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People are the same everywhere [Aug. 25th, 2011|07:07 pm]
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Today at lunch I walked past a Middle Eastern food store and stepped in to see what they had in the way of naans (quite a lot, as a matter of fact).

About thirty seconds after I entered the store, a Middle Eastern-looking man walks in, goes to the counter, and asks if they sell alcohol.

The clerk, an older Middle Eastern-looking man with an amazing beard, starts gesticulating wildly and declaring that alcohol is haram, forbidden by Allah.

The customer then says that surely, even if he may not drink it, it is not a sin to sell alcohol in a shop.

The clerk starts quoting all of these verses from the Koran and from the sayings of Mohammed, and then one of the other customers starts quoting verses of his own, and they end up in this serious (and animated!) scholarly battle right there in the store. Eventually, the clerk makes some irrefutable point, quoting from a hadith in the original Arabic, and the second customer backs down and agrees that selling alcohol is haram. The first customer, the one who wanted the alcohol, slips out while this is going on.

So now I am wondering whether this is the sort of thing that goes on all the time wherever Muslims gather - in which case I need to hang out around Muslims more often! - or whether it is an act they put on for their own entertainment as soon as they see a white guy walk into the store.

In other Islam-related news, today I met my first Irishman who thinks Obama is secretly Muslim. I'd thought that sort of thing was confined to the US. But in this man's defense, he was a paranoid schizophrenic I met with the psychiatric crisis team. What's your excuse, Americans?
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[User Picture]From: ikadell
2011-08-25 06:48 pm (UTC)

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In Soviet Russia the US paranoid schizophrenics get to be represented in Congress - a powerful minority, in fact. Hence... well, hence a lot of thing.
[User Picture]From: maniakes
2011-08-25 06:58 pm (UTC)

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In other Islam-related news, today I met my first Irishman who thinks Obama is secretly Muslim. I'd thought that sort of thing was confined to the US. But in this man's defense, he was a paranoid schizophrenic I met with the psychiatric crisis team. What's your excuse, Americans?

When interpreting polls on this sort of thing, you've got to remember that people could be saying any number of things which align in various extents with the questions. For example, when someone says "yes" in response to "Do you believe Obama is Muslim?", they could actually mean any of the following:

1. "Yes, I think Obama is secretly a follower of the Islamic faith."
2. "Boo Obama!"
3. "Wait, did you say 'Obama' or 'Osama'?"
4. "Fuck you, pollster! I'm giving you nonsense responses to punish you for interrupting my dinner."
5. "I have no idea what religion Obama is, but I'll make something up in hopes of not sounding stupid."

I suspect #2 accounts for a fairly large proportion, with most of the rest made up of people who mean #1 for the general reasons people buy into conspiracy theories.
[User Picture]From: squid314
2011-08-27 11:30 am (UTC)

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I wonder if there's a practice of asking "control questions" on polls, like "Do you believe Obama is a Hindu?" If 3% of people think he's a Hindu, and 10% of people think he's a Muslim, we might imagine that only 7% of people have seriously been convinced by the "Obama is a Muslim" meme.
[User Picture]From: ciphergoth
2011-08-25 07:29 pm (UTC)

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Zillions of Muslims in the UK sell alcohol - though I'm told there are also plenty of Muslims here who think it's haram.
[User Picture]From: eyelessgame
2011-08-26 04:38 am (UTC)

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America's excuse is Rupert Murdoch. What I want to know is, what's Australia's excuse for /him/?
[User Picture]From: rdmasters
2011-08-26 10:10 am (UTC)

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Err... Rolf Harris? No, that doesn't work. Yahoo Serious? Nope. Kerry Packer? Yeah, that's it.

On second thoughts, Eeeewww!

[User Picture]From: squid314
2011-08-27 11:29 am (UTC)

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The viewing behavior of TV watchers provides financial incentives for pandering to the lowest common denominator but bankrupts anyone who tries to educate or inform them. What's their excuse? :)
From: (Anonymous)
2012-06-22 03:33 am (UTC)

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