Michael Graham Suspended For Comments On Islam

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Blogging, Dumb Things Said By Smart People, Media, The War On Terrorism

Apparently the Tancredo effect is being felt around the right-wing mediasphere.

This next to liken all of Islam to a terrorist organization is talk show host Michael Graham, who was promptly suspended by his station indefinitely.

From the Wash Post:

Graham, 42, said on his mid-morning program on Monday that the fault for recent acts of terrorism lies not with Islamic radicals alone but also with Muslims generally because religious leaders and followers have tacitly supported extreme elements. “The problem is not extremism,” Graham told listeners. “The problem is Islam.” He also said, “We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam.”

Graham also wrote a column this week describing his position in the Jewish World Review.

I take no pleasure in saying it. It pains me to think it. I could very well lose my job in talk radio over admitting it. But it is the plain truth:

Islam is a terror organization.

For years, I’ve been trying to give the world’s Muslim community the benefit of the doubt, along with the benefit of my typical-American’s complete disinterest in their faith. Before 9/11, I knew nothing about Islam except the greeting “asalaam alaikum,” taught to me by a Pakistani friend in Chicago.

Immediately after 9/11, I nodded in ignorant agreement as President Bush assured me that “Islam is a religion of peace.”

But nearly four years later, nobody can defend that statement. And I mean “nobody.”

Certainly not the group of “moderate” Muslim clerics and imams who gathered in London last week to issue a statement on terrorism and their faith. When asked the question “Are suicide bombings always a violation of Islam,” they could not answer “Yes. Always.” Instead, these “moderate British Muslims” had to answer “It depends.”

Precisely what it depends on, news reports did not say. Sadly, given our new knowledge of Islam from the past four years, it probably depends on whether or not you’re killing Jews.

That is part of the state of modern Islam.

In addition, right-wing bloggers are getting behind this meme by gingerly supporting it. Here’s Michelle Malkin on Graham and Tancredo.

For the record, I do not consider all Muslims terrorists and would not call Islam a “terror organization.” But in his own clumsy way, Graham (like Tom Tancredo before him) raises fundamental issues that need to be tackled head on, and he is certainly not alone in raising them.

So she doesn’t consider there statements correct, but they’re “bringing up fundamental issues that need to tackled head on.”

What would those be Michelle? Yeah, sounds like you don’t agree with him at all.

Meet the new fringe…same as the old fringe.


This entry was posted on Friday, July 29th, 2005 and is filed under Blogging, Dumb Things Said By Smart People, Media, The War On Terrorism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

53 Responses to “Michael Graham Suspended For Comments On Islam”

  1. kreiz Says:

    Callimachus cited this stat recently:

    **Just 56 percent of [British] Muslims agree with the statement that “Western society may not be perfect but Muslims should live with it and not seek to bring it to an end.�**

    Is it wrong to note that 44% couldn’t muster an assent (and we’re talking British Muslims here)? Somehow, it’s backward or racist to bring this up? Meet the new left- same as the old left.

  2. kreiz Says:

    When an avalanche of fatwas against Al-Qaeda, Hammas, the PLO and other radical groups come flowing from on-high, when Muslim countries join in arms with us to rid the ME of these elements, then I’ll stand up strong for Islam. Until then, it has much explaining to do.

  3. Justin Gardner Says:

    kreiz…

    Yes. I believe that it’s inherently backward to bring up the argument that Islam as a whole is responsible for terrorism. I think that’s simplyfing a complicated problem that has yet to truly be figured out. Everybody out there is looking for some magic bullet approach, which seems to be lately “Let’s target the religion itself.” That’s a complete non-starter for so many reasons.

    And by the way, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, Kuwait and other ME countries have rounded up Islamic extremists and are rounding up more. You can’t expect the world to change in a few years. It takes time. In the meantime, let’s lay the blame at the feet of the extremists, instead of the religion that they pervert.

    And if that’s a “leftist” position, then I’ll proudly proclaim myself as such.

  4. kreiz Says:

    I understand, Justin. But in looking at Michelle’s quote above, she says “I do not consider all Muslims terrorists and would not call Islam a “terror organization.â€Â? That sounds like you two agree. She goes on to say, in effect, that Islam has much explaining to do. Lauding Saudia Arabia and Pakistan for their contributions to dismantling the terror network is interesting…. especially as to the Saudis, who have been a focal point of criticism from the Dem wing of the Dem party. I’ll be the first to concede that the battle against radical Islamic terrorism isn’t going to be solved quickly or easily. Ideally, other ME countries will change. But until then, Islam should be roundly criticized for its failure to deal with its radical elements.

  5. goy Says:

    I have to agree kreiz.

    Tancredo’s statements demonstrated a banal ignorance of the nature of the war we’re fighting. Bombing Berlin and Tokyo made sense even in light of the civilian reaction and casualties: the Japanese Empire and Third Reich were enemies of the Allies. Bombing Mecca or any other holy site may seem like today’s equivalent to someone like Tancredo. Thankfully, it sounds like most everyone else knows better, including Malkin.

    As to the post – first off, Graham wasn’t promptly suspended. WMAL did a 180 by first supporting him and then subsequently bowing to the pressure of “political correctness”, as Malkin documents clearly. Personally, I disagree with the wording “Islam is a terrorist organization”, but it’s clear that Graham uses this incendiary characterization to draw attention to the problem, not to label all *Muslims* as terrorists. I also note that few people seem to raise much of an eyebrow when someone calls the Bush Administration a bunch of Nazis. Double standards?

    As for Malkin, she said exactly what she meant, as always. The issue that needs to be tackled head on is the fact that a major element of the current problem is “moderate” Islam. If moderate Islamic clerics publicly declare that the justification for suicide bombings “depends” – presumably on the circumstances – well that is nothing more than tacit agreement with the practice, and that tacit agreement can only come from their “moderate” interpretation of the Qur’an, as I see it.

    I’ve said this before. Our collective, PC conditioning against addressing racial and ethnic issues head-on is going to bite us in the a$$ here. We are at war. We don’t have the luxury of coddling sympathizers, enemy combatants, spies or those who give aid and comfort to the enemy. And all this faux feather-ruffling simply clouds that truth. If “moderate” Islam can’t persuade themselves – or be persuaded – to denounce terrorism loudly, unequivocally and constantly, then they are purely and simply part of the problem. As such, they are inviting an ethnic backlash that (as I’ve probably written before) will make the Warsaw Ghetto look like, well, Gitmo, IMHO.

  6. kreiz Says:

    Goy agrees, I win! jk. Justin, I’ll make my point by moving to a more painful example (for you, anyway). Michael Moore had a very high profile role at the 04 Dem convention, agreed? It would be fallacious to conclude that all Dems endorse Moore. But it would be equally erroneous to say that the Party distanced itself from him. They didn’t; there was an ostensible, if unspoken, approval. I would argue that worldwide Islam is largely in the same boat vis-a-vis its terroristic wing.
    Analogies like this are always awkward. But I’m sure you understand the point.

    And as for you, Goy- right on.

  7. Justin Gardner Says:

    I don’t disagree that the Islamic world should be criticized, but non-Muslims targeting Islam itself is shaky ground at the very best. That’s where I think people like Michelle, Tancredo and others need to look more at the practitioners of the religion as opposed to the religion itself, especially considering the suicide bombers tend to be better educated than most in the Islamic world.

    Again, it comes down to the opinion that certain bad people are perverting the faith, not the other way around. I’m not saying that Islam isn’t a seemingly violent religion, but check out the Old Testament. Personally, I don’t think it’s the faith, I think it’s the interpretation. Keep in mind that Christians have done horrible things in the name of God. So did the text change to prevent those things from happening again or did the mindset of the people practicing it change? Obviously I believe it’s the latter.

    As far as lauding Saudi Arabia, I wouldn’t characterize my comments as such. In response to your call for the ME to take action, I’m simply saying that countries around the ME are doing just that, so I think they should recieve at least some credit.

    Thanks for your comments. More are welcome.

  8. kreiz Says:

    It’s a very narrow distinction you’re trying to draw, namely, “that certain bad people are perverting the faith, not the other way around.” If I saw the faith’s leadership attacking and rejecting its most radical elements, I would be encouraged. But I can’t turn a blind eye to the anti-Semitism and misogyny that spews from Islam’s highest quarters. Where’s Martin Luther’s Islamic equivalent when they really need him?

  9. Callimachus Says:

    If we are the heirs of the Enlightenment — which most of us claim to be — nothing out to be placed outside the pale of rational consideration. No question ought to be considered too offensive to be asked, and answered. Was the Holocaust a hoax? No, it was real, but you don’t prove that by denying the right to ask the question. You go get the evidence. That’s how rational, scientific minds work.

    Christianity has been raked over the heckles by philosophes, past and present. Other religions should not be spared such inquiry.

    I wish the people who get on soapboxes and criticize Islam — and the people who get on another set of soapboxes and criticize people who criticize Islam — would take more time reading its holy books, and the best books written about it in our culture.

    Ultimately this isn’t about whether you like Tancredo or vote the way Michelle does. It’s about what Islam is, in its holy texts, and has been, throughout its history. And there’s no quick shortcut to expertise in that.

    I agree with Michelle, if what she is saying is the same as what I’ve said here: If you want to shout down Tancredo, better know more about the topic than he does.

  10. Callimachus Says:

    One question to start with might be whether the historical faith-based atrocities of Christianity were sanctioned by its own scriptures, and how many of those were really rooted in religion, or were merely masked by it. And how easily the religion revealed by Jesus and explained by Paul lends itself to holy wars and dreams of world domination and wholesale massacres of unbelievers. Then ask the same about modern Islam.

  11. kreiz Says:

    That’s why he’s Callimachus and I’m not. Thanks, guy.

  12. kreiz Says:

    Just after Callimachus’ eloquent statement urging understanding, I read this blub at msnbc: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5218227

    Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah has denounced al Qaeda’s terrorism in his country as a “Zionist plot”. Exactly where do we start our historical reading to untangle this unseemly mess? And at what point can we take it at face value?

  13. goy Says:

    “Senior Saudi officials told the world al-Qaida terrorists were to blame and al-Qaida claimed responsibility. … But tape obtained by NBC News reveals that, inside Saudi Arabia, on Saudi television, Crown Prince Abdullah told a strikingly different story about who was to blame. ”

    I seem to recall hearing similar stories about what Arafat would say, depending upon who was holding the microphone.

    Stuff like this is what makes me inclined to believe that the recent “fatwa” issued by FCNA, CAIR, et al., is bogus.

    http://tinyurl.com/8hwgp

  14. Thomas Says:

    Just a quick point. Is anyone who proposes Islam needs to change and/or have a reformation a bigot (as your implying Malkin is)? How about anyone who has pondered whether Islam needs to evolve a bit a come to terms with modernism?

    Malkin may very well be what was implied, but her statement is not enough to be conclusive. I’m not being an apologist, just mounting a defense since I don’t think you made your case (yet, if you’ve got more, I’m willing to read it).

  15. Callimachus Says:

    I don’t think Malkin is a bigot. But even if she isn’t, many are. Yet bigots are part of the process, too. And they can learn. And it seems clear that a lot of people in the West, bigots or not, are asking whether there’s more than coincidence to the fact that an inordinate amount of terrorism in recent years has been carried out by people who profess to be acting in the name of Islam. The way to treat that is not to dismiss it. And you can’t silence such folks with PC platitudes; they’re immune to that approach. You have to engage them.

  16. A Goy and his Blog Says:

    War of Ideology – Are they all?

    Varifrank has posted something I think everyone ought to read – especially those who swill at various America-hating troughs for their daily dose of how the US – no, the President himself – is “losing” in Iraq. Please check it out. And whe…

  17. Juan Golblado Says:

    I would like to see Islam answer the charge made by Michael Graham. Obviously there will be a lot of answers because there are a lot of Muslims and Muslim organizations.

    My answer, as a non-Muslim who knows a bit about Islam, knows a fair number of Muslims, and has read a lot about both, is that Islamic scripture started out reasonably peaceful but quickly turned warlike and that the mainstream of Islam today is pretty damn warlike and intolerant of anybody who is not a Muslim.

    Individual Muslims vary enormously, though, and Islam is being defined by the actions of Muslims every day.

    Our job as liberals is to support secular and liberal Muslims. For me in my situation nothing would be gained by shouting out criticism of Islam. For Michael Graham in his, it may be different.

  18. Justin Gardner Says:

    Boy, do I ever feel very alone. Is this website made up of onlythose who believe that the entire religion is at fault? Is this the “moderate” view?

    I know a few Muslims too, and they think that Al Qaeda is pure evil. I would consider them very strict Muslims (wife stays at home, doesn’t talk to men…husband wears religious garbs to work) and they’re dead set against everything that the terrorists stand for. I think you’ll find that this IS the mainstream for the Muslims in this country.

    As far as the other countires, all that I can tell you is our perception of Muslims is usually shaped by what the media shows us and writes about. And the media promotes conflict because it sells. I think, like most people, Muslims have their faith, abide by it but at the end of the day, putting food on the table is much more important to them than spending time and energy actively hating the US and plotting against us.

  19. Tom Grey - Liberty Dad Says:

    Saudi Arabia does NOT allow UN Human Rights — to a free press, nor to practice the religion of your choice.

    Few Islamic influenced countries do.

    To a large extent it is an Islam – State non-separation problem.
    Today, in Christian societies, the Church has exactly one weapon: excommunication. No state power.
    That’s not true in Islamic countries; and Iraq is debating how much separation there will be in a future Iraq.

    Justin brings up “horrible things” of Christianity, but not really much in the last 100 years. Athiest communism and athiest Nazis (thousands of priests murdered) were the big murderers.

    Virtually all Christian pro-life groups oppose any abortion clinic violence. Yet the leaders of violent anti-abortion groups claim “Christian values”. Critics of abortion bombers are usually very fast to try to blame the anti-abortion Church for any such violence — and I don’t see “liberals” like Justin defending Christianity in such cases.

    Islamic leaders mostly accept terrorism against Jews; therefore they accept terrorism. That’s a problem; and it is THE problem in this issue.

    Why is Justin defending Islam here? Double standards of anti-Christianity and support for almost all anti-Christians is, unfortunately, not at all a fringe of the Dems. (Who excommunicate almost all public pro-life folk.)

  20. Callimachus Says:

    No, Justin, the choice is not between saying “Islam is the problem” and “Islam has nothing to do with the problem.”

    Islam is where the problem is happening. And there may be something more than simple coincidence involved.

    Look, the Nazis rose to power in Germany. That doesn’t mean all Germans are Nazis. Look at Catholicism; there are militant potentials in any religion. They can be electrified by political clashes. Yet how much encouragement do the Catholic IRA get from the Catholic church as a whole, especially the non-Irish parts of it?

    Justin, when you think of a “religion,” you seem to think of a group of people who happen to practice a particular faith.

    When I think of a religion, I think of a set of texts and dogmas and the way they have played out in history. Religion is a chemical poured into the human mind that reacts with something called “faith” That is already in the synapses.

    Both images — people and dogma — are true representations of religion. But to criticize the religion is not identical to criticizing the people who practice it.

    Some of the ways Islam contributes to its terrorism problem are genuinely benevolent. The Zakat, the obligatory financial contribution that is one of the pillars of the faith, is essentially charitable. But that money often finds its way into the hands of the bin Ladens of the world — and it is not necessarily against religious law for this to happen.

    I expect the same range of human mentalities exists in, say Iran and Indiana. But in Indiana a certain kind of angry young man drinks a six-pack of Ballantine and goes and turfs a golf course in his four-by-four. In Iran, the equivalent character is likely to strap on a bomb belt and go to fight jihad — and usually can find help, support, and financing for it from a mosque somewhere. Whyzzat?

  21. kreiz Says:

    You ask rhetorically if it’s the moderate view to blame a whole religion. I don’t know where you got that from Malkin or the prior posts. Tom Friedman, the esteemed NYT’s ME expert and traditional liberal, has raised such questions toward Islam for years. He’s ceratinly not a bigoted commentator. He’s troubled by the virulent anti-Semitism, by the lack of separation between church and state, and by the dirth of Islmaic reformation. As are the rest of us.

  22. Callimachus Says:

    Even Daniel Pipes, who routinely gets picketed on college campuses as a virulent Muslim-basher by people who don’t bother to read his entire pieces, says, repeatedly, “militant Islam is the problem, moderate Islam is the solution.”

  23. Justin Gardner Says:

    Many comments to respond to. I can’t address all of them, but here’s a taste.

    To address a certain point…no I don’t think Malkin is a bigot. I never said that, nor intimated it. So please, everybody, I’m not putting words in your mouth, so I expect the same out of you. However, I think she couches her argument in a such way that gives credence to Tancredo’s statement. Obviously everybody who has commented here disagrees. Food for thought for me.

    Tom Grey, Liberty Dad said…

    Why is Justin defending Islam here? Double standards of anti-Christianity and support for almost all anti-Christians is, unfortunately, not at all a fringe of the Dems. (Who excommunicate almost all public pro-life folk.)

    Tom, come on. This is hardly the case. I merely bring up Christianity when I talk about people preverting the faith in the name of justice.

    Here’s what I said…

    Again, it comes down to the opinion that certain bad people are perverting the faith, not the other way around. I’m not saying that Islam isn’t a seemingly violent religion, but check out the Old Testament. Personally, I don’t think it’s the faith, I think it’s the interpretation. Keep in mind that Christians have done horrible things in the name of God. So did the text change to prevent those things from happening again or did the mindset of the people practicing it change? Obviously, I believe it’s the latter.

    Again, I’ll state that I think it’s the people, not the faith.

    More from Tom Grey…

    Justin brings up “horrible things� of Christianity, but not really much in the last 100 years. Athiest communism and athiest Nazis (thousands of priests murdered) were the big murderers.

    I was talking in a historical sense. The Inquisition. Salem Witch Trials. The Crusades. I’m not blind to the evil done in Mohammed’s name. Please don’t be blind to the evil done in Jesus’ name. However, right now we’re dealing with Islamic extremists so I can understand why the confusion.

    Virtually all Christian pro-life groups oppose any abortion clinic violence. Yet the leaders of violent anti-abortion groups claim “Christian values�. Critics of abortion bombers are usually very fast to try to blame the anti-abortion Church for any such violence � and I don’t see “liberals� like Justin defending Christianity in such cases.

    I think abortion bombers are awful, awful people, and just because some who self-describe themselves as liberal would blame the church, doesn’t mean I would. Having made the points I have in this post and comment section, it would be highly hypocritical of me to feel this way, wouldn’t it?

    Callimachus says…

    I expect the same range of human mentalities exists in, say Iran and Indiana. But in Indiana a certain kind of angry young man drinks a six-pack of Ballantine and goes and turfs a golf course in his four-by-four. In Iran, the equivalent character is likely to strap on a bomb belt and go to fight jihad � and usually can find help, support, and financing for it from a mosque somewhere. Whyzzat?

    The answer to this is wide and far reaching, but if I were to simplify it, it has to do with the difference between first world nations and third world nations. In first world nations you have more time and energy dedicated to shaming extremist thought. I still think it exists in this country because we’re all human, but it’s not allowed to flourish. However, in third world nations, extremist thought is allowed to flourish. Why is this? Well, I know you can appreciate the historical perspective on this Callimachus. The Middle East is simply (and painfully) behind the times in many respects, and as the piece about highly educated Muslim extermists by Friedman postulated, our progress infuriates them because their own religion hasn’t allowed their countires to progress to our point. In other words, they’re painfully behind the times and that environment breeds the very thing we’re trying to fight. So could the religion be at fault for keeping women subjugated, dissent blocked and therefore creating an environment that hurts the advent of progress? Sure. But the rest of the responsibility lies in the fringe since an overwhelming majority of Muslims (both here and aboard) are not the extremists some think they are.

    Again, thanks for all of the comments. Sorry I can’t address them all.

  24. kreiz Says:

    You say “an overwhelming majority of Muslims are not extremists”. In yesterday’s WashPo, Sabaa Saleem writes a piece that includes this statement:

    “As a Pakastani relative in Austrlia said, ‘mainstream Muslims do not support bloodshed. What they do support is a representations of their concerns.’”

    Islam’s moderates do not criticize jihadist extremists because they ‘represent [Muslim] concerns’. At some point, is this an extremist position?

  25. kreiz Says:

    It’s something like a Southern Baptist saying, “I don’t support KKK bloodshed BUT they do represent my concerns.” Hmm.

  26. goy Says:

    My apologies if someone already posted a link to this

    http://tinyurl.com/9n7vs

    I think it sums up pretty well my frustration with the Islamist / Islam / Muslim issue, and shows the beginnings of what I fear will come from it if something in the moderate Muslim world doesn’t change.

    In this context, I see people like Graham using incendiary rhetoric to light a fire under certain butts: Islam may not BE the problem, but Islam definitely HAS a problem. And the Muslim world needs to get serious about dealing with it rather than either hiding from it or giving tacit approval with its collective silence and/or vacillation. From the comments:

    “Something about bombs paralyzing your capital city clarifies the mind.”

    The U.S. saw a brief glimpse of this phenomenon during the last quarter of 2001. To me, the value of that clarity is that it can focus a culture and its government on dealing with the problem quickly and effectively – hopefully before that problem is politicized to the extent that it justifies the sort of Orwellian hysteria depicted in movies like “The Siege”, or worse.

    Terrorism is the tactic of the bully and coward. Islamist terrorists bully those of their own faith more than any other group. This gives them camouflage and the relative freedom to operate within a familiar, cowed populace – like mafiosi freely operating among the law-abiding Italians living in the “little Italy” enclaves of the 30s (and later). The difference is that Islamist terrorists *use* Islam as a weapon against other Muslims.

    To put it bluntly, moderate Muslims need to cowboy the f— up and deal with these bullies, directly, instead of letting their collective denial force the West to fight their battle for them. When we see a Million Muslim March on Washington declaring “Terrorism: Not in Our Name”, that will be a clear sign that Islam acknowledges the cancer from which it suffers. If Muslims want to take Islam back from the Islamists, they need to step up to the line with the rest of the world.

    http://tinyurl.com/dxfgm

  27. goy Says:

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”
    Interesting. Something I said? ;-)

    Anyway, I came back to note that, now that Graham’s been suspended, CAIR now reportedly wants Graham fired. I guess appeasement worked.

    http://tinyurl.com/8xryu

    I write “reportedly”, since it’s not yet clear what’s up here. The link on michaelgraham.com’s hotsheet goes to an outdated and unrelated WaPo article, and WND notes the CAIR demand in the headline but doesn’t elaborate. Guess we’ll watch and see.

    Nobody thinks there’s a First Amendment thing happening here? I think it’s worth noting, again, that Graham’s remarks didn’t draw any corporate criticism until after CAIR’s response.

  28. Justin Gardner Says:

    There’s no First Amendment thing going on here since he’s paid. It’s not like he’s being jailed for his comments. True, he can say whatever he wants, but he also acknowledged that what he was going to say could get him fired. Trust me, the press alone around this will boost his ratings and probably make him a bigger personality. I’m not saying it’s calculated, because I genuinely think he believes Islam is the problem, but I don’t think it’s going to ulimately hurt him.

    A goy, I agree that Muslims need to create a stronger, public show of outrage. Million Muslim March is an interesting idea, but I hesitate about that because of how our police and intelligence forces would respond to it. If people like Graham think Islam itself is the problem, imagine what a scared capitol would think of millions of Muslims coming there. I think these things need to start locally and the media needs to cover them. Patience is needed, especially since there was such an outcry for racial and religious profiling after 9/11. Imagine being a perfectly peaceful Muslim and having people fear you like you’re a terrorist. It takes a little time to get over things like that. Also, like many religious groups, these people tend to stick together in close, quiet groups. Demanding that they speak out is a big break from the norm. Again, it just takes time and thankfully we’re seeing these types of things happening more and more.

    Also, we in the blogosphere need to be a little less reactionary about things like the fatwas being issed, and not denouncing them immediately like the Counterrorism Blog did this last week. What if they’re ploys? Well, let them reveal themselves instead of trying to debunk them the moment they surface. We can’t expect Muslims both here and abroad to speak out if we shout them down as fakers as soon as they begin to denounce the things we’re asking them to denounce.

  29. goy Says:

    I can think of nothing better to convince people I’m not a terrorist than to actively speak out against and work for the suppression of terrorist activities. And since I agree with your observations about Muslim hesitation to speak out, I think that’s part of what needs to change.

    I also agree that these things need to start locally. I don’t see that happening on any real scale. Anywhere. Islamist terrorism has been an issue since the early 1990s. The body count keeps going up. How much ‘patience’ do we need to exercise before we can rightfully expect peaceful Muslims to at least acknowledge that they have a problem, and speak out en masse against it? Do we draw a line? Certain number of months? Some maximum body count?

    As for anyone “shouting down” bogus fatwas issued by organizations like CAIR, I guess I just don’t see where that’s happened. CT Blog identified clear and specific reasons for their reaction to CAIR. So far I have yet to see a valid rebuttal. Either way, I’m not sure I see how CAIR’s fatwa would ever reveal itself as a ploy in any case. Since there was absolutely no specificity in their statements, CAIR is free to backpedal with any sort of ‘whatever-you-want-to-hear’ rhetoric, at any time. Arafat used that strategy for years.

    Anyway, getting back on topic, even though WMAL initially supported Graham’s statements, it looks like it was pretty easy for CAIR to shout *him* down, doesn’t it.

  30. Justin Gardner Says:

    Anyway, getting back on topic, even though WMAL initially supported Graham’s statements, it looks like it was pretty easy for CAIR to shout *him* down, doesn’t it.

    It certainly does, but that’s WMAL’s perogative. However, Graham’s comments were meant to promote what I consider a very broad and false conclusion. CAIR’s fatwa (if you believe it) was meant to denounce terrorism and distant them from the fanatics. There’s a huge difference goy.

  31. goy Says:

    So, whether or not you agree with a viewpoint being shouted down depends upon (your perception of) the difference between their respective theses’ validity? Kinda goes against the grain of what you’re doing here, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t BOTH sides be fully aired – with all their warts – in order to demonstrate their validity, or lack thereof?

    Anyway, if CAIR’s fatwa was equivocal – and their emphatic reference to ‘civilians’ at the very least invites further scrutiny here, since there are no ‘civilians’ in jihad – then it can hardly be seen as an honest denouncement of terrorism, can it? Though I will grant that in either case it was certainly an effort to distance themselves from being perceived as part of the problem.

    CAIR’s reactionary choice to muzzle Graham, attacking *him* through WMAL’s advertisers instead of demonstrating calmly and clearly how his *analysis* is wrong, only makes them – and Islam by association – look more, rather than less, suspect.

  32. Callimachus Says:

    This comments thread has such good legs I wonder if it shouldn’t be its own post.

    Here’s something that may shed some light. Compare “Islam” to “America,” Not the things themselves, but the way you react when you see people use them in discussions. What do you think of?

    As a crude approximation, people on the patriotic side of the scale tend to hear “America” and think of the good people here and the values we share. They interpret verbal attacks on America as little more than rhetorical equivalents of terrorists’ bombs.

    But some people use that word “America” to mean the specific effects of American policies, deliberate or otherwise, on people around the world. How much misunderstanding results from having two different notions of what it means to say “America?”

    Just so, when some people say, “part of the problem is Islam itelf,” or “the problem is rooted in Islam,” some other people will hear that as just a shade removed from beating Muslims in the street with baseball bats or ripping the hijabs off Persian girls. Some even regard the first statement as a mask for raw prejudice.

    This is not an idle comparison, because there is a certain structural parallel between “Islam” and “America.” Not merely because the one is the most nationalistic monotheism, or the other is a nation with messianic tendencies. But because they are both a body of people, both born into and choosing to partake in the structure. And they are both forces in the world that can leave an impact on lives all around the world. They can be one thing at home and another abroad. And both are, to greater or lesser degrees, guided in those matters by the people who partake of them.

    It’s just that America won’t slap a fatwa on you and call for your beheading if you immigrate to Canada.

  33. Justin Gardner Says:

    So, whether or not you agree with a viewpoint being shouted down depends upon (your perception of) the difference between their respective theses’ validity? Kinda goes against the grain of what you’re doing here, doesn’t it? Shouldn’t BOTH sides be fully aired – with all their warts – in order to demonstrate their validity, or lack thereof?

    Goy, if I’m not mistaken, we’re debating Graham’s points and their validity right now. However, this initially started because of a question you had about free speech which I responded to. Given that context I think my points are valid. If he wants to come here and argue his points, he’s more than welcome to. I’ll still disagree, but this forum is public. A radio station that pays him is not. There are other factors involved and that was the point I made, am making and will continue to make regarding that specific question.

    CAIR’s reactionary choice to muzzle Graham, attacking *him* through WMAL’s advertisers instead of demonstrating calmly and clearly how his *analysis* is wrong, only makes them – and Islam by association – look more, rather than less, suspect.

    Frankly, religious groups do this all the time, and at the point they find something offensive or potential offensive, it’s up to the advertisers (who can’t listen to every program) to realize who they’re advertising with. I’m sure they listened to the comments, read his editorial and made a decision from there. This is CAIR’s right in a free society, just as it is the station’s right to fire somebody for making blanket statements. It is also Graham’s right to say whatever he wants, but he has to deal with the reprecussions.

    If all of this makes you think CAIR looks more suspect, then fair enough. I simply disagree.

  34. goy Says:

    ” Given that context I think my points are valid”
    Yes. Probably my error. I’m not trying to present a 1A argument here, although I did (idly) ask whether anyone thought that might be an issue, which may have got things off track. But I’m not arguing for or against who has which (legal) prerogatives here. I’m talking about the rational way to deal with the issue.

    CAIR, I think, does itself and the Muslims it claims to represent no favors by attacking Graham instead of engaging him. In essence, CAIR is doing exactly what they claim Graham is doing: attacking him personally. Even if he truly is a bigot, which I don’t believe he is, I think Callimachus’ earlier point is applicable here. If he’s wrong, I think the process of demonstrating that will help all concerned. If he’s not wrong, that’s valuable information too, and points back to increased Muslim involvement being critical to resolution of the issue. What I really suspect is that the truth is somewhere in between, and we won’t find that spot when one side is muzzling the other.

    Read CAIR’s site. As a simple example, they mischaracterize Hal Lindsey’s *warning* of inevitable retribution in a specific set of circumstances as being a *threat* of retribution. There’s a huge difference.

    http://tinyurl.com/8fz2n

    It’s quite clear what Lindsey is saying here, yet CAIR chooses to misrepresent it as incitement. That’s not helping. And that sort of transparent self-delusion by the Islamic leadership (if CAIR embodies Muslim leadership) is exactly the sort of problem Graham is trying to draw attention to. And that certainly doesn’t raise the credibility of their fatwa against terrorism of ‘civilians’.

  35. Justin Gardner Says:

    See…

    You read the Hal Lindsey and you think it’s quite clear. I read it and actually agree with CAIR. It seems like a very thinly veiled threat, especially given the last line. An unstoppable Holocaust? I know I certainly won’t be going into Muslim communities and creating an unstoppable Holocaust. In fact, I’ll do everything I can to stop that from happening. This goes back to my main point. When we target these communities as a whole, instead of the individual perpetrators, we are doing evil.

    Also, from looking at his website, Hal Lindsey is quite religious, has a very clear agenda and that just adds another layer of icing on top of the cake. And the site he posted that commentary on also says that Bin Laden is hiding in China with the government’s unofficial permission. Forgive me if I discount Lindsey’s fiery rhetoric/commentary as a result.

    Concerning Callimachus’ previous statement, I understand what he’s saying, but I think CAIR looks at this situation the same way Callimachus looks at situations where somebody isn’t trying to add to the conversation. Given that, their response is completely understandable, and Graham’s statement is (and I’ll say this again) absolutely, 100% wrong. Islam is not a terrorist organization, goy. Islam is a religion. Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization and I refuse to acknowledge anything to the contrary. Graham was an idiot for making the point the way he did. Maybe his intentions were honorable and maybe he did want to just open up a conversation, but given how much the Muslim community has been on the defensive these last several years, I completely understand why CAIR would try to drop the hammer on somebody saying such an idiotic thing.

  36. goy Says:

    “I read it and actually agree with CAIR”
    Hmmm… well then it’s pointless to discuss, because you’re arguing a straw man that clearly is not there, and I believe that’s indicative of why you react to Graham’s statements as you have. Lost in this process is Lindsey’s real point. I’m familiar with this point because it’s one I’ve been making for weeks: “A *person* is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.”** To that I would add, “especially when they’re threatened as a people by another people”.

    There’s nothing “thinly veiled” about what Lindsey is saying. He is describing a very specific, very extreme set of circumstances that amounts to a life-threatening act of terrorist violence against one group by another group. In a SHTF situation like that, what do you think the reaction is going to be – another outcry for an independent investigation? Requests for more documents?? Congressional hearings? No. You’re going to see riots in the streets. You’re going to see self-serving politicians like John Edwards going on public record, saying exactly what he thinks ‘the People’ want to hear at that instant: “I think *Islam* is the most serious and imminent threat to our country,” just as he did with *Iraq*.

    http://tinyurl.com/bl8ga

    Lindsey is simply describing what he already knows about human nature. You will have a mob. And mobs do ugly, insane, irrational, destructive things. Both he, and Graham, are trying to use the media at their disposal to convince peaceful Muslims that THEY need to get involved in ensuring it doesn’t come to that.

    Since you brought it up, I note that Lindsey’s web site and “agenda” – so far – have not inspired him or others of his faith to fly airliners into skyscrapers, detonate nail-encrusted IEDs in crowded subways, drive car bombs into schools, incite others to do likewise OR defend those who have. However, if we give equal consideration to the agenda indicated by CAIR’s origins and past actions, enumerated here

    http://tinyurl.com/8httf

    it’s hard to make the same claim about them.

    Islamist terrorism is based on a religious justification: a literal reading of Islam’s holy text, the Qur’an. Like it or not, Muslims who peacefully follow the islamic religion are stuck with this fact whether they agree with that interpretation or not. They’re also stuck with the fact that the terrorists who’ve murdered in the name of Allah come from their ranks. It’s a sh!tty deal, but those are the facts. They can either choose to deal with them – directly, continuously, loudly and consistently – or they can continue to vacillate, equivocate and attack those who point out the failings of their religious institutions, like CAIR has.

    “”The term ‘civilians’ does not exist in Islamic religious law. Dr. Karmi is sitting here, and I am sitting here, and I’m familiar with religious law. There is no such term as ‘civilians’ in the modern Western sense. People are either of Dar Al-Harb or not.”
    – Dr. Hani Al-Siba’i – http://tinyurl.com/d6v79

    As for Graham’s statements, you may not like the way he said what he said, but his analysis and the reasons for his conclusion were 100% accurate, particularly in light of the above. The frustration that led to his outburst is not isolated to him. And it’s not isolated to the thousands of folks who’ve expressed support for him, either.

    ** Men in Black

  37. Justin Gardner Says:

    In a SHTF situation like that, what do you think the reaction is going to be – another outcry for an independent investigation? Requests for more documents?? Congressional hearings? No. You’re going to see riots in the streets. You’re going to see self-serving politicians like John Edwards going on public record, saying exactly what he thinks ‘the People’ want to hear at that instant: “I think *Islam* is the most serious and imminent threat to our country,â€Â? just as he did with *Iraq*.

    I could continue to address your points, but after reading this, I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere. You clearly believe something very, very, very different than me.

    Respectfully, let’s move on.

  38. goy Says:

    Whatever you say, bro – you’re the editor. ;-)

  39. Top Street Says:

    Your site is realy very interesting. http://www.bignews.com

  40. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Has Sheehan Started Something? Says:

    [...] Second, Joe talks about Senator Chuck Hagel and how he has suggested that Bush invite Sheehan to the ranch, echoing similar sentiments expressed by our own Michael Totten yesterday. [...]

  41. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Michael Graham Fired For Anti-Islam Comments Says:

    [...] I first wrote about Michael Graham and it sparked a firestorm of comments. At that time he had been suspended from his program for making what I thought were provably false claims, considering that Islam is a religious faith and terrorists are people who pervert that faith in order to get their way. True, the geo-political climate of Islamic nations do help breed terrorism, but is that the religion’s fault or the people who teach it? [...]

  42. Donklephant » Blog Archive » URGENT: Donklephant Readers Need To Find Katrina Survivors Says:

    [...] From the comments section of this post about Hurricane Katrina’s survivors: [...]

  43. UK Says:

    Thank you for the info!

  44. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Stephanopolous’ Plame Case Source Says:

    [...] I’ve been trying to avoid this topic but here it is again. At this point I suppose it’s still hearsay, but George Stephanopolous said this about the Plame case yesterday: “…a source close to [the investigation] told me this week that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of these discussions.” — Bush, Cheney Part of Plame Leak? [...]

  45. AMERICAN FUTURE » Blog Archive » AF Recommends Says:

    [...] Over at Donklephant, Cicero identifies the three Weltanschauungs that characterize today’s world: liberalization, properous autocracy, and politicized religion. This is a really good typology (I wish I’d thought of it). Take the time to read Cicero’s post. [...]

  46. Donklephant » Blog Archive » The LEO Test: Presidential Damage Control Says:

    [...] This week I’ve decided to continue using the LEO model as a tool of analysis to examine the Bush Administration’s peculiar appointment of White House Counsel Harriet Miers to succeed retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor at the US Supreme Court. The earlier article pointed out that the Miers appointment merely continued a time-honored factious tendency for presidents to appoint personal acquaintances (in the Miers case, Mr. Bush’s personal lawyer) to prominent positions either in the administration or within the Judiciary. Perhaps in order to divert allegations of cronyism from Senate Democrats, the president’s announcement carried with it a distinct egalitarian tone, one which would generally mollify grumblings from those with a “liberal” ideological preference. [...]

  47. Talha Ejaz Says:

    Michael Graham is no exception to all those American policy makers who intend to term Islam as the real cause of terror and its followers being termed as terrorists, the point I want to make here is that Islam today posses great threat to the existence of American and European society because its spreading fast though its followers (Mostly citizens of Muslim countries) are plagued with many domestic and international problems, this poses a real threat and 40/40 window program (Christian Missionaries working in Muslim countries, near the equator region) is not yet working for the Americans as mentioned in 2003 Times article with the headline of “We should strike the heart of Islam before it strikes us�. The truth remains that Islam is a very peaceful religion and so are its followers, but as long as the justice will be denied to Muslims living in the lands of Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere the struggle would continue and certain elements would keep taking advantage of these situations.

    The solution to all these problems is a conclusive dialogue being held on regular basis between the followers of different religions to sort out the differences and settle the pending issues peacefully, while respecting the demographic boundaries of all the Muslim states and that the religious sentiments must be respected by all in large.

  48. Talha Ejaz Says:

    Please refer to the following statement of Michael Graham used to defend his earlier statement

    “Certainly not the group of “moderateâ€Â? Muslim clerics and imams who gathered in London last week to issue a statement on terrorism and their faith. When asked the question “Are suicide bombings always a violation of Islam,â€Â? they could not answer “Yes. Alwaysâ€Â? Instead, these “moderate British Muslimsâ€Â? had to answer “It depends.â€Â?

    Why “It Depends”? Because suicide bombings are very difficult to stop and the current Palestinian militant groups have no solution other then to take their own lives and of the others because of the “Sophisticated weaponsâ€Â? that the Israeli army posses. Stones against bullets don’t work, when you have lost half of your family or some loved one and there is no hope for a better future but to live under the occupation of Israeli forces, this is a story of almost every second household in Palestine and the Palestinians would keep using these sort of means but it does not imply that Palestinians should bomb the civilians or Jews but they should rather hit out the Israeli soldiers, meanwhile the peace loving Jew citizens should take up the matter with Israeli Government to solve this issue once and for all. Michael Graham needs to take some memory pills and should probe into all these political matters and only then he should issue a statement.

  49. Donklephant » Blog Archive » FEMA, Please Don’t Forget Katrina Victims Says:

    [...] [...]

  50. Focus on the Christianists « Greg Prince’s Blog Says:

    [...] Justin Gardner has a good piece at Donklephant.  Read it, and don’t neglect the comments. [...]

  51. Jessica Simpson Says:

    Hi! :) One question to start with might be whether the historical faith-based atrocities of Christianity were sanctioned by its own scriptures, and how many of those were really rooted in religion, or were merely masked by it. And how easily the religion revealed by Jesus and explained by Paul lends itself to holy wars and dreams of world domination and wholesale massacres of unbelievers. Then ask the same about modern Islam.

    Thanks and have a good day!!!

  52. Lauren Ambrose Says:

    Hi! :) I heard on the radio that Michael Jackson’s defense is calling in all sorts of character witnesses for the trial, presumably to testify that Michael loves children (but doesn’t, you know, love children).
    The testimony is so predictable. One of these witnesses, apparently, is Stevie Wonder. We all know what he’s going to say…he’s gonna say that he didn’t see anything!
    Thanks and have a good day!!! :)

  53. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Fixing the Fairness Doctrine - A modest technology solution. Says:

    [...] x-posted from Divided We Stand United We Fall. Inspired by comments on Justin’s recent post. This entry was posted on Saturday, July 21st, 2007 and is filed under The Politics Of Film, Ideas, Legislation, Law. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. [...]

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