decide to embrace as our own. There is no guarantee, therefore, that Americans will rise to the challenge of defining themselves as an ethical nation; nevertheless, given the success of domestic struggles for human dignity and rights in the twentieth century, we can be hopeful.

3) Mattson denies the existence of terrorist cells in the United States:

There's a prejudgment, a collective judgment of Muslims, and a suspicion that well "you may appear nice, but we know there are sleeper cells of Americans," which of course is not true. There aren't any sleeper cells.

4) Mattson defends Wahhabism:

CHAT PARTICIPANT: What can you tell us about the Wahhabi sect of Islam? Is it true that this is an extremely right wing sect founded and funded by the Saudi royal family, and led by Osama bin Ladin? What is the purpose of the Wahhabi?

MATTSON: No it's not true to characterize 'Wahhabism' that way. This is not a sect. It is the name of a reform movement that began 200 years ago to rid Islamic societies of cultural practices and rigid interpretation that had acquired over the centuries. It really was analogous to the European protestant reformation. Because the Wahhabi scholars became integrated into the Saudi state, there has been some difficulty keeping that particular interpretation of religion from being enforced too broadly on the population as a whole. However, the Saudi scholars who are Wahhabi have denounced terrorism and denounced in particular the acts of September 11. Those statements are available publicly.

This question has arisen because last week there were a number of newspaper reports that were dealing with this. They raised the issue of the role of Saudi Arabia and the ideology there. Frankly, I think in a way it was a reaction to the attempts of many people to look for the roots of terrorism in misguided foreign policy. It's not helpful, I believe, to create another broad category that that becomes the scapegoat for terrorism.

5) Mattson on the negative effects of the end of the Islamic Caliphate:

CHAT PARTICIPANT: Osama bin Laden made a reference that Muslims have been living in humiliation for 80 years. Did he refer to the Treaty of Sevres in 1920 that dismantled caliphates and sultanates?

MATTSON: Yes, he is referring to that, to the overthrowing of the caliphate, which was a plan of European powers for many years. This deprived the Muslim world of a stable and centralized authority, and much of the chaos that we're living in today is the result of that.

If that's not enough, continue here.

I just have one question for you. How stupid or ignorant one should be not to consider Mattson a danger to America?

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Muslims Against Sharia,

Ingrid Mattson is hardly my "girlfriend." First, her public statements strongly indicate that her views are very far removed from mine. Second, I have never met her, and do not expect to.

I am glad to see that you cited sources. That makes verification possible.

However, your abusive style of communication is both annoying, and time-consuming. For that reason, I may not continue replying to these comments.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Muslims Against Sharia,

I learned, decades ago, that people who do not agree with me are not, necessarily, either stupid or ignorant. They simply see the world in a different way.

Now, to answer your question: "I just have one question for you. How stupid or ignorant one should be not to consider Mattson a danger to America?"

A person would not have to be either stupid, or ignorant, to not consider Mattson a danger to America. Not considering Mattson a danger to America could stem from possessing a world view which is consistent with hers.

For myself, I do regard Mattson, and ISNA, as a potential danger. I simply do not know enough about either to be certain.

Now that ISNA, and ISNA's president, have been drawn to my attention, I will continue to learn more about them. What I have learned, to date, is somewhat unsettling.

But I can be unsettled without being certain. And, given the complexity of the situation, and contradictory assertions, it will be some time before I am even close to being certain about ISNA. Or its current president, Mattson.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

There's an interesting discussion going on in an online community, BlogCatalog: " 'Muslims Against Sharia' - Does Anyone Here Know About This Website?" (BlogCatalog discussion, started January 20, 2009).

Given Muslims Against Sharia's interest in some of this blog's posts, and the remarkable level of anonymity which it maintains, I started the discussion in an effort to learn more about 'MAS.'

Muslims Against Sharia said...

“Ingrid Mattson is hardly my "girlfriend."”

Really? Being such a master of English language you seem to be dim enough to see unmasked sarcasm.

“I may not continue replying to these comments.”

That just breaks my heart. I’m being sarcastic again, in case you missed it.

“I learned, decades ago, that people who do not agree with me are not, necessarily, either stupid or ignorant. They simply see the world in a different way.”

Couldn’t agree with this more. However, people who don’t know the facts are ignorant and people who ignore the facts are stupid. You seem to fit in both categories.

“A person would not have to be either stupid, or ignorant, to not consider Mattson a danger to America. Not considering Mattson a danger to America could stem from possessing a world view which is consistent with hers.”

It doesn’t matter what your worldview is. Mattson presides over organization whose stated goal is to destroy America from within. One must be a fucking moron not to consider someone who wants to destroy something not to be a danger to it.

“For myself, I do regard Mattson, and ISNA, as a potential danger. I simply do not know enough about either to be certain.”

That’s why I tried to educate you, but you seem to be too dense.

“And, given the complexity of the situation, and contradictory assertions, it will be some time before I am even close to being certain about ISNA”

Contradictory assertions? How about ISNA in its own words? When on the one hand ISNA claims to want to destroy America while one the other hand it claims to be a moderate entity, how fucking stupid do you have to be not to understand which statement is true?

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Muslims Against Sharia,

As you had the opportunity to learn, sarcasm is prone to misinterpretation.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

I sincerely apologize for using harsh descriptions before. I didn’t realize your limitations. Calling Mattson your girlfriend was as clear manifestation of sarcasm is it gets. The fact that you did not understand it shows your limited intellectual abilities. I'm even tempted to use term 'retarded' in literate sense, but I won't. Given your diminished mental capacity, you should not be dealing with such complicated issues as War on Terror or radical Islam. You might impress someone like your daughter who is just as clueless as you are, but you will embarrass yourself in front of real people. I'm not saying it to be mean; take my friendly advice and find another hobby. Logic is not your strong suit, but I'm sure you have some wonderful qualities that you could capitalize on. For example, you have a very beautiful image on your header. Maybe painting is your true calling.

akhter said...

What is Sharia?
Most people’s impression of Sharia law is one of blood and gore at a Taliban-style football pitch come public execution arena.

So when the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the Anglican Church, suggested that some aspects of Sharia law should be incorporated into British law a tirade of criticism was launched at him.

But many Muslims think Sharia is an important part of their lives. So what is it really all about?

Broadly speaking, Sharia is the name given to law derived from Islam. It covers politics, economics, criminal law, business, contracts, family life, hygiene and social issues. Though there are similarities with Western secular law in terms of the rights it gives and the principles and values that it upholds, it differs completely in its source and methodology.

Is Sharia Law Medieval and Unfit for Modern Society?

1000 years ago, European countries were ruled over by Kings and the Church with laws that maintained an unfair feudal system, oppressed women and pursued almost continuous warfare. Europe would never dream of going back to those uncivilised non-progressive laws, so why would Muslims look towards laws of that era?

The Islamic world prospered under Sharia law in the past. This differs from Europe where progress only really began when the Church was separated from politics and secularism was established. Under secularism, Muslim countries have failed to achieve the progress that they enjoyed under Islamic law.

Muslims want appropriate laws for the modern age. The Sharia approaches law from the perspective of the problems that face human beings. While technology may have progressed and societies have become more complex, the core relationships between people remain of the same kind and were successfully governed by Sharia law in the past.

Laws made by man in a secular system are vulnerable to the prejudices and inadequacies of the men and women who invent these laws. They are also vulnerable to corruption and undue influence by the rich and powerful. We can see many countries that have suffered from corruption and civil unrest when attempting to implement secular systems.

Muslims believe that the Sharia comes from God (Allah). It is the application of God’s laws upon human beings. It is based upon text that everyone can access and includes checks and balances to ensure that anyone who feels the law is incorrect or unfairly applied can challenge it through the court system. It transcends tribal loyalties, regional interests or the influence of the rich and powerful. Therefore it should be very resistant to corruption and able to unite people under its rule.

So How is Sharia Law Derived in the Modern Day?

Sharia Law is based upon the Qur’an (the revelation from Allah) and the example of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).

In some cases, they give a direct verdict on a specific human problem and in others scholars of Islam are needed to derive a verdict from these sources using various judicial principles.

In recent years, Islamic Scholars have brought forward explanations of the Islamic stance on modern developments such as stem cell research, cloning and organ transplant. Such opinions at their core must be underpinned by the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).

Aren’t there Many Different Opinions in the Sharia – doesn’t this create conflict?

All Islamic opinions are based on the Qur’an and the example of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh). Therefore, if there is a difference of opinion, the scholars who have derived this opinion and their followers must have respect for the others as they are all Islamic opinions. There should be no conflict over a difference of opinion.

For public matters, the leader of an Islamic State would be free to adopt whichever opinion he believed to be strongest and then all people including scholars with different interpretations would be bound to obey the law of the land. They would still have the right to argue the case for the opinion they believe to be stronger. In private matters people are free to decide which opinion they believe to be the strongest and follow it.

Secular systems also have a wide difference of opinion on the solutions to problems and what laws should be applied. Those with majority support usually take power and implement their opinions on what is best. This can lead to disastrous results including unpopular pre-emptive wars, economic recessions, tribal conflicts or even civil war.

But doesn’t Sharia Law invade People’s Private lives?

Sharia law includes laws about the private lives of Muslims such as the rights of husbands and wives over each other, the way people eat, drink and even sleep! But these things are not regulated by the state, rather they are between the individual and God.

In fact, the Sharia prohibits an Islamic State from spying on its citizens. This is in stark contrast to Western Countries where CCTV watches the streets, personal information is stored by government (and lost), phones are tapped and confidential conversations are bugged. Actually secular western systems invade the private lives of their citizens far more than would be permitted by the Sharia.

So do Muslims support the Archbishop in asking for Sharia law in Britain?

The Sharia has laws on how Muslims should behave when living under non-Islamic governments. In general, they are bound to follow the laws of that land as citizens of that state providing it does not force them to disobey God. In general Muslims are able to follow their religion and obey the laws of Britain without there being any conflict.

Today, there are no Muslim countries that implement the Sharia to the true spirit and letter of its law. It would be difficult for a Muslim to believe that the Qur’an is the Word of God without believing that His laws are good for mankind. However Muslims who advocate the Sharia would wish to see Muslims in Muslim countries apply it successfully in a holistic manner as it was intended to be rather than as an adjunct to British law.

With the media hysteria surrounding Islam in the West, Muslims born and raised in Western Countries are more concerned that laws will be made that directly prevent them from following their religion making emigration to a Muslim country their only choice. Unfortunately the current political classes seem intent on controlling every aspect of Muslim life in Britain including a politically correct interpretation of Islam. We are not far from a state where thoughts themselves are policed.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

akhter,

Thanks for that extensive comment. If you have a blog or website of your own, leave a link.

I'm no expert on Sharia, but what you said does seem to make sense.

I'm not a Muslim, and haven't been studying Islam seriously until recently, and am definitely on a 'learning curve.'

Despite bin Laden's remarkable views, and the antics of the House of Saud, there is some evidence that some versions of Islam are quite compatible with the world as it's existed for the last few hundred years.

You'll find, in this blog, statements and opinions that are sharply critical of some individuals and groups, and their particular version of Islam. I try, however, to avoid unthinking criticisms of Islam as a whole.

It's a point I'm rather sensitive about: From Thomas Nast and Maria Monk to Tony Alamo, quite a number of people have had a habit - and sometimes a career - of making wild claims about Catholics, Catholic beliefs, and the Catholic Church. I really don't want to imitate them.

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Blogroll

Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.