Anti-Muslim Bigotry & Double Standards


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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42 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I compare the anti-Muslim bigotry of Juan Williams’ to the anti-Muslim bigotry of the journalists who are afraid to print the Mohammed cartoons or even talk about what happened to the artist who originally started “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day”… or the newspapers that recently refused to publish a recent Non Sequitur comic.

    I prefer Juan Williams, myself.Report

  2. Avatar gregiank says:

    Good stuff Eric. The meta analysis of Williams has overwhelmed any possible conversation about bigotry. While he may have been trying to offer context about why his feelings were wrong, what he said was pretty straight forward bigoted. Its fair enough to say that everybody has primitive thoughts but we can make an effort to squelch those instead of proudly defending them. But discussing bigotry is to much of a hot topic, it seems. Its easier to point out the ridiculous double standards of who gets fired and who doesn’t or pointing out the crimes of others.Report

    • Avatar Scott says:


      All concerns about bigotry aside, the fact is that in this day and age, if a terrorist acted is committed, it is most likely done by those peace loving Muslims. Liberals could care less how Jesus is portrayed but when it comes to Allah they will criticize almost everything that isn’t respectful.Report

      • Avatar gregiank says:

        @Scott, Actually peace loving muslims are not a problem at all. Its the very small group of violent ones we need to worry about. But why should we be concerned about bigotry and want to minimize it. I don’t think people should go out of there way to insults others beliefs. I don’t think that stoking fear or bigotry of anybody is good not will it bring about our best behavior.Report

      • Avatar Barrett Brown says:

        @Scott, All concerns about bigotry aside, the fact is that in this day in age, if a bomb drops on a village and kills innocent children, it is most likely done by those “turn the other cheek”-ascribing Christians, who will happily set their armies in motion and then ignore the results because now they are worried about their precious jobs.

        I’m glad you are more concerned with truth than political correctness; I am too!Report

      • Avatar Barrett Brown says:

        @Scott, I do indeed remember 9/11. And the hundreds of thousands who have been left maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan will remember that those who claim to “turn the other cheek” not only failed to do so, but in fact went about killing a huge number of people who were not involved in 9/11 in any way whatsoever. Unlike Americans, they have not been so lucky as to be able to point to a mere single day of day death and destruction that they did not deserve; they have years of it.Report

        • Avatar Scott says:

          @Barrett Brown,

          So how many Americans would you let them kill? The Clinton admin admin turned the other cheek to numerous attacks and it only served to embolden those zealots to attack us further. The Taliban could have handed Bin Ladin over to us but they refused and they paid the price for harboring him. As the Afghan gov’t at the time, they are partly responsible for what happened.Report

  3. Avatar Barrett Brown says:

    Erik, that’s the most succinct, comprehensive, and accurate take on the situation I’ve yet to read. The question of whether Williams should have been fired actually comprises several questions having to do with consistency, and, not surprisingly, a great number of parties have reacted not in accordance with the sort of logic you have here laid out, but rather in accordance with their own semi-conscious policies on Muslims. And it is not just the anti-Islamic folks who have been dishonest about this over the last decade. I should also note, as an atheist who is active in opposition to organized political Christianity, that many people who are more than happy to level all sorts of charges at Christians or at least certain Christian populations will meanwhile attack any rhetoric directed towards Muslims as “bigotry” or some such, and they do so not on the merits of the charges and certainly not in reference to anything close to consistency of any sort, but rather in service to a sort of misguided calculus whereby they assume that the target of their enemies must in fact be misunderstood and oppressed by virtue of being such a target. All of this is complicated further by the fact that neither “Muslim” nor “Christian” tells us much about a person or group of people insomuch as that there is such great variance within these groups.Report

  4. Avatar gregiank says:

    @scott- Actually shia v sunni bigotry is a massive problem and is the direct cause of a lot of violence in Muslim areas. Not mention hatred of Kurds or hindus, etc. So bigotry is a big problem in many cultures.

    It seems pretty clear there is plenty of hypocrisy to go around. If you are unhappy about insults towards Christians then you should certainly be pissed about insults at Muslims. In fact if you want people to be respectful then the best way to bring that about is to be respectful yourself. Going into the tit-for-tat insults just devolves into yet another screaming match. Especially when you, or anybody, just uses the generic “liberals, conservatives, left handed dentists, etc say” to justify your own blather. Lets talk to each other, not generics or strawmen.Report

    • Avatar Scott says:


      I could care less if anyone insults Jesus just as like long as I can freely insult their region. I could care less is the Shia and Sunnis want to gut each other just as long as they us alone.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    “due to mistaken”? I frequently move on the the next thought while writing, and unfortunately also frequently fail to go back and finish the unfinished ones. I was struggling to characterize Williams’ words there. I didn’t think “impolitic comments” quite captured it, but that was the thrust. Insert whatever you think of as the best general way to characterize it when pundits put their foot in their mouth (hey, that’d have been a good one…) In any case, I agree with Erik that this impulse to simply erase the offending ideas from memory via termination runs contrary to the role we want media organizations to play, which is to facilitate communication, especially when the issue is difficult or fraught.Report

  6. Avatar gregiank says:

    @scott- Oh spare me your terror of the clucking tongues of liberals. Please. You are free to insult other peoples gods and others are free to call you a jerk for it. Thats free speech. Free speech is not being free of criticism. I’ve heard and read more insults towards muslims and Allah then i could count. Seems pretty damn free to me. That does not mean the Allah cartoon censorship was correct. it wasn’t. but i think you could find plenty of people doing just fine while spouting all sorts of insults. Newspaper censorship..again, oh please, there are plenty of right wing columnists and web sites saying what ever they want. Even Juan Williams seems to have a place to say what he wants.Report

  7. Avatar Jake says:

    LoOG Article Generator in 5 Easy Steps:

    1. Both Left and Right are wrong about X
    2. Side-step X by focusing on Underlying Issue Y
    3. Underlying Issue Y proves the liberals are right for the wrong reasons… or vice versa
    4. This proves why we should abandon the generalization of left/right thinking… which proves my generalities about both the left and right
    5. Really the Right was correct all along… because liberals are hypocrites! But the Right shouldn’t be so mean!Report

  8. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    So you have respectable mainstream publications such as Weekly Standard and The New Republic

    That word, I do not think it means what you think it means.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      @Mike Schilling, Be nice, other than crazy uncle Marty in his Attic at the Spine TNR is pretty reasonable. Yes they’re vehement Israel supporters but that’s not in itself a bad thing and otherwise I find TNR pleasantly center left.Report

  9. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    It is rather obvious that Islam “was strongly influenced by the Ebionite school of Christianity and by Manicheism,” and consequently represents a violent, gnostic, derailment. Mr. Williams had every reason to be fearful of Muslims.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      @Robert Cheeks, How is it obvious? And how does any of that follow? Claiming that things that are, to put it mildly, at the fringe historical scholarship are obvious is odd enough, but then drawing unrelated conclusions from them as though they were self-evident is even odder.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      @Robert Cheeks,

      It’s more obvious to me that Islam was influenced by Judaism: both are straightforwardly monotheistic, where Christianity needs to obfuscate its tendencies otherwise.Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

        @Mike Schilling, Mike, what do you mean “… where Christianity needs to obfuscate its tendencies otherwise.”????Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          @Robert Cheeks,

          Christianity hides its polytheism under a blanket of rationalizations. The differences are quite clear when you look at the most basic statement of the three:

          Judaism: Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.

          Islam: There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.

          Christianity: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son […]

          It’s pretty clear who the odd man out is.Report

        • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

          @Robert Cheeks, That’s pretty heavy. Did you come up with that on your own or from a theologian?Report

  10. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    RE: the Ebionites:

    RE: the Manichaeism

    There’s a lot of additional material available on the internet where there are numerous scholarly sources cited as well.
    I should also not that, for example, the Paulicians, ‘a powerful religious/military force,’ linked with the Manichaeians, and allied with Saracen Emir of Melitene raided the Byzantine Empire with a great deal of success.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      @Robert Cheeks, Yeah, I get that there are scholars who argue these points (though the Ebionite theory is pretty out there, and it’s the Jewish, not the gnostic Ebionites that are implicated, I believe), but it’s far from “obvious,” and you haven’t said how any of that implies a “represents a violent, gnostic, derailment.”

      Also, when was the last time you read a book by someone other than Veogelin?Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

        “but it’s far from “obvious,” and you haven’t said how any of that implies a “represents a violent, gnostic, derailment.”
        The above comment is related specifically to the violent and oppressive nature of Islam, re: ‘conversions’ and in its relationship not only between men and women, but with other religions, and not only Judaism and Christianity. Islam seeks ‘disorder’, if we may call war disorder, and sees its adherents, or at least those with a special ‘internal’ knowledge to be the ‘elect,’ or the ‘selected.’
        Chris, the problem I see in this discussion is the failure on the part of some to understand the ‘moral and religious evil’ of Islam and, as Voegelin said, if one is not morally competent to challenge this ‘force’ than we’ll see repeated the phenomenon of the disorder, suffering, and wars of the recent ideological century. And, here I’d note that the vast majority of wars currently being fought is between Islam and some other party.
        I’m reading Edith Stein’s ‘Finite and Eternal Being,’ David Walsh’s ‘The Modern Philosophical Revolution,’ as well as Dean Koontz’s latest, and “Dupes” from ISI for review, and I’m behind on these.
        BTW, it’s ‘Voegelin’! But, I shouldn’t criticize other people’s spelling.Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. says:

          @Robert Cheeks, Bob, I’ve read the Quran a few times now and, to be honest, I certainly had problems with it. And, you know, it has been a good while since I did read it and my memory sucks. But, for the life of me, I don’t know what you’re referring to about Islam having an ‘elect’ via ‘internal’ knowledge. Also, what are you referring to about ‘conversions’ and violence? You use these quotes, but what passages are you quoting and what exactly do they say?Report

      • Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

        @Chris, Today while I was dealing with Chris’s question I came across a reference to an internal elect who were able to decipher the really, really gnostic stuff in Islamic theology. I can’t find exactly where that was however here’s a really good one that references a certain gnostic direction in Islam:

        I’m quoting stuff because Chris caught me missing a Voegelinian attribution and he was correct. Re: violence and conversion, I’m referring to the offer of either joining Islam or being put to death, an offer made to the infidel captive during war. Also, he could have been forced to pay the dhimmini tax, if I spelled that correctly?
        My argument is that Islam is not a ‘religion of peace’ in fact it’s the opposite because of the tenet that calls for the World Caliphate. My argument is that we are at war with Islam and should act accordingly. Does that hep?Report

  11. Avatar Larry Signor says:

    Juan Williams has taken up too much of our time. He thinks his message is the script and NPR was his personal pulpit. Let fox have him, he blends in well with their invective.Report