This is a guest post by the author of "No Cross No Crescent" who writes for Skeptic Ink Network:
I have already written about my amazement at the frequent flirtations between Islam and the western political left, which, ideologically one would think, should be each others' worst nemesis. But this is not the kind of cognitive dissonance that is going to go away any time soon; every once in a while, we get reminded that tearing atheism apart is perfectly politically correct, while the same is not true for Islam. (No one, perhaps, exemplifies this dichotomy in the political left more blatantly than the revolting Noam Chomsky.) And on cue, they have delivered again.
CJ Werleman, columnist for leftist portals Alternet and Slate, whom we have already met, has the unpleasant habit of stereotyping atheists as unabashed supporters of Israel, regardless of the circumstances, which I have tried to debunk time and again. Now, he is back with not one, but two pieces on why Islam should not be blamed for the crimes of the heinous Islamic(!) State, here providing an example of what I have called islamophobophobia. And of show his atheophobia in the process:For them [atheists], Islam is the root of all Muslim rage against the West, the root of all barbarism, and the root of all conflict in the Middle East. Their premise not only speaks in the language of 11th-century Christian Crusaders and 21st-century U.S. neo-conservatism, but also demonstrates a breathtaking level of naivety, and willful ignorance of both history, and the cause-and-effect link in the chain of terrorism.Well, that is a third (I guess?) straw man fallacies, a third guilt by association (Chomsky would call it "worshiping US government), and a third insults and baseless accusations. I really would like to know where he heard Dawkins, Maher etc blaming Islam for being the root of all conflict. That is particularly rich, given that Dawkins himself has said nothing is the root of all evil, which Werleman doesn't know or simply fails to mention. But didn't you know, he has EVIDENCE to back up his attacks!More than 95 percent of all suicide attacks have a strategic goal in common—to compel an occupying force to withdraw from territory the terrorists prize. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to the West Bank to Chechnya, the central goal of every suicide terrorist campaign has been to resist military occupation by a democracy.
Many atheists, like Harris, see conflict in the Middle East as rooted in a cultural failure of Islam to adapt itself to modernity rather than as a political aspiration to freedom from U.S.-backed regimes.Lebanon, Sri Lanka, West Bank, Chechnya...which of those is not like others in that list? (More on that below).He approvingly quotes:Pape, who is also the author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, rejects outright the view that Islam is the root of the problem. “Rather, the taproot is American military policy.” The notion that Islamic fundamentalism is bent on world domination is “pure fantasy,” he argues, warning that an attempt by the West to force Muslim societies to transform “is likely to dramatically increase the threat we face.”The problem with this crap is that it entirely fails to take one minor details into consideration: that when a population stands up against a foreign occupier or their proxy regimes, it does so by and large on its own. It is almost-and I repeat almost-unheard of for people from all over the world to travel to a conflict zone to participate in armed action, no matter how much they may sympathize with the cause of freedom of fighters. As I have written before, major atheist figures have not been lenient on the US government for its foreign meddlings. But we didn't see people pissed at the US from all around the world (and there was no shortage of them during the Cold War) travel to Vietnam to participate in fighting against the US, or bomb US embassies in Africa in revenge for the Nixon administrations involvement in the coup in Chile by Auguto Pinochet. Would it be because the Vietnamese and Chileans were not Muslims, and hence no one saw an attack on them as "an attack on all of us", because we are all one "Ummah" (body), as Islamic militants keep repeating? Is the "American military policy" to blame when Hezbollah becomes a party to the civil war in Syria in the name of jihad, when Sunnis murder Shiites using the Islamic equivalent of the derogatory words like "papists", or when rifts among Iraqis along religious fault lines lead to protests that usher in the takeover of a large chunk of that country by IS? Most importantly, even if all that is to be blamed on American foreign and military is to blame for all that, how does Werleman explain that we have seen Lebanese fighting in the name of the West Bank or Chechnyans bombing athletic events in the name of Afghanistan-but only Sri Lankans fought in Sri Lanka, and that no Sri Lankan ever traveled abroad to participate in another country's civil war? He can get long winded as he wants about the history of the middle east after the fall of the Ottoman empire (if you can stay awake while reading his drivel), but why do Islamic wars have the distinction of attracting jihadis from all over the world to join in-or having a marathon runner or two half the world away blown up in the name of revenge for this victims?There is your answer: it is the religious ideology, stupid.