OK — back again, still silly

From another week as a Templeton Fellow — really interesting, and I have made, I hope, some friends for the rest of my life. Anyway, this morning, I was flicking idly through the Telegraph blogs, and came across a wonderful example of the perils of interacting with your readers. Toby Harnden, their US correspondent, has a brief piece up in which he pokes fun at the Republican Presidential Candidate Tom Tancredo, who proposed nuking Mecca and Medina if there were another terrorist attack on American soil. Is it possible for a politician to get closer to the ignorant, bigoted, ugly American stereotype? comments Harnden.

Of course, since this is the web, there is immediately an American commentator, “susanx” to explain that Tancredo is just talking plainly about what needs to be done, and that there is no analogy — as Harnden suggested — with nuking the Vatican in response to an IRA atrocity.

Harnden, bored, responds: Maybe Tancredo’s logic would have dictated a surgical strike by Britain on churches in South Boston, hotbed of support for the IRA, or New York City, where the plate for “IRA prisoners” regularly went round, or South Florida, magnet for IRA gun runners over the years.

Later, susanx descends into frothing islamophobia. Yes, really: the condition does exist and here it is: you will never see a muslim slightly interested in art, architecture, literature and no matter how backward, corrupted, poverty filled they are, they will always feel superior to anybody else. What happened in Ireland has nothing to do with the above.

Harnden refines his position: I don’t believe for a moment Islamist terrorism and IRA violence are comparable (and am not advocating bombing Boston, NYC or Florida, you’ll be pleased to know) in other than some small, tactical ways (e.g. use of IEDs).

And I just feel it’s so unfair: Let a Guardian journalist suggest that one might assassinate even one American and all hell breaks loose …

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2 Responses to OK — back again, still silly

  1. Mark Vernon says:

    Well you know how the new atheists accuse liberal believers of providing a
    cover for fundamentalists? How about accusing the new atheists of providing
    a cover for the Islamophobes? After all, Sam Harris in his book The End of
    Faith contemplates nuking Muslims as a possible necessity. Incidentally, I
    read that Dawkins thinks that there isn’t much difference between forcing a
    child to take piano lessons and screening a foetus for a music gene. So
    let’s blame them for eugenics too. I dare you to write the Comment is free
    piece, even in jest!

  2. The more I see of religion, the more I’m glad I’m an atheist.

    Tancredo, I gather, has been sentenced to death for ‘blasphemy’ by a Pakistani mullah.

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