Defending religious bigotry – a case study!

by , under All categories, Mark

This article is the final narrative of an exchange I had recently with a Migrant Tales’ commentator who goes under the handle of Elven the Archer. If you have read his very many comments on the Migrant Tales article “Why are Finland’s politicians still so silent?”, I think you will already be aware of his religious bigotry in regard to Muslims.

What interested me was how to keep track of his many diversions and meanderings in defending himself against the charge of bigotry, even while displaying a horrific lack of respect for the universal human rights of Muslim individuals. It is certainly an interesting case study in the bare-faced denial of bigotry of an obvious Islamaphobe. Here is that narrative as told from my point of view.

It all began when Elven posted this:

The Muslim population multiplied 10 times faster than the rest of society, the research by the Office for National Statistics [UK] done during the period of 2004-2008 reveals.”

In very strong terms, I denounced the use of these statistics in the context of an argument against Muslim immigration to Europe as “utter bigotry”. Elven then claimed (as many other bigots do) that because it was a fact, it could not possibly be bigotry.

What about the national office that produced the study? Are they bigots too in there? And that professor of demographics studies, is he too an utter bigot?

And later, this arrogant little quip:

Show me the error [in the fact] and so stop squirming. It is as simple as that.

Elven then went on to argue that in the context of this thread, the figures were relevant. However, Elven did NOT introduce the figures in a debate on demographics. He introduced the figures in a long post that was making the case for barring Islamic immigrants to Europe on the grounds of their apparent negative characteristics. His words quoted below are sarcastic, as is often his style.

Not even when almost 40 % of the so called modern western muslims in Britain want religious laws. Obviously they are integrating so well and hey, just look at the islamic countries, you can’t find problems at all with islam. They are quite paradises on earth (just a few bad governments here or there, but the values of the people are just about right, right?), no human rights violations, no hatred against sexual minorities, no problems with women being not equal and so forth.

and in the same post:

That is mixing people with very different core values.

And finished it off with a further heavily sarcastic comment:

It doesn’t shape the UK in an unwanted way but instead it just makes the country better, more multiculturalist?

Interestingly, in later posts he tried to defend these statements and subsequent additional negative slurs on Muslims by saying:

I simply presented some statistics about the problems. I didn’t say why was that, why was the higher crime rate. You can take it however you want it. But as long as I don’t make such a claim [Muslims are more criminal] you can’t put words into my mouth.

This is a very weak defence given that the absolute thrust of his argument is that Muslims are just not good enough to live with native Europeans.

So, in trying to show Elven the Archer the error of his bigoted ways, I asked Elven to respond to a hypothetical scenario:

It’s a fact that the German’s murdered 6 million Jews. However, if a German arrived at a job interview and upon sitting down opposite the interviewers was immediately presented with this fact, would you regard it as a kind of bigotry?

Elven squirmed, as he does, and after much procrastination and irrelevant posting, he finally answered:

yes

I continued to elaborate the example by rephrasing this ‘yes’ into a general principle and asked Elven if he also agreed with this:

So, from this it also follows that people can state completely factual things and yet that statement, because of the context, is clearly bigotry?”

After dodging this question THREE times, Elven gave something almost approaching an answer:

Stating a fact about a waaaaaay different context can be some kind of bigotry.

When challenged further about this, he added:

The number of immigrants are not out the context when the context is the immigration.

However, Elven is deflecting attention away from the fact it was not the numbers, but the multiplying numbers of Muslims immigrants specifically that was the salient point of his quote. Together with his earlier stated stance that Muslim immigrants should not be allowed into Europe, he was clearly offering up what he thought were justifications for why Muslims should be refused entry. The true context is therefore not simply a discussion about the number of Muslims in the UK, but the justifications for a policy that would see individual Muslims told they cannot enter Europe because they are Muslim.

Thus far, I had demonstrated that it is clearly POSSIBLE for a factual statement to be used as a weapon of bigotry, even though the CONTENT of that statement was completely factual and itself did not have any racist element. Elven had indeed finally agreed that the example of the German job candidate was bigotry, though he did qualify this agreement somewhat:

Yes, because the person even wasn’t alive when the shit happened.

I interpreted this as trying to blur the logic that describes bigotry. However, in this case, the conditions he calls on are easily falsified. There were Germans from that time who were not responsible for the Holocaust or the Nazis coming to power and it would have been wrong to make them directly responsible. Also, Elven forgets that many Germans fought against the Nazis. With this in mind, it’s clear that one cannot leverage extreme Islam to justify wholesale bigotry.

In Elven’s mind, Muslim’s have equally failed the job interview for the equal right to citizenship in Europe (and Finland) and the reason given is very similar to the person interviewing the German in my example, who simply told a FACT about the Holocaust:

The similarities in the bigotry I think are certainly more than superficial.

Person is German, Holocaust was done by Germans = relevant = excuse for discrimination.

Person is Muslim, horrible things are done by Muslims = relevant = excuse for discrimination.

Returning to Elven’s original comment, it appeared to me that his post implied not just gross religious bigotry, but was also an open call to violate the fundamental human rights of Muslims, i.e. their right to childbirth and their right to freely practice religion. Elven denied this, but the clear intention of presenting his FACT was that Muslims having babies was somehow a threat, and that Muslims practicing their religion was also a threat, and therefore grounds for penalty, that penalty being a ban on Muslim immigrants being allowed to enter Europe. And any penalty imposed arbitrarily on the free exercise of those basic human rights must be considered a violation of those rights.

Considering this point some more, my conclusion is that rather than come out and publicly deny Muslims these freedoms, which would clearly be extremely difficult to defend, he simply advocates NOT allowing them into Europe/Finland, with a collection of negative slurs offered as justification. Problem solved. And no need to suggest that Muslims should not have babies! In collecting his media ‘facts’, he is also well prepared to defend himself against the charge of bigotry on the basis that he is only presenting ‘facts’.

One of the pillars of Elven’s argument has been that Muslims undermine women’s rights (even though these are protected by legislation in the UK and Finland). Of course, like a typical authoritarian young man, he assumes Muslim women cannot fight for their own rights when in Europe. In fact, rather than allowing Muslim women the freedom to come to Europe and have a greater chance of exercising their equal rights, he prefers them to stay in those countries where apparently they have no rights. Elven has a very funny way of trying to promote the rights of women.

Another of Elven’s arguments is that Muslims appear to be more criminal. He denied saying this:

Where did I say that? Nowhere. So you just lied.

However, previously in the thread he had posted this:

“… in France. About 60 to 70 percent of all inmates in the country’s prison system are Muslim, according to Muslim leaders, sociologists and researchers, though Muslims make up only about 12 percent of the country’s population.”

and also this:

“In Britain, 11 percent of prisoners are Muslim in contrast to about 3 percent of all inhabitants, according to the Justice Ministry.

So, draw your own conclusions about what he was actually trying to say about Muslims and crime.

The first thing to be said is that there are various risk factors for crime, and the most documented with evidence is that of poverty. So, if Muslims also happen to be among the poorer members of society (which they are), it would be no surprise that Muslims therefore are overrepresented in crime statistics.

Not only that, but by focusing on their religion, he seems to forget the obvious – crime also breaks the laws of Islam. In other words, blaming the religion seems rather odd when the religion is telling its members very clearly that crime is wrong. Not only that, but breaking the laws of the land in which you live is also forbidden in Islam. Could it be that those committing the crimes are actually not very religious? In which case, blaming the religion for the crime is somewhat disingenuous as well as pointless.

Elven came to this blog, like many others do, as a slogan warrior, but also masquerading as a champion of human rights, and of logic and reason, and yet all the while working incessantly to undermine the human rights of Muslims.

Such bigotry will not go unchallenged on Migrant Tales!

  1. Migrant Tales

    Nice going, Mark! I like very much what you said: “Such bigotry will not go unchallenged on Migrant Tales!”

    It’s a common fallacy in the argument of far-right groups: “This religion is so different from us that they can never be part of our society.” It is a standard argument of these Islamophobic groups in Europe and elsewhere.

    Many thanks go to Desertgnu as well for challenging this type of far-right anti-immigration baloney.

    I know for a fact that many PS MPs read us and it would be a good matter if they tried out their racist baloney on our blog.

  2. Elven archer

    I said I would never wrote here again but after seeing Mark this upset I feel it’s important to emphasize that Mark’s version about the events is quite… creative. Meaning Mark puts words in my mouth and cuts sentences and even words from here and there totally out of contexts to create a story he likes. He misrepresents what I said cutting even sentences or words out of tens of messages and then answers his own fallacies. A common tactic usually known as a straw man.

    [b]What kind of quote is something like this: “yes”?[/b]

    I start sentences with a capital letter and finish them with dots. So you do the math.

    Another example: Mark asked me if I could guess.

    I answered: “No, because I have read it on the papers. I know, so I can’t guess.”

    Mark quoted this: “No.”

    Please also notice the dot and compare it to the above. Mark continued after this based on the “No.” (with the dot) that “What this demonstrates is that when it comes to rioting among the human race, there is no known method for predicting …”

    I rest my case. Is the method Mark uses a honest one?

    You can read the original conversation here:

    http://nemoo.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/why-are-finlands-politicians-still-so-silent/

    where Mark just started flooding this “narrative” of his over and over after my every response even 3 times a row at best, the same message that it. Now he made it a blog entry. If that doesn’t show what was really going on there, I don’t know what is. Mark is now trying to flood *his* version of the story to overpower and to drown the actual discussion.

    Have a nice day everybody and don’t believe everything you read!

  3. Mark

    Nice to see Elven the Archer is not a man of his word! 😀

    I will be writing here in this blog NEVER AGAIN with this pseudonym or as anyone else. So this is the very final goodbye. Bye.

    However, I do understand his need to reply and I’m fine with that.

    There are very few actual points of fact that Elven has contested. The most tangible I will address now.

    My question was this:

    “There have been riots and so on. Could you guess what is their nationality/age/religion? Now, would you be able to guess?””

    And his exact answer was this:

    No, because I have read it on the papers.

    The ‘because I have read it in the papers’ refers to his own example and not to mine. The point of my example was to strip out his context to illustrate that without context, you cannot identify rioters based on things like nationality, age, or religion. This illustrates that riots are a feature not of any one religious group.

    Why was it important to point this out? Because Elven had originally posted this as part of a slur against Muslims:

    …they kind of rule the place by intimidating especially women. They [sic] have been riots and so on. Could you guess what is their religion?

    So, asking him this question was merely a way of demonstrating the point. Yes, the questions were rhetorical, but with Elven, I think it’s important to try to drag him kicking and screaming to the logical conclusion.

    Yes, I did flood towards the end, at 2 am. 🙂

    I was trying to modify the narrative each time to take account of new arguments that he was making. My reason was to try to keep hold of the central thread. This is not my usual tactic, but Elven is a prolific writer that can flood a thread with several long comments in a very short space of time. It’s a skill, and hats off to him for that. But he also uses it to divert attention from questions he doesn’t want to answer. He invites criticism but then only responds to it when badgered to.

    If that doesn’t show what was really going on there, I don’t know what is. Mark is now trying to flood *his* version of the story to overpower and to drown the actual discussion.

    I’m very happy that I was able to articulate this narrative. Part of arriving at that was to flood the final portions of that discussion. Anyone who knows my writing on this thread knows that is not my usual style and indeed, it was a one off, which I am happy to let stand.

    So, the top and bottom of Elven’s criticisms of my version of the narrative is that I didn’t put a full stop after his ‘yes’ or capitalizse it. If that’s it, then I’m satisfied.

  4. Elven archer

    Mark got only one thing right when he gave his blog entry the title: “Defending religious bigotry – a case study!” I think it accurately summarizes what he is doing.

    http://www.hs.fi/ulkomaat/14+punkkaria+kivitettiin+kuoliaaksi+Bagdadissa/a1305557556196

    Some sources say even 90 young people were killed 🙁 One of them says:

    “Iraq’s Moral Police released a statement on the interior ministry’s website condemning the ’emo phenomenon’ among Iraqi youth, declaring its intent to ‘eliminate’ the trend.

    “The Emo phenomenon or devil worshipping is being followed by the Moral Police who have the approval to eliminate (the phenomenon) as soon as possible since it’s detrimentally affecting the society and becoming a danger,’ the statement read.”

    I’m glad the religion played no part in there, none whatsoever. I’m glad there’s no differences in people’s religious beliefs that much that they can’t get along. I’m glad that the news about the statistics I quoted show there’s nothing to worry here in Europe when for example one news quoted the poll saying only almost 40 % of the Muslims in Britain wanted Shariah law there.

    Being worried about religious bigotry is not bigotry, Mark.

  5. Elven archer

    “Nice to see Elven the Archer is not a man of his word!”

    It’s nice to see you saw the opportunity to spread your “creative” interpretation after I was gone so there was no-one to answer your lies. But now I have answered enough to show your dishonest tactics where you even just cut the words out of the sentences they were in.

    Even replacing commas with dots to further create the illusion; that is low, Mark. That is very very low.

  6. Elven archer

    “And his exact answer was this:

    “No, because I have read it on the papers.””

    No, it was not. It was this:

    “No, because I have read it on the papers. I know, so I can’t guess.”

    Do you see the sentence which mysteriously disappear every time you quote me? That seem to happen a lot. Even commas are replaced with dots…

    I guessed it (right) when it happened. But after I read it from the papers, I knew what had happened. It became a fact so when you NOW ask me if I can guess, I obviously can’t because one can’t guess something they already know.

    “I was trying to modify the narrative each time to take account of new arguments that he was making.”

    The conversation was there for everybody to see and judge themselves. Your flooding and finally even dedicating a blog entry to your creative and long version of the discussion is just desperate tactics. Meaning you try to win the debate by yelling louder and more often.

  7. Mark

    It’s nice to see you saw the opportunity to spread your “creative” interpretation after I was gone so there was no-one to answer your lies.

    This version is not hugely different to the final version you read at the end of the previous comment stream.

    Meaning you try to win the debate by yelling louder and more often.

    I think you’ll find there is a little bit more to this article than ‘yelling louder’. 🙂

    “No, because I have read it on the papers. I know, so I can’t guess.”

    Yep, makes a huge difference. However, I was illustrating MY point, not yours, and the only realistic and reasonable answer to MY question was NO. None of us can predict what religion they were. And this really does invalidate your ‘I could guess’ or asking us to guess while you were right in the middle of a long rant slurring Muslims with any muck you could find on the internet.

    You have to understand that you have been turned into a rhetorical stooge in this article. I’m sorry if that upsets you, but there you go. You have your opinions and I have my opinions about your opinions. And that is pretty much where we are. 😀

  8. Mark

    Elven

    Even replacing commas with dots to further create the illusion; that is low, Mark. That is very very low.

    Hahahaha…now that gave me a belly laugh. That’s not low, that’s scrapping the bottom of the barrel Elven. That’s the only factual contradiction you can point out, that and the fact that the rest of your answer was not relevant to the point being made and was ‘chopped off’!

    Of course, I understand you would like to make another point. You did not see the relevance of my examples or the learning that might be gained from them. Fine. That is what makes this ‘dialogue’ between us interesting and what makes you an excellent rhetorical stooge.

  9. Mark

    Elven

    Some sources say even 90 young people were killed 🙁 One of them says:

    Now who is putting up straw men? Not for one second would I defend this. It is absolutely awful. But this really only takes us right back to the German job candidate example, which is right at the heart of the discussion between us and the whole point of the article above.

    You are searching the internet for horror stories of things done by extremist Muslims and using this brush to paint all Muslims. This is religious bigotry at its finest.

    I would hate to misrepresent you, Elven. I really would. It would be totally against my approach to people. I waited a long time in the debate with you before I made my mind up, but everything you have written and posted since only confirms that decision. The irony of your defence against this articles criticism of you is to go ahead and do exactly the same thing again.

    You make my job easy!

  10. Mark

    Elven

    Maybe we can agree on something.

    There are bigoted Christians, Muslims and atheists, just to name a few different faiths.

    There are also tolerant versions of all of the above.

    So why do you habitually try to paint Muslims as evil? And don’t go telling me that that is a straw man, because that is the thrust of almost every substantive post that you have made on this site. Muslims = threat.

    Maybe it’s not hatred but fear. Fear can make someone into a bigot. And I’m sure if you trawl the internet that you will find plenty to scare you. But that doesn’t make it right. I’ve known many Muslims from when I was living in the UK and I can tell you categorically that they are not a threat.

    That is not to say that radicalisation doesn’t take place. But trust me, Elven, I also grew up through the worst of the ‘troubles’ in the UK and I know for a fact that many thing can radicalise people into terrorists. Do you consider the whole population of Ireland, north and south, to be terrorists? Would you object to them coming to Finland? Because twenty years ago they were going at it hammer and tongs with all the devices of modern urban guerrilla warfare.

  11. Mark

    Sorry for the repeated posts, but Elven raises several points and I don’t always get around to addressing them all in a single post.

    Being worried about religious bigotry is not bigotry, Mark.

    I agree. But using that bigotry or seeking to use crime statistics, riots, women’s rights, anything and everything as the pretext for keeping Muslims out of Europe is bigotry, and it’s bigotry of the worst order because it masquerades as the championing of human rights!

    You’re a fraud, Elven. Or are you happy to publicly give your support to the Muslims living in Finland, the UK and the rest of Europe and to tell them that you appreciate their values, even though they are sometimes different, but that we share enough values, such as a love of peace, democracy, family, freedom to work, to live free of discrimination and racial slurring, and freedom to marry whomever, and to live wherever we choose in Europe? Can you say any or all of these things to Europe’s Muslim’s Elven?

    It is very interesting that the many times you try to characterize Muslims while talking about Muslims in Europe, you refer to Muslims living elsewhere in the world. You take no account of local history, no account of the effects of conflict on ideas of law and order and public instititutions, education, health care etc., you take no account of the fact that Islam is interpreted in quite different ways by Muslims the world over.

    There is no dialogue with you, no exploration of the full spectrum of opinion and belief that exist within the Islamic world, only an attempt to denigrate, slur and demonise the religion.

    Now if you want to pull away from that position, and add to your knowledge and balance your approach, I would welcome it and applaud it. If you are only going to defend your free speech right to depict Muslims in absolutely the worst light at every opportunity, then I am going to label you a bigot and I am going to do everything in my intellectual power to unwrap that bigotry from its intellectual clothing and reveal it for what it is.

    Have a nice day everybody and don’t believe everything you read!

    In the previous thread, I condemned Elven’s debating tactic of attempting to isolate his opponent by placing himself in a majority and placing the opponent in a minority. And here he is again trying to cosy on up with ‘everybody’. It’s an ugly tactic — the tactic of a bully.

  12. Mark

    What I don’t get about Elven’s comments on this article is that he complained it was words put in his mouth but didn’t say what these words were. In fact, at the end of the day, he seems to have been most hung up that I didn’t put a full stop after a ‘yes’, or that I didn’t quote things he’d said that were clearly irrelevant to the example that was being discussed. When I finally got agreement from him about a point I was making, I pointed this out. One qualification was irrelevant to my example, and the other qualification that was relevant I did actually quote. All the cuttings were taken in chunks that were made mostly in the same post. The order of the narrative was preserved largely intact. Nothing was taken out of context in a way that would alter the meaning. I really can’t see what he’s complaining about.

    What really amazes me though is that for all his complaints, he doesn’t seem to have actually processed anything of the arguments being made against him. Likewise, he has not taken the opportunity to come out and show basic support for Muslims in Finland and accept they have a right to be here, a right to practice their religion and indeed, a right to have big families if they so choose.

    All the talk about other countries, about things going on in Iraq, dragging up stories from the Internet, is all to maintain a narrative that Islam is bad and is bad for Europe. As if there were only one type of Islam i.e. bad Islam.

    The points of the argument I made against him originally was that in principle a fact used out of context could be bigotry, and that his blanket denial that it was bigotry JUST BECAUSE IT WAS A FACT was not an adequate defence. That was the first point. The second point was to establish exactly the context in which he was using the quote.

    His only argument against that was that in a debate about immigration, facts about immigration numbers are ‘in context’. Nevertheless, his quote was not about numbers, but multiplying numbers, multiplying ten times more. The thrust was one of ‘threat’, of Europe, the UK or Finlad being overrun with Muslims and everyone else being a minority. If this is not the thrust of his argument, I really wonder what is!

    I gave careful consideration to whether his arguments were justified, and I think that he is a bigot as much for what he is not prepared to say as for what he is prepared to say. Not only that, but Elven the Archer has made over 2000 posts in Hommaforum, so we can pretty much guess the cut of his jib!

  13. justicedemon

    Mark

    Apropos of nothing much, immigrant minority birth rates tend towards the national average anyway. I understand that the birth rate for immigrants of recent Turkish origin in Germany is now slightly lower than the national average.

    At the nursery school level of the hommaforum debate, it’s worth pointing out that despite an obviously expansionist/protectionist cultural impact, persistent family sizes of 3 or 4 times the national average and at least a five-generation head start on Finland’s current new Moslem population, Laestadians nevertheless remain a minority even in their northern Finland heartlands.

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