Sunday, September 24, 2006

Of Smoke Screens and Strawmen

In our Saturday paper was an interesting "opinion" written by the head of a national Islamic political movement headquartered in our city. This man is a caucasian American convert to Islam and frequently contributes to local articles on Islam. He has pronounced America as having always been a Judeo-Christian-Islamic nation even though this is so obviously not true. This inclusion of Islam as a part of our foundation is unfounded but is a step toward making that an accepted and acceptable designation. It is a familiar tactic exercised by other factions within our nation trying to gain legitimacy such as the homosexual community. The article Saturday is an outstanding example of the double-talk and strawman approach at winning sympathy for the suffering Muslim victims of attacks against their prophet and religion. Here is his opinion as it appeared in Saturday's Charlotte Observer.

"As a Muslim, I deplore the reactions of some Muslims to the inflammatory remarks of Pope Benedict by attacking churches and killing a nun. Muslims are always expected to condemn evil that is done under the guise of Islam, and we have done so.
In contrast, anti-Islamic rhetoric and blasphemous remarks towards Prophet Muhammed have been met with deafening silence by most of those in Christian leadership. In our global village we need to foster better understanding and respect for our faith communities through dialogue, not diatribes."

I find this absolutely incredible. Note first that the pope's remarks were "inflammatory." The writer begins by saying that the world of Islam is right to be outraged because the pope's words were indeed inflammatory. However, if one should take the time to do a quick search on one's computer one could find the context of the pope's speech and one just might find that his remarks were not so inflammatory after all. For instance, check The Weekly Standard where writer Lee Harris puts things in perspective in an article entitled "Socrates or Mohammed." The pope's inflammatory remarks were inflammatory because someone wanted them to be. The writer presents no other opinion than that the remarks were inflammatory; he states it as a ubiquitous fact.

Second, please note that the writer "deplores the reactions of some Muslims," intimating that most reactions were acceptable. He specifies the "burning of churches and the killing of a nun." Why does he not call a spade a spade and admit that the nun was not simply killed but murdered in cold blood when she was shot in the back four times by a Muslim. So with these two expressions of violence deplored and off his conscience and really not such bad acts after all, he further excuses reactions by Muslims worldwide by dismissing them as "done under the guise of Islam." This is not really how Islam is in reality, these Muslims were doing this "under the guise of Islam." The writer never mentions the many calls for the pope's assassination or the Muslims shouting in the streets that "any who insult Islam must die." He never brings up the calls by the massive throngs in the streets for the death of America and our president whom they say started these latest crusades. Are all violent Muslim reactions done under the guise of Islam? If so, then there are many deceived Muslims being allowed to bring shame to the name of their religion. Shouldn't they die as well?

Third, the writer states "Muslims are always expected to condemn evil that is done under the guise of Islam, and we have done so." In saying that "Muslims are always expected to condemn evil," to whom does he refer? Who expects Muslims to condemn evil? Other Muslims? I certainly don't expect them to condemn evil. I have come to expect exactly what we have seen following the pope's quoted remarks. That is in fact what the world has come to expect. Why do we think people are so afraid of "offending" a Muslim? And furthermore, it has not been the practice recently or even in recent history for Muslims to condemn violence. So, who expects Muslims to condemn evil done under the guise of Islam? The words "and we have done so" must refer to a closed meeting some Muslims somewhere held. The few voices we have heard whispering condemnation of violence are of the same kind we find in this opinion article.

Fourth, the writer has the audacity to charge the Christian community with "deafening silence" following the "anti-Islamic rhetoric and blasphemous remarks towards Prophet Muhammad." Could it be that rather than running off on a violent tangent in support of the Muslim victims of this latest outrage against their religion and their prophet that we have instead taken the time to think and look into the matter before responding? And could it be that blasphemy to a Muslim is not blasphemy to non-Muslims? We have not yet been converted to Islam so the pope's words taken out of context and turned into a reason to murder and threaten the free world do not have the same meaning to us as it does to the easily enflamed Muslim (see the "Jihad car commercial" in Cinncinati in today's news. The commercial has not aired yet and is very tacky but certainly nothing to kill over). Do Muslims, who call Judaism and Christianity false religions, denying the deity of Jesus Christ and His resurrection and His atoning death, expect us to come to the aid of a religion that has as its stated goals the annihilation of the Jews and to rule the world? When large segments of Muslims call for "war against the Christians," which made the headlines this week, are we expected to join them in bringing that about?

Fifth and finally, the writer has the audacity to speak of deafening silence on the part of Christian leaders when the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world are the cause of his deafness by their deliberate silence. This is the pot calling the kettle black. This is turning the situation around and making the bad guy the victim. Suddenly the true contributor to trouble in the Islamic world is the "silence of the Christians." And the writer's audacity and hypocrisy do not stop there but speaks of a "global village" where all we need to do to stop the Muslim outrage and violence is "to foster better understanding and respect for our faith communities through dialogue, not diatribes." The writer sounds more like Hillary Clinton than a Muslim. Yes, dialogue is the answer, isn''t it Osama? Dialogue is working in the Palestinian state between Hamas and Fatah, isn't it? The problem is my dear Muslim neighbor, we do understand your faith.

I sent a condensed version of this response to the Observer today.

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