Hitchens on Islam: “What is needed from the supporters of this very confident faith is more self-criticism and less self-pity and self-righteousness”

In complaining that Muslims in the U.S. are simply facing a new outcropping of the xenophobic prejudice of the nineteenth century, Abdullah Antepli makes a point that Nicholas Kristof and others have recently made. It must have come from some CAIR talking points or some similarly limpid source. “Free Exercise of Religion? No, Thanks.The taming and domestication of religious faith is one of the unceasing chores of civilization,” by Christopher Hitchens in Slate, September 6 (thanks to Hugo):

Now to Islam. It is, first, a religion that makes very large claims for itself, purporting to be the last and final word of God and expressing an ambition to become the world’s only religion. Some of its adherents follow or advocate the practice of plural marriage, forced marriage, female circumcision, compulsory veiling of women, and censorship of non-Muslim magazines and media. Islam’s teachings generally exhibit suspicion of the very idea of church-state separation. Other teachings, depending on context, can be held to exhibit a very strong dislike of other religions, as well as of heretical forms of Islam. Muslims in America, including members of the armed forces, have already been found willing to respond to orders issued by foreign terrorist organizations. Most disturbingly, no authority within the faith appears to have the power to rule decisively that such practices, or such teachings, or such actions, are definitely and utterly in conflict with the precepts of the religion itself.

Reactions from even “moderate” Muslims to criticism are not uniformly reassuring. “Some of what people are saying in this mosque controversy is very similar to what German media was saying about Jews in the 1920s and 1930s,” Imam Abdullah Antepli, Muslim chaplain at Duke University, told the New York Times. Yes, we all recall the Jewish suicide bombers of that period, as we recall the Jewish yells for holy war, the Jewish demands for the veiling of women and the stoning of homosexuals, and the Jewish burning of newspapers that published cartoons they did not like. What is needed from the supporters of this very confident faith is more self-criticism and less self-pity and self-righteousness.

Hamas-linked ISNA holding "interfaith" meeting to complain of "intolerance" over Islamic supremacist Ground Zero mega-mosque
ABC News, Hamas-linked CAIR whipping up hysteria over "Islamophobia"
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Comments

  1. says

    Not going to happen any time soon. Any criticism and you are put to death. By now most should know of Mohammedan rage when it comes to criticizing Islam. From within the Ummah criticism of Islam is very unlikely.

  2. says

    My My, it seems that the unrelenting assaults of Islamists have finally gotten through the Leftist filter on Hitchens’ political brain.
    Very articulate man, very intelligent, but not immune to group-think; it is nice to see him waking up! The anti-Totalitarian forces need all the persuasive and intelligent voices they can get; too many well meaning partisans who offend the undecided more than they convince them.
    http://hereticscrusade.com

  3. says

    “Very confident faith”?

    How confident can it be when outraged muslims threaten indiscriminate violent over a little church halfway across the world burning a quran?

    How confident is a faith that kills innocent people over cartoons?

    While I agree with Hitchens here, I would have to object to that one description. A ‘very confident faith’ does not have to defend its “sensibilities” with intimidation & wanton violence.

    As for self-criticism, Hitchens is definitely correct. However, when you consider muhammad is islam’s ‘perfect man’ and his conduct is the example for muslims to follow, and when you read the hadiths and see that muhammad himself was never self-critical and that he even reacted violently to others who critcized him, it isn’t difficult to understand why muslims will never show ‘more self-criticism and less self-pity and self-righteousness’.

  4. says

    Funny that, I do remember Jewish terrorism prior to the creation of the state of Israel seen by many Zionists as a legitimate means of struggle. Certainly a no to suicide bombers and stoning but their desire to establish a Jewish state was rooted both in emerging nationalism and also in their religion which features a Great Realtor in the Sky. To achieve this, they engaged in kidnappings, bombings and assassinations of key political leaders both in the Levant and abroad. Today, we are told that the organizations that engaged in these campaigns were freedom fighters.

    Sure, there’s a problem with Islam in the world today. Does this mean that the other two Abrahamic faiths have been astonishingly inoculated against violence? HA! Dream on! The other two faiths are only placed in check by secularism which they have often railed AGAINST, this is all in spite of their teachings and not because of them. It’s a cute fantasy that you believe that your “indigenous” religion is somehow remarkably different.

  5. says

    As Bill Warner of the Center for the Study of Political Islam wrote recently, Western civilization rests on two ethical pillars: The Golden Rule and Self-Criticism (often not followed). These ideals do not characterize Islam, which lacks a dignified concept of humankind, in contrast to the Torah, which states that man was created in G-d’s image (1:27). In contrast, Islam calls unbelievers “the vilest of created beings” (98:6). It considers its doctrine to be divinely perfected and above criticism.
    Islam institutionalizes discrimination against unbelievers and sanctifies violence against them if they don’t submit as dhimmis or convert (9:29) (ie Koran, Tribute or Sword). It only endorses humility before Allah and Allah’s ruler (ex. the Caliph). Any criticism of Islam, especially from unbelievers, is considered blasphemy and is a capital crime.
    Islam is about domination and control, not equality or humility.
    Modern research shows that Islam was developed to justify and regulate the Arab conquests. It is totally unsuitable for the modern world.

  6. says

    more self-criticism and less self-pity and self-righteousness

    ha ha, guess who’ll be offended by that conclusion? I suspect they have no idea whatsoever what he is talking about beyond the mere meaning of the words. And that is what is worrying: that the truth of Islam is absolute.

  7. says

    “What is needed from the supporters of this very confident faith is more self-criticism and less self-pity and self-righteousness”

    All the confidence of a drunk with a gun in his hand…

    “Most disturbingly, no authority within the faith appears to have the power to rule decisively that such practices, or such teachings, or such actions, are definitely and utterly in conflict with the precepts of the religion itself.”

    The sheriff is out of town and no one knows when he’ll be back…we might have to take care of this ourselves.

  8. says

    “Yes, we all recall the Jewish suicide bombers of that period, as we recall the Jewish yells for holy war, the Jewish demands for the veiling of women and the stoning of homosexuals, and the Jewish burning of newspapers that published cartoons they did not like.

    God bless your little sarcastic heart Hitchens!! I concur.

    OHHHHHHHHH Yes, the German populace was absolutely TERRIFIED of all the JEWISH YIDDISH SUICIDE BOMBERS AND THE YIDDISH YIHADISTS!! Oh, the humanity… pretzel shoppes, knautwurst carts, beer and kraut stands … all blown to smitherins with porty Germans flying through the air…OH YES… it was so terrifying that it was no wonder that the Germans HAD to COME TO A FINAL SOLUTION to handle its YIDDISH YIHADISTS!!

    YUMPING YIDHADISTS… they all had to go.

    And today some Iranisn cleric says the Holocaust is a MYTH! Did he NOT know of the Jewish YIDDIST YIHADISTS? What a maroon!

  9. says

    This is the Hitchins I like.

    In the full article he makes some points about sensible restrictions on freedom of religion that I think most here would agree with. They involve the same kinds of restrictions that are called for on almost a daily basis on these pages with regard to Islam.

    Hitchins ends his article with:

    “The only question, then, is what kind, or rather kinds, of Islam it [Islam in America] will follow. There’s an excellent chance of a healthy pluralist outcome, but it’s very unlikely that this can happen unless, as with their predecessors on these shores, Muslims are compelled to abandon certain presumptions that are exclusive to themselves. The taming and domestication of religion is one of the unceasing chores of civilization. Those who pretend that we can skip this stage in the present case are deluding themselves and asking for trouble not just in the future but in the immediate present.”

    So, Hitchins now realizes that Muslims have some fundamental adjustments to make if they are going to play nice with everyone else in the modern world. Although it would have been good if he had arrived at this conclusion earlier, it’s nice to have him aboard now.

    It would be nicer still if he would now follow up this diagnosis with a prognosis about how successful such measures are likely to be. Many on this site will bet heavily that no amount of twiddling with Islam will suffice to make it able to coreside with modernity. So, along with a prognosis, Hitchins needs to present a backup Plan B if his Plan A doesn’t work.

  10. says

    Hitch in a nutshell:

    Islam- Reform or Perish.

    Renaissance or Apocalypse?

    Those who love Freedom will not tolerate Islam’s imperialistic push for a global theocratic tyranny.

    Under secular pressure:

    Christianity reformed.

    Judaism reformed.

    Now Islam must.

    Or it will End.

  11. says

    Confident?? Behind all the bombastic bullying and bravado, they obviously have doubts that they’ve backed the wrong horse. Daisy Khan let it slip when she said “you cannot remove 1400 years of evolution of a faith and just call it a bad religion.” http://www.jihadwatch.org/2010/08/dialogue-daisy-khan-islamic-supremacist-mega-mosque-imams-wife-lies-about-and-defames-ex-muslim-hero.html

    Well yes you can, but the implications for Muslims are appalling. The present backwardness of the formerly advanced civilisations of North Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East, and the miserable state of millions of five-times-a-day headbangers, has been due to following a cultural and intellectual dead end. Millions of people have wasted thousands of years of human existence in response to a con-trick.

    Islam has been a disaster for its adherents and their ancestors, as well as the kuffars.

  12. says

    Isn’t this the same leftwing Hitchens that slandered Robert Spencer not long ago? Now it sounds like he’s been sneeking peeks at Jihad Watch and memorizing your lines, Mr Spencer. I suppose he still thinks himself avant gard in his realism about Islam, almost as much as Hillary Clinton and Tony Blair, to name two other come-latelies warning about the existential threat of Islam.

  13. says

    The Hitch’s point is well taken that the ignorant need to lose this stupid idea that there must be free exercise of religion: his examples show that, thankfully, the legislatures of this land have not allow that abomination to happen and it must not be allowed of Islam. Start with banning the veil, loudspeakers from minarets, and resolving never to have anything like Sharia courts anywhere in the USA.

    Personally, I’d like to see the banning of halal slaughter of animals as a stupid cruelty – to hell with the stupid religious traditions that call for it.

    But I wish Hitchens would have avoided the insipid euphemism “female circumcision” – it is female genital mutilation, not circumcision! The euphemism is for spineless wimps and not in character with Hitchens.

  14. says

    This article is astonishing. Mr Hitchens is well read man and thus it is incredible that he does not understand what Islam is.

    The purported birthday of Islam (actually year) is 623AD. Now what is the relevance of that you ask when it is claimed by Islamic scholars that Mohammed started preaching in 610AD. Why do ISlamic scholars not consider 610AD to be the start of Islmaic age?

    Allow me the hubris of answering this myself. Simply put Islam is not a religion thus preaching, praying and a whole lot of religious activity’s from 610AD to 623AD have no sanctity in Islam as that period was purely religious.

    It was only when Mohammed became the ruler of Yathrib (islamic curse on this town thereafter named it Medina). As soon as real Islam (that is a Political party) took ower muslims promptly declared it the start of Islamic age (also borne out by the islamic concept of naskh wa al mansukh – that is abrogation and the abrogators. Offcourse almost all abrogations are of the hallucinations of MOhammed between 610 -613 AD in other words the Meccan Surahs).

    To call this politcal party a religion is an insult to all religions and scholars should stop this erroneous habit.

    This also points out the obvious merits (from Islamic party point of view) of constructing a victory mosque in New York. As is clear from the above building mosques matters little to Islam until or unless political authority can be established and non muslim humiliated.

    So Victory Mosque is exactly that a celebration of the victory of Political Islam.

  15. says

    If I look at the tenets of Islam wanting to exterminate the non-believers, seeing 1.2 billion people with a frightening tendency to produce suicidal fanatics and an equally frightening incapacity and refusal of the Muslim community for sorrow for the wrongs that are done in the name of their ideology, then for me it is unacceptable to take the leap of faith on behalf of my children and treat the problem as purely one of freedom of religion.

    I see no value in betting my children’s future given the overwhelming evidence of the threat posed. There is no upside to Islam – it is a pure and unadulterated regressive ideology of hatred. And, despite contrived and patronising lectures by the media to the contrary, Islam makes zero positive contributions to our lives.

  16. says

    On reflection, I think that confidence is something of a euphemism for an arrogant thuggish, bullying state of mind and sense of automatic unearned entitlement: http://crombouke.blogspot.com/2010/01/islamic-supremacism-and-muslim-sense-of.html

    However, what is certainly true is that Western ‘intellectuals’, especially academics, have lost all confidence in Enlightenment Values due to the pernicious influence of Marxist-inspired ‘post-modernism’ in academia. http://crombouke.blogspot.com/2010/01/islam-cultural-self-loathing-and.html

    The best way to destroy the Muslims’ confidence/arrogance (as with all pre-rational barbarians) is to subject their beliefs and totems to a constant torrent of ridicule and satire: http://crombouke.blogspot.com/2010/01/ridicule-mockey-and-satire-best-weapons.html

    Meanwhile, we need to instill a renewed sense of pride in Western accomplishments in our own communities.

  17. says

    In 1969 the United States of America landed two astronauts on the Moon.

    Allah was not found to be there, nor in other, subsequent landings was the ‘moon god’ in evidence.

    The Moon was found to be barren, bereft of life, dead, unchanging.

    Making it the perfect symbol for islam.

  18. says

    ….Hitchens is waking up……..? I doubt it.

    Maybe he still can, if he has enough time left. His arrogance should be replaced by some humility and understanding. He is about to meet his Maker….

    There is no arrogance greater than this.

    The only “good” muslim” ISN’T…….

  19. says

    YOU HAVE THE QUOTE ALL WRONG. PLEASE CORRECT THIS!!!!!!!

    In the New York times article Antepli said, “………….in the 1920’s and 30’s. IT’S REALLY SCARY.”

    The comments that followed: YES WE ALL RECALL THE JEWISH SUICIDE BOMBERS OF THAT PERIOD……..
    ARE HITCHENS BEING SARCASTIC. HE WAS SAYING THAT OF COURSE, JEWS DID NOT ADVOCATE SUICIDE BOMBING, COMPULSORY VEILING OF WOMEN, FEMALE CIRCUMCISM, FORCED MARRIAGE, ETC…

    YOU MUST CORRECT THIS MISQUOTE!!!!!!!!!

  20. says

    Hitchens book, “God is Not Great, How Religion Poisons Everything” was an excellent treatise on religion from an atheist perspective. No doubt there are many people of faith that, to put it mildly, disagree with his premise but all but the very few that match his intellect and knowledge of the subject, could reasonably dispute his well reasoned arguments and their historical accuracy. No matter your political or religious stripe, at some point, he will breech your cocoon of comfort but you’ll be hard pressed to completely and decisively refute his arguments.

    In this article he encapsulates his atheist arguments and skewers a lot of those cocoons but most importantly the one about Islam given carte blanche to do whatever the hell they want, whenever, wherever, on the basis of religious freedom. They’ve successfully pushed this ideology worldwide claiming discrimination, oppression and victim status as they infiltrate and make persistent demands for concessions and accommodation to their so called religious belief and customs. It cannot be overemphasized that Islam is a political system controlled by an ancient, unalterable and tyrannical cult called Islam and it’s evil “Prophet” Mohammad.

    This is the foundation of Islam that Muslims will eventually have to deal with if they intend to peacefully coexist with the rest of the modern world because their dream of dominance in the nuclear age will lead to an Armageddon, a war that will annihilate millions and set civilization back centuries all in the name of Allah, their God of death; “how religion poisons everything.” Hitchens has a point don’t you think?

  21. says

    Something from a file I have entitled ‘playing the victim dept’.

    Two excellent pieces from one ‘David Thompson’, writing in 2007.

    Who he is I have no idea, but I think he nails the problem.

    1/ It’s OK to Dislike Islam

    http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2007/03/intimidation_re.html

    2/ ‘The Passive-Aggressive Jihad’

    http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2007/03/the_passiveaggr.html

    Here are the key passages from “It’s OK to Dislike Islam”:

    ‘One of the creeping, unanalysed myths of our time is that it is somehow wrong to dislike Islam, or any part thereof, and wrong to take a dim view of its tenets and demands, and wrong to take a still dimmer view of the figure who founded it.

    ‘ I can practically hear the distant tutting and grunts of disapproval. Poor Islam. Poor Muslims. Their beliefs are being mocked. How hurtful. How ‘racist.’ How terribly unfair.

    ‘No. It’s not unfair at all.

    ‘What’s unfair is a demand for unearned deference and a unilateral exemption from the testing of ideas.

    ‘What’s unfair, indeed despicable, are efforts by Islamic groups to cow dissent and stifle criticism with a well-rehearsed pantomime of victimhood and the projection of false motives.

    ‘Pretending to be hurt in order to assert one’s will over others, even violently, or to gain unreciprocated favours, or to exert control over what others may say and think, is cowardly and malign.

    ‘Let me say that once again. It’s cowardly and malign.”

    And to go with that, on the Muslim pose of victimhood, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, who at the time he made these telling remarks that were reported in the Times Online of 2006, was Bishop of Rochester.

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2006/11/bishop-attacks-victim-muslims.html

    Original link still works as of today (8 September 2010):

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article625711.ece

    Quote:
    Headline – ‘Bishop attacks “victim” Muslims’.

    ‘THE Church of England’s only Asian bishop, whose father converted from Islam, has criticised many Muslims for their “dual psychology”, in which they desire both “victimhood and domination”.

    (note: this first paragraph, which was in the newspaper article when I first read it a couple of years ago, and remains in my copy thereof which I made at the time, seems to have *disappeared* from the story as it now stands: you will not see that all-important first paragraph, in the archived article. Down the memory hole! – dda).

    ‘In the most outspoken critique of Muslims by a church leader, Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, said that because of this view it would never be possible to satisfy all their demands.

    ‘”Their complaint often boils down to the position that it is always right to intervene when Muslims are victims, as in Bosnia or Kosovo, and always wrong when the Muslims are the oppressors or terrorists, as with the Taliban or in Iraq,” said Nazir-Ali.

    “Given the world view that has given rise to such grievances, there can never be sufficient appeasement and new demands will continue to be made.”

  22. says

    That is the part I can’t understand; how the so called Liberals are not seeing, time and again, that there is NO self-criticism from any of the Islamic spokesmen, and lots of blaming. Not what I expect from a “holy” orientation you know?
    Take the Anthrax Scholar from Kuwait; I have a video of him on my site that is being emailed all around the country this week; if a Muslim gets upset at that video he gets upset at me for SHOWING IT, not at the evil little man (Muslim) who is SAYING these hateful things!
    http://hereticscrusade.com

  23. says

    The sad part is that those in the west and other non Muslim countries who criticize or make fun of Islam are equally threatened and silenced. Islam is all inclusive. It applies to non Muslims equally as it does to Muslims. Mohammedans are good at the blame game. Everything is the fault of the non-Muslims.

  24. says

    “Sure, there’s a problem with Islam in the world today. Does this mean that the other two Abrahamic faiths have been astonishingly inoculated against violence? HA! Dream on!”
    ———
    GerbilTea, are you REALLY this obtuse, or is it just a “put on?”

  25. says

    GerbilTea

    Your attempt to project spurious moral equivalence between Israeli and Islamic terrorism will gain little traction here. There was, indeed, Jewish terrorism prior to the creation of the state of Israel. However, it was used as a war fighting tactic in order to achieve a single specific political goal – the establishment of a Jewish home state. No long-term attachment to terrorism exists within the Jewish history or tradition; it was a ‘one-off’ situation and once the political goal had been achieved the bomb attacks and other terror tactics stopped… permanently. In contrast, Islam is impelled by divine command to prosecute eternal warfare against all non-believers in perpetuity and has relentlessly practised terror tactics against its enemies, real and imaginary, for more than a thousand years.

    Nice that you accede there’s a ‘problem with Islam in the world today’. Very coyly put, but easier, I assume, than admitting the truth that Islam appears to be little more than a divinely sanctioned slaughterhouse, with way too high an opinion of itself.
    I can’t speak for Judaism but to say that Christianity is only held in check by secularism shows an imperfect grasp of that faith. Due to the example of Christ’s life and his ultra-pacifist teachings, any warlike actions or violence undertaken by a Christian individual or state are carried out in opposition to the laws of Christianity, not because of them. All Christians know that God’s love is peace, but Christianity also stresses the concept of free-will; that everyone is free to make their own decisions, for good or ill. It’s not Jesus Christ who impels men to war, but the free-will of men themselves.
    However, there are benefits to this way of thinking. In order for free-will to be employed effectively we require unrestricted access to new ideas and the free speech to communicate them openly. Freedom such as this does not exist within Islam and perhaps that’s why there is a ‘problem’ with it.

    This is one of the major differences between Christianity and Islam. It’s also one of the main reasons why Christian Western civilisation is the most successful, advanced and powerful society the world has ever known.

  26. says

    False analogy.

    Why?

    Your analogy is false because the FEW and non-representative-of-the-majority factions of the Zionist movement which engaged in such activities were motivated by secular nationalism and NOT by the dictates of Judaism. Political Zionism was emphatically a secularist movement, not a religious movement. Furthermore, the mainstream of the Zionist movement did not engage in terrorism against civilians, or assassinate political leaders, etc. as you claim.

    Therefore, your comparison is misleading.

  27. says

    You’re a moral idiot. Here’s why: Every people, every religion, every belief system is capable of producing fanatics, but the measure of the ethical worth and efficacy of any belief system is its capacity to rectify its wrongs.

    Islam is at the very bottom of the list of any belief system respecting this capacity (along with facism and Marxism). The better element in Jewish society, American society, almost any society other than Islamic polities and other totalitarian societies, has reigned in its subway adherents. Islam has never done this. And it never will. Here’s why for a second time: It’s rotten to the core and full of hate, just as every totalitarian ideology has been.

    I dare you to refute my comments with cogent reasoning. I say you can’t. Go ahead, prove me wrong. You’re a coward if you don’t at least try and all those who are reading this thread will hopefully treat you as such if you don’t respond. Waiting.

  28. says

    “”more self-criticism and less self-pity and self-righteousness” is not in the Koran.

    That takes care of that.

    Now, lets go back to killing Jooozzzzz…..allahu akbar!

  29. says

    Yea, it’s the same Hitchins. I’m willing to give the guy a break here, because if he continues down this path he could be part of the vanguard of a massive defection from the Left of those whose blinders about Islam have fallen off. Hitchins has a powerful voice and it would be good if he could find a way to become a team player in the service of defending Western Civilization.

  30. says

    Daisy Khan let it slip when she said “you cannot remove 1400 years of evolution of a faith and just call it a bad religion.”

    Haha! What ‘evolution?’ What has evolved?

    Islam is a cult of destruction that condemns all change/innovation as ‘bidah’. Nothing can be changed. The Muslims are stuck!

    Muhammad stated as such:

    “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours [i.e., Islam] that is not a part of it, will have it rejected.” (Bukhari 2550, Muslim 1718 )

    Bad ‘religion?’

    Far worse.

  31. says

    Very articulate man, very intelligent, but not immune to group-think; it is nice to see him waking up!

    Agreed.

    Has anyone read his book, “God is Not Great?” From what I know about Hitchens, at least up until recently, he is like a lot of leftists who will attack Christianity like a hungry lion, but is less willing to go after Islam. Is the book full of this kind of political correctness hesitation?

    Sam Harris has a better approach to Islam, which is why I prefer his writings.

  32. says

    Hard Rain

    good response to ‘GerbilTea”s feeble attempts at Tu Quoque.

    Well said.

    (And Wellington and Mike Ryan have also dealt with ‘GerbilTea’ very effectively. Well bowled, gentlemen.)

  33. says

    dda

    Thanks. And thanks also to B, who I’ve never met before :)

    I’ve seen GerbilTea’s posts before and always wanted to cross swords with him (her? it?). I wonder if he’ll honour us with a reply or perhaps he’s just a hit and run artist? There again, if I were him I’d think twice about stepping out of the shadows knowing that you, Wellington and Mike Ryan were just waiting to skewer me!

    But I’m glad that some Muslims and jihad sympathisers are now popping up in these threads. They’re clearly debating us to the best of their ability, so it’s reassuring to find that even the most powerful arguments they bring to the table are so easily dismantled. In tackling them we see them for what they really are – paper tigers whose brittle assertions collapse under the lightest scrutiny.
    These little duels we have with them (it only takes a few strokes and a quick thrust) in turn allow us to sharpen our own arguments and provides a genuine affirmation that we really were right all along. Does anyone else get the feeling that the things they say merely confirm Robert Spencer’s viewpoint over and over again, even though the reason they are posting is an attempt to deny it?

    Of course, there’s little chance they will ever accept our arguments and change their point of view, but that is not their true value to us. Their true value is that we can use them to sharpen our blades.

  34. says

    “So, Hitchins now realizes that Muslims have some fundamental adjustments to make if they are going to play nice with everyone else in the modern world.”

    It took Hitchens this long to take that particular baby step.

    Now for the next baby step along his snail’s-pace of a learning curve:

    Muslims will never make those fundamental adjustments necessary to play nice with others in the modern world — not in numbers sufficient to make a difference to outweigh the dangers their fanatics pose to us.

  35. says

    “It took Hitchens this long to take that particular baby step.”

    Indeed, it would have been better if he had had his epiphany, if that is what it was, much earlier. Still, hedged as his position is with various forms of moral equivalence involving Mormons, etc., that baby step is in the right direction. Hitchins has a large following on the Left cultivated over many years. A few words like these, muted as they might seem to us, will receive a far more respectful hearing in that camp than any amount of preaching from any of us. Whether he now follows up with more steps in the same direction or yields to scolding from the Left for straying outside the fold of PCMC orthodoxy remains to be seen.

  36. says

    “Confidence” comes from healthy self esteem and self respect which by definition has reciprocal relationship with others. I believe Mr. Hitchens misused the word here, as “confidence” is never to be used interchangeably with “arrogance.”

    Perhaps “narcissistic” describes it better?

  37. says

    Donald DaCosta,

    Having also read Hitchens’ “God is not Great,” I concur with your comments.

    That said, I think that Hitchens does not go far enough in criticizing Islam, and is probably a bit too hard on Judaism and Christianity, for examples. In other words, the amount and severity of criticism should be proportionate to the amount and severity of problems caused by adherence to the religion today. (In other words, I think Hitchens–and for that matter Dawkins and Dennett–should be more like Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, et al., in their approach).

    When I say he does not go far enough, what I mean is that he does not seem to have grasped the full scale of the problem with Islam as it exists now and as it will likely continue and increase in the years and decades ahead. (He has a degree of understanding of it, yes, which far exceeds that of most pundits and intellectuals who appear in the mainstream media, but not enough). Also, he does not present enough evidence documenting the extent and severity of the problem, i.e., with a complete picture documenting the problems in the Quran, Hadith, Sira, Islamic law, history of Islam and Islamization, and how these connect to the data and statistics on the present-day attitudes, policies, and behaviours of Muslims.

    In other words, Hitchens has not yet produced a lengthy research report or review of Islam of the sort that I envision. Of course, I read Hitchens’ book for what it was, i.e., essentially an intelligent extended conversation or talk on religion from an atheist perspective.