Wednesday, March 10, 2010

See what the New York Times considers inappropriate

Today's Maureen Dowd column chronicles her trip to Saudi Arabia. She was unhappy that she was forbidden to enter a mosque--not to mention Mecca in toto. See it here:

The NYT ran 140 comments on this article, and I'm unhappy that I was forbidden to run mine. Once again, I can't for the life of me figure out what made them censor it out--especially considering the comments they did run.

When you submit a comment, the NYT comment robot says: "Thank you for your submission. Submissions are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive."

Here's my comment:

You should have gone with us on our last trip to Bali (October 2009). Bali is 94% Hindu--all by itself in a sea of mostly Islamic Indonesia. Indonesia generally practices about as moderate a form of Islam as you'll find. But tell that to Bali's Hindus. We visited one of their holier temples, on the shore of a mountain lake in the middle of the island, visited by numerous locals.

Muslims had recently built a big blue mosque on a hillock above and behind this temple. From this new mosque, religious harangues issues from a stadium rock-class sound system every hour through all of the day and most of the night. If a Hindu ceremony was going on at the temple...tough. Listen to the true religion, you scum, was the message.

This was no fluke. Muslims are building big mosques all over Bali, every one of them equipped with a humongous sound system, used fervently, despite Hindus being the majority population all around them.

We had the same experience elsewhere in Indonesia, such as Sulawesi, which has a substantial Christian minority. But no matter.

Maureen, one travel tip: never book a hotel near a mosque. You won't get a lot of sleep.

Now our personal interactions with Muslims throughout Indonesia over six trips there in the last decade have been invariably pleasant. And we look very, very American. The problem is the mosques and the hardliners there, richly supplied with oil money flowing from the West to Saudi Arabia, thence to the rest of the Muslim world.

And what flows from the mosques is total contempt for all other religions, coupled with relentless cultural imperialism. If only they matched the Muslims on the street that we dealt with. But they didn't.


Abusive? Off-topic? What?

The comments they did run included many by Muslims admonishing Ms. Dowd for her ignorant criticisms (from their viewpoint at least), others excoriating the entire Muslim world, others just slamming Ms. Dowd, and plenty slamming the Saudi's extra-toxic brand of Islam.

So I still don't understand what let all that through but made my comment unacceptable.

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