Allen Ginsberg Shits on Islam

Let me say something right off the bat.

It’s not racist or inappropriate to criticize Islam.

This fact should be obvious, I think. But it still surprises me how many otherwise-rational people can completely miss the point here.

Islam is not a person. Islam is not a genetic sequence people are born with. Islam, like every other religion, is a set of ideas, and a person can choose to adhere to those ideas or not.

The thing about ideas is, some ideas can be good. Some can be stupid. Very stupid. And some can be bad. Terribly bad.

If an idea is bad, then it’s bad. Bad ideas must be criticized. And it does no good to afford the set to which that idea belongs any special privileges or exemptions from criticism, especially when that set itself contains so many bad ideas.

Example. A man writes a book. A book. And some people who adhere to a particular set of ideals found this book offensive. A few of these demanded that the author be killed for his insulting ideas.

That’s one telltale sign of a bad idea: death threats being made on people who disagree with it.

I’m referring, of course, to the Salman Rushdie affair and the ensuing fatwa that was issued on Rushdie’s life. Many people try to point out that the ayatollah’s position was a fringe one, and did not represent the views of all Muslims. Of course there’s no evidence to support such a claim, but even if it’s true, that doesn’t make these death threats inconsistent with Islam.

I’m writing this in reaction to a fascinating article I read in Reason magazine a while ago about the late poet Allen Ginsberg, and an experience he had in a New York taxicab during the Salman Rushdie incident.

Soon after news of the fatwa broke, Ginsberg and his assistant climbed into the back seat of a taxi in Manhattan. After a glance at the cab driver’s name, Ginsberg politely inquired if he was a Muslim. When the cabbie replied that he was, Ginsberg asked him what he thought about the death sentence on Rushdie. The cabbie answered that he thought that Rushdie’s book was disrespectful of Islam, and that the Ayatollah had every right to do what he had done. At this point, according to his assistant, Ginsberg, one of the gentlest men ever to walk the planet, flew into a rage, screaming at the cabbie as he continued to drive, “Then I shit on your religion! Do you hear me? I shit on Islam! I shit on Muhammad! Do you hear? I shit on Muhammad!” Ginsberg demanded that the cabbie pull over. The cabbie complied, and, without paying the fare, Ginsberg and his assistant climbed out. He was still screaming at the cabbie as the car drove off.

Fuck. Now that’s what I call chrome-plated balls.

Coarse. Crude. Offensive. Poignant. Necessary. All of those things are true of Ginsberg’s little outburst.

It’s sad that America refuses to learn from the past and continues to buckle under the pressure placed on our culture by Muslim assholes with delicate sensibilities. And I do use the phrase “Muslim assholes” unabashedly. See, as the author of the Reason article points out, neither of these terms by themselves are responsible for the culture of submission and forced silence that’s become commonplace when we talk about Islam. There are Muslims who aren’t assholes. There are assholes who aren’t Muslims. But both these terms are equally complicit in the acts perpetrated by such people.

And, again, we are not talking about some easily-discounted fringe position here. We’re talking about something that millions of people believe.

I am sick and tired of a completely unsubstantiated set of ideas being given a free ride from criticism, just because its critics are threatened into silence by its followers. And so I’m going to take a page out of Allen Ginsberg’s book.

If millions of people believe that Islam justifies death threats on a man for writing a book, then I shit on their religion.

If millions of followers of Islam believe that no one (non-Muslims included) should be permitted to draw a picture of the prophet Muhammad, then I shit on their prophet.

If Islam says it is okay to stone women for fornicating, marry off children as young as nine, and slaughter thousands of “infidels,” then I, too, shit on Islam.

Mark Goldblatt says it best:

Since 2001, many Americans have asked how they can contribute in a direct way to the war against totalitarian Islam. Now we have an answer. If it’s legal, and likely to offend the radicals, just do it. That seems straightforward enough. But how many of us will have the nerve to stand up to a million or so Muslim dirtbags, and to scores of millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, of their fellow travelers and psychic enablers, and say in unison, “You want to kill the Enlightenment, you’re going to have to come through me.”

I concur.

And if anyone plans on selling “I shit on Islam” t-shirts, save me an adult size small.

22 thoughts on “Allen Ginsberg Shits on Islam

  1. Pingback: Allen Ginsberg Shits on Islam | Secular News Daily

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  3. O moslem may shit be upon the and thy criminal prophet.
    I wish I could wipe my ass on the prophets beard.
    May a thousand dogs pee in his beard.

  4. People from the Middle East, whether Christian or Muslim or Jewish, take religion much, much more seriously than either you or Ginsberg. The rule of specific religions wasn’t diluted by the sort of sectarian fighting one saw between, say, Lutheran protestantism and the Catholic church. For example, there were cartoons soon after Luther nailed his objections showing people “farting” in the pope’s face.

    These sorts of developments have not happened in Islam in the Middle East. Science has not displaced religion, and there weren’t any (successful) counter movements to religion or religious thinking like has happened in Europe, and to lesser extent, the US.

    Christian Arabs react the same way as Muslim Arabs if one were to insult their religion. The point being, it’s not so much the religion as the culture of intolerance to any perceived or real insult.

    You and Allen Ginsberg scoff at the stupidity and barbarousness of us muslims, but you forget your ancestors were just as bad, if not worse, to each other and to non-christians. Now, centuries later, that you are enlightened, you fly into rages against cab driver?

    The point of contention is that you, and presumably Allen, feel that insulting someone’s religion is not a basis for a death penalty. This is something I totally agree with you. But again, it wasn’t that many years ago your ancestors were burning witches in Salem, MA, or hanging Quakers, or tarring and feathering Wiliam Penn, or “the Troubles” in Ireland etc.

    My point is that your and Allen’s “enlightened” attitude only came about after hundreds of years of struggle. Yet you don’t appreciate that the Islamic world has to go through that also. And perhaps the best way to do that is NOT to yell.

    So, should you just be quiet when a “muslim asshole” shouts for blood? Of course not. But do you need to condemn a religion of a billion people because of the Ayatollah? Or even a million assholes?

    If we are not to end up in a wasteful and stupid “clash of civilization” conflict between the “west” and the “islamic” worlds, we need to meet each other half-way. Perhaps Allen should have told that cab driver that killing people in the name of religion or in the name of defending a religion is perhaps not the best way. In fact, as a muslim, I can tell you that it is UN-Islamic to advocate killing someone for saying something you think is an insult.

    I hope this post doesn’t sound like an apology for murder or intolerance. But if you are able to communicate with people who infuriate you with their “stupid” opinions, such as killing people because of a cartoon, then you would be making the world a better place. Salaam.

    • I don’t agree with everything you said, but I still like quite a bit of it. I think that remembering that christians/others were/are/can be also quite a violent radical bunch can be more carefully done as it may sound like a “tu quoque” argument, that is, “you’re violent radical too, so you can’t complain/so it’s ok to be one”. You’ve made it clear by the end that it’s not the case here, though.

      It also sounds somewhat pointless/missing the point to compare when there’s the whole point of chronology. One could argue, “ok, christians were violent tyrants, but we’re talking about current days”. I think that it’s a good point to bring about when people seem to think that there’s some intrinsic difference between islam and christianity, though. But I’m not sure most people think that, even though many do. But I’d also concur that it may have this “missing the point” aspect

      I also think it should be totally OK to question, even insult a religion. It’s just a “set of ideas”, and ideas should be open to criticism. And “insult” is something rather subjective. But even plain insult should be sort of OK. Not that it’s “the way to go”, something polite to do, but the payback should be another insult, not death threats. I don’t agree with the main point of the blog post though, while I think it should be like that, that one could be stupid and insult a religion anyway he feels like and not be killed by doing so, I don’t think we can’t do that right now, not with islam. I don’t say that out of “respect” but out of fear. It’s just the reality that if people would be even more vocal and offensive against islam, more innocent people would die. As the population at large would be seen as worthless infidels. The only thing we could hope would be that all the suicide bombers would kill themselves and this insanity would end.

      I’m not saying that every or most muslims would be attack others, it wouldn’t take many to do lots of damage. If only all suicide bombers died, perhaps). Moderate muslims are in the crossfire.

  5. Christian Arabs react the same way as Muslim Arabs if one were to insult their religion. The point being, it’s not so much the religion as the culture of intolerance to any perceived or real insult.

    Is that the reason Egyptian Muslims are currently killing Coptic Christians? Or did I imagine this?
    Coptic Christianity pre-Islam used to be – peacefully imported – the religion of Egypt.

  6. when there exist a poison source or material in a form of book like Quran , then there is a need to suppress it right away !… this action will be prosprous not only for the world peace but it will help Muslems to improve their culture and get rid of delusion which have had been culminated by such an undesirable and disgusting book of Quran .

  7. I am a Muslem !… and I confess that the most irrational book i have ever read is Quran and the most charlatan and fraudulant man ever lived is Mohammad !….
    but why still i am a muslem ?… because otherwise i will be killed .

    I wonder why the world leaders could get rid of Hitler who was very similar to Mohammad , but they don,t do anything to get rid of this fucking Quran .

    many many thanks to Mr. Craig Winn who has done a great job by disclosing Quran to the world , and wish the world leader read his lovely and informative book of prophet of Doom as well as his novel ” Tea wit the Terorist “.

  8. All Islamic holy sites should be buried in pigs shit. As well all Muslims when they die should be buried in a hole filled with it. That still would not be deserving enough to come close to all the misery and HELL that MOHAMMED and his MUSLIMS have forced on the world with the CULT of ISLAM!!!!!

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  11. I agree with “one muslim’s view” stated earlier. Cultures seem to evolve at a slow rate, even after undergoing revolutions, and Islamic societies have not had any real intellectual revolutions since the 15th Century. So, yes, there is a huge cultural gap, a lack of rationalism.

    Islam is stuck in the muck of history and will not advance until Muslims choose a more scientific mode of thought. This might happen, but not till a million heads roll.

  12. Wow! From toothpaste to quilt, airplane to your three course meal all came from Islam. How nasty and ignorant people you are having no sense and education. Go to any university before you talk about any religion. Read more to educate yourself first to talk in manners. Cannot imagine someone can insult other religion. Look into yourself first to say something. Shall I tell you who you are? Nasty stuff drunkard maniac and having no sense of life the dirtiest creature on the earth who even don’t go to churches and the churches being converted into Mosques. That is the reality 20,000 Americans are becoming Muslims every year. How the hell you will understand life, you are maniac creatures on the earth who believe in 22/12/2012 the end of the world. You nasty stuff change your dirty brains.
    You are the society of threesome or foursome living like animals and pigs with full nasty smell on the earth eating pigs and fucking people like pigs, we Muslim are the minaret of the world who gave you everything you needed just like the sun that gives you light everyday but don’t demand anything. Fuckers who invented airplane? Your toothpaste deodorant perfumes cars. windmills electricity and so on? All came from Islam! Remember you filthy shit Islam is the only pillar to hold and beg for blessing.

  13. You son of a bitch muslim shut your piggy, dirty, ugly stinking mouth.
    Bastards, because of you, security in the whole world has become a sort of threat.

  14. Boy oh boy, or man oh man, just in case I encounter a few remaining Muddy Waters fans, I am not a big fan of Islam, believe me, but I think that rudeness and hateful rubbish is worse. I would love nothing better than for Muslims to wake up an realise that their book is bad and their prophet is in hell, but that still does not change the fact that a billion people may never agree with me, and that I will likely have to deal with them one day on the business end of a guillotine. So be it. Truth is an arrow, and the gate is narrow, and it passes through. That is what Jesus said, or was it Bob Dylan paraphrasing? Anyway, Koran is partly Old Testament, partly New Testament, and partly lies from the Enemy of Mankind, satan. If you don’t believe me, just look at the fruit of Islam, it is all violence and bloodshed with vehemence, but please keep in mind that it is only 5% of the faithful that will cause the other 95% to submit or die. We have a battle on our hands, but it will never be won by hatred and violence. Islam and muslims must be met by the truth that comes from Jesus, the author of life in the universe, and only his love can stand a chance to convert and save some of them, and some of us. The odds are against us all anyway, so why single out the most vile system or group to hate when we are all in the shit together? We should spend most of our time cleaning the shit off oursleves first, then we will be able to help pull others up from out of the shit pit. And in my humble opinion, Christianity and Christians are just as covered in it, and just as sinking in it as any muslim. Satan loves nothing better than when people hate and destroy each other. It is his favourite game and passtime. Don’t get fooled by it, it will rob you of joy in life, and take you away from the source of life, Jesus.

  15. i think that the problem with that reasoning is that it won’t do anything really “against” radical islam, not anything other than irate them. And if it was a public demonstration of shitting on islam, then the overal public will be those who deserve to die. Then there are no specific targets, every gathering of large numbers of people is a target.

    So they may blow up the school where your children study.

    Or a bus your brother takes to work everyday.

    And so on.

    And why risk that? What could we possibly win from publically shitting on islam? Nothing. Does not matter how insulting, radicals won’t change their minds. On the contrary, you’ll just be “proving” they’re right, that you’re the enemy. And they will have an easier time converting eventual moderates to their side.

    The only thing we can get from that is a short lived sense of relief. Nothing more. And the price does not worth paying.

    We got to be smarter than that to beat radical islam.

    That’s not cowardice, just like locking your doors, or having police isn’t cowardice. You could be brave and guard your house night and day, taking turns with the rest of your family, but it’s simpler and safer that way. We got to find a smarter way to deter criminality, and we got to find a smarter way to deter terrorists.

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