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Cracked.com: 5 Ridiculous Things you Probably Believe About Islam

21 December 2010 Loonwatch.com 21 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

A very funny and enlightening piece from Cracked.com. While some things are a bit simplified much of it is on point and there are a few new interesting facts that aren’t well known.

5 Ridiculous Things You Probably Believe About Islam

By Jacopo della Quercia Dec 20, 2010

A conservative commentator recently made headlines by claiming 10 percent of all of the world’s Muslims are terrorists. An amazing claim, considering that equals 150 million terrorists and if each were to pull off an attack killing just 40 people, they could exterminate all non-Muslim life on earth.Either they’re not all that dedicated to terrorism, or the claim is utter insanity.

Well, if there’s one thing everyone thinks of when they hear “Cracked.com” it’s “friend of Islam.” Which is why we feel compelled to clarify a few misconceptions for our readers. Also, there is no way this article will ever come back to haunt us in any way.

#5.

If You’re a Muslim Woman, You Have to Wear the Veil
For millions of people in the West, when you say “Islam,” the first mental image that pops into mind is this:

A two-person Scotch-garded version would sell like hotcakes.

A woman covered head to toe in a burqa. The truth is, if you could suddenly gather all of the Muslim women on the planet into one giant room and had to throw a football to someone wearing a burqa, it’d be next to impossible to complete that pass.

But the whole hide-them-under-a-veil thing must be pretty big among Muslim communities, otherwise Europe wouldn’t be all in in a dither over the things, pushing for bans and whatnot. Right?

Look at them there, plotting new ways to drive super-slow in the HOV lane.

After all, we all know that Islam hates women — the fact that Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that actually prohibits women from driving, or that only predominantly Muslim countries still usedeath by stoning as a punishment for adultery, proves it, right?

But Actually…

Thinking that all Muslim women have to dress like this…

Muslim women

…is like thinking that all Christian women have to dress like this:

Christian sects

That photo is from one of several small Christian sects that require women to dress like it’s Little House on the Prairie.

So for instance, in France they have about 3 million Muslim women. French police decided to figure out how many of them wore burqas and/or niqabs and found the number to be … 367.

Then again, these were French police.

Not 367,000, but 367, a number so small that from a statistical point of view, it’s barely enough to register as a margin of error. As for the rest of Europe, the numbers are even more disastrous for the burqa business (for instance, Belgium has 500,000 Muslims, a couple dozen wear the burqa).

Yes, there are Middle Eastern countries where the veils are required by law (namely Iran and Saudi Arabia) and combined those countries have less than 5 percent of the world’s Muslims. There are actually more Muslim countries that outright ban the wearing of the veils than there are that require them. They can do that because wearing a veil is not required in Islam but is more of a custom, depending on where you live and who’s in charge.

Much like hot pants.

Hey, speaking of which, try this number on for size: Of the five most populous Muslim-majority nations, four of them have elected female heads of state.

So there’s a fantastic chance that in 2012, Sarah Palin will be campaigning for an achievement that Muslim ladies have already accomplished.

We bet Megawati Sukarnoputri knows the United States doesn’t have a Department of Law.

#4. Our Founding Fathers Would Never Have Tolerated This Muslim Nonsense!
It’s easy to stand on a soapbox and publicly bluster about what you think the Founding Fathers would think about the godless, multicultural United States today. After all, these were Christian, God-fearing men, damn it. They certainly wouldn’t put up with all this tolerance for these terrorist religions.

Thomas Jefferson, moments before leaping into the air on a giant eagle and drop-kicking Saladin.

It’s a good thing some Americans are standing up for good old-fashioned American values andpassing laws to prohibit Islamic law from taking over the U.S., because that’s totally around the corner! Somewhere, Thomas Jefferson is smiling in his grave!

But actually…

Even if they were staunch Christians (or deists, whatever), plenty of the Founding Fathers had a healthy admiration for the Muslim faith. Thomas Jefferson, for example, taught himself Arabic using his own copy of the Quran and hosted the first White House Iftar during Ramadan.

Jefferson believed in celebrating the deliciousness of all world religions.

John Adams hailed the Islamic prophet Muhammad as one of the great “inquirers after truth.” Benjamin Rush, who was so Christian he wanted a Bible in every school, also said he would rather see the opinions of Confucius or Mohammad “inculcated upon our youth” than see them growdeprived “of a system of religious principles.” Benjamin Franklin once declared: “Even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his service.” Even George Washington personally welcomed Muslims to come work for him at Mount Vernon.

So, why all this Founding Father/Muslim love? Probably because Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah of Morocco was the first world figure to recognize the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain in 1777. Another reason was that the Founding Fathers were smart enough to distinguish between terrorists and everybody else on the whole damn planet, as demonstrated in the Treaty of Tripoli in 1797. It was in this agreement that the U.S. declared: “The government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Mussulmen [Moslems].

Another possible translation.

#3.“Muslim” Equals “Arab”
Remember that crazy lady with the Einstein hair who asked John McCain if Barack Obama was anArab? No? Well, let us refresh your memory:

The instant John McCain realized that he would never, ever be president.

We’re willing to bet there’s more than a 20 percent chance this woman meant to say “Muslim” but accidentally said “Arab” because same thing, right? And even if you’re not in the tea party camp, where you’re convinced “Arab” and “Muslim” are interchangeable, you’ve probably operated under a similar assumption: that non-Jewish Middle Eastern people are Muslim and that most Muslims live in the Middle East.

But actually…

Only about 20 percent of the entire world’s Muslim population is Arab or North African. For comparison, about 22 percent of the global Christian population is African, yet when somebody says “Christian,” you don’t immediately picture a dude from Africa. Equating “Muslim” with “Arab” makes just as much sense.

That’d be like associating “Kansas” with “hate-filled douchebags”.

While we in the West have been conditioned to associate Islam with the Middle East, a whopping61.9 percent of all Muslims — aka a supermajority — don’t live in the Middle East at all; most Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region. Indonesia alone is home to more than 200 million Muslims, and the Indian subcontinent has roughly a half-billion Muslims.

It works the other way, too. For example, if you think being Arab guarantees you being Muslim these days, well, we are sorry to disappoint. As much as 10 percent of the world’s Arab population is Christian (that’s more than 14 million people). That means there are 1 million more Arab Christians than, oh, we don’t know … the world’s entire Jewish population..

#2. Western Cultures Are Far More Humane Than the Bloodthirsty Muslims

Even before the whole terrorism thing, Islam had a reputation in the West for violence. Part of it has to do with how abruptly Islam was all up in everyone’s face. For instance, while Hinduism took about 1,000 years to spread through India, and Christianity took about 400 years to go from persecuted cult to the state religion of the Roman Empire, Islam went from one guy’s epiphany to the dominant political and religious force in the Middle East and North Africa in about 100 years.

So a lot of people have reached the conclusion that the religion spread like holy wildfire for one reason: the sword. The next logical leap from this viewpoint is that as a people, Muslims must be violent and barbaric conquerors. Even before 9/11, you saw this portrayal in popular culture all the time:

Aladdin

But actually…

Muhammad laid out some pretty progressive rules of warfare, and medieval Muslims out-niced the Christians in battle by a landslide. Especially since Muhammad personally issued “a distinct code of conduct among Islamic warriors” that included:

  • No killing of women, children or innocents — these might include hermits, monks or other religious leaders who were deemed noncombatants;
  • No wanton killing of livestock or other animals;
  • No burning or destruction of trees and orchards; and
  • No destruction of wells.

And no kicking with cleats on, Jeremy.

In short, Muhammad wanted his armies to fight like freaking hippies. During the freaking Dark Ages.And they did.

But the biggest territorial gains were made after Muhammad’s death, right? Maybe that was when Islam earned its bloodthirsty reputation? Not exactly. His successor codified the existing rules and made them the standard for his army. Which probably explains why the Muslim army conquering Europe “exhibited a degree of toleration which puts many Christian nations to shame,” in the words of one expert.

Plus, they built all sorts of nifty buildings.

So while Christian crusaders were beheading enemies and tossing their heads like oversized hacky sacks, their Muslim counterparts had a whole honor code that led them to feed the armies of their defeated enemies.

#1. Islam Is Stuck in the Dark Ages
There are really three big negative stereotypes about Islam — that it hates women, that it’s violent and that it hates any kind of scientific progress. We’ve covered the first two already, but how can you argue against the third? Their governments are based on ancient religious texts! And what diseases has Iran cured?

You guys could at least take out herpes or something.

But actually…

In the same way that not all Christians are Young Earth Creationists, plenty of modern Muslims see room for interpretation in the Quran. In fact, 45 percent of American Muslims in one poll said they see evolution as “the best explanation for the origin of human life on Earth,” which isn’t so shabby, considering only 24 percent of evangelical Christians believed the same. The percentage of Muslims embracing the scientific explanation for the origin of life was about the same as Americans as a whole (48 percent).

If they only knew how to communicate their views like we do …

And historically, they have a hell of a track record. Science and math as we know it wouldn’t even existwithout Islam. The Islamic Golden Age caused a revolution in virtually every field of human thought, during which they freaking invented algebra — and advanced everything from geography and exploration to the arts, architecture, philosophy, urban development, medicine and health.

The Muslims actually came pretty damn close to sharing all this brilliance with the truly ass-backward kingdoms of Christian Europe, since the Islamic caliphates blanketed every country they conquered with schools, libraries, public works and the most comprehensive system of social welfare on the planet. In fact, the case has been made that if the caliphates succeeded in conquering all of Europe an Italian Renaissance would have been unnecessary.

It would have saved us all a lot of dong-staring, too.

So, there’s that.

All right. Now we look forward to a completely civil and logical group of article comments.

For an astute analysis of all the arguments you’re about to read in the comment section, check out 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can (And Must) Agree On.

And stop by Linkstorm because spending as much time on the Internet is totally healthy for you.

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Original post: Cracked.com: 5 Ridiculous Things you Probably Believe About Islam

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21 Comments »

  1. great article – it was freaking hilarious. im not sure it will convince anyone tho. it was so snarkastic, in fact, that im not sure ur target audience, uber-fundamentalist christian islamophobes will continue reading past the 1st few paragraphs. chances r, they’ll tell themselves that there is no evidence 2 support ur claims and that u r’nt willing 2 listen 2 ne1 else’s opinions. if u would simply list the facts and prove and them 1 at a time, sans snark, and provide a place 4 clean discussion, u will convice mor people mor efficiently.

  2. This was awesome and informative. As usual. Thanks cracked!

  3. might also mention that the word “Islam” has the same Aramaic root as the Hebrew word “Shalom” and it means PEACE!! also oops arent those two culures an AWFUL lot alike, what with having the same original languge and the same holy book fo the first few thousand pages, and the same “no anthropomorphic representations of God” thing, and aren’t orthodox Jewish women required to cover their hair in public for much the same reason their Muslim counterparts wear a veil(saving their beauty for their hubby) in other words Islam isn’t even a big scary thing, it’s just another natural evolution of Middle Eastern Monotheism, just like Xtianity and Judaism, and the real reason for all the hype is fear of competition (ie it only took the Muslims 100 years to do what took Xtianity 700) blaming international terrorism(which is in truth largely a product of U.S. and European foreign and economc policies) on Islam is just like the mideival Xtians blaming Jews for the plague! (btw the first sytem of social welfare was instituted by king Ashoka, a devout Buddhist, in India several hundred years before Mohamed was a gleam in his fathers eye, or possibly tear in his mother’s burka;)

  4. What does it mean when CRACKED is more reasonable and factual than a major political faction in America?

  5. Well written, well spoken and very entertaining. Many blessings, whatever your beliefs for a peaceful new year!

  6. WHY DO WE CALL RELIGION=MAZHAB AS ISLAM?
    DEEN=JUDGEMENT OF GOD.
    THE BOOK OF GOD IS DEEN NOT RELIGIONS OF CIVILIZATIONS.
    MAZHAB IS STUCK IN BURQA,HIJAB,SCARVE AND BEARD NOT DEEN.
    WE ALL FALL PREY TO THE CLERGY OF ALL RELIGIONS THAT DEEN FORBIDS.9:31.9:34.
    MAZHAB.2:170.
    DEEN.7:3.
    JIHAD OF GOD IS FOUGHT BY THE BOOK OF GOD NOT VIOLENCE OR MURDER THAT GOD FORBIDS.25:52.
    DEEN GIVES US THE FREEDOM TO ENJOY THE BLESSINGS OF GOD.
    MAZHAB=RELIGION’S CLERGY MAKES YOU DANCE ON THE TUNE OF MAZHAB WHO LEADS US AS A HERD BY BECOMING OUR SHEPHERD.

  7. Amazing article… Kudos on that!

    However i would just like to clarify one fact, I am a Muslim and I believe it is compulsory to wear the hijab. Anything that will unnecessarily attract the opposite gender should be covered. Unless the male is a relative or husband.

    Other than that, great job!

  8. Well written and very true. I’m a young, progressive, modern Muslim woman living in Los Angeles. I know many Arab-American Muslim actors and standup comedians who are breaking the typical stereotype, although it took many years of being casted for roles like “terrorist #3″ and “cab driver.” Thank you for speaking up and sharing your thoughts in a creative manner which will hopefully open the eyes of the ignorant. When someone is ignorant, you can give them knowledge…but when their just flat out stupid, there’s no hope…

  9. This is a very well-written article and the jokes make reading it even more enjoyable. I’d just like to add that the condition of women in PRE-ISLAMIC Arabia was abysmal: women were thought of as property, they couldn’t inherit anything, a man could marry any number of women he wanted and domestic violence was rampant. ISLAM forbade all that. Prophet Muhammad gave women rights, the laws of inheritence were laid down in the Koran, the number of wives a man can marry was fixed and domestic violence was forbidden. Also, polygamy is only allowed in Islam when the first wife permits her husband to marry again and its permitted if the man can treat all his wives equally.
    @Huda: the hijab isn’t compulsory in Islam but modesty in dress is. You can dress modestly in any way, even by wearing jeans and a scarf or Shalwar kameez (the latter is in vogue here in Pakistan).
    Bravo to the writer of this article by the way. :D

  10. Me agian. I’d also like to point out that women are FORBIDDEN to cover their faces in any way during the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) thus it is unnecessary for them to cover their faces in everyday life. A woman’s face, hands and feet can be shown in public but its actually upto the women if they want to wear the burka or not.
    If women fear that men might leer at them then its okay to wear the veil but I’ll say it again: COVERING YOUR FACE IS NOT COMPULSORY IN ISLAM.

  11. My problem is that I’m 60 years old, not 20.

    I remember the Munich Olympics Slaughter of 1972, when the Israeli delegation was unmercifully slaughtered by Arabs, in of all places, Germany. On 5 September, Golda Meir, then-Prime Minister of Israel, appealed to other countries to “save our citizens and condemn the unspeakable criminal acts committed.” King Hussein of Jordan — the only leader of an Arab country to publicly denounce the Olympic attack — called it a “savage crime against civilization… perpetrated by sick minds.”

    I remember the spiteful and vindictive oil embargoes of 1973, 1974 and 1979, when OPEC flexed its muscles and served the world notice that their asses must be kissed periodically, if Israel was to survive.

    We weren’t amused when Iran took those 30 hostages in November 1979. However, we noticed they were released THE VERY DAY Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. They knew it wasn’t Jimmy Carter they were playing with anymore. On January 20, 1981, 20 minutes after Reagan was sworn in as President, 52 American hostages were released by Iran into U.S. custody, having spent 444 days in captivity

    The Palestine Liberation Front hijacked the Achille Lauro,in 1985 redirecting the cruise ship to Syria and holding its passengers and crew hostage, demanding the release of 50 Palestinians in Israeli prisons. One man was murdered; Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish American, who was celebrating his 36th wedding anniversary with his wife upon the Achille Lauro. At the age of 69 he was shot in the forehead and chest while sitting in his wheelchair.

    I remember what the Somalians did to the Americans they captured in 1993.

    Regardless of how beautifully written the Qur’an, how exquisite the script, how stunning the Mosques, Islam has been rendered unpalatable to all those people who believe that Human Life, in ALL its manifestations is inherently worth saving,

    If the Muslim world were truly “not like that,” all people of the Islam faith would be voicing outrage against the fundamentalist bacillus that commandeered your once benign religion. The Muslim world is silent instead, except for the day of 11 September 2001, when the Arab world celebrated profusely our attack by Jihaadists. Silence = your complicity, your acquiescence. The Bush administration censored the mass euphoria in the Middle East as much as they could, and doubtless had to sit quietly while they knew of Obama bin Laden’s whereabouts, safely in the Arab world, where to identify him, identify his criminal host, and extract him, would doubtless mean another embargo.

    So, no, I don’t think any more of your culture or religion more than I do any others. Organized religion means death sooner or later. Who but the Arabs should know, after the Christian Crusades of the 12th century? When both sides enforced the rule of convert or die. But don’t come knocking on our doors because of what the Europeans thought was necessary then, for THEIR God.

  12. @ Rita— not to knock your obviously heartfelt thoughts but if you were 600 instead of 60 you might recall ooo say the Inquisition, the Crusades, the near total anihilation of the native peoples of the America’s, the Witch burnings, and the torture, slaughter, and dislocation of millions of European Jews throughout recorded history (Hitler wasn’t even the first one to think of THAT) all of which were happily perpetrated by CHRISTIANS in the name of their God. i mean even at 60 you ought to have enough historical perspective to realize that the only reason there is a problem “with the Palestinians” is that the Americans and the British decided to dump a bunch of European Jews in their backyard and then said “this is now the sovereign state of Israel, so get packin!” (just like the White folks did in North America, or like Hitler did to Poland) there is no such thing as a people who will not respond with violence when they are being oppressed by an outside culture(and this is speaking as a Jew who was raised a Quaker, and who is now a devout Pagan cause all you Middle Eastern Monotheists seem to think that killing people for profit and territory is ok if A) it’s us doing it, and B) we do it in the name of God, and C) y’all got NO RESPECT for the Earth Mother.) the Jews did it in the old Testament, the Christians during the middle ages, and now it’s Islam’s turn. actually it is NEVER the average believer that is responsible for perpetrating this stuff. it is ALWAYS the corrupt leaders. problem is IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE AVERAGE BELIEVER TO KEEP THEIR LEADERS IN CHECK! regardless of your faith (and yes i include my own in this) if you follow like a sheep, the blood is on your hands too!

  13. Extremely well written, Rita Clark! Muslims themselves are the cause for the negative beliefs about them: Muslims could easily refute the negativity, but most do not. Of course, we know what happens to the brave Muslims who DO speak out. What a religion!

  14. Rita Clark wrote “We weren’t amused when Iran took those 30 hostages in November 1979.”

    You do realise that the only democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadeq, was overthrown in a CIA and MI6 backed coup in 1953 in alliance with hardline Ayatollahs? And replaced by support for the Shah’s dictatorship for 26 years till the 1979 revolution brought in Khomeini’s semi-theocratic dictatorship?

    And that US embassies are used as CIA headquarters in other countries, with CIA agents working under cover of diplomatic immunity?

    Do you also know that the Pakistani Islamic fundamentalist military dictator General Zia allowed armed attacks on the US embassy in Islamabad in which a US citizen and Pakistani staff were killed? And that President Bush afterwards thanked General Zia for his timely intervention.

    “However, we noticed they were released THE VERY DAY Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. They knew it wasn’t Jimmy Carter they were playing with anymore. On January 20, 1981, 20 minutes after Reagan was sworn in as President, 52 American hostages were released by Iran into U.S. custody, having spent 444 days in captivity”

    This was because Khomeini wanted to show he had the power to get an American President replaced, just as the US had had Mossadeq overthrown.

    Reagan’s people were also doing a secret deal with Khomeini on this, much like the later Iran-Contra deal, in which Colonel Oliver North oversaw a CIA operation of shipping arms to the Contra terrorists in Nicaragua as they tortured and murdered civilians, funded by importing cocaine into the US on the same planes – and by selling arms to the Iranians. However i’m sure that’s all fine because the US President and military were involved and they were conservatives, so importing drugs and selling arms to both murderers and their country’s enemies must be very patriotic when they do it (see the books ‘Treacherous Alliance’ by Rita Parsi; ‘Whiteout’ by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair ; ‘Cocaine Politics’ by Peter Dale Scott ; and the wikipedia entry on Oliver North – and especially the link (footnote 13) to the Senate’s 2004 report on the Contra half of Iran-Contra)

    However none of that is the most important point. The most important point is that treating all Muslims as bad people is morally equivalent to treating all Jews as bad people (i.e being an anti-semite). The fact that it’s more socially acceptable currently to be against all Muslims and pretend they’re all terrorists or extreme fundamentalists doesn’t change that. Before the Holocaust being anti-semitic was the majority view and socially acceptable in the US and in Europe.

    By the way, on the Muslim world’s silence on crimes against Israelis and Americans, were you out protesting when the US air force killed tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians directly and hundreds of thousands indirectly over the decades to come by bombing them and their fresh water and sewage infrastructure?

    Were you protesting or condemning it when US forces targeted anyone that moved in Fallujah in April 2004, including 300 civilians killed? And firing on ambulances?

    If not and if most Americans weren’t does that mean they’re “all the same”? Or that would be faulty logic?

  15. Man, Cracked beat me to it … as an interaith minister and reasonably educated person with respect to history and world culture, I’ve been fighting the wave of falsely rationalized hate speech like Quixote tilting at windmills!

    My own list for a fututer article was: The Five Dumbest Things You Can Repeat About Islam

    (1) Allah is not the Judeo-Christian God. (Seriously, this must be the dumbest thing of all.)
    (2) There is no such thing as moderate Islam
    (3) The Quran calls the for murder of all unbelievers
    (4) Islam oppresses women
    (5) Islam is not a religion at all, but a political ideology (this makes it okay to hate them and not be called bigots apparently).

    The problem is that there is a concerted effort at propagandizing Islam, and from all my research it seems to always come back to one thing: the Israeli-Palestinian problem. Yes, the bigot bloggers and hate speech mills all seem to trace back to people such as David Horowicz, and are backed by neo-fascists like Dutch politician Geert Wilders and other authors who are clearly not experts, or at least honest in thier representation of history and scripture. For every fact you can find here, they have uber-biased “facts” and bad but easily swallowed arguments to negate them.

  16. [...] 8 Comments » [...]

  17. The only reason muhamed didn’t want the women killed was so he could rape them and keep the and his concubines. Sometimes he even raped them in front of their husbands

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  19. [...] the planet into one giant room and had to throw a football to someone wearing a burqa, it’d be next to impossible to complete that [...]

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