Permissible Arms

God in a binary number

Posted in islam by Karaka on 4 November 2009

During my long week of ill health, I cleared out most of my DVR, including the several episodes of Real Time with Bill Maher. Maher is a fifty-fifty pundit–he has just enough information to ask questions, to make a joke or two, but never enough to be truly informed. That being said, he sure can build a panel.

On 10/02/09, Maher had a panel that included Thomas Friedman. (Download it here, subscribe to the audio podcast via iTunes or here.) Friedman is a columnist for the New York Times whose subject, generally, is economics as well as foreign policy. He had a very insightful take on suicide bombers, and Islam, and the Muslim world:

Thomas Friedman: I mean, just remember that a lot of the suicide bombing that’s going on today is inside of Pakistan, and is Sunnis against Shiites. It’s inside Iraq, Sunnis against Shiites. I think foreign policy is part of it, I think that’s one of the things that feeds it. I think that, also, religion is something that feeds it. But to me, it’s–another part of this is a deep sense–it goes back to the religion–is that these young men are raised with the view that they have the most–that Islam, and this is not a criticism–is that Islam sees itself as the most perfect expression of God’s monotheistic message.

If I were to put it in computer terms, Islam sees itself as God 3.0. It sees Christianity as God 2.0. it sees Judaism as God 1.0, and Hinduism as God 0.0. And I think part of the dissonance, Bill, is that when they come here or to Europe, in their identity they have the most perfect system. But in real life, their countries are economically behind, in terms of education [they’re] behind. And there’s a real dissonance: if I have the most perfect operating system, why am I behind?

And I think that produces a lot of rage too. It is about foreign policy, it is about what we do. And it’s also about how much they hate their own government, who also keep them down, oppressed, behind.

Is he right, do you think? Or is that too simplistic?

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One Response

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  1. disco raccoon said, on 18 September 2010 at 01:08

    actually, friedman is far less informed than bill maher.

    why are muslim countries economically behind?

    the united states foreign policy has taken rigorous steps to stall muslim nationalism (bent on nationalizing middle eastern oil resources for a long time) through threats, coersion, you name it. does that not account for the economic backwardness of middle eastern muslim countries? afghanistan shouldn’t be counted (having been in a constant state of war since the 1980s) pakistan’s economic backwardness is related to it’s large IMF loans (again, IMF being an american organization, i suggest reading “confessions of an ecenomic hit-man by carl perkins to understand the exact working of this claim)

    do muslim countries hate their own governments?

    if they do, why did the united states instill the bloody shah dictatorship in iran? (overthrowing a democratically elected government, mind you) according to him, the greatest sin the united states commited against the afghans was that they armed them against the soviets, won and left them there without new schools and hospitals. brief study will show you that american sins against the afghans are rooted deeper and kept away from mainstream media with the help of intellectuals like friedman…

    friedman’s operating tightly under state power, maybe unconsciously, but it isn’t fair to think of him as insightful, i find maher exponentially capable of simple logical thought.


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