Funding Friday: Islam And The Future Of Tolerance

I backed this Kickstarter project last week. I’m a big Sam Harris fan and I think the topic is about as timely and important as anything out there.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Sebastien Latapie

    Will go a long way in creating a more nuanced understanding of Islam – much needed.

    1. JamesHRH

      It’s a documentary. The 500M people who need to be freed from the tyranny of moderate Islam will never see it….and neither will their leaders.It’s an elitist, guilt assuaging wank fest.

      1. Ryan Frew

        How exactly is it “guilt assuaging”?

        1. JamesHRH

          Makes people feel like they are doing something.

          1. Ryan Frew

            Gotcha. How would you suggest people educate themselves on this issue, and the varying points of view that surround it?

          2. JamesHRH

            Education isn’t the issue. Watch Religiosity maybe?

  2. onowahoo

    I will absolutely condemn racism and intolerance. That being said, I feel like I’m pretty sick of all religions, including islam. If someone wants to believe a religion on their own time, it’s one thing, but when it affects a country’s laws and other people’s behavior, something is wrong. To me, religion seems like a net negative on this world.How is it okay to not allow a woman to drive, or travel in a country without an escort? I was recently overseas eating breakfast on the beach when a family came down, the man was wearing sandals, shorts and a tank top, the woman was wearing a full covering for everything except her eyes. Am I wrong if I twinge a little bit when seeing that?

    1. JoeK

      The population of Saudi Arabia is less than 30 million. The number of muslims in the world is over 1.5 billion. It is important to separate the religion from the concept of a religious state.

      1. onowahoo

        Forgetting Saudi Arabia there’s still some issues. Doesn’t the Quran say apostasy is punishable? Doesn’t the Bible/Torah say being gay is wrong? The texts that these religions are based on are questionable too.

        1. JoeK

          It is easy to be selective, both in terms of how you apply a religion’s precepts, but also in what you choose to make reference to when criticizing a religious group.North Korea is known for its intolerance of Abrahamic religions, which you are pointing out your disdain for. Ever considered moving there?

          1. onowahoo

            No, I have never considered moving to North Korea but I’d like to visit. That seems like a straw man argument though.

          2. JoeK

            You feel that religion is net-negative. You then back up this statement with two or three examples of ills attributable to religion. I respond by pointing out that there are nation states that could offer you a religion-free life. What am I missing?

          3. JamesHRH

            Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, Islamic Jihad, Catholic Church cover up of child abuse… the top of my head.And, religions’ greatest ill: being co-opted over the Millenia by governments as a cover for a land or resource grab war.Get real. Best case scenario is hat the good / bad balance sheet washes out even.

          4. onowahoo

            Lets not forget the middle east is a sh*t show.

          5. JoeK

            Again, it is always amusing to see how biased people are in making arguments on this topic.If you really want to be objective, take a look at the conflicts with the highest number of casualties in the last 1000 years. Wikipedia has a good summary of this.…. Between the two world wars, and the wars of conquest in the Far East and the Americas, more than two orders of magnitude more people have died than in the events you mentioned. Evil has been evil throughout history, occasionally evil has chosen to call itself religion but that does not disguise what it is – humans have always shown an innate ability to decide that the lives and beliefs of others are worth nothing.

          6. JamesHRH

            It’s an invalid expansion of his argument.Things other than religion – xenophobia, naionlism, insanity – cause massive deaths…. but they are widely viewed as negatives aspect of society that need to be controlled.Religion kills lots of people, albeit less, but is widely hailed as a good thing. Your argument is that there are worse things, his argument is that it is a bad thing.You don’t counter the main thrust of his argument, you just point out contiguous facts.

          7. JoeK

            No, I am not arguing that there are worse things. It is overly simplistic to imagine that you could weight the merits of religion in such a binary manner. Imagine if I came to you and said that Caucasian men kill a lot of people, and have done throughout history, and that on the balance of things the world would be better without them.Given that history has shown time and time again that the world’s larges conflicts have been characterized by a failure to adhere to the principles of any major religion, I am confident in stating that statistically, religion saves lives.

          8. JamesHRH

            It is not overly simplistic.Religion is a man made construct. Caucasian males are a naturally occurring factor or society.One is a bad idea, that can absolutely be evaluated on a net good / bad outcome basis.

          9. JamesHRH

            Why do that? Sweden identifies as 40% agnostic or atheist. Only about my 2% of church members attend.

          10. JoeK

            Why should I mention Sweden when it does not support my selective argument?

          11. JamesHRH

            Being selective is a waste of time. His argument is that religion is a bad idea.You can’t cherry pick specifics to argue against a universal. It’s logically invalid.To boot, other selections – like Sweden – also disprove your argument.

        2. LE

          This entire topic is really fascinating. All of these bibles ‘the constitution’ were entirely written by men, right?But today there are plenty of woman, even those who fight for equal rights, that support and believe in it. You never see any street protests against the Catholic Church or Judaism or the teaching of Islam. This to me shows to the level of brainwashing going on which when you boil it down is what it’s really all about in the end.

          1. ShanaC

            Actually, ORA does have street protests around applications of the law of gittin.

        3. pointsnfigures

          depends on which testament you read. Christ said to love your neighbor as yourself. Seems pretty inclusive of everyone. Different religions interpret the Bible very differently, and there is even disagreement inside a religious order.

      2. LE

        I don’t know the amount of women that are wearing just burkas or full coverage in the world. But that in itself is clearly about control and keeping people in line. It’s similar to Hassidic Jews and how they dress and live a certain way and for the same reasons. And as I’ve said before all religion is about control and keeping people inline in some way (not saying that’s the only thing going on but it’s a large part of it).The other thing about legacy religions in particular is that it’s often used as a ‘get out of jail free’ card for extra ‘gimmies’ in society in order to allow those in a group to have privileges that others don’t have. I say ‘legacy’ because hypocritically anyone who wanted to start a new religion today would most likely not be taken seriously. Which in itself makes no sense at all. If that happened it would be called a cult.

        1. Mark Essel

          Yes to all of the above

      3. Dan T

        Gotta love Wikipedia Jason . . 575 million of the 1.5 billion – more than 1/3rd of muslims live in countries where their religion dominates the Law.Most Muslim-majority countries incorporate sharia at some level in their legal framework, with many calling it the highest law or the source of law of the land in their constitution.[120][121] Most use sharia for personal law (marriage, divorce, domestic violence, child support, family law, inheritance and such matters).[122][123] Elements of sharia are present, to varying extents, in the criminal justice system of many Muslim-majority countries.[124] Saudi Arabia, 31mm (97%)Yemen, 24mm (99%)Brunei, .5mm (67%)Qatar, 2mm (77.5%)Pakistan,178mm (96.4%)United Arab Emirates, (76%)Iraq, 31mm (98.9%)Iran, 75mm (99.7%)Afghanistan, 29mm (99.8%)Sudan and (97%)Mauritania (100%)apply the code predominantly or entirely while it applies in some parts of Indonesia.[124][125] 204MM – 87% muslim

        1. JoeK

          Copy-pasting long blocks of text discussions harder to read, a link would be easier.That said, what exactly is your point? That Muslims allow their religious beliefs to influence the law while Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and Jews don’t?

          1. JamesHRH

            Moderate Islamic countries subjugate women and have barbaric laws. Over 1/2 the world’s Muslims live in a society that reflects 1017 more than 2017.

          2. Dan T

            the link did not have the population or percentages. I had to look that up, so I could figure out if there was a problem – How many Muslims live in a country where their religion dominates their law – DRIVE their law. I’m not talking about influence. Virtually no separation of church vs. state

        2. ShanaC

          And I can’t get married in Israel due to Halacha’s influence on the state. Fred and Joanne’s kid’s CAN get married in Israel only by the saving grace of which genders vs backgrounds Fred and Joanne happen to be. If it Fred had been the Jewish partner and Joanne the catholic partner, they could NOT get married in Israel.They also have a phenomenon of hilltop youth . They are essentially Jewish Isis, and I’ve had some pretty weird conversations with people about to tip that way.Their ideology is both being exported and imported into the US, such as through Manhigut Yehudit (and ha, fun story, I actually tutored one of shmuel sackett’s daughters, Tova, in math when I was in high school, when they moved to the states to my neighborhood to raise money/awareness)So? we’re not standing around talking about Judaism and how it needs to modernize to the 21st century (and it does…).Note: I can make the same argument about Buddhism in Myanmar and Christianity with a Dominionist Flavor in the US. With research, I probably can make the same argument about Hinduism somewhere (probably India).Generally the argument works as such1) No one requires scriptual purging since it backfires, and since it is actually unclear what pieces of scripture over the long term will be used which ways. I am absolutely sure there are crazy people in crazy yeshivas in Israel who are using the laws of shmitta as justification for trying to kill muslims. The laws of shmitta have to do with when you lay lands fallow for jubilee celebrations, and how to let them lay fallow, and what areas are included2) Your country is experiencing massive economic change and/or a reality where some people are far wealthier than others3) You have multiple religious and/or ethic groups in your country that are very similar to each other. It makes for individuals and groups trying to separate out their identities very difficult.4) The majority religion/ethnic group passively and or actively sponsors religion and its teaching, especially on a local level, while nationally feeling very ambivalent about it. (the US is basically a prime example of this. WE allow organizations that are basically disguised churches in part of this country to teach sex ed. They get money from a local school districts to do this. The country overall hates this, but refuses to stop it because we prefer local control of education)Cutting off extremist is also really difficult. People do not like it when you change their communities and beliefs at the same time. If it were easy, I would have tried a long time ago (I have parents on the edge, to be frank. And it is difficult to know that, and live like that)

    2. William Mougayar

      Agreed 100%. The problem we have is with countries (Iran, Saudi Arabia) that are promoting and practicing a fundamentalist version of Islam, and this is influencing the really bad groups such as ISIS/Quaeda etc. who are interpreting it in more extreme and violent ways.

      1. Twain Twain

        Supporting diverse cultural education and programs that enable multilateral understanding, love+peace and RESPECT FOR LIFE has never mattered more than now, when the transmission of hate can be so instantaneous from many quarters.

        1. SubstrateUndertow

          Yes viral/instantaneous mass communication tools, like all tools, have a dark side when misused.Suppressing such misuse is a very tough/slippery nut to crack in this particular instance.

    3. harvestgrand

      I Agree. I feel very very sorry for the women that are forced to live as property. Its slavery. I do not know much about different religions but I would hope that any religion that had a subset of people involved in such suppression would condemn it and try to stop it immediately. Perhaps this is already in the works with islam.Maybe I am listening to the wrong news outlets but I do not hear much about the general muslim population condemning this slavery.P.S. The US civil war lasted 4 years to end slavery.

      1. PhilipSugar

        The US Civil War was not about ending slavery. An outcome was that it did in fact end slavery which was a very, very good thing. But it was not fought over the fight to end slavery.

        1. harvestgrand

          I guess that is an opinion. Some people fought in the civil war to end slavery. Others fought for different reasons.

    4. JamesHRH

      Bill Maher – and I am not a huge fan – is right. Religion is generally a bad idea. The ideas in Islam are likely some of the worst ideas of any mainstream religion.The American constitution enshrines the obvious principle that, hopefully, most of humanity will live under one day: separation. ( of church & state, of judicial, legislative & executive ).That’s a fight worth fighting.

      1. Ryan Frew

        Not taking a stance, but this video might interest you. Sam Harris and Bill Maher discussing Radical Islam…also, Ben Affleck is there for some reason…

      2. SubstrateUndertow

        “separation of church & state”Trump is busy trying to undo that separation now that he and his inner circle of “Christian Taliban” have fear-punked an economically abused/vulnerable electorate into letting them take over the American government.Trump represents America’s would-be Christian-authoritarian analoguetoTurkey’s Islamic-authoritarian ErdoÄŸanTrump’s medium is punking reasonable people into being ambivalent thus extending him enough benefit-of-the-doubt rope to hang us all with.People need to stop with the complacent thinking that it can’t happen here because that is exactly what in happening right here right now.”democracy is being depreciated of all its sustaining cultural nuances !

        1. Dan T

          What constitutional amendments are you expecting to be introduced?

          1. SubstrateUndertow

            It is not about what amendments he could introduce. It is about the amendments and more immediately the democratic-traditions he is willing to run over until courts/citizens can find the means to put a stop to his over reach.

          2. pointsnfigures

            I’d like to see one on term limits for Representatives and Senators but we know that’s not going to happen.

          3. PhilipSugar

            I just could not agree more. If somehow, somehow he jammed that through I would actually vote for him. This concept that somehow you spend your life “serving the people” should really be replaced with “feeding like a pig at the trough” that goes for both parties. People should re-read Animal Farm.

        2. JamesHRH

          In a showdown b/t Bannon & Flynn versus Mattis, Kelly, Tillerson, Sessions, Price, Mulvaney, Ryan, McCormick……..only one side is the no doubt about t winner.Trump is a sociopathic narcissist with a unfillable need hole that only success and recognition fills.Erdogan is a psychopathic narcisssist. He craves control over popularity. It turns out that fame – superficial popularity – is America’s cultural ace in the hole.

          1. SubstrateUndertow

            Hope your right !But Trump is Steve Bannon’s puppet and Bannon often wins because he is willing to poison the well. Bannon is an epistemological terrorist and his opponents themselves do no operate on a firm epistemological foundation and as such are in a poor position to oppose Bannon’s social subterfuge.

          2. JamesHRH

            I’m feeling pretty sure on this call.Remember, the key to success isn’t hiring the right people but firing people until you have the right people.Sessions is the only ‘campaign cabinet’ member that has no predecessor. He’s been there from the beginning and even Bannon calls him the Policy Godfather. He’s an old school small Govt Republican, not an authoritarian or a 4th Whatever Leninist.

          3. Bdub

            Sociopathic narcissists don’t show consideration for others like this: you were duped into believing that one point, what else might you be incorrect on?

          4. JamesHRH

            Duped isn’t the verb I would use. I was loose w the terms- you got me. Trying to get the point across without being precise enough.Erdogan craves power. Trump craves success (his childhood pastor – Norman Vincent Peale).He’s no authoritarian.

        3. DJL

          You seriously have no idea what you are talking about. “Christian Taliban?” Gosh, what happened to all the “nice” people on this blog? I am seeing a lot of hate-throwing.

          1. SubstrateUndertow

            Ok I will grant you that “Christian Taliban” was an exaggeration.Still we all have our own spiritual customs and it is important to respect the separation of church and state.

    5. jason wright

      Condemning is easy, but it changes nothing. Better to invite a discussion to gain an understanding of the underlying reasons for a POV…and take it forward from there.

      1. Donna Brewington White

        That would solve a lot of problems. Requires a maturity that I am not seeing in abundance these days.

    6. anon

      Well, Rosa Parks refused to give her seat just 60 years ago. Women could not vote in most of the western world 100 years ago. Were not allowed to go to universities 150 years ago. Slavery in the US? 150 years ago. Not ancient Rome. We were not born modern and free, limiting attitude to women is a deep human characteristic over cultures and geography. You just got to reach out.

    7. PhilipSugar

      Wow, now we added religion to the bar as well! I have seen the same thing hundreds of times. The worst was when the man was ordering the woman around. She was wearing all black in that heat. Doesn’t anybody see something wrong with that. Why is it that men wear sandals and shorts or white and the women have to wear black? Black in 118 degree sun. I really don’t get it, it is punishment.You might not know who your Father is but everybody knows their Mother. None of us exists without a woman having spent 9 months of her life sacrificing to bring us into this world, and the next 5 years where you literally couldn’t exist without them. How can not make them equal if not more than equal.Once when I saw a particularly distasteful display, I winced and clenched my fists. (I just looked away) The Irish woman business associate punched me on the shoulder and said that’s how I feel all the time over here.

  3. DJL

    This same thing needs to take place in the US between blacks and whites. Black lives matter and other groups promoting hate and division are not the way to heal and create change. Sadly – they seem to get all the money. This seems on the surface like a great film.

    1. Ana Milicevic

      Curious why you think they’re promoting hate & division? That’s certainly not how I see their efforts to address very deeply rooted issues of institutionalized inequality.

      1. DJL

        Little things like “Fry the pigs like bacon” and how do we like our cops “dead cops” and the list goes on. This group promotes violence against police and militant protest in general (like the ones you saw at Berkley and you will continue to see.) They are not about creating meaningful dialog and improving race relations. Curious – have you not seen these videos?

        1. Ana Milicevic

          I guess we live in different versions of reality. I like mine better. We’ve still got a ton of challenges but the people seem to be much friendlier. Come over for coffee some day.

          1. DJL

            An alternate reality is probably the best description! (How can two people have entirely different interpretations of the same set of facts and events? But that is the modern divide between right and left.) What I see each day are leftists engaging in violence, anger, swearing and vandalism. (Did you see what they did to people outside of Trump’s nomination? They harassed children, for God’s sake) If these are the “friendly” people – they can drink coffee on their own.

        2. ShanaC

          I like my cops alive. But I also like it when they aren’t terrifying people for no reason except to artificially boost statistics so they can buy army surplus, thereby becoming even more scary.I prefer my cops friendly so if I see a problem I feel I can say something to them and not worry they might crush me in a testosterone rage or something

    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      “All the money?” All what money? As compared to what?I don’t see anything about frying pigs or bacon on the web site…If you follow one of the key leaders, Deray, on Twitter, he’s never uttered a thing like that. Quite the opposite.So if we’re ascribing a group’s intentions to the actions of a few people on the fringes, we should apply that standard across the board, no? To, say, the cops? Or, say, white male CEO’s?

      1. DJL

        Just follow the money. BLM is part of the “race” industry that thrives on keeping racism alive. It has received millions from George Soros and tens of millions from other places including The Ford Foundation. Have you heard of a non-profit organization that is promoting meaningful, friendly dialog between blacks and whites? (Of course not, they have no money – hence my point.)This idea of painted blacks as perpetual victims is not only hurtful but abusive. How can a black child be expected to work hard and have faith when every message they get tells them that the deck is stacked against them by evil white people? This has been the message of the race business for 30 years (NAACP, Rev. Jackson, Al Sharpton, and now BLM) – and it is NOT working by any measure. The notion is a scam to keep black people following these supposed “leaders”. While their families, churches and communities rot underneath them.Donald Trump is going to change this dynamic. (He is already reaching out to black leaders to solve real problems.) And he will be called every name in the book. Good for him. Blacks (and all people in these inner cities) deserve better.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          See now, I happen to believe that *black people* are in a better position to decide what’s best for black people than white people.Does your theory also work for all those white people in the fly-over states who’ve been painting themselves as victims and who voted for Trump? All those disenfranchised hard-working white people?

          1. DJL

            Good, then you must agree that the government should get out of the way and let black people decide for themselves how to solve their own problems. When the government picks who to help – everyone loses. So yes, this applies to everyone.I think referring to the heart of the country as “fly over states” is a very demeaning statement. I guess you think the only people that matter are the elites on either coast? (That is how the term is used.) And no Trump supporters painted themselves a victims. (where did you get that from?) What they ARE is hard-working people (of every race and social background) who want the government to get the hell out of the way and let them work.

          2. Kirsten Lambertsen

            You seem angry. Didn’t your guy win?I grew up in a ‘fly-over’ state. I use the term with love and endearment and credibility.

          3. DJL

            Not one bit angry. Thanks for asking though. Just looking out for broad mis-characterizations of myself and other people who voted a certain way. Certainly didn’t mean do to the same to you.

          4. Kirsten Lambertsen

            I specifically was talking about Trump voters in those areas who have described themselves as being forgotten. If you are going to describe black people who are struggling and agree with BLM as painting themselves as victims, then I’m wondering why white people who are struggling and agree with Trump aren’t painting themselves as victims. What’s the difference?

        2. ShanaC

          I have no idea what the race industry is. I have no idea what George soros has to with any of this, or the Ford foundation. The last time I heard of anyone talking about the Ford foundation involved sending abstract expressionist paintings behind the iron curtain aa a push to show how great America was. I do know that the NAACP local chapters regularly run groups around interracial dialogue. I know that the nation naacp has college scholarships available ( I had a classmates in college with one) and I discovered that they also run a job boardhttps://www.naacpjobfinder….There is a reason black people didn’t vote for him. It doesn’t have to do with all sharpton, or blm, or the NAACP. It actually has to do with the “inner cities” line.A) there are plenty of black middle and upper class peopleB) even if they are not, they are in the best position to judge what they need, and also not to be told that they are living in crap along the way. They have pride too

  4. LE

    I am interested in the topic. But I am not following the promo film. It’s not drawing me in in a way that makes me want to support this.

    1. Rob Larson

      Good point – the promo seems to either assume that you are already familiar with Sam Harris and his conversations with Maajid Nawaz, or else is trying not to reveal the plot details. Net result is that the promo will likely just appeal to those already familiar with it.

  5. Kent Karlsen

    Education and reducing the knowledge gap is key to a better world. State funding of all kind of religions should stop. Norway just separated the Church from the State. It’s a bold move these days. The law are superior over religion. We should believe in the people.

  6. andyswan

    Tolerance is a two way street. If France is the example, I’m gonna pass.I am possibly the most “live and let live” individualist on this planet, and I know this statement could get me called any number of references to 1940’s wartime…. but individual freedom and western values of liberty are NOT compatible with a large number of people’s interpretation and belief in Islam… specifically SHARIA which is EVIL.There are millions of amazing muslims…. and I want them to have whatever life they want for themselves, and all the opportunities I have and want my kids to have. But there IS a major problem with a significant number as well. To ignore that is insane.FFS the hijab is being used as a symbol of tolerance and love?!?!? Are you kidding me???? I don’t even want to think about what I’d do if my future son in law tried to pull that shit.EDIT– this rant has nothing to do with the specifics of the project posted, and is based on my ASSUMPTION of what it will be trying to sell us, which couuld be wrong (though unlikely haha)

    1. Ryan Frew

      You’re wrong. This project has no interest in ignoring the dangers associated with Islam. Here’s a sample of Sam Harris’ stance on things. He acknowledges the massive problem with Sharia and the risks of becoming like Western Europe in this random video:

      1. andyswan

        I’m happy to hear that. Thank you

    2. JaredMermey

      To make a bold statement like”Sharia is Evil,” I think you need to exemplify the degree to which you understand Sharia and its various interpretations.PS – as I thought about even responding to the comment, I should note I know very little about Sharia beyond it is propped up by many talking heads on TV as bad. From my little direct interaction with it (and really it is my exposure to one group’s interpretation of it) in business I would only call it different (not bad). From my personal interaction with friends (admittedly too few of which are Muslim) I would say it is a spectrum. From my personal experience as a Jewish person with exposure to varying degrees (bad word bc it implies better v worse but I will use it anyways) I would guess that Sharia, like Halakha, is a spectrum where I can relate to some interpretations over others.

      1. ShanaC

        they function nearly the same way in practice. The big differences are as follows1)starting legal texts2) I believe a jewish court uses a panel judge system with a minimum of three, one chosen by the plaintiff, one chosen by the defendant, and the third chosen by the other two judges. If I am not mistaken, a shariah court is singular, you just have to agree on a qualified shariah-jurist between the defendant and plaintiff.Otherwise, it appears that court procedure, types of cases they take on, types of legal logic, hell types of decisions that would even appear in the US are nearly identical.There are functioning halachic batei din in most states. And while people mostly know about them in terms of gittim, they actually are used far more as a form of binding arbitration in low stakes civil cases. (things that people used to, and still do, where I grew up: Fruit seller sold you bad fruit consistently, don’t take him to small claims court, take him to beis din. Rental problems, beis din. They actually heard far less get-related cases.)And hilariously, the guy who wrote the model legislation for anti-shariah law that’s been adopted word for word in a number of states is writing by a right-wing orthodox Jewish guy from the Lithuanian community in brooklyn (like a torah v’daas guy) . One of those states I believe is texas, where there is a large orthodox community in both dallas metro and austin metro. And the people there use their local beit din for the same reason people in NY use their local beit din (cheaper, quicker, gets a resolution about what to do about the dick fruit seller faster). Basically, the decisions can be appealed by the shariah law, and it remains to be seen if the local batei din can even exist over the long term, because of the way the bill is written to include ALL religious courts as alternative civil courts for binding arbitration purposes.Oh, the irony. @andyswan:disqus

      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Excellent comment. To paint all Muslims with the same brush is like painting Episcopalians with the same brush as Pentecostal snake handlers.

    3. ShanaC

      my mom tried polling me back when I was religious if I was going to cover my hair when married, and if I were going to do so, with a wig and/or a headscarf. This was a bi deal, mind you, because my maternal grandmother came from berlin, and her family hasn’t covered their hair outside of synagogue for (we’re getting close to ) 200 years. And one of her daughters broke that precedent (my aunt). Meanwhile, it worked out to be similar on my father’s family either. But norms were changing in the orthodox world, and nearly everyone I knew that I grew up with covered their hair after marriage.And let me tell you, that uncovered/wig/scarf question is a serious question in a community where it is customary to try and give the bride a copy of her own hair in order to encourage her to cover it. The cost at the time of me graduating college would have ranged between $5k-$7k because I have very curly hair with a lot of fine highlighting if you look closely at my hair. And that cost is traditionally born by the bride’s family. My parents could have made a whole ‘nother wedding for the cost of a wig at that time.So outside of questions of costs involved in different communities-Really, head coverings are not THAT of a big deal. And it isn’t like the women who wear a hijab spend 5k on their hijab. I know tons of women who cover there hair in a variety of ways.

      1. LE

        This is all so bizarre you know.My current wife’s family wasn’t particularly religious (conservative I think). But the father was so pushy with religion that it back fired as such:- My wife married a non jew for her first husband.- My brother in law married a non jew.- My sister in law not only married a non jew, but she converted to Catholicism as well. I don’t even think it was because her husband even cared that much. It was just a big (from what I can tell) FU to the parents.

        1. ShanaC

          what, that my mom had a conversation with me about such things – it wasn’t like she was the only mom doing this – most of my high school friends who are still religious covered their hair on marriage, and of the few who didn’t, their siblings either did, or their wives did. It made sense at the time, I was at peak orthodox marriage age, and my mother was curious.

        2. ShanaC

          also, it is way more bizarre that i mention tutoring the daughter of someone who cavorted with Meir Kahane and is trying to spread Kahanist Ideology in the US. Before he was murdered, the guy was on the CIA watchlist as a terrorist. (and before he went crazy, my mother’s shul youth programming rabbi. The world is REALLY TINY)Absolutely no one seems to care about that. It is like I could basically come out and sayhey @andyswan:disqus, hey @dantinpa:disqus hey add_your_name_here I Think my dad funnels money into Jewish terrorists in israel, what do you think*, and*crickets*Because people care more about Islam being radicalized than the fact thatANY RELIGION CAN DEVELOP RADICALIZED SECTS.And caring more about how one religion can get radicalized as opposed to what generally causes religions to develop radicalized sect, means that you are 1)generally deciding to be anti that specific religion2) means you aren’t taking a cold hard look at your own theology and how it could happen in your own religion/non-religion.So I really would like someone to explain to me why it isn’t shocking that under slightly different circumstancesYOUR OWN MODERATOR COULD HAVE BECOME RADICALIZED.That should be shocking. I had the option many times to join up and/or start walking down the path to joining groups that are jewish isis equivalents. I chose not to, but why isn’t it shocking that someone you know could have.That’s a really critical question, because barring differences in Judaism vs islam, sociologically there isn’t much of a difference to what these people say at all*and yes people, I actually do think this about my father. If someone came to me with proof, I absolutely wouldn’t be shocked nor surprised that this existed, just that it took so long for firm proof to come up

  7. skz

    First time in 5+ years contributing to this blog. Being a Muslim and a (i think) successful entrepreneur and the first generation son of Pakistani immigrants this subject is near and dear to me. There are potentially tons of entry points into this discussion, but it really boils down to the following for me:1) Different cultures process norms differently. Who are we to say that covering your head is good or bad? Or that being gay is good or bad? Or having extensive tattoos or piercings is good or bad? To each his own. If you don’t like it then go find a society that fits in with your values. But sitting in this country throwing rocks at other societies is a bit of glass house syndrome.2) The dirty secret is that as immigrants we knew this day would come. I bet if you polled immigrants, a large number of them would also agree. As first generation Americans we were taught (and believe) that this country is the greatest country on Earth. We were also taught that a day would come when this country would turn its back on us. We haven’t gotten there yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we did. In the mean we all try to navigate our futures, the futures of our children, and a plan b in case we must leave.3) I used to vacillate between atheism and religion quite a bit. More than I’d like. Ill likely continue to do that for the rest of my life. But for now, I find that having the spirituality of a force larger than us is comforting in these times. That the randomness of humans and entropy isn’t what controls the world. If that’s the case we are a bi-valence fatalists and we should all go into a cave and disappear – its the only way we will survive as a species.4) My family is on the extreme receiving end of every kind of ‘phobia’ out there. I am shia married to a sunni, son of immigrants, etc. With the way things are going, we dont feel like we have a home anymore. I thought I was an American. Not so sure anymore. I thought I was Muslim, but nut cases in Saudi, Yemen, etc. are taking that away from me too. Thought I was Pakistani, but that hasnt belonged to me in a while either. When we, as a country, move to alienate the populace that has come here for a better life we risk creating a population that doesn’t feel like this is their home. When that happens, things go bad. Just look at Europe.

    1. Salt Shaker

      When I encounter someone of obvious Muslim faith in my everyday travels, like a cashier in a supermarket, I say to them “don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t belong here,” for which they are grateful for my kind words. Exposure begets understanding and tolerance. I live in downtown Seattle, and although the city is as liberal as any you’ll find in the world, it’s still fairly white. NYC, my “official” hometown, is the complete opposite. Racial and religious diversity (but not necessarily full acceptance) run amok. How do you drive comfort and acceptance when for far too many in our country their sole exposure and perception of Muslims is based on the nightly news?

    2. ShanaC

      I’m really sorry this is happening all around you.I don’t know if this helps at all, but he questions you are having are the american experience itself.My grandfather, fahter and mother actually share the experience of 2 with you – to the point where I think my dad may have a bunker to hide in for a short period of time before fleeing the country. (he’s mentioned it in the past). They’re jewish. They have FAR less to be scared of than 1) I think this is a question of us reaching for greater morality in the world. We struggle with it all the time as we learn more about being human at its 4) If I can personally do anything to make this your home so you feel like you are an American, let me know.

    3. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience and perspective. It must be exhausting.

    4. Donna Brewington White

      Really appreciate you sharing this. Thank you.

  8. skz

    Its awesome to see a bunch of white americans opining on the acceptability of another country’s culture and religion and how they don’t like it and then calling for tolerance. I think what they really mean is assimilation to their way of thinking

    1. pointsnfigures

      America is about assimilation. It’s not about a particular religion, but a set of values outlined in the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and also in the Declaration of Independence. In the last 50 years, we have seen people try to divide us into hyphenated groups.

      1. Ana Milicevic

        Whenever someone mentions assimilation I think of the Borg — and the deck of the Enterprise seems more in line with what we should be shooting for. The hyphens are adding value and perspective, not subtracting.

        1. Salt Shaker

          “Resistance is FU-TILE.” Picard could solve all of this “Make it so #1.”

          1. ShanaC

            i wish we could elect Picard for president. Though we would have to be constantly searching the white house for random cups of leftover tea… (they never seem to explain what happens to all of those cups in the show.)

          2. Salt Shaker

            “Earl grey, hot.”

          3. ShanaC


    2. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Indeed. We have a lot of work to do to actually live up to our promise as a country.

  9. skz

    @AndySwan – Islam has serious problems?? Would you like to compare the stats of getting killed by a muslim (terrorist or otherwise) vs. the likelihood you get killed by a christian?

  10. Vendita Auto

    It seems to me that the program will only speak to the converted. Amnesty international Médecins Sans Frontières or fun Disney film that touches children’s good basic moral values will install the right message. It is the very young that one needs to educate before The lord Of The Flies.

  11. Salt Shaker

    “We’re going to put the safety of Americans first.” Admirable objective, especially when American safety is at risk every day, but certainly not from immigrants seeking a new life in the “land of the free, and the home of the brave.” Ask the folks on the South side of Chicago, or any inner city for that matter, if they think our gov’t is putting “American safety first.” Who do they perceive to be a bigger threat, immigrants from Syria, Yemen or Somalia, or their next door neighbor or kid down the block? You want to put “safety first,” it starts in our own backyard and on every street in America. That’s where the real terrorist activity is occurring, and it’s happening on a daily basis. Just like in biz Mr. President, when you have a sound objective, such as “saving American lives,” plus limited resources, as our gov’t does (the deficit notwithstanding), you allocate funds where you expect to achieve the greatest return. Isn’t it about time we put resources against an area where American lives are most vulnerable? Let’s stop the real American terrorists, our fellow citizens. You want to do some real good Mr. President, you want to save lives, then get the guns off the street, or at the very least f-in implement an “extreme vetting” policy where it truly belongs, w/ gun purchase and registration.

    1. LE

      The ‘immigrant as a problem’ serves two objectives though. One is the perceived danger [1] and the other is economic. Meaning in terms of jobs lost.For example we all know that people fleeing warn torn countries that try to settle in Allentown PA (or some other small community) need jobs. Where will they work? If there are jobs to be had who is going to work harder for less? Those immigrants. (Same with illegals cutting the lawns where I live and work). So that’s certainly part of ‘the problem’ the perceived danger is just a red herring or rationalization. Or maybe people of lemming intelligence actually worry about that stuff. I don’t. I figure the probability is to small have other things on my mind.As far as ‘fix the problem here’ the US is filled with that type of thing. It’s not rational at all given the actual threat and to your point home issues which need time and attention that are ignored simply because they are the long standing problem and don’t appear (and this is important) emergent in some way. Many places in the area that I live in that I wouldn’t take my car to or leave it there overnight. Certainly wouldn’t want my daughter to venture there. We all know those places. Hillary got in trouble for talking about those places and who lives there.[1] I would say that the chance of something happening is small and also the damage given our population is small as well. People die everyday in far greater numbers from other threats that aren’t addressed.

  12. jason wright

    Neo Conservatism and Neo Liberalism are ‘religions’ of the 21st century.

  13. Ana Milicevic

    I wish science was a religion.

    1. Anne Libby

      +1. Also, having deep knowledge of a topic before spouting off.

      1. Ana Milicevic

        Hey, who needs knowledge when you can have soundbites? 🙂

        1. Anne Libby


      2. JaredMermey

        Or at least caveating one’s statement before you do. Feel free to say what you want, just admit this is where I understand I know less and my argument may fall short….then be open minded and willing to change it when others who present a logical retort.I think Fred once wrote about how he has strong opinions until he doesn’t in his partner meetings. Often a good way to start a conversation.

  14. muratcannoyan

    Very interesting project Fred. I’m also a Sam Harris fan. Thanks for bringing to our attention.

  15. cavepainting

    Al religions have violent strains. Islam has had a radical side that dates back to centuries of jihad, both within and beyond the religion.We have a better chance of addressing it via engagement vs. alienation. We lose the ability to engage while demonizing the religion, banning whole nations, and taking a heavy-handed approach. Education, jobs, entrepreneurship and economic development are how we need to capture the hearts and minds of the next generation of Muslim kids in the Middle east.There is a smart but hard way to fight it that needs self restraint and discipline. There is also an easy way that offers instant gratification, but does immense harm in the long term. Put yourself in the shoes of the mullahs and the madrasas? What would they prefer the US to do for them to recruit the next generation of kids?In balance, Obama got this right. Islamic terrorism really cannot win unless we let it change our core values. We can be tough and vigilant, and still be open to immigrants, and welcoming of all religions.

  16. JaredMermey

    What most people seem to be condemning is forcing one’s way of life onto others. We should decouple that from religion.Practically it appears most are condemning the use of religion to obtain power, often through the state.I agree the latter is bad. I am not sure religion in itself is. I make the distinction bc for emotional arguments like these where the “other side” will only listen so well, clear articulation is imperative.

    1. ShanaC

      Problem:Most religions think it is necessary to do so, although what that means and how that is interpreted is very broad within subsects of a religion.Atheist Jewish girl who goes to a buddhist temple on the regular: we swear the 4 bodhivissta vows, one of which is to save all sentient beings (even knowing they are numberless, and therefore, this is an impossible vow). There is an inherent tension in that to help others become liberated from suffering, you might have to force someone onto another person. This doesn’t mean I have the right to force all sorts of ideas and practices onto a person. At the end of the day, especially with adults, only they can save themselves. If they want to talk themselves into a deadly fire of an idea, a practice, or an actual deadly fire and they are dead set on doing so, there is nothing that can stop them, not me, not you, not anyone.It is the child taking medicine problem. child has to take medicine to get better, child doesn’t want to, even though if s/he doesn’t, s/he will surely die. You have to force the child.The thing is, is what we want to force on other people medicine or something else entirely?

      1. LE

        Atheist Jewish girl who goes to a buddhist temple on the regular: we swear the 4 bodhivissta vowsI am never going to match you on religion knowledge but I speculate (and will even say I am probably wrong) this: A large part of the fact that you go to the buddist temple is that you just can’t get away with feeling that you are doing something wrong by not being in the religion that you were raised with. So you are substituting another religion that makes you feel less guilty. And to go further it’s not even the one that you probably thought about or had negative secondary meaning when growing up (Christ based is what I mean). Total guess but that is my take! What do you think??

        1. ShanaC

          No, I feel perfectly fine with the fact that I am not practicing. I started going because it was the closest group meditation near my apartment, and I wanted to see what the experience was like after using Calm (the app) a lot. I felt that while I enjoyed calm, I thought a group experience would be better.I ended up realizing along the way it was a better (non) theological fit and that a group meditation experience is in fact a much more powerful and/or supportive experience than one singular for me, or at least one I should invest time in.I also and still totally fine with the way I am jewish, just mostly kinda disappointed that there aren’t real resources for the ways I would prefer to act Jewish. do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a purely secular chavruta that isn’t affiliated with a synagogue or rabbi? I’d really love it, but it is also just not a popular idea as a starter, and then on top of it not being popular, I’d also have to find among the few people who it might be interesting a proper match. So I made peace with the fact that I am a weirdo who would want a secular chavruta to examine jewish contract law in the mishna and gemara in light of archaeological finds that are relevant when they were compiled, and that it just may be a me thing, while at the same time I don’t really care at all about specific jewish practice. Sad. I know. whatever.

  17. Mike Sheppard

    It appears that many of us here think that religion (writ large) is a net negative for the global community. I would surmise that most of us here think that a collaborative society is a net positive. If we dismiss those who still adhere to a religion, how do we find a common ground upon which to collaborate? We are one species sharing very basic human needs. If we pursue the knowledge of our commonality (as it appears this documentary will do), we can, ultimately, bypass the controls of religious dogmas.

    1. ShanaC

      depends what you think a dogma is, why they exist, and what their purpose is

      1. Mike Sheppard

        By dogmas, I mean a group’s beliefs and related rules to which one must profess adherence to remain in good standing. They exist because the founders needed to create a sense of specialness and “we’re all in it together.” Purpose is to maintain an us-versus-others perspective among the adherents. If I’m feeling generous, I might say that the dogmas are benevolent and designed to protect the adherents from hellfire and brimstone or whatever other horrible fate may befall non-believers.

    2. Mike Sheppard

      And, as I think the discussion I anticipate is beneficial, I’m supporting the campaign.

  18. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I find Bill Maher’s arguments (and I guess Harris’s) to be misguided. I don’t like Islam any more than I like Christianity, frankly. Most religions make me shake my head, even though I’m not an atheist.It’s the U.S.’s policies abroad for at least the last 17+ years that make us targets for Islamic extremists, not the failings or foolishness of any particular Islamic belief, itself. They in turn now have presented themselves as a perfect enemy for the corporate/military complex to hold up as an excuse to wage endless war. Kill a person’s family and burn down their house, and then point at them to say, “Look how much he HATES us!”Perhaps we should be a bit more concerned about the Christian extremists right here at home who have brought about more death and sorrow than all immigrants combined from the countries currently subject to the travel ban.I don’t like the demonizing of any group in service of furthering an economic objective. (You know, like invading the country of Iraq for something done by 19 people from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon.)There is no reason to turn anti-Islamic-extremism into a drumbeat for the U.S. populace any more than there is to turn anti-Christian-extremism into one (even though the second largest terror attack on American soil to date was the Oklahoma City bombing).Maher’s concept of being a liberal is a bit like that of a 10-year old’s. Not exactly wrong, but terribly lacking in nuance and deeper understanding.

    1. LE

      It’s the U.S.’s policies abroad for at least the last 17+ years that make us targets for Islamic extremistsMore than that. The underpinning of it all has to do with the support of Israel which predates the time period you are referring to.There is no reason to turn anti-Islamic-extremism into a drumbeat for the U.S. populaceThere is a reason and it is very simple. People buy into it and taking that stance got someone elected.This is somewhat similar to the hysteria that doesn’t allow child predators to live in certain places (near schools I think?) while allowing common everyday run of the mill murderers and other dangerous criminals to live anywhere they want.Perhaps we should be a bit more concerned about the Christian extremists I had a Physician who wanted to rent a medical office from me and after a short search I found out he did abortions. I am pro choice and would love to rent to that person. But I really couldn’t for fear of what would happen in the rest of the complex (if freestanding I might have done so).

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Yep. Fear sells. Fear controls.Brings to mind gamification theory. One of the core drives is fear of loss and avoidance, which has been triggered quite effectively by far right voices. The interesting thing is that this administration has also managed to trigger that core drive in people whom it wasn’t targeting, and combined with another core drive kicking in, epic meaning and calling, it’s having results they didn’t count on.

  19. Suzi Jamil

    Thank you so much for your support! From the Suzi, Desh and Jay.