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Auē Tēnei Wiki: Cop Shot in Philadelphia

Officer+Jesse+Hartnett+Suspect+Edward+Archer

Officer Jesse Hartnett and suspect Edward Archer (Source: nbcphiladelphia.com)

At about 11.40 pm Thursday (US time) 30-year-old Edward Archer, allegedly ran at police officer Jesse Hartnett while he was sitting in his patrol car, firing a gun. Archer reportedly discharged eleven shots, the last at point blank range actually inside the car. He then ran away from the car, shooting back towards it. Amazingly, Archer only managed to hit Hartnett three times (all in the left arm), and Hartnett was able to call for help, exit the car, and follow and fire at Archer, wounding him. Archer was arrested by the police officers who came to Hartnett’s assistance.

ABC6 reports:

Archer, 30, of Yeadon [a small town just west of Philadelphia] is facing multiple charges including attempted murder, aggravated assault and terrorist threats in the shooting of Officer Jesse Hartnett.

According to police, the suspect confessed to the crime, saying he did it “in the name of Islam.”

Commissioner Richard Ross provided the update during a news conference on Friday afternoon. He said there was no indication from Archer that he was involved in a conspiracy.

Archer allegedly told authorities he targeted an officer because police defend laws that are contrary to the Quran.

I already knew this had happened when I switched on Fox News. The coverage I saw there left me angry and frustrated. They continually replayed the video of the shooting, the comments of Police Commissioner Ross saying the perpetrator said he committed the shooting in the name of Islam, and the comments of the Mayor (see second video). As far as those I saw on Fox News were concerned, this was an Islamist terrorist attack. In the time I watched, there was no mention of the fact that the suspect’s mother said Archer had a brain injury from his time playing football, and only passing mention of his previous criminal record.

It seems clear to me that if this same situation had occurred but the suspect had mentioned the Bible instead of the Qur’an, the focus would have immediately been on the mental health of Archer. It may be that Archer has been recently radicalized, but there is so far no evidence of that. However, because of the current climate in the United States whipped up by the candidates in the GOP primary, the immediate assumption is Islamist terrorism.

Further, I was extremely disappointed that when this event was reported on New Zealand’s most watched news programme last night, One News, it was also reported as a terrorist event. They replayed the BBC reporting of the event, which linked it to three other events that were terrorism.

Following the above, the mayor spoke at the press conference.  To get a video of what Philadelphia mayor of four days Jim Kenney said, I had to trawl through a series of anti-Islamic websites. The one below is the least offensive. (It repeats some of what is in the clip above.)

This may be a terrorist attack, and if so, it raises other concerns.

Mayor Kenney (D) said, I assume in an attempt to stop any backlash against Muslims following the attack:

In no way shape or form does anyone in this room believe that Islam, or the teaching of Islam has anything to do with what you’ve seen on that screen. That is abhorrent, it’s just terrible and it does not represent the religion in any way shape or form, or any of its teachings. And this is a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers. It has nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith.

In my opinion, the reaction of Fox News and the multiple anti-Muslim sites is exactly what is to be expected when people make comments such as those of Mayor Kenney. His words were exactly the wrong way to handle the situation, and provided rich fodder for the bigots.

When a perpetrator says, “I did this for Islam,” then a community leader says, “This has nothing to do with Islam,” people simply don’t accept or believe it, and it makes them angry.

What needs to be said is that the perpetrator of the crime is not supported by most in the Muslim community, and that most Muslims do not agree with or endorse his views. And it needs to be a Muslim community leader who stands up and says that, not someone who has no obvious credentials to speak on behalf of Muslims. Muslim leaders do do that of course, but not usually in the immediate aftermath and so there is little coverage, and no-one hears about it. Then we get the constant remarks like, “Where are the Muslim leaders in repudiating the perpetrator’s actions?”

Regular readers will know I’ve been saying this since I started my website. I’ve since discovered that  someone whom I respect greatly, Maajid Nawaz of the Quilliam Foundation, is of the same opinion. On The Kelly File not long ago he said:

There’s a danger if we don’t name this thing ‘Islamist extremism’ and isolate it from mainstream Muslims, and then undermine it. When we don’t name something, the vast majority of people who don’t really understand these complex conversations will assume the problem is with the religion of Islam and Muslims, themselves.

He has termed it the Voldemort Effect, and wrote about it recently in The Daily Beast:

Nawaz, Maajid www.hamhigh.co.uk Polly Hancock

Maajid Nawaz (Source: www.hamhigh.co.uk, photo by Polly Hancock)

Recognizing the source of that support means avoiding the apologism of the far left or the sensationalism of the far right. Both of these reactions will render us blind to the real wellspring of this insurgency’s appeal: the Islamist ideology, as distinct from the religion of Islam.

President Obama, and many liberals, shy away from calling this ideology Islamism. Their fear is that both Muslim communities and those on the political right will simply hear the word “Islam” and begin to blame all Muslims. Instead, the mantra that is repeated is “ISIS has nothing to do with Islam.”

Phrasing things in this way rests on an understandable concern. But it exacerbates the very problem it seeks to avert. To explain this, for a while now I have been using a reference from popular culture, which I am glad to say has now made the Urban Dictionary. I call it the Voldemort Effect, named after the villain in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

The people in Rowling’s fictional world are so terrified, so petrified of this evil that they do two things: They refuse to call him by name, instead referring to him as “He Who Must Not Be Named,” and while refusing to name him, they also deny that he even exists at all. Of course, that only increases the fear and worsens the panic and public hysteria, thus perpetuating Voldemort’s all-powerful myth even more. Refusing to name a problem, and failing to recognize it, is never a good way to solve it. We know that from the Weimar years of appeasement to Nazism, as much as recovering alcoholics will understand it from their 12-step programs.

I say this as a liberal, and as a Muslim. In fact, I speak as a former Liberal Democrat candidate in the U.K.’s last general election and as someone who became a political prisoner in Egypt due to my former belief in Islamism. I speak, therefore, from a place of concern and familiarity, not enmity and hostility to Islam and Muslims. In a televised discussion with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on the issue, I have argued that of course ISIS is not Islam. Nor am I. Nor is anyone, really. Because Islam is what Muslims make it. But it is as disingenuous to argue that ISIS has “nothing to do with Islam” as it is to argue that “they are Islam.” ISIS has something to do with Islam. Not nothing, not everything, but something. If you’re going to talk to a jihadist—and believe me, I have spoken to many—you’re not going to find yourself discussing Hitler’s Mein Kampf. You’ll be discussing Islamic texts.

The result of refusing to name the problem is exactly what has occurred here. All the Fox News shows I watched on Saturday (Friday US time) took exactly this approach – they constantly contrasted the mayor’s words of “this has nothing to do with Islam” and those of the police when telling us what the suspect said. After trying to find video or a transcript of the mayor’s words, I felt dirty. They were all over every anti-Islam site you care to name, ramping up anti-Muslim sentiment, which is exactly the opposite of what the mayor is after. To be fair, some of the Fox News hosts recognize the problem of not naming Islamist terrorism too, but to me they don’t make the distinction clear enough and so play into the hands of the anti-Muslim crowd.

As long as the issue of Islamist terrorism remains in the minds of most people as a battle against all Muslims, the Clash of Civilisations mentality will remain. Thus, when Donald Trump calls for a ban on all Muslims, and Republican governors call for a ban on Muslim refugees, all Muslims will be seen as potential terrorists and hate will spread. And when you hate someone, it’s OK to carpet bomb cities of hundreds of thousands (like Mosul in Iraq) to get rid of a few thousand terrorists.

29 Responses to “Auē Tēnei Wiki: Cop Shot in Philadelphia”

  1. rickflick says:

    Good points Heather. It’s really ridiculous of the mayor to say what he said. It is an outright lie. He obviously thinks this lie is the right thing to do. But it clearly is not. The truth is far more salient than an awkward, transparent fabrication designed to disarm bigots.

    Unfortunately the president is guilty of the same foolishness. Instead of talking turkey, he always skirts the obvious until the real bigots, including the republican candidates for president, spell it out for him, but with no context or background information to help understanding.

    • The mayor has only been in office four days, so he’s not experienced, and he’s been thrust on the world stage in his first week, which is pretty tough. Hopefully he’ll learn from this. Still, the damage has been done.

  2. Mark R. says:

    The Voldemort Effect is a good way to describe what’s happening in America’s (and much of the west’s) approach to Islamic terrorism. I can hardly listen to Obama when he addresses this issue; it’s painful to hear and far too predictable. We’ll see if he skirts the issue again during the upcoming State of the Union speech. I’m sure he won’t call it what it is, and by doing so, will do nothing to mitigate people’s fear and bigotry. In fact, his approach, like that of the mayor and others on the left, exacerbates the confusion of this complex issue.

    Fox News’ coverage is of course no surprise. Their business model is to peddle fear and hate.

  3. paxton marshall says:

    Hi Heather, it is encouraging that you recognize: “It seems clear to me that if this same situation had occurred but the suspect had mentioned the Bible instead of the Qur’an, the focus would have immediately been on the mental health of Archer. It may be that Archer has been recently radicalized, but there is so far no evidence of that. However, because of the current climate in the United States whipped up by the candidates in the GOP primary, the immediate assumption is Islamist terrorism.”

    And I agree that Mayor Kenney’s response was not credible: “In no way shape or form does anyone in this room believe that Islam, or the teaching of Islam has anything to do with what you’ve seen on that screen. That is abhorrent, it’s just terrible and it does not represent the religion in any way shape or form, or any of its teachings. And this is a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers. It has nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith.” How does he know this? It may be true, but probably not.

    But I have to disagree when you ascribe Fox News’ jumping to the conclusion that “this was an Islamist terrorist attack” to the Mayor’s statement. “In my opinion, the reaction of Fox News and the multiple anti-Muslim sites is exactly what is to be expected when people make comments such as those of Mayor Kenney.”

    Do you really think Fox’ take on the story would have been different had the Mayor said nothing about Islam, but simply “this is a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers.” Fox is owned by Murdoch and caters to the warmongering right. They supported Bush’ invasion of Iraq, and no amount of bombing, droning etc done by Obama has been enough for them. They will use every opportunity to stir up fear and hatred of Muslims.

    What do you propose that Mayor Kenney, or President Obama, could have said to prevent the “vast majority of people” from assuming “the problem is with the religion of Islam and Muslims, themselves”? (Nawaz)

    First, don’t Nawaz and Harris think the problem IS with the religion of Islam? Don’t they say the problem of jihadism can’t be ended until Islam is reformed?

    Second, does anyone really think all Muslims are jihadists? Even Trump doesn’t say this; he just says we can’t tell who is and who isn’t. You say “What needs to be said is that the perpetrator of the crime is not supported by most in the Muslim community, and that most Muslims do not agree with or endorse his views.” Yes, the mayor or the President could have said that, but as you point out, to be convincing, that has to be said by Muslims.

    You are surely right that “As long as the issue of Islamist terrorism remains in the minds of most people as a battle against all Muslims, the Clash of Civilisations mentality will remain.” But I can’t see that the Mayor or President’s failure to call the jihadists “Islamists” or Islamic radicals” would make any difference as long as the right wing militarists and yes, people like Harris and Nawaz, keep telling us the problem is Islam itself, and the atrocities of the jihadists are motivated by the central dogmas of the religion. This is the fear Obama and the Mayor are trying to allay. Maybe they could do it more effectively.

    Fox news, or any other MSM outlet in the US is not about to point out that jihadism just might be a reaction to our terrorism and imperialism against the Muslims. That’s what I wish Obama would say, but he nor any other politician has the nerve to say that, as they would be buried by a barrage of accusations that they hate America and are actually Muslim sympathizers, or even Muslims themselves. And I’m afraid Harris and Nawaz would join in that attack. To blame people who are trying to calm the situation and support the people who are trying to inflame the situation hardly seems to be the way to demonstrate that the problem is with enraged, and often brainwashed and deranged radicals and not “with the religion of Islam and Muslims, themselves.”

    • I’m not sure why “It’s encouraging that you recognize …” etc. I said the same thing comparing the recent Planned Parenthood killer and the San Bernardino killers. Both were religiously motivated, but religion wasn’t mentioned except by sites like The Friendly Atheist in the PP case, whereas in the SB case, photos of the killers’ Qur’an was plastered all over the place before we even knew their motive was to support DAESH.

      I don’t think that right-wing media and bigots (often the same thing) would not have focused on the Islam link if it wasn’t for the mayor. What I’m saying is he gave their stories some credence and focus with his “nothing to do with Islam” line.

      I’m not sure that Harris and Nawaz would join the attack in the way you say. I got a copy of their joint book for Christmas. I’ve only read a couple of pages, but I’m assuming I’ll be in a better place to know the answer that question when I’ve read it.

      I think you’re right that most US media won’t go out of their way to point out the link between Western attacks and terrorism. However, I think you’d be surprised by some of what I see on Fox. Most of them now condemn Bush’s decision to invade Iraq, though he seems to get much more of the blame than Cheney or Rumsfeld. Some of them even acknowledge that there’s a link between that and what’s happening now. Most of them though think the main reason is Obama pulling out without leaving any troops behind to keep the place in order, and don’t acknowledge that Iraq (let alone Iran) had any part in that decision or what happened subsequently. They never mention the mistakes made there by the Bush Administration, even though they now think he shouldn’t have invaded. The other main reason they cite is the Sunni/Shi’a divide, which many of them seem to have only recently discovered exists, but they think it’s a purely sectarian divide. They don’t understand that in most ME countries religion, law, and politics are all the same thing and indivisible.

      • paxton marshall says:

        I’m sorry Heather. I worded the intro to your quote poorly. It should have been: “I agree that”. I can agree that the “nothing to do with Islam” line doesn’t wash, but I can’t see how that leads to the implication that we should fear all Muslims, rather than focusing on the radical islamists, as I think most people including governments are doing.

        Yes, both the PP and SB killers may have been religiously motivated to a degree, but in both cases I think it was more complicated than that. They were angry people filled with grievances. They saw a vehicle to express their grievance and they seized it. I don’t think we ever have or ever can completely protect ourselves from people like this. But statistically, neither deranged Christians, nor deranged Muslims are much of a threat to any of us.

        I agree completely with your last paragraph. That is how the warmongers are sanitizing the Iraq war, so it doesn’t interfere with their next venture. Making it a “mistake” of the Bush “administration”, depersonalizes it, and takes the heat off those like Cheney (Voldemort?), who are still justifying and selling war. Fox is a good example of how words often do not revel motives.

        • You’re right about the statistical threat of these people, or rather lack of it. I feel like it’s an excuse to avoid the elephant in the room – too many guns. I learned today that statistically, you’re more likely to do from gun violence in Alaska than Mexico.

        • Ken says:

          “I can agree that the “nothing to do with Islam” line doesn’t wash, but I can’t see how that leads to the implication that we should fear all Muslims, rather than focusing on the radical islamists, as I think most people including governments are doing.”

          Paxton, this is an issue that needs clarity. When it’s so easy to play the fear card, people need to be crystal clear about who are the actual bad guys and exactly why, and who should not be feared and exactly why too. Saying something so obviously untrue confuses things even more, which we just don’t need when there are plenty for whom the confusion only serves their purpose. I agree that Faux would take the anti-Muslim line no matter what, but why play into their hands by making them sound more reasonable saying it? I do think it makes the line between militant and peaceful Muslims more fuzzy, but that’s not the only problem. It is also a credibility hit for anyone in authority who says it. I don’t understand why Dem leaders want to hand something to Reps that they know will immediately be used to beat them. It makes no sense. Finally, how much time have we wasted on this topic just here and we all agree it doesn’t wash! I just can’t understand why anyone would invite a debate that’s lost before it starts.

          I don’t know whether the election will turn out to be close or not. I do know that Dems can’t afford take anything for granted. The hard out haters are lost no matter what, but there are still swingers in the middle that could decide whether the Federal govt goes full tilt anti-Muslim/anti-refugee/pro-war in 2017. They need all the cred they can get. This isn’t their biggest problem for sure, but that’s no excuse for giving the haters a freebie.

          • paxton marshall says:

            OK Ken, I guess I’m just too obtuse to appreciate the damage that is being done by not identifying jihadism as radical Islamism. I see the risk posed by Islamophobia, whether promulgated by the right or NAs, as so much greater than that of denying the role of Islam in terrorism, that I can’t take the latter very seriously. And the risk is primarily that my (our?) country will seize the excuse of terrorism to launch ever greater military assaults on Muslim nations. There are lots of powerful people just waiting for the public mood in the US to swing back towards revenge and interventionism, to make their move.

          • Outside the on-line atheist community, most people don’t care about what leading atheists say, especially in the US. I’ve heard the line on Fox more than once, “Christopher Hitchens tried to warn us about radical Islam, but none of us listened because he was an atheist.”

            As a New Atheist, I’m a bit sick of the being lumped together with the those on the right and charged with Islamophobia. I’m not Islamophobic, and nor are most NAs I’ve come across on-line. Of course there will be some who are – we don’t have a doctrine we’re required to believe in lock-step with other NAs.

            Yes, the risk is that the US will launch a preemptive strike on a Muslim nation. That’s why it’s important for people to understand the difference between Islam and Islamism. Because of ignorance (and frankly, the US is particularly bad in this area) a majority think all Muslims are the same, that all are a risk, that the family down the street could be harbouring a terrorist. That’s why “nothing to do with Islam” is so effing stupid – it makes the problem worse. It dehumanizes all Muslims and makes killing them acceptable. It is exactly the kind of thing that makes the “public mood … swing back towards revenge and interventionism”.

          • paxton marshall says:

            But Heather, if it IS about Islam, and the tenets of Islam are a significant part of the problem, then all Muslims are worshiping a violent religion, and they are implicated. All my Christian friends do not think that evangelical Christian leaders understand or express the real Christianity. They say the evangelicals have interpreted the religion incorrectly. Isn’t that what moderate Muslims say about the “islamists”? “That is not real Islam” Isn’t that a legitimate thing to say? People in a particular situation have used Christianity or Islam to justify their actions and motivate the troops. If the religious adherents were reversed they could use Christianity to justify the same things. Both Christianity and Islam draw heavily on the Jewish Tanakh for these kinds of things, and it’s a rich source of justifications for almost every kind of mayhem. Most of the Quran is a reworking and reaffirmation of the Tanakh. There is nothing significantly different about the Jewish and Islamic religions. So I say, blaming jihadism, much less the larger middle eastern tragedy on Islam is to evade looking for the real reasons. If they weren’t crying “allahu Akbar, they’d be crying “in hoc signo vices”, or “workers of the world unite”. In my mind the mayor should not have even mentioned Islam. He should have said that when people take the law into their own hands, for whatever reason, mental illness, religious zealotry, racism, whatever, we will do everything we can to stop them.

          • That’s the point. Christians in the US have no problem understanding that when a Christian terrorist says God or whatever inspired him, it’s not the whole religion, but they don’t understand the same thing about Islam. They hear, “It’s not about Islam,” but it seems obvious to them it is because that’s what the suspect has said and so they condemn all Muslims. They need to be educated about Muslims.

            You can’t just ignore Islam when that’s what the suspect said his motivation was, and that’s what two police officials have just said. He wasn’t at a separate news conference – he spoke straight after the end of the first video.

          • paxton marshall says:

            Here’s a good article about the hysteria over Islamic terrorism compared with the real threats we face.

            http://www.alternet.org/world/america-has-grown-cowardly-isis-no-threat-our-existence-whatsoever?akid=13871.1140325.h_lB7u&rd=1&src=newsletter1048792&t=10

            But still, virtually nobody, left or right, will attribute Islamic terrorism as a reaction to western intrusions and terrorism. Talk about not calling something what it is. What the Mayor of Philadelphia should have said: “What we see here is an unstable man’s reaction to the terrorism we have inflicted on Muslim countries. Before we point the finger at others, let us examine our own role in provoking and justifying these terrible acts.”

          • The full article won’t load properly, so I’ve only read about half of it. What I did read I agree with. I always have. But I’m not entirely sure of its relevance to the discussion. DAESH isn’t an existential threat, and there’s a lot of fear-mongering going on in relation to them in the US especially, and in some parts of Europe.

            And you really can’t expect a mayor to refer to US actions in the ME as terrorism. I’m not sure it’s up to a mayor to discuss his motives at all before law enforcement have completed their investigation. He was clearly making a misguided attempt to stop a backlash against Muslims, which is likely because of the fear-mongering of the right, and the lack of understanding about Muslims and Islam among most people.

            And the actions of the US in the ME aren’t the only cause of of the actions of the terrorists, which we’ve discussed multiple times before.

          • paxton marshall says:

            Heather: “As a New Atheist, I’m a bit sick of the being lumped together with the those on the right and charged with Islamophobia.”

            Both Harris and Coyne have said numerous times that the only people who understand the dangers of Islam, as they do, are right wingers, so the association is being made by new atheists themselves.

          • 1. That’s a gross over-simplification of what they say, and expressed in such a way as to misrepresent their position. We’ve been over this dozens of times, so I’m not going to do it again.

            2. Even if what you say was accurate, that is them and not me. Not all NAs have exactly the same opinions, and the opinions we share, we share to different degrees.

          • paxton marshall says:

            I don’t think it’s a misrepresentation Heather, but if you don’t want to discuss I won’t bother quote mining. I said Harris and Coyne, not you. I haven’t seen you say anything like only “right wing Christian fascists” have the “moral courage” to see the real problem. (Harris)

          • That’s not what he said, although those words were in the sentence he used. I don’t think you’re dishonest, so I assume you got that quote via one of those who frequently misrepresents him.

          • paxton marshall says:

            Heather, I got that from Harris’ podcast “Still Sleepwalking toward Armaggedon”. I don’t have a transcript and don’t feel like listening to it again, but it’s in my notes and I’m sure it’s there.

          • I can’t remember exactly how it went either, and as I said, I know those words were there. There was more to the sentence – it was along the lines of the left needing to talk about the subject honestly or we’ll be left with the right being the only ones who’ll talk about it, and we’ll be stuck with their solutions.

          • paxton marshall says:

            Heather, what are the “solutions” proposed by leftist Islamic critics like the new atheists? We know what the solutions of the right are–war. Here are two short articles that illustrate that:

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/01/15/the-dismal-dark-traitor-filled-world-republican-candidates-inhabit/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_most

            http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/they-make-cheney-look-chomsky-cruz-trump-rubio-and-frightening-bellicosity-todays-gop?akid=13888.1951870.WvBqW3&rd=1&src=newsletter1049029&t=4

            When new atheists like Harris say we are sleepwalking toward Armageddon, what solution are they offering rather than war. Does Harris really think he and Nawaz are going to initiate a reform movement that will transform Islam? I see no other solution being offered. The political atmosphere in the US is not dominated by those who ignore the threat of Islam. It is dominated by those who exaggerate the threat of Islam, sow fear among the people, and denigrate those who don’t have the same apocalyptic view that they have. Harris and Coyne may despise many of they other views of their allies in the effort to malign Islam and Muslims, but they are allies none the less.

          • Please stop saying that Harris and Coyne malign Muslims. They don’t. That is the difference between NAs and the right. What they disagree with is the teachings of Islam.

            I don’t know what Harris thinks, but at least in his dialogue with Nawaz he is trying. He recognizes that the change has to come from within Islam, and that there is actually very little he can do personally except support the efforts of those who are working to reform Islam. In the meantime, the threat of violence from a Islamists is real, if much smaller than the right would have you believe.

          • The Paxton marshall says:

            Heather, yes the threat of Islamic terrorism is real, but the threat of further terrorism by the west (US/UK/israel etc, and their clients on the Arabian peninsula and in Egypt, is real also. You listen to Fox and the Republican debates, so you are aware of the widespread hostility in the US towards all things Muslim, that allowed Bush to get away with the Iraq invasion and occupation. The Republican candidates make it clear that we could have a repeat. In this environment, how can any responsible person add to the danger by saying we are sleepwalking toward Armageddon I just don’t get it.

          • And that’s why NAs like Sam Harris (and me, though obviously I’m several rungs down the ladder) talk about it. It has to be talked about properly, not the way the Right is doing it. They spread fear and the desire to kill. Too many of them don’t understand the effect of that kind of talk, or how it sounds to those they call “enemy”.

            In the GOP debate post I pointed out Jeb Bush’s comment, “You [Trump] cannot make rash statements and expect the rest of the world to respond as if, ‘Well, it’s just politics’.” He gets mocked as not being strong enough for saying things like that but that’s sort of where NAs are coming from (although Bush isn’t exactly a role model of course). We have to have respectful dialogue with the majority of Muslims while at the same time addressing the issue of Islamism. The ME can’t do it alone – they need help. But the West has always provided the wrong kind of help. We need to let them tell us what they want us to do, but politics in the US means they can’t be seen as anything other than the leader and controller of the process.

          • The Paxton marshall says:

            Heather, what kind of help do you think we can give the people of the Middle East except humanitarian aid and to let them sort things out themselves. I never see anything from NAs about how they are going to help except to tell them how bad their religion is. And to condemn anyone in the west who supports them.

            And please explain how saying we are sleepwalking towards Armaggedon is “talking about things the right way”” and not “spreading fear and.the desire to kill”.

          • We can be mediators and diplomats, we can provide advice on setting up civil institutions, how to conduct elections, more efficient farming methods, better education methods, policy development, town planning. There are literally hundreds of ways we can help.

            I’ve explained the Harris thing ad infinitum. Someone sent me this link yesterday – a link to an interview with Eiynah of the Nice Mangos blog. She’s another one with similar opinions to mine on the subject. Perhaps another voice will help: http://www.cbc.ca/radio/the180/unheard-muslim-voices-banning-dangerous-dogs-and-a-plea-for-plain-language-1.3393360/speaking-up-for-unheard-muslim-and-ex-muslim-voices-1.3394359

          • The Paxton marshall says:

            You think we haven’t already been doing these things Heather? What are the new atheists proposing that is constructive for peace and overall moral progress?

          • Ken says:

            “I see the risk posed by Islamophobia, whether promulgated by the right or NAs, as so much greater than that of denying the role of Islam in terrorism, that I can’t take the latter very seriously.”

            I don’t agree that these goals are mutually exclusive, but rather think they are mutually reinforcing. I think being honest about the role of Islam in terrorism enables one to talk about it and put it in it’s proper place of priority (often pretty low), and that helps manage the risks of generalised Islamophobia.

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