Why the Muslim-Nobel Peace Prize argument won’t exactly convince its target audience

I want to briefly address another story that recently made the rounds, best expressed in this headline from Vox: “The perfect response to people who say all Muslims are violent, in one tweet“.

By ‘people who say all Muslims are violent’, the headline is responding to (inter alia) HBO comedian Bill Maher, who argued on his show that members of “the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are actually not extremist outliers but represent the inherent violence and intolerance of Islam itself, and by extension its 1.6 billion followers.”

Vox counters by citing this tweet and subsequent explanation:

Amry’s point: if Maher’s argument is that the rise of ISIS proves that all of Islam is extremely violent and intolerant, then by the same logic wouldn’t the spate of Muslim Nobel Peace Prize-winners prove that all Muslims are also extremely peaceful?

The tweet has been gaining traction around the internet, and was even featured on Slate’s weekly quiz for last week:

Slate quiz

Just one problem (and this is admittedly a gross overgeneralization, but that’s kind of the point): Many of the people who believe Muslims are inherently violent will have little difficulty recalling another “Muslim” who seems to have been left out of Amry’s calculations:

obama nobel

Sure, he won the Nobel Peace Prize — but the Queen Bee-in-Chief (he likes to use drones and his first initial is B., get it?*) literally gave an acceptance speech that forcefully made the case for violence.

At least one extremely-relevant person (pictured at top) hasn’t forgotten. Awk. Ward. It would seem, then, that neither side really wants to claim the President as its own.


*OK, it’s not so much that you should never explain a joke, and more that if it’s a joke you immediately have to explain, you probably shouldn’t have made it in the first place. Mea culpa. But I can’t help myself.

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