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May 15, 2004
Gene Simmons to Islam: KISS Off!

Gene Simmons, bass player in glam-rock band KISS and no stranger to controversy for his outspoken views on religion, stirred up a hornet's nest in Australia when he called Islam "vile" and the UN useless (via The Corner):

KISS bass player GENE SIMMONS has angered the Muslim community after labelling Islam a "vile" culture on a live radio interview ...

Simmons also warned that the West was under threat, and that the United Nations didnt work, adding the West must "speak softly and carry a big stick".

"This is a vile culture and if you think for a second that it's going to just live in the sands of God's armpit you've got another thing coming," he said. "They want to come and live right where you live and they think that you're evil."

Melbourne's 3AW radio received a large number of complaints following Simmon's statements, claiming that Simmons' insults painted an inaccurate portrait of Islam. One Muslim spokesman suggested that Simmons familiarize himself with Australia's vilification laws, hinting that criminal complaints could be filed.

Before filling the air with hosannas to Simmons' judgement, however, people may want to know a little more about his history of religious philosophy. Simmons doesn't much care for any organized religion, despite being an Israeli with a strong sense of Jewish identity, and has made similarly derisive statements about Christianity and Judaism in the past. Normally I could find about a dozen links to demonstrate this, but at the moment I can only find his interview with Bass Player Magazine, where he was mostly well-behaved.

A word of advice for the Australian Muslim community: don't take Simmons too seriously, even if you're inclined to take a man who wears face paint for a living as a serious representative of Western thought. However, if you choose to tangle with him, be prepared -- Simmons may have little by way of moral anchors, but he is extremely intelligent and not reluctant to demonstrate that.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 15, 2004 7:12 PM

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