Falafel as a microcosm of the Arab-Israeli conflict

I've searched all over Boston for the perfect falafel. My travels have taken me far and wide, by foot and by car, through grimy Big Dig tunnels and rusted Green line trolleys. After much time and devotion, I have found it. It's located on Coolidge Corner, or c-squared as the kids call it, in an unassuming restaurant named Rami's.

Along the way, I sampled the fares of Shawarma King, also located in c-squared. The place is run by a Lebanese family who hung a giant American flag on their door in the wake of 9/11. The falafel is on the spicy side and has a crunchy outer shell. Similar falafel is found at Boston Shawarma in the area of Northeastern University. Both places use a tortilla-style wrap and yogurt sauce as the condiment in their sandwiches.

Falafel King is the quintessential "hole in the wall" located near the Downtown Crossing area. You have to move past a sketchy Chinese food stand on the right and a guy who sells stolen electronics equipment to the left to find your way to the back where a smiling face will greet you and offer a falafel ball dipped in hummus while you wait in line. Unfortunately, I believe the free falafel enhances the reputation of this place far out of proportion to the quality of the food. I found the falafel a bit too dry and the sandwich lacking in quality accompaniments.

Cafe Jaffa in the Back Bay provides fresh falafel with every order. Everytime I've been there, they've made the falafel to order, not relying on a mountain of balls that dry out while sitting. I've tried various Greek places, but Greek falafel is too bland for my tastes. I even made my first attempt at cooking falafel at home. Though the final result wasn't too shabby, it was apparent that I didn't get the spices quite right. The balls were too also raw on the inside after cooking. Next time, I will use very slow heat and add more baking soda.

In my quest for the perfect falafel I noticed something. The two places I like best--Rami's and Cafe Jaffa--are run by Israelis, and the others are run by Arabs. Realizing that a trend was in play, I did some research and found that there is indeed a difference between Israeli and Arab falafel. Arab falafel tends to be spicier and the balls drier. It's usually served in a tortilla-style wrap, often accompanied by a yogurt sauce. Israeli falafel is less spicy, but softer and not quite as crunchy on the outside. It's usually served in thicker pita bread rather than a thin wrap and is accompanied by hummus, unlike in Arab countries. Interestingly, fries are often stuffed inside the sandwich.

At Rami's, the falafel is melt-in-your-mouth soft. The pita is spongy, stretchy, and thick. Tahini sauce and tangy hummus are the usual accompaniments along with cucumber, red cabbage, tomatoes, and pickles. If you ask for the hot sauce, realize that a little goes a long way.

Having completed by quest and arrived at the perfect falafel ball, I asked myself, "Is falafel Arab food or Israeli food? Or even Greek?" A simple Google search yield the following article.

The last time you bit into a falafel sandwich you were probably thinking about nothing more than the warm spice and crunch of the chickpea fritters and the way they played against the soft bread, crisp vegetables and nutty tahini sauce.

Unless you're Palestinian, in which case you may have had weightier culinary issues on your mind.

Many Palestinians believe that Israelis have stolen falafel, a traditional Arab food, and passed it off as what postcards at tourist kiosks all over Israel call "Israel's National Snack."

"We always sort of look at each other and roll our eyeballs when we pass a restaurant that says 'Israeli falafel,'" said Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American and a professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Chicago.

Three pages of falafel history follow.

If you're ever in the Coolidge Corner neighborhood of Boston, give Rami's a try. You won't regret it.

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Burrito

My favorite burrito hole in the wall in Berkeley, CA was run by Palestinians. I don't remember the name. In my days as an undergrad I ate falafel or shwarma daily at a place that I only remember as "the falafel truck behind Building 66". I don't know if they were Palestinian or Israeli.

Crazy Palestinians

Muslims believe all sorts of crazy things. They believe that Jews and Christians stole their religious writings from Muslims but adulterated them with evil modifications. This despite the fact that those two religions existed 700 years before Mohammad actually did the reverse.

Is it a surprise that they think the Israelis stole recipe that is common throughout the middle east? The always seem to forget that Jews lived in the area 2000 years before them.

As per usual the Jews take a more reasonable stance. From your article:

Some Jews point out that no single group can own a method for frying a mush of legumes; they say that falafel is generically Middle Eastern, having originated in Egypt and found its way as far as Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

''Have we stolen pasta from the Italians?'' asked Geoffrey Weill, who does public relations for Israel's Ministry of Tourism. ''What kind of nonsense is that?''

Wow, I'd expect someone with

Wow, I'd expect someone with such a bias against Islam to have at least a decent knowledge of the actual religion.

Additionally, the

Additionally, the Palestinians are descended from the Jews, Christians and various pagans who inhabited the region before the Rise of Islam.

Having read some of your

Having read some of your other posts, I'm now convinced that you're just an ignorant fool. Maybe try reading the Qur'an with commentary by a Muslim, instead of an atheist.

What the hell are you talking about?

I have two different copies of the Qur'an and neither has commentary by an atheist.

You understand that there are apostate Muslims who give the same interpretations. Plus you need only go to Memri, or You Tube, or Ask Imam, to get authentic and respected Islamic clerics who share the same vile interpretations. It's very hard not to interpret much of the Qur'an as other than vile.

Well, being a Muslim who

Well, being a Muslim who doesn't interpret the Qur'an as vile in any way, I've never found it difficult to understand the revelation as espousing principles fully consistent with the principle of non-aggression and virtues aligned with enhancement of liberty and freedom. I suppose that I can understand that certain verses taken out of context could lead one to attribute specific attitudes to Muslims. Indeed, many Muslims, as you have pointed out interpret such verses in that manner. However, merely because some interpret the document thusly, does not discredit the document itself. Much as liberals and conservatives view the Constitution differently than libertarians, so Muslims interpret the Qur'an differently than one another. I do wish to apologize for my harsh words earlier. It just annoys me when non-Muslims tell me what I'm supposed to believe based on their reading of the Qur'an.

Qur'an is not a document of non-aggression


Well, being a Muslim who doesn't interpret the Qur'an as vile in any way, I've never found it difficult to understand the revelation as espousing principles fully consistent with the principle of non-aggression and virtues aligned with enhancement of liberty and freedom.

Really? So you see no contradiction with non-agression the Qur'an with Surah 009.028?

009.029
YUSUFALI: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
PICKTHAL: Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.
SHAKIR: Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

That doesn't sound like non-agression to me.

"I suppose that I can understand that certain verses taken out of context could lead one to attribute specific attitudes to Muslims."

I attribute them to the ideology, Islam. So what is the context of the above quote that makes you think it's NOT a call to agression?

Well the text right in front of it denigrates pagans, while the Surah immediately after denigrates Jews and Christians.

So the entire effect in context is: "Pagans are filthy dogs. Fight everyone who doesn't belinve in Islam, subjegate them and make them pay a tax in humilation to show what inferior beings they are. Jews and Christians are purveyors of untruth and even god curses them."

It's worse in context. Likewise may "good" quotations are worse in context, and mostly ones having to do with non-believers. The obvious stuff like "Don't cheat orphans." isn't even neccesarily about how to treat the non-muslims. Even the Nazis would agree not to cheat orphans. Not really and issue for orphaned Jews if the other rule is to exterminate all Jews.

"However, merely because some interpret the document thusly, does not discredit the document itself."

It discredits itself.

"Much as liberals and conservatives view the Constitution differently than libertarians, so Muslims interpret the Qur'an differently than one another."

You know how I interpret the above text. I interpret it as evil nonsense that is not to be listened to. That's my interpretation.

I can pull evil nonsense out of Nazi literature too. It too will be quite clearly evil nonsense. Yet, I am sure that different Nazis would interpret things differently. As a matter of fact I have a friend of German ancestry who's father insists that the Nazis didn't do any of the evil stuff claimed and that the ideology is not about murdering Jews.

I truly wonder how you think the above text is compatible with libertarian ideals in any place or time? Was it compatible with liberty in Mohammeds time but not compatible now. What kind of mind twisting gets you to the point where you believe ever aspect of the Quran is compatible with non-agression?

I do wish to apologize for my harsh words earlier. It just annoys me when non-Muslims tell me what I'm supposed to believe based on their reading of the Qur'an.

The Qur'an says what it says. That's not my problem. Don't get confused with someone telling you what it says and what you should believe.

If a Nazi were to argue with me that Mein Kampf was about peace and brotherhood he'd get the same response. That does not mean that I want him to believe in killing Jews.

Muslim Quranic Commentary


" Maybe try reading the Qur'an with commentary by a Muslim, instead of an atheist."

What? Muslim Commentary like this:

“[unbelievers] have, however, absolutely no right to seize the reins of power in any part of God’s earth nor to direct the collective affairs of human beings according to their own misconceived doctrines. For if they are given such an opportunity, corruption and mischief will ensue. In such a situation the believers would be under an obligation to do their utmost to dislodge them from political power and to make them live in subservience to the Islamic way of life” (Towards Understanding the Qur’an, vol. III, p. 202).

No Kidding

No kidding. Mohammed's conquired many a Jewish tribe taking their women as concubines and into forced marriages. In fact, one tribe he slaughtered every male and then forced the women into sexual slavery.

Many Muslims are indeed the descendants of Jews, or as they call them in their religious texts "Apes and Pigs".

Screw, I'm not going to

Screw, I'm not going to bother with anonymity anymore. There were specific Jewish tribes inhabiting Medina that the Prophet (pbuh) conquered, executed the adult men and enslaved the women and children. However, these were the specific three Jewish tribes that had betrayed the Muslim and Jewish forces of Medina when the Quraysh had attacked. Perhaps, living as we do in our post Geneva Convention times, we would consider such actions to be immoral, but in the context of the times it is not unusual.

And "Apes and Pigs" does not refer to Jews as a whole, but only those who had abandoned their religious proscriptions and were not believers.

"There were specific Jewish

"There were specific Jewish tribes inhabiting Medina that the Prophet (pbuh) conquered, executed the adult men and enslaved the women and children. However, these were the specific three Jewish tribes that had betrayed the Muslim and Jewish forces of Medina when the Quraysh had attacked."

Those other Jewish forces were eventually betrayed in turn. You have to remember that Mohammed was invited into Medina by Jews as a non-biased mediator over some disputes. Once he moved in he started raiding the caravans of the Quraysh, his original tribe. He was basically acting as a thief.

The first three tribes he slaughtered just happened to recognize him for the evil jerk that he was.

Do you think that we should use Mohammed's example today? It's pretty clear that many a nation have "betrayed" the US in the middle east. Saudi Arabia comes to mind. Does that mean we get to swoop in and slaughter every male in the country, and then enslave the women and children?

"Perhaps, living as we do in our post Geneva Convention times, we would consider such actions to be immoral, but in the context of the times it is not unusual."

The Geneva Conventions have nothing to do with it. There were plenty of people living at and before Mohammad's time that were not going around raiding other groups, stealing their stuff, committing genocide, and the like. Pointing to other groups that were doing this does not get Mohammed off the hook.

In case you didn't notice there are plenty of bad things going on right now in modern times. There are lots of totalitarian bastards running around. Had Hitler won there might even have been a religion based on him. In China and North Korea their "great leaders" literally are worshipped.

In the context of our times it isn't unusual to see genocide. In fact there are some Muslims in Darfur committing one right now. So does that mean that any vile dictator who gets his nasty beliefs written down, claims that he speaks for God/Allah, and manages to slaugher anyone who disagrees, should be respected? Does it mean I have to respect the beliefs of the suckers who have fallen for this nonsense?

There is incident after incident where Mohammed made the wrong moral choices. No that is going much too easy on him. The guy chose to commit outright evil acts, in everything from his personal life to his acts as a religious leader and war lord.

One of those crazy things Muslims believe is that this guy is worthy of respect for his morality.

You make it sound like he was forced into these confrontations. He wasn't. He went out of his way to start trouble. Before he died he had dispatched envoys to surrounding countries telling them essentially, "Convert, pay tribute, or die".

Apes and Pigs

"And "Apes and Pigs" does not refer to Jews as a whole, but only those who had abandoned their religious proscriptions and were not believers."

Tell that to the Palesteinians. Tell that to their respected Imams, and the repected Imams of other Muslim groups.

The problem with your religious text is that it was not written by anyone closely approching infallibility. Therefore these vile interpretations are often the most straight forward. One needs to twist oneself in knots in order to spin a good interpretaion on much of the Qur'an. Even the parts that, taken out of context, reasonable sounding are often, in context, not at all clear.

If you say "Do not murder" and immediately say "Kill them were ever you find them" and then call them "Apes and Pigs" and endlessly call for quite clearly inappriate and disproportionate actions, and say not to befriend them, etc. Is it any wonder that the reader of the text doesn't think that the word "murder" applies to Jews?

If someone belonged to a religion that said: "Do not murder. As for the Muslims, they must either convert, or pay tribute to the non-Muslim, or you may kill them." then don't you think there is a contradiction there. Isn't killing someone because they don't pay you money merely because they don't share your beliefs a form of murder? Why should you take that statement as applying to Muslims when it is quite clear that it is just fine to murder Muslims according to this hypothetical religion?

Would you trust a beliver in this religion if they then took that sentence "Do not murder" out of context as an argument to claim that followers of this religion are not motivated to kill Muslims when in fact the murderers themselves were quoting these sections as the chopped heads off?

Would you be mistaken if the clerics of this religion where screaming crazily from the pulpit to murder the non-believer, and calling them derogitory names? I don't think so. It would be quite clear that it was the religious teachings that motivated the murders and you would be quite justified in objecting to the teachings of this religion.

You don't see Christians going around murdering other people and quoting justification out of the Qur'an do you? Why is that?

I've Read the Qur'an

What do you dispute? According to Mohammed the Qur'an was written by "The Pen" of Allah at the beginning of time. Thus predating all religious texts. The claim further being that both the Christian and the Jewish texts are literally corruptions of the Quran.

The actual history is that Mohammed had access to both Jewish and Christain teachings from the Jews that lived in the area. After all he lived 700 years later at the very center of the Judeo-Christian world. In fact he spent lots of time with and listening to a Jewish scholar.

Whether the Qur'an has

Whether the Qur'an has existed since the beginning of time or not has long been a matter of dispute amongst Muslim scholars. In fact the "writing" of the Qur'an, the Suhuf Ibrahim (holy book of Abraham (pbuh)), the Tawrat (or the Torah), the Injil (or the Gospels), and the Zabur (or the Psalms), which are all part of the same true holy book that God wrote, is the true dispute.

The Christian and Jewish texts are therefore, not considered to be corruptions of the Qur'an, but corruptions of the true revelations given to the various Prophets.

Certainly one can make a historical argument as to the origins of the Qur'an and Islam. From a historical perspective, pre-Islamic Arabia had many influences, such as Judaism, Orthodox Christianity, Eastern Christianity and pre-Islamic paganism. However, the purpose of my comments was not to dispute the origins of Islam, but to criticize your bias towards practitioners of the religion.

Are you claiming Muslims don't believe crazy things

You know I have and can easily write the same sorts of things about Christians. I could for instance say that:

"Christains believe all sorts of crazy things. They believe that X. This despite the fact that Y."

You can fill in the blanks:
X = Noah's flood.
Y = No evidence of worldwide flood.

X = Effectivness of prayer.
Y = No evidence pray works.

... so on and so forth.

That doesn't indicate that I think every Christian believes that Noah's Ark is a true story. Christianity tends to be more allegoric than Islam. However, there are plenty of Christians who do believe in these crazy things.

The sentence did not state that "All muslims believe". Therefore it is not a sign of bias. This is a comment section not a disertation.

As a matter of fact many Muslims are motivated by their religion to commit evil. I have a problem with them for it, and I have a problem with the screwed up ideology that got them there.

Are you disputing the fact that Muslims do believe exactly the crazy things I quoted? I can tell you right now that there are no atheists who believe that the Qur'an was written by "The Pen" on commandment from Allah at the beginning of history. Can you say the same for Muslims?

Fact is that many Muslims do believe these crazy things.

Make up your mind

"In fact the "writing" of the Qur'an, the Suhuf Ibrahim (holy book of Abraham (pbuh)), the Tawrat (or the Torah), the Injil (or the Gospels), and the Zabur (or the Psalms), which are all part of the same true holy book that God wrote, is the true dispute.

The Christian and Jewish texts are therefore, not considered to be corruptions of the Qur'an, but corruptions of the true revelations given to the various Prophets."

Make up your mind. First paragraph you claim that they are all part of "the same true holy book that God wrote". Which indicates that you believe they came from such a source.

The dispute with the Christians and Jews at the time was that they claimed that Mohammed had just copied their own holy books, altered the stories to his own pleasing, and then pawned it off as being dictated directly to him by an Angel precisely as Allah had written from the beginning of time. There is some notion that this "Pen" was the first thing created, according to some Muslims.

Muslims make all sorts of other claims to bolster their notion that the Qur'an is the inerrant word of Allah. Things like, "Mohammed was illiterate, so he must have gotten the stories from God and not read them." or "Mohammed lived in the desert. How could he have know X, Y, or Z." The first fails because he could have been read to, and the second fails because Arabia is not some back water. It's was a the center of trade from west to east at the time. Muhammed had available to him all the ancient Greek science, etc.

I'm not making this stuff up wholesale as even you admit that there is a "dispute". Likewise there is a dispute between Christians about various things they believe in solely on the basis of their faith. It is still their faith that informs them and it is not incorrect to say that Christians believe this, or that.

For every Christian belief there are different levels of acceptance. I would say that believing that Jesus is the Son of God is more accepted by Christians, but again you can find Christians who don't ascribe to this literally. Whereas there are other beliefs, like the belief that the Bible is inerrant that are less accepted by Christians.

It's perfectly acceptable for me to say, especially when speaking of Christians from particular southern states that they believe in the inerrancy of the bible. Hell I run into them here in NY.

So the statement "Christans believe in the inerrancy of the bible is a true statement in that sense". Just like the statement "Cats have tails" is true even though there are breeds of cats without tails, and individual cats that have lost their tails.

So are you here admitting that the Qur'an is flawed? That it was copied from the Bible and Torah? Are you claiming that there was no "Pen" and that Allah was not the author of the Quran?

Biases?

"However, the purpose of my comments was not to dispute the origins of Islam, but to criticize your bias towards practitioners of the religion."

What biases? You still haven't described any. In fact, I think that any biases that you feel I have are a manufacture of your own mind.

I find Islam to be a vile philosophy and ideology. Perhaps one of the vilest. That doesn't mean that every person who calls themselves a Muslim comprehends this and actively acts on this. Heck, the illiteracy rate in Muslim countries is so high there are many who never even read the thing for themselves. They've probably only heard select quotations.

It's been my experience however that push comes to shove I will generally be able to tease out vile notions just by talking with a Muslim. For instance, the vile notion that Mohammed's slaughter of every male in a tribe was acceptable because everybody else was doing it.

Do you have an excuse for him marrying a 6 year old while he was a 50 year old man? I understand there is a dispute about her age and some have her long toothed at 14-16, but I don't buy their arguments. The religious texts plainly state her age, and claims she is older is based on dubious deductive chains.

Howeve even if she was 16 the man was 50 and married to many other women. Hardly a moral choice for him. Muslims make the excuse that he was "marrying widows and orphans". That however leaves off the fact that he was most often the cause of them being widows and orphans. It's also deceptive because it makes you think they were old spinsters with no other options. I believe all widows were under 35, many widows in their 20s and teens. Remember this is a guy over 50.

The most vile aspect of his marriages is that he forbade any of his wives from remarrying after he died. He claimed Allah made this law. This being one of many laws that were convieniently written to Mohammeds favor in the Quran (a portion of The Guarded Tablet written by the Pen). Like Mohammad's, err I mean Allah's, rule that Mohammed can have more than four wives.

What's up with that? So Allah told the Pen to write the Guarded text, and therefore the Quran, at the beginning of time, and there was a section in there specifically laying out rules to the benefit of Mohammeds lavascious interests?

Too bad for Aisha that she had to marry a wrinkled old man who died shortly thereafter, and then remained unwed the rest of her life, and unable to enjoy sex or companionship at a very young age. What was she, a widow in her 20's?

When Mohammed married Aisha he was NOT thinking of her welfare. He was thinking of her as a means to his ends and not as an end in herself. I certainly would not marry a 16 year old if I was near the end of my life, and especially if I was already married, and never mind forcing her to remain a widow. That was not in her interest.

Muslims talk like he was running a charity here. Some kind of welfare office. Exactly what kind of charity has the principles fucking the beneficiaries? If Aisha (an unmarried child) or any of the widows were in need of charity then why the hell didn't he just provide it? He apparently had no problem killing people in order to acquire vast riches. It's not like he earned it. So why couldn't he give it away to charity without all the strings attached.

I think the simplier explanation for his desire for power is that like all dictators he wanted what power could give him. Unlike more honorable theves however he had to dress it up as religion, and ended up destroying entire cultures in the process.

I See Mohammad Gets a Pass

I find it interesting that many Muslims use this tactic when their religion is criticized.

You found it objectionable that I said "Muslims believe X", when it is quite clear that some Muslims do indeed believe X. Now it's understandable that you wouldn't want to be tarred with the beliefs of others but you should consider some things.

You are afraid that others who are listening to me might get the idea that I was claiming that every Muslim believed X. If this gets you upset then I think you taking great pains to hide from yourselves the nature of Mohammed. Mohammed is a master of lying about others beliefs and nature. Mohammed is the master of the gross over generalization.

I think this follows the general rule, "Kill one man and you are a murder. Kill a million and you are a great leader of men."

When Mohammed invented and dictated the Qur'an he didn't seem to share your concerns. That other quote I gave from the Qur'an that commanded Muslims to subjugate non-Muslims was pretty awful by itself but when you look at what was before and after it you can see that Mohammed doesn't really care for such distinctions as “some”.

What does Mohammed say about Pagans.

009.028
YUSUFALI: O ye who believe! Truly the Pagans are unclean; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the Sacred Mosque. And if ye fear poverty, soon will Allah enrich you, if He wills, out of His bounty, for Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.
PICKTHAL: O ye who believe! The idolaters only are unclean. So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship after this their year. If ye fear poverty (from the loss of their merchandise) Allah shall preserve you of His bounty if He will. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise.
SHAKIR: O you who believe! the idolaters are nothing but unclean, so they shall not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year; and if you fear poverty then Allah will enrich you out of His grace if He please; surely Allah is Knowing Wise.

The Quran is chock full of quotes like this. To Mohammed there is almost nothing worse than an idolater. In fact, People of the Book, like Jews and Christians, although denigrated in the same sorts of ways throughout the Qur'an, are treated different in one regard from Pagans. For them it is convert, pay Jizya tax, or die. However the deal for Pagans is convert or die.

Now you are getting all upset because it "annoys me when non-Muslims tell me what I'm supposed to believe based on their reading of the Qur'an."

Did it ever occur to you that it annoys everyone else that Mohammed is telling us what we must believe. He's taken it to a level that shows complete hubris. Not only does he make claims about what Pagans, Christians, and Jews believe, but his claims are not even true for some of them. He was a bad theologian who had all sorts of bigoted views.

Furthermore he claims that his personal bigotry is actually the opinion of a all knowing and infallible deity. I find that extremely offensive. Not only is he making his bigoted opinions and calling for murdering me over them but he’s not even willing to own up to the fact that it’s his own personal bias. No, he attributes this vile mindset to the supposed creator of the universe. Which if there is an all knowing deity then I’m pretty sure he’s pissed off about it.

Don't get me started on all the lies he says about disbelievers like me.

002.099
YUSUFALI: We have sent down to thee Manifest Signs (ayat); and none reject them but those who are perverse.
PICKTHAL: Verily We have revealed unto thee clear tokens, and only miscreants will disbelieve in them.
SHAKIR: And certainly We have revealed to you clear communications and none disbelieve in them except the transgressors.

This has two interpretations as far as I can tell and both interpretations are claiming that “all non-believers are perverse”. Not “some”, which I would agree with, but “all”. It is unclear who these disbelievers are from the single sentence. Are they just atheists and pagans, or do they include Christians and Jews?

Saying only the perverse would disagree with me is the same as saying “All who disagree with me are perverse”. So it is a case of some vs. all.

However, in context, it is clear that he is talking about Jews, and then specifically about Jews who have rejected the message given to Mohammad from Allah via the angel Gabriel. That is he is chastising Jews for not believing his outlandish claims.

So if you were truly the kind of person who gets upset with other people “telling you what to believe” or “telling what you believe” then I think the first person you should be upset with is Mohammed. He’s outrageous in imputing bad motives and thoughts to others while insisting that everyone think like him. Self obsessed to the point of making things like dancing or painting sinful in his invented religion.

Admit it. This is just another example where Mohammed is forgiven his vile actions based on a double standard. If it's ok for Mohammed to steal, cheat, murder, torture, rape, enslave, and practice genocide, I really don't see why you'd be against him lying about others beliefs, lying about their motives, lying about their character, and making bigoted gross overgeneralizations about others.

crazy quisine

Brian Macker is exactly right. These people never miss an opportunity to file a grievance. The pertinent question for Palestinians is, are you willing to whack out an entire family because you're angry over this falafel travesty? If not, then it's nice to know there's something they won't kill people over.

Most of the falafel Americans eat is the "Israeli" kind. That's just the way its made. I've had both and liked each of them, though having falafel without hummis seems crazy to me.

best falafel

The best falafel I've ever had can be found at East Side Pocket in Providence. Get their falafel pocket with everything, except anything you expressly dislike. Highly recommended.

Demographic trends indicate Muslims will rule the world...

Let's face the cold hard demographic facts. Muslims have lots more babies than everyone else. A lot more. Within 100 years they will have armies that will force everyone to convert to Islam. Western values (as they should) will not allow us to slaughter them despite the superior military advantage we have against Muslim nations for the moment. Once Islamic countries gain military parity I doubt that they will show the same mercy towards Western nations as we have shown towards them. It's time to start showing our grandchildren which way Mecca is so they can start praying five times a day... Quite simply the Quran doesn't value non-muslim lives very much.

Catholics and Mormons have

Catholics and Mormons have plenty of babies. Part of the world will pray towards Mecca, part towards Salt Lake City, and part towards Rome. Hindus and Confucians will pray in no particular direction whatsoever. Liberal western seculars will pray towards the church of environmentalism, until they die out by remaining infertile and "saving the planet" in the process.

Islamic culture has plenty of competition for a dominant role in the world. Western secularism looks to be the only one that is unsustainable.