February 19, 2009

Santorum: Clueless on Islam


Rick Santorum, former US Senator from the state of Pennsylvania, spoke recently at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and showed us all why he's no longer an elected official. Can you count the number of errors he made? ;) The last line is especially stupid.

Santorum also gave the audience a lecture on Islam. When he asked the audience who knew the difference between the Sunnis and the Shi’ites, three audience members raised their hands. Santorum said this proved his point – America has been at war with Islam for seven years and doesn’t know the two branches.

Santorum said he supported the war when it was unpopular because he thinks not fighting could destroy western civilization. He said he believes that Muslims are America’s enemy because they read their religion literally and apply it to real life, instead of in historical context.

The lecture continued when Santorum pointed out what he thought were the main differences between Christians and Muslims. Santorum said Christians, who believe in Jesus Christ, never governed or conquered anyone, but Mohammed was a warrior and killed people.

Santorum said he believes Muslims’ religious views cannot be changed or altered, so Middle Easterners reject American, democratic ideals.

“A democracy could not exist because Mohammed already made the perfect law,” Santorum said. “The Quran is perfect just the way it is, that’s why it is only written in Islamic.”

HT: Think Progress

16 comments:

George Carty said...

Am I a coward because my gut reaction to extreme Islamophobic rhetoric is "better dhimmi than génocidaire"?

(By that I mean that I don't think even Western civilization itself is worth killing a fifth of the world's population for...)

secratea said...

“The Quran is perfect just the way it is, that’s why it is only written in Islamic.”...LOOOOOOL
after all, we do also speak Islamic, how are we supposed to understand Americans like him who speak, *cough,* Christian--ic? hehehe

see this blog entry i wrote a while back about how people judge my identity as a Muslim.

http://bonbonloverr.blogspot.com/2007/12/100-islamic-i-mean-muslim.html

JDsg said...

George: I suspect some people might say that of you, although I wouldn't. I would think your position more moral and ethical. What I would really wonder about you would be, if push came to shove, would you go all the way to becoming a Muslim or not?

George Carty said...

Actually my initial comment referred only to the final backstop - I think it's exceedingly unlikely (or to use the soc.history.what-if lingo: "ASB territory") that Muslims will conquer the West militarily or demographically.

If Europe is Islamized in the future it will have to involve the indigenous population (perhaps if the hardcore secularists overreach in catastrophic fashion...)

As for conversion to Islam, there's no chance of that for as long as I'm living with my parents. (Yvonne Ridley once said that many parents would rather their children became prostitutes or druggies, rather than Muslims). Once I get my own place, maybe 10%...

Anonymous said...

LOL what an idiot

Gerard Harbison said...

Of course, you do realize your entire post depends on the accuracy of a paraphrase by a student reporter at a college newspaper, one who I can tell you from personal experience very often gets her facts wrong?

Gerard Harbison
Professor of Chemistry
University of Nebraska

JDsg said...

@ Dr. Harbison:

I did see some comments on the student newspaper's website (where the excerpt was obtained) that suggested as much. However, without any other news articles to corroborate your position and the fact that Santorum has recently whined about Islam in The Philadelphia Inquirer suggests to me that the reporter's article probably wasn't too much off the mark.

He does remain, IMO, clueless about Islam.

George Carty said...

What do make of the argument from the Think Progress thread that the language of Classical Arabic could indeed be called "Islamic" because it is the language of Islam, and is now no longer used for any secular purpose?

Oh, and back to my initial comment, is there any good reason for a non-Muslim to oppose Islamophobia, that doesn't sound as cowardly as "better dhimmi than génocidaire" may sound to some ears?

JDsg said...

What do make of the argument from the Think Progress thread that the language of Classical Arabic could indeed be called "Islamic" because it is the language of Islam, and is now no longer used for any secular purpose?

You mean dcrover's ridiculous assertions? When you're able to convince me that the language Beowolf, The Canterbury Tales, and Romeo & Juliet were all written in shouldn't be considered part of the English language, no matter how old the writings are or the forms in which they're written in (compared to today's forms), then maybe I might (very briefly) consider Classical Arabic not to be part of the Arabic language.


Oh, and back to my initial comment, is there any good reason for a non-Muslim to oppose Islamophobia, that doesn't sound as cowardly as "better dhimmi than génocidaire" may sound to some ears?

You mean, some reason like being open-minded, or tolerant, or accepting of people who are different from themself? (Gasp, shock, horror!) George, the real cowards are the Islamophobes. Their whole schtick is based on fear and hate while using props to "legitimize" themselves. As Sinclair Lewis said, "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." It's like the clowns in the BNP who dress up in the Crusaders' tunics. St. George off to slay his dragon of Islam. @_@ As I have reminded many Islamophobes over the years, to quote from one of my favorite movies, Strictly Ballroom, "A life lived in fear is a life half-lived."

Kay said...

"Santorum said Christians, who believe in Jesus Christ, never governed or conquered anyone, but Mohammed was a warrior and killed people."

Hmmmm didn't Americans (Christians) basically destroy the Native American civilization leaving them now with little plots of land and casinos??? Trail of Tears anyone? The Christians trying to convert the so-called "backward" Indians...

JDsg said...

@ Kay: The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion, but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do. - Samuel P. Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order," p.51

Ronin said...

another mistake i'd like to point out also is that they tend to be misguided to believe that "jihad" means "crusade". eg: violent jihad

and then they also tend to be misguided to believe that "Allahu Akhbar" is a battle cry that seems to mean something like, "death to all non-Muslims!".

both are of course wrong.

they simply mean "struggle" and "God is great" respectively with no overly dramatic meaning.

DrMaxtor said...

Santorum was profiled in my Shabbod Goy Awareness Week

http://drmaxtor.blogspot.com/2007/10/shabbos-goy-awareness-week-day-3.html

He's also a member of the radical Knights of Malta. A real loony this one.

George Carty said...

When you're able to convince me that the language Beowolf, The Canterbury Tales, and Romeo & Juliet were all written in shouldn't be considered part of the English language, no matter how old the writings are or the forms in which they're written in (compared to today's forms), then maybe I might (very briefly) consider Classical Arabic not to be part of the Arabic language.

The Old English of Beowulf and modern English are at least as far apart as Latin and modern Italian, which are universally considered to be separate languages. I wonder if the reason why Old English isn't considered a separate language is because Anglo-Saxon England was a two-bit kingdom with little influence on the world (unlike the Roman Republic and Empire).

Bringing Arabic into the fray, we note that the early Caliphate was far more influential than the modern Arab world (which would be an argument in favour of classifying Classical Arabic as a separate language), but I don't believe that Classical and Modern Arabic are as radically different as Latin and Italian -- for one thing, Italian along with all the other Romance languages completely ditched the Latin declension system and the neuter gender, and adopted a completely new construction for the future tense.

You mean, some reason like being open-minded, or tolerant, or accepting of people who are different from themself? (Gasp, shock, horror!)
Isn't it unacceptable to tolerate intolerance though? (Clue - I'm thinking of the pure Islamophobes, not the racists who found it profitable to hide behind Islamophobia, because of the Nazi Holocaust and its Zionization.)

Isn't the main argument in favour of cultural diversity the fact that it make problems easier to solve because they can be approached from a greater number of world views, while the main argument against it is that it renders a state vulnerable to divide-and-conquer tactics in a war?

As Sinclair Lewis said, "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross."

Well fascism of any kind wraps itself in the flag by definition. Fascism is after all "palingenetic ultranationalist populism". Is Christianity a bigger part of the US national identity, compared to European countries? Italian and German fascisms were secular, while Franco, Pavelic and later Milosevic appealed strongly to Christianity.

On your Samuel Huntingdon quote, may this not make Westerners more ruthless, out of fear that the West would otherwise be subjected to the merciless vengeance of victorious non-Westerners? (Much like all those German women in 1945, raped to death by vengeful Soviet soldiers.)

JDsg said...

George: Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner.

...I don't believe that Classical and Modern Arabic are as radically different as Latin and Italian...

Although my knowledge of both classical and modern standard Arabic is minuscule, I would tend to agree. From what I've studied of both languages, there are still significant similarities between the two varieties. In fact, in my few classes studying MSA, the knowledge I gained there has helped me to understand (much) better the Qur'an's classical Arabic. A fair amount of the vocabulary and grammar are the same. This is why I wouldn't classify classical Arabic as a separate language.


Isn't it unacceptable to tolerate intolerance though?

I think that depends upon your point of view regarding free speech. If you take the traditional view that most people argue, then the answer is that it's acceptable; think the Danish Cartoons. I've been arguing for several years now that people shouldn't tolerate intolerance.


I'm thinking of the pure Islamophobes, not the racists who found it profitable to hide behind Islamophobia...

Is there a difference? ;) (Rhetorical. I know we've discussed this topic before.) Just out of curiosity, using Umar Lee's classification of Islamophobes, which category would you describe as being "pure" Islamophobes?


Isn't the main argument in favour of cultural diversity the fact that it make problems easier to solve because they can be approached from a greater number of world views, while the main argument against it is that it renders a state vulnerable to divide-and-conquer tactics in a war?

Years ago, I read that one of the major benefits of cultural diversity was that it allowed cross-cultural/ethnic communication within a community during a time of crisis. That this type of dialog helped to lower tensions as people (especially community leaders) could discuss matters more easily. I wouldn't necessarily say that it increased the number of world views, although that can certainly happen. But consider the Muslim community in post-9/11 America. The number of Muslims non-Muslims know, even on a casual basis, is incredibly low; the number of Muslims non-Muslims know well would be even smaller. Not because of Muslim insularity but because the number of Muslims in America are so, so tiny. As opposed to, say, the Muslim community in S'pore, which is about 15% of the population, where most non-Muslims know and work with Muslims. They may not understand us and our customs perfectly, but they have a much better understanding about Muslims, Muslim culture and Muslim psychology than the typical American would. That, to me, is one of the strongest points about multi-cultural societies.

As for state vulnerability, I don't know; can you provide an example? For me, the problem is that in a war where one or more of the states involved is multi-cultural, what does one do if there's a minority population within country A that's of the same group as Country B's population? Intern them (e.g., the Japanese in the US during WW2)? Works only if the minority population is small enough. What would the S'pore gov't do if they began fighting a Muslim state? I would think that 15% is too large a population to intern (especially as there's not enough land here to build internment camps). The other option that's used is genocide, which brings about its own can of worms for the oppressors.


Is Christianity a bigger part of the US national identity, compared to European countries?

Oh, absolutely. Try reading Kevin Phillips' American Theocracy for a study of how the Republicans co-opted Southern Protestantism (especially in the form of the Southern Baptist Church) as a cornerstone for their electoral success from the 60s onwards.


...may this not make Westerners more ruthless, out of fear that the West would otherwise be subjected to the merciless vengeance of victorious non-Westerners? (Much like all those German women in 1945, raped to death by vengeful Soviet soldiers.)

On a popular level? I don't think so. Your WW2 example only happened because it was a wartime scenario with nation-states initiating and controlling the macro conduct of the soldiers. In peacetime, there are instances of discrimination and violence against non-Westerners, but these matters are handled by the police and most everyone knows and fears the consequences of such actions (prison time).

Part of Huntington's thesis was also that there has been a steady erosion of Western influence and power over the past 100 years, especially as the Western colonies, especially those in Africa and Asia, gained their independence. For the most part, the "merciless vengeance of victorious non-Westerners" never materialized. For example, consider the case of the minority white population in post-apartheid South Africa after 1994. How much "persecution" did they suffer? (Zimbabwe would make for a better example; YMMV.)

George Carty said...

Although my knowledge of both classical and modern standard Arabic is minuscule, I would tend to agree. From what I've studied of both languages, there are still significant similarities between the two varieties.

Classical Latin vs. Italian would be more like Classical Arabic vs. (say) Hijazi Arabic. MSA would be analogous to Medieval Latin in this analogy.

If you take the traditional view that most people argue, then the answer is that it's acceptable; think the Danish Cartoons. I've been arguing for several years now that people shouldn't tolerate intolerance.

I was thinking from an Islamophobe's POV - he/she may well regard toleration of Islam as tantamount to toleration of intolerance.

Just out of curiosity, using Umar Lee's classification of Islamophobes, which category would you describe as being "pure" Islamophobes?

Group 1 (Zionist academics) probably comes closest, but Umar was only writing about American Islamophobes, and I suspect the United States has relatively few "pure" Islamophobes. Pim Fortuyn is the example that usually comes to my mind, and perhaps some of the more radical antitheists. I suspect Steve Packard (from the Depleted Cranium blog) would be in that latter category. He likened Judaism and Buddhism to influenza, Christianity to pneumonia and Islam to ebola!

Oh, and there are very few racial/cultural minorities where I live (north-east England - a former coal-mining area), but at the software company where I work, one of my close colleagues is a Malaysian Hindu. As for Muslims, there's one in the office (but not in my close group, and he's currently away in Pakistan getting married).

For the most part, the "merciless vengeance of victorious non-Westerners" never materialized. For example, consider the case of the minority white population in post-apartheid South Africa after 1994. How much "persecution" did they suffer? (Zimbabwe would make for a better example; YMMV.)

What about the pied-noirs in Algeria? Anyway, none of those were really comparable to Germany 1945 though, as the colonized people did not violently invade the colonizer's homeland.