Author Topic: Danger to free speech - the difference between objection and the taking of offence...  (Read 7658 times)

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Offline Tobes

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A very relevant topic, post

- Charlie Hebdo
- The Sun bowing to campaigners and dropping Page 3
- The Religious Hatred bill
- 'Geoffgate' and the 'Bonkers in the Bunker' video

... and numerous other situations in which people no longer object to something they disagree with, instead they take 'offence', which is seen as a justification for taking overt actions, rather than relying on the power of argument and debate.

.... with Labour making claims to be in a good position to winning the next election, what threats hover for the future if this trend continues to be used to justify increasingly intolerant behaviours...?


I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Outoftowner

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An example yesterday was where certain members of "The Muslim Council of Britain" found the letter from Eric Pickles to mosques, asking for Imams to instil British values in their congregation, offensive.

Now, as citizens in a democracy, we more or less give credence to a "Council" as being representative of a group of people, i.e. those who voted the members into their positions. A knowledge of the salafist, Wahhabi Islamic creed though, tells us that they hate democracy, so it is no surprise to learn that The Muslim Council of Britain is self appointed and is not an elected representative body of anyone.

Unfortunately, adopting a name that is a complete misnomer, means that they get listened to by the British Government and the British media. :argh:
What's it all about?

Offline Terry Reynolds

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a video was put on facebook on Sunday, of a team of people from the Britain first lot and they were giving out christian leaflets in a part of east London, and they were soon told in no uncertain words, that this was now a muslim only part of London, and they were not welcome and were told where to go.. after a few scuffles, the plod arrived and yes moved the bf people on, to stop them causing further 'trouble', did nothing at all about the men who were shouting abuse and throwing items at them. what is this country doing,
do those members of that council regard this as abusive to the general public then...

Offline Outoftowner

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Members of Britain First were obviously being provocative but when Amjem Choudray marched his thugs along Edgeware Road last year that was OK!

For those not familiar with this part of London, it is where the lebanese restaurants and shops are and many wealthy lebanese live. These  lebanese, of course, are mainly Shiite whereas Choudray and his thugs are Wahhabi Sunni. Choudray knew that before he went there but Plod didn't, so let him do it. Needless  to say at least one man was badly injured by the substantial "staves" that Choudray's idiots were using to carry their banners. Really the staves were offensive weapons but nothing was done.
What's it all about?

Offline Muggins

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As was explained on numerous programmes last week and during the French Mrch, we do not have total free speech - but free speech within the law.  An easy to remember instance (maybe a bit flippant) given was we don't shout 'fire' in a crowded cinema when there isn't a fire.

The Sun thing is a bit silly really, women did object to page 3, 25/30 years ago and a few still do I suppose.   Page 3 was stopped by the Sun somewhere else (might have been Ireland) about three years ago, dropping it has made absolutely no difference to its circulation so they had no reason to print it for circulation reason, but I bet it made a good story saying they had stopped it because of the objections.  Apparently they had plenty of scantily dressed females leaping about its pages anyway.

Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Spunkymonkey

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As was explained on numerous programmes last week and during the French March, we do not have total free speech - but free speech within the law.

The difficulty with this argument is who gets to make the law? Different countries interpret the rules differently and draw a different line between the right to freedom of speech and causing offence or committing a hate crime.

It isn't the case that some countries are simply more tolerant than others either. One country might be more tolerant in one case, but stricter in another. 

Charlie Hebdo printed cartoons making fun of the Prophet Mohammed in France, but how many UK publications would dare to do this? I am not sure if these cartoons would be illegal in the UK, but I wouldn't share them in my workplace because I would almost certainly be sacked. Under EU law, a Muslim cartoonist could apply for a job at Charlie Hebdo and would have the right not to face discrimination in the workplace even though the publication might be deeply offensive to the individual. 

This doesn't necessarily make France more liberal than the UK when it comes to freedom of speech though. If you live in the UK or Scandinavia and deny the holocaust you are exercising your right to free speech, but do the same thing in France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania or Spain and you are breaking the law and can expect to serve time in jail. The law is less specific in Switzerland, Netherlands and Portugal but could still result in a jail sentence.

There are lots of inconsistencies from country to country and culture to culture.

The Sun has stopped publishing page 3, but Charlie Hebdo continues to print images mocking Mohammed. Does this mean that a female willingly exposing her breasts is more offensive than blasphemy. Breastfeeding in a restaurant is now acceptable, but breasts in a newspaper aren't. Who decides?

Members of Britain First were obviously being provocative but when Amjem Choudray marched his thugs along Edgeware Road last year that was OK!

In the UK there is a fear of offending minority groups, but in France it seems to be acceptable. You could argue that the line can be drawn between intentionally and unintentionally causing offence or inciting hated. Which side of this line do the sectarian marches in Northern Ireland fall?

In some countries the circumstances of a persons actions are taken into account and in some cases freedom of speech can be exercised providing that it is not deliberately intended to cause offence. In the UK, you can be as offensive as you like to someone as long as it is not homophobic or racially motivated. If a fat man cuts you up and in a moment of road rage you call him a fat 'so and so' that is acceptable, but if a black man cuts you up and you call him a black 'so and so' it becomes a hate crime even though the intention was the same.

I don't watch Celebrity Big Brother, but apparently a gay man was deliberately winding up a fellow housemate for days before the victim finally had enough and called him a faggot. The initial bullying and intentional aggravation was acceptable but a mildly homophobic reaction wasn't.

You can act within the law in your country of residence, but offence doesn't stop at borders. It may be legally acceptable to offend Muslims in France, but this will be seen and may cause outrage further field. I am not condoning what happened in Paris, but it was highly predictable. 

Another example is the film about the fictional assassination of a Kim Jong-un. Whilst this might be acceptable and funny in America, it might be less well received in North Korea. The film might be legal in America, but why should North Korea respect an American's right to freedom of speech, if the American doesn't respect North Korea or it's leader. Forget 'freedom of speech', if North Korea did hack Sony this was a victory for the 'freedom to ignore US arrogance and kick its Yankie butt'.

We have 'freedom of speech' and in some circumstances the 'right to offend', but that doesn't mean we 'have to offend'. We could all be nice to each other.

Offline Tobes

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 :clap:

Spunky has perfectly illustrated the thoughts I was having...

Given the inconsistencies and downright contradictions (which are in danger of making our whole system look grossly hypocritical), I am of the mind that we should be stripping back our legislation as far as possible and ought to have a moratorium on any further Orwelian 'thought crimes'.

Its time we went back to grass roots - engagement, education and communication. Almost all evil ideology and unfair intolerance stems from ignorance, superstition and unchallenged falsehoods. If we carry on banning disagreement and discussion or expression, we will merely reinforce the bias of those who are prejudiced and make a mockery of the very society we
claim to cherish.
Its evil deeds deeds, not words that we ought to be obsessing about as a society.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Muggins

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The difficulty with this argument is who gets to make the law? Different countries interpret the rules differently and draw a different line between the right to freedom of speech and causing offence or committing a hate crime.

We make or guide the law making in this country, we can't speak for others.


Charlie Hebdo printed cartoons making fun of the Prophet Mohammed in France, but how many UK publications would dare to do this? I am not sure if these cartoons would be illegal in the UK, but I wouldn't share them in my workplace because I would almost certainly be sacked. Under EU law, a Muslim cartoonist could apply for a job at Charlie Hebdo and would have the right not to face discrimination in the workplace even though the publication might be deeply offensive to the individual. 

Apparently Charlie Hebo had a very small circulation - even if we could print that sort of thing here, most would find it either boring or not funny and you don't have to be Muslim for some things to offend.  Or at least not want to be part of the offensive behaviour.


This doesn't necessarily make France more liberal than the UK when it comes to freedom of speech though. If you live in the UK or Scandinavia and deny the holocaust you are exercising your right to free speech, but do the same thing in France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania or Spain and you are breaking the law and can expect to serve time in jail. The law is less specific in Switzerland, Netherlands and Portugal but could still result in a jail sentence.

Isn't denying the Holocaust like saying the earth is flat?  I think it's pretty obvious why its more sensitive to say it in the countries that have made a law against it.

There are lots of inconsistencies from country to country and culture to culture.

Yes, Or it would be a boring old world.

The Sun has stopped publishing page 3, but Charlie Hebdo continues to print images mocking Mohammed. Does this mean that a female willingly exposing her breasts is more offensive than blasphemy. Breastfeeding in a restaurant is now acceptable, but breasts in a newspaper aren't. Who decides?   

There is a world of difference not only about printing mockery and breasts out, but also between flaunting an expensive boob job and doing the most natural thing in the world. Although those around you should be considered when doing either. they should not be compared

Members of Britain First were obviously being provocative but when Amjem Choudray marched his thugs along Edgeware Road last year that was OK!

In the UK there is a fear of offending minority groups, but in France it seems to be acceptable. You could argue that the line can be drawn between intentionally and unintentionally causing offence or inciting hated. Which side of this line do the sectarian marches in Northern Ireland fall?

It's not a fear, we don't want to do it and we don't want others doing it our presence. To my mind by not challenging prejudice we are complicit with it, and believe me it can be VERY wearing having to challenge it all the time.  Having been told its not polite to mock, some people have to do it for wind up, like you say its just a load of ignorance.


In some countries the circumstances of a persons actions are taken into account and in some cases freedom of speech can be exercised providing that it is not deliberately intended to cause offence. In the UK, you can be as offensive as you like to someone as long as it is not homophobic or racially motivated. If a fat man cuts you up and in a moment of road rage you call him a fat 'so and so' that is acceptable, but if a black man cuts you up and you call him a black 'so and so' it becomes a hate crime even though the intention was the same. 

If I cut someone up and they had time to take in that I was fat I'd say something to them about their driving.  What the hell, I've been heckled for no reason when I've been on the scooter.  I took no notice or did I give them a rarely seen Muggins rude gesture I can't remember now. I take no pleasure in lowering myself but some do.


I don't watch Celebrity Big Brother, but apparently a gay man was deliberately winding up a fellow housemate for days before the victim finally had enough and called him a faggot. The initial bullying and intentional aggravation was acceptable but a mildly homophobic reaction wasn't.   

Celebrity Big brother is one long wind up - which is why I gave up watching it, they are set up for intentional aggravation, it's a sort of test of how much they can take for which they are very well paid.  It is not however real life.

You can act within the law in your country of residence, but offence doesn't stop at borders. It may be legally acceptable to offend Muslims in France, but this will be seen and may cause outrage further field. I am not condoning what happened in Paris, but it was highly predictable. 

Anywhere in the world, you have the right to be offended, that does not under any circumstance give you the right to kill. IT give you the right to use the same weapon right back at 'em - in this case free speech French style. 


Another example is the film about the fictional assassination of a Kim Jong-un. Whilst this might be acceptable and funny in America, it might be less well received in North Korea. The film might be legal in America, but why should North Korea respect an American's right to freedom of speech, if the American doesn't respect North Korea or it's leader. Forget 'freedom of speech', if North Korea did hack Sony this was a victory for the 'freedom to ignore US arrogance and kick its Yankie butt'.

We have 'freedom of speech' and in some circumstances the 'right to offend', but that doesn't mean we 'have to offend'. We could all be nice to each other.

Yes, we could and of course most of us try, what pleasure has a decent person got in doing otherwise unless pushed to the extreme limit?
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Muggins

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:clap:

Its time we went back to grass roots - engagement, education and communication. Almost all evil ideology and unfair intolerance stems from ignorance, superstition and unchallenged falsehoods. If we carry on banning disagreement and discussion or expression, we will merely reinforce the bias of those who are prejudiced and make a mockery of the very society we
claim to cherish.
Its evil deeds deeds, not words that we ought to be obsessing about as a society.

Some years ago, maybe in the early 90's we were required to attended Equal Ops training day, some law was in its infancy and we ignorant prejudice souls had to be given an education, just in case we wanted some funding and they wanted to make sure it was spent fairly and equally for our particular community of place - need or interest. One thing I learned there, was the amount of time the law had changed - had to change.  So the laws have evolved, changing with the various outcomes f the last change no doubt. there isn't some God standing over parliament saying change the law now because I say so, the need has been found to change the laws, and by common consent they go through.  Sometimes we have to have a law to remind us not to do things.

If giving offence means deaths, maybe having a law to moderate some people is worth having worth us supporting it! 

Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Tobes

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and by common consent they go through.

Absolutely and categorically NO, THIS IS AN UTTERLY FALSE CLAIM TO MAKE. What 'common consent'? From who?

We give a mandate (based on a minority of electors) to a small bunch of people to make up legislation 'on the hoof', and for an even smaller majority of that minority to vote it through. Most law has no 'common' mandate at all.

Some law has come from biblical teachings and historical traditions. Some from experience, and much (if no 90% of modern law) from political expediency (hence the numerous unintended consequences which results). Some of it works out. Some of it doesn't.

In the case of shaping people's morality or the way they think, the law is a blunt edged and frequently inefficient tool. Besides which, the intended function of the law is there to moderate people's behaviour within community and a wider society; if it strays into the realms of governing what people say or think, short of libel, slander or overt calls to do others harm, on the incredibly slim mandate under which it acts, it is straying into totalitarian territory.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline moley

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In fact isn't law drafted by Parliament and then interpreted by lawyers/judges so often it's application ends up completely different to its intent?

Hence the importance of case law and precedent on the British legal system...

Moley

Offline Tobes

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Spot on Moley

It makes the growing 'culture of offence' all the more dangerous and insidious; if we really seriously want to live in a world in which we expect not to be offended by the views or expressions of others, then we must accept that it'll also be a world in which our own freedom of expression will be severely curtailed.

If you want an example of where that leads, ask the Saudi blogger who is being flogged for expressing some mild atheism and objection to his state. But don't then go on to criticise an Islamic fundamentalist (or a member of the BNP, for that matter) for expressing their views, when they can clearly see that post Charlie Hebdo protests in support of freedom of speech are hollow and hypocritical.

Freedom of speech means freedom of expression.

If thats not defended to the hilt, and we allow creeping compulsion to 'not cause offence', then we may as well give in to radical, extremist Islam right away, as that kind of theocractic, authoritarian culture is EXACTLY the sort of state they want.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Mart

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70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz coming up.

It bears watching, but it ain't that bad.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Spunkymonkey

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We make or guide the law making in this country, we can't speak for others.


Who is 'we'? Talk to Joe Public and you will often hear the phrase 'political correctness gone mad'. Who is making the rules? UK government, the EU, local government, left wing pressure groups?

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Apparently Charlie Hebo had a very small circulation - even if we could print that sort of thing here, most would find it either boring or not funny and you don't have to be Muslim for some things to offend.

I don't understand how the size of circulation is relevant. In the UK soft porn is displayed by newsagents in a sealed wrapper to protect those who don't want to view it. If Charlie Hebdo print an offensive cartoon on the cover, it is clearly visible to Muslims regardless of whether they buy it. Who decided that the rights of feminists is greater than the rights of Muslims. The Sun has a large circulation, does that make it more acceptable or less? More acceptable because a large number of people clearly don't object or they wouldn't buy it or less acceptable because a greater number of people are exposed to it. Let's not forget that Page 3 is inside the paper not on the cover. Personally, I don't buy the Sun so it doesn't bother me either way.

Why is it acceptable for Charlie Hebdo to publish an offensive joke about Mohammed but wrong for Nick Martin to make an offensive joke about mongols having sex? Who makes the rules? 

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Isn't denying the Holocaust like saying the earth is flat?

Yes, or like saying the earth is only 6000 years old. The right to believe in some nonsense is acceptable, but right to deny certain facts isn't.

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I think it's pretty obvious why its more sensitive to say it in the countries that have made a law against it.

The EU tried to make it law across Europe but the UK and Scandinavia objected on the grounds of freedom speech. The countries where it is illegal needed EU permission to pass the law.

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There is a world of difference not only about printing mockery and breasts out, but also between flaunting an expensive boob job and doing the most natural thing in the world. Although those around you should be considered when doing either. they should not be compared
.

Agreed. Personally I would have thought mocking someone's religion was worse than exposing your breasts, but I wasn't invited to sit on the PC Nutters Committee that make the rules. Breast feeding is very natural. So was nudity until someone decided that it wasn't.
 
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In the UK there is a fear of offending minority groups, but in France it seems to be acceptable.
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It's not a fear, we don't want to do it and we don't want others doing it our presence. To my mind by not challenging prejudice we are complicit with it, and believe me it can be VERY wearing having to challenge it all the time.

I don't want to offend anyone either, but I believe that there is a fear amongst the government and public sector about offending certain minority groups. 

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What the hell, I've been heckled for no reason when I've been on the scooter.

That wasn't my point. I wasn't condoning road rage or rudeness. I was making the point that the use of certain adjectives in the heat of the moment can escalate a situation unintentionally.

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Celebrity Big brother is one long wind up - which is why I gave up watching it, they are set up for intentional aggravation.

Exactly. The producers select people who are likely to clash and manipulate the situation to make them more likely to clash. The public tuning in hoping that they will clash and are then outraged when they er ........ clash. I know what Big Brother is like so I don't watch it. Feminists know that they will see breasts on Page 3 so presumably they don't buy it. Why is it acceptable to switch off or ignore one thing, but not acceptable to ignore another?

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It's a sort of test of how much they can take for which they are very well paid.

Now I'm confused. Does the right to freedom of speech or the right to offend or be offended change based on how much a person earns.

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Anywhere in the world, you have the right to be offended, that does not under any circumstance give you the right to kill. IT give you the right to use the same weapon right back at 'em - in this case free speech French style.

Of course it doesn't give anyone the right to kill, but that didn't stop them did it.

We can make our rules, but if we don't respect their rules, how can we expect them to respect our ours.


Offline Tobes

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If giving offence means deaths, maybe having a law to moderate some people is worth having worth us supporting it! 

It wasn't 'offence' which killed anyone. It was a bullet from and AK47. It was the poisoned mind which pulled the trigger. And what had poisoned that mind? - The concept that MERE WORDS and the offence they caused was a reason to kill someone.

In fact, it went beyond that - it was a belief based upon a clear Old Testament teaching and a whole ideological system which is based about the belief that they and only they are right - and which reserves a divinely given right to kill those is perceives as 'enemies'.

Our own creeping extension of ever more precluded words or images makes a mockery of trying to pretend we're any better or freer than the islamics who want to extend The Caliphate.

The right to express thoughts which other people object to has to be the foundation of our society. Exceptions should only be made in the most extreme cases.

If not, we're actually mimicking the attitudes of the people who's philosophy we claim to oppose.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Muggins

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Blimey I lobbed a few TS hand grenades in their didn't I!

Tobes, It was the gun that shot the bullet, it was the finger on the trigger that did the deed, the so say perceived 'offence'  that led them to hold the gun and pull the trigger.

That wasn't my point. I wasn't condoning road rage or rudeness. I was making the point that the use of certain adjectives in the heat of the moment can escalate a situation unintentionally.

Spunky Quote: "That wasn't my point. I wasn't condoning road rage or rudeness. I was making the point that the use of certain adjectives in the heat of the moment can escalate a situation unintentionally."

Too right it did, which was my point, when insulted, I reacted in a way I most certainly would not usually, in a most un-lady like way.  I doubt that my reaction caused anyone else to lose sleep, but I was most displeased with myself for the momentary slip.

I suppose that's the difference, I re-acted instantly, finding something in me I didn't know was there.  The reaction from terrorist is something else, it's cold, thought about, planned and comes from somewhere inside them most people don't want to go.

I'm still sure that people have influenced the laws about discrimination. Basically people are wetter now than they used to be, there were campaigns left right and centre in the 60's - 70's and into the 80's. 

We do need educating - but even then things won't penetrate into a closed mind.

Old saying: You can lead an horse to water but you can't make it drink.  (Unless you make it a law)
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Outoftowner

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The reaction from terrorist is something else, it's cold, thought about, planned and comes from somewhere inside them most people don't want to go.

In the case of Islamic terrorists, it comes from the brainwashing that they are subjected to. They are taught that the Quran, the Hadiths and the Shura (The Islamic scriptures) require them to kill non-believers, apostates, Jews and heretics and also tells them how to do it.

The thing that is denied by many. is that these documents do tell people to behave in exactly the way the Taliban, Al Quaida, Islamic State and Boko Haram  behave. In other words, they are following the doctrine of Islam exactly as prescribed.  :wakeup:
What's it all about?

Offline Muggins

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But what makes them susceptible to that Outer?

What link is missing/extra that takes them to it?

Do you think other races and religions are brainwashed accordingly in other ways, maybe not so destructive?   

 
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Outoftowner

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I suspect that all humans must be susceptible to brainwashing. If you start them off young and they hear nothing else from their parents, teachers, religious instructors and peers, then it all must be true I suppose. If they question what they are told or have doubts then, as a child, they are punished. As an adult, they are killed. The choice is quite stark. :knuppel2:

I will not even describe what I have seen and heard about but even the thin edge of the wedge, learning the Quran by rote at an early age, is bad enough. Instead of learning subjects that could benefit mankind, these little children waste hundreds if not thousands of hours.

The Quran, the Hadiths and the Sunnah are all available to read on-line. See if you can spot the texts that order Muslims to kill and maim people. More realistically, see if you can avoid spotting them.

http://submission.org/index.html

http://quranexplorer.com/Default.aspx

There are several on-line sources.
What's it all about?

Offline the gorgon

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But what makes them susceptible to that Outer?

What link is missing/extra that takes them to it?

Do you think other races and religions are brainwashed accordingly in other ways, maybe not so destructive?

A classic brainwashing tactic cults have is deprivation of some sort (lack of food or bland boring food) under the guise of "cleansing" or whatever and then after a few weeks suddenly someone comes along with a packet of jam doughnuts and the victim is so grateful they are putty in that persons hands.  Then the brainwashing begins.

In some parts of the world it's the state (through corruption) that deprives people of whatever it might be so the fundamentalists step in and provide it and then the people start following the fundamentalists (who are throwing in their mix of religion and politics). 

In Europe it's a societal/tribal/purpose in life gap that the fundamentalists fill, if they were white and non-religious they'd BNP/EDL/Britian First activists.