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Casus Contendentes (Now With Update)

Burt Likko wonders whether, despite the unmitigated human rights awfulness that is the nascent would-be state forming in northern Iraq, swallowing our idealism and adopting a strategy of economic containment wouldn’t be a more practical alternative to making war against ISIS.

UPDATE: Reaction to President Obama’s address of September 10.

FNC: Where a Muslim is Just a Muslim

Reza Aslan, author of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus Christ, pushes back against FNC’s Lauren Green’s assertions that it was somehow inappropriate for a Muslim to write a book about the founder of Christianity.  Nevermind that Aslan has a PhD (among other degrees) in religion, a point he makes several times throughout the…

Nothing Brings out the Worst in Andrew Sullivan like Islamic Terrorism

The Dish, an invaluable aggregator of news, opinions, and general interest minutia, to which I am a subscriber, has been more blindly emotional and demagogic than usual in recent days. The Tsarnaevs’ bombing of the Boston Marathon last week, and the ensuing manhunt, set Twitter and the national news media into a frenzy. I, like many…

Due credit to Dearborn Muslims for sending the right message on Terry Jones

Pointing out the recent stories concerning Terry Jones’s plans to protest outside Dearborn, Michigan’s largest mosque—and noting that a local CAIR leader, Dawud Walid, among others, rightly and admirably criticized the legal attempts to shut down Jones’s speech—commenter BSK invites me to defend my argument that American Muslims have a “messaging” problem.  As readers will…

Fear and Failures of Interpretation

By Kyle Cupp In his post on Islamic terminology, Ned Resnikoff observed: Whereas Talmudic scholars disagree with one another of the interpretation of their holy text, there’s vast disagreement within Islam about what constitutes the text itself. There’s a reason why you’ll never find a single volume or collection of volumes everyone can agree makes…

Anti-Muslim Bigotry & Double Standards

Except that I do not think the Juan Williams Incident qualifies as outright bigotry, I do agree with Greenwald on this point: The double standard in our political discourse — which tolerates and even encourages anti-Muslim bigotry while stigmatizing other forms — has been as beneficial as it has been glaring.  NPR’s firing of Juan…

Managed Ignorance Watch, Continued

The Washington Post this morning notes that increasing numbers of Americans incorrectly believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim: The number of Americans who believe — wrongly — that President Obama is a Muslim has increased significantly since his inauguration and now account for nearly 20 percent of the nation’s population… More than a third…

The More Important Question is Why

A few weeks back, Rufus asked whether there had been a recent uptick in people protesting against the construction of mosques and Islamic religious institutions.  As the recent NY Times piece (with which I assume all are familiar) demonstrated, the answer to this question is, sadly, an unequivocal “yes.”  Although little of this uptick has involved…

Pornography & Liberty

After several detours of bad logic around the most unmissable facts, Bret Stephens reaches this conclusion: If America wants to tilt the balance of Muslim sentiment in its favor, it needs to stand up for its principles, its liberties and its friends—Israel, Playboy and Lady Gaga included. Well, if Bret thinks his comfort with pornography…

Speaking of dirty hands

Stephen Walt tallies the human cost of US interventionism in the Middle East. Some people will inevitably misinterpret this as a strained argument for moral equivalence, but read the whole, caveat-laden post before you pass judgment. I think Walt is pretty clear that pointing out negative Muslim perceptions of American foreign policy is not the…

Modernity, Christianity and Islam

I linked to this earlier, but amateur history buffs will find Cato Unbound’s discussion on the origins of modernity pretty fascinating. The central point of contention is the so-called “first cause” of modernity – did the West develop because of spontaneous social change, secularism, the rise of “engineering culture,” or competition between European states? I’m…

Protecting American values from extremists

I agree with conservatives like David Horowitz and John Hinderacker; in light of the shooting at Ft. Hood, we need to reassert and protect our values.  The question of course, is the who we’re protecting our values from.  Hint: it’s not Muslims.  But first, a few quick points about Muslim-American attitudes: 1. Muslim-American are overwhelmingly happy with their place…

Douthat calls for open religious warfare; thousands perish in ensuing Crusade

I am, frankly, taken aback by some of the reactions to Ross Douthat’s latest column, which makes the commonsensical observation that wavering Anglicans may find the Pope’s combative approach to Islam more attractive than their own church’s more conciliatory policy. Adam Serwer, for example, uses the column as a jumping off point for blaming Christians…