Islamophobia: Is Sam Harris As Dangerous As Sarah Palin? (The Young Turks)

The Young Turks:

“”Whether you think him a truth-teller or a bigot, Bill Maher deserves credit for launching one of the most robust public cultural/intellectual debates in recent memory. Two weeks ago today, he said on HBO that “a vast number of Muslims across the world” believe people who do not share their religious beliefs “deserve to die.” He also suggested that the Islamic State, or ISIL, was not an abberation of Islam, but a reflection of it.

Those remarks sparked a heated debate three days later on CNN, when hosts Don Lemon and Alisyn Camerota pressed the religious scholar Reza Aslan to defend Islam against the charge that it was inherently violent. Aslan argued that the CNN hosts were cherry-picking examples and making broad sweeping general claims about Islam that were false. “We are using two or three examples to justify a generalization,” he said. “That’s actually the definition of bigotry.”

Four days later, Maher returned to his program with Sam Harris, the religious critic, and the two got into a shouting match with actor Ben Affleck and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof over whether violence, intolerance, subjugation of women, etc. were inherent to Islam. Midway through the debate, Harris said “Islam at the moment is the motherlode of bad ideas.” Maher concurred: “That’s just a fact.” Affleck, visibly repulsed and stupefied, only sighed: “Jesus Christ.”“* Cenk Uygur, John Iadarola (TYT University), CJ Werleman (Salon/Alternet, Author: Crucifying America) and Wes Clark Jr break it down.”

The Young Turks: “Is Sam Harris As Dangerous As Sarah Palin?”

8 Responses

  1. Bill Maher and his ilk could find equally repugnant ideas among a large number of Jews and many of these are supported by Jewish law and scripture. Most Jews do not adhere to this kind of bigotry any more than most Christians adhere to the bigoted elements in their texts. Maybe he should read Max Blumenthal’s Goliath.

  2. Here’s why I think Harris’s comments on Islam reveal his bigotry. At one point in the discussion on Bill Maher’s show he described his “onion layer” theory of ruthless Jihadi murderers at the center, and violence-condoning conservatives the next layer out, together accounting for a huge percentage of the world’s Muslim population. He also described an outermost layer of “nominal” Muslims who would reject such violence.

    In his view, evidently, the only good Muslim is a “nominal” Muslim. Yet, I think he would admit that, throughout history, devotees of supernatural religions have continually re-interpreted their founding texts to sanctify an astoundingly wide variety of cultural behaviors. For example, Islamic culture once led the world in scientific investigation and architecture on the justification of seeking the patterns of God

    My point is that supernatural religions by definition allow for lots of flexibility. They are ungrounded by evidence, and can be put to any use that adherents prefer… their truths are in the eye of the believing beholder. Self proclaimed “devout” Muslims can therefore consider themselves obliged to behave as benevolent humanitarians OR crusading murderers, just like Christians. Yet Harris would insist that any devout Muslim is a threat. Wrong and unfair.

  3. Perplexed

    Islamophobias main characteristic is discussing the fact a majority of the billion or so Muslims in the world endorse sharia law?

  4. As dangerous as Sarah Palin? Let’s see – Palin represents fundamentalist Christianity, which wields massive and disproportionate political power in America. Sam Harris is an atheist, and atheism is widely despised in America. So no, not remotely comparable.

  5. I don’t agree with everything Sam and Bill said, but their underlying logic is that the texts that form the basis of these religions are deeply flawed. That moderates ignore the bad passages so that they can function in modern societies is laudable, I suppose. Simply pointing out that a straight reading of the “Holy” texts of these religions reveals a laundry list of horrors is not “phobic” or “bigoted”.
    I’m not religious, but my family is – and I can understand the pressures on people to identify with a religion. But at some point words should have meaning – and if you choose to be Christian or Muslim, these religions hold their texts to be inspired by God – and therefore all the bad ideas they contain are OK in God’s eyes. You can claim to be a Muslim or Christian, and NOT hold that the texts are God-given, but then your outside the common usage of these words and Sam and Bill really aren’t talking about that kind of belief (and Sam has said this clearly). And, really, why? If you don’t believe the Koran is God’s word, then why call yourself Muslim… it’s like being anti-choice, anti-gun and pro-gay, but calling yourself a Republican.

  6. So Pheadrus when will Bill and Sam apply that same type of analysis to Judaism and their so called holy books? Lots of violence, racism cultivated in those holy books too. They avoid applying that same type of critique to Judaism even though they like to call themselves “atheist” They guard Judaism with their hypocritical protectionism.

  7. There’s not a single thing these bigots are saying that doesn’t apply to the right-wing Christian movement in the USA. A hard core committed to violently seizing America and its weapons and dominating the world, a layer of “violence-condoning conservatives” called the Tea Party (or Promise Keepers or Oath Keepers or Moral Majority or Christians For Koch or whatever), and around them all the rest of the ordinary greedbag GOP who would vote for Satan himself to get a tax cut and make all the Negroes mysteriously disappear.

    For example. Those extremists murdering abortion providers in the ’90s haven’t paid any price or faced any backlash for their crimes, have they? Their hatred was mainstreamed into a “secular” Tea Party that quietly has made abortion impossible in many Red states. The terrrorists won. Their wealthy sponsors have studied the process and are preparing new targets to repeat it on, just as ISIS’ sponsors in palaces in Dubai, etc, are preparing the next act.

  8. Also, isn’t it amazing how a few rich extremists can rewrite the attitudes and history of their nations? Nowhere in this discussion is the effect of class mentioned. Both in the Arab world and in America, the rich made things worse for the masses, then scapegoated the Left and reaped huge benefits as egalitarian aspirations were reversed in favor of theocracy.

    The goal of the right-wing movement is to indoctrinate us to believe that secular improvement by democratic means is impossible, leaving only faith in the supernatural. I see now that this is not just an American thing. The global financial elite, led by Americans and Arabs, are foisting this learned helplessness on one continent after another.

Comments are closed.