Distilling Petraeus

General David Petraeus - Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A)As I posted earlier, General David Patraeus recently told the Wall Street Journal that he wasn’t too pleased with Rev. Terry Jones’ and his Dove World Church’s plan to burn a pile of Qur’ans on September 11, 2010.

General Petraeus’ made it clear that he believes such an act would endanger our troops stationed in the Muslim World and civilians everywhere.

As befits a career military officer, his words were succinct, blunt, and very much to the point.

It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort. It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community.

While many of us differ in our priorities and in our opinions of how much weight should be placed upon the General’s warning, nobody is refuting his claims – including the Muslims. Everyone seems to be in agreement that Rev. Jones’ plan to burn 200 Qur’ans will result in widespread violence by Muslims against Westerners in general and Americans in particular.

So, if one distills or boils down General Petraeus’ admonishment and warning, one is left with a simple, profound, and disturbing statement.

Do not offend the Muslims; they will kill you!

It is utterly beyond me how anyone, especially the Muslims, can reconcile the claim that Islam is “The Religion of Peace” and the apparently freely admitted fact, proven time and time again, that offending or insulting Islam and/or its Prophet Muhammad results in a violent, murderous response.

Muslim Responses Follow A Simple Script

The Script Of Offended Muslims In Various Iterations

Muslim apologists and the various Liberals consistently claim that these acts are committed only by small fringe element of violent extremists within Islam, yet the above images involve Muslims in eight separate countries spread across four continents and include Muslims from multiple ethnic groups and overall economic strata.

When you add the above statistics to the fact that everyone in the world who was vehemently against Rev. Jones’ planned burning of a pile of Qur’ans claimed that the violent response of Muslims to this act was a credible threat to both America’s military forces and the Civilized World’s civilian population how do you maintain the claim that things are committed only by small fringe element of violent extremists within Islam?

If there are enough Muslims who would turn to violence, jihad, and terrorism due to the burning of a stack of books so as to be a actual threat to America’s forces in the Muslim World how can anyone maintain the fiction that Islam is “The Religion of Peace?” It has to be one or the other; either everyone railing against Rev. Jones is and was wrong or everyone claiming that Islamic Terrorists and Jihadis don’t make up a significant fraction of the Muslim World.

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14 Responses to “Distilling Petraeus”

  1. African Origins Says:

    Again I think you’re mixing up religious radicals with moderate peace-loving good citizens. None of the Monotheistic faiths preach a true peaceful message. All of them believe they are the only truth and regard ‘others,’ as ‘heathen’ ‘lost’ ‘infidels,’ etc. This always breeds some hostility. Along with intolerance. But when these things mix with radicals, we get terrorism. We get war, all manifestations of violence.

  2. jonolan Says:

    But I’m not mixing up anything. I’m stating that you can’t reconcile the idea that these supposed “moderate peace-loving good citizen” Muslims being a significant majority with the idea that offending the “religious radicals” is a creditable threat to the US military and various Western populations.

    One or the other premise must be wrong. Given the response by so many heads of state, military leaders, and prominent Muslims, I place my bets on the former premise being the one that is a myth.

  3. Natassia Says:

    This post is along the same lines of something I posted today and something other conservative thinkers not concerned with seeming _____ (fill in the blank with your favorite liberal slur: intolerant, bigoted, racist, extremist, prejudiced, hateful, close-minded, etc.) are also saying. Those types of conservative bloggers are rare though, especially in the mainstream conservative sphere.

    I wrote:

    Leftists are unwittingly coming to an inevitable conclusion about Islam. I’m just waiting for the day when they have that “aha!” moment. We call Muslims “radicals” who seek to enforce Islamic law and encourage jihad on non-Muslims. They already want to subjugate and kill us.

    And yet, when non-Muslims plan to burn Korans, leftists howl that this will lead to even more violence. Why? Radicals have already been planning violence against us anyway. That’s why we call them radicals.

    Or is it because leftists really believe that there is a sleeping monster within the mainstream “moderate” Muslim world waiting to be stirred by an offensive-enough act? Silly lefties.

  4. jonolan Says:

    Yes, Natassia. More and more it seems that humanity is casting aside the myths of “moderate Muslims” and Islam being “the Religion of Peace.”

    If nothing else, this may be the greatest work of Rev. Jones’ career and life. Burning the Qur’ans or not is largely immaterial; the threat to do so and people’s responses pointed out the lie of the Liberals’ and the Muslims’.

  5. AH Says:

    The action’s of moronic Muslims does not reflect the teachings of the Quran. The responding roar of Muslims was the symptom of a primitive nation and uneducated people–NOT the religion itself. There is nothing in the Quran that encourages violence, hence the title of “the Religion of Peace.”

    How can you conflate the actions of primitive people with the contrasting text of the religion? Instead, why don’t you focus your attention towards the poverty and lack of education in the Middle East that is causing this violence, like the relatives of the victims of 9/11 are admirably doing?

    Can you incriminate all Catholics based on the actions based on a number of them like, for example, their actions against Galileo? The misinterpretations of religious followers can only be blamed on the people that have abused the religion–not the religion itself.

    It’s a shame how history repeats itself, how we never learn.

  6. African Origins Says:

    Jonolan and Natassia are both driven by fear which lends to their misjudgment and misunderstanding. Personally I am not religious and find all religions to be in some way problematic with modern day civilization. Anyway, AH hit the nail on the head, no further words are needed from me.

  7. jonolan Says:


    An interesting argument. Islam isn’t to blame; Muslims are. 😆

    That might work if two things were true – that a religion was just its writings and not its adherents’ interpretation of them and if those writings did, in fact, contain nothing that encourages violence. Sadly for you premise neither is true.

    You forget, in the case of Islam both fiqh and ijtihad, the two processes within Islam whereby the ummah interpret Islam’s requirements and codify the “correct” manners in which to implement them.

    You are also horribly mistaken – or just lying – in your basic assertions about Islamic scripture. One, the Qur’an contains many, many sura encouraging violence. Two, the Qur’an is not the whole of Islam; there are also the hadith and the sunna, both of which also include encouragement towards violence.

  8. AH Says:

    “An interesting argument. Islam isn’t to blame; Muslims are.” That flew right over you, it seems. Muslims who misinterpret Islam are to blame.

    Wrong again, Jonalan. Many of the scriptures that encourage violence are in contrast to the teachings of Islam and were the purportedly the words of Mohammed rather than the words of God–they are now strongly believed to have been forged. Educated Muslims know better than to follow any of it. Manipulated media tools have yet to see the distinction, though.

    For example, the forgeries say that a dog is an impure animal. The Quran, however, seems to praise the dog in one of its passages.

  9. jonolan Says:

    That’s hilarious, AH, or it would be if it weren’t just another bit of taqiyya designed to delude Islam’s foes.

    There is no strong movement within the ummah that thinks that parts of the Qur’an are forgeries, nor is there any such movement to declare parts of the Qur’an as not the words of their God, Allah.

    Learn to lie better if you expect anyone with half a brain to believe you.

  10. AH Says:

    The Quran is not forged; it is the supplementary text of Mohammed that is believed to be forged.

  11. jonolan Says:

    I can but agree that the Muslims have been arguing over the truth or falsehood of various Hadith and Sunnah, AH. Given the centuries of violence between the Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam, it would be impossible to claim otherwise.

    But…Where you are most wrong is unaffected by this. Anyone who reads the Qur’an can easily find sura after sura that hat encourages violence and jihad.

  12. Karita Says:

    “Anyone who reads the Qur’an can easily find sura after sura that hat encourages violence and jihad.”

    Actually, Jonolan, I’m afraid I have to disagree. The vast majority of misunderstandings concerning the Qur’anic attitude to war stem from plucking verses out of their wider context and analysing them in isolation. It is absolutely futile and dangerous, giving great, albeit flawed, ammunition to attack Islam. It is possible to see a verse urging the believers to fight and to take it no further than that before denouncing Islam as a violent and intolerant religion. The irony of this is that extremists on both sides of the debate stand in the very same square.

    All the battles in the Qur’an are in self-defence. War is justified when it is necessary to defend religious freedom, self-defence and defending the oppressed, it is not one of the means of divine punishment, mediated by humans or otherwise. There is restriction upon restriction placed upon Muslims when they fight. I can take you through the verses in the Qur’an to show you how this is the case.

    The Qur’an is indeed difficult to understand, given it’s style, and especially so when read in translation. However, when studied carefully, it is possible to see that the Qur’an is not violent in nature, and it does not exhort its followers to unmitigated violence. In fact, the Qur’an shows far more restraint than does the Old Testament of the Bible.

    I have written an essay on this as part of my MA in Islamic Studies. If you like, I am willing to email it to you. You will most likely disagree with everything I have written, and there are indeed weak spots in the essay, I am only a student. However, it’s yours if you want to read it, and if you agree not to use the material written without my consent. 😉

  13. jonolan Says:


    Since you’ve stated that you’ve a postgraduate degree in Islamic Studies, it doesn’t surprise me in the least that you disagree with me. Western universities normally train their students in a most “genteel” interpretation of Islam. But Please (!) email your thesis. While I will, most likely, disagree with your conclusions, I’d like to see your reasoning since I do respect your scholarship and intelligence.

    There are a couple of salient points, however, that can be dealt with within the scope of these comment:

    One – Any apologetics in/for Islam as not enjoining violence are doomed to run afoul of both Tadhakkur and Tadabbur (forgive the nightmare of converting Arabic to Latin orthography). They also run afoul of the differences between li yaddabbaru and li yatadhakkara.

    Two – the related fact that the sura are supposed to be interpreted differently by different people in different times / circumstances:

    It is made clear in both Ibn Hibban, Sahih, 1:146 and al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, 3:54 that the sura of the Qur’an hold many many meaning and that those meanings are equally valid. That would, by necessity, include the violent interpretations.

    This point can be backed up by the general lack of fatwahs by Islamic against jihad. What ones have been issued only address the specifics of targets and actions, not a general violent response.

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