As much as I admire Macsmind for being willing to stand up to the nativist/xenphobic wing of the conservative movement, and properly describe them as "uglies," I have to call him on one of his posts yesterday. The photo used is kind of scary - a bunch of Moslems with big knives. One can imagine all sorts of nigthmarish scenarios (terrorists in training, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, etc.) from just looking at the photo. But those impressions are grossly mistaken
Now, for the rest of the story: The photo in question is of Shiite pilgrims observing the Day of Ashurah, commemorating the death of the grandson of Mohammed - Husayn ibn Ali - during the Battle of Karbala, which was the source of the Shiite/Sunni split in Islam. It's different from what we are used to here (and as a slightly-lapsed Mormon, I can point out that my religion has its own practices that could be characterized as different/unusual), but one of the things that should be noted was that during Saddam's reign of terror, those who wished to observe this holy day had to sneak in past the Republican Guard. Now, the new government of Iraq had the troops out - to protect them from thugs like Abu Musab Zarqawi. It's worth noting.
Macmind's post isn't one of his better ones, and it will make his efforts to deal with uglies in the conservative movement that much harder.