Sunday, September 16, 2012

if there’s one thing I can’t stand…

…it’s intolerance.

Okay, I confess that there are many one things I can't stand, but for today intolerance is the one. 

Some of you may be familiar with this face. He’s a hateful twat named Abdul Nacer Benbrika. Currently he’s in jail. As Imam of one mosque in suburban Melbourne, he has discredited our Muslim community by preaching a warped form of jihad – and especially by insulting Australia[ns]. Not nice, mate.


How do fundamentalists and extremists recruit followers for their disgusting causes?

It starts with a gap between rich and poor; with unemployment; with minimal education options; with rapid technological change [or structural adjustment] and with national debt.

Hateful people, if persistent enough, can identify of a group to be scape-goats. This is also sometimes called racism. 
Would-be leaders can easily use the right combination of social conditions to feed their own megalomania, uniting people who feel alienated from society by making them feel special, and providing an outlet for frustration or despair.

No one can live very comfortably for very long with feelings of powerlessness. If reason or a sense of responsibility cannot eliminate feelings of powerlessness, faith in a god becomes a necessary source of solace. Leaders can tap into this faith to lend authority to their proposed solutions.

No, I’m not describing Australia – some of the conditions that helped Hitler to power are still missing. Dare I say, ‘thank god’? 
And despite Australia’s slide into some of these preconditions, the haters in this country are not being alienated by others or by ‘the system’ – they are a minority, and they are alienating themselves.


Yesterday’s Age provided some good news.

“Convicted terrorists are receiving intensive religious and welfare counselling in jails around the state in a program aimed at … prisoners with extremist Islamist views.

This is good news, because religion cannot, on its own, become an excuse for evil nor even encourage it.


After the disgraceful violence at an Islamic protest in Sydney’s Martin Place yesterday, it would be easy to become focused on Islam as a problem. This would be wrong.

Much as the exploitation of children at protests makes me feel quite ill Muslims do not have a monopoly on this unforgivable shit. Nor do they have superior ways of expressing hate. Extremist Muslims are simply more transparent, or less deluded about the fact they hate.

This clip is almost as good as any AFL grand final - Islamic protesters v Atheists at a Melbourne convention this year.

If it’s shocking to see placards calling for the beheading of those who insult Islam, or hear threats of hell, how about these Christians at the same convention?
If all this crap is as tedious for you as it is for me, you could get straight to the nitty gritty on this at 1 minute 08 seconds.

Well, it’s probably just sour grapes because they didn’t make the semi-finals, but for some reason their exhaustive list of people who will burn in hell somehow seems less threatening.

BTW, this tape suggests god hath no fury like a reformed sinner, don’cha think? 
[In this case a cured homosexual.]


[There are two other clips about Global Atheist Conventions on YouTube if you are interested. One shows two blokes pashing for the benefit of the religiously fervent, and the other is one of those “Hitler” clips to which I must confess I am addicted.]


Dumb, Drunk and Racist was a warts-and-all show. You’ll see most of the warts if you just look at this clip between about 5:30 and 7:00. It’s footage of a demonstration by the Australian Protection Party outside the Villawood detention centre.


I’m really quite hopeful the prison program being run by Sheikh Abdinur Weli from the Melbourne City Mosque can make a difference. By sharing a more decent and more representative version of Islam and combining this with a little social work, maybe they can help prisoners find a better way to replace their sense of alienation with a sense of belonging.

The general understanding of ‘jihad’ is the struggle to live a good and ethical life according to the teachings of Islam. The word ‘Islam’ is derived from the word salam, which means peace.

Sheikh Abdinur Weli

It would be nice if some of the Christians over-compensating for their own sense of alienation would turn to a more representative version of their own creed, as well.

Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.

Matthew 25:40


  1. It never ceases to astound me how much violence including wars have been due to the intolerance of so called religious people. Often those flaunting their religion are more likely to be the warmongers.

    1. 110% right, Diane- "so called" religious people.

  2. I think extremist Christians can be very offensive and ridiculous. But from what I know (and I may be missing information) I don't think their behavior is very similar to what's going on with the current Muslim anti-American protests.

    Or at least their intent is different.

    Muslim Message: You insulted our imaginary friend. We're going to get you for this. We'll make you sorry.

    Christian Message: You don't believe in our imaginary friend (Or you're gay). He hates you and he's going to smite you. We're going to try to bring you to our team. But if we fail, we can't help but enjoy imagining you burning in hell.

    One thing I'm curious about is the comparison between Muslim reaction to an offensive film; and the Jewish/Christian/other reaction to religious offenses.

    Was anyone killed during protests for the Last Temptation of Christ?

    The Jews were pissed off a few years ago about a Mel Gibson film? Were people killed in protests?

    How about that singer ripping up the picture of the Pope on live TV? Did her action cause any deaths?

    I don't know the answers to those yet.

    I saw comments yesterday blaming the filmmaker for the deaths and violence...instead of the protesters.

    If a Jew killed someone after hearing about the Mel Gibson film, would Mel Gibson be seen as the one with blood on his hands?

    1. Dina, your two examples clarify the difference between extremist muslims and wacko Christians really well - in a post-Inquisition era. Blowing up abortion clinics is pretty extreme, but nowhere near as common or scary as muslim extremism.

      Muslim extremism is overtly murderous, while the other mob can be pretty harmful in the most ‘innocent’ way. e.g. being kind enough to tell teenage kids they are defective for having homosexual feelings [or even sexual feelings at all for that matter].

      As I struggle to compose the next sentence I realise the words muslim, extremism and terrorism are pretty well linked together in people’s minds.
      Extremist hate is almost certainly aimed at any or every body, while Christian terrorism is usually quite specifically targeted.
      Of course we are going to fear that which we cannot predict or protect ourselves against.

      Is the Muslim reaction to this film clip [a barking dog in a forest if ever there was one] a more extreme reaction than say, a Christian or Jewish reaction would be to something similar? I might be tempted to say the Muslim reaction is not a reaction but an opportunity.

      Yes - In 1992 Sinead O’Connor ripped up a picture of the pope on SNL while singing about child abuse. This might or might not have caused a reaction, but it was in itself a reaction to some pretty horrific crimes committed by so called Christians – crimes the catholic church is still trying to ignore. She had, apparently, spent some time in a Magdalene Asylum, so I can’t say I blame her.

  3. Ah...just looked it up. The Last Temptation of Christ protests DID causes injuries.

    Now I'll look up the Jewish protests......

    1. Oh, the Last Temptation of Christ did not provoke me to violence, it provoked the question of why I was trying to watch something so tedious.

      It caused injuries? What, someone who fell asleep rolled from the couch onto a hard floor?

  4. Oh gawd! I don't know how you have the patience to write about this stuff. I can't even begin to watch the videos.
    Personally, I think there is no difference in any of the religions. They all are for the masses and are methods of controlling people and causing them to do things they might never ordinarily. Muslim, Jew, Christian - all have violent people and people who make war by using the uneducated and poor to do their bidding.

    1. No patience required in venting, just in trying to censor myself.
      You are right about religion as a form of social control, and the circumstances of those most likely to be controlled.
      My problem is that I don't "get" hate. I can behave badly sometimes when my buttons are pushed, but I can't imagine ever having the venom that woman displayed outside villawood in the clip above, just because I disagree with someone.

      I'm sure it will all eventually get to me and I'll cut myself off from all this again.

  5. They all are for the masses and are methods of controlling people and causing them to do things they might never ordinarily, is an accurate description of the advertising industry, insidious and all around you.

    1. He he.
      The list of insidious control methods is a big one.

  6. Rubye Jack said it for me (thanks RJ).
    I don't understand WHY 'our' Immigration doesn't deport that guy. His application to be in Australia must surely have some lie on it, and they certainly deport people who are less harmful.


    1. Ann, for nearly a week I thought I must have accidentally deleted your comment instead of publishing it. [Just resistant to change cos this new blogger interface thingy and everything else confuses me].

      So what I did was apologise for deleting and then respond on a completely different post. Yes, you can trust anything I say because I know my own mind... just can't work out where I left it.

      How are 'they' getting through the system? Once here why are we supporting them/ giving them citizenship? Give 'em a parachute and drop them over a Taliban zone somewhere. Maybe this would solve two problems at once, if they land on somebody's head.
      If they were born here, lock the mongrels up. Without any of the excessive luxuries already given to mongrels like Julian Knight etc.