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October 14, 2002

Rules for a polite debate, Muslim style

Let's have a polite, civilized debate, shall we. Now here are the ground rules: If you say anything I disagree with I will denounce you as an infidel, call for your murder and then to demonstrate my disagreement I will go burn down several buildings and kill some people. I of course can say anything I want, up to and including calling you and everything you hold dear, the most offensive a vile names I can think of.

Ok, are we ready?

What you don't like the rules? Well that's the rules Moslems have placed on Jerry Falwell after he called Muhammad a terrorist. And they certainly seem to have no problems with it. Mamoun Hudaibi, a spokesman for Egypt's most influential fundamentalist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, which also happens to be banned, said it was unacceptable for anyone to insult Mohammad and welcomed the apology as a "good step."

"We encourage him to hold a polite debate on Islam. We have the duty of arguing against anyone whose views we consider wrong," Hedaibi said, not making it clear how saying Muhammad is a terrorist is impolite, while calling for the murder of a person you disagree with, and killing random strangers in response to such statement, is polite.

Falwell pointed out that he never meant to offend Muslims, and that's he's sorry he did, but didn't retract what he said.

"Because he said he did not want to deliberately offend Muslims and he apologized, that is a positive statement and we hope he won't repeat that mistake again," Iranian foreign affairs ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said. No comment from Asefi about whether the Iranian clerics who called for Falwell's murder have made any step toward apologizing, but he did say, "At this time nobody should encourage hatred between different civilizations and different religious groups." Nobody obviously meaning nobody but Muslims.

Now I've been using the term Muslims in a rather wide way, since not all Muslims have made these statements and done these acts. The reason is that they also have not bothered to condemn the statements and actions of the Iranian clerics and the Indian rioters, while very vocally objecting to Falwell's remarks. You cannot just say Islam is a religion of peace. If it is, you need to show it.


Posted by Jack Lewis at October 14, 2002 10:55 AM