Tag Archives: Islamophobia

America Without BS II: The Revenge of Bullshit

Apparently the American conservative press has developed a unique new method of lying. Basically you use misleading headlines and all the distortion you can cram into the story, but at some point you put the truth in there, in spite of the fact that it easily refutes the story’s thesis. “See, I wasn’t lying because in the third paragraph I included the quote which tears the whole story apart.” I guess that’s how it works.  Anyway, the thing that prompted this was a story from something called The Daily Signal, via Fox News. Are you ready for your manufactured bullshit outrage of the week?

THE STORY SO FAR…

A heroic former Marine and Iraq war vet is banned from school property after objecting to his daughter being forced to write a three page paper on the five pillars of Islam.  

Outrageous! I’m really angry now! What a travesty! What injustice! Oh…Wait…No. Turns out that once again, the assignment on Islam is actually part of a world history curriculum, and the assignment has a far wider scope than the pillars of Islam.  Here’s a quote from school’s spokesperson.

“The particular unit in question at La Plata High School is on the formation of Middle Eastern empires in which students learned the basic concepts of the Islamic faith and how it, along with politics, culture, economics and geography, contributed to the development of the Middle East. Other religions are introduced when they influence or impact a particular historical era or geographic region.”

Hmmm…That sounds a bit different than “teaching Islam.”  Apparently American conservatives need a special guide on what constitutes “teaching Islam” and what does not.  Let me help them out a bit.

THIS IS TEACHING ISLAM

THIS IS NOT TEACHING ISLAM

When I was in high school we learned about things like the Reformation, the creation of the Anglican church, and the different Christian sects who sought freedom in the New World. Obviously there was no way to learn about these things without touching on the differences between the theological beliefs of Catholics and Protestants. None of this constitutes teaching Protestantism or Catholicism, however. I don’t understand why this is such a difficult concept for these people. Oh wait, I just remembered these people are ignorant morons. I guess I understand completely.

The article saves the worst for last, when the father’s wife tries to excuse her husband’s behavior.

“The people do not understand what he endured when he was over in Iraq,” she said. “[H]e lost friends, and he lost brothers and sisters to these people.”

“…these people.”

“…these people.”

“…these people.”

Yup, I read that correctly. Apparently this poor man lost buddies to the soldiers of the Rashidun or Umayyad caliphates. Do I need to say anything more on the topic of associating 1.5 billion people with some Iraqi insurgents? Yeah, I think I do. See there’s a lot of Dutch people who can say they lost loved ones to “those other people.” You know- Christians. After all, in all likelihood it was downed by a bunch of fanatics who can’t shut up about Orthodox Christianity, ergo they represent all Christians everywhere.

If you’re a Fox News viewer who stumbled on this article by some horrible mistake, let me make this clear to you. I’m very sorry but your children need to be educated in history. Don’t worry, our public schools and textbook publishers will try to make this as bland, boring, and uninformative as possible, but it’s still an essential part of the curriculum. Religion, indeed some religions other than yours, played an important role in history, politics, and even geography. Therefore sometimes your precious wittle snowfwakes may be required to, brace yourselves, learn about a faith other than your religion, the one true faith, i.e. non-denominational, independent, Southern four-square Baptist. I’m very sorry.  Oh wait. I’m not.

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America Without BS

So I was browsing the headlines of Yahoo News and found this. Note the headline, which reads:
Massachusetts Father Mad Just Because Public School Teaches ‘There Is No God But Allah.’ Now this would be a flagrant violation of the 1st Amendment, were it not for the fact that the slightest examination of the article and its accompanying photo reveal that the school did not in fact “teach there is no God but Allah.”  In other words, Massachusetts father is an idiot, and the Daily Caller is apparently staffed by ignorant morons.

If one watches Fox New, there’s always some manufactured controversy about how Christians are supposedly persecuted because some atheist group forced their local school board to follow the pesky Constitution. In nearly all these cases, anyone with a gram of reasoning capability can easily surmise that the same people claiming persecution would blow their stacks if a Muslim group came into their kids’ school and put up a picture of the Kaaba or some other equivalent to the things Christians always want to see in public schools.  Just take a look at this video and tell me you don’t think these people would shit bricks if Muslims wanted to put up their own religious plaque in their local school.

This case in Massachusetts would seem to vindicate this claim, except in this case it wasn’t a matter of Muslims trying to bring Islam into the school. The article’s author goes to great lengths to conceal the fact that the passage in question, which is pretty unambiguous in spite of their attempt to crop out as much context as possible, clearly refers to the beliefs of Muslims, using part of the adhan or call to prayer as a summation of that belief. It could have been more concisely presented in the shahada, the Muslim statement of faith which anyone wishing to convert to Islam must pronounce: “I bear witness that there is no God but Allah(God), and Muhammed is his servant and prophet.”  In any case, it is clear from the photo in the story that the book in question does not “teach Islam,” but rather it is a history book explaining the beliefs of Muslims.

It is clear beyond any shadow of doubt that efforts were made either by the author or the editor to conceal the true nature of what happened at this school. The author ignorantly says the book’s passages about Mohammed are “rah-rah,” as in supportive of Mohammed, and that the book claims the pagan Meccans used to kill baby girls before they converted to Islam after the Muslims conquered that city. Well I’m very sorry, Daily Caller, but those claims about Mohammed reported by the history book in question are indeed true, including the claim about female infanticide. Infanticide was commonly practiced in many European cultures, along with human sacrifice, until the spread of Christianity in many places. The story about Mecca becoming a corrupt and lawless place until Islam took over is essentially true and agreed upon by all scholars in the field. Of course in reality, Islam has failed to fully eliminate many pre-Islamic practices all over the world, and in many cases it has been twisted to justify such tribal or traditional practices. The fact that Islam was overwhelmingly positive for the Arab peoples is beyond debate, however.

As for the question of a pro-Islamic slant, this is simply nonsense.  Mohammed, much like Jesus, was a reformer. He appears in a decaying society with a new message and originally the effect is very positive. Of course eventually Islam, like Christianity, turned into the religion of a state and later an empire. That’s when the spiritual doctrine gets shackled to the needs of the ruling class.  In any case, I doubt this father would have been angered by a historical passage which read thus: “During the reign of Tiberius, a man named Jesus of Nazareth preached a message of peace, charity, and a personal connection to God. After being crucified, Jesus’ followers claimed he rose from the dead, and that his sacrifice on Earth would bring eternal life to anyone who believed in him. This belief can be seen in the Biblical passage John 3:16…”

This is not teaching Christianity. This is teaching about Christianity. Ditto for that history book text on Islam.  So what we have here is a deliberate attempt to create a scandal where one does not exist. The lie begins with the headline. It’s basically “Dog bites man” when in fact nobody got bitten at all. Just something to keep in mind when we criticize the Russian press I guess.