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This is an old one from 2007. There was a sequel

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Discussion (51)¬

  1. Terry Kelly says:


  2. Author, don’t know how I missed this one because it made ma laugh out loud. I think I have to go back and re-read your entire collection. :-)

  3. Jos Gibbons says:

    But if leaving Islam is forbidden, how does Mo switch in the first place?

  4. Pezski says:

    Best. Punchline. Ever.

  5. Pierre says:

    Paradox here, since Mo should have been killed by his own followers (or smited by allah) as soon as he converted to the Christian religion, as per his instructions in the Koran!!!

  6. jean-françois gauthier says:

    mo’s smart. that’s like the time he invented a religion that allowed him multiple wives.

  7. Benoit says:

    Still laughing. Mo FTW.

  8. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    The problem with Islamic cults
    Is the problem of unforeseen results
    The Qur’an blindly states
    To murder apostates
    And those who have opinions considered insults.

  9. John says:

    “The problem with Islamic cults”? The problem will all religions is, ironically, unforeseen results. You always get the extremists, moderates and defectors. Nothing’s perfect, no matter how hard the devout wish it were so.

    I feel sorry for them, it must be quite draining, getting upset with reality all one’s life.

  10. Jerry w says:

    Good thing they didn’t switch to Judaism, a retroactive circumcision could sting a bit. On the up side, there’d be a new little piece (sorry) of historical material to go along with Mo’s sandals at the Topkapi museum.

  11. fenchurch says:

    I didn’t see the panel where Mo checked off the tickbox on a Jack Chick pamphlet… I mean, if you’re going to worship a supreme being, adhere faithfully in body and soul, give up all that is worldly, be willing to submit the lives of your family and yourself to this almighty power, and be guided by its moral teachings, ya gotta do it right.

  12. FreeFox says:

    @DH: Regarding our last conversation… while I may be childish, at least I am in distinguished company. Even Arthur Schopenhauer said “Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.” All the more impressive that you can. Kudos.

  13. Shuggy says:

    Is this the first time they’ve been in bed together?

  14. John Salerno says:

    “But if leaving Islam is forbidden, how does Mo switch in the first place?”

    Easy. Since Mohammed is the example for all Muslims, whatever he does is acceptable. So it was okay for him to switch to Christianity. But then that action was later abrogated by his subsequent decision not to allow Jesus to leave Islam. :)

  15. Exzanian says:

    Brilliant punchline! But I gotta say if I had to be at crossroads whether to choose between the brutal, stone age honesty of islam, or the multiple mask morphing 21st Century xtianity, I would have to defer to atheism…LOL!

  16. durham669 says:

    FreeFox the company you claim to be in, Arthur Schopenhauer’s, also said: “woman is by nature meant to obey.” Not quite so distinguished.

  17. FreeFox says:

    @Durham: Lol. He also, equaled homosexuality with pederasty and – while one of the first to accept it as an unchangeable trait instead of a criminal choice – condemned homosexuality like his contremporaries. He was also a great pessimist, far beyond anything I would hold true. But as far as childishness or immaturity are concerned, there are worse companies to be found in… the comment was in response to a difference of opinion DH and I had in the previous comic’s comments about the possibility to chose your emotions, and certainly not meant as a blanket agreement with Schopenhauer.

  18. Dan says:

    Yeah, Author. How come Mo could change in the first place? Apostasy is punishable by death and strict muslims like Mo have no sense of humour when it comes to ‘disrespecting’ their religion.

  19. Dan says:

    @Shuggy. No, they sleep together regularly. I think it’s some kind of homage to Morecambe and Wise. That or they’re gay. Jesus is well known for “turning the other cheek” which I think is probably a reference to bum sex.

  20. @Firefox I don’t know whether I present positions that are extreme, or whether you simply take anything I say to the extreme. I do think you resist understanding what I am actually saying. I apologize if what you heard is that you are childish. That wasn’t my intention. What I intended to say was that a child think emotions just happen, that they come from someplace else and cannot be controlled. This leads to such things as the wife beater’s justification – she just makes me so angry. Well, other people do not make you anything. Your emotions are your own, and you choose them, whether you know it or not.
    Emotions come from a primitive part of our brains. They were hard wired in by evolution, and generally serve a purpose. They can hit us before we have a chance to look at them with our conscious and analytical mind. But they can be examined and then encouraged or discouraged. We can wallow in anger, or we can reframe the situation. We can develop strategies to bring forth positive emotions, and discourage strategies that lead to counter-productive emotions.
    I should stop here, since we are at risk of hijacking another thread.

  21. englishforyou says:

    @ all – sorry too busy these days – would like to continue our thread from the previous strip. Would it be OK if I leave a message here (the current strip) to say I’ve added something to the previous strip’s (“costs”) comments?
    @ Author – clever indeed!

  22. Lonelyloner says:

    “But if leaving Islam is forbidden, how does Mo switch in the first place?”

    It’s taqqiya. Telling lies and giving false promises are okay and acceptable if the goal is to advance Islam, or in this case, to snare more converts.

  23. FreeFox says:

    @englishforyou: I’d still like to hear your answers to my questions (and to some of the others), but I am happy to continue this here or back in the other strip’s comments. Don’t want to hijack anything. ;)

  24. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Nice one Author. Religion, the original Gotcha!

    Jerry W, re ‘Good thing they didn’t switch to Judaism, a retroactive circumcision could sting a bit’;
    I would have thought that Jesus, being born to Jews, would have been snipped already, and in all likelihood Mo too, so I suppose that technically they should be trying to stitch them back on. After all these years it’d be like trying to sew leather onto a raw sausage….ouch!

  25. Jobrag says:

    No not gay
    One of the best ones ever.

  26. oldebabe says:

    It seems to me that the phrase `in bed together’ implies something other than sex (of any sort) … actually, something to do with ideas/politics, etc. Or has my memory failed me totally?

  27. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Oldbabe, your memories fine. ‘Getting into bed with’ is a phrase often used when two – often opposing – parties or individuals unite, such as with the current Lib /Con alliance; strange bedfellows they make too.
    In bed with the neighbour takes a whole lot more explaining…..

  28. Mo could change because it’s Mo who made the rule in the first place!


  29. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Ophelia, I was always led to believe that Mo was no more than the conduit for the word of Allah (pbuh etc.), so he was merely passing on the rules.

    Sorry, but a member of UPOTW couldn’t let that one go un-remarked. :-)

  30. HaggisForBrains says:

    @ AoS

    Ahah! So are you issuing a POTWA against Ophelia?

    BTW I think it’s Mo that has to have PBUH, not Allah. POTWA to you too, Sir!

  31. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    HFB, touche Sir! But no, I wasn’t issuing a potwa, merely making a tongue-in-cheek point of order.

    Is it too late to claim that ‘pbuh’ meant ‘phantasmic body on high’?

  32. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Or even ‘Upon’ high. Dammit!!!

  33. JoJo says:

    @Dan. Mo can get away with saying he has converted to Christianity under the doctrine of Taqiyya. Baically it’s a get out for a Muslim to lie and bullshit as long as he oesnt really mean it and it somehow advances the cause of Islam generally or helps a himself or a fellow Muslim in a spot of bother with non Muslims. In this case it helps Islam by tricking Jesus in to an irrevocable conversion to Islam. Here is a link to an Egyptian cleric showing how this works in practice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKs7oi_-NUo&NR=1&feature=fvwp
    Author is chillingly close to the truth, yet again. Although if Jesus is killed for apostasy, doesn’t he get to rise again -again. And right in front of Mo? He’d need a huge amount of bullshit to deny that one this time round…..

  34. FreeFox says:

    @JoJo: “Although if Jesus is killed for apostasy, doesn’t he get to rise again -again.” Not sure if it works like that. Jesus isn’t a, well, a jojo. ;)

  35. Don says:

    Taqiyya has always puzzled me. As far as I can make out it was originally a practice by which minority Shi’a could avoid being sliced and diced by majority Sunni. So you could lie if your personal safety was on the line. Personally I would call that ‘common sense’. I’d lie through my teeth and not lose a moment’s sleep if it got me out of a tight corner.

    There seems to have been some mission creep since then, apparently it has come to include pretending to be friendly with an unbeliever if that unbeliever can offer some sort of protection in a dangerous situation. I could do that, no problem.

    So why do they need a special word and a complex explanation for ‘If telling the truth is liable to result in death, mutilation or other really bad stuff, then lie.’ Am I just lacking in moral fibre?

  36. @JoJo, that link is incredible. The smiling glee with which the dude relates the story is really chilling. What an asshole. I don’t think I’ll ever trust a Muslim ever again. Does that make me a racist?

  37. Okay, Muslims are not a race. I know that. But if this is part of their teaching and their mind set…. fahhh.

  38. FreeFox says:

    @DH: Um. Yeah. I would say that makes you a… well… if not racist then xenophobe or islamophobe. Not because you are wrong that from a Western, ex-Christian, democratic, egalitarian POV this sort of behaviour isn’t wrong. But because you are taking one concept, and now even one man’s expression of that concept, and apply it to every person sharing his basic religion. Can you judge all Americans by the behaviour of Richard Nixon? Would you not trust any Christian with your children because they might sexually abuse them? Am I automatically a Nazi because my nationality is (well, at least theoretically) German?

    I have lived amongst Muslims for most of my life, both in Berlin and in Egypt and Malta and other places. And for the most part the mass of them is no different from people anywhere and no more prone to lying or ripping you off than anyone. (Well, okay, now I am over generalising. Of course the exile Turks and Arabs in Berlin have some trait that they have mostly in common and that are largely not shared by the other parts of Berlin’s inhabitants, just as of course life amongst Egyptians differs from life amongst Brits or Norwegians or Roma… but those are pretty subtle things, and they have nothing to do with wether you can trust them any more or any less than your average American Xtian fundy, Berlin-Neukölln out-of-work plebejan, Romanian bureaucrat, Greek tourist guide, or anyone. Well, maybe except Norwegians, for the most part they are so straight and dependable that it hurts.)

  39. FreeFox says:

    @Don: I suppose because for the most part their religious values try (and utterly fail) to make them never lie at all ever (to each other). And because especially rejecting their belief in Allah is normally so extremely forbidden. So they needed a special religious permission to lie about believing in Allah to save their necks. And once the concept and name was there, well, it got applied to other related situations… I suppose if it hadn’t been for Jesus’s masochistic streak, there might be something similar in Christianity. But of course early, proselytising Christiana was all gung ho for getting yourself killed for spreading the word, so you could become some bad ass Martyr and Saint, so the lack of this concept in Western based-on-xtsian-values societies is probably more sign of a serious psychological imbalance than the presence of this permission-to-lie meme in islamic cultures.

  40. some Matt or other says:

    @Freefox: Interesting hypothesis about the lack of taqiyya in Christianity. I recall in my young churchgoing days hearing about brave missionaries smuggling Bibles into repressive countries, and I wondered how many lies they needed to tell to pull that off. The more seriously one takes one’s rules, the more one needs escape clauses like taqiyya to cover the grey areas of life.

    Regarding the pathology of martyrdom… one thing I fundamentally don’t understand about the modern concept of Islamic martyrdom is the ability to martyr yourself. I understand the honor involved in choosing to be killed rather than betraying your beliefs, or even the idea of aggressively choosing some course of action that will likely kill you in the service of a cause (like a soldier taking on a mission with basically zero survival probability). But at some point in my mind there’s a line that gets crossed, and when the explosives that will blow you up are actually your own, you shouldn’t get martyrdom credit anymore. In any other situation, “self-made martyr” is an insult.

  41. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Darwin Harmless, re “I don’t think I’ll ever trust a Muslim ever again. Does that make me a racist?”
    No, and Islamophobe’s a bit OTT as well. A phobia is an irrational fear, not a trust issue. I’d say that it makes you an Islamosceptic.

    FreeFox, looking at your questions above I can see a glaring hole in your line of reasoning.
    “Can you judge all Americans by the behaviour of Richard Nixon?”
    No, because Americans aren’t taught en-masse from childhood that this is how they are expected to behave.
    “Would you not trust any Christian with your children because they might sexually abuse them?”
    No, because people brought up in the Christian religion aren’t taught en-masse from childhood that they are expected to become abusers.
    “Am I automatically a Nazi because my nationality is (well, at least theoretically) German?”
    Again, no, because Germans aren’t taught en-masse from childhood…..
    As opposed to Taqiyya.

    Finally, in the words of Peter Falk, just one more thing. Xenophobe? C’mon, not all Muslims are foreigners (no matter where you live). Freudian slip? :-()

  42. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    some Matt or other, re your comment “one thing I fundamentally don’t understand about the modern concept of Islamic martyrdom is the ability to martyr yourself.”
    Sadly, neither do the soon-to-be martyrs. What I do understand though is the ability of wicked people to recognise and manipulate vulnerable, impressionable – and usually uneducated – minds, to instil both fear of and loyalty to their god, plus a desire to collect their rewards in Paradise, through the use of endless repetition backed up with threats and bribes, until they’re moulded into single-use weapons.

  43. FreeFox says:

    @AoS (and DH): Touché. You are right, -phobe was not the correct term here, and my examples were very poorly chosen. But you must have understood what I was trying to say. Just as you all know that Christians aren’t actually much better at turning the other cheek (ever tried to punch an Italian? They invented the bloody Mafia and they’re all Catholics!) than the rest of the world, so anyone who actually had any dealings with a lot “everyday” Muslims (and not just nutty Al-Qaida sympathisers) will tell you that they aren’t actually more prone to deceit than any other random group of people.

    We all know, if we are honest, that religion to the vast majority of those afflicted by it, is just the colourful sprinkles on top of the otherwise vanilla sundae. Yes, they colour and affect the overall taste, and every now and then you bite on one of those crunch bits, but for the most part it doesn’t actually do much. There are those who took way too much spinkles with their ice cream, utterly ruining the dish, but they are just a very loud minority.

    To go, like the esteemed Darwin Harmless in the previous comment, and take one man’s extremely unpleasant pontification on his take of one religious tenet, and extrapolate from there the assumption that almost one quarter of humanity has to be fundamentally mistrusted, is exactly the sort of behaviour (like homophobia or misogyny) that we would condemn in religious morons.

    (And it isn’t even necessary to satisfy his desire to paint Muslims as evil, as there are so much more valid accusations, like for example the aforementioned homophobia and misogyny ^_^)

  44. FreeFox says:

    As for Peter Falk and Xenophobia… if we’re being nitpickers, Wikipedia defines the term as follows:
    Xenophobia is defined as “an unreasonable fear of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.” It comes from the Greek words ????? (xenos), meaning “stranger,” “foreigner” and ????? (phobos), meaning “fear.”
    Judging by the comment in question, I would say that to Darwin Harmless Muslims are foreign and strange, no matter where he lives. He just seems to claim that the fear isn’t unreasonable. Which – I think – proves my point. ;)

  45. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    FreeFox, of course I understood what you were saying, but discussions get very boring very quickly if every comment reads “I agree”.
    Trust. however, has to be earned, a job made that much harder when the actions of one man casts doubt by association on a whole group, be that a religious group, a business group or a whole nation. To use your example above, for many years after WWII Germans (and by association Austrians) were viewed with suspicion the world over because of the actions of one man. This may sound silly to our rational minds until we remember that this one man had millions of loyal (earned or forced loyalty, both are equally valid) supporters willing to do his bidding, just as Islam has millions of loyal supporters; the problem is in knowing which individuals to trust, so when viewed like this DH’s dilemma is a very real one.
    As for xenophobia, I would have said ‘touche’, but considering the above it would appear that the fear or mistrust is rational until proven otherwise.

  46. FreeFox says:

    @AoS: I suppose there we must agree to disagree. To me it just sounds like you just justified prejudice. Can’t follow you there.

  47. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    FreeFox, I don’t think I’m justifying prejudice, merely pointing out the problem of knowing where to place one’s trust. Logically, I am the only person whose level of trustworthiness I know for certain, everybody else is an unknown quantity

  48. FreeFox says:

    @AoS: Of course. But this isn’t about not being a sap and blindly trusting everyone. DH didn’t say it’s smarter to be a bit weary of people you don’t know, he said that he won’t “ever trust a Muslim ever again”. If that isn’t prejudice, I don’t know what is.

  49. Don says:

    I agree with Freefox. On a purely annecdotal level I spent a lot of years being young and dumb and thinking that travelling solo around N. Africa and the middle-east was no big deal. Fortunately the hospitality and kindness of innumerable muslims saved me from my own stupidity. There were a few polite attemps to convert me, but mostly they were just nice folk helping a benighted stranger because that is what you do. Try that in a village in Surrey.

  50. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Freefox, I guess that I’m just not explaining myself very well (or you’re playing your usual game of not understanding :-) ), but for the sake of my sanity – and to stop what could be a lengthy and very boring conversation – we will agree to disagree on this point.
    Don, pre-2001 I would have been happy to join you on your adventure, and the chances are that you would have exactly the same experiences today. Sadly, the events of 9/11 (conspiracy theories aside) and subsequent events changed everything from a western point of view; a classic case of the actions of a tiny minority affecting how we see the great majority, just as the actions of a minority of Irish catholics in England and Northern Ireland in the 1970′s cast doubt on all Irish. Taken to the extreme, it’s also why the British government interred or deported all Germans living or working here in 1939, and the U.S. later did the same with the Japanese, and of course the German and Japanese governments did exactly the same. Unless you can tell the good from the bad by looks alone, then in a state of war (even a so-called holy war), everybody is a suspect. With this in mind, had you undertaken your trek today, would those who were so helpful to you still see you as a helpless tourist in need of assistance, or a British spy on a recon. mission? It swings both ways.


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