Islamophobia-phobia in New Zealand


Greg Gutfeld

Islamophobia-phobia is the fear of appearing to be Islamophobic. I have to give credit to author and television personality Greg Gutfeld (Fox News’s The Five, Red Eye) for the term. The Five is a guilty pleasure of mine, and it was while watching this show that I heard Gutfeld come up with the expression “Islamophobia-phobia” a few months ago, and he’s used it frequently since. Gutfeld is The Five’s resident libertarian Republican and I disagree with 90% of what he says. However, as I’m yelling at the TV telling him why he’s wrong, I can’t help but admire the wonderful way he expresses himself. His use of words is a real treat.

And he’s right when it comes to Islamophobia-phobia. It’s a condition a lot of my fellow liberals exhibit. They’ve bought into the idea that any criticism of Islam denotes a hatred of Muslims. They have such a fear of being tagged with any label that may make them seem other than progressive, they’ve become apologists for one of the world’s most intolerant belief systems. They’re unable to recognize that criticism of Islam is not necessarily criticism of Muslims themselves. They have no problem, for example, attacking those sects within Christianity that teach homosexuality is a sin without anyone thinking it’s an attack on all Christianity or all Christians, but they’re unable to do the same with Islam.

Following the now infamous exchange on Bill Maher’s show with him and Sam Harris on one side and Ben Affleck and Nick Kristoff on the other, the issue has been widely discussed. I’ve written about the part Reza Aslan played a couple of times myself. It’s been well addressed by Sam Harris in his blog entitled Can Liberalism be Saved from Itself two weeks ago too. Jerry Coyne has done a couple of great posts on the subject: Islam vs Liberalism and a couple of days later, Sam Harris responds to the Islam Fracas. The Canadian Atheist site also has two excellent articles on the subject: Liberals Acting Badly: The Smears Against Sam Harris continue by Diana MacPherson and Tone Deaf Atheism and Context by Joe.

There is evidence of this phenomenon in New Zealand too – roll TV3’s The Nation on 18 October. I listened with disgust to investigative journalist Jon Stephenson, backed up by host Lisa Clark, as he displayed the same faulty logic as Aslan, Affleck and Greenwald when it comes to DAESH (ISIL). The complete illogic was appalling.


Murray McCully New Zealand Foreign Minister

New Zealand has just been elected to one of the temporary seats on the UN Security Council, and those on the far left seem determined to criticize this achievement. Lisa Clark interviewed foreign minister Murray McCully about this and the possibility of New Zealand getting involved in Iraq and Syria on more than just an humanitarian basis. As she got further into the interview it deteriorated into a partisan hack piece. Clark, for example, compared Saudi Arabia with DAESH (ISIL) and said as a principle that if we’re going to take military action against DAESH we should be doing it against Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and DAESH are not, or course, comparable. Saudi Arabia’s laws, however abhorrent we find them, don’t threaten New Zealand. We should as a country (and, in fact, we do) speak out against non-humanitarian laws, wherever we find them. China is one of our biggest trading partners and we have a lucrative FTA (free trade agreement) with them, but we continue to speak out against human rights abuses there. DAESH is a threat to the security of New Zealand. The US-led coalition against them has sixty members which have also identified them as a threat. Like us, none of them is taking military action against Saudi Arabia either because Saudi Arabia is not a threat to their national interests.

Clark, Chen, Stephenson, Sherson

Lisa Clark with Mai Chen, Jon Stephenson and Trish Sherson

The panel discussion following the interview was led by Clark and included renowned constitution lawyer Mai Chen, foreign correspondent Jon Stephenson and Trish Sherson, PR Consultant and former staffer for right-wing political party ACT. Stephenson, with whom Clark clearly agreed, dominated the discussion and both expressed their animosity towards the current National-led coalition. (National is a centre-right party.) National has expressed their desire to ensure any action taken by the government in regards to DAESH has broad-based support, and has committed to debating such action in parliament. Chen was cut off when discussing the legal issues facing the government and the following exchange ensued:

Clark: Which raises the question Jon, is this part of scare-mongering do you think? … the way the prime minister is talking about there’ll be more beheadings, … there’s more of these people than you think – I can’t tell you what the number is but there’s more of these fighters than you think wanting to go off shore from New Zealand.

Stephenson: I think it’s absolute scare-mongering. [I loved the expression on Chen’s face at this point – at least she’s got her head screwed on properly.] I’ve done a couple of stories on this issue and I can say from what I’ve observed and the people I’ve interviewed that this has been grossly overstated by the prime minister and I think it’s appalling political judgment, but more importantly it’s appalling in the sense that the very people that you need to win over when you’ve got a potential terrorist threat are the local communities from which those people are derived. And when you alienate them and you marginalize them as has happened in Australia you create the very conditions that lead to that (Clark nodding), so I think it’s appalling, appalling judgment by the prime minister.

Chen managed to get a comment in at this point:

Chen: Lisa, we’re going to know because we’re going to have a debate and there’s going to be a review and at the end of the day if they need law reform they’re going to have to get it through parliament. … On this issue they’ve made it clear – if they’re going to do a wide consensus across all parties they’re not going to be able to push it through under urgency.

Stephenson and Clark really don’t get it. They’re still at the place Obama was when he first came into office and went on what the Republicans called his “Apology Tour”. He thought if you were nice and recognized all the political and civil issues faced by these groups they would no longer see America as the “Great Satan”. Of course we have to work to ensure everyone enjoys the same type of society we have in New Zealand. The problem is, much of the attitude towards the West by many Muslim people isn’t related to the tough political and civil issues they have to deal with. For those who join terrorist groups like DAESH, the hatred is based on religious belief, and the only thing the West can do to ameliorate things in their eyes is convert to Islam and adopt to Sharia law.

Sam Harris put the following interview with former Iraqi MP Ayad Jamal al-Din on his Twitter feed today. It needs to be seen by all those who think we’d be better off ignoring DAESH.

Al-Din is intimately aware of the issues facing his country, including the threat of DAESH. The Iraqi government has asked for help is dealing with them. The US-led coalition includes several Sunni majority countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar, all of which have participated in air strikes against DAESH. That is remarkable – that Sunni countries are joining the USA against a Sunni terrorist organization. All this should give those who are opposed to operation Inherent Resolve (yes, that’s what the Americans are calling it – it’s not all good!) pause for thought.


28 Responses to “Islamophobia-phobia in New Zealand”

  1. paxton says:

    Saudi Arabia is not a threat? It’s Saudi money that is spreading venomous Wahhabism in Madrasas throughout the world. Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists were Saudi.

    The turmoil in Iraq/Syria is a direct result of the Bush/Blair invasion of Iraq on falsified evidence. What makes anyone thing that more military meddling by us is going to improve the situation? The west has meddled continuously in middle eastern affairs since WW1. The people of these countries have every reason to be western-phobic.

    To observe this is not to defend Islam. Islam is just as deluded as any other religion and more vicious than most. But those who feel they must continually denounce Islam, whether atheist or Christian, are playing into the hands of the warmongering, military-industrial complex neocons, who think it is America’s job to rule the world, and that bombs are the answer to every problem.

    • You are completely correct that Saudi money is one of the biggest problems when it comes to Islamic terrorism. However, the Saudi Arabian government is not a direct threat to New Zealand’s national interests, which is the point I’m making in this article.

      However, I do need to write at some point about the failure of many countries to stop their citizens supporting terrorist groups, especially since the latest UN Security Council resolution on the issue.

      • paxton says:

        I suggest that anyone who leaves a country to fight for anyone anywhere be stripped of citizenship and not allowed to return.

        I guess the situation is different in NZ since you will be asked to send only a token force to the coalition, and probably don’t have a major defense industry, but in the US christian, Jewish, and atheist Islamaphobia is fomented by militarists who think they have a solution for every problem.

        It took a century of brutal wars, and the Enlightenment to cure Christianity of its most savage practices, and misogyny still has a strong hold in most sects. Our approach of supporting secular tyrants to suppress the religious fanatics has backfired time and time again. It’s time we butted out and let them work through their own idiotic quarrels.

        So Heather, criticize Islam all you want, put please always add a caveat that you are not advocating western military action to solve the problem.

        • Hi Paxton. People like John McCain who can only see a military solution to problems are simply wrong imo. He talks about what he knows, and what he knows is the military and he doesn’t seem to be able to recognize that oftentimes there are better solutions.

          As a last resort, sometimes a military solution is necessary. I consider it was the only way to stop Hitler for example, and DAESH is unlikely to be stopped by any means other than force. It is true though that their origins were in the ill-advised 2003 Iraq conflict, which New Zealand, I’m proud to say, did not get involved in.

  2. Diana MacPherson says:

    It’s funny that people don’t seem to understand that you can simultaneously support liberal Muslims who speak out against terrorism, jihad, etc. and condemn the same terrorists liberal Muslims don’t like either.

  3. doug says:

    Great post Heather

  4. Diane G. says:

    Would that Sam posted videos like that one on his blog, rather than on Twitter, which some of us can’t abide.

    Nice, informative article, Heather!

    • Hi Diane – Thanks for your support 🙂

      I feel the same way about Facebook – it annoys me when the only way you can access stuff is via Facebook, which I’ve so far resisted joining. I increasingly feel like I’m going to have to, which also irritates me.

      • Diane G. says:

        I know, right?? That makes two of us. Well, three counting Ben Goren…

        So many of my favorite hobbies/interest groups, whatever, are all on Facebook. I don’t suppose a revolt would get us anywhere…

        • I think we might be onto a losing proposition with that one … I think that horse bolted a long time ago unfortunately.

          • Diana MacPherson says:

            There is one good thing with Facebook – many people are using their real names. I find a Canadian Atheist article when commented on there is much more civil. When commented on on the site (same article) there is much more trolling and insults flung around (even at the author).

  5. AU says:

    Hi Heather,

    You wrote about a lot of your fellow liberals: “They’ve bought into the idea that any criticism of Islam denotes a hatred of Muslims”.

    Can you please back this up? Because as a liberal myself who reads a lot of liberal literature, I have not come across ANY liberal that buys into this idea. Not even one.

    Sure, I have read liberals who write that some people criticise Islam because they don’t like Muslims. But that isn’t the same as what you are saying, because that doesn’t imply that if you criticise Islam, you have a hatred of Muslims.

    I would therefore be interested in you presenting some evidence that a lot of liberals associate criticism of Islam with hating Muslims.


    • If you’re not aware of this you haven’t been following the debate that is currently going on in the media. It is the whole reason for the argument that’s been going on in many cases.

      • AU says:

        Hi Heather,

        I have been reading liberal literature for over 15 years, and I have yet to come across a liberal who has said they will not crtiticise Islam because if they criticise Islam it means they have a hatred of Muslims. And the kind of liberal literature I have been reading goes way beyond the box-standard liberals you get in the mainstream media, so I think your claim that I have not been following the debate doesn’t have any basis whatsoever.

        I know liberals who do not condemn Islam, such as Glenn Greenwald, but their reason for not doing so isn’t because they are afraid they will be called Islamophobes. The reason is because there has been a huge assault on Islam and Muslims in the media and public over the past decade – much of it led by Christian Evangelists and right wing outlets, some examples being the likes of FOX News in the USA and Daily Mail in the UK. And the fear of Islam has been used to justify wars in the Greater Middle East, and to show support for Israel. And people like Glenn believe that instead of criticising Islam, they will instead spend their time fighting for civil liberties and against military expansionism.

        Maybe you were referring to Ben Affleck? Well, Ben Affleck was arguing that the majority of Muslims are peaceful, therefore, it is wrong to claim Islam is some belief system that can have only ine interpretation – in other words, he was implying that the Islam that the likes of ISIS follows is bad, but the Islam the majority of Muslims follows isn’t.

        So I am really at a lost where you get this idea that there are lots of liberals who think that any criticism of Islam means they hate Muslims, and I would like it if you could provide me with a few of these examples, as the burden of proof lies with you as you made the claim.


        • I can see where you’re coming from, and I see your point, but that’s not quite where I’m coming from. When, for example, Ben Affleck accused Bill Maher and Sam Harris of racism, he wasn’t understanding their point. Maher and Harris were criticizing the belief system of Islam, not Muslims themselves. Affleck, Greenwald, Aslan etc say that Maher, Harris, Coyne, Dawkins etc are Islamophobic. They are not. They are opposed to many of the teachings of Islam, but not individual Muslims. Aslan in particular denies that the teachings of Islam bear any responsibility for the appalling actions of groups like DAESH, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Boko Haram etc. He says that those who say this are Islamophobic. There are many in the Muslim world who call any criticism of Islam Islamophobia. There are some who, like Greenwald, buy into that idea and say the actions of terrorist groups who are also Muslim are only motivated by things like disenfranchisement, abuse, social conditions etc and that none of their motivation is religious. They don’t want to be labelled Islamophobic so they emphasize all the other reasons these groups have turned to terrorism and deny there is any religious motive. For DAESH and Boko Haram in particular, religion is a main motive – they both have a stated aim of establishing a caliphate. I believe Glenn Greenwald and Reza Aslan are being dishonest when they deniy that the teachings of Islam are part of the problem. Of course, most Muslims are good people, but as long as there are imams who are teaching that death is an appropriate punishment for leaving Islam, many of its followers will believe that and some will carry it out. There are some who are standing up and trying to change things, which is fantastic, but a lot more are needed. I hope I have cleared this up.

          • paxton says:

            Heather: can we really attack the belief systems of a religion without attacking adherents of those beliefs? Behavior matters more than doctrine. If disillusion weren’t beheading people and 9/11 hadn’t happened etc we wouldn’t be arguing about whether the teachings of Islam are inherently violent. The Koran is no more violent or mysogynistic than the Bible. Its too late to change the wording of either but either can be interpreted more humanely. But cultures have to evolve. Solutions cannot be imposed from without. Compared with many other threats the likelihood we will be killed by terrorist action in Nz or us is small.

        • Diane G. says:

          AU, everyone who refuses to implicate Islam in the current Middle-east reign of terror, everyone who claims cultural relativity trumps condemning a religious sect that is blatantly misogynist (to the point of murder), everyone involved in decisions like the one to disinvite Ayaan Hirsi Ali to Brandeis on the premise that her free speech might offend some Muslims, every time Obama or another government spokesperson bends over backwards to assure us that the latest act of Muslim terrorism has nothing to do with Islam–these are all instances of liberals who conflate criticism of Islam with criticism of all Muslims, not to mention who consider such criticism “racist” even though anyone with half a brain realizes that Muslims come in all races.

          • Hi Paxton. Yes, I think we can.

            Islam is better known now because of 9/11 etc, but I for one have always been opposed to it while maintaining friendships with people who call themselves Muslim, simply because behaviour matters more than doctrine.

            Unlike Islam, Christianity no longer teaches, for example, that apostasy is deserving of the death penalty. Islam’s leaders need to stop teaching such crap, because there are always people who will latch on. Islam needs to evolve, as you say, but on the whole it isn’t being allowed to – one of the important things for many leaders within the religion is that it remain pure.

            One of the big differences between the Bible and the Qur’an is that Jesus didn’t go around beheading people, declaring war etc – Muhammad did. There’s a mostly different example being set by the prophet himself in each case. Obviously the OT is pretty ghastly, but Christians mostly ignore the bad stuff in that.

            I agree we’re mostly safe in NZ, but there have already been instructions from DAESH to their supporters to attack in home countries. The Canadian attacks came after increased on-line chatter and Canada providing military support to the coalition.

          • AU says:


            Thank you for your response.

            I think you misunderstand why people like Maher, Coyne, Harris etc are called Islamophobic by liberals like Glenn Greenwald. It isn’t because these people think any criticism of Islam is Islamophobic. I mean, take Glenn – he is an atheist gay – do you really think he doesn’t have criticisms of fundamentalist Islam? Of course he does.

            Islamophobia means an “irrational” fear of Islam. It doesn’t mean a “rational” fear. So if someone says they are worried that Salafi Islam is being funded by the Saudis, and that this might create more extreme Muslims, that isn’t Islamophobia at all. If someone says certain Muslims are being driven to terrorism because certain mosques are preaching intolerance, then that isn’t Islamophobia. No one I know on the liberal left has ever argued that – ever.
            However, if someone is willing to overlook the complex reasons that are often behind things, and make blanket statements that everything bad that is happening in the Muslim world is primarily because of Islam, that IS Islamophobia, because the person’s fear has stopped them from thinking rationally. And that is why Glenn Greenwald calls Bill Maher an Islamophobe – it isn’t because he criticises Islam, but it is because he wants to downplay political grievances of Muslims and overplay Islam.
            Sam Harris is considered an Islamophobe not because he criticises Islam, but because his criticism of Islam is unfair. For example, he chooses the most extreme Muslim interpretations, and passes them off as “normal Muslims”, and any other Muslims who are not as extreme are not considered to be normal Muslims bit nominal Muslims, even though those Muslims classify themselves as orthodox practising Muslims. Is this right? Would it be right to choose the most extreme elements of say the National Party in New Zealand, and pass off their views as being the views of the National Party? Of course it wouldn’t. Harris also has a different criteria when it comes to Buddhism – he claims he criticises all religions, and sure enough, he has written that Buddhists should do away with the dogmatic aspects of the religion – however, he still doesn’t criticise the teachings of Buddha that state that killing unbelievers is ok, on the contrary, he goes around saying we can all learn from the teachings of Buddha!
            As for Jerry Coyne, the atheist Neil Godfrey, who posted in your comments section in the Reza Aslan post, has had a debate with Coyne, and you can go to his site and find out the reasons why Coyne is considered an Islamophobe.

            So, yes, there are reasons why liberals call these people Islamophobes, and none of the reasons are because they criticise Islam, but because their criticism is one sided and unbalanced.

            You are wrong to suggest Glenn has ever suggested that religion plays no part in terrorist attacks. He has never once said that, and I should know as I have been reading him since 2009. What he does say is that the majority of Islamic terrorism is “driven” by political grievances – sure, there are some whose terrorism is driven by religion, but these people are in the minority according to Glenn.
            I think you have got Glenn completely wrong to be honest – if you read about his life, you will see he is someone who loves to argue and who has an attitude of “I don’t give a f*** what anyone else thinks of me” – so if you think Glenn is worried of being called an Islamophobe, you really really do not know him at all.

            I also find it quite strange that you should say that one of the biggest differences between The Bible and Qur’an is that Jesus didn’t go around beheading people and declaring war. Maybe you mean the differences between The New Testament and Qur’an, because the Old Testament (which is part of the Bible) is a LOT more violent than the Qur’an and contains verses of stoning women because they’re not virgins and smashing heads of babies against rocks.
            As for the New Testament, it contains some pretty warlike verses. Corinthians states: “For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet”. And the below, which is some New Testament commentary, states that Jesus will utterly destruct his enemies.


            And do Christians ignore it? Definitely not the evangelists in America – in fact, a lot of them think of Mohammed as the anti-Christ and see American adventures in the Middle East as justified because they are fighting the enemies of Christ!

            @Diane G,

            I think you are quite confused. Brandeis were not inviting Ayaan Hirsi Ali to speak – they were offering her an honorary degree. They then withdrew this offer, because they said that some of her past comments are inconsistent with the universities core values. I assume the core values of the university include tolerance for all other beliefs, and not making generalisations, something which Ayaan Hirsi Ali has failed in miserably. She has said that we must defeat Islam – when she was asked if she meant radical Islam, she said no, all of Islam. She also said all Muslim schools should be closed – had she said all faith schools should be closed, no one would have complained, but the fact she is only calling for Muslim schools to be closed, is bigotry.
            Furthermore, the university did not “disinvite” her on the basis that “her free speech might offend some Muslims” – you have just made that up. On the contrary, the statement released by the university said that “Ali is welcome to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues”.

            As for Obama and other politicians “bending over backwards” to try and say Islam had no links to terrorism, that is just wrong. Obama correctly makes a distinction between Islam and radical Islam – after all, to suggest that there is only one type of Islam, and call radical Islam that type of Islam is just disingenuous. And Obama says Islam is a good religion, and isn’t responsible for terrorism, and radical Islam is. And Obama has said that problems in the Middle East emanate from the “perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam”.

            I think everyone has the right to criticise practices of Islam that they find abhorrent. I have yet to meet a liberal who thinks otherwise. But any criticism should be done in an honest manner.


          • Hi AU. This is a really long comment. I completely understand the need to get all your thoughts out – it’s one of the reasons I started this site. However, please try to keep comments a bit shorter in future.

            I consider the positions of those you say are thought to be Islamophobic are misrepresented. They do not make sweeping statements and their positions are quite nuanced. Coyne, Harris and Dawkins have all been subject to this. There is a problem with many within Islam calling any criticism of Islam Islamophobia. They are much more sensitive to criticism than Crhistianity or Judaism, for example. When a cartoon that makes a joke about God or Jesus is created, Christians don’t like it, but there are no death threats let alone murders. That is not the case in Islam. People who criticize Islam, especially from within the faith or former members of the faith, are often often putting their life on the line. It is very difficult for a religion to reform in this climate. There is no doubt that the OT in particular is an extremely violent book. Most Christians and Jews these days cherry pick that book and largely ignore the bad stuff. Many in Islam still teach that the bad parts of the Qur’an are essential parts of Islam. There are sects within Judaism and Christianity that still teach some awful stuff, but by and large they don’t go around trying to force the rest of the world to join them, or kill them when they won’t.

            Obama, Cameron and Ki-moon have all said, “IS is not Islamic”. That is more than making a distinction between Islam and radical Islam. However, I understand why they did it. It was politically expedient when they are trying to form a coalition that includes Muslim countries.

            I consider you are misrepresenting the Brandeis incident, but I haven’t got time to go into it now. Jerry Coyne wrote a great piece about it:

          • AU says:

            Hi Heather,

            Thanks for your response, and I will try and be a bit more concise in future.

            1) I am not misinterpreting the Brandeis incident. Coyne says: “How could Brandeis not know? Ali has been speaking out against Islam for years, especially its marginalization and oppression of women, and for that her life has been repeatedly threatened”.

            But Brandeis never said they were unaware that Ali has criticised Islam. Not at all. They knew perfectly well that Ali has spoken how Muslims are using Islam to persecute women and minorities. And that’s ok, there isn’t anything wrong with saying that. What they didn’t know was that Ali had made statements like we need to declare war on all of Islam, and she made it clear that she didn’t mean radical Islam, but ALL of Islam. That’s a very extreme view – one of intolerance and bigotry, and hence they withdrew their offer.

            2) Just because someone says ISIS isn’t Islamic, it doesn’t mean they’re pandering to Muslims. It simply means that they see the majority of Muslims not supporting ISIS, and as the Islam of the majority of Muslims is in opposition to the Islam of ISIS, it means it is wrong to say ISIS is Islamic, and we should instead say ISIS is radical Islamist.


        • Nicolay says:

          I wish there was a text transcript for it. It was very etaucdional. I like the concept of seeking to present the truth of the Christian gospel from within the needs and expectations of the culture, which, of course, requires studying the culture first. Is there a text list of the 24 contradictions available, or can they be made available?

  6. Paxton says:

    AU: I’m with you on point #1. Criticizing is one thing; advocating war is setting else entirely. Harris, Coyne et al seem to Deny they are doing this, but surely they are aware of the recent history of western intrusion and the ongoing support for military intervention, from people like Ali and her hUsband, and realize they are contributing to that effort.

    On #2 I disagree. Isis is Islamic like the westboro baptists are Christians, and the fact that most Christians don’t agree with them doesn’t change that. We shouldn’t wage war against Islam but we shouldn’t make excuses for Muslims doing bad things either.

  7. Conn Suits says:

    Excellent post. I realize I’m very late to this party. I came and read this after reading your current post on Obama. Which was great too. Critical yet polite. 🙂 The comments on this post were quite a thing.

    This comment is very much secondary to the issue here that you handled very ably, Heather. The thing is when talking about violence in holy books people who very often were Christians but are now atheists persist with this Christian notion/propaganda that there’s something unusually violent and horrible about the Jewish Bible. I read this constantly. And every time I do I think “well yeah but half of it is history and history of wars”. Big hunks of it are were propaganda like Shakespeare plays. Not every word of any of these “holy” books is telling people how to live. I’m not sure what Christians are taught about the history sections of the Jewish Bible but in Judaism only the Torah was ever considered to be “holy”. With all the magical crap that that implies. It had its holiness taken away from it in Reform Judaism during the Enlightenment. Describing wars that are part of the politics in your country is not the same thing is saying all the things done in the wars are required to please God. Another thing that always bugs my ass when I hear the “eye for an eye” thing. It’s held up as THE metanym for extreme horrible violence. But the actual bits about an eye for an eye is an evocation of something called tallion, ritual vengeance. The Jewish Bible/OT is not advocating that. It’s scene setting for the story and this is completely unambiguous if you read the actual bit. It’s laying out that tallion says if somebody kills a member of your clan you get to kill ONE of theirs. Not seven. For real. That’s all it’s doing. Also this is from the story about Cain and Abel. And as we all know after Cain killed Abel god killed Cain right? Eye for an eye? Oh wait, he didn’t. Because the message of the story is mercy. Something worth keeping in mind. 🙂

    • Hi! Always great to have new people commenting. 🙂

      I don’t know much about Judaism, but reform Judaism seems to be way ahead of evangelical Christianity on this one – they read the Bible like a history book, and are deeply offended when anyone suggests, for example, that if the Exodus happened it didn’t involve more than a couple of hundred people. As a group they’re very supporting of Jews in general – I wish they’d look at the Torah at least the way most Jews seem to i.e. sensibly!

  8. Eddy says:

    Heidi2008/10/06ISLAMIslam is not a religion, nor is it a cult.a0 In it’s fusellt form, it is a complete, total, 100% system of life.a0a0a0a0a0a0a0Islam has religious, legal, political, economic, social, and military components. The religious component is a beard for all ofa0 the other components. Islamization begins when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their religious privileges.When politically correct, tolerant, and culturally diverse societies agree to Muslim demands for their religious privileges, some of the other components tend to creep in as well. Here’s how it works.As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will be for the most part be regarded as a peace-loving minority, and not as a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:United States Muslim 0.6%Australia Muslim 1.5%Canada Muslim 1.9%China Muslim 1.8%Italy Muslim 1.5%Norway Muslim 1.8%At 2% to 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs. This is happening in:Denmark Muslim 2%Germany Muslim 3.7%United Kingdom Muslim 2.7%Spain Muslim 4%Thailand Muslim 4.6%From 5% on, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves along with threats for failure to comply. This is occurring in:France Muslim 8%Philippines Muslim 5%Sweden Muslim 5%Switzerland Muslim 4.3%Netherlands Muslim 5.5%Trinidad & Tobago Muslim 5.8%At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos) under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia Law over the entire world. When Muslims approach 10% of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris, we are already seeing car-burnings.Any non-Muslim action offends Islam, and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam , with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam. Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections, in:a0Guyana Muslim 10%India Muslim 13.4%Israel Muslim 16%Kenya Muslim 10%Russia Muslim 15%After reaching 20%, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, such as in:Ethiopia Muslim 32.8%a0At 40%, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror, attacks, and ongoing militia warfare, such as in:a0a0a0Bosnia Muslim 40%Chad Muslim 53.1%Lebanon Muslim 59.7%From 60%, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels, such as in:Albania Muslim 70%Malaysia Muslim 60.4%Qatar Muslim 77.5%Sudan Muslim 70%After 80%, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some state-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim, such as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:Bangladesh Muslim 83%Egypt Muslim 90%Gaza Muslim 98.7%Indonesia Muslim 86.1%Iran Muslim 98%Iraq Muslim 97%Jordan Muslim 92%Morocco Muslim 98.7%Pakistan Muslim 97%Palestine Muslim 99%Syria Muslim 90%Tajikistan Muslim 90%Turkey Muslim 99.8%United Arab Emirates Muslim 96%100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ the Islamic House of Peace. Here there’s supposed to be peace, because everybody is Muslim, the Madrasses are the only schools, and the Koran is the only word, such as in: Afghanistan Muslim 100%Saudi Arabia Muslim 100%Somalia Muslim 100%Yemen Muslim 100%Unfor tunately, peace is never achieved, as in these 100% states the most radical Muslims intimidate and spew hatred, and satisfy their blood lust by killing less radical Muslims, for a variety of reasons.’Before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab Life. It was me against my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe; the tribe against the world, and all of us against the infidel.Leon Uris, ‘The Haj’It is important to understand that in some countries, with well under 100% Muslim populations, such as France, the minority Muslim populations live in ghettos, within which they are 100% Muslim, and within which they live by Sharia Law. The national police do not even enter these ghettos.There are no national courts nor schools nor non-Muslim religious facilities. In such situations, Muslims do not integrate into the community at large. The children attend madrases. They learn only the Koran. To even associate with an infidel is a crime punishable with death. Therefore, in some areas of certain nations, Muslim Imams and extremists exercise more power than the national average would indicate.Today’s 1.5 billion Muslims make up 22% of the world’s population.But their birth rates dwarf the birth rates of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and Jews, and all other believers. Muslims will exceed 50% of the world’s population by the end of this century.Adapted from Dr. Peter Hammond’s book:Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat

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