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Weapons of the Wishy-Washy

So Michael handed out the first Paul Berman award for sensible liberalism. Do we have an award for insensate liberalism? If so, I’d like to make a nomination. Last night I climbed into bed with Karen Armstrong’s Muhammad: A Biography … Read More

By / September 19, 2006

So Michael handed out the first Paul Berman award for sensible liberalism. Do we have an award for insensate liberalism? If so, I’d like to make a nomination.

Last night I climbed into bed with Karen Armstrong’s Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. As with all Armstrong’s books, Muhammad is packed with all sorts of delightful factoids. Did you know, for example, that 9th century Cordova hosted a Christian martyrdom cult in which the faithful sacrificed their lives by running up to Muslim officials and slurring Muhammad in the most vulgar possible terms? Or that the canonized Saint Louis said that the only way to debate a Jew is to kill him “with a good thrust in the belly as far as the sword will go”?

But this edition of Muhammad was published in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, so we know Armstrong will be seeking to soften our hearts. Here’s her insight into how the U.S. should confront a modern day cult of martyrdom whereby God’s soldiers explore every possible avenue for inflicting mass murder on the residents of American cities.

We must…realize that we cannot, for example, fight this new kind of warfare with the weapons and ideology of the Cold War. We need new solutions for our unprecedented situation, and can learn much from the Prophet’s restraint. But above all, we can learn from Muhammad how to make peace. His whole career shows that the first priority must be to extirpate greed, hatred, and contempt from our own hearts and to reform our own society.

For declaring that the U.S. should respond to declarations of total war and threats of further post 9/11 mass murder with the promise to “extirpate greed…from our own hearts,” Karen Armstrong gets Jewcy’s first (tentatively named) Naomi Klein Award for Insensate Liberalism.

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