Repeating News

This is now the third appearance of the Muslim vs. teh Unclean meme, this time taking the form “Calif. Nat’l Guard Sorry About Pig-Blood Flier“. Oddly enough I’ve seen it about the same time every year.

The gist of the story is that mixing suicide bombers blood with an “unclean” animal would discourage the suicide bomber from killing people. For example, a bus in Israel could have a bucket of pig’s blood on board. Were the bus to explode the unclean blood would forever taint the suicide bomber’s final remains, and therefore, no paradise and 72 virgins for him.

Naturally, Snopes has an article on this. Short summary, it’s a very improbable solution.

The desire for simplistic solutions to complex problems has spawned several widely-circulated messages of late which seek to transform a fight against terrorism to the easily-manageable level of a horror film or a comic strip. Today’s popular notion is the concept that a pig is to a Muslim as a crucifix is to a vampire — simply arm yourself with a porker, and you can use it to render even the most fanatical terrorist helpless, sending him cowering in fear lest he come into contact with anything porcine.

Such notions reduce an extremely widespread and diverse religion — and the people who follow it — to a monolithic entity with a single set of beliefs and rules to which everyone adheres. Islam has a variety of sects and sub-sects just as Christianity has a multiplicity of denominations; assuming that all “Muslims” believe and behave identically is like assuming that all Catholics and Baptists believe and behave identically because both of the latter groups are “Christians.” In one sense, messages such as the ones quoted above could be considered as silly as Muslims’ proclaiming that a good way to throw the USA into disarray would be to “bomb” America with juicy steaks on Fridays, because “Americans are Christians,” and “everyone knows Christians who eat meat on Fridays go to Hell.” Never mind that not all Americans are Christians, that not all Christians are Catholics, that not all Catholics believe in exactly the same things, that not all Catholics are equally religious or faithful, and that even the “rules” of Catholicism have changed over time.

I would quibble over the user of the term “simplistic” when what is actually meant is “simple”. Of course people would want simple solutions over complicated ones.

Then again, as I prowl the Snopes site, I see this legend, marked true: “An article from The Jewish Journal describes Israeli doctors’ providing blood to Palestinians who were injured at Jenin but refused to be given “Jewish blood.”

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