Muslims and Moral Handicaps

– Daniel Greenfield

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants an investigation into Koran burning. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer suggested that this form of free speech could be banned. Senator Lindsey Graham is also looking for ways to limit free speech, saying, “Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war”.

Free speech is more than a great idea, it’s a fundamental freedom untouchable by legislators. But all it takes is a few Muslim murders— and Reid, Breyer and Graham eagerly hold up their lighters to the Constitution. Free speech has been curtailed before in the United States during a time of war—but only free speech sympathetic to the enemy. During WW1 a suspected German propagandist filmmaker was jailed. But could anyone have imagined anti-German propagandists being jailed? The Wilson administration was behaving unconstitutionally, but not insanely.

Today we aren’t jailing filmmakers who traffic in anti-American propaganda in wartime. If we did that half of Hollywood would be  behind bars. Instead Democratic and Republican Senators are discussing banning speech offensive to the enemy. Because even though they’re killing us already—we had better not provoke them or who knows how much worse it will become.

Traditionally it’s the victors who give their laws to the defeated. But massive immigration at home and nation building occupations abroad mean that the defeated of failed states are imposing their Sharia law on us. We’re asked to trade in our Constitutional freedoms out of fear of Muslim violence. And so the murderers impose the terms of peace on us. And then don’t abide by them.

Violence in the Muslim world is a constant

Violence in the Muslim world is a constant.  We have been fighting Muslim violence since George Washington’s time.  And we have been subject to it even longer. Whether it’s Muslims killing Hindus, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians or any and every religion under the sun—there is a pattern here. It’s a story as old as time. And it’s not one that we can stop by ladling out honeyed words of appeasement.

Senator Graham warns us to shut up in a time of war—but is there any foreseeable future in which we won’t be fighting in a Muslim country?  Democrats elected the most anti-war candidate of the bunch only to see him begin his 2012 reelection campaign by bombing another Muslim country. And what’s surprising about that. Most of the trouble spots in the world that directly or indirectly affect us are located in Muslim countries. The major threat to the United States comes from the Muslim world. And that means we’re going to be tied up dealing with the Muslim world in one way or another, whether as soldiers, diplomats or aid workers. And even if we weren’t—there are hundreds of thousands of Americans still living and working in Muslim countries. Hostages to the latest Muslim temper tantrum.

As Muslim terror has gotten worse, we have started treating the Muslim world like a ticking bomb

As Muslim terror has gotten worse, we have started treating the Muslim world like a ticking bomb—tiptoeing around them to avoid setting them off. Whatever they don’t like about us, we’re willing to change. The paradigm of the angry dog or the ticking bomb means that we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Whatever you do, the dog mauls you and the bomb blows up. But by pretending that you control the situation, you can feel better about your role in the outcome.

When a man teases a dog on the other side of a chain link fence—we blame the man for provoking the dog, not the dog for being provoked. Animals have less of everything that makes for accountability. And so don’t hold them accountable. Instead we divide them into categories of dangerous and harmless, and treat them accordingly.

Our response to Muslim violence in Afghanistan, supposedly touched off by a Koran burning in Florida, uses that same canine logic. The Muslims are dangerous and violent, so whoever provokes them is held accountable for what they do. Don’t tease a doberman on the other side of a chain link fence and don’t tease Muslims on the other side of the border or the world. That’s the takeaway from our elected and unelected officials.

But the Muslim rioters are not dogs, they are human beings whose moral responsibility is being denied by treating their violence as a reflexive act. Their violence is not unconscious or instinctual—it emerges out of a decision making process. There is nothing inevitable about what happened in Afghanistan. If Muslims had some sort of hair trigger, then why was the violent rioting confined to a very specific part of the world. For the same reason that the reaction to the cartoons took so long. And why was it directed at the UN and not the US. The Koran burning was not the cause of Muslim violence—but a rationalization for existing violence that would have occurred anyway for reasons having nothing to do with Terry Jones. And by treating Muslims like the ‘Morally Handicapped’ who have no choice but to kill when something offends them, we are not doing any favors for them or us.

It is far more insulting to treat Muslims as if they have no ability to control themselves and have no responsibility for their actions—than it is to burn their Koran. That is an assessment that even many Muslims would agree with.

To blame Jones for their actions, we must either treat murder as a reasonable response to the burning of a book, or grant that Jones has a higher level of moral responsibility than the rioters do. There are few non-Muslims who could defend the notion that burning the Koran is a provocation that justifies bloodshed. And virtually no liberal would openly concede that he believes Muslims are morally handicapped—but then why does he treat them that way?

If a Christian had torched a mosque in response to the Muslim arson of churches in Africa—is there any liberal columnist or pundit who would have directed the lion’s share of the blame at the original Muslim arsonists? No. The mosque burning would be treated as an independent act with no linkage to the church arsons. That is the attitude of Western jurisprudence which does not allow one crime to justify another, let alone one provocation to justify a crime. Individuals are treated as responsible moral actors—not shooting balls in a pinball machine. Why then does this standard fly out the window when it comes to Muslims? Why does the press so easily sink into the rhetoric of ‘retaliation and ‘provocation’, treating Muslim terrorism as a reflex, rather than a chosen act.

Is it not because for all their fanciful prose about the Religion of Peace, they do indeed see Muslims as dogs on the other side of a chain link fence. “Don’t tease the dog, son, and it won’t hurt you.”

Liberalism begins as condescension toward lower class violence and culminates in complicity with it

Liberalism begins as condescension toward lower class violence and culminates in complicity with it. Class warfare treated the poor as less morally responsible than the rich because of their deprivation and persecution. By treating physical deprivation as equivalent to moral deprivation, they became guilty of a far worse prejudice than those they were combating. They had declared that the poor were subhuman. When class warfare gave way to race warfare, they repeated the same ugly trick, romanticizing the Black Panthers and empowering thugs and rioters who destroyed black and white communities. The discriminated against were not bound by the same moral code as the discriminators. Their violence was ‘purer’ because it was a reflex against their conditions that they could not control. And so liberals who lectured ceaselessly about racism, were treating minorities as less than human.

Now in the age of Globalism—Muslims are the new oppressed, exempted from the norms of civilized society. The morally handicapped who cannot be expected to turn the other cheek, the way we’re supposed to.

But Muslims are not morally disabled—they are immorally enabled. Muslim violence is a choice. Their choice. It is not a reflex or a reaction or a pinball bouncing off the cycle of violence. It is not something that we are responsible for. It is something that they and only they are responsible for. By pretending otherwise, we are immorally enabling them. Treating them like mad dogs or ticking time bombs just guarantees that they will play their part and fulfill our expectations by mauling or exploding.

We have never held Muslims morally accountable for anything they do. Not as a religion or as countries or individuals. Instead we pretend that Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi are the problem. A handful of extremists and a few bad leaders somewhere. Not the people themselves. Never them.

Instead we have treated Muslims as the morally handicapped, too morally feeble to understand that violence is not the answer to everything from your daughter sneaking out with a boy to a pastor torching the Koran for a BBQ. And they have reacted exactly as people do when they know they will not be held accountable for their actions.

Treating someone as dangerous gives them power over you. They will test that power and then use it. Allowing yourself to be intimidated is the first step to being defeated. For many it is also the last step. We treated Muslims as dangerous and then we insist loudly that we love them very much and aren’t afraid of them at all. Guess who we’re fooling?  Only ourselves. Every time there’s a terror alert or American politicians talk about the wonders of the Koran—the Muslim world sees it as evidence of their power over us. And when a Koran is burned, that just means we need further intimidating. It’s a cycle of violence, but we’re not the ones driving it except through our appeasement.

Muslims have stifled their own moral development—but we haven’t helped either. And the only way we can do that is to push them toward a moral reckoning. Instead we have bought into their genocidal narrative, enabled their violence and empowered the murderous aspects of their ideology. It’s time that stopped. Lies and flattery will not prevent the violence. Only the confrontation of truth can force a moral reckoning.

Senator Graham wishes there was a way to hold Koran burners accountable for violence carried out by Koran readers, but what we really need is a way to hold Koran believers accountable for their own violence.

April 4, 2011 | 57 Comments »

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7 Comments / 57 Comments

  1. “Other people will see the point if you don’t.”

    “If you think so.”

    Whether I think so or not.

    It would be extraordinarily hard, Shy, for any disinterested observer to not notice — from your posts alone — that you are a strikingly mean-spirited fellow. (And I seriously doubt that I’m, by any means, the first blogger — here or elsewhere — to have told you that.)

    “Apparently, I need to install a webcam to film me reading your comments and then upload to YouTube.”

    No need to go to such trouble.

    With the least of effort, anybody could estimate how long it would take to read the post to which you were ‘responding’ [if that’s the word for it] — and then spit out an answer. This aint heavy-duty math, boychik.

    You had left yourself no time left over to think about it.

    Then again, though, I suppose it’s unlikely the first time you ever “went off half-cocked.”

  2. “…the commandment, ‘You shall not murder,’ which applies equally to humans and animals…”

    Please don’t hok me a tchynik mit Ovadyah Shoher, and pass it off as your own, Yamit.

    I recognize his stuff when I see it, and if you want to quote him, you should put his text in quotation marks, and his name after it. This is more than just standard scholarly procedure; it’s common courtesy to your readers, many of whom may not know you are quoting.

    In any case, you should know better than to offer him as an ‘authority’….

    Shoher is surely entitled to his opinion (as are you to yours), and sometimes he’s dead-on.

    Other times, however (and with all due respect), his work…. leaves a bit to be desired.

    (Sometimes, khas v’khalila, a bit more than a bit…..)

    Regrettably that means that in reading him, one can easily find oneself to have bit into a luscious chocolate cake — only to find it finely marbled with elements of the sheerest drek.

    “You show your Christian understanding of the Torah here.”

    No, as a matter of demonstrated fact, Yamit, it is here that YOU show your own ignorance of ‘Christian’ mis-understanding of the “commandment.” (And theirs IS indeed a misunderstanding of the text.)

    The truth of the matter is that throughout “Christendom” generally, the saying is taken to mean, “You shall not kill.”

    [Ask any of our Christian friends on this site, or gentiles elsewhere — and I’m sure they’ll confirm that it’s COMMONLY understood amongst them that way. They may find such an command problematic, and in many ways impractical: since indeed we do have to kill in order to subsist. But it’s problematic only because it’s typically taken to say, “You shall not kill.”]

    But of course, it says, in fact, nothing of the sort.

    If it INTENDED to convey a prohibition against killing, the injunction would NOT be lo tirzakh.

    It would be “lo taharog,” instead of “lo tirzakh.”

    The two verbs are not even linguistically or morphologically related: they’re not even in the same word family

    like, say, “legal” & “legitimate,”

    or “experience” & “experiment” & “expert,”

    or “double” & “duplicate” & “duplicitous.”

    “[T]he Hebrew text refers only to unlawful killing. Both scholars stressed the differences between the Hebrew words for killing and murdering. So the common Jewish belief is that the sixth commandment should be translated as ‘Thou shalt not murder’.”

    Yes — precisely my point.

    The leadings of the Lord are not a suicide pact — but, rather, “a Tree of Life to them that hold on to them.”

    What’s more, your link to Eliezer Segal — far from negating, in fact CONFIRMS what I said — and in language & reasoning so close to mine I could have damned near written it myself (except for a couple of interesting, added sidelights toward the end; Abravanel’s observations, etc).

    Your presuming, however, to piggy-back Segal onto Soher (or vice versa), was frankly disingenuous [that’s the delicate word for it, Old Boy].

    You can do better (and I know you know what I mean).

    “Kindness to animals isn’t about their ‘entitlement.’ It’s about our DUTY. That’s why we call it ‘humane’.”

    I wrote that to remind you that Judaism concerns itself far less with ‘rights’ than with OBLIGATIONS. If you honestly haven’t noticed that this is so, then for all your study, you really haven’t been paying attention.

    I repeat my original point:

    Killing of animals may be a necessity.

    Murder of animals is NEVER ‘necessary,’

    because there is no such act.

  3. dweller says:
    April 11, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Maybe you shouldn’t kill a peacock.

    But it’s impossible to ‘murder’ one. Kindness to animals isn’t about their ‘entitlement.’

    It’s about our DUTY. That’s why we call it “humane”

    You show your Christian understanding of the Torah here.

    In keeping with the ways of G-d, of whom it is written, “His mercies extend to all His creatures” (Psalms 145:9).

    Since the sixth commandment has been so frequently mistranslated, two prominent Jewish commentators, Rabbi Samuel ben Meir (Rashbam) and Rabbi Joseph Bekhor-Shor, explained at great length that the Hebrew text refers only to unlawful killing. Both scholars stressed the differences between the Hebrew words for killing and murdering. So the common Jewish belief is that the sixth commandment should be translated as “Thou shalt not murder.”

    Jews are not prohibited from eating pork specifically. The prohibition is a trivial consequence of the commandment, You shall not murder, which applies equally to humans and animals. Life is sacred, and murder is prohibited. Practical Judaism, however, recognizes that some killing is unavoidable. Sometimes, it is “kill or be killed,” and Judaism allows killing to save other lives. Jews can kill enemies and heinous criminals legally.


    People have to eat meat. The moot issue of vegetarianism aside, people cannot live without meat. In order to save their own lives, people have to kill animals. Hence Judaism makes an exception for three or four animals from the general prohibition of murder. It is not that some animals are prohibited for food. All animals are prohibited, but out of necessity an exception is made for three or four of them. A few other animals were included in the list of permitted animals later. Animals earmarked for food are domesticated, with the later concession for gazelle. People give them life to take it later. This implication is derived from the kosher mode of slaughter, which is only applicable to domestic animals; it is practically impossible to catch gazelle with a trap and cut its throat in a precisely kosher manner.

    Judaism stipulates that animals must be killed painlessly. Murder—even of animals, even out of utter necessity—is still murder and must not be enjoyed; Judaism opposes recreational hunting. Judaism prohibits murdering animals, not playing with them or using them. Drinking camel’s milk is okay for the Jews just like eating honey produced by non-kosher bees. Jews must not derive benefits from pigs murdered by others, particularly by wearing pig leather clothes.

    Torah, more than 3300 years ago, laid down a whole set of laws against causing unnecessary pain to animals (tza’ar ba’alei chaim). Here are some examples:

    The Torah requires a Jew to help unload an overburdened pack animal as quickly as possible, even if the animal belongs to a wicked person, and regardless whether the owner is a Jew or not.

    An ox and a donkey may not be harnessed together to pull a plow. One of the reasons for it is that they are of unequal strength, and one of them is therefore likely to have to work harder than the other.

    the prohibition to slaughter a mother and its calf on the same day. According to Maimonides the reason for this commandments is to prevent the slaughtering the calf in the presence of its mother, which would be very cruel. For, as this great physician explains, the attachment of a mother to its young is a matter of natural feelings, and exists even among animals.

    In the Talmud the laws of tza’ar ba’alei chaim are treated in detail, and our Sages often emphasize how considerate and kind human beings must be towards animals

  4. If you think so. Apparently, I need to install a webcam to film me reading your comments and then upload to YouTube. Maybe next life.

  5. It was sharply apparent that you’d scarcely given yourself time to process the words. Other people will see the point if you don’t.