Re: Letter to NPR re Duncan Moon's 9/18 piece on Islamic reaction to the 911 attacks

From: Greg Burch (
Date: Tue Sep 18 2001 - 18:58:45 MDT

 I'll reply here to all of the posts that were made in response to my letter
to NPR about Duncan Moon's report on Islam this morning. And, in the
interest of economy (Newton knows we all need less text to read right now!)
I'll skip quotes, since the tenor of the replies to the list all seemed to
be similar, i.e. to the effect that my letter unfairly singled out Islam.
 First, my credentials as an "irreligious" person needn't be established
here, as long-time subscribers know, so there can be no suspicion that I am
a secret opponent to Islam on the grounds of being adherent of another

 Second, having read the Bible, I'm well aware that one can find a lot of
bloody-minded stuff in it - although primarily in the Old Testament. My
personal scholarship isn't focusing on *comparative* religion right now, so
if anyone can offer up some bloody-minded quotes from the NT, I'd be happy
to see them.

 Third, it's a historical fact that Christianity has been largely "tamed" in
the sense that - outside of a few notable localized exceptions like N.
Ireland, there are very few religiously-inspired wars being *initiated* by
Christians *on the basis of religion* these days. Again, I'm open to seeing
examples to the contrary. (There is a religious component to the Balkan
violence, but it's just as much simple ethnic tribalistic bigotry as
religious hatred.)

 Fourth, there is absolutely no question in my mind that there is a primary
component of religious motivation in the 911 attacks and in the continuing
threat that Al Quaida and its co-conspirators continue to present to the
civilized world. As I've said already, there are certainly non-religious
causes for conflict in and arising out of the Islamic world, from the US
foreign policy decision to lie down with dogs in opposition to the Soviets
in Afghanistan, to the intractable problem of Palestinian nationalism. But
there is *no* component of US foreign policy error in the bloody violence of
Islamic fundamentalists in Algeria, central Africa or Egypt, where wholly
internal struggles are going on by them against their own domestic "satans",
i.e. non-fundamentalists and non-Muslims.

 So, yes, I'm singling out Islam. The Islamic world needs to do what Europe
did over the last 300 years. It needs to tame its religion. The sooner,
the better.

Greg Burch

Vice-President, Extropy Institute

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