Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Yes, Muslims are Protesting the Alexandria Church Bombing

 

There is absolutely no doubt that the attack on a church in Alexandra that killed 21–including this beautiful young woman–was an attack, specifically, on Christians and part of a pattern of recent, barbarous attacks on Christians in the Middle East.

Martin Peretz suggests that there has been no protest against this by Muslims:

Yes, of course. The majority of Muslims are against terror killings of Christians. Maybe even a big majority. But the fact is there is little evidence and, in fact, almost no evidence of revulsion at what has become the distinctive imprint of Islam in the modern world. Alright, I’ll note the most important caveat: it is not Islam but Islamists and Islamism that are at fault in this ongoing outrage.

But still! Wouldn’t you think there’d be a protest or two somewhere in the arc of Muslim faith that stretches from Indonesia to Morocco and southwards to the deepest reaches of Africa? OK, maybe it takes courage in those lands to stand up and say, “No, this is not the Islam I was taught and in which I believe.” 

There has, in fact, been protest, and quite a bit of it:

Meanwhile, a few thousand demonstrators gathered in the area of Mar Morcos, where the bombed church and the Mari Girgis hospital are located, chanting “Muslims and Christians will not be disunited”, protestors told Ahram Online that they are residents of the area, and do not belong to any specific group or organization.

Torkeya Abdelsalam, one of the demonstrators and a Muslim, said she lives near the Saints church and has witnessed the explosion. AbdelSalam said, “this is not Islam,” and that she was taking part in the protest to demonstrate this.

The call for protest has been widespread in Egypt:

Different political groups  called for a demonstration today at 7 PM in Shubra in front Dawaran shubra square, under the slogan “one nation one country one worry” to condemn attacks on Saints church.

Parties and groups who answered the call and declared that they will be participating include Karama Party, El-Amal Islamic Party, the recently formed leftist group Hashd, The National Association for Change, the Justice and Freedom group, The Revolutionary Socialists and the 6th of April movement.

The condemnation of the bombing has been universal among heads of state in the Islamic world, and in fact, even the most extreme of Islamists have expressed their revulsion:

Palestinian factions and society have condemned as one the act of terrorism in Alexandria which killed 21 members of the congregation of Saints Church.

Hamas lambasted the bombing as a barbarian act targeting innocent people. Aziz Duweik, speaker of the Palestinian legislative council, called the bombing “a criminal and sinful act.”

“I condemn this criminal and sinful act in the strongest terms and without any reservation.”

He called the perpetrators and their abettors and supporters “enemies of Egypt, enemies of Islam and enemies of humanity.”

Another Palestinian Islamist leader, Muhammed Jamal Natshe, said Islam would never justify “such barbarian acts.”

“This is a murderous act that is totally unacceptable. It is rejected religiously, morally and humanly,” said Natshe, an Islamist lawmaker in the Hebron rejoin.

Natshe, who spent many years in Israeli jails for peacefully resisting the occupation, said whoever committed this “sinful act” does not represent Islam in any way.

You might say–and I would surely agree–that these comments are grotesquely hypocritical, given that they come from Hamas, but it is just factually wrong to say there is no evidence of revulsion in the Islamic world. Why does it matter? Because it’s too easy to adhere to this narrative--all of Islam’s the problem, somehow–in place of asking the serious questions that need to be asked about this bombing.

The question that needs to be asked above all is which group exactly was behind it? The next question is what does this mean about what’s happening in Egypt? Because some group clearly is trying to start a sectarian war, and may well succeed–an unimaginable catastrophe for Egypt and for the region. It’s pretty damned important to know which group. It matters a lot whether this was the work of al Qaeda or the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. The implications would be very different.

The answer “Don’t get bogged down in the details, all Muslims are the problem–they’re either doing this or they support it somehow” is not remotely useful to formulating any kind of policy response (and also not true).  It does not clarify the picture in some salutary, common-sense way–it just throws ink on the very details that most need to be understood, and understood quickly. 

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  1. Lady Kurobara Inactive

    You will get no argument from me. I say, find out which group is responsible — then hunt them down like animals and kill them all.

    • #1
    • January 2, 2011, at 9:49 AM PST
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  2. flownover Member

    I remember touring Ben Ezra a couple years ago. My guide explained that there may only be 60-70 Jews left in Egypt and most were widows or old spinsters. That struck me as a denial of heritage,a history forgotten and a future lost.

    As this society is forced into it’s Islamist isolation, the kinds of propaganda that will go unanswered will destroy the Egypt that once stood at the intersection of human commerce,culture, and stunt it’s chance for evolution.

    After the Jews are gone, the Christians and Copts chased away, then they will turn on themselves and eat their young.

    If the library hadn’t been burned, they would have found a reason by now to burn it.

    It’s called barbarism isn’t it ?

    The beautiful women that are murdered, like the iconic Neda, are the giltcaged canaries warning all of us of the misogyny of this cult.

    And you feel this is just a faction that can be defeated. Where else has this been accomplished ? Lebanon ? Jordan ?

    • #2
    • January 2, 2011, at 9:58 AM PST
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  3. Cas Balicki Inactive

    The major problem with Islam is that it has no central or overarching authority. So the morons blowing up churches cannot be excommunicated, which would show the world that Islam disapproves of sociopaths and psychotics. Given the independence of the mosques to which you add Saudi financing and you get this sort of brutality for no other reason than there is money to pay for it. Nothing will happen to exorcise this sort of thing until the House of Saud is overthrown and the present Iranian leadership is liquidated. And by liquidated I mean killed and their Swiss bank accounts seized for the mullahs and princes are robbing their countries into abject poverty while exporting their citizens’ discontent in the form of an Islamic revolution. But what does the US do instead? Why it allows itself and certain influential persons and institutions to be bribed with Saudi oil money. What this non-policy does is it leaves innocents to hope against hope that the Saudi deficits and the ever growing population of profligate princes will bankrupt Arabia before they kill too many more of us. Now there’s a formula for success!

    • #3
    • January 2, 2011, at 9:59 AM PST
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  4. Profile Photo Member

    I wonder what would have resulted if the bombing occurred at a prominent synagogue. Would we see a similar rallying of Muslims around the Jewish causalities and against the perpetrators? Perhaps that would be a conclusive test.

    • #4
    • January 2, 2011, at 10:15 AM PST
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  5. Lucy Pevensie Inactive

    Claire, I hesitate to invoke the cabdriver tale, a mode of discourse on which James Lileks has recently heaped scorn. But my cabdriver in Chicago last month was a Christian who was actually born in Iraq. His parents left for other parts of the Middle East after his mother’s family was massacred–in the early 1930s. Over time, they moved from one middle eastern country to another until they finally gave up on the Islamic world altogether and came to the US.

    Anyway, my point is that I’d like to believe with you that there is a significant Islamic opposition to persecution of Christians. But at least one anecdotal report suggests that anti-Christian persecution is endemic over there and has been for living memory. Obviously you can go back further in the history books, to the Armenian genocide, and so on, but I don’t see any evidence of a time or place of significant institutional Islamic tolerance for non-Muslims.

    • #5
    • January 2, 2011, at 10:15 AM PST
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  6. Profile Photo Member

    “It does not clarify the picture in some salutary, common-sense way–it just throws ink on the very details that most need to be understood, and understood quickly.”

    Oh, we’ve had 14 centuries to “understand” Islam. I think we’ve got it by now.

    How about a little analogy: Let’s suppose my neighbor and I both adhere to a cult based upon The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. My neighbor, being more zealous and energetic than I, makes a practice of mugging Jews and desecrating synagogues. But, according to our sacred text, his actions are righteous.

    I may try to put a little daylight between my neighbor and I. I may worry about backlash against the cult. But I don’t leave the cult. And I don’t try to change it. I just quietly look forward to the day when the zealots among us have triumphed and we can all live in a Jew-free world.

    • #6
    • January 2, 2011, at 10:49 AM PST
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  7. Profile Photo Member

    Claire, what is your main purpose in documenting notable instances of sound Muslim behavior (you must have said it before but I have since forgotten)? I presume you suspect a kind of stereotyping of Muslims as violent jihadists is going around. We all agree that Muslims are as capable of conducting themselves properly as anyone else. Some of us (such as myself) however invariably condemn the sacred texts of Islam as sanctioning much of the violence committed by Muslims. It’s the texts and the literal adherence to them that concerns us.

    • #7
    • January 2, 2011, at 11:07 AM PST
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  8. Profile Photo Member
    • #8
    • January 2, 2011, at 11:08 AM PST
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  9. raycon and lindacon Inactive

    In both Pakistan and Afghanistan I have had Christian friends martyred. While alive, in Afghanistan, my friend was careful not to let it be known that he was a Christian. He was found out and beaten to death by his Muslim neighbors. In Islamabad, my friend Eddie was attending the International church when some Muslim terrorists rolled a hand grenade directly under where his family were seated. Eddie lost one leg, his son had both legs shattered, and their daughter, Elizabeth, was killed.

    My closest Pakistani friend, Babar, a Christian Pastor who openly held services in his house in the slum in Peshawar where he was allowed to live, was kidnapped. His body was found a week later, decapitated and dismembered, and full of bullet holes. What happened in Egypt is by no means uncommon and too seldom protested.

    Oh, and after Eddie and his family were attacked, I provided his wheelchair for him, and then went on to Lahore to work with close Muslim friends to distribute several hundred wheelchairs to disabled Muslims, and even a few Christians.

    Somehow, we have to navigate these dangerous waters if any good can come from that part of the world.

    • #9
    • January 2, 2011, at 11:25 AM PST
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  10. Profile Photo Member
    RAYCON:

    Somehow, we have to navigate these dangerous waters if any good can come from that part of the world. · Jan 2 at 10:25am

    I believe that’s known as the triumph of hope over experience.

    • #10
    • January 2, 2011, at 11:28 AM PST
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  11. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    Michael Labeit: Claire, what is your main purpose in documenting notable instances of sound Muslim behavior (you must have said it before but I have since forgotten)?

    I’m going to put this in the simplest terms possible. If I walk into a bar unarmed and all 20 people there are resolutely, philosophically bent on killing me, I’m doomed. If half of them–or even a third–are on my side or might be persuaded to be, I’ve got a fighting chance. What people seem determined to miss–but what is utterly obvious to anyone in the Islamic world–is that the conflict between Islam and the West is the sideshow. The primary conflict is a civil war within the Islamic world. The Islamists’ primary goal is to seize control of the Islamic world. We have natural allies in the Islamic world, and it is simply suicidal for the West to discount them as inexistent or so trivial in numbers as to be unworth our alliance.

    • #11
    • January 2, 2011, at 11:48 AM PST
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  12. Profile Photo Member
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    Michael Labeit: Claire, what is your main purpose in documenting notable instances of sound Muslim behavior (you must have said it before but I have since forgotten)?
    IThe Islamists’ primary goal is to seize control of the Islamic world. We have natural allies in the Islamic world, and it is simply suicidal for the West to discount them as inexistent or so trivial in numbers as to be unworth our alliance. · Jan 2 at 10:48am

    That’s not their “primary”goal, it’s an interim step. Their primary goal is world domination. They’re plain as day about that.

    • #12
    • January 2, 2011, at 11:57 AM PST
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  13. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    Lucy Pevensie: But at least one anecdotal report suggests that anti-Christian persecution is endemic over there and has been for living memory.

    Lucy, there’s no doubt that persecution of non-Muslims is endemic in the Muslim world and has been for living memory. There’s also no doubt that persecution of Jews is endemic in the Christian world and has been for living memory. But the question where and when and to what degree Jews are or have been persecuted in the Christian world makes all the difference–of life and death–for the Jews in question.

    • #13
    • January 2, 2011, at 11:59 AM PST
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  14. Lady Kurobara Inactive

    Claire, this video is a very elegant summary of three critical weaknesses within Islam.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib9rofXQl6w

    Beautifully written and compelling.

    What is your take on it?

    • #14
    • January 3, 2011, at 1:01 AM PST
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  15. Stuart Creque Member
    Stuart Creque Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Lady Kurobara: Claire, this video is a very elegant summary of three critical weaknesses within Islam.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib9rofXQl6w

    Beautifully written and compelling.

    What is your take on it? · Jan 2 at 12:01pm

    Thanks, Lady K, for posting that link.

    Like the Qu’ran, the Torah is also a system of political organization and law, meant to describe the full operation of a just and pious society. Like the Qu’ran, the Torah declares itself to be a light unto the nations and a model to be emulated everywhere.

    Unlike the Qu’ran, however, the Torah is meant to be offered as a gift to other peoples to adopt if and when they see fit, not as a system to be imposed on other peoples by force. Indeed, over the last 2,500 years or so, the Jewish people have attempted to create a system of laws, jurisprudence and customs to allow them to follow Torah in a world that is overwhelmingly non-Jewish.

    • #15
    • January 3, 2011, at 2:00 AM PST
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  16. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    Lucy Pevensie: But at least one anecdotal report suggests that anti-Christian persecution is endemic over there and has been for living memory.
    Lucy, there’s no doubt that persecution of non-Muslims is endemic in the Muslim world and has been for living memory.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that you seem to have implied that the Islamists, with the support of the Saudis, are taking over what might otherwise be a benign and tolerant worldview. I would love to believe it, but I don’t see any evidence at all that this is true. If, as you suggest, Muslims are condemning this particular massacre, I think the condemnation is at best an anomaly in the history of Islam, and very possibly less than that, a manifestation of some political infighting or a cynical PR ploy.

    • #16
    • January 3, 2011, at 2:46 AM PST
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  17. Lucy Pevensie Inactive

    By the way, you say,

    The answer “Don’t get bogged down in the details, all Muslims are the problem–they’re either doing this or they support it somehow” is not remotely useful to formulating any kind of policy response (and also not true). It does not clarify the picture in some salutary, common-sense way–it just throws ink on the very details that most need to be understood, and understood quickly.

    This I can accept. I just don’t think that the solution to these issues is anywhere near as easy as you would like it to be–and I don’t really think you think it’s very simple.

    • #17
    • January 3, 2011, at 2:53 AM PST
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  18. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire,What on earth is going on? There were 33 comments,ending with your own referring us all to previous threads on Moderate Muslim Watch. Now all comments after No 25 appear to have been expunged, including my own perfectly civilized contribution and other more erudite posts from members who,no doubt, gave time and thought to the content of their posts, as did I.Something similar happened to some of my contributions to Maurilius’ debate just before Christmas.Once is unfortunate, but twice…..?

    • #18
    • January 3, 2011, at 3:23 AM PST
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  19. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Now they’re back.just like that!

    • #19
    • January 3, 2011, at 3:29 AM PST
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  20. Leslie Watkins Inactive
    Leslie Watkins Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    What I get frustrated about, and how I see the criticism as being at least somewhat valid, is the seeming absence of protest by Muslims in the United States. The only thing I ever see is CAIR balking about some perceived cultural slight or well-intended ivory tower types sighing about the difficult time Muslims have had in the United States since 9/11. I have a big interest in ancient Near Eastern history and so am aware that the real battle is taking place within the Muslim world—the women I’m aware of who are fighting it are the most beautiful and courageous feminists I’ve ever seen, and I was around for 1970s, burn-your-bra feminism. (I know it didn’t really happen, bra burning, but it was a mindset.) It seems that when these women try to tell their stories or make their case in the American media they are often excoriated with CAIR folks nodding their heads in agreement. So this is why I have some sympathy for Peretz’s view. I’m heartened by your news, though, that the struggle is not one-sided, at least not in the Muslim world.

    • #20
    • January 3, 2011, at 3:48 AM PST
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  21. raycon and lindacon Inactive
    Kenneth

    RAYCON:

    Somehow, we have to navigate these dangerous waters if any good can come from that part of the world. · Jan 2 at 10:25am

    I believe that’s known as the triumph of hope over experience. · Jan 2 at 10:28am

    You are too correct. But remember, hope over experience is the root of all progress. BTW, Eddie and his remaining family still attend the International Church in Islamabad, last I heard, and my Muslim friend who helped us with innumerable projects with the disabled poor from Lahore to Kashmir to Quetta, is now a Senator in Pakistan.

    It’s a process, and Islam-ism itself is the minefield we have to navigate. To overcome Islam itself is like overcoming Buddhism of even Paganism. We want to prevail over those with whom we disagree, but we impose civilized Christian rules upon ourselves so we don’t wind up becoming just another either/or choice.

    • #21
    • January 3, 2011, at 3:56 AM PST
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  22. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    • #22
    • January 3, 2011, at 3:57 AM PST
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  23. Wylee Coyote Member
    Wylee Coyote Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Parties and groups who answered the call and declared that they will be participating include Karama Party, El-Amal Islamic Party, the recently formed leftist group Hashd, The National Association for Change, the Justice and Freedom group, The Revolutionary Socialists and the 6th of April movement.

    Man, there’s not a group name in that passage that doesn’t sound at least a little suspect, is there? Still, good to see them supporting the good side.

    Then there’s “Karama Party”, which sounds like something tony housewives on the Upper West Side host with cheese and wine.

    • #23
    • January 3, 2011, at 4:05 AM PST
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  24. Stuart Creque Member
    Stuart Creque Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member
    Leslie Watkins: I have a big interest in ancient Near Eastern history and so am aware that the real battle is taking place within the Muslim world—the women I’m aware of who are fighting it are the most beautiful and courageous feminists I’ve ever seen, and I was around for 1970s, burn-your-bra feminism. · Jan 2 at 2:48pm

    This is an example of a courageous feminist in a Muslim country:

    Kainat Soomro should have stayed silent. After being battered and gang raped for four days her traditional, conservative village in rural Pakistan expected the 13-year-old girl to keep her story to herself.

    She refused.

    Since then her dark brown eyes and striking features have become a staple of the country’s newspapers and television news channels, as she fights for justice and a new voice for women in a deeply conservative country.

    Nothing has stopped her. Not the murder of her brother, threats from the men she says raped her or a death sentence imposed by the elders of her village, Dadu, in Sindh province.

    Read it all.

    • #24
    • January 3, 2011, at 4:09 AM PST
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  25. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It seems to me that the sectarian divisions within Islam are generally only focussed upon in the West when it is politically opportune to look under the carpet- Iraq being the exception that proves the rule.What percentage of Western voters know or care whether Egypt is mainly Sunni or Shia? Why do we hear so much about the “Muslim (or Arab) street” but never the “Shia street”?

    • #25
    • January 3, 2011, at 4:24 AM PST
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  26. M1919A4 Member
    M1919A4 Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Milady Claire, I accept your evidence that the Muslim world is divided and that we (the U.S. and Christians in general) are befriended by, or at least to some degree supported by, some parts of it. Maybe that is too sanguine: looked upon as not enemies may be a better description of their attitude towards us.

    What are the marks of the difference, though. What do we look for to identify our friends and those who are not? Government and political group press releases don’t inspire much confidence in me.

    And, are the friends in control of some political entities or only individuals and small groups scattered throughout the area of Muslim domination?

    I confess to finding the whole picture a puzzle.

    • #26
    • January 3, 2011, at 4:31 AM PST
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  27. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    Charles Mark: Claire,What on earth is going on? There were 33 comments,ending with your own referring us all to previous threads on Moderate Muslim Watch. Now all comments after No 25 appear to have been expunged, including my own perfectly civilized contribution and other more erudite posts from members who,no doubt, gave time and thought to the content of their posts, as did I.Something similar happened to some of my contributions to Maurilius’ debate just before Christmas.Once is unfortunate, but twice…..? · Jan 3 at 2:23am

    Huh? All the comments are still there-at least I still see them. Definitely a technical problem. Did they disappear for anyone else?

    • #27
    • January 3, 2011, at 4:52 AM PST
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  28. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire,I found the 37 comments then I lost them again.I keep getting to a page which tells me there are 27 comments,says it’s going to show 24 of 24,but shows 25 ( I think my first is 26).I logged out and logged back in again and had the same problem.The later comments also seem to come and go from my profile.I don’t know if this is any help in solving the problem.If I get the 37 again I’ll post.

    • #28
    • January 3, 2011, at 5:33 AM PST
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  29. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    When Pope Benedict responded to the Alexandria bombing by calling for an end to persecution of Christians, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar University, criticized Pope Benedict for “unacceptable interference in Egyptian affairs”. This, from the “moderate” Muslim nation of Egypt, the nation that also brought us, among its other endless messages of love, a Cairo museum displayed the Protocols of the Elders of Zion next to a Torah on the rationale that both are Jewish religious texts.

    • #29
    • January 3, 2011, at 5:58 AM PST
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  30. flownover Member

    Does the speed of analysis change our perception since it lacks the ability to age ? What is the human/historic metric as to religion vs. cult ? Let’s turn up the heat here and put these things to the test regularly . How do certain religions and cults hold up anyway ? Dysfunction fades. So…is success measured by age ,distance ,miles ,or passengers ?

    • #30
    • January 3, 2011, at 6:23 AM PST
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