Been picking on Islam a lot recently. Probably a result of spending too much time on Twitter. Better start sticking it to Jesus again soon, before someone calls me an Islamophobe.

Discussion (41)¬

  1. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Nice timing Author. Not a coincidence, surely?

  2. Showing just how religion should be taken,…..with a grain of salt.

  3. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Aye, Author, you are right there: Got to have balance in the media!

    This strip does read rather like an in-joke. Politically pertinent but lacking in laughter.
    Having said that, the struggle for hearts and minds requires one to challenge perhaps 99% of the lazy, vindictive or machinated charges of Islamophobia either because the
    href=””fear is genuine, or because it is being used as a tool to shame people into silence. (Very well put, btw.)
    So do return to Jesus (!). Such might be less opportune at the moment but it will serve to remind people that we have only rejected one more god than the rest of them.

    (I like the way my spell checker does not recognise Islamophobia – and I am not about to teach it.)

  4. StevenLeggs says:

    If you are feeling really brave you could start introducing everybody’s good friend L. Ron Hubbard? I’m sure there’s plenty of material there.

  5. I’m from a different culture, apparently. Could somebody explain the acronym EDL to me. Even without getting that reference, I get the idea behind this strip. As usual I find it sublime. Good one.
    And yes, take a swipe at L.Ron some day. What a hateful sociopathic charlatan that man was. I wear my PTS status proudly. (For those unfamiliar with Scientology and their fondness for military sounding code, that stands for Potential Trouble Source, a label they put on me when they told my first wife that she had to “disconnect” from me if she wanted to continue her “processing”. Damn straight I’m a PTS.)

  6. Malcolm dodd says:

    EDL is the English Defence League who protest about the increasing influence of Islam, Sharia Courts and Islamic Terrorism in the UK, unfortunately they act like thugs. I am an Islamophobe and concerned about Islam, it is probably too late to do anything about it in the UK and Europe.

    This quote is from the 1899 book by Winston Churchill, “The River War”, in which he describes Muslims he apparently observed during Kitchener’s campaign in the Sudan.

    Churchill did not live long enough to see his words come true with a vengeance.

    “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism (Islam) lays on its votaries (devoted followers)! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia (rabies) in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen; all know how to die; but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science – the science against which it had vainly struggled – the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome”.

  7. fenchurch says:

    @DH – EDL’s mysterious provenance is explained in the tags: English Defence (Defense?) League

  8. Ahhhhhhhh Mo has been following Mehdi Hasan’s antics on Twitter, and learning how it’s done. That pesky ex-Muslim Maryam Namazie is critical of Islam? Why, she is just like the EDL!!

  9. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    They’re an English organisation, Fenchurch, so it’s definitely ‘defence’. They’re also a nasty, bigoted, racist organisation with strong links to that other vile group, the British National Party. Their underlying message is can be summed up as ‘England for the English; it used to be ‘Keep England white’, but the recent influx of white East Europeans has caused them to broaden their prejudices. In fact, if the Daily Mail readership could be said to have a political arm, it’s the EDL / BNP.
    There are genuine concerns here over unregulated immigration at the moment – understandable at a time when most public sevices – education, health, housing, welfare system, etc. – are already stretched to breaking point, and with a coalition government that is cutting them back even further, and there is no doubt that it is a situation that needs addressing urgently. The trouble is that none of the main political parties want to be the first to make inroads into finding a solution for fear of being labelled racist, ironically leaving the field wide open for the real racists to play on the concerns of a worried population.
    The point is, as the cartoon so succinctly points out, is that the EDL are getting their extreme messages widely heard, and as a result voicing genuine concerns over immigration is enough to get one accused of siding with the EDL, just as voicing concerns over fundamentalist Islam gets one accused of siding with the Islamophobes.
    As usual, the actions of a very vocal minority holding extreme views are being used to silence fair criticism and concerns.

  10. Tomas (the doubter) says:

    DH, judging from what I’ve read of your comments here, I would have thought they’d removed the ‘P’ from that label… 😉

  11. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    Commiserating marketing
    Out sourcing, caused this.

  12. Author says:

    @Ophelia – well spotted!

  13. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Author, do you think the EDL might welcome Maryam as a member?

  14. demetriusohpharos says:

    Sticking it to Jesus is what got Mary in trouble in the first place. Or was that Jesus sticking it to Mary? I get my myths confused.

  15. Fibonacci says:

    May I interrupt the topic for just a sec. What is meant by the author’s signature “peace and blessings”. I understand peace ok, but what is meant by “blessings”, to an atheist? Or is this just part of the whole irony of this site?

  16. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Fibonacci, where do you see Author’s (PBUH*) signature? I’ve been a regular here for a couple of years and it’s completely passed me by.

    *That’s a tad ironic, a tad respectful. 😉

  17. Thank you all for giving me a deeper appreciation of Author’s work.

    Thomas, up to this time I’ve only been a potential for trouble. That could change if I’m provoked further but my conflict with the followers of Xenu was resolved to my satisfaction many years ago, and I’ve had nothing to do with them since. So PTS is appropriate.

    Acolyte, the situation you describe reminds me of the MRA (Mens Rights Association?) who are generally misogynist asshats. It’s reached the point where one can’t make any statement about gender equality that gives the male gender any support without being thrown into the MRA camp. I have long claimed to be a feminist, yet I have protested against feminist initiatives on occasion. For example, a feminist play once set different ticket prices for men and women, to make the point that men on average earn more money than women. It’s a legitimate point. My problem with it is that many men, myself included at the time, make much less money than many women. One can’t fight sexism by engaging in sexism.

    Both Islamics and Christians have the same problem in reverse. Announce that you follow the Naz and you are thrown into the same camp as Fred Phelps. Announce that you follow Mo and you are tossed in with terrorists. I see it as a battle for brand names. the moderates and progressives need to fight harder to hang on to their brands.

  18. Jon B says:

    Long live the REAL EDL, the English Disco Lovers!

  19. Fibonacci says:

    I see “peace & blessings, J & M” in the sign-off of the email message telling me there is a new strip up on the site.

  20. Suffolk Blue says:

    MD – many thanks for the Churchill quote. 1899! Amazing.

    Anyone know what his Beliefs were, if any?

  21. author says:

    @AoS – The EDL would welcome anyone as a member who could lend them some intellectual credibility. Anyone who could string a grammatical sentence together, or spell, would fit that bill. But Maryam has spoken out strongly against them on many occasions, and wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole.

  22. MarkyWarky says:

    @ Malcolm Dodd, thanks for the Churchil quote, but I’m struggling to understand what he meant by “……..Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science…….”, as I’d have thought Christianity was at odds with science except in the sense that it’s good at saying “yes, that’s what we meant; goddidthat”.

    Anyone got any thoughts on what Churchill meant?

  23. HaggisForBrains says:

    MW – given the date of the Churchill quotation, I suspect that substituting “Western Democracy” for “Christianity” would be closer to his meaning, particularly if he were alive to repeat the thought today. In other words, the expression is of its time. It is, nonetheless, a fascinating and perceptive analysis, and sadly prescient.

  24. FreeFox says:

    @MarkyWarky: Well, he added ” the science against which it (i.e. Christianity) had vainly struggled”, so he recognised that Christianity had been at odds withe science, but I suppose it means that he did not think that science itself had to be necessarily at odds with Christianity.

    @Author: Really? You haven’t been called an Islamophobe already? Astonishing… ^_^

  25. nwtfrosty says:

    ooo yes, El-Ron as a new character pls. I can see them meeting when a book club chooses the pub for its monthly meetings.

  26. MarkyWarky says:

    @ HaggisForBrains, I suspect you’re right.

    @FreeFox, the bit I’m unsure about isn’t the recognition that Christianity/science had been at odds, it’s the idea that Christianity is sheltered by science. Being debunked is hardly being sheltered, and there’s no sense, apart from christianity’s adoption of pseudo science, in which I can see that it is. I therefore suspect he had in mind a far wider interpretation of both terms (christianity AND science), than I do.

  27. MarkyWarky says:

    To expand, christianity coming to terms with sciences findings, or using them inappropriately, or faking them, I get. Just not the concept of it being sheltered, as if somehow science helps the case for an imaginary friend?

  28. hotrats says:

    My thanks too for the Churchill quote, which shows how impoverished our language became in the course of the last century – not only in the breadth of its vocabulary and careful grammatical construction, but in the willingness to express opinion plainly, without hesitation or insincere apology.

    Although he flirted with rationalism and atheism in his early years, and judging by the look of the quote, was well aware of the reactionary nature of the church, the mature Churchill seems to have been conventionally christian in his statements, beliefs and practices.

  29. hotrats says:

    Lots of cross postings – it seems to me that Churchill’s mention of science was simply an acknowledgment the fact that the ‘christian’ nations had overwhelming advantages over the Islamic nations in progress and technology, both military and industrial, certainly the case in 1899. I think it would be stretching the point to assume he meant that science had taken a active deliberate role in the protection of christianity.

  30. Mary2 says:

    My understanding of the quote was also that Churchill meant ‘Christian’ COUNTRIES were sheltered by science rather than Christianity being sheltered – in contrast to the Muslim countries with their atrophied development – and this was the protection Europe had against the expansion of Islam.

  31. omg says:

    Nu ben ik in Netherland, dus moet ik een beetje Nederlands praten.

    Everybody, you can skip this comment completely. I write it just for myself.

    I’m with my girlfriend, we are listening to the dead’s commemoration ceremony here in Netherlands (for the end WWII). There is a part where people recited poem. I must admit, I find it very sad that I can’t understand everything they said. But, some of them seem very deep (and they don’t seem to be deeply wrong “see previous treads”).

    A friend of my girl friend just called. He is watching the same program. He was 15 at that time of the WWII. He tell us that he helped a young Jewish girls to find a family that could take care of here. Later he heard that a German soldier came to the school where she was and found that she was Jewish. He took here away. She must have been sent to a camp, and nobody ever heard from her since.

    I know that this must have happened very often, but listening to somebody that was involved in trying to help children and then found that the kid he try to help was found and perhaps sent to die make me feel very sad.

  32. RollEyes says:

    So if there is no such thing as islamophobia, what you call an attack (physical/ verbal) on a Muslim for being a Muslim? Or is that okay?

    EDL clearly states it does not like Muslims and has protested in front of Muslim institutions and universities that provide platforms for Muslim related events.

    Are you not using the rhetorics such as the one on cartoon to isolate the people who are being abused for their choice of faith?

    Granted, you have the right to challenge a religion but are you not also devaluing and supporting (indirectly ) the abuse/ often violent attack experienced by people due to their faith when you are mocking what these victims call Islamophobia?

    Name one person in the west who has been pushed in front of the train for being a christian or an athiest?

    I feel sad that there are people in the world that spend time and money such as this cartoonist, to provide platforms where racists and facists can feel legitimised for their actions.

    You won’t join the EDL, as you believe you are better than them or rather of higher class! You have more effective and sophisticated tool to pretty much send out the same message.

    Its sad… I don’t give a crap what you say about Muhammad, Allah or whoever is next on your list but thanks to you I fear of the abuse my kids will face when they go school and what is worse is that… Its people like you that will make it difficult for us to be heard… But ultimately for you its all pleasure! Afterall abusers abuse for pleasure… Here we have a platform for pleasure!

    I would not advice you to join EDL, I would advice you to join the gang of BBC that allowed abuse of children to take place… Afterall you are the middleman for a form of abuse!

  33. JoJo says:

    Churchill was comparing societies by pointing at the influences of their respective religions. He was also doing so from the standpoint of Angicanism as practised in England at the time. It was not so strict, dogmatic and generally medieval as to stifle all progress in the manner that he saw Islam to be. When he spoke of Christianity, it was from the very clear and perfectly reasonable understanding that God is an Englishman.

    More tea, Vicar?

  34. hotrats says:

    Name one person in the west who has been pushed in front of the train for being a christian or an athiest?

    Why do you carefully specify ‘in the West’? Remind me, what’s the punishment for atheism in Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan?

    Are you not using the rhetorics such as the one on cartoon to isolate the people who are being abused for their choice of faith? …. thanks to you I fear of the abuse my kids will face when they go school

    So tell me honestly – did you let your kids choose their faith, or did you impose yours on them?

    If your kids face abuse at school, it’s much more likely to be because you have filled their heads with

  35. hotrats says:

    … Bronze Age superstition.

  36. UncoBob says:


    Welcome to the group.

    ‘What you call an attack (physical/ verbal) on a Muslim for being a Muslim? Or is that ok?’ Religious prejudice, and it’s not OK. There are even laws about it, I understand. However, challenging even deeply held beliefs is definitely OK and the right to do so critical to a free society. There is a massive difference between challenging a person’s ideas and attacking the person, especially physically. Assuming you are ‘in the West’, perhaps the reason you are there has something to do with the relative freedom to hold dissenting ideas without penalty from the wider society.

    ‘Name one person in the west who has been pushed in front of the train for being a christian or an athiest?’ Taking a broad view of ‘pushed in front of the train’, try Galileo, Copernicus, Bruno and thousands of others for being the wrong sort of christian or accused of atheism or judaism. And on the other hand, we currently have Alexander Aan doing time in Indonesia for atheism, Alber Saber facing trial (the last I heard) in Egypt, a mob 100000 strong in Bangladesh calling for hanging of atheists, the Australian demonstrations a few months back calling for beheading etc etc.

    If your kids are facing problems at school (which I deplore), it’s drawing a pretty long bow to attribute the difficulties to someone challenging ideas or tactics. In fact, your letter pretty well demonstrates the point of the cartoon when you raise accusations of abuse.

    Hope you’ll keep on contributing to the debate here, though. Might be difficult, as most/all? of us tend to regard religion as something the world would be better off without. And if it’s religious prejudice, not racism your kids are facing then that’s another good reason for our viewpoint i.e. no religion = no religious prejudice.

  37. JohnA says:

    Yes, conflating anti-theism into racism, xenophobia, Orientalism or Neo-Orientalism, or just flat out Islamophobia, is hardly rational. Particularly given so much of the thoughtful criticism is richly deserved.

    It’s interesting to hear Muslims whimper about their ‘ill-treatment’ given Islamic doctrine is assuredly infidelophobic and the Koran is profoundly anti-Semitic.

    Still. At least Muslims are starting to get their heads around the challenging concepts of conventional morality.

    Now they are whining about how much they hate being villified, all they need now do is start applying the fundamentals of the golden rule to other people as well.

  38. hotrats says:

    Off topic, but WTF: my favourite Zen story.

    A Jesuit priest went to Japan to study in a Zen monastery. He was given the koan, ‘Who am I?’ and practiced zazen (sitting meditation) for some time. When the master asked him about his progress in meditation, the Jesuit explained that he had reached the point where he was sitting silently in the presence of God, without words or thoughts or images or ideas.

    “Very good, excellent progress,” said the master. “Continue this way, just keep on with your zazen. You will find that the next step is to see clearly that there is just Johnson, no God. God will simply disappear, and only Johnson will remain.” The Jesuit was offended by this, because it seemed like a denial of his deepest beliefs.

    Somewhat disappointed, he told the master that he had hoped that the next step would rather be just God remaining, and no Johnson. “Yes, exactly,” the master agreed, smiling. “Same thing!”

  39. omg says:

    hotrats, I find your joke very funny. Please, let me be of topic as well with this link:

  40. omg says:

    So, the catholic church entreated to excommunicate the Prime Minister of Ireland if he passed the law on abortion. Don’t worry, if you give too much power to the church, the inquisition will run back to us.

    For those that say the catholic church is much better than other religion that stoned people, give it a chance and they will stone as well.

    I hope one day, religion will get out of politic, and also out of school.

  41. FreeFox says:

    Seriously, hotrats? Is it your favourite Zen story because it makes you laugh at silly beliefs, or do you actually agree with the master? (Because I totally agree with him, but then I usually get scorned here for being a theist nutcase. I would have expected you to be on the other side…) ^_^’


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