David Thompson


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January 22, 2008



Hi David,
The Ummah views our children much as Mao viewed China's peasants: as blank paper on which it can write whatever it wishes.

As an ex-pat American kid living in Saudi Arabia, I remember my visceral reaction when I was discouraged from drawing a dog on my Arabic homework. I was told that the peninsula's form of Islam forbade artistic representations of nature - hence Arabia's artistic obsession with calligraphy and geometry.

Something deep inside my 10-year old body quaked when I learned this. Maybe it was my Welsh Grandmother's inheritance, but deep down I felt that there was something terribly wrong with the confinement of children's artistic impulses to well-worn, rectilinear artifices

Later on, because of this abject lesson in comparative cultures, I had a much greater appreciation of the importance of the artistic gains Europe achieved during the Renaissance, and for the artistic licenses I enjoy in my own county, the US of A.



“The Ummah views our children much as Mao viewed China’s peasants: as blank paper on which it can write whatever it wishes.”

I wouldn’t think in terms of the Ummah or how “it” views things, as it were. The idea of a vast collective abstraction - supposedly of one mind - seems very much part of the problem. (The notion, for instance, that one can somehow “humiliate Islam” and thus insult billions of people by apparently telepathic means.) Though of course there’s no shortage of people claiming to know what the Ummah should be doing and claiming to act on its behalf, generally in appalling ways.

But Hamid makes it difficult for those who maintain, for reasons of preference rather than proof, that jihadist atrocity and associated ugliness is somehow unrelated to how Islam is taught and conceived by a great many people.

irwin daisy

It appears the Dalai Lama is suffering the same affliction that so many others are - religious correctness. It's difficult for most to fathom the term, religion, being nothing more than a cloak for a morally degenerate, expansionist and foundationally violent ideology.

There is only one Quran and accompaning texts - the Hadith and Sira - that all Muslims are commanded to study and follow. There is nothing moderate about these texts. Any mention of compassion is reserved for the faithfull and typically male, exclusively.

So all the memes such as 'religion of peace,' a 'great religion hijacked,' and 'one of the three great Abrahamic faiths,' are worse than nonsense, they are downright dangerous.


"Islam is like any other tradition – same message, same practice. That is a practice of compassion."

Oh yes, that is so exactly what Islam teaches.




“It appears the Dalai Lama is suffering the same affliction that so many others are - religious correctness.”

It’s not exactly surprising. The Dalai Lama is part of the same racket, as it were. And the bulk of “interfaith dialogue” seems premised on a tacit agreement not to think critically, at least not out loud, and not to blow each other’s cover, which would be bad for business.


The ridiculous thing is, if you ARE a Christian or a Buddhist, then by definition you don't believe the Koran was the literal word of God and MUST believe Mohammed was either a conman or a madman. After all, if you did believe that you would have to be a Muslim. There's no other logical position you can take, certainly none that's remotely "respectful" of Islam.


Ah, but the idea is to *pretend* to be “respectful”, and to get others to pretend the same thing. It’s a mutual dishonesty. That way, no-one’s truth claims, however ludicrous or objectionable, are subject to unflattering scrutiny.

mr shifter

They might all wish to contemplate the zen koan ... "If you meet the buddha on the road, kill him."
Preferably for a lifetime.... then we could all relax, perhaps


Mr Shifter,

There’s an unintended irony to the Dalai Lama’s claim that all theologies are much the same. If memory serves, the Buddha is supposed to have suggested that his devotees “question everything, even me.” Muhammad seems to have had a much less enquiring disposition and often took a rather different, and more ruthless, approach to questioning and dissent.

Still, as I said, it’s all about pretending.

mr shifter

You are quite correct.
I think the main concern that occupies zen philosophy, is authenticity, and being one's own authority.
And these people seem to go in the opposite direction.


Mr Shifter,

It seems to me there’s a broader expectation that one should become dishonest, or at least stupid, in order to seem “respectful” and “fair”. To point out the obvious, or fairly obvious, distinctions between religious figures and the theologies they’ve shaped is now widely regarded as scandalous or malign. Thus, there’s a strong incentive to be “inauthentic” in this matter.

I’m not sure how dishonesty sits with Buddhism, but the Dalai Lama is either implausibly ill-informed or peddling bullshit like a trooper.


David and Shifter,
The trait I associate first with Buddhism is stoicism. So, in this light the Dalai Lama is playing true-to-form.

This stoicism, I think, is a cultural manifestation of Indo-Chinese cultures rubbing-up against militant Mohammedan Islam over the centuries. Not to overstate the point, it could be called the mindset of an yoked oxen under a load.

Waves of blood-letting "Jihad" have washed over India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, SW China, Persia, Arabia, the Philippines, et al, for hundreds of generations. And wherever the tides recede they leave the indigenous populations cowed in some way. Buddhism is one culture's adaptation to this. The struggling Animists of coastal East Africa another.

Related, while the terms of violent "Jihad" are part of our everyday lexicon now, its meta-tactics are not. Viewed as a whole, in order to parasitize and indemnify the West (ie, Dhimmitude), the modern jihad movement is utilizing ages-old technologies derived from the region's millennia of camel and elephant-taming.

The thinking is, if you integrate traditional "animal taming" techniques with the modern media's well-honed powers of hypnosis, then, exploiting the average Westerner's appetite for dissociation (some call it "entertainment"), you can entice even the mighty American Mustang to slip its head through your harness.

And once we're corralled and harnessed, we'll stoically pay the Dhimmi-tax, too. Some might say we're already there.

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