The Triumph of Evil

Yesterday was International Holocaust Memorial Day, the anniversary of the day that Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops and a day to reflect on those murdered in Europe during the dark days of the twentieth century.

My commemoration of important days such as these usually takes the form of a teaching opportunity, talking to my own children about the events that took place. Sadly, I had to draw parallels between what we see around the world today, and the events leading up to the murder of 6 million people in Europe.

The anti-Semitism that is still apparent.

The inhumane way that Australia treats its asylum seekers.

The ridiculous hate-mongering regarding Halal food in Australia at the moment which in turn is demonising Muslims and fostering hate in the community.

I told my boys that the actions of some don’t reflect the beliefs of many. That radical muslims no more reflect the ideas of the muslims that live in our town any more than the Westbro Baptists reflect my beliefs.

That when people are scared, when they feel threatened and when the don’t understand something, they lash out and feel powerful by disenfranchising other.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing*.

That standing by when others act unjustly, and by ignoring issues because they are too confronting is one of the things that helped the Holocaust gain momentum. The vast majority of people in Germany during the 30s and 40s were not explicitly evil. They were unquestioning, they were comfortable and they were deliberately blind.

May we pray for the wisdom not to fall into that trap.

*An interesting discussion on the origins of this quote can be found here

16 thoughts on “The Triumph of Evil

  1. It’s ironic that you say, “They were unquestioning, they were comfortable and they were deliberately blind.

    May we pray for the wisdom not to fall into that trap.”

    Yet you also assert that, “That radical muslims no more reflect the ideas of the muslims that live in our town any more than the Westbro Baptists reflect my beliefs.”

    Your prayers have not been answered because you have fallen into that trap.

    Radical muslims are good muslims. They do reflect the central tenets of the faith and act on them. That’s what makes them ‘extremists’. Moderate muslims are not good muslims because they do not act similarly. That’s the difference between those who follow islam and those that follow christianity; you are not considered a poor christian for following some but not all tenets of scripture because you do not believe the bible is the perfect word of god (or you would be fine with slavery, for example). There’s room for moderation and toleration in islam. It is religion of conquest and submission and it kills primarily tens of thousands of muslims every year. There is no such equivalency between islam and christianity and you fool yourself to think there is.

    And if you don’t believe me (why should you?), go ask a muslim what defines a good muslim. Ask if the koran is the perfect word of god. The answers you get will not be similar to those of christians. There is a marked difference and that’s why isalm is a moderate religion if and only if muslims do not act on it.

    Until muslims repudiate the more than 500 commandments to do violence in the name of islam and the 109 verses that demand it, then those who think that only ‘radical’ muslims are a danger to the core values of liberal secular democracies are indeed falling into the same trap that caused the majority of citizens in democracies to falsely believe that Nazis were merely a fringe group of National Socialism.

    And stats back this immanent danger up: more than third of English born, English raised upper middle class university educated muslims believe it’s their duty to kill people in the name of defending Islam. And that should be your wake-up call that within the ranks of muslims of any community are a sizable minority ready, willing, and able to become ‘radicalized’ merely by acting on the central tenets of their faith.

    There is no such equivalency or propensity to commit violence anywhere in christianity.

    • “There’s room for moderation and toleration in islam” should read ” There’s room for moderation and toleration in Christianity but not in Islam.” So for the poor editing.

    • I think an important point here is that it is an orthopraxic religion, as compared to Christianity which is largely orthodoxic in nature. Because of this, Islam has creates a legal structure (derived largely from the Quran) for nearly every aspect of human life, including verses addressing a regulating war, which is, unfortunately, a part of human society. The Islamic rules of engagement are similar to a kind of proto-Geneva convention. We don’t claim that the people of the countries who adhere to the rules of the Geneva Convention are inherently violent because they have set up a legal framework to govern war. To the contrary, we look at it as a civilizing factor. I don’t see the Qur’an as commanding or condoning violence, but instead providing a legal framework within which armed resistance is governed.
      This survey seems to give credence to the fact that Muslims understand that better than those of us outside the faith
      http://www.gallup.com/poll/148763/muslim-americans-no-justification-violence.aspx

      • If what you said were true, then we should see this reflected in reality and muslims themselves demonstrating their peacefulness in the same way that signatories to the Geneva Convention should demonstrate their commitment to practicing war by these same rules.

        Is that what we find?

        Well, in the last week there have been 48 jihad attacks, 9 suicide attacks, 236 people killed, 440 critically injured. How many attacks have been carried out in defense of, say, Catholicism or Mormonism?

        There is a difference, Lana, and this difference is very meaningful. Yes, life is prescribed in the koran, and part of that prescription is how to treat non muslims… including apostates, kafir, blasphemers and the latest terrorist organization called ‘Atheists’ (so named in Saudi Arabia). Part of that treatment is prescribed with violence… hence the throwing of gays off tall buildings and the hanging of blasphemers, the lashing of apostates and the stoning of adulteresses (often those we call here in the West ‘victims of rape’). Pretending these muslim countries operating by sharia law are few and all staffed and governed only by a few ‘radicals’ is remarkably untrue. It is contrary to reality. The religion being exercised and influencing civil and criminal law is both barbaric and contrary to those values upon whihc Western secular liberal democracies have been founded. That is why islam presents a very real and ongoing threat and why muslims themselves must change their religion amnd repudiate parts of the ‘Perfect Word of God’.

        How likely is that?

          • Sorry for the mistaken identity, Eva. My brain, donchaknow; I can’t trust it!

            Christianity is quantifiably different and a vast improvement over Islam (most members have repudiated the violent bits and the vengeance bits and have centered on the love thy neighbour aspect – even though Christianity is highly correlated to support for the death penalty, anti-euthanasia, forced birth, and more severe rights restrictions, but by far the best category is non belief which, as an identifiable group, has the lowest rates of social dysfunction of all violence categories and the highest rates of pro-social behaviours. But, hey… I suspect the move away from religion is an evolution away from religious fundamentalism… a fundamentalism necessary for all religious beliefs but taken to different levels by different sects.

            • Are Christians more violent than Muslims?
              Wed 24 Apr 2013 by abagond
              http://abagond.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/are-christians-more-violent-than-muslims/
              Are Christians more violent than Muslims? What does the record say?
              Murder rate: White America, like most Christian countries in the Americas, Africa and Eastern Europe, is markedly more violent than most of the Middle East (murders per 100,000 population):
              0.6 Bahrain
              0.7 Oman
              0.8 United Arab Emirates
              0.9 Qatar
              1.0 Saudi Arabia
              1.2 Egypt
              1.7 Cyprus
              1.8 Jordan
              2.0 Iraq
              2.1 Israel
              2.2 Kuwait
              2.2 Lebanon
              2.3 Syria
              3.0 Iran
              3.3 Turkey
              3.4 WHITE AMERICA
              4.1 Palestine
              4.2 Yemen
              Terrorist attacks: According to the FBI, only 6% of the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 were carried out by Muslim extremists. Even Jewish extremists carried out more (7%).
              War: Wars with at least a million dead:
              Christian wars:
              years: name: conservative body count in millions
              535-554: Gothic Wars: 5.0m
              790-1300: Reconquista: 7.0m
              1096-1272: Crusades: 2.0m
              1337-1453: Hundred Years’ War: 3.0m
              1562-1598: French Wars of Religion: 3.0m
              1568-1648: Dutch Revolt: 1.0m
              1618-1648: Thirty Years’ War: 3.0m
              1655-1660: Second Northern War: 3.0m
              1763-1864: Russian-Circassian War: 2.0m
              1792-1802: French Revolutionary Wars: 2.0m
              1803-1815: Napoleonic Wars: 3.5m
              1830-1903: War in Venezuela: 1.0m
              1882-1898: Conquests of Menelik II of Ethiopia: 5.0m
              1910-1920: Mexican Revolution: 1.0m
              1914-1918: First World War: 20.0m
              1917-1922: Russian Civil War: 5.0m
              1939-1945: Second World War: 41.5m (European deaths only)
              1946-1954: First Indochina War: 1.0m
              1950-1953: Korean War: 1.2m
              1955-1975: Vietnam War: 1.1m
              1998-2003: Second Congo War: 2.5m
              Muslim wars:
              1370-1405: Conquests of Tamerlane: 7.0m
              1681-1707: Conquests of Aurangzeb: 5.0m
              1967-1970: Nigerian Civil War: 1.0m
              1980-1988: Iran-Iraq War: 1.0m
              1983-2005: Second Sudanese Civil War: 1.0m
              1989-2001: Afghan Civil War: 1.4m
              Seven times more people have died in Christian wars: 113.8 million compared to the 16.4 million who died in Muslim wars.
              There are more Christians, but only about 50% more, nothing like seven times more.
              Western history is Eurocentric, so we know more about wars in Christian lands than in Muslim ones. But not for wars since 1900, and there the imbalance is even worse: 73.3 million compared to 4.4 millon – 17 times more dead in Christian wars.
              Some blame technology, yet the Muslim world has all the weapons the West had to kill over 100 million people. And yet it did not.
              Democide: counts those who died not through war or street crime but through the wilful in/action of government, like genocide or Mao’s Great Leap Forward.
              Christian democides of a million or more (does not count communist democides):
              940-1917: Russia (tsarist): 2.1m
              1095-1272: Crusades: 1.0m
              1451-1870: European slave trade: 17.3m
              1492-1900: Latin America: 13.8m Amerindians
              1600-1900: Caribbean: 10.0m slaves worked to death
              1618-1648; Thirty Years War: 5.8m
              1651-1987: British Empire: 1.1m (not counting slavery)
              1800-1900: Brazil: 1.5m Amazon rubber companies
              1900-1920: Mexico: 1.4m
              1933-1945: Germany (Nazis): 20.9m
              1945-1948: Poland: 1.6m

              Muslim democides of a million or more:
              400-1900: Iran: 2.0m
              1110-1918: Ottoman Empire: 3.9m
              1958-1987: Pakistan: 1.5m
              1983-2005: Sudan: 1.9m Nuer, Dinka, Christians, Nuba, etc

              Christians have killed eight times more people in democides than Muslims: 76.5 million compared to 9.3 million. Almost the same rate as for war.
              The mistake here lies not in the numbers but in the words “Christian” and “Muslim”. Sometimes religion is a cause – or at least an excuse – like in the bombings by Christian extremist Eric Rudolph or the genocide in Sudan. But most often it is not. Calling, say, the 9/11 terrorists “Muslim” is like calling Hitler “Christian”: true yet misleading. It is Islamophobia, not a serious attempt to understand the world as it is.
              Sources: Wikipedia, R.J. Rummel, FBI, Loonwatch, U.S. Department of Justice, List of countries by intentional homicide rate.

    • Oh please…the Old Testament is part of Christianity and there are numerous commandments to kill, to bash in the heads of infants, to commit mass murders and genocide?

      What about jesus saying he came with a sword to set family member against family member?

      What about all the laws to kill those who violate the laws?

      what about all the genocides, mass murders, democides, murders, tortures, witch hunts, etc that Christians actually did?

      I also have to quetion which translation of the Quran you have read…or did you just pluck info from a Islamophobe site and didn’t bother to read the Koran yourself? Do you speak Arabic? It is critical to know Arabic to fully understand the Quran. What do you know of Islamic and Middle Eastern history and culture? If you don’t know that, then you have no context in even understanding the Quran.

      Every Muslim cleric, leader of Muslim religious organizations, leaders of Muslim majority countries have condemned terrorism. So none of them are good Muslims? There are nearly 2 bil Muslims in this world…the vast majority commit no violence…*they* are not good Muslims?

      Statistically, less than 1% of terrorism in Europe is from Muslims (Europol stats). Who did the 99.3% of the other terrorist attacks? In the US, Muslims have committed only 6% of the terrorist attacks. (FBI stats). Who did the others?

      • Laidan, not only have I rad the koran but I’ve lived in a muslim country under sharia and know all too well what this kind of law means when instituted by ‘good’ muslims.

        You seem to have missed my point: that UNLIKE Chrisianity, Islam is the belief that the koran is the perfect word of god. It is not ‘moderate’ at all but a prescription of how live a pious life. It is not like the bible open to moderate interpretations and if you know anything at all about Islam, you will find it hard to disagree in principle. That’s why I ask people to ask muslims what defines a good muslim and see how this compares with different sects of christianity. The difference becomes obvious: what constitutes a good muslim is how closely one adheres to the prescriptions from the koran in one’s daily life. The same is not true of christianity; one can interpret various scriptures quite differently and still be considered a good christian.

        I do not ascribe terrorism to muslims as you seem to believe. But I do understand just how large is the pool of ‘talent’ waiting to be called to commit acts of violence in defense of the faith. No such pool awaits any comparable christian sect. To ignore this fact, which is what your apologetics attempts to do, is disingenuous. This pool is a very great danger and its justification is fully religious. Again, you simply ignore this fact. In addition, the faith itself contains central tenets that are incompatible with Western liberal secular values – like the primary respect for the autonomy and equality of the individual in law. Once again, you fail to address this inconvenient fact… so busy are you trying to obfuscate this central problem Islam imports into Western societies.

        I understand why you don’t want to face this reality; it’s all too easy to smeared with the label of intolerance and islamophobia and that’s uncomfortable. But some of us at least have the courage and the intellectual integrity to understand that support and acceptance of violent practice based on religious principle really is worth very public criticism rather than the kind of mewling appeasement and intentional misrepresentation of legitimate criticism – condemn the criticizer rather than deal with what is being criticized – to appear to be tolerant. The problem with this approach is that this kind of tolerance is so open minded that one’s brains simply fall out.

  2. After WWI, the German people were systematically humiliated by the victor nations — even though every country involved in that war got dragged into it, and there really were no “good guys and bad guys” — so the Germans felt decidedly ill treated. Then along comes the Fuehrer, who promises to lead them back to national greatness, to right the wrongs imposed on their country, and make Germans proud again. After all, who wouldn’t want to encourage people to stand up for themselves? Even the good often feel justified in exercising a bit of “turnabout” revenge. For awhile this worked with the German citizenry. Then it all went pear-shaped.

    For evil to triumph, perhaps all it need do is seduce an unfairly treated population with the promise of renewed self esteem. And there are plenty of people like that in the world.

    • That’s right. Im my grade 10 history class (I have three this year) we concentrate on the Treaty of Versailles and how the humiliation of Germany helped the rise of fascism and ultimately WW2.
      We also look at the psychiatrist who helped a certain soldier recover from his psycho somatic blindness in WW1. Not the best days work the world has ever seen, I might add…

  3. 6 Reasons that Debunk the Myth of Islam Promoting Hatred of Jews and Christians
    by: Ro Waseem on September 2nd, 2014 | 1 Comment »
    Amidst the tragic situation in Palestine these days, a few Muslims seem to have found a way to express their anger and frustration. No, not by constructively doing anything about it, but by bashing Jews and hailing Hitler as a hero! Wrongly equating the actions of the Israeli government with Judaism, they continue generalizing approximately 15 million Jews – painting them all with the same brush!
    A few days earlier, as I was browsing through my Facebook news feed, I came across this meme praising Hitler for killing Jews, with the hashtag #Hitlerwasright:

    Exasperated as I was, I tried to maintain my composure and calmly responded to this individual that there are many Jews who condemn the actions of the Israeli government, much like us Muslims who condemn the actions of Jihadist terrorist groups, and so it is naïve to generalize all Jews based on the situation in Palestine. Without taking a minute, he responded back to me quoting the Quranic verse that “asks Muslims not to be friends with Jews”, justifying his bigotry through the Quran!
    Checkmate? Probably, if I hadn’t known better!

    A common misconception about the Quran is that it promotes hatred of Jews and Christians, and asks Muslims to not be friends with them. Strangely, instead of voicing out against such a misrepresentation of 5:51 (which contains the commandment), some Muslims actually revel in quoting this verse as a means of feeling superior, possibly. Who needs enemies, when you have such believers? But I guess, that’s the karma of blindly following religious figures.
    Here’s the much quoted verse:
    O You who have believed! Do not take the Jews and Christians as your allies (Auliya). They are allies of one another. He among you who takes them for allies is one of them. God does not guide the oppressive folks.
    – Quran, 5:51
    A plethora of lies are sold to the average Muslim to instigate enmity with other faiths, and so I will debunk these points step by step. Points one and two will explain how the verse above is misrepresented, and three through six will expand on further points.
    1. Aulia is erroneously and inconsistently translated as friends by some translators. However, in Arabic, Aulia is more closely defined as a protector or an ally. It has been used in the Quran mostly to signify that God protects (Wali) the believers through revelation. This is not to be confused with Khaleel, which does mean friend, but is an honor given exclusively to Ibrahim (4:125).
    Additionally, Muslims should sincerely ask themselves what they mean when they call their scholars “Maulana.” Are they trying to imply that these scholars are their friends who they hang out with? Hardly! Obviously, by calling these religious figures as Maulana, they mean to imply that these scholars are their protectors – from evil, perhaps.
    Keeping the context in mind, it is clear that the verse refers to political allies, and is not about friendship.
    2. The verse, quite specifically, asks Muslims not to take Al-Yahood (Jews) & Al-Nasaraa (Christians) as an ally. Now, “Al” in Arabic denotes an address to something or someone specific. If we are to assume that God asks us not to ally with any Jew or Christian, then on the same wavelength, we have to assume that all Arabs are the worst in hypocrisy and disbelief – an actual verse in the Quran!
    The Arabs (Al-Arab) are worse in disbelief and hypocrisy, and more likely to ignore the Limits that God has revealed to His messenger. God is Knower, Wise.
    – Quran, 9:97
    Except, here the “scholars” would be quick to contextualize things, or else their model of praising Arabs as the “chosen” people and equating Arabic culture with Islam would fall flat on its face! It is an inconsistent approach, and consistency is the only criteria to judge truthfulness.
    Taking a consistent view, both verses inform us that *some* Arabs (Al-Arab) are worst in hypocrisy and disbelief, and that Muslims should not ally with *some* Jews and Christians (Al-Yahood and Al-Nasaraa). Quite obviously, it is addressing the Jews and Christians at the time of the Prophet, who continuously broke their oaths, stoking the fires of war against Muslims (5:64) and were thus their worst enemies (5:82).
    Common sense would suggest that allying with the enemy would be a sure way to lose the war.
    3. The Quran constantly reminds Muslims not to generalize Jews, Christians, and others; but to judge them by their actions.
    They are not all the same; among the People of the Scripture is a community standing [in obedience], reflecting and reciting the signs of God during periods of the night and they submit.
    They believe in God and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right, and forbid what is wrong; and they hasten (in emulation) in (all) good works: These are the reformists!
    – Quran 3:113-114
    God does not forbid you from being kind, and fully equitable to those who do not fight you on account of Religion, and do not evict you from your homelands. God loves those who lead a just, balanced life.
    But God does forbid you regarding those who fought you because of your system, and drove you out of your homes, and helped to drive you out. You shall not ally with them. Those who ally with them, then such are the transgressors.
    – Quran, 60:8-9

    Credit: MuslimVillage.com
    4. Even traditional Islam allows Muslims to marry Jews and Christians.
    Is friendship a more sacred bond than marriage? Then how on earth can the Quran discourage us from befriending them?
    5. Contrary to popular belief, Muslims do not have a monopoly on salvation. Jews and Christians, much like any other faith, are promised paradise should they “submit to God, do acts of reformation, and expect accountability” (2:62 & 5:69). The very act of claiming sole monopoly on truth and salvation is actually shunned by the Quran, of which, ironically, some Muslims are guilty of.
    And they claim, “None will enter Paradise unless he is a Jew or a Christian.” This is nothing but their wishful thinking. Say, “Bring your proof if you are truthful.”
    Nay, whoever submits his whole being to God, and he is a doer of good to humanity, his reward is with his Lord. Then, no fear shall come upon them nor shall they grieve.
    – Quran, 2:111-112
    6. The idea of alienating a group of people because of their faith alone is in fact contrary to the Quran, which actually promotes peaceful co-existence among citizens of varying backgrounds.
    O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes so that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the one who is deeply conscious of Him. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.
    – Quran, 49:13
    If anything, Muslims should be the last to generalize people of other faiths. They are vocal on how every Muslim shouldn’t be stereotyped as a terrorist because of the actions of a few terrorist groups seeming to represent “Islam”, yet generalize and put all Jews in one box because of the actions of the Israeli government and the “super rich bankers that control the world.” I condemn fundamentalist Zionists, just how I condemn fundamentalist Islamists. However, I don’t buy the propaganda on both sides of badmouthing every Jew or Muslim because of the extremist actions of some.
    Is it not an act of gross hypocrisy of claiming to be misrepresented, but misrepresenting others at the very same time? But perhaps, it is not hypocrisy. Perhaps, it is just a lack of introspection. A trait so many of us possess but are ignorant of.
    Ro Waseem is a progressive Muslim who is bent on separating culture from religion. His articles have been published by Huffington Post, Patheos, Onfaith, The Express Tribune, and more. He blogs about Muslim reformation on his website, http://quranalyzeit.wordpress.com

    http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/09/02/6-reasons-that-debunk-the-myth-of-islam-promoting-hatred-of-jews-and-christians/comment-page-1/#comment-245987

  4. Hi Eva, I’m interested in your comment about the humiliation of Germany after WW1 being a major factor in Hitler’s rise. That is my very uninformed perception, but is this a generally accepted view among historians?

    Re Muslim vs Christian vs non-religious atrocities and violence, I think all viewpoints have things in their history to bring shame, and all have things to bring credit. Over-simplification of any view is not fair, and I therefore agree with your general point.

    The history of the quote about good men (sexism!!) doing nothing was also instructive – how easily non-facts can become “known”!

    • Of course there are many interrelated factors and other ideas, but the hugely punitive nature of the Treaty of Versailles (ridiculous reparations, acceptance of war guilt, loss of territories and thus income, disbanding of most of the armed forces) certainly demoralised an already defeated country and brought about the conditions in which a radical and nationalistic ‘hero’ who was willing to scapegoat the Jews and the rest of Europe, could have his opinions taken seriously. So historians certainly see it as a contributing factor, although personally I think that Hitler would have found something else to be angry about and he would have come to power one way or other.

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