Thursday, September 13, 2012


Over the last couple of days there has been civil unrest in at least two Muslim countries resulting in the deaths of four Americans. In Libya thousands of riotous Muslims took to the streets. Hundreds of them stormed the US Embassy, overpowering the American and Libyan guards using automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades. In the take-over, US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, was killed. In Egypt similar riots broke out, but US Embassy guards were able to keep the intruders at bay with rubber bullets. This has spurred a dramatic response from various US officials including President Obama vowing to "bring justice" to those responsible. So, who is responsible?

The deaths of the US Ambassador and the three other Americans seem to be the handy work of some opportunistic Muslim terrorist groups, and these are the people upon whom the President intends to bring said justice. But the person responsible for inciting the riot in the first place was Sam Bacile who, like Theo Van Gogh, created a film critical of Islam, which depicted the prophet Mohammad as a womanizing warmonger. This is what led to the deaths of four Americans--a film critical of Islam. Here, watch it. It isn't even that good. The acting is terrible, and there is too much green screen. At least Van Gogh had style when he incited violence resulting in his death.

Ayann Hirsi Ali, who still receives death threats for her involvement with Van Gogh's film, was on Bill Maher's show "Real Time" where one of the panelists brought up the point that all of this religious extremism is relatively new and that Christians and Muslims have been able to live together peacefully in some areas of the world for centuries (clip below). This reminds me of something very interesting about my mission for the Mormon Church to Bulgaria which causes me to question this sentiment of Muslim extremists being a new phenomenon.

While in the Missionary Training Center we were told that in Bulgaria people do not nod and shake their heads in the same way that we do in America. It is, in fact, reversed: you shake your head for "yes," and nod your head for "no." It took some time to get used to this practice, but after a few weeks it became second nature. Once in Bulgaria I received an explanation from the natives for nodding and shaking their heads in this way.

As you can see on the map to the left, Bulgaria shares a border with Turkey. When the Ottoman Empire attempted to take over the whole of Europe a few centuries ago (at this time the Bulgarian nod/shake routine was like ours) they had to go through Bulgaria to do it. As a result, Bulgaria became a police state similar to Nazi Germany from 1396-1878 where Christians (the national religion) were the targets of severe harassment and were sometimes killed.

As the Muslims became more efficient at this harassment, they developed a routine of targeting a native, putting a knife or sword under their chin, and asking them if they were a Christian. If the person answered "yes" the weapon would be thrust into their skull. If they answered "no," implying they were Muslim, they would be allowed to live. Fearing death by mob execution, while also fearing damnation for lying as per Christian tradition, they reversed the practice of nodding and shaking their heads in order to avoid both. This apparently fooled the Muslims thus saving the lives of many Bulgarian Christians and the practice is still used today. This happened centuries ago, therefore, Muslim terrorism is not new.

Is Islam a religion of peace? Nod your head for "no."


Here is Ayaan Hirsi Ali on "Real Time" with Bill Maher discussing Islam as a religion of peace:

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