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Reflections on the Revolution In Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West

Barack Obama talked warmly of immigrant gifts on the campaign trail. His Homeland Security chief, Janet Napolitano, talked tough yesterday on the Rio Grande. All nations wrestle with immigration and demographic change. Immigration made America.

Christopher Caldwell says it may unmake Europe. A wave of Islamic immigration, European-style, is now challenging Europe’s historic culture, he says. And Europeans don’t know what to do about it.

This hour, On Point: Immigration, Islam, and the changing face of Europe.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.


Joining us in our studio is Christopher Caldwell, author of “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West.” A senior editor at The Weekly Standard, columnist for The Financial Times, and a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, he has been reporting on the politics and culture of Islam in Europe for more than a decade.

You can read an excerpt from Caldwell’s book at randomhouse.com.

Joining us from Paris is Christopher Dickey, Paris bureau chief and Middle East regional editor for Newsweek. He reports on European politics, economy, society and new technologies, as well as developing stories throughout North Africa, the Near East and the Persian Gulf.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Mike

    Oh boy this should be interesting,

    least on-point did not have Jon B. or the far-right wingers from AEI on. (thank god)

    Could on-point every do a show on pre- christian spain(moors) where it was run by muslims that lived peacefully with Christians and jews, and art and science flourished. Think it be very interesting and maybe we could learn something of religious relations.

    if you like you can read the link

  • Gil

    You should have invited Bruce Bawer to speak on this issue.

    His book “Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom” is a must read.


    Check out also,

    “While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within”


  • Jora

    The apologist for Islamic tyranny, “Mike” is at it again.

    “Could on-point every do a show on pre- christian spain(moors) where it was run by muslims that lived peacefully with Christians and jews, and art and science flourished. Think it be very interesting and maybe we could learn something of religious relations.”

    Double lie:

    There was no Pre Christian Spain since the Mulsim imperialists conquered Spain and forced many Spaniards to convert.

    Jews were treated there dhimmis, second class citizens and they idea of living peacefully is Islamic propaganda.


    Even today al kaida and other Islamic fascists dream of conquering Spain again.

  • http://www.onpointradio.org/about-on-point/wen-stephenson/ Wen Stephenson

    We did do this show, with historian David Levering Lewis on his book “God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215.”

    And please, we appreciate your participation, but let’s keep this discussion civil.

  • Felipe

    Thank you OnPoint, but do we really need a program like that. Talking about division and misunderstandings where people take sides and take stabs at each other.

    Instead, why can’t we talk about what has brought us here. Maybe the basic brick is not there or is a cardboard box, instead of being a brick.

    Another Sept 11 is coming. Let’s have an intelligent discussion about the events of 9/11 and what really has happened. Let’s look at the evidence (structural, architectural and physical) without any b/s.

    Example of BS: If we really look at the collapse of the buildings, we will dishonor the Firefighters. No, no, no. We will “Honor” them. The planes did not kill a single firefighter. The Collapse did.

    San Francisco Architect Richard Gage is coming to Boston to speak at Harvard on Sept 10. Can the producers invite him for an hour of discussion? After Sept 11, he if going to Japan and Australia.

    WBUR’s job to give voice to the cause, instead of talking about the obvious outcome, hatret, division again and again. We can change everything around if we take a real look at 9/11 ask questions. Forget about everything that we were, and think about WTC 7, nothing else. What if…?


    If we don’t do that, we will be talking about Christians vs. Islam on OnPoint hosted by Scott Ashbrook (Tom’s grandson) in the year 2046.

  • Ellen Dibble

    An excerpt of the excerpt linked above, Christopher Caldwell says: “On April 20, 1968, two weeks after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the race riots that it sparked in Washington and other U.S. cities, the British Tory parliamentarian Enoch Powell made a speech at the Midland Hotel in Birmingham that has haunted the European political imagination ever since. Powell was talking about the arrival, modest up to that point, of “coloured” former colonial subjects, primarily from the Indian subcontinent but also from the Caribbean. At the time, this migration had changed the face of only a very limited number of urban neighborhoods. Powell implied that the long-term consequence would be ghettoes like the ones in America that were burning as he spoke. “We must be mad,” he said, “literally mad, as a nation, to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependants, who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant-descended population. It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.” Citing the poet Virgil, Powell warned, “I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’”
    I hope this hour is about a Europe that originally needed temp workers after World War II and found themselves with populations from former colonies disrupting the status quo. When I think how Americans came here to avoid the restrictions and exclusions, the intolerance of Europe, I expect a Roots Revisited.
    Not a discussion of 9/11.

  • Mike

    Thank you Wen,

    i will listen to this.

    “apologist” please, Jora what happen after in spain you remember?( Inquisition ). I’ll take what i learned from the history channel before some angry blogger.

    My point was to see if we can look at the past and see what we can learn, between Europe and islam to find common ground.

    It amazes me the hatred,mistrust coming from some against arabs and islam, yet when this same hatred is directed at them or christian or jews by arabs they are dumbfounded to why.

  • Joe B.

    The Hagia Sophia (in Istanbul, Turkey) was once the greatest Christian Church of it’s day, but the Ottoman Turks forcibly and under great protest, turned it into a mosque. Beware Europe.

  • gabrielle

    this guy is a fear-mongerer… why give him airspace?

  • Putney Swope

    This should be an interesting show.
    France has the largest Muslim population in Europe and they are also the poorest and the most marginalized segment of the country.

    In Holland there is talk of sending people back to the country of origin. It seems to me that this is a clash of cultures and colonialism.

    I use to live in Scotland many years ago and I was walking down to Leith in Edinburgh with a friend who happened to be black. As we walked, it was in the evening I should add, he was called all sorts of racist names from several cars that drove by. Sensing my agitation he said don’t worry this happens all the time, I ignore it. I witnessed this a lot while I lived their. One time while I was dropping off a friend in a working class area we herd these young Scottish boys yelling racist profanities at a window of Pakistani family.
    What they were saying can’t be repeated here as it’s so vile and offensive.

    Recently there was a story involving Romanian immigrants in Northern Ireland in which became so violent that the government payed too send back any family that wanted to back to Romania. While these people are not Muslims it does illustrate a huge problem of xenophobia and hatred of others in some areas of Europe.

    We should not forget that the wars in the Baltic states in the 90′s were religious wars.

    The history here is long and complicated.

  • Felipe

    Ellen Dibbie,

    I respect your opinions. I understand your freedom of choice. On the other hand, we are not stupid and uninformed. As structural engineers, there may be certain things that we know, but possibly you may not know.

    There is overwhelming “evidence” that the original plan was to bring down the “three” buildings with cutter charges as part of the plot. But the day after the event after the dust has settled down, it just did not make sense. That’s all. Steel framed buildings structurally never collapse at a vertical free fall speeds. This is the only claim we have.

    When the topic of discussion is The Events of 9/11, you can always turn off your radio. But please, do not discount the effort.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Felipe, I have watched an hour-long show on why the World Trade Center buildings collapsed. I think I watched it twice. Not being a structural engineer, I was just fascinated. When the subject comes up here, I will surely listen if I have the chance.

  • millard-fillmore

    “Could on-point every do a show on pre- christian spain (moors) where it was run by muslims that lived peacefully with Christians and jews, and art and science flourished. Think it be very interesting and maybe we could learn something of religious relations.”

    Mike, like the train bombings that happened in Spain?
    It’s interesting that the Spanish people, when they first heard about the bombings, started protesting against ETA; but once the real culprits were revealed, no more protests. Poof. Silence. I wonder why the eagerness to protest against ETA by the liberals, but no so much against extremist Muslims who resort to violence and killing of innocents instead of participating in a democracy, while living in a democracy?

    Let’s take the issue of freedom of press and freedom of expression.
    1. Danish cartoons. I don’t need to say anything.
    2. Theo van Gogh – a film-maker and an artist killed by a Muslim extremist for making a film.
    3. More recently, Geert Wilders was banned from entering Britain for calling a spade a spade, but Muslim extremists continue to spread their hatful propaganda there. Double standards.

    So, is it any surprise that those who are not capable of living in liberal democracies are being sent back? If someone wants to live according to sharia, why would they choose to move to a liberal European democracy is beyond me. There’s Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan to choose from.

    The liberals in Europe with their guilt seem totally at bay on how to deal with Islamic extremism in their midst.

    Putney, have you thought a bit about why Muslims who move to and live in Europe are poor? Is it the fault of Europeans? It might be helpful to take a look at other non-white immigrant groups and see how they fare. It would be helpful to look at Qu’ran and see what it teaches about non-Muslims, and how that influences Muslims immigrants regarding non-assimilation/non-integration with the society and culture they choose to live in. How about family planning? To continue to blame European societies for the poverty of Muslims who choose to move there and live in ghettos, is ignoring more than half the story here.

  • millard-fillmore

    Putney Swope, it takes a generation or two for immigrants to move out of their “poverty”. It also requires a zeal for education, for moving forward, for being in touch with today, and hard work. If a section of the population clings to past glories, regressive ideas and shuns contact with the mainstream calling it “decadent”, then I’m not sure it’s the fault of the mainstream if this section of the population remains marginalized and poor. My experience has been that European and American societies offer plenty of opportunities for those who want to work hard and make their lives better.

    And if I immigrate to a new country or a new society, the onus is also on me to learn about that society and live my life in sync with their values (of democracy, free speech), and do my best to not cause conflict. That’s basic common sense.

  • Joanna Drzewieniecki

    Watching Europe during the last few years has diminished my opinion of the countries of that continent and has made me appreciate the Americas a lot more. I have come to understand that Europeans are nationalist in a fundamentally different way than Americans. For most Europeans, nationalism is about “blood.” Thus, they view all immigrants as foreign in a very profound sense. And immigrants’ children are viewed as partially foreign as well. I can see this with Latin American immigrants to Spain, with East European immigrants in all European countries and with people from the Middle East as well.
    Europeans also require a kind of assimilation that would be out of the question in the United States or any other country in the Americas. During the French discussion about headscarves, I often thought of the Amish in the United States. No wonder their ancestors left Europe! Certainly they and their lifestyle would not be welcome there now.
    All that said, I think that while the road to multicultural European countries will be bumpy, I think Europeans will finally work it out and a new Europe will emerge which will have redefined nationality in a fundamental sense.

  • jack

    The perfect book for this subject: “The God Virus” by Darrell Ray (2009)

  • praveen misra

    What he is describing as a threat sounds something like:
    European colonies that conquered Asia, Africa, and Americas. Did they assimilate with cultures, no simply imposed their’s on others.

    While i do not agree with living too much in the “Burka” wearing communities in EU but i find his comments disguised versions of Neo-Nazi, New-con, supremacist comments.

  • Ed K.

    What is the solution offered by the author? Internment camps? Final solution?

  • Putney Swope

    millard-fillmore I was not blaming the French. I was pointing out a fact. However you seem to like to blame people for being poor as if this was a choice they made at birth. To simple and it creates this absurd argument that people from poor countries have know one to blame for their condition other then themselves, this is absurd. I agree with the assimilation issues. One only has to look at the the Muslims who come here and to Canada, they seem to adjust better and this is due to economics. They succeed and seem to able too find the means to do so. This is more to do with how these nations are emigrant based.

    In the Netherlands the Muslim population are getting the same education that Dutch children get.

    In Britain, well I have witnessed the xenophobia of the white British population. It’s in the langauge, they call corner shops “Pakys”. Do you want to argue with me about this? I lived their for 8 years. I’m kind of Middle Eastern looking and I was called all sorts of names by complete strangers. The dirty little secret of British society is that they are pretty prejudice against people of color. Try and find a person of color with the rank Colin Powell held in the military let alone government in the Great Britain.

    This is a complicated situation that’s for sure.
    I think it’s more about economics culture.

  • Putney Swope

    millard-fillmore your also tarring all Muslims as orthodox or fundamentalist or worse, extremist. Most are not.
    France also has the largest Jewish population in Europe.
    A lot of them are orthodox and fundamentalist and they do not follow the French way of life. They have kosher homes, some with two kitchens. The main difference is commerce and being given to ability to be part of the economic success of the country.

  • john oleary

    …I dont know if Islam is a threat to Europe ….
    but i do know that Muslims are not well tolerated here ..
    example the Sihk gas station owner shot dead after 9./11
    because someone assumed that he was a Muslim.

    interesting show .

  • william

    the facts are clear the dutch are comfortable in their space and with others as long as no one comes inside to rock their boat. Intolerance in Europe is always has been defined by xenophobia of none Europeans in Europe.

  • Greg

    Female genital mutilation, honor killings, oppressive female dress codes…all now common in Europe thanks to Islam. I have no problem with people of Middle Eastern heritage…as long as they assimilate and join the West! Join the 21st century and lighten up, and I wouldn’t mind you in my neighborhood. (I have to admit, I think religion is the larger issue here. Irrational thought and sacred ritual is always going to make good people do bad things.)

  • william

    its less about hanging on, lynching is what America hangs on. Its more about education, tolerance, understanding. Something we lack in the US and Europe.

  • Seema

    I don’t understand why today’s guest sees wearing a Burqini as a problem with Islam? What’s the big deal? She just wanted to wear a loose fitting outfit to go swimming instead of a smaller bikini. I don’t see how that is something that causes danger to others or is seen as an act of uprising against the French social system.

  • Mary Kay

    I hear Caldwell referring to a culture that is uniquely Western, resulting in a cultural tension between Islam and the European nations. Not to forget this Western way is an imperial way steeped in imperial policy with economic interest at heart, with a ‘my way or the highway approach’. Is this the tension Caldwell is referring to? Is Western imperial history the ‘cultural’ legacy Europeans hold onto in the current era with resistance to immigration and religious plurality? Good luck holding back the damn…the black and white manifestations of the colonial are gone.

  • millard-fillmore

    Putney Swope,

    “millard-fillmore your also tarring all Muslims as orthodox or fundamentalist or worse, extremist. Most are not.”

    =>could you please quote my sentence that gave you that idea? I’ve been careful to use “extremist” as a qualifier, because I know that not all Muslims are extremist, just like not all Europeans are xenophobic or racist. Should I turn this around on you and say that you’re calling all Europeans as racist and xenophobic? :)

  • william

    Jewish terrorists attacked England in 1947 in response to the lack of support for a Jewish State. Jews were vilified and persecuted for this.

    Today the same thing is happening to Muslums in England, America and everywhere in the world because of propaganda.

  • http://www.myspace.com/walkerstorzbillstorz Walker Storz

    Anti-Islam is the new anti-Semitism. Western culture thrives on racism. Now we can wage a “war on terror” (how can you wage a war on an abstract noun?) to fight “Islamo-fascism,” and if a few villages get leveled in the process, too bad. Everything was just peachy with the U.S. and Europe until those foreigners started coming into the nice, white, peaceful suburbs. Now it’s a “demographic conflict.”

    You can circumlocute and dress it up with fancy words, but this is basically the latest xenophobic, reactionary crap.

  • Greg White

    The problem with Caldwell’s argument is that it’s very akin to the late Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilization thesis. Huntington’s thesis is troubling on both theoretical and empirical grounds. The “West” and “Islam” are not monoliths. Caldwell seems to continue to fall back into those categories. And in reality Muslim immigrants to Europe have been assimilated (and legal) to varying degrees throughout Europe since the 50s.

  • John

    The woman wearing the burqini in France got a much better reception than a woman wearing a bikini would have received in Saudi Arabia.

  • Putney Swope

    I wonder why the eagerness to protest against ETA by the liberals, but no so much against extremist Muslims who resort to violence and killing of innocents instead of participating in a democracy, while living in a democracy? This is not calling Muslims extremist?

  • william

    wow, the good ole boys on the radio’s rigid comments are what we really need to hear. Intolerance is truly an american value.

  • Greg VItercik

    The current caller, whose family “came from South America,” that is, Alabama – foreigners must assimilate. This is the conservative viewpoint. How can Mr Caldwell claim that a Sarah Palin viewpoint would be supportive of “girls” in burqas????

    This is nonsense.

  • millard-fillmore

    “In the Netherlands the Muslim population are getting the same education that Dutch children get.”

    If it’s the same education, then what’s the difference that results in extremism for one and not the other?

    “In Britain, well I have witnessed the xenophobia of the white British population. It’s in the langauge, they call corner shops “Pakys”. Do you want to argue with me about this?”

    I wouldn’t use anecdotal and personal experience in lieu of facts to draw any larger conclusions regarding xenophobia or racism of the society. Such anecdotes and personal experiences vary from bad to good, though the bad experiences are the ones we filter and remember.

  • dianna g

    Danish Cartoons issue

    I know there is no excuse…. but, let’s learn something

    How many of us here know that there was a connection between the Danish Cartoons and Daniel Pipes?

    The whole thing was a set-up to provoke something, but the American Media conveniently has ignored it.

  • millard-fillmore

    Umm, Putney Swope – did you miss the term “extremist Muslims” in my sentence?? Why am I even responding to this derailing of discussion by nit-picking, even when I used a qualifier?

  • Putney Swope

    A lot of the ones I met in my time in Scotland were racist and xenophobic and they were not even aware of this. It was part of the langauge. When you get called a wacky Paki and this is done as a joke, this is common practice in Britain. You can’t escape the history. I can’t escape the history of my country and it’s treatment of African Americans. Even though I don’t think of myself as a racist, I’m sure there are things in my upbringing that define my view of African Americans.

    I’m not calling all Europeans racist and xenophobic, I’m only going my personal experience.

    This story is particularly disturbing and speaks volumes about what I’m talking about. The people in this story are Romanians.


  • Greg Vitercik

    E pluribus unum. Valid for everyone who’s already made it here. Everybody else, shape up and stop bothering us with your strange ways. It’s really HARD to deal with people who aren’t like us. We’ve always been JUST like us.

    It’s curious how the Alabaman’s ancestors probably wanted to secede from the US. Now he wants to mandate what “American” should mean.

  • millard-fillmore

    The whole thing was a set-up to provoke something, but the American Media conveniently has ignored it.”

    dianna g.,
    I agree with you. I think we in the liberal, secular democracies should start conforming to Islam, Christianity, Scientology and other religions even though we may not be not religious, and make sure that our “freedom of speech” is superseded by “not hurting religious sentiments”.

    BTW, I have two questions for you.
    1. In what language is Jyllands-Posten published? (Though a case can be made that not all cartoons require knowledge of Danish).
    2. How many Muslims who protested, subscribe to J-P?

  • Mary Horowitz

    My elementary school in the 1930s was a mini United Nations with at least 30 different nationalities. All of us were children or grandchildren of the great wave of immigration of the turn of the century. Our only aim was to assimilate and become Americans, which we all did.

    My maternal grandmother never learned English but could get along in her little Finnish farming enclave in Northern Michigan. She efficiently ran a large, successful dairy farm. I wonder how she would be pilloried today for not learning the language. I can assure you that every one of her children and grandchildren spoke English very well, thank you, and scattered to all corners of the U.S. to prosper and contribute to society.

    Everything turned out just fine. All of us children of the immigration wave turned out to be good American citizens. You just have to be patient and not get hysterical and alarmist about the whole thing.

  • Putney Swope

    Umm, Putney Swope – did you miss the term “extremist Muslims” in my sentence?? Why am I even responding to this derailing of discussion by nit-picking, even when I used a qualifier?

    gee, well lets not nit-pick here. Why are you responding.
    You like things to go your way as most people do.
    Have you ever lived in Europe for and extended period of time? If not you don’t know what your talking about.

  • Stephen Elliott

    An excellent and intelligent program on a difficult subject that should be re-broadcast frequently and available on podcast.

    I look forward to hearing it again and reading the book.

  • millard-fillmore

    “You can’t escape the history. I can’t escape the history of my country and it’s treatment of African Americans. Even though I don’t think of myself as a racist, I’m sure there are things in my upbringing that define my view of African Americans.”

    You mean “you” can’t escape history? You should’ve used “I” in your above comment then, instead of putting your burden and baggage on to everyone else. I may have a different identity and different history than you do, and can make up my own mind as to which historical baggage I want to carry and which one I don’t. That’s such a Christian view of guilt because of historical baggage.

    BTW, is there a cut-off date for this escaping history, or are all of us – white, non-white, Americans born here, immigrant Americans – supposed to subscribe to and bear this burden of liberal white guilt depending on the historical date the white liberal decides on? And if so, why? Because it’s a white person’s world and if they feel guilt, then rest all have to feel guilt too? Get out of here, man!! :)

    BTW, if people can’t escape history, then the Islamic world must be buried under a heavy weight of using the sword to spread Islam. Shouldn’t you apply the same standards – of not escaping history – to everyone?

  • Ellen Dibble

    What if we said the word “racist” is no longer descriptive but like the word “nigger” meant mainly to disparage? What if we said, use whatever circumlocution you need to, but be precise. Don’t use a word to tar a whole population, a whole era, or even one person posting.
    I like the idea (which by the way seems to be the tag line for Bill Gates’s foundation) of enabling everyone, giving everyone globally a good chance to be their best. Why be threatened? The more on board, the better.
    In ways, there is an ancient theory that we need slaves, war trophies or whatever; we need peons, we need mindless, walled-off herds, to keep things going.
    No one is coming up with an argument for creating and maintaining this disenfranchised subgroup, but it lurks here in all sorts of ways.

  • millard-fillmore

    correction: “..we may not be religious” in my 12:00 pm EDT comment to dianna g.

  • Peggy Gale

    I would like to respond to the author’s comments re feminism and Islamic women dress. I havce lived through the feminist wars of the last 60 years and still fear that our gains can be taken away. So yes, feminists are worried aabout the evffect of any group that don’t give women full and equal citizenship. I also believ that the many of the women in these groups are in essense brain washed by their own mothers from a young age and are not in a position to freely make decisions about their dress. However, the French way of banning headscarves, etc is self defeating. This calls for a continuing education effort for all citizens. My travels to Turkey tell me there can be a state where Islam is revered, but doesn’t run society.

  • Hajar

    I’m a Muslim girl from middle east and am wearing hijab (scarf). I’ve traveled to different European countries because of my job as a researcher. I was living in London for one year and now am living in the US. I’ve never thought myself as a threat to the western culture. My idea is to stay with the things I believe in from my own culture and learn and adopt the things I think are valuable and good from the other cultures. And also try to respect the other people’s cultural beliefs. I don’t think there would be any cultural clashes if this attitude becomes a general culture. If we want to think of others as threat to our cultures, the globalization would be meaningless.

  • Mike

    Millard, asking question but presenting no answers again are we?

    “Mike, like the train bombings that happened in Spain?”

    I guess that would not be pre-christian would it Milly :)?.

    And as you pointed out in your ICC post you really dont care about human rights or suffering instead you used it in your post was a weak attempt to prove your faulty point.

    I recommend you educate yourself about all cultures you may find it shocking that all arabs, muslim are not terrorist

    Great job tom in your questioning and follow-ups of your guess esp when Caldwell try to fabicate numbers and information. I dont think jane C. would be able to do such.

  • Putney Swope

    millard-fillmore are you white, male, and a wasp?

    I never said I felt any guilt, I was talking about awareness. I don’t feel guilty about my situation. Far from it. You and I can not escape history. If you think you can then I would say your in a state of denial.

    It defines us. To live as if it is something that is past, to be swept up under the carpet so to speak is kind of silly. You say there is a cut off date for this. I guess the problem here is confusing guilt associated with history for the acts and lessons to be learned.
    My family was not in this country when the Cherokees were made to walk the trail of tears. They were not part of the enslavement of Africans. But to deal with African Americans from this lens does not work. I am part of the history of this country and with that comes the baggage. How one deals with it is a different issue. Ignoring it seems absurd too me.

    Colonialism is part of European history, to deny this or act as if it’s something that no longer matters is not a wise course of action. Understanding it and recognizing it’s effects on the the people it was perpetrated on is essential to moving forward as societies.

    As for demeaning my personal experiences in this regard, I have to strongly disagree with you. I was living in the culture. I heard what I heard and saw what I saw.
    It defines my view points on one level. How can you diminish this?

    Lets unpack your statement about my experiences or as you put it “my baggage”. Would you say this to someone who was tortured? Or a POW? How about someone who has been beaten up for being Jewish or Black?
    By denying this your just telling me my views don’t count, you twist it around so it seems like I’m in the wrong. However this plays both ways and nuance comes into play. There is the external history, the one we read about and learn and then there is the one we experience. The two play off each other. Before moving to Scotland my entire view of this country was based on what I read. The reality was very different.

    By the way my experiences in GB was also reacting and talking to people who lived their. My friend was half African and Scottish. He was also from a privileged class and very well educated. His experience in his own country was anything but easy. He had too endure constant racial slurs daily. My reflections are not only my own.

    I think you should read that article on Northern Ireland and then tell me people are not pretty ugly in this case.
    This is not isolated as an incident. It was common for Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Indians to have their homes fire boomed. I would read about these incidents enough in the news papers in those days to ascertain that Great Britain had a race problem. Until recently no person of color could rise into the upper ranks of the military.
    When Colin Powell was the Joint Chief of Staff of the Pentagon you would be hard pressed to find one black man above the rank of Colonel.

  • Mike

    “Geert Wilders”

    is a racist in any regards (spade a spade) get real, NPR talk of the nation did a thing about this character he is what we would call the michael savage and Rush L combine in line with skin heads and the kkk. You can listen to the loon on bbc as well.

    He was ban entering the UK just like Michael S. because of the hate speech he puts forth.

  • Mike

    @ comments about Hagia Sophia:

    Hagia Sophia was in a very poor condition in Constantinople for decades before it was sold to the Muslims of already-renamed Istanbul. The Church was not stolen or taken by force. It was put on sale and purchased. That is a big difference and a historical fact.

    @ comments about Spain

    There are plenty of books from the past 10-15 years that there were forceful conversions by Muslims of Christians in Spain. This is also not factual. Christians lived and survived for 500 years under the Moorish rule, the same cannot be said for Christian rule right after the recapturing of Spain by the Christians. Both Muslims and Jews were forced to convert – hence the term inquisitions. If Moors forcefully converted Christians in Spain there would be none left for 500 years. 5 centuries is plenty of time to do what Spanish did in only a few years.

    This is also not debatable – as this is historical fact, too.

    Lets not even get into genocide of Muslims in Bosnia from 92-95 by Serbs and Croatians, the concentration camps in Europe again in the 90′s as there were in the 40′s for the Jews. Lets not forget that Srebrenica is ruled as genocide by the International Court in Hague. Lets not ignore that Greece and Romania, both had substantial Muslim populations in the early 20th century and today there is virtually none – why and what happened to these people?

    I love how so many people pick rhetoric over facts. Pick up a book – other than a profit-driven-quick-sells. Anyone can write today – but not everything written is factual.

  • millard-fillmore

    Putney Swope,

    If one starts considering historical wrongs, there’s no end to such grievances all over the globe, and you should know this. So, if we are to espouse globalism and universality of humans, then that is in direct conflict with this “righting the wrongs”, because it makes certain assumptions about a group of people and maintains those strict lines and walls between groups of people. It paints certain people as victims and gives them little choice in the matter, because it’s all about expiating the white guilt, a modern version of ‘white man’s burden’, if there was one. Looks like non-whites are condemned to be that burden – first, historically, as colonial slaves, and now put on a pedestal with all their current wrongs ignored. Why not treat human beings as human beings, and use the liberal values of equality, democracy, free speech?

    Let’s take slavery in America. Many whites as well as a few blacks owned slaves, and many whites didn’t. So, are all whites – even those who immigrated recently and were born within the past decade – supposed to take on this burden? How about the descendants of those who fought on the right side of the Civil War with Lincoln? I see no logical or rational reason to, and if some white liberal told a recent white immigrant from Europe that he is supposed to feel guilty for slavery and racism, then the immigrant should rightly laugh at that liberal.

    And how about the descendants of those black slave owners? Do they partake of this liberal guilt, or not? Or do they have double guilt, for being black and being slave owners? Or are they excused because, well, racism is still there in our society? If so, would that be double-standards?

    What you’re trying to do is – instead of having a diversity of historical experiences, as is the case – place one version (yours) of history in place. It gets tricky – because facts don’t neatly fit into your version of black-and-white (no pun intended) history, and there are always exceptions.

    I don’t look at, or interact with individuals by wearing these glasses of history. That’s a choice I make, and I hope others won’t look at me and judge me based on simply my skin color or my ethnicity. Who knows what my ancestors did and what injustices they carried out, and to hold me accountable for such injustices and holding a grudge is pretty stupid.

    Yes, history matters and nowhere have I implied that it doesn’t. But to turn history into balls-and-chains for myself as well as others and victimize people, that’s pretty stupid, if you ask me.

    You also wrote:
    “Would you say this to someone who was tortured? Or a POW? How about someone who has been beaten up for being Jewish or Black?”

    We have laws to tackle hate-crimes – that’s the way to go about and bring a change in the society in a democracy, along with education. Our Constitution – and constitutions of all liberal democracies – give that power to the citizens. Make your case, get people behind you, and bring about whatever positive change you want to bring. I hope you’re not implying that it’s OK for someone who was tortured or was a POW, or beaten up for being Jewish or Black, to resort to violence to right the wrongs. Because your same argument can be applied to next-of-kin of Nicholas Berg and Daniel Pearl – civilians who were beheaded. So, if you really believe in equality and one standard for all humans, then by the same token, if next-of-kin of such civilians who were killed by extremist Muslims, start distrusting all Muslims because of their very personal history, then, according to you, that’s OK, because they can’t escape history.

    As for my ethnicity, religion, skin color, gender etc., that’s irrelevant when we’re talking about facts and using logic to discuss an issue. Those are private issues that have no bearing on the discussion. I’m a human being and I believe in the values of freedom, democracy, free speech and secularism. That’s where I stand.

    Mike, I don’t know what to make of your comments. When you’ve learned to consider facts and use logic instead of using labels to argue a point, come back and I’ll be happy to discuss.

  • millard-fillmore

    Putney Swope, I’m not devaluing your experience – sorry if it came across that way. Just that your experience is your experience, and not applicable to me. That’s the problem with making certain conclusions based on personal experiences.

    And I’m not implying that racism doesn’t exist in the US or Europe. There’s still work to be done, but I don’t think condoning Islamic extremism or turning a blind eye towards it, is the way forward. Two separate issues, as far as I’m concerned.

  • millard-fillmore

    correction: “That’s the problem with making certain conclusions based on personal experiences and extending those conclusions to the entire population. It’s not scientific and it’s not rigorous.”

  • millard-fillmore

    “Colonialism is part of European history, to deny this or act as if it’s something that no longer matters is not a wise course of action. Understanding it and recognizing it’s effects on the the people it was perpetrated on is essential to moving forward as societies.”

    Putney Swope, I agree, and I do understand the impact of colonialism, which is very real and still existent. But maybe you need to see that the “white guilt” phenomenon is also a kind of colonialism – painting others as victims and making “white guilt” as the overriding factor of consideration. That’s why we have dianna g. (dianna g., if you’re not white, please correct me – I’m making an assumption) in the comment above ignoring facts and rushing to conspiracy theories about Danish cartoons and Daniel Pipes, and imputing motives without any basis. This kind of behavior, which stems from white liberal guilt, may not be as pernicious as colonialism was, but it is equally patronizing.

    Anyway, we don’t have to agree on everything, and I’m fine with agreeing to disagree where we do.

  • Putney Swope

    Anyway, we don’t have to agree on everything, and I’m fine with agreeing to disagree where we do.

    So am I that’s what I call a healthy debate. Hey, and we did it without screaming at each other…

    And I’m not implying that racism doesn’t exist in the US or Europe. There’s still work to be done, but I don’t think condoning Islamic extremism or turning a blind eye towards it, is the way forward. Two separate issues, as far as I’m concerned.

    I agree with you 100% on this, two separate issues.

    As far as my experience base on your or anyone else for that matter well I kind of thought that would be a given.
    I’m only relating what I observed and experienced. I should have compared it to this country. I do think Christopher Dickey mentioned how immigrants in Europe are thought off as this other entity then what is the people of the countries being discussed. What I found interesting was how they talked about the head scarf ban in France and yet they did not mention the banning of yamakas. A double standard if you ask me. If Muslim girls want to ware head scarfs what’s the big deal?
    This kind of thing only breeds contempt.

  • millard-fillmore

    Putney Swope,

    I’m glad to discuss issues with you – it’s indeed nice when we can do that without shouting or name-calling. :)

    “What I found interesting was how they talked about the head scarf ban in France and yet they did not mention the banning of yamakas.”

    I’m a big proponent of having one law for all religions, instead of giving favors to one over the other. So, to me, if a law is to be passed, it should cover all religious garb of all religions. And no different standards as applied to Piss Christ and Danish cartoons – if it’s an issue of freedom of expression/speech by an artist, then it is paramount in both cases.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Lilya, Putney asks Millard-Fillmore; gets a rather cold shoulder; brings up the yamaka, which is a kind of handshake. And Lilya erupts. I am not Jewish so I tend to think of a Yamaka as either a Japanese car or a maker of pianos used at the Metropolitan Opera. Okay, okay. I am in very serious mode now, thought maybe you were, umm, “confined.” If you want to shake in your boots, look at “Democracy Now,” with Amy Goodman, where the website will have today’s program, an interview with the author of the book “The Family” by journalist Mr. Sharlet (Harper’s Weekly and Rolling Stone) of NYU’s Center for Religion and Family.
    We may feel a bit smug vis-a-vis Europe after today’s program, but that book makes America seem like bunch of jerks highly manipulated by egos of supernatural chutzpah. Not publicly, of course. Hypocritically.

  • millard-fillmore

    “Putney asks Millard-Fillmore; gets a rather cold shoulder..”

    Huh? What cold shoulder, Ellen? Putney and I are doing fine discussing issues.

  • Jessica

    Caldwell is not completely accurate in noting the arrival of Sicilians in America was less controversial than that of Muslims today. If one knows the history of Italian Americans, one might actually see a parallel between the two groups. Italian American anarchists were scrutinized by the American government as most Americans do know the story of Sacco and Vanzetti. But, most Americans do not know that after Mussoli declared war on the United States, Italians living in America had to register as enemy aliens during World War II and a few thousand of them were detained in camps. This history, like that of the Germans, is ignored by mainstream scholars who try to deliver history as they would like it to be understood. PBS actually declined to show a doucmentary on the interment of Italian Americans during World War II, but everyone knows the Japanese American story of interment, albeit, much harsher than its treatment of ITalians and Germans, but why is it white American would like to to dismiss these histories. Also, although not presented in the best of argumentative points, I think it is worth noting that the largest lynching in United States’ history was that of elleven Sicilians in Louisiana. I think Caldwell should perhaps reconsider his statement after he does all of his reading.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Millard-Fillmore, I see you and Putney do fine. Putney tells quite a bit about himself, however, and you less. Were you after him for using his life experience? What else have we to go on, pray tell? Philosophy?
    Without anecdotes, context, I picture you as someone out of the 19th century, not much more. I mean, that’s fine, but he did ask, and you said it was irrelevant, and if that wasn’t a cold shoulder, well…

  • millard-fillmore

    Ellen, why would I be out of the 19th century? :)
    And I’d be perfectly happy to meet Putney in person and tell him my story and answer his questions, over a cup of coffee. I just didn’t see any relevance of my religion or skin color or ethnicity to the discussion we were having.

    As for philosophy and world-view: I mentioned in an earlier comment that I’m for democracy, freedom, secularism and free speech; and I don’t claim to be perfect, but I strive towards having no double standards. Live and let live, but take no guff from bullies and don’t ignore threats. Based on my limited understanding, I’m critical of some/many aspects of US foreign policy, but that negative aspect of my country doesn’t make me want to be friends with Islamic extremists, or justify their violent actions because “we deserved it” – my stance is to improve the democratic system and make it more accountable, *and* at the same time, fight Islamic extremism. I’m not a firebrand or an ideologue, and examine each issue separately, and I value independent thinking. Based on my reading and analysis, I find some value in left, right, and libertarian world-views, but I just haven’t come to a point where I feel comfortable embracing a specific ideology, and not just because I see numerous examples of ideologues substituting their ideology in lieu of facts, and being very sure of themselves – seems that ideology is their religion in which they place blind faith. I don’t want to be like that and lose my ability of independent analysis and looking at an issue from different perspectives.

    Oh, and I’m a very passionate and vocal critic of the two-party system and I’m for cleaner politics (props to Ralph Nader for that awareness + knowledge), but you know that already.

    Anything else you’d like to know? :)

  • millard-fillmore

    “Were you after him for using his life experience?”

    Ellen, if you mean whether I asked him about his life experiences, then the answer is no. He volunteered to share.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Millard-Fillmore, the 19th century deduction comes from the name you use. I have a picture in my mind’s eye. Your philosophy, thanks, and I did get that from other postings of yours. Relevant or not, I guess I’d like to know how you came to assume the philosophical stance you do. Are your parents very dogmatic, so you are stepping out from that? Have you been like this all your life? Are several regions of the country feeding into your perspective, several age groups, cohorts of associates from different persuasions?
    Perhaps you are not in a position to sense the sort of shape of your identity in a way that can be usefully and swiftly conveyed, for you nor me — as you say, in a public forum. So it goes.

  • Jora

    Mike the muslims says “…. Jora what happen after in spain you remember?( Inquisition ).”

    Islam has its own inquisitions which has been going on for over a thousand years.

    Muslims are the cruelest imperialists in the world.

  • Chris

    Oh, I disagreed with SO much that Christopher Caldwell had to say, because his almost imperceptibly bigoted generalizations are supposed, in his view, to describe a number of “truths”. PERHAPS his writing speaks better than his speaking does, but, for me, he had far too many prejudices posing as “analyses”.

    I am writing, however, to express a difference with Christopher Dickey, who was so clear, and whose observations did seem in scale to the judgmental “use” he put them (his observations) to, with one SIGNIFICANT exception.

    Mr. Dickey said that ALL Americans are immigrants. How very ODD to completely eliminate Native Americans from consideration when the topic is immigration!!! It is this VERY STANCE, however, that has condemned our nation to SO MANY ill-advised adventures for centuries now. Until we TRULY UNDERSTAND the colonial nature of the European take over of North America, as well as of Central & South America, we will NOT understand not only our OWN history, but the history of our involvement in other areas of the world!!!

    True, disease wiped out huge proportions of the indigenous populations from First Contact, but the other part of American history: the willingness of the Native Americans to negotiate, to form allegiances, as well as to fight firm for their land and ways, and to express outrage at the repeated betrayals of treaties on the part of the Europeans — until we understand that history, we have NO RIGHT to enter into a discussion about the topic of immigration because we are UNprepared to do so intellectually!!!

    Another country that needs to understand ITSELF better is Great Britain. Almost everywhere the British Empire extended to is today a major battle ground, whether with enemies from outside any given area, or with internal enemies thru civil wars. The British have the “nerve” to feel imposed upon by immigrants now???!!!

    A person who needs to READ good history is millard-filmore, above. Filmore, you philosophize on top of verbiage you claim represents fact, but your verbiage is mainly just decent topics from TODAY’s world which have been trashed by our garbage-y media (NPR excepted) which you throw, unreflected, into a discussion about events and motifs from the past, with no understanding of something SO big, I don’t even have the name for it. Please: read some of the brilliant scholars writing today who are using primary source material to better understand our history before you put it, and relevant topics, thru the meat grinder.

    A case in point here: you speak about African-Americans who owned slaves. The actual number who owned slaves for economic reasons, if known, is so low as to be insignificant to understanding slavery as the economic basis of American life for centuries. It is true, learning the specifics about those African-American slave owners would be interesting, but to harp on it is to dwell on a red herring. African-American Johnson, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, owned slaves, but he did so at a time in colonial history when laws apportioning power and rights based on race were only in their infancy. But, you better believe, the trajectory was very quickly one of more & more race-based laws, called Black Codes and/or Slave Codes, and their existence defined the American experience until the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

    For the most part, African-Americans who owned slaves purchased their OWN relatives to keep them from being sold away from the family, especially after the Fugitive Slave laws were passed (there were several versions of the law at different times). At some point (it’s almost 1 a.m., so I’m afraid I’m NOT going to look up the exact information for you, but you WILL find it in your reading), slaves who had been given their freedom by their owners were required to leave the state in which they had lived. There were laws on the books that allowed “slave catchers” to round up NOT JUST runaway slaves who had NOT been manumitted by their owners, but ANY person of color. At some point, this rounding up of free persons of color could happen even in the northern states. Some blacks, therefore, tried to get all the way to Canada thru the Underground Railroad to prevent being caught and re-enslaved (actually, even blacks who had NEVER been enslaved could be rounded up). For black families, that would mean separation by thousands of miles. Some blacks, therefore, if they were free, and if they could earn enough money somehow, purchased their OWN relatives so that at least they could live together in the same geographic region. PLEASE start reading good scholars writing about American history. America was a schemingly greedy and vicious place, especially where race was concerned — vicious! It has MANY pitfalls to warn us about to this day and beyond. Thank you.

  • Mike


    1) i am not a muslim

    2) It seem your misinformed on your history, judging from your posting if you recall you history of the christian crusaders says otherwise along with the relationship between Christians and jews(dark ages) Have muslim done some nasty things of course, but so has Christians and jews.

    3) There nothing wrong with being a Muslim, as there nothing wrong with being a christian or jew. Such hatred toward this groups for just belonging to them should not be tolerated in Europe and the U.S.

    4) my point as stated above is to find some common ground between religions and pointing to the moors where a brief period in Spain’s history that had this. You may choose not to believe this and that your own problem but facts are not on your side.

    5) “cruelest imperailist” this could be said about any major power though out history, greeks, romans,Ottoman,Moguls, Chinese, americans, british, french, germans, and the list goes on.

    6) All three religions had tyrants, dictators, ruthless murders , All three have radicals as well and still do, but again though i believe religions do more harm than good, All three have people that perform acts of kindness and caring.

    This last group i would hope to be the majority, it seems to me that some of the leaders of these groups are the ones who do the most harm, by there interpretation and use of religion to gain power, wealth, and unquestioning authority but not all be it christian, Muslim, or Jewish .

    7) How do you justify painting all muslims as such, should than Christians or jews be painted the same way? and what would be your actions towards Muslims?

    8) your statement about ellen seems pretty childish.

    9) The behavior your displaying does nothing to advance anything but weaken your own statements by showing you have nothing intelligent to post.

    10) listen to the link Wen posted to better inform yourself or actually pick up a history book, or something cool like Art history which was really good, i enjoyed it


  • millard-fillmore

    Right, Chris. If anyone is not angry and breathing righteous fire, then they’re not informed enough and need to read more history. Of course, your reading and your perspective is the only correct one, and everyone else has to agree to it with no room for diversity of perspectives, or else their words are just verbiage while you are shi-tting unadulterated gold. Typical white privilege of “It’s all about me and how I see the world” with no room for an exchange of views – I guess not much has changed since colonialism. Thanks. Got it.

    So, how do we go about making all the residents of Great Britain realize their history and make them come around to your view, since they’re all idiots and you are the resident expert on understanding history and people’s roots? And will peace prevail once that happens, and will you remain agitated till the world changes to your utopia? Or do you get your jollies off by just intellectual posturing? And does this guilt translate into ignoring the very illiberal Islamic ideology and the real threat of Islamic extremism by labeling all criticisms as “bigoted”? While I need to do some reading (thanks for the pointer to slave history), looks like you’re pretty ignorant too.

    Aren’t you also making certain assumptions about me and my origins – that I need to feel some guilt over America’s and Great Britain’s history? What if I don’t share your skin color and your roots? Am I allowed to have a perspective different than yours, or do I have to follow my master?

  • H.M.C.

    Let it not be forgotten that Europa attacked Africa, first through slavery and later on through their venture which they pathologically called “The Great Game” to carve it up. I would like to remind all and the French in particular that they stepped into the Muslim African north before anyone else and murdered and raped these nations and sucked wealth and resources over generations.

    I am glad Muslims have begun “taking over” France. “You raped the country of my grandparents, you left nothing for my generation. Now I will move to your country, land of my colonial overseer, and I will take it back.”

  • Bucky Sarrazin

    Re: HMC’s vitriol.
    With these sentiments Cpt’n, ya better run. Believe me, with the sins and transgressions of the US’s and UK’s past… well yawl are in for one rough ride on the old sod.

    Bucky Sarrazin
    Huron Homeland Security,
    fighting terroism since 1492.

    Oh ya, look up Libya while you are at it. Ther is a real success story huh.

  • maureen

    HMC , I think you better learn who started slavery ….yes you guessed it …Muslims ….and don’t you know its still going in Africa….please educate yourself …


  • Chris


    I am not white; I am African-American and Native-American. And I did NOT say you should feel guilty; I said you should read historians before you philosophize about topics that play out within history.

  • H.M.C.

    Maureen -

    Educate myself? What a joke.
    Muslims STARTED slavery?
    Slavery is as old as humanity. I will admit to you that it was WIDESPREAD in the Pre-Islamic Arab world – you do, by the way, know that at some point before Islam existed the Arabs already did, and they were already active in the slave culture? You are aware that Arabs as an ethnic group existed before Islam are you not? You are aware that there was slavery in ancient China and also lets not forget the Roman Empire, BC – BEFORE CHRIST. WAY BEFORE ISLAM.

    What Islam (ISLAM – not Muslims necessarily, has done, textually and theologically, is make the abolition of slavery as an act of piety and godliness.

    Maureen, what FOX programming are you getting your data from. Please pick up a book!

  • Maureen
  • millard-fillmore

    “[Geert Wilders]

    is a racist in any regards (spade a spade) get real, NPR talk of the nation did a thing about this character he is what we would call the michael savage and Rush L combine in line with skin heads and the kkk. You can listen to the loon on bbc as well.

    He was ban entering the UK just like Michael S. because of the hate speech he puts forth.”


    The issue is freedom of speech – that bedrock of liberal democracies, not your subjective view of someone’s writings or thoughts. KKK, Michael Savage and others – however disagreeable their views are – are still allowed freedom of expression as guaranteed under the Constitution here in the US. Free speech is not the same as agreeable speech, nor is it the same as inoffensive speech. (Who decides?)

    Please get your basics regarding “free speech” right, before being gung-ho about banning it. Didn’t you see the film “The People vs. Larry Flynt”? I’m starting to wonder whether liberal people like you really understand or care about the value of “free speech” and how essential it is to a democratic society. You can also look up the quote mis-attributed to Voltaire on the issue of free speech. If you really claim to be liberal, then I find it surprising that you don’t support Geert Wilder’s right of free speech, and are instead rationalizing the decision to ban him!! Whether we like what he says or not, is irrelevant.

    And if you’re really so eager to ban “hate speech” (though I’ve to wonder why, while living in a free society with First Amendment in its Constitution), you can start with Old Testament Bible and Qu’ran – you’ll find plenty of passages inciting hatred against those who don’t believe.

    Why such double-standards – one for Geert Wilders, and another for Muslims/Christians? I thought equality for all was a liberal value.

    BTW, Geert Wilders was *invited* to show his film at the House of Lords by UK Independence Party peer Lord Pearson. That’s how we do things – we read, watch, discuss and debate, instead of following some religious book on how to conduct our affairs.

  • H.M.C.

    Congratulations Maureen!!

    I commend you on your excellent habit of believing everything you watch and accepting 7 minute Youtube videos as given and absolute fact without cross-referencing sources and investigating if the producers are objective etc.

    But since Muslims invented slavery and rape and killing and murder and womanizing and AIDS and Barney and Sarah Palin I won’t be surprised from you.

    I will gladly buy you a book. Let me know.

  • millard-fillmore

    Well, Chris. Isn’t that an egg on my face!
    I take my earlier comment back as I eat the humble pie.
    But my point about extremist Islam stands.

  • H.M.C.

    Peggy Gale.

    A few things. Your post of the veil and feminism and brainwashing is very much tainted by your own cultural frames of reference and you are transmuting an issue through your own cultural prerogatives. Also, your visit to Turkey doesn’t give you any special privileges my friend. It is best not to do that. I am a Muslim man. I pray my prayers and keep a beard. To call Muslim women what you did is akin to me calling you a whore for not wearing a veil on account that one time, I went to New York City. Incidentally, I would like to ask you something: I have never been to Las Vegas NV but not too long ago I saw images of woman performing on stage in that city and I recalled that most of them were bare-chested except for colorful streamers dangling (glued I suppose) to their nipples. I hope to God that this is not the culmination of the freedoms you fought so hard to attain. But if thats what you guys want, then thats ok. To each his own. Just please understand that in my own tradition, we see THAT as complete female subjugation, and not a women modestly dressed. Try to step away from your own mind for a second and consider.

    Also, I want to agree with you that I do not believe a society should be ruled as a theocracy. I think it is absurd and a terrible threat to anybody living in such a state, Muslim and otherwise, but a terrible threat to Islam itself. There is nothing in this religion that calls for the establishment of an “Islamic State” – this is a modern, uneducated construct as a response to the failure of post-colonial policies in many Muslim countries and this was never part of us for our 1400 year history. The scholars remained in the Mosques and the Sultans in the halls of power. A mixing of the two has ALWAYS been absolutely disastrous!!! Dont ever let anyone tell you different.

  • Ellen DIbble

    It is enlightening to get past “Oh, educate yourself” and on to specific understandings/experiences. Scholars can spend a decade trying to weasel the truth out of whole libraries of books. “We can only know in part” — out of the Bible somewhere — which doesn’t stop us from trying to understand.
    I’d still like to know about the golden age in Spain (before Ferdinand and Isabella and the Inquisition, before the Moors were driven south), when Islam actually used the skills of Jews and the Christians had their place too. I think there was a PBS special on that. I think at that time Spain actually needed all those people’s contributions, willing contributions.
    As to the train and the ETA — I think Spain caught the bombers pronto, and they were not based in Spain. Not an ongoing thorn in their flesh. The group was more intruders — had been.
    I was in Europe in the 1980s, all by foot, and met every minority. Turkish people in Berlin. Gypsies in Vienna. Iranian woman on the run at a hostel in Belgium. A Syrian guy in Prague with $100 and a trip to his military camp on offer. An Indian merchant in London. Tales for another time. I am not surprised by what Caldwell says.

  • millard-fillmore

    “I am glad Muslims have begun “taking over” France. “You raped the country of my grandparents, you left nothing for my generation. Now I will move to your country, land of my colonial overseer, and I will take it back.””

    So, H.M.C., should we apply your logic to those lands and those people that Islam subjugated and/or plundered in the past? If you want to treat Islam and Muslims as a monolith – just like you are doing to Europe – then it’s entirely fair and in the interests of justice that you and your ummah pay for the sins of your ancestors first. I guess what US is doing in Iraq and Afghanistan could be seen by some as just deserts for the past misdeeds of Islam and Muslims, since Islam is a monolith (similar to how many thought that US deserved 9/11). Right, my friend? Agreed?

    Let’s open up the account books and start a tally of past misdeeds and injustices by different groups. Should we start with the Armenians and their genocide by the Muslim Turks? How about the killing of Hindus and Sikhs, and destruction of their temples by Muslim invaders? Destruction of Buddhist monasteries and slaughter of Buddhist monks by Islamic marauders? Do you need some links to these historical facts, amigo?

  • millard-fillmore

    “I think it is absurd and a terrible threat to anybody living in such a state, Muslim and otherwise, but a terrible threat to Islam itself. There is nothing in this religion that calls for the establishment of an “Islamic State” – this is a modern, uneducated construct as a response to the failure of post-colonial policies in many Muslim countries and this was never part of us for our 1400 year history.”

    H.M.C., excuse my ignorance, but I have a question. Who are this “us” that you speak of and speak for?

  • H.M.C.


    Point very well taken and very well understood. You are right, my position was infantile and absurd. I accept that.

    With that said, I would like to say a few things. All the historical incidents that you pointed out are true and they did in fact occur. Such is the nature of invading armies I suppose. (I would not attribute the Armenian genocide to Islam however. It was a geo-political maneuver by the Turkish Sultans of a very waning Ottoman Empire. Religion had nothing in that matter other than the identity of groups vying for control).

    I guess what irritates me in particular is that generations ago, the French “scrambled for Africa” and became essentially a parasite nation of the natural and human resources of many lands across Africa and Asia. I have heard that Algeria was typically atrocious. I have spoke to Algerian and have read accounts that the French operated concentration camps of sorts in the countryside and that the rape and impregnation of Muslim Algerian woman was endemic during the harsher years of French rule. Until this day, France and Algeria maintain an icy relationship over France’s refusal to emit a public apology.

    You know, depletion of resources, the decimation of populations and the up-ending of established socio-political orders in many countries have left rifts that will take perhaps hundreds of years to recover. People always wonder why sub-Saharan Africa is such a basket case and I do truly believe that many of the problems that have brought on war and unrest in Africa in the 20 and 21st Centuries can be traced to European interference in that continent in earlier centuries. So by that token, it angers me that immigrants from these decimated nations, Algerian, Senegalese etc, find no recourse but to emigrate to France and are treated like colonizing bacteria, when it was French expansionism that got the ball rolling in the first place.

    I do thank you however for recognizing that Islam is not a single monolithic entity just as we know the US is a vast and tremendous country and the Muslim World needs to get its head out of its ass and recognize this, among other things, as well. Thanks, amigo.

  • H.M.C.


    The “us” is the Muslims. Of which I am one. I know my religion inside and out. And I am not one of ‘those’ Muslims – the one with the metro hairdo and the glass of wine and the girlfriend from Connecticut that is on Islam-lite. I am willing to go toe-to-toe with any scholar you would care to throw at me that claims otherwise concerning my stance of the separation of theologians from positions of governance.

    The Prophet had a saying:
    “The best of rulers are those that sit at the feet of scholars and the worst of scholars are those that sit at the feet of the rulers.” Very true.

  • millard-fillmore


    Thanks for your gracious response. I not only agree but empathize with your frustrations about historical wrongs that were done in Africa and Asia because of colonialism or religious wars, the after-effects of which will linger on for a long time. I’ve seen a film on Wangaari Mathai as well as another excellent documentary titled “Darwin’s Nightmare”, which only scrape the surface of the conditions in African countries and the reasons for such conditions.

    I wish I had some easy answers or solutions to these complex and complicated situations and the interplay of identities, but I don’t. Anyway, thanks for writing your comment above and sharing your thoughts – I appreciate it.

  • Ellen Dibble

    H.M.C. set out this:
    The Prophet had a saying:
    “The best of rulers are those that sit at the feet of scholars and the worst of scholars are those that sit at the feet of the rulers.”
    And you say you could go toe-to-toe with any Islamic scholar on separation of church and state — sorry if your words are getting dragged into our lingo — and I am wondering if Ahmedinajad is sitting (like a good ruler) at the feet of the Ayatollah in Iran who is the successor to the Ayatollah Khomeini (like a good scholar, with Ahmedinajad at his feet).
    The concept is so easily manipulated. It reminds me of the Greek idea from the origins of democracy of a “philospher king,” one ruling not for power but for principle. He does not have to be bought.
    But on the other hand, if one is ruling/governing “for principle,” then matters most closely linked to religion come into play. The Greeks’ religion was not the sort that would match up with Plato’s ideals, but I think religion and morality get tangled up in governance.
    We say “no ESTABLISHED religion,” saying that having been a refuge for those persecuted for their beliefs (or their behavior). But I think the model for fear of established religion was Henry the Eighth and the persecutions of first Catholic, then Protestant, back and forth, leading up to the time of the Pilgrims, and religious tolerance was not at all in their game plan. Freedom to be pretty extreme was their desire.
    So there’s nonetheless a lovely wise quote. Thank you for that.

  • Maureen

    HMC .I doubt you looked at the site “abolish ” it certainly is not fox news ……Don’t deny that the Arabs/muslims had and still have a very big role in slavery.It is still shamefully going on in the Arab/muslim world as if it was normal ….and I don’t care about your text or your theology . so please save you breath . I don’t need a preacher.


  • H.M.C.


    Arabs/Muslims still have a very big role in slavery?

    Listen up. There are roughly 53 majority Muslim nations on the planet. I understand that slavery still exists etc. and is a particular serious problem in Saharan Africa. Please provide a list of all NON-SAHARAN MUSLIM countries where slavery is an endemic problem. Please also provide statistics of Slavery in Indonesia and Western China.

    You see, your credibility went out the door when you accused Muslims of ‘inventing’ slavery. I still want you to take that back because it is the comment of a moron. And I don’t think you are a moron.

    As usual, you went ahead and pigeonholed my religious tradition because of what some other Muslims have done, irrespective of the fact that they may be violating prohibitions canonized by their own faith. Along those lines, I will refuse my CHildren to have any contact because as everyone knows, all Christian men are pedophiles. I saw it in the news! And on similar terms, allow me to tell you what I think of Germans and African-Americans!

    You are a rude, little woman and you don’t know how to argue. You make wide, irresponsible statements.

    Do your world-crusade a favor and quit tacking on people’s faith and traditions as the impetus of their actions, before examining yourself, with scholarly time and dedication the sources for your own self.

  • Mike

    simply put millard,

    Britain is not the U.S. and is not subject to the U.S. constitution, im sure your well aware of this?

    So bringing up the U.S. constitution has no bearing to my posting as the same goes for rebuttal to my posting as well since i was talking about the U.K.

    I did not state he should be banned in the U.S. only to the reason as why he was in the U.K.

    Maybe you should read the posting before you respond with your high and mighty comments about the U.S. constitution that does not bound the UK.

    I would think a informed independent such of yourself would know this. am i wrong or did you not realize the errors in your posting by talking about the U.S. constitution(no bearing to my comment) when clearly i was talking about the UK?

  • Mike


    i recommend you educate yourself, from your black or white view that you seem to present.

    Such as these three Jeffrey Sach,Onora O’Neill,Wole Soyinka


    this is perfect for this debate.

    “We will live or die in the 21st Century according to whether we can co-operate globally. Our problems – ranging from climate change to species extinction to failed states – are global and require global co-operation to solve them.

    he touchstone of my Reith Lectures this year were the words of President John F Kennedy in 1963 as he sought peace with the Soviet Union in order to pull the world back from the nuclear abyss.

    President Kennedy said: “Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts.

    “It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process – a way of solving problems.”

    Risk of fear

    The media can play a unique role in that global problem solving. When I gave the Reith Lectures, I knew that the lectures could, at least potentially, reach hundreds of millions of people.

    There was simply no better venue for a global discussion than the BBC World Service.

    And indeed from African villages, to passport counters and airport check-ins, to corridors of power, I met people in all parts of the world that were tuned into the Reith lectures and were debating them within their families and communities.

    The core underpinning of global co-operation is that we have a sufficient degree of trust so that representatives of different societies can reason together in peace.

    The central risk is that morbid fear overtakes us, with fear degenerating to hate and conflict.

    Will we be an open global society or a group of fearful and closed societies poised for war?

    Fear today is pervasive, especially after terrorist incidents. We know that such incidents can lead to a general conflagration.

    A terrorist shot in Sarajevo provided the pretext for German aggression which started World War I. 9/11 was used by the Bush Administration to launch the Iraq War.

    In both cases, trigger-happy leaders exploited the incidents for their own political purposes.

    In both cases, the national media played along. The failures of the American media to slow or stop the descent into the Iraq War are the greatest media failures of our current era.

    Our major media transmitted with little questioning the lies of officialdom and they editorialised in favour of the war.

    The war coverage itself was overtly propagandistic, with reporters sending home patriotic messages that dehumanized the Iraqi population on the receiving end of the US bombs. Everyone killed by a US bomb automatically became an insurgent or a terrorist.

    It is interesting that the lies leading up to the war were more aggressively exposed and discussed by the new media of the internet than by the established media, who were constantly looking over their own shoulder with concerns about listener approval, government regulators, and corporate advertisers.

    The problem with the internet, of course, is that it transmitted considerable flakiness alongside pithy truth telling. Blog sites, for good and ill, are unfiltered and unaccountable.

    Our survival in the 21st Century will depend first and foremost on one core human skill: empathy. Co-operation depends on trust.

    Trust depends on believing in the common humanity of “the Other”.

    Appreciating our common humanity depends on empathy, the ability and moral bravery to see things through the eyes of the other, even of one’s adversaries.

    The Bush Administration’s belief that Americans would be greeted as liberators in Iraq was the opposite of empathy. It was unbridled and ignorant hubris.

    What then can the media do? Three things will be most important.

    First, the media can present people of other cultures and political leanings, so that we can hear what they think.

    Such cross-cultural exchanges should be respectful and truth seeking, not insulting and point scoring. They need not veer away from tough questions and hard challenges, but they should not be games of “gotcha,” to humiliate or expose “the Other” in wars of propaganda.

    Second, the media can intensively scrutinise our own governments, which operate on the logic of power-expansion and self-preservation.

    Paths to co-operation

    In short, almost all governments lie and lie relentlessly. Yet governments can be made to lie less frequently by being exposed and held to account by the professional media.

    It is a media function that fails in authoritarian societies where journalists are locked up or murdered.

    It is one that can fail in our own societies, in the United States or the United Kingdom, through self-editing, or the allure of power and access, or the fear of government reprisals through regulatory retaliation.

    Third, the media can translate science to the general public, and the public’s concerns back to the scientists.

    We need to give scientists and technologists a key role in the challenges that lie ahead, because today’s challenges and our best options – regarding climate, biodiversity, water scarcity, desertification, extreme poverty, emerging diseases, and demography – require a solid understanding of science and technology.

    It was a wonderfully wise decision for the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to award half of this year’s Nobel Prize to the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, since the IPCC, as it’s called, represents the most ambitious and successful global process to bring complex scientific understanding to the broad public.

    In short, we need professional journalism more than ever, to tell – with detail, expertise, accuracy, accountability and sensitivity – the stories that can help the world to avoid the abyss.

    We need journalism of the highest standards and ethics to help us to understand other societies, the science and technology that define global risks and opportunities, and the paths to global co-operation rather than wider war.

    We need professional journalism to sort out the gold and the dross that are found on the internet today.

    John Kennedy put our hopes this way: “For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

    That is the most urgent story that needs to be told in the 21st Century.

    I understand these things are hard for you to grasp but maybe you should try a little harder in informing yourself.

  • millard-fillmore

    “So bringing up the U.S. constitution has no bearing to my posting as the same goes for rebuttal to my posting as well since i was talking about the U.K.”

    Well you’re the one who mentioned KKK, Mike Savage, Rush L. etc. in your comment, it wasn’t me. As far a I know, they are active in the US, not in the UK, so you expanded the scope of the discussion.
    And both USA and UK are liberal democracies with freedom of speech as a foundation. So, even though the US Constitution doesn’t apply to UK, the concept of free speech is common and it doesn’t take anything away from the point I made.

  • millard-fillmore

    Mike, why are you quoting JFK? Didn’t he escalate the conflict in Vietnam? A Democrat and a war-monger. Is this how the Democrats whitewash history?

    And I’m not sure what your last comment has anything to do with the issue being discussed. Co-operation is a two-way road, and it doesn’t include sacrificing free speech and other liberal values to religious extremism.

  • Mike

    Here is a article about ‘Geert Wilders ” who is facing trial in his own country for inciting hate.


    People can read the article and make there own decision.

    Also Millard in the UK i’m sure your aware The home secretary has the power to stop people entering the UK if she believes there is a threat to national security, public order or the safety of UK citizens, but cannot exclude people simply because of their views.

    As David Miliband points out
    “We have profound commitment to freedom of speech but there is no freedom to cry ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre and there is no freedom to stir up hate, religious and racial hatred, according to the laws of the land,”

    Again millard this is not the U.S. but the UK to help make thing clear for you.

  • Putney Swope

    HMC you make some very outrageous claims and twist history for your own agenda. You also seem to have some kind of anger management issues.

    Please, if you can’t act rationally what’s the point.
    As for the the French, well they spent a century or more slaughtering themselves in religious wars. Also why are you picking on them and not the British or Germans, the Belgians.

    As for slavery, well it does go way back does it not.
    Remember Moses and Pharaoh, you know the old testament.
    Arabs introduced it the Europeans. It’s a fact of history.

    By the way if your into starting another religious war, which seems to be your point here, I have to ask.
    Why is it that people like you seem to be caught up in the past to the point that it poisons your very soul.
    The level of hate you have must be very painful. Get help.

  • millard-fillmore

    “i recommend you educate yourself, from your black or white view that you seem to present.”

    When it comes to freedom of speech, I see no other option but to be black & white, otherwise what’s the point of having that hard-fought and hard-won value? You are entitled to your different opinion which changes as the wind blows and capriciously applies shades of gray to freedom of speech. That’s your problem, not mine. *shrug*

  • millard-fillmore

    “We have profound commitment to freedom of speech but there is no freedom to cry ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre and there is no freedom to stir up hate, religious and racial hatred, according to the laws of the land,”

    And as I said before, let’s apply the same standards to what’s written in Old Testament Bible and Qur’an about non-believers, and that’s nothing but hatred. But pointing that out is considered “hatred”. Nice twisting of facts.

    BTW, do you think this stirs up hatred or not?

    This is in UK.

  • Mike

    “Mike, why are you quoting JFK? Didn’t he escalate the conflict in Vietnam? A Democrat and a war-monger. Is this how the Democrats whitewash history?”

    huh? again try and reading the entirety of the posting before commenting and displaying you lack knowledge and throwing accusations (which you seem to do) I do wonder if a independent such as yourself even realize what your saying sometimes.

    Michael savage was banned as well in the UK. as for rush and the kkk, both push alot of hate speech(disagree all you want) such as Geert But the UK under there laws have the right to ban such.

    Again your point of using the U.S. constitution as relates to the UK is off base, yet both countries are liberal democracies but both (maybe hard for you to understand) have varying and different laws for there country. As the U.S. constitution of gun rights is nothing close to the laws for the U.K.

    If you wish to defend that bigot Geert go right ahead? Go on tell us the benefit for his such speeches? and how its helping cultures find common ground?

  • millard-fillmore

    I bet the above picture is no threat to national security, public order or the safety of UK citizens at all, and is nothing but outpouring of brotherly love by some Muslims. Bye-bye freedom of speech, hello appeasers and dhimmis like Miliband and Mike.

  • millard-fillmore

    “and how its helping cultures find common ground?”

    OK, Mike. What do you know about Islamic tenets and as they relate to:
    a. Secularism
    b. Freedom of Speech
    c. Rights of non-Muslims
    d. Rights of women
    e. Rights of gays and lesbians

    And if you are so eager to erode freedom of speech in your rush to find common ground, what else and who else will you throw under the bus next? Why not move to an Islamic country and you will find plenty of common ground. You are deluded and I’m done wasting time on you. I hope you wake up some day soon.

  • millard-fillmore

    Mike, also look up Anjum Chowdhury and his speeches, and decide for yourself whether they’d be considered hate-speech or not, and if yes, ask David Miliband why Anjum hasn’t been banned, but Geert was. I guess Anjum’s speeches help gain some common ground, according to you.

  • Mike

    And as I said before, let’s apply the same standards to what’s written in Old Testament Bible and Qur’an about non-believers, and that’s nothing but hatred. But pointing that out is considered “hatred”. Nice twisting of facts.

    BTW, do you think this stirs up hatred or not?

    of course it does just as these picture



    But im guessing since both are UK citizens there allow to express there views, unlike geert who is not which under UK law they can ban him from coming and inciting hate.

    i’m sure your aware of this(beginning to doubt it) that there were Muslims as well that were banned from entering the UK for hate speech as well. There was a list of people who were.

    So is your point that hatred should be meet with harted from the outside?

    on the program below savage makes some of the same arguements you make, and after he cannot handle the callers question he hang up and the next guess talks more about the UK. BTW is not the govern by U.S. constitution.
    BTW Muslims were banned as well. if you think it was only him.

  • Mike

    “ask David Miliband why Anjum hasn’t been banned, but Geert was. I guess Anjum’s speeches help gain some common ground, according to you.”

    haha your a joke “according to you” Your deep seated hatred for muslims is amazing, i see why you would follow and like a character like Geert.

    According to you all Muslims are evil, who are extremist and are all the same even when proven wrong

    According to you empthy is white liberal guilt even when proven wrong

    According to you the world is black or white even when proven wrong

    According to you the U.S. constitutions shows no difference to the UK even when proven wrong

    According to you freedom of speech is find if your yelling racist slurs, ,but yelling your mama is a arrestable offense.

    According to you Americans should focus on politics and human rights of non-democratic countries before focusing on improving our own yet is the same breath complaining about the 2 party system yet your own logic would dictate you help with politics in those non-democracy first.

    And according to all your comments you posted it seem your are far from independent and quite frankly radical when it comes to muslims and blinded by a smuggnish that knows no bounds in hypocrisy from your statements and generalizations you put forth on people that disagree with you.

  • millard-fillmore


    Looks like your comment above violates the comment policy of WBUR, though it’s no surprise to me. It also seems like I’ve gained an INTERNET STALKER. What’s next? Are you going to try and find my address and come beat me up or kill me for asking certain questions that you find uncomfortable?

    This is really troubling to me, not to mention an unacceptable behavior on your part and just so that you know, I’ve sent in a complaint to WBUR to either edit or delete your comment.

    One thing is becoming clear to me: all that talk about diversity etc. that liberals pat themselves on their back on – going by your example it’s just hogwash. If someone doesn’t step in line or expresses a difference of opinion, then vicious attacks like yours occur.

    By the way, you talk of empathy but seems like there’s a lot of vitriol in your comment above. Do you really think you’re the perfect role model for teaching empathy to others? Seems like you need to learn some empathy yourself before trying to teach others.

    I hope the WBUR producers delete or edit the off-topic and ad-hominem portions of your comment soon.


  • Mansoor Ansari

    In regards to UK denying visa – if these ppl can be denied visas then go can Wilders.



  • Mike

    Millard please,

    you loob ad hominem attacks on me may btw and what you stated can and could be consider slander
    “What’s next? Are you going to try and find my address and come beat me up or kill me for asking certain questions that you find uncomfortable?”

    ad hominem attacks made by millard

    “And if you are so eager to erode freedom of speech in your rush to find common ground, what else and who else will you throw under the bus next?”

    “I guess Anjum’s speeches help gain some common ground, according to you.”

    ” hello appeasers and dhimmis like Miliband and Mike.”

    “It also seems like I’ve gained an INTERNET STALKER”

    I hope Onpoint looks at your comments as well and the slander you just presented on this thread.

  • Maureen

    look who is talking my little man about who is being rude ….You think because I am a woman you can be condescending ? Go talk to your burkini clad wife that way …Anyway , I really don’t care what you think .As far as the muslim world and all its problems ,no matter what you say , the proof is in the pudding …….

  • millard-fillmore

    “I am mindful of the fact that stating one’s opinion on Islam is a crime against humanity or something tantamount to that in some people’s opinion. It is the only sacred cow left, it would appear. One can honestly state that one is opposed to Nazism, or communism, or libertarianism or Christianity or Hinduism or Voodooism. But you are not allowed to criticize Islam. You are an “Islamophobe” and have offended 1.5 billion Muslims. I just don’t quite understand why Islam has to be above criticism. I can understand that Muslims are bound by their faith to follow the dictates of Islam and not criticize Islam. But since when have non-Muslims come to be governed by Islamic laws in their non-Islamic societies?”

    -from a blog

  • Leslie

    This discussion was very disappointing.

  • http://hbdbooks.com Richard Hoste

    Muslims shouldn’t be allowed into Western countries because the majority don’t want them here. Why is that enough of a reason for nonwhites to protect their culture but not whites?


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