The Mullah’s Hand

Below is the humorous limerick I wrote in reply to Mad Kane’s prompted to write a limerick which has the phrase “…was trying his hand” in the first line.  I posted on her site but am also posting it here, instead of on my Poetry blog, because I wanted to add this poll and the political/religious issue. How do you think I will do in Kane’s limerick contest?  Is my limerick too politically incorrect to touch? If you are a blogger please take the poll on the right.My opinion: With this last week of embassy burnings and murders, does such humor give you a chill. If so, then the fundamentalists are winning.

Note: “Mullah“: an Islamic cleric often with legal authority in Muslim theocracies.



Filed under Philosophy & Religion

26 responses to “The Mullah’s Hand

  1. Limericks are viral in my head…would like to repost this one. As to poll, I have already, in the local paper ..

  2. @ myrthryn,
    (1) Feel free to repost, if you wish. If that is what you meant.
    (2) Read it, and I disagree. Well, unless I totally misunderstood you.

  3. The content is fine. [Own] in line 1 is superfluous and adds an unneeded syllable and line 2 doesn’t flow as it should. Try reading it aloud and you will see what I mean. But I wouldn’t be pedantic about it.

  4. By the way: I suspect there are very few people out there who do not know what a ‘mullah’ is. I would have been more interested in your definition of ‘fundamentalists’. 🙂

  5. @ J Cosmo,
    (1) Yeah, I first wrote it without the “[own]” but I worried if people would understand. But I agree, it sounds better without. I will edit it. Thanks.

    (2) Below the poem I put an explanation of “mullah” — maybe you didn’t see it. I think you are right again — not a lot of general readers would know it. But this site has lots of fairly sophisticated readers when it comes to religion. Nonetheless, out of thoughtfulness, I made an easy link for those that may have been curious, but not curious enough to cut and paste into google.

  6. @ Cosmo: I used the word “Fundamentalist” to capture the notion that there are different sorts of Muslims — with many not advocating violence. Here I mean “fundamentalist” is someone who believes their religions morality should be legislated in total — theocracists. And perhaps those that believe only their way is true and those who don’t believe are used by Satan himself.

    Well, something like that — you know how slippery words can be. But that was my intention.

  7. Curt

    I have a comment on your poll. What would be offensive to a Muslim is qquite subjective. There are hundreds of millions of them if not a billion.
    What some might not find offensive others might.
    For example the claim about how many Muslims there are in the world.
    Common how can they really be couinted. i notice that these figures often correlate to data that gives the populations of predomonately Muslim couitnries and then adds in the Number of Mulims in areas with substantial
    Muslim minorities. But the thing is many of these people are not practicing Muslims. In fact millions are even athiests. But it is assumed that if you are a member of say, Pakistan that you are a Muslim, even though a person who grew up in Pakistan could be a Marxist. One that would of course be hesitant to say so openly. Then there are Millions who might call themselves Muslims but really do not take the duties and responsiblilites of being a Muslim very seriously.
    The point is I claim that the number of Muslims in the world is highly inflated. Some Muslims may find that offensive.
    Which leads in to the next point. I think that most people can understand the difference between making a honestly believed criticism and an offensive emotional designed to inflame passions.
    At the same time as the outrage was being expressed in the Middle East
    over the anti Islamic film there was another contreversy occuting in eastern Europe. In Latvia, or perhaps Lithuania, a magizine advertisment appeared making fun of the holocaust. Many people were really outraged tat someone could be so stupid to joke about the deaths of millions of people in an ad for a product. They called for the prepitrators to be punished. Of course American can certianly not be smug about being supirior to Muslims. There are frequent attempts in the USA to outlaw
    flag burning.
    Of course other Americans, (and Europeans too, especially the Dutch) do take a postition that I may not agree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it. Saying something offensive should be curtailed be good manners not the force of law. I generally count myself among this crowd but in the last ten years I have learned that even I would place limits on free speech.
    The arguements that the attack Iran soon crowd have been using to whip up sentiment for an attack against Iran I find so ludicrious that I do not see there position as being protected by free speech anymore than conspiring to rob a bank should be protected by free speech. To me it is clear that these people are guilty in conspiring to wage a war of aggression. IN my book that is the most serious crime that there is.

  8. Sabio: fundamentally, I agree.

  9. Curt

    In Germany some politicians are caling for the recently famous anti Mohammad film to be banned. I suppose it is possible to justify such a thing on the grounds that it is a deliberate attempt to instigate violence
    between Mulsims and Secularists. But how are people to judge unless they see the film?
    In Germany there is no doubt that those who hold a political office are better able to determne what people should and should not be exposed to.
    In the USA they mock this idea as the Nanny state. After living for a long time in the USA and in Germany I think that the Nanny state can actually be supirior to the free market state. It depends on who you have for a Nanny.
    Another way that this is reflected is in the German approach to religous education. Children are given such education in the public schools. At first there was on two flavors. Catholic and Protestant. Protestant means Lutheran in Germany. Then Parents were allowed to not send their children to the classes if they did not want to . Eventually, just a few years ago Islam also began being offered. The Nannies deicided that children of immigrant parents will learn about Islam somewhere, why not give them a chance to learn about a variant of Islam that is compatible with German values. I support that decision. I do see a risk to it.
    If the German Government losses it credabilty among young Muslims then those that teach Islam with German government approval in the Schools will be seen as traitors by those youth that the government is trying to influence and such students will reject the teachings that they are exposed to in the schools for competing sects.

  10. Curt

    Have you ever considered a thread for people to sound off on why they are not a Muslim?

  11. @ Curt
    Indeed. If the nanny is a Mullah, a Rabbi or a Priest or a Mao …. I don’t want them. So best not to have a government that allows nannies.

    Your argument shows the danger of letting the government be involved with any religion — a big step backwards. Thanks for the info. I personally think Europe is in for big trouble — France has already been hit. Germany and England are close behind. Of those, only Germany can perhaps avoid Sharia law landing in her courts.

    Democracy can be a dangerous thing.

    Curt – what would a post of “Why aren’t you a Muslim” be valuable — it should be obvious. 🙂
    What is amazing is that to deconvert is punishable by death in some Muslim circles ! With that mentality, why to we tip-toe around this worldview?

  12. Curt

    I disagree that for a government to be involved with a religion is a step backwards. One thing that I agree with the Muslims on is that the idea
    you can not really have a seperation of church and state. A country mgiht say that it has seperation of church and state but such a country is really just fooling itself.
    In all countries there has to be some set of values that the rulers of the country are united by or there will civil conflict. It is inevitable that these values will be shaped by some kind of religion. To say that these values are not shaped by some kind of religion would be to define religion quite narrowly. Philosophies are essentially religions minus the God(s).
    I guess a common world view would be a better way to say it. I maintain
    that ones religion or world view are the same thing, different terms.
    A country can not exist in which there is not a shared world view.
    But of course people worlds views are not static. Conflict will be inevitable not only as some people attempt to become part of the ruling elite and those already there attempt to defend their positions. Conflict will also be caused by changing views among those who already have power.
    I think the idea of seperation of church and state is a sacred cow
    that needs to be sacrifcied.
    Furthermore can a person in 2012 honestly believe that the USA is a functional society? My exerience tells me that the USA is a horribly disfuncional society. It may appear on the surface to be an advanced society from the view point of a person of European descent, especially one in the top 5th on income and wealth distribution. But, such an imagie comes from massive cheating, and an environmetnally unssustianable economy. America is so disfunctional that a huge portion of the population believes that those who point out this disfunctionalness are part of a conspiracy to make money at their expense.
    The only defense that one can give the USA is that if it is disfunctional what about every other country of the world. I would have to agree that most countries are disfunctional. I would add however that of all the countries in the world the USA has the fewest excuses to be disfunctional.

    The USA is in desperate need of a stern Nanny. Not one who is enthralled by the hocus pocus of the Bible Verses or the Koran Suras, or the Buddhists Sutras. But one who might have a basic knowlledge of all of these plus a basic knowledge of the famous western philosphers. Someone who is a Kensyian economist and has actually read Das Kapital and Welath of Nations. Someone who has had a long military career, not necessarily in one country. Some one who has actually spent his/her childhood on farms. Someone who speaks more than just English and has some knows that Georgia is not just a girls name.
    Someone who has published his/her ideas on the internet under a pen name. Some who supports a secret plan to greatly reduce violnce in America. Someone who will not hesitate to throw the presdient and Congress off a bridge with a ropes tied around their necks. A person born in America who would say, if necessary I would rather have the blood of 30 million Americans on my hands than the blood of one more Iranian killed by American treachory. I am not such a Nanny. But, it could be someone that I have crossed paths with. I would certainly follow such a Nanny in to Guantanomo Bay for the rest of my life if necessary.

  13. Curt

    By the way, Why I am not a Mulism. The post. For people who have actually read the Koran to share what red flags were for them.
    For example one that I seem to remember is that according to the Koran in a judicial process a womans testimoney would count half of a mans testimony. That to me is totally wacked out. Throwing the President, his Cabinet and the Congress off a bridge with ropes tied around their necks is really quite mild in comparison.

  14. Earnest

    Curt I am alarmed by some of the things you said but I defend your right to say them.

  15. Curt

    Meerly Alarmed? You should be absolutely terrified, unless, like General Patton, you enjoy living on a battlefield.
    The Chinese have recently started sabre ratteling over a few small Islands
    that are claimed by both Japan and China. The Japanese society is also being whipped up to support Japans claims to these Islands. As far as I know these events have not been connected to what is going on in the Middle East.
    It is not to hard for me to imagine a connection though. The Chinese government has come to the conclusion the there is an increased chance
    of a USraeli attack on Iran in the not to distant future. It could be that the Chinese action is desiigned to take some of the heat off Iran be threatening the US with a two front war. Also the dssapearance of the
    Chinese Vice Presiedent from public view recently, for two weeks, might have something to do with this.
    Furthermore the US public is being lied to massively everyday. We are being led to believe that the relationship between the US and Israel is one of equals not the relationship of American Samoa to the US Feseral government which is actually much closer to reality.
    Why are the American people being decieved?
    A.) So that some people can make money by preparing for an unneccessary war.
    B.) So that the US can be led to war to create conditions that will bring the return of Jesus and biblical nut cases in the USA in bask in glory.
    C.) So the US can be led to war and some people can make lots of money.
    D.) Because the US governemnt does what is in the best interests of its
    citizens and telling them the truth would not do them any good..

  16. @ Curt,
    I must say, I can’t follow the last part of your 4:06 rant. But let me respond to a few things — but I hope this does not trigger a long, unfocused rant.

    Whether or not Church and State are seperate — I think it is the correct goal.

    Religion, as opposed to “worldview” is often full of the dialogue-killer called “sanctification” – that is, “God said this, so go to hell if you disagree.” Nothing is sacred. Sacredness should not be allowed into government.

    You said,

    A country can not exist in which there is not a shared world view.

    I think a desirable country is one that allows very different, unshared worldviews to live peacefully together. But we probably agree.

    Finally, it is clear you need your own blog where you can link us to essays of your feelings about politics and religion.

    @ Earnest,
    I agree, that was alarming but I am not really sure I understood his point(s). I was merely asking if folks were willing to take a chance to criticize Islam. Only 7 folks have answered and no one said, “No, I am afraid” — but I’ll wager that there are lots of folks who are afraid but may not admit it (perhaps not among my readers). Or people that fool themselves with their justifications.

    That liberals justify to idiocy of much of Islam including treatment of women and non-believers, is totally beyond me. I get that the US foreign policy has huge faults and crimes, but that should not stop deep criticism of the ugliness contained within much of Islam. [I wager that you agree.]

  17. you off-duty pundits should read my blog. Meanwhile: we either have free speech or we don’t. Which means that as poets we should not censor ourselves or worry about offending someone. xxxj

  18. Curt

    Having a state religion and allowing religous freedom are not condtidictory concepts. Religous Freedom exists even Iran. Jews and Christians are allowed to practice their religions. They can not try to convert Muslims to their religion.
    I do not think that ending speratiojn of church and state should be a goal.
    I think that we have to be more disierning at what the true religion of a country is. In a country like Cuba the state religion is obviuosly Communism. To ask the Cubans to accept Capitalist in to their ruling elite would be like asking them to committ suicide. Communism and Capitalism are incompatible.
    In the US we have a state religion too. the official hoy scriptures of the USA are the Constitution. But since President Andrew Jackson refused to follow a Supream Court decision protecting the Cheerokee from ethnic cleansing that has only been a cover story. If one dares say that that was just an exception let me remind them of something. I recently saw a video tape of the US Attorney General say that the president of the United States has the authority to authorize the assassination of US citizens without trial.
    His reasoning is that the US Constitution says that the US citizens are allwoed to have “due” process and not a “judicail” process. How stupid can a population be not to see that they have just heard the most blatant example of double speak in the history of the program.
    If we are more discerning I would say that the holy book for the US ruling elite is Atlas Shrugged and perahps also Left Behind. There is a lot of room for disagreement in the US ruling elite. For example you can be for no income tax, you can be for a flat tax, you can be for a progressive
    income tax. You can not be for the nationalization of profitable bussinesses. You can not point out publically that there is no Constitution and therefore no contract between the rulers and the people becasue the rulers enterpret the contract however they damned well please. You can be outside of these lines all you want as long as you have no power. If you are in a position of power the ruler will make sure that you lose it one way or another. That sounds an awfuly lot like a state religion to me.
    To examine some other countries, in Germany you can not be a Member of the Christina Scientist sect and expect to even get a government job let alone be alllowed in to positions of real power. Whether that is a correct or incorrect position I can not say. If it were directed against the Moonies I would say it is probably correct.
    In Algeria in the 1990s the ruling elite decided that if you took Islam seriously, even if you had the support of most of the population you could not be put in a position of power. The west supported the dictatrs. I did not take a side becasue I did not know. What I think that I would have liked to have seen was for the Algerian military to have given the Muslims a chance. The military could have prepared an underground movement to launch a counter revolution if the Muslims became intolerable. Sometimes, as in the case of Turkey, a ruling elite has to welcome those who come outside the “reservation” whether they want to or not. . I wonder if there was some kind of secret agreement between the Islamists and Milittary in Turkey that set rules on what the Islmists could and could not do.
    So it is based on my hisorical experience that I say although tolerence is very good a society can not exist without some orthodoxies. it is those otrthodoxies that constitute the state religion and they can change over time. If I had the power to proclaim an orthodoxy it would be against empire and wars of aggression.
    As for starting my own blog I think that would be foolish because no one would find me. I have to find them.

  19. Qurt

    One good thing about the probably soon to begin WW3 is that it will certinaly mean the end of the economic system known as capitalism to some and free markets to others.
    Another good thing is that it will give Muslims something much more important to complain about than insults by a shady charachter posing as a Zionist insulting the Prophet Mohammad.
    Another good thing about it is that the number of overweight Americans will fall considerably faster than now. According to a study released by the Onion Center for Field Biological Research (OCFBR) the earths movement between its normal position on or around the 21st of March and or around the 21st of September has been altered over the last four years. A joint committee of the OFCBR and NASA scientists concluded that the likely cause of this anomoly was that an unequal planetary weight distribution
    was making it difficutl for the earth to pull itself in to an upright position.
    Still I say that a person can not trust anything said by a US government agency so perhaps there are other more subtle causes like Q.

  20. Earnest

    Fascinating Freudian slip there Qurt! Your name changed to a spelling favored by Mesopotamians….

    If I may say so, much of that content was off topic, and largely speculative.

    I would like to throw out on the table that if Muslims, and even more so Persians (and yes I know there is a difference) develop a sense of humor instead of taking every little thing seriously, the world would probably be a safer place. I would really appreciate it, Qurt, if you would chill out about all of this stuff, and speak more briefly with more measured responses.

  21. Qurt

    Aye Aye Ma’ am.

  22. Curt or Qurt,
    You are wrong : you need your own blog. I won’t respond to your rants here.

  23. The limerick applies to more than Mullah’s…thought-provoking comments. I fear fundamentalism of any ilk.

  24. Dexter

    Thought provoking limerick indeed. I assume the left hand in the picture was intential as it is reserved for hygiene purposes.

    I am moved and maybe a little troubled by some comments posted earlier, but none rang more true than yours: “I get that the US foreign policy has huge faults and crimes, but that should not stop deep criticism of the ugliness contained within much of Islam.”
    ‘Ugliness’ can be in the eye of the beholder but should never be at the cost of your eyes.

  25. Yes, the left hand was accidental — only because I snap pics right handed! But you made me laugh.

    Yes, other comments were odd.

  26. @ Victoria: thanks for your comment.

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