Suggested Obama Speech Draft: Muslims Must Learn Tolerance

Good evening. Tonight I speak, as always, to my fellow Americans…but also to the entire Muslim world, from those who think theirs is a religion of peace…to the perpetrators of the ongoing insanity of blasphemy laws, jihads, and fatwas – all of you who call yourselves Muslims.

I want to talk to you about the recent resurgence of Muslim insanity.  Actually, most of Islam is insanity, but the same is true of all religions, and that’s beside the point.

Sometimes Muslims just go over the top.  Their touchiness about their primitive holy book exacts a horrible penalty for violation.

Never mind that the current case in point is a young Pakistani girl who may have Down’s Syndrome and not have known what she was doing by collecting burned Koran pages...or that some slimy Islamic Pat Robertson stuck more pages into her pouch to make her crime even more egregious.

She may be punished harshly, even executed.  It’s a heartbreaking story to those of us who love freedom.  That so much of the world is enslaved by a primitive, violent ideology…does not bode well for the future of humanity.

Linked to this is the violence around the blasphemy laws in Pakistan. Not long ago a woman was hanged for insulting the Prophet, but this would have been such a miscarriage of justice that the provincial governor called for repeal of the blasphemy laws – and was assassinated by one of his bodyguards, who became a hero.  

Later, a member of the Cabinet was shot for speaking out against the laws. The  death-enforced speech code has been successfully maintained ever since.

The front-and-center story, however, is the attacks on US Embassies by bands of psychotics who must, again, themselves deliver the death penalty for a YouTube video film that that shows Mohammed as a pedophile and murderer. 

I’m not about to condemn something I haven’t seen, unlike you intolerant Muslims.  You regularly burn our flag and our Presidents in effigy, whenever your imams decide to foment a new wave of anti-western hatred. But can’t we burn anything of yours?  We will not be bullied into submission by your – or indeed any religion’s – touchiness.

The movie may disrespect the Prophet (it may or may not be historically accurate).  Most movies are partly or wholly fiction.  That is not the issue here.  It is whether the film should have been made in the first place.

As my Jewish friends would say, oy vey

Muslims, Muslims, Muslims…we in America are getting really tired of your temper tantrums.  Here in the West we have what we call “freedom of expression.”  You will simply have to learn to live with it, because we are not about to give it up. 

For the hundredth time: If you don’t like something that is said or written, then ignore it or criticize the creator or respond to it in some civilized way.  Anything but rioting and killing, which, it has been noted, are the only two things you are good at. 

Freedom of expression is, I realize, a concept alien to your cultures.  Yet we must share the world.  We cannot be held hostage to your outbursts of childish violence. 

So, my bigoted Muslim friends, I remind you, for the umpteenth time, that you cannot force the world to live by your rules.  You can at best only ignore those who don’t obey them.

I personally would not burn a Koran, but I would not arrest someone else who did so, if the book was his property.  I wouldn’t watch a movie in which Mohammed has sex with a goat, but I would not kill the moviemaker.  That, my ignorant friends, is the difference between “semi-civilized” (you) and “somewhat more civilized (us).”

I leave you with this thought: could there be some connection between the time you devote to your religion...and the harsh, tribal nature and cultural and economic backwardness of your societies? 

Why is it that every year, ten times as many books are translated into Spanish as into Arabic? Why are there always plenty of men (always men) out there rioting in the middle of the day?  Why don’t they have jobs?  Why aren’t they in school?  Why aren’t they with their families?

Muslims…if you want to find the source of your misery, trust me: solace will not come from arson and murder.  It will come from looking yourselves in the mirror, realizing that YOU are responsible for your backwardness…and getting rid of that awful piece of primitive trash you call a holy book.  It and its poisonous ideas are holding you back.

America remains dedicated to liberty – and opposed to oppression by governments, corporations, and, most definitely, by religion.

I call upon you to cease this violence, because it is based on an egregious misunderstanding: THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT CANNOT CONTROL AND IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTENT OF A FILM. 


If you think so…if you think I can do anything about it – as did the enraged Egyptian youth I saw on CNN – you are sadly misled. 

Don’t believe everything your imams tell you.  Are you robots? Sheep? Or human beings with minds of their own?  Don't you know that you are being manipulated by fanatic Muslim groups who look for any  excuse to attack the West? 

Recently there were riots over cartoons, which certain radical groups in the Islamic community cynically used to start more unrest...which conveniently draws the rioters' attention away from how miserable their lives are.

For now, we will trust the local authorities to control the violence and find the perpetrators.  It is unconscionable that Americans died for a movie.  I condemn this irrational anti-American violence, just as I condemn all manner of religious insanity.

If you do not cease and desist, and your governments cannot control the situation, I promise you that the destruction of American lives and property because of warped, psychotic religious dreams cannot and will not continue…and will be stopped by any means we deem appropriate.

Let us hope it does not come to that. 

To every Muslim leader, every person of influence around the world -- diplolats, scholars, business leaders, politicians -- I say: the silence is deafening.  Why have you not made vehement public statements condemning the violence, urging Muslims to be more tolerant, less touchy, reminding them that they live in a world with six billion non-Muslims?

I've actually heard about one or two Muslim clerics speaking out against the violence. I hope it won't cost them their lives.  But it's not enough.  Far from it.  All prominent, influential Muslims must rise up and say with one voice: enough! 

If you think yours is a religion of peace, prove it.  Right now, all I hear is...nothing.  Have you been cowed into silence by the fanatics who also consider themselves Muslims?

And to every Muslim who thinks he must avenge the supposed profanation of a book with violence and anger, I say: grow up.  Get over it.

Stop your childish temper tantrums over nothing.  Put out your fires, go home, go to school, go to work, play with your children, treat your women kindly (if you cannot accept them as equals), and live in peace.  As Christians and Jews learned long ago, you cannot force the world to respect your dark superstitions. 

Thank you…and may America live long and prosper. 

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Comment by Frankie Dapper on September 16, 2012 at 4:53pm

Dont even know where I said "lights". But unless it was in a parallel universe I would not even make the connection.

Comment by Alan Perlman on September 16, 2012 at 3:23pm

Glen...By "lights," did you mean secular humanists? 

Comment by Alan Perlman on September 16, 2012 at 10:56am

Glen...we're on the same page, exactly.  As someone once said about Christianity (I think), what's new is not good (the mythoology and fantasy), and what is good is not new. 

Comment by Frankie Dapper on September 16, 2012 at 12:22am

Allen if your comment is in response to my indicating how Islam and christianity are without value I need to be persuaded. Stripped of mythology and fantasy what is left? The foundation is faith. Faith is for troglodytes and the brainwashed. Anyone who knowingly abdicates their privilege of reasoning to an alter of superstition and wishful thinking is commiting a grave error.

And the doctrine promotes inequality and discourages egalitarianism, to put it nicely. They advocate misogyny, sexism, and homophobia.  Michael writes beautifully. That entry reads like passage from Will and Ariel Durant's history. But the idea that there is something of value in those religions to corrupt is not supportable.

Comment by Alan Perlman on September 15, 2012 at 10:18pm

To Glen: During my spechwriting career, while looking for apppropriate quotes, I found wisdom from every culture, stripped of fantasy and mythology.  There's more useful life advice in a month of my Zen Calendar than in the whole Torah.

Comment by Alan Perlman on September 15, 2012 at 4:33pm

PS. to Michael: One of the most informative responses I've ever received.  Thank you so much for even this "lazy" effort.

Comment by Alan Perlman on September 15, 2012 at 4:16pm

Thanks to all for thoughtful comments.

Religion is utterly humorless, and the more orthodox, the less tolerance for humor.  In Religulous, Maher asked the Israeli guy in the ingenious Sabbath wheelchair why he's going to all that trouble for the god who put him in the wheelchair.  No asnwer.

I need to learn more about the history of Islam.  I think I read that that they just stopped everything and made the Koran supreme, and that was it. 

I completely agree with commentators who characterize it as two clashing views of reality, with Islam the last vestige of primitive, old-time religions.  Their minds are locked in the 8th century, and their crappy countries (except oil sheikdoms) show it - except now they have RPGs instead of swords.  And I agree that a religious armageddon (or even a major escalation in terror, e.g., multiple simultaneous suicide bombers in several US cities) is not out of the question.  The US military is overwhelmingly Christian, so this would be a real religious war.

A historian friend notes that Muslims are good winners and bad losers, and they've been losing for the last few centuries, at least.

I will check out a reliable bio of Mohammed.  If the clip is historically true, then we really have a clash of alternate realities.  And only one of them is not willing to share the world with the other.


Comment by Frankie Dapper on September 15, 2012 at 1:13pm

Michael I dont know about your dialectic of religious history. There is next to nothing of value for philosophers to grasp onto in Islam and Christianity. And to extoll Augustine as a philosopher is in my opinion laughable. I can remember reading him as a child and thinking how out of touch he was. I cant comment on Boethius other than knowing the name. But I see those religions as basically bereft of value. Golden rule shit is hardly earth shattering. Some of the JC shit is okay I guess.

And I dont know where you see something positive in the social changes that are effectuated. In fact the ascendency of Islam and christianity cement the doom of any arguably just social order. Also not sure where turning on own intellectuals has occurred.

I agree that protestant leaders were equally vicious. Happens in every revolution. Nothing worse than a reform government. And I agree that educated people in the christian world came to doubt the authority of religion. Every man could study his own bible. There was greater freedom to question the various sects, even if they were all attempting to get at some basic truth. But when you begin to question the casings you ultimately check on the innards. And in Islam the doctrinal variations seem less significant than they do in the protestant break with the church. In Islam there is no great impetus for change. The west makes slow inroads and this causes greater exercise of power by muslims in enforcing islam and lashing out against west.

Comment by Michael OL on September 15, 2012 at 12:08pm

A few more conjectures....  To place this on a more rigorous foundation, I'd need to do more research at to cite sources, but for present time and present context, I'm too lazy...

All religions seem to have an "arc" in their development.  From the initial spark of their foundational idea, first they encounter opprobrium and persecution, while gathering a sprinkling of zealous converts.  Then they grow in relative obscurity, until a watershed moment when the tables are turned, and they ascend to authoritative position.  Initially this brings positive social change and an increase in freedoms, as the theoretical idealism of the religion has not yet had chance to be thoroughly corrupted by the more mundane and selfish motivations that permeate all coalescences of power.  During this time, the religion attracts philosophers and produces valuable new knowledge.  But also during this time, or shortly after, comes the phase of retribution and unleashing of blood-lust against the religion's former enemies.  Finally comes stasis, as the philosophical period enervates itself, the enemies are vanquished, and the religion settles into a hushed tyranny of universal repression.  Sometimes during this period, military conquest from without causes the religion to retrench and to turn on its own intellectuals as scapegoats.

These stages are easy to trace with Christianity... the early-church period of the Pauline gospels (whoever wrote the original rough-drafts), the 3rd century Roman persecutions crowned by Diocletian, then the watershed moment of Constantine, the Patristic period (especially Augustine), the barbarian dismemberment of the Roman empire, and finally the Muslim conquests.  In 400 AD, Christianity had some claim to philosophical elegance.  Augustine and later Boethius (not really a Christian, but he regarded himself as such), where brilliant philosophers.  Boethius has done the best job of anyone before of since, of trying to explain from a religiously-sympathetic viewpoint how a good god could allow bad shit to happen to good people (I don't buy his explanation, but he came closer amongst the apologists to making sense than anyone else!).  But by 700 AD, Christian lands were not doing any serious philosophical or scientific thinking of any sort.  Game over.

Something similar happened to Islam, except that the transition from being persecuted to being dominant was much faster - in the span of 1-2 generations.  Islam had its period of philosophy and learning, lasting from inception to zenith also around 500 years (like Christianity).  But then it began to lose militarily, to enervate itself and to retrench. 

Christianity seems to be unique in having a reformation that sprouted a strong new faction without completely discrediting the old.  I don't think that Protestantism necessarily was a fount of liberty or open-thinking, as Protestant reformers such as Calvin were amongst the most unregenerately intolerant enforcers of conformity within their new doctrine.  But something did change.  Educated people in the Christian world came to doubt the unquestioned authority of religion, even if they retained their basic adherence to religious ideas, for outright atheism was still very rare.  That doubt of authority has yet to occur in mainstream Islam.

Comment by Frankie Dapper on September 15, 2012 at 9:18am

Maybe you will end up on Bill Maher. He could use a good guest.



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