Time to Stand Up


Originally published in Freethought Today. Reprinted as a tribute to those who died, for the anniversay of the outrage.

Time to Stand Up[i]

 “To blame Islam for what happened in New York is like blaming Christianity for the troubles in Northern Ireland!”[1] Yes. Precisely. It is time to stop pussyfooting around. Time to get angry. And not only with Islam.

Those of us who have renounced one or another of the three “great” monotheistic religions have, until now, moderated our language for reasons of politeness. Christians, Jews and Muslims are sincere in their beliefs and in what they find holy. We have respected that, even as we have disagreed with it. The late Douglas Adams put it with his customary good humour, in an impromptu speech in 1998[ii] (slightly abridged):

Now, the invention of the scientific method is, I’m sure we’ll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked. If it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn’t withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn’t seem to work like that. It has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, “Here is an idea or a notion that you’re not allowed to say anything bad about; you’re just not. Why not? — because you’re not!” If somebody votes for a party that you don’t agree with, you’re free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it. But on the other hand if somebody says ‘I mustn’t move a light switch on a Saturday’, you say, “I respect that”.

The odd thing is, even as I am saying that I am thinking “Is there an Orthodox Jew here who is going to be offended by the fact that I just said that?” But I wouldn’t have thought “Maybe there’s somebody from the left wing or somebody from the right wing or somebody who subscribes to this view or the other in economics” when I was making the other points. I just think “Fine, we have different opinions”. But, the moment I say something that has something to do with somebody’s (I’m going to stick my neck out here and say irrational) beliefs, then we all become terribly protective and terribly defensive and say “No, we don’t attack that; that’s an irrational belief but no, we respect it”.

 Why should it be that it’s perfectly legitimate to support the Labour party or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows – but to have an opinion about how the Universe began, about who created the Universe . . . no, that’s holy? What does that mean? Why do we ring-fence that for any other reason other than that we’ve just got used to doing so? There’s no other reason at all, it’s just one of those things that crept into being and once that loop gets going it’s very, very powerful. So, we are used to not challenging religious ideas but it’s very interesting how much of a furore Richard creates when he does it! Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you’re not allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn’t be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn’t be.

Douglas is dead, but his words are an inspiration to us now to stand up and break this absurd taboo.[iii] My last vestige of ‘hands off religion’ respect disappeared in the smoke and choking dust of September 11th, followed by the ‘National Day of Prayer’ when prelates and pastors did their tremulous Martin Luther King impersonation and urged people of mutually incompatible faiths to hold hands, united in homage to the very force that caused the problem in the first place. It is time for people of intellect, as opposed to people of faith, to stand up and say “Enough!” Let our tribute to the September dead be a new resolve: to respect people for what they individually think, rather than respect groups for what they were collectively brought up to believe.

Notwithstanding bitter sectarian hatreds over the centuries (all too obviously still going strong) Judaism, Islam and Christianity have much in common. Despite New Testament watering down and other reformist tendencies, all three pay historic allegiance to the same violent and vindictive God of Battles, memorably summed up by Gore Vidal in 1998:

The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism. From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal – God is the Omnipotent Father – hence the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates. The sky-god is a jealous god, of course. He requires total obedience from everyone on earth, as he is not just in place for one tribe, but for all creation. Those who would reject him must be converted or killed for their own good.

In The Guardian of 15th September 2001, I named belief in an afterlife as the key weapon that made the New York atrocity possible.[iv] Of prior significance is religion’s deep responsibility for the underlying hatreds that motivated people to use that weapon in the first place. To breathe such a suggestion, even with the most gentlemanly restraint, is to invite an onslaught of patronising abuse, as Douglas Adams noted. But the insane cruelty of the suicide attacks, and the equally vicious though numerically less catastrophic ‘revenge’ attacks on hapless Muslims living in America and Britain, push me beyond ordinary caution.

How can I say that religion is to blame? Do I really imagine that, when a terrorist kills, he is motivated by a theological disagreement with his victim?  Do I really think the Northern Ireland pub bomber says to himself “Take that, Tridentine Transubstantiationist bastards!” Of course I don’t think anything of the kind. Theology is the last thing on the minds of such people. They are not killing because of religion, but because of political grievances, often justified. They are killing because the other lot killed their fathers. Or because the other lot drove their great grandfathers off their land. Or because the other lot oppressed our lot economically for centuries.

My point is not that religion itself  is the motivation for wars, murders and terrorist attacks, but that religion is the principal label, and the most dangerous one, by which a “they” as opposed to a “we” can be identified at all. I am not even claiming that religion is the only label by which we identify the victims of our prejudice. There’s also skin colour, language, and social class. But often, as in Northern Ireland, these don’t apply and religion is the only divisive label around. Even when it is not alone, religion is nearly always an incendiary ingredient in the mix as well. And please don’t trot out Hitler as a counter-example. Hitler’s sub-Wagnerian ravings constituted a religion of his own foundation, and his anti-Semitism owed a lot to his never-renounced Roman Catholicism.[2]

It is not an exaggeration to say that religion is the most inflammatory enemy-labelling device in history. Who killed your father?  Not the individuals you are about to kill in ‘revenge’. The culprits themselves have vanished over the border. The people who stole your great grandfather’s land have died of old age. You aim your vendetta at those who belong to the same religion as the original perpetrators. It wasn’t Seamus who killed your brother, but it was Catholics, so Seamus deserves to die ‘in return’. Next, it was Protestants who killed Seamus so let’s go out and kill some Protestants ‘in revenge’. It was Muslims who destroyed the World Trade Center so let’s set upon the turbaned driver of a London taxi and leave him paralysed from the neck down.

The bitter hatreds that now poison Middle Eastern politics are rooted in the real or perceived wrong of the setting up of a Jewish State in an Islamic region. In view of all that the Jews had been through, it must have seemed a fair and humane solution. Probably deep familiarity with the Old Testament had given the European and American decision-makers some sort of idea that this really was the ‘historic homeland’ of the Jews (though the horrific Biblical stories of how Joshua and others conquered their Lebensraum might have made them wonder). Even if it wasn’t justifiable at the time, no doubt a good case can be made that, since Israel exists now, to try to reverse the status quo would be a worse wrong.

I do not intend to get into that argument. But if it had not been for religion, the very concept of a Jewish state would have had no meaning in the first place. Nor would the very concept of Islamic lands, as something to be invaded and desecrated. In a world without religion, there would have been no Crusades; no Inquisition; no anti-Semitic pogroms (the people of the diaspora would long ago have intermarried and become indistinguishable from their host populations); no Northern Ireland Troubles (no label by which to distinguish the two ‘communities’, and no sectarian schools to teach the children historic hatreds – they would simply be one community).

It is a spade we have here, let’s call it a spade. The Emperor has no clothes. It is time to stop the mealy-mouthed euphemisms: ‘Nationalists’, ‘Loyalists’, ‘Communities’, ‘Ethnic Groups’, ‘Cultures’. ‘Civilisations’. Religions is the word you need. Religions is the word you are struggling hypocritically to avoid.

Parenthetically, religion is unusual among divisive labels in being spectacularly unnecessary. If religious beliefs had any evidence going for them, we might have to accept them in spite of their concomitant unpleasantness. But there is no such evidence. To label people as death-deserving enemies because of disagreements about real world politics is bad enough. To do the same for disagreements about a delusional world inhabited by archangels, demons and imaginary friends is ludicrously tragic.

The resilience of this form of hereditary delusion is as astonishing as its lack of realism. It seems that control of the plane which crashed near Pittsburgh was probably wrestled out of the hands of the terrorists by a group of brave passengers. The wife of one of these valiant and heroic men, after she took the telephone call in which he announced their intention, said that God had placed her husband on the plane as His instrument to prevent the plane crashing on the White House. I have the greatest sympathy for this poor woman in her tragic loss, but just think about it! As my (also understandably over-wrought) American correspondent who sent me this piece of news said:

“Couldn’t God have just given the hijackers a heart attack or something instead of killing all those nice people on the plane? I guess he didn’t give a flying fuck about the Trade Center, didn’t bother to come up with a plan for them” [I apologise for my friend’s intemperate language but, in the circumstances, who can blame her?]

Is there no catastrophe terrible enough to shake the faith of people, on both sides, in God’s goodness and power? No glimmering realisation that he might not be there at all: that we just might be on our own, needing to cope with the real world like grown-ups?

The United States is the most religiose country in Christendom, and its born-again leader is eyeball to eyeball with the most religiose people on Earth. Both sides believe that the Bronze Age God of Battles is on their side. Both take risks with the world’s future in unshakeable, fundamentalist faith that God will grant them the victory. J.C. Squire’s famous verse on the First World War spontaneously comes to mind :

God heard the nations sing and shout
“Gott strafe England” and “God save the King!”
God this, God that, and God the other thing –
“Good God!” said God, “I’ve got my work cut out!”

The human psyche has two great sicknesses: the urge to carry vendetta across generations, and the tendency to fasten group labels on people rather than see them as individuals. Abrahamic religion mixes explosively with (and gives strong sanction to) both. Only the wilfully blind could fail to implicate the divisive force of religion in most, if not all, of the violent enmities in the world today. Those of us who have for years politely concealed our contempt for the dangerous collective delusion of religion need to stand up and speak out. Things are different after September 11th. “All is changed, changed utterly.”

[1] Tony Blair is among many who have said something like this, thinking, wrongly, that to blame Christianity for Northern Ireland is self-evidently absurd

[2]“My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Saviour as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by only a few followers, recognized these jews for what they were and summoned men to the fight against then and who, God’s Truth! Was greatest not as sufferer but as fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and of adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before – the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice. And as a man I have the duty to see to it that human society does not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did the civilization of the ancient world some two thousand years ago – a civilization which was driven to its ruin through this same Jewish people.”  Adolf Hitler, speech of 12 April 1922, Munich (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942). See also


[i]Originally published in Freethought Today, 18, No 8, 2001, (http://www.ffrf.org/), Madison, Wisconsin. The text was revised for a special ‘After Manhattan’ edition of The New Humanist, Winter 2001.

[iii] See also the splendid article by Polly Toynbee in The Guardian of 5th October 2001 http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,563618,00.html

Written By: Richard Dawkins
continue to source article at


  1. It’s been 11 years and nothing has changed.  These words are as on point  now as they were  in 2001.  

  2. Past time to stand up.

    If you are going to stand up you might have to stand up all the way. As I have said before I think this issue may be settled finally by the sword. The recent childish outburst with adult consequences in Libya brings this into sharp relief. The delusional will not hesitate to impose their will on others with the sword. Will the rational defend themselves if needed? Time may, unfortunately, tell.

  3. Well said. I intend to “Stand Up” against undue respect for religion by joining the march for the Secular Europe Campaign in London this Saturday. Please join me. Starts at Storey Gate in Westminster 1.30pm.

  4. I don’t think I missed anything.  Neodarwinian appears to be advocating armed, violent defense of atheism.

     ” Will the rational defend themselves if needed? Time may, unfortunately, tell. “

    Do you read? Quite a difference between the words impose and defend!

  6.  He missed the whole highway actually! Seems there is some ideological axe being ground here as I reread my post and do not see sense in his comment.

  7.  So, lay down then and do not defend yourself, but, as usual, expect other to defend you if attacked. Is that what you mean?

  8. After going through yet another bright blue, beautiful sunny 9/11 and remembering the absolute terror and heartbreak of that other bright blue, sunny day in my city, I was particularly not in the mood to hear about Libya this morning.  I couldn’t help but wonder, in my angererd state, if every peace-loving, civilized  nation in the world all stood up together and disparaged mohamed what would happen?  How many of us could they kill? If all parts of the world stood up and said ‘no, you can’t kill people because you’ve been ‘offended’ and we’re all going to offend you daily until you realize this’ what would happen?  The key to winning this war is for the rational to stand united and say no more.  Of course, jesus and god would be added to the fray.  Throw some insults their/his? way too.  We’re all living in fear anyway of where this is headed, I’d rather really be offensive for once.  Maybe bringing it on is the only way to finally get past it.  Keep in mind, I’m very angry right now.  I couldn’t reach my brother that day until 8pm. It was 12 hours of hell and finally, there was his voice on the other side of the line… and, still, it changed me forever.

  9. Thanks, Neo, for saving me another reply to Jay G.  He’s OK though, and I’m sure he’ll now
    understand what you meant by what you wrote.

  10. I apologize to Neo.  I did not understand what he wrote.   (I DO know how to read)  Now let me get my sword so I can defend myself.

  11. I like to think there’s a bit of the “Jewish Swashbuckler” in all of us within the freethought movement!

  12. I’m
    impressed by how accurate Richard’s point black statements are. He very
    eloquently expresses and diagnoses the source of our mental sickness in this
    world, which is Religion. Although I’m impressed by how well he made his
    reasoned facts clear, I must ask, what is meant by “stand up”,
    because I agree with,


    “Neodarwinian” ;
    “The delusional will not hesitate to impose their will on others with the
    sword. Will the rational defend themselves if needed? Time may, unfortunately,

    I don’t say
    we need to use the “sword”, but since our accurate and reasoned
    statements always get dismissed by saying “you are too strident” or
    “you are too aggressive about it”, I myself feel discouraged and feel
    hopeless against this mass of ignorant behavior.

    after the recent attacks to the embassies which led to deaths, I hear from
    every News agency, CNN, Al Jazeera, etc. that these attacks were done by
    “Al Qaeda”  (not by Islam) and the more crucial part now, the
    president himself said that ” We reject all efforts to DENIGRATE all
    religious beliefs of others”. So I checked this word
    “Denigrate” in the Oxford Dictionary and it says: “criticize

    Is it really “unfair” to criticize a Religion where a man called Muhammad, had a 9-year-old wife
    and were an unscrupulous Warlord? Moreover, to this day people plot
    terror attacks because of his teachings! My Issue with this is, although the
    president condemn these attacks, he at the same time condemns “Freedom
    of speech” at this point it seems that the President of the United States
    himself and many other world leaders stand against reasonable debates or in
    this case movies, to say it bluntly, US (since we do the criticizing).

    I don’t feel
    myself represented by any Government; neither do I see any Political Party,
    which represents my Views on these crucial matters. What I can see is that
    there are a huge number of people feeling like myself. 

    I feel my
    Views represented by Individuals like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens,
    Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Daniel Dennett and many more people like that.
    And these people do a very honorable and courage’s job by voicing their
    reasoned opinions. For me these People are the Voice of Reason BUT we can’t
    vote for these people. They can’t send strong messages to the leaders of other
    countries to spark the change, which just feels disabling. 


    I would
    immediately move to a country (try to get a citizenship there) and vote for
    these people but they don’t belong to one. So my question is, when do we start with? …


    “Beware the irrational, however
    seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or
    annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and
    others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts
    as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek
    out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty
    of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for
    others any more than you would expect others to live for you. ” Christopher Hitchens 


    I mean the
    best way to do this is having a Political Party which completely defends our
    views and I’m 100% sure such People would find easily the best solutions for
    economical issues etc. as well. 


    “Stand up” shouldn’t just mean debate with religious People but!
     –> Get involved into the political Arena, have an own Party (with a
    cool name 🙂 )


    We already
    have the best “Slogans”, the best “bumper stickers”, the
    best speaker and the best speeches.. What are we waiting for? 

    Sorry for my long rant and my bad English I ask for
    indulgence! x)





  13.  Apology accepted Jay, but sheathe your sword. It will be your grandchildren or great grandchildren facing this choice that one hopes never comes.

    Still, many religious, when seeing their delusion dying, may become more than violent. All possibilities are considered and religion may just fade away, but all possibilities are just that, possible.

  14. I find it depressing that Professor Dawkins, who is one of the few living authors that I admire, doesn’t apply the same standards of objectivity to his analysis of politics and religion as he does to questions of evolution.
    I agree that at first blush it seems intuitively obvious that religion is the prime cause of suicide terrorist attacks such as 9/11. However, in politics as in science what at first seems obvious is not always true. In the case of suicide terrorism there is a significant amount of data and analysis on the topic and it contradicts his hypothesis.

    Robert A. Pape from the University of Chicago created a database of all known suicide terrorist attacks between 1980 and 2003. He documented his results in the book Dying to Win: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism. His results contradict the theory that such attacks are primarily motivated by either religion in general or Islam in particular. Pape’s theory is that suicide terrorism is caused by three factors:

    1) A group (ethnic, religious, nationalistic) resisting an occupation army of a democratic nation.

    2) A religious difference between the occupied and occupying nation.

    3) An organized campaign with specific political (not religious) goals, such as removal of the occupying troops from part or all of the disputed land. In this campaign the occupiers have an overwhelming military advantage over the occupied people such that conventional military resistance is futile.

    Pape’s theory is that the prime motivator, the factor that is present in EVERY example of suicide terrorism is an occupation army from a democratic nation. Religion is a secondary factor, a religious difference between the resisting group and the occupying nation helps to encourage violence and terrorism but it is not the primary factor.

    Pape’s theory is strongly supported by the data.  In every case of suicide terrorism factor 1 is present. On the contrary in many instances of terrorism religion is either absent or not a primary motivator. For example, the greatest perpetrators of suicide terrorism in the time period Pape studied were the Tamil Tigers, a secular communist group. Rather than demands regarding purely religious issues the published goals of suicide terrorists always involve political issues usually regarding foreign troops.  In interviews with terrorists who were planning suicide attacks, when the terrorists describe their motivations they always involve revenge for deaths and rapes of loved ones not issues of religious doctrine.

    I’m not claiming that Pape’s research is absolutely conclusive. However, I do think that an advocate of reason such as Professor Dawkins should consider it. As an atheist he is inclined to readily adopt any theory that puts religion in a bad light (see the book on self deception by Robert Trivers). As an advocate of reason he has the responsibility to examine alternative theories.

  15. The mortal abusive assholes who claim to speak for an immortal abusive arch-asshole are the root of the problem. It is evident that they are too self-important to put themselves in harm’s way, so they keep a stable of expendable hotheaded chumps to do their bidding.

    Ultimately, when push comes to shove, snipers’ bullets are more efficacious than swords.

  16. A very insightful take on Richard’s position, Red Dog. Remember, however, RD is a biologist, not a social
    scientist. Don’t be too depressed, however. I guess there just comes a point where one stops debating
    oneself, (unlike a certain Republican Presidential candidate) and begins to judge and execute. And,
    respectfully, I don’t think RD’s too far off, anyway.  His position here could  perhaps be better under-
    stood as a modern rational response to the ill-conceived irrational, violent,  response of tribal folk
    to “modern times’ in modern times.

    Believe it or not, the sun really will come out tomorrow, somewhere on this planet.    

  17. “occupation army from a democratic nation”  So I’m curious about which Occupation are you talking about? Richard gave a very detailed outlook on his position and he gave good evidences for it. You just named 1 Theory from this guy Pape. Can you be more specific? Because Turkey is not Occupied but that doesn’t stop turks to join their religious “brothers” and start a war against the West .. and their aim? –> Everyone needs to be a Muslim or must be killed! The reason why a huge mass of People (who are situated around the middle east) feel “occupied” or “attacked” ALTHOUGH their own countries are not involved and occupied is their Religion. That’s why People from Indonesia go and Fight in Pakistan, that’s why Turks go and fight in Libya .. That’s the glue which keeps them together.   So I think Richard is completely aware of that .. and Religion is the first Cause.

  18. Red Dog, Richard did say:

    Theology is the last thing on the minds of such people. They are not killing because of religion, but because of political grievances, often justified. They are killing because the other lot killed their fathers. Or because the other lot drove their great grandfathers off their land. Or because the other lot oppressed our lot economically for centuries….

    My point is not that religion itself is the motivation for wars, murders and terrorist attacks, but that religion is the principal label, and the most dangerous one, by which a “they” as opposed to a “we” can be identified at all.

     This doesn’t seem to be at odds with Mr Pape’s conclusions.

  19. I agree with you completely people should be less concerned whether they “sound” offensive when they are stating facts and just do it!

  20. Sorry but that was not an insightful take on Richard’s position. 
    Because Turkey is not Occupied but that doesn’t stop turks to join their religious “brothers” and start a war against the West .. and their aim? –> Everyone needs to be a Muslim or must be killed! The reason why a huge mass of People (who are situated around the middle east) feel “occupied” or “attacked” ALTHOUGH their own countries are not involved and occupied is their Religion. That’s why People from Indonesia go and Fight in Pakistan, that’s why Turks go and fight in Libya .. That’s the glue which keeps them together.   So I think Richard is completely aware of that .. and Religion is the first Cause.

  21. ” Pape’s theory is that the prime motivator, the factor that is present in
    EVERY example of suicide terrorism is an occupation army from a
    democratic nation. Religion is a secondary factor, a religious
    difference between the resisting group and the occupying nation helps to
    encourage violence and terrorism but it is not the primary factor.  “

    Perhaps true Red Dog, but secondary factors can be powerful indeed. And there is a wide variance in these religious secondary factors.

  22. What a pity the wonder and excitement Science has to offer will not reach such indoctrinated people for many, many, many years to come.  We stand silently small for now fellow Atheists…. and thankfully to Richard and Lalla the road is not as long as it was only just a few short years ago, but perhaps in several generations, as we join together and allow our silences to turn to talk and understanding,  we shall be as lawfully and respectfully treated for our belief in Science as some (obviously not all) who actually, in the name of their religion and/or prophet,  generally like to burn things! 

  23.   That’s a good point. I should have read this article more carefully. I
    was responding as much to previous things I’ve read or heard from
    Dawkins and Sam Harris. For example, in this discussion:


    talks at length about how awful Islam is and how it causes suicide
    terrorism (both things I agree with) but there is no discussion of other
    issues at all such as occupation forces.  For example, in this video
    Dawkins asks: “what’s turned them into this kind of lunatic?” Dawkins’
    answer to the
    question was that he could only think it is the powerful force of
    childhood religious indoctrination such as at a Madrasah or Jesuit
    school. No mention of other factors at all. I would like to see a more
    balanced view presented.

  24. An example would be Al Queda. They have very specific demands before and after 9/11. One of their demands was that US forces be removed from Saudi Arabia. The ironic thing is that after 9/11 they actually achieved this goal. They claimed it as a success and an example that suicide terrorism works. Of course you almost never see it talked about in those terms in the US press.

    Another goal that Al Queda had was to terrorize European countries to stop supporting the Iraq war. They identified which countries would be most susceptible to public opinion resulting from a terror attack and chose Spain. They conducted terror bombings on the Spanish train system and as a result Spain withdrew their forces from Iraq. Again, in the warped mind of Al Queda that was a success.

    Another example is Chechnya. The Chechen terrorists object to Russian troops and influence. This is an especially relevant one because the Chechen demands for independence go back a long time, back to the Soviet Union. But the only time the Chechens started using terrorism was after the Soviet Union became a democracy (a very imperfect democracy but still a democracy where there is some nominal influence on policy from public opinion).

    Pape’s point about democracies also addresses a common Sam Harris point: “where are all the Tibetan terrorists?” China has been occupying Tibet for a long time and has been pretty brutal about it. But China isn’t a democracy. They don’t give a d*mn what their people think or say and hence according to Pape’s theory, supported by the facts, there are no Tibetan terrorists.

  25.  I completely agree. As I said Pape lists religion as an important secondary cause. A difference in the religious beliefs between the occupiers and occupied makes terrorism more likely. I want to be clear I’m not saying religion is a good thing or that it doesn’t contribute to terrorism. I just want a more balanced view of ALL the causes of suicide terrorism.

  26. “The reason why a huge mass of People (who are situated around the middle east) feel “occupied” or “attacked” ALTHOUGH their own countries are not involved and occupied is their Religion.”

    Its simply false that Muslims everywhere hate the west and want to attack America. There are populations all over the world where Muslims are no more violent than any other group. And the opposite is also true.  Not all terrorists are Muslims.  

    That is one of the interesting things that Pape found, when you actually looked at who the terrorists were the correlation with Islam wasn’t all that strong the correlation with occupied people was almost perfect. A little over half of the attacks were by Muslims, the rest were by Hindus and Sikhs. And even among the Muslims, secular groups account for over a third of the attacks. For example, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Kurdish PPK, both primarily Muslims but with a Marxist-Lenninist ideology not an Islamic fundamentalist one.

  27. ” You just named 1 Theory from this guy Pape.”

    Pape is a very well respected researcher. I think one of the things that bothers me is that I never see Richard or Harris ever mention ANY political science research.  They just give general intuitive impressions that are consistent with their other beliefs about atheism (beliefs I agree with by the way). Its why I mentioned the book by Trivers (a book I read because Dawkins recommended it). He shows that people are predisposed to believe things that fit in and reinforce their existing knowledge set.  So if we really want to strive for objectivity we should be especially self critical of such beliefs.

    Speaking of bias, Pape’s research was largely funded by the US Department of Defense. The Donald Rumsfeld Department of Defense. So if he was trying to provide results that would please his backers he failed miserably.

  28. Muslims and Islam are the most threatening group of our Time. That’s just a fact so .. “Not all terrorists are Muslims” but a lot of them are.. and they are more threatening than any other group right now.. just look at Iran .. I mean these are just facts.. I don’t even feel the need to further elaborate on that .. since I’m sure you will accept facts. That not all Muslims do that .. well lol that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of them do .. moreover I never said all ..

  29. Furthermore that wasn’t my point, my point was .. that Religion is the reason why a boy, born and raised in Germany with a comfortable and cheerful life goes to pakistan to fight for Islam. and that’s someone I personally knew. The same with turks etc.. their country isn’t occupied .. but because other “Muslims” are they feel connected even if its not their country.. that’s just RELIGION! By the way I myself was a muslim, I’m happy to be an Atheist now. But just to let you know I research and read all this stuff but I know a lot out of my own experience. “Honour killings” and all that, It’s just Religion .. seems easy .. and it is easy

  30.  Professor Dawkins wrote quite clearly that religion is only a very convenient “label”. He agrees with you.

  31. The bitter hatreds that now poison Middle Eastern politics are rooted in the real or perceived wrong of the setting up of a Jewish State in an Islamic region. In view of all that the Jews had been through, it must have seemed a fair and humane solution. Probably deep familiarity with the Old Testament had given the European and American decision-makers some sort of idea that this really was the ‘historic homeland’ of the Jews

    Israelis assert a land claim on the “promised land” mentioned in their bible. It consists of Egypt east of the Nile, Iraq west of the Euphrates, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the northern part of Saudi Arabia and Israel. They based this claim on the fact they are one of 20 groups who historically held part of this region and on the religious belief they are God’s chosen people, superior to all others. There have been 13 groups who have held the territory now called Israel since. Oddly the Zionist Jews making the claim are Ashkenazi Jews who descended from Eastern Europeans, who converted to Judaism, not descendants of the original Sephardic Jews.

    The invasion was what is technically called an aggressive war. These are capital war crimes both by the Nuremberg Principles and by the treaty a country signs when it joins the United Nations.

    There is now an apartheid system. The west traditionally abhors apartheid, but in Israel, they pretend it does not exist.

    The land claim is even more far fetched as me going back to Ireland selecting a house at random, and demanding an eviction because one of my ancestors might at one time 300 years ago have lived there. It has zero legal or logical standing. Sadaam’s claim on Kuwait was thousand of times more legitimate that this bogus nonsense.

    I can understand Jews, like Nazis, blinding themselves to the immorality of their deeds, simply because they benefit so much by the wrongdoing, but what puzzles me is the way nearly everyone in the west goes along with this denial too. I could see the west supporting the right of Jews to remain in Palestine simply because there is no other logical place to put them, but we would not pretend the Jews were 100% angel and the Palestinians 100% devil.

  32.  I don’t agree. Lets look at Iran. Who have they attacked? No one.  The last war they were involved in was the Iraq/Iran war and that was launched by Iraq. When has Iran launched an illegal war on a country for no valid reason? Never. The US attacked Iraq, a country that had never attacked us and had no intention or capability of doing so.  Has Iran ever threatened the US or Israel? No.  (They do bluster about how they will make us pay IF WE ATTACK THEM but they never threaten to attack us first) Yet, the US and Israel have constantly talked about how they have the right to attack Iran if Iran doesn’t behave the way they want them to. The only way you can justify saying Islam is the greatest threat to world peace is if you somehow only count terrorism as a danger to world peace and discount the conventional force that the US routinely uses and threatens to use as somehow not a danger to world peace.

  33. “Lets look at Iran. Who have they attacked? No one.”
    Iran did’t attack anyone? lol Do you know from where Hezbollah comes from? Do you know that  most terror attacks are retraceable to Iran? Do you know anything about the Shiites vs Sunni vs Alivit vs Salafi vs wahabi? Do you know that within Islam these groups kill each other because of their different beliefs ?  Do I feel the need to give you every detail and explain to you these facts? No .. because I hate typing I prefer debating. If you want to defend Religion then do so .. but don’t try to hide it by trying to degrade Prof. Richard Dawkins very detailed and evidence based research by completely baseless and fales statements. That can’t work lol  

    “Has Iran ever threatened the US or Israel? No”

    you made with this statement clear where you come from.. you are just an other religious fanatic who tries to hide facts .. No one here is foolish enough and inexperienced enough to not know what Iran’s president Ahmajinedad made clear on in his talks about Israel and America. I can tell as well, because of what you stated that you have never been to Iran.. you have either not seen or you did and you don’t care that after Prayers in the Mosque People scream ” Death to America” 

    So you clearly don’t give a damn about History, facts and research. Or you are just too lazy to do so .. you listen to 1 guy and interpret as you wish .. either way you are wrong!

  34. Again you are completely wrong about Al Queda, you have never talked to an ex-member of them or anything .. you are completely ignoring major facts.. but this time I won’t try to explain you all that since I hate typing. What I do wanna know though is the following ! Did you read the Quran without any soothing interpretation I mean the real text without explanations? Did you read about Muhammad and his life ? And Finally If you did. Do you agree that Muhammad was a brutal Warlord and that he abused a 9 year old child and that because of this .. It’s ludicrous to follow the teachings of a semi-intelligent peasant? I my-self am an ex-muslim, I know It’s hard after even educating oneself to admit these facts, but when you do you feel free and focus on this short life you have in this world and don’t spend it for an delusional Afterlife!! 

  35. “To blame Islam for what happened in New York is like blaming Christianity for the troubles in Northern Ireland”

    Well, yea … bring your children up in segregated schools, tell them they are gods chosen and the other group are to be hated, then stir well for four hundred years …


  36.  “Again you are completely wrong about Al Queda, you have never talked to an ex-member”

    No of course I haven’t. That is why I read books by people like Pape who have.  Yes, I’ve read the Koran although I have to admit I just couldn’t finish it. Compared to the bible which I’ve also read I found it boring. Its very repetitive both in the stories and in the prose. People tell me you can’t appreciate it in translation, I’m sure its better in the original.

    Yes, the Koran is full of ridiculous violence. I’m not sure why you would think I would disagree. See this is one of the things that bothers me about a site supposedly dedicated to reason and critical thinking. With so many of you its impossible to have a rational discussion about Islam. If you point out that the West has done bad things as well people like you assume that I’m in some sense trying to justify Islam. I’m not. Islam sucks. I hate Islam. Boo Islam is bad!  Satisfied?

    Its possible to criticize US foreign policy and Islam at the same time. And as a US citizen I am MORE responsible (both for past behavior and in the sense that I have more of a chance to influence) US policy so if anything I should from a moral perspective be more critical of it.

  37. “you made with this statement clear where you come from.. you are just an other religious fanatic who tries to hide facts”

    I’m an atheist.  The fact that Iran hasn’t attacked anyone is just that its; an historical fact. The fact that the US has invaded Iraq and that Israel invaded Lebanon are also history.

    I have no illusions about Ahmadinejad. He is a holocaust denier and seems to me to be a bit of a clown. He also wasn’t legitimately elected.  I support the Green revolution and hope the people of Iran eventually get a real democracy.  The thing is if you listen to the leaders of the Green revolution they don’t want the US or Israel to attack Iran either. For one thing they will get bombed just like anyone else. For another, they have to win over people as well and they realize that the people of any nation tend to get behind their leader when the nation is attacked, even an illegitimate clown like Ahmadinejad (or an illegitimate clown like Bush after 9/11).

  38. Iran attacks countries … you just don’t know that because you are not educated in that matter or you meant openly declared wars .. which is still naive to say because even if they don’t declare it openly they support and do it. Look it up they plan terror plots .. Hisbollah is their financed terror Party.. they send people to Syria to fight. That’s just a fact you will have to realize that or you keep being in denial .. For Iran It’s not just a fight against the west.. It’s a fight against Sunnit  as well (alevite, Salafi, etc..)Iran’s Nuclear facility is a threat to our world .. you don’t want to accept that either, seems to me.
    Iran threatens to obliterate israel.. on the flags of their Parties they have mushroom clouds.. and after each Prayer session in Iran people scream “death to America, Death to Israel”.. Normal citizens sign papers to declare that they are always ready for “martyrdom Operations”. Iran and it’s people are so deluded .. they are mental.. research ” Iran Introduces the Human Wave Attack”. It’s good trying to understand both sides.. but you should get at least one side right .. you leave so many important details out .. that’s terrible. The reason why you feel that people can’t have a discussion with you is because people either feel that you intentionally leave the important details out .. or you just don’t know them .. but whichever it is.. a Discussion under these circumstances is worthless.. do more research and read more than just the books from your most favorite author then you might start having a point.

    But our actual issue was that Richard said, Religion is the glue which makes People feel united .. so that they start wars etc.. And the recent Muhammad movie is just another Plain fact for that … Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Egypt, Muslims in Europe, in Australia.. they all get aggressive about it and attack innocent people because of a stupid movie made by *surprise surprise* an other faith group which declares it’s religion to be the right one and Islam wrong. (I’m talking about this Egyptian coptic Christian who did this).. So Richard is COMPLETELY Correct with his statements.. they attacked German and British embassies as well..Of course they dislike U.S. Policy etc .. that’s why they chose specifically the U.S. embassies.. but they would turn that hate to anyone .. It’s their Religion which makes them behave like that .. and It’s their religion for why they would start a war with us.   

  39. “Iran attacks countries … you just don’t know that because you are not
    educated in that matter or you meant openly declared wars .. “

    Sorry, I wasn’t clear. Yes, when I said attack I meant as in invade, wage conventional war. If you are saying that Iran sponsors terrorism in other countries, I agree, they do that some time. The thing is so does the United States. The US waged a terror war against Cuba in the 60′ and 70’s. The original project was called Mongoose. The JFK administration sponsored Cuban exiles to sabotage  the Cuban economy (especially the sugar crop) and to launch terror attacks to discourage tourism.

    Another example of US inspired terrorism was the Nicaraguan Contras. The Reagen administration didn’t like the government of Nicaragua but the Congress refused to authorize a war so the administration illegally sold weapons (ironically enough to Iran) and used the money to fund terrorists to attack Nicaragua. Favorite targets were schools and hospitals.

    Another, lesser known example of more recent US sponsored terrorism is the MEK. Here is a New Yorker article about them:


    These are terrorists that the Bush administration was funding to wage a covert terror against Iran.

    So yes, Iran has encouraged Hezbollah at times and maybe other terrorists. They are still amateurs compared to the CIA.

    As for Iran’s nuclear weapon I have not seen any conclusive proof that Iran has a nuclear WEAPONS program. They deny it. Of course I don’t believe they are necessarily telling the truth. To be honest if I were in charge of Iran and the most powerful country in the world had recently invaded my next door neighbor with plans to invade me I would want a nuclear weapon too. BTW, the Bush administration had every intention to move on from Iraq to Iran. They only got stalled because Iraq was so much harder than they thought.

    And while I don’t believe the Iranian government the US government doesn’t have a lot of credibility here either. This is the same government more or less that claimed Iraq had a nuclear weapons capability and other WMDs and it was all lies. Neither side has much credibility so before anyone goes to war I want solid proof that there is a real threat.

    And even in the worst case if we knew for sure Iran did have one or two nuclear weapons, I don’t see the logic of saying we have to wage war on a country for maybe having a few weapons when we and our Israeli allies have enough of those weapons to destroy the world  many, many times over.

  40. Now try to understand the reasons for Americas “terror plots” and compare them to Iran’s agenda and terror plots.. then just choose your side and tell me why you chose the U.S or Irans Policy. which of the both agendas and Policies do you see a future ? and again why? .. when you do that successfully we might have a point to talk about. I never said that America doesn’t plan such plots like the very first coup 53 of Iran is the CIA’s first successful overthrow of a foreign government. But they had very good reasons to do so .. they do mistakes .. however just because of mistakes I won’t choose the “hell <– earth version ” Party

  41. “Now try to understand the reasons for Americas “terror plots” and compare them to Iran’s agenda and terror plots”

    That is the essence of our difference. I think Terrorism is wrong. Period. No matter who does it.

  42. ” Iran is the CIA’s first successful overthrow of a foreign government. But they had very good reasons to do so”

    They overthrew a democratic government in Iran and installed a dictatorship. A very brutal dictatorship.  The Shah literally modeled his state after Nazi Germany. Its quite possible that if the CIA hadn’t overthrown the fledgling democracy of Mosaddegh that Iran would be a democracy now rather than a theocracy. The “good reason” they had for doing so was because the US and UK wanted to control Iran’s oil and Mosaddegh wanted some of that money to be used to help the people of Iran.

  43. Mosaddegh wasn’t democratic at all… just idiotic statements without any justification. You give baseless comments without evidence to back it up.
    Where is your prove that what Mosaddegh did was democratic? “The Shah literally modeled his state after Nazi Germany.” 
    where are the concentration Camps?? Did he order a race cleansing? Did he let ethnic minorities clean up with tooth brushes the streets? = No
    you don’t know how to defend your arguments. You just spit out a comments and NO historical evidence to back your Statements up. 
    Now that’s the reason why “you feel” that people in this forum can’t reason with you.  

    The Shah was brutal but he wasn’t anywhere near Hitler .. He had over 2200 Political Prisoners and he did his faire share of mistakes but he was Iran’s engine for the future.  Here some evidence to back my claim up about the Prisoner!Amnesty International Report 1978.

    The Shah as  ruler introduced the “White Revolution” (look it up), a series of economic, social and political reforms with the stated intention of transforming Iran into a global power and modernizing the nation by nationalizing industries and granting women suffrage. Furthermore by now if the Shah would still be the ruler and keep on with his economic Plans Iran would be the world leading economic Power. That’s a blatant fact which is not known to people who are unwilling to actually start reading and learning about history!  

    Now to Mosaddegh here some historical facts! You can look them all up if you want to widen your blinkered View of History and economics!

    -) From 1949 on, sentiment for nationalization of Iran’s oil industry grew.

    -)In 1949 the majlis [The parliament of Iran] ]approved the First Development Plan (1948-55), which called for comprehensive agricultural and industrial development of the country. The Plan Organization was established to administer the program, which was to be financed in large part from oil revenues. 

    -)Politically conscious Iranians were aware, however, that the British government derived more revenue from taxing the concessionaire, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC–formerly the Anglo-Persian Oil Company), than the Iranian government derived from royalties. The oil issue figured prominently in elections for the Majlis in 1949, and nationalists in the new Majlis were determined to renegotiate the AIOC agreement. In November 1950, the Majlis committee concerned with oil matters, headed by Mosaddeq, rejected a draft agreement in which the AIOC had offered the government slightly improved terms. These terms did not include the ” FIFTY-FIFTY profit-sharing provision” that was part of other new Persian Gulf oil concessions. 

    -) When the AIOC finally offered fifty-fifty profit-sharing in February 1951, sentiment for nationalization of the oil industry had become widespread.

     -) When the AIOC finally offered FIFTY-FIFTY profit-sharing in February 1951, sentiment for nationalization of the oil industry had become widespread. General Ali Razmara, who became prime minister in June 1950, advised against nationalization on technical grounds “full nationalization on the grounds that Iran could not override its international obligations and lacked the capacity to run the oil industry on its own.” He was then assassinated in March 1951 by Khalil Tahmasebi, a member of the militant Fadayan-e Islam.

    -) On March 15, the Majlis voted to nationalize the oil industry. In April the shah yielded to Majlis pressure and demonstrations in the streets by naming Mosaddeq prime minister. 

    -)Oil production came to a virtual STANDSTILL (means no money at all anymore)  as British technicians left the country, and Britain imposed a worldwide embargo on the purchase of Iranian oil. In September 1951, Britain froze Iran’s sterling assets and banned export of goods to Iran. It challenged the legality of the oil nationalization and took its case against Iran to the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

     -) The court found in Iran’s favour, but the dispute between Iran and the AIOC remained unsettled. 

    -) AND NOW THE IMPORTANT PART!Under United States pressure, the AIOC EVEN IMPROVED its offer to Iran. The excitement generated by the nationalization issue, anti-British feeling, agitation by radical elements, and the CONVICTION! among Mosaddeq’s advisers that Iran’s MAXIMUM! demands would, in the end, be met, HOWEVER!, led the government to REJECT! all offers. The ECONOMY! began to SUFFER! from the loss of foreign exchange and oil revenues. (Mosaddeq was fucking Power Hungry!!! He didn’t accept any Offer doesn’t matter how good it was!! he began destroying irans economic RELATIONSHIPS!!)

    -)Meanwhile, Mosaddeq’s growing popularity and power led to political chaos and eventual United States intervention. Mosaddeq had come to office on the strength of support from the National Front and other parties in the Majlis and as a result of his great popularity. His popularity, growing power, and intransigence on the oil issue were creating friction between the prime minister and the shah. In the summer of 1952, the shah refused the prime minister’s demand for the power to appoint the minister of war (and, by implication, to control the armed forces). Mosaddeq resigned, three days of pro-Mosaddeq rioting followed, and the shah was forced to reappoint Mosaddeq to head the government. -) NOW Mosaddeq’s Power accumulation reaches its PEAK!As domestic conditions deteriorated, however, Mosaddeq’s populist style grew more AUTOCRATIC. In August 1952, the Majlis acceded to his demand for FULL POWERS IN ALL AFFAIRS OF GOVERNMENT FOR (AT FIRST) A  six-month period. These special powers were subsequently EXTENDED! for a FURTHER six-month term. He also obtained approval for a law to reduce, from six years to two years, the term of the Senate (established in 1950 as the upper house of the Majlis), and thus brought about the dissolution of that body. Mosaddeq’s support in the lower house of the Majlis was dwindling, however, so on August 3, 1953, the prime minister organized a plebiscite for the DISSOLUTION of the Majlis, claimed a massive vote in favour of the proposal, and DISSOLVED! the legislative body. 

    -)The administration of President Harry Truman initially had been sympathetic to Iran’s nationalist aspirations. Under the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, however, the United States came to accept the view of the British government that no REASONABLE compromise with Mosaddeq was possible and that, by working with the Toudeh, Mosaddeq was making probable a COMMUNIST-INSPIRED takeover. Mosaddeq’s intransigence and inclination to accept Toudeh support, the Cold War atmosphere, and the fear of Soviet influence in Iran also shaped United States thinking. In June 1953, the Eisenhower administration approved a British proposal for a joint Anglo-American operation, code-named Operation Ajax, to overthrow Mosaddeq. Kermit Roosevelt of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) traveled secretly to Iran to coordinate plans with the shah and the Iranian military, which was led by General Fazlollah Zahedi. 

    So now my Opinion: 

    Mosaddeq was just completely unable to understand how important economic relations are and ,moreover Under nationalized management many refineries lacked the trained technicians that were needed to continue production.So since his country lacked technicians and Britain provided them it was just plain unreasonable and stupid to reject all offers and turn a country, which could have been the strongest economic Power, into an AUTOCRATIC poor and backward state of religious fanatics.

    If he just accepted ONE Offer and build his country up to an extent that the education of his People reached a satisfying level, so that Iran doesn’t depend on other countries technicians and knowledge.. that would bring him in a Position where he could say.. WE DON’T NEED YOU.. but he didn’t do that he failed because he couldn’t understand how important Globalisation is and would become

    He was too greedy! He couldn’t see the change of the “economic Zeitgeist”. During this time Iranians were “becoming poorer and unhappier by the day” (thanks to the British boycott and his unwillingness to accept an offer). This Abadan Crisis reduced Iran’s oil income to almost nil, putting a severe strain on the implementation of Mosaddegh’s promised domestic reforms. At the same time BP and Aramco doubled their production in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq, to make up for lost production in Iran so that no hardship was felt in Britain.. Mosaddegh’s political coalition began to fray, his enemies increased in number … He clearly just neglected and stressed Irans international obligations.
    That’s just the definition of an ignorant leader. ( He kicked his own ass)

    Furthermore Kashani’s Islamic scholars, as well as the Tudeh Party ( Iranian communist party ) proved to be two of Mosaddegh’s key political allies. So he didn’t even care that his Policies and his more and more to Communism leaning attitude would begin to inflict doubt in more countries for example the U.S.! 

    AT FIRST American Secretary of State Dean Acheson concluded that the British were “destructive and determined on a rule or ruin policy in Iran.” But then Winston Churchill suggested to the incoming Eisenhower administration that Mossadegh, was, or would become, dependent on the pro-Soviet Tudeh Party, resulting in Iran “increasingly turning towards “communism” and towards the Soviet sphere at a time of high Cold War fears!!
    So Mosaddegh didn’t care about the fears of other major countries which he should!!! He should understand how serious America and Russia were about the cold war ..

    He led his country into an autocratic state when the whole world was moving into Globalisation. His way of thinking was just governed by isolation.  

    Now did he have some good Ideas? YES clearly! For example His administration introduced a wide range of progressive social and political reforms such as social security, rent control, and land reforms which was great .. but his fatal mistake was to play with the rest of the world, just because you happen to govern a country which is rich on Oil and Oil is needed by most countries in the world, doesn’t give you the right to play dictator especially during such turbulent times like the cold war.
    What he did was self-destructive and he was asking for it, because he was power hungry!! 

    Now to the Shah .. yes he had blood on his hands but he build the international ties with other very important countries. He  started a series of economic, social and political reforms with the stated intention of transforming Iran into a global power and modernising the nation. The way he tried to managed this was realistic and particularly promising!. He built very good relations and at the time he was leading irans saw an uprising in wealth. 

    To the Coup .. In retrospect, The CIA and the US underestimated the extent of popular discontent for the Shah but I think because of Mosaddegh’s unbelievable ignorant stance on global economics and his leaning towards Communism, it was actually the better of the 2 bad decisions because I don’t wanna know how bad it would have influenced the cold war situation.. but it clearly would! Mosaddegh’s was just too greedy and didn’t understand much of economics and Politics ..

     “the US and UK wanted to control Iran’s oil and Mosaddegh wanted some of that money to be used to help the people of Iran.”

     Do you always make such simple statements without evidence backing it up? Let’s say Mosaddegh really just wanted to “help” his people, then he clearly fucked it up by destroying his economical relations with the UK and the US .. He could have helped his People A LOT more by accepting one of those deals and start building his country.. but instead he decided to fuck it up and play dice with Countries which depended on these relations. He played dictator infront of Powers like the US and UK .. that’s just mental and idiotic. 

    Since you won’t read any of my suggested books, here is a  documentary about this issue — I don’t like documentaries but this one is informative. It doesn’t mention the Shahs brutality as often as you’d like to I guess.. it’s more an economical view and about his life.

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v… Point: 

    “That is the essence of our difference. I think Terrorism is wrong. Period. No matter who does it.” 

    I wouldn’t call it terrorism if it serves a greater good .. like the Opera Operation by Israel. and more such instances. but back to the topic .. On which side are you on? Which Ideology  do you support? None? so you just exclude yourself ?
    Well if you wish to do so then knock yourself out even if it’s in my opinion an unreasonable and irresponsible position to take because if you don’t involve yourself in the process other people will and decide on these issues. 

    Finally Richard wasn’t wrong about his statement about why Religion is the number 1 Reason for most of the conflicts! I proved that in my posts before!

  44.  “Mosaddegh wasn’t democratic at all… just idiotic statements without any justification”

    From Wikipedia: “In 1951, the Majlis (Parliament of Iran) named Mohammad Mossadegh as new prime minister by a vote of 79–12, who shortly after nationalized the British-owned oil industry (see Abadan Crisis).”


    “”The Shah literally modeled his state after Nazi Germany.” where are the concentration Camps?? Did he order a race cleansing?”

    No there were no concentration camps. He modeled his state in general and specifically his secret police and torture tactics after the Nazis.

    San Francisco Chronicle “Denial of Holocaust nothing new in Iran Ties to Hitler led to plots against British and Jews”  Edwin Black,  Sunday, January 8, 2006


    “Relations between Berlin and Tehran were strong from the moment Hitler came to power in 1933. At that time, Reza Shah Pahlavi’s nation was known as Persia. The shah became a stalwart admirer of Hitler, Nazism and the concept of the Aryan master race. He also sought the Reich’s help in reducing British petro-political domination.
    So intense was the shah’s identification with the Third Reich that in 1935 he renamed his ancient country “Iran,” which in Farsi means Aryan and refers to the Proto-Indo-European lineage that Nazi racial theorists and Persian ethnologists cherished.
    The idea for the name change was suggested by the Iranian ambassador to Germany, who came under the influence of Hitler’s trusted banker, Hjalmar Schacht. From that point, all Iranians were constantly reminded that their country shared a common bond with the Nazi regime.”

    From the NY Times “Ex-analyst says CIA rejected warning on Shah” Seymour Hersh, 1/7/79

    “Mr. Leaf also said in the interview that he and his colleagues knew of the torture of Iranian dissenters by Savak, the Iranian secret police set up during the late 1950’s by the Shah with help from the CIA. Furthermore, Mr. Leaf said, a senior CIA official was involved in instructing officials in the Savak on torture techniques, although Mr. Leaf said that to his knowledge no americans did any of the torturing. The CIA’s torture seminars, Mr. Leaf said, “were based on German torture techniques from World War II.”

    No mention of Nazis in this but some more details on the Shahs torture techniques, regardless of where they learned them I can understand why Iranians wouldn’t trust the US after we installed a man who did this to them:

    “Sources disagree over how many victims SAVAK had and how inhumane its techniques were. Writing at the time of the Shah’s overthrow, TIME magazine described SAVAK as having “long been Iran’s most hated and feared institution” which had “tortured and murdered thousands of the Shah’s opponents.”[25] The Federation of American Scientists also found it guilty of “the torture and execution of thousands of political prisoners” and symbolizing “the Shah’s rule from 1963-79.” The FAS list of SAVAK torture methods included “electric shock, whipping, beating, inserting broken glass and pouring boiling water into the rectum, tying weights to the testicles, and the extraction of teeth and nails.” [26] According to a former CIA analyst on Iran,[27][28] Jesse J. Leaf, SAVAK was trained in torture techniques by the CIA.”


  45. “The Shah was brutal but he wasn’t anywhere near Hitler”

    To begin with I never mentioned Hitler. I said the Shah modeled his state after Nazi Germany which he did and I supported with quotes from leading US papers. There are plenty more sources for that fact. Its not something that serious historians really disagree on.

    However, lets compare the Shah and Hitler. If you measure evil by number of victims Hitler is certainly worse. But in my evaluation one person tortured, one person who suffers “inserting broken glass and pouring boiling water into the rectum” (from the Wikipedia article on the Shah’s secret police Savak) puts the leader who does that at the same moral level as any other torturer. And there were many more than one victim. Thousands by even a conservative measure.

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