Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Magic WAND

One of my posts, Perfect Dhimmitude was commented on by someone called mere muslim, aka Abdurrahman R. Squires, an ex-US marine and a convert to Islam. Firstly, thanks for a restrained comment, which read:

Mere Muslim said...

Below are links to four new articles, from a traditional Muslim perspective, which address various issues which are being raised by the on-going Danish cartoon crisis. I hope that at least some of the self-righteous Islamophobes out there will have the courage to read these articles in detail--but especially the first one which is an exposé of the sloppy antics of Daniel Pipes:

Danish Cartoons, Double-Standards and Daniel Pipes

Hate-Mongers Beware...

Why Muslims Are Angry...

An Idiot's Guide to Offensive Cartoons

The actual articles can be found via the post linked to above, or by visiting his website.

I say it was a restrained comment, despite a phrase like "self-righteous Islamophobes", because that's just par for this particular course. If anyone talks about Islam, they quickly become deaf to the incessant repetition of the lazy word "islamophobia", which is just shorthand for "any remark that is not flattering".

I've read the above articles. The most substantial one is indeed the Daniel Pipes piece, and I'll come to that last. In fact, taking them in reverse order makes some sense.

An Idiot's Guide to Offensive Cartoons isn't. After the first sentence, it doesn't mention the cartoons at all, let alone provide a guide to them but, for all that, it starts well:
Well I couldn't resist weighing in on the ongoing cartoon saga. The first thing I want to say is: the violent, idiotic and un-Islamic behavior has got to stop.
Why? Because this was foreseen in the Qu'ran:
"You will certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your souls;
and you will certainly hear much that will grieve you,
from those who received the Book before you (i.e. Jews and Christians)
and from the pagan idolaters.
But if you persevere patiently, and guard against evil,
then that will be a determining factor in all affairs."
- Qur'an 3:186

Maintaining self-restraint in the face of the disgusting bigotry, hatred and blasphemy that we're facing today is what it means to "perservere patiently", which is what the Prophet-salla Allahu 'alayhi wa salam-did when he was mocked, ridiculed and spat upon by the pagan opposition.

Thus the question arises of how he would react to being satired and lampooned in cartoons or having his teachings besmirched by the foolhardy example of some of his latter-day followers?

and so on. That's it. Really. Just the assumption that some terrible wrong has been done, a call to refrain from violence, and examples of Mohammed's forbearance.

Note the two phrases in bold above. They provide us with a simple formula:

being satired and lampooned in cartoons = disgusting bigotry, hatred and blasphemy

No, they don't constitute hatred or bigotry. They are part of the rough and tumble of Western life. The only people for whom they constitute blasphemy are Muslims. And we are not Muslims. But there is a word for non-Muslims who live in a Muslim society and have to conform with Muslim laws and "feel themselves subdued" (Sura 9:29): Dhimmi. I'm going to need this next phrase again, so I'll make it an acronym for convenience. We do not live in a Muslim society and We Are Not Dhimmis. WAND.

Please understand this, Abdurrahman: we are not Dhimmis and you are not going to make us into Dhimmis.

Next, we have Why Muslims are angry.
Personally, I think the primary reasons, aside from the general post-colonial trauma that much of the Muslim World still suffers from due to their exploitation by European powers for so many years, are quite obvious: double-standards and hypocrisy. Thus in reality it’s not about the cartoons per se, but about all the hypocrisy and double-standards surrounding the debate about them.
While I go and talk to some North African Berbers and Sudanese Christians and Animists about post-colonial trauma - having their entire culture destroyed by Islamic invaders - anyone interested can check out the Guardian article which shows the first double standard.

I'm back and, hey, that was fast. Two million of the Sudanese were dead, so it took less time than I expected. The Guardian article shows that the Danish newspaper that published the "offensive" cartoons refused to publish some unsolicited cartoons with a Christian theme. The editor said
"The illustrator thought his cartoons were funny. I did not think so. It would offend some readers, not much but some."

Newspaper refuses to publish unsolicited material. Hold the front page. Newspapers almost never publish unsolicited material. By way of a contrast, the Mohammed cartoons were commissioned because a book author had found it difficult to find an illustrator who would work on his book about Mohammed's life. After the trail of murder left by extremist Islamists across Europe, that's no surprise, so the Jyllands-Posten commissioned some cartoons to show that free speech and free expression still exist in Europe.

Do you really not understand that, Abdurrahman? The newspaper was trying to show that magic WAND. As the editor recently remarked, "we failed". What has instead become clear is the degree of fear, repression and outright dhimmitude that Islamist extremism has planted in Europe and other western countries. That's what this blog, and others, is trying to roll back.

The reason why Muslims feel angry is encapsulated in this next passage, a quote from someone called Rachard Itani:
You can curse the Prophet of the Muslims at will and with total impunity. However, approach the holocaust at your own risks and perils…There is a word for this in the English language: hypocrisy…This whole affair is nothing but an over-reaction to a simple cartoon, you say? Not if you remember a certain other cartoon that appeared in the British newspaper, The Independent, on 27 January 2003. It depicted Prime Minister Sharon of Israel eating the head of a Palestinian child while saying: "What's wrong? You've never seen a politician kissing babies before?" Jews in Britain and around the world erupted with indignation…Muslims deserve nothing more nor less than for Christians in the U.S. and Europe, and Zionist Jews in Israel, to simply abide by the golden rule: treat others as you would have others treat you. So far, Christians and Zionist Jews have proven that they only abide by the alternative definition of this rule: ‘They who have the gold, make the rule.’
Yes, there was anger at that Independent cartoon. But there were no Jews burning embassies, holding up placards demanding that the editor if the paper be beheaded or demanding changes in the law and in society. That's the difference. I think the Independent was and is contemptible, but I uphold their right to free speech. No Israelis claimed immunity from criticism after the cartoon was published. No Jews declared that non-Jews should be subject to Jewish religious law.

The holocaust is the main theme, though, and is dwelt on at length in the next two pieces. Hate-Mongers Beware starts more ominously:
All hate-mongers out there need to realize that one of their kindred spirits, Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher, was found guilty at the Nuremberg Trials and sentenced to death even though he never directly participated in the Holocaust.
I wonder if any of the hate-mongering Neanderthal hypocrites out there, like the ones who seemingly think freedom of speech should be absolute, want to defend Julius Streicher's right to free speech?
It's always interesting for a modernist, empirical, scientific, rationalist child of the enlightenment to be called "Neanderthal" by an uncritical believer in bronze-age superstition. But moving on:
Personally, I feel that idea that Muslims are the "New Jews"--since it's okay to hate them, stereotype them, claim they have a propensity towards violence, have no moral values and pose a threat to society at large--is very substantiated, thus I don't think that internment camps (or worse) are out of the question if another large scale terrorist attack takes place on U.S. soil or elsewhere.
And indeed some commentators have mentioned internment, including the very beautiful Michelle Malkin.

Just as an aside, P.J. O'Rorke, remembering all the ethereal babes who walked in counter-culture demos in the 1960s, theorised that the cutting edge is where the most beautiful women gravitate. Just compare some of the right-wing bloggers with, say, Code Pink and you'll get the idea.

To continue from the article:
It's at times like these that I really feel thankful to Almighty God for guiding me to Islam. Sure, most of us get frustrated by the often misguided antics of Muslims these days, but just look at the hate-mongers out there whose daily work consists of making the world a more hateful and less tolerant place
You mean, a place where free expression isn't tolerated? The sort of place where followers of one religion demand that others obey their 1400 year old laws? That's not going to happen, because of that magic WAND.

And so to
Daniel Pipes, the world's most prominent anti-Muslim hate-monger
Based on the fact that he's the respected spokesman for so many Islamophobes around the world, you'd think he'd be able to articulate a decent defense for his paranoid positions. Please try to keep this in mind when you see how easy it is to un-spin his half-baked assertions—and it is always easy when the facts are on your side. So without further adieu, here's what Daniel Pipes, glaring hypocrite and Islamophobe extraordinaire, had to say:

"Will the West stand up for its customs and mores,
including freedom of speech, or will Muslims
impose their way of life on the West? Ultimately,
there is no compromise: Westerners will either
retain their civilization, including the right to
insult and blaspheme, or not."

It’s quite ironic that he finds it so easy to ignore the fact that eleven European countries (including ones that he lists as standing with Denmark in his article), as well as his own State of Israel, have laws which make public denial of the Holocaust a crime.
This seems to be a "they are doing it, so we'll do it too" defense, but that can't be right because
what Daniel Pipes is actually arguing for in this case is a juvenile "We're doing it because they do it too!" justification.
Pipes had mentioned anti-Semitic cartoons in the Middle East. But this is hypocrisy, because burning a flag or a cross are also illegal in the USA, we are told. Then there are links to photographs of racial lynching is the USA.
On that note, please realize that the existence of anti-Semitic Muslim cartoonists and the actions of violent angry Muslim mobs in various locales doesn't nullify the fact that many of those who are defending free speech and the so-called Western way of life are having hypocritical double-standards—so please stop using the recent violence as a way to divert attention from the real issue.
You mean, like showing 70 year old atrocity images to divert us from atrocities being committed today?
Various pundits are claiming that European Muslims want special treatment under the law, although at least one specific religion is already getting preferential treatment. They claim Muslims only want their religion to be protected from insult, but true and decent Muslims want all religions protected from insult (which is a Qur'anic concept by the way).
And, for his twisting of the truth,
the Daniel Pipes' of the world truly have a lot in common with the likes of Julius Streicher.
Muslims do want special treatment before the law. The atrocity pictures, of KKK lynchings, far from being a sign of hypocrisy, are the exact reason why cross burning is illegal in the US. We all have our particular histories and this is part of that of the USA. The Holocaust is part of Europe's and, while I don't personally agree with it, this is why Germany led the way in passing Holocaust Denial laws. European anti-semitism is not extinguished and revisionism is a route used by neo-fascists to gain ground.

But Islam is NOT a part of our history. We are not Muslims and, you guessed it: WAND. But Christianity is a part of our past. There were terrible passages in European history. Heresy and blasphemy were punished by death. There are still atavistic remains of blasphemy laws in many European countries and you'd be right to say that they don't include Islam (or Hinduism, or Buddhism...). But they are the problem, not the solution. Our ancestors fought for the right for free expression, against a (Christian) theocracy - paying with their lives in many cases. The freedoms we enjoy were hard won and are fragile and precious. And we are not going to let them slip away.

We are not Muslims. We are not Dhimmis. And we don't want your religious laws.


Peter Risdon said...

The removal of references to Neaderthals is welcome. I hope at some stage you can also come to reflect on the use of the term "Islamophobia". This is just a shield against valid, as well as invalid, criticism. It would be helpful were you to think about the concerns of non-Muslims without this defensive reflex.

Peter Risdon said...

Wow... what a lot of comment. Glad to see it.

If you visit Morocco, as I have repeatedly, most recently five months ago, and visit the Berber areas you'll be amazed at the depth and strength of resentment at the Arab invasion all that time ago and the continuing repression. It was much better in the Middle Ages to have been a Christian living in a Moslem part of the world, but the reverse is true today.

Islam is not a part of European history, sorry. There have of course been Muslims here but then there have been representatives of pretty much every religion and race. To say they are all a part of our history leaves us grasping for a term to use for those cultural forces that have been significant. Large numbers of Muslim inhabitants have only been here for a few decades.

The cartoons in question were not offensive, in terms of Western satire. The Independent, which you quote approvingly when it castigates those who give offense, printed, as you know, a cartoon of Sharon eating a baby. The Guardian prints cartoons of George W Bush as a chimp, sodomising a camel. None of the Danish catoons were remotely as offensive as these, but none should be banned.

But the three cartoons that were inserted into the dodgy dossier by the Danish imams were in this league, they showed Mohammed with the face of a pig (they said, this has since been exposed as a lie, within a lie), a dog sodomising a praying Muslim (rather in the spirit of the Guardian) and Mohammed as a paedophile which, in modern terms, he was. This does bear scrutiny, incidentally, because one of the first things laws passed in post-revolutionary Iran lowered the age of consent for girls to 9.

The Danish cartoons were either anodyne (Mohammed as a pastoralist, which he was intitially), a criticism of the newspaper itself for being reactionary, a valid and funny joke about the grotesque aspiration of suicide bombers to enjoy 72 virgins in heaven, and the bomb turban, which is a very good example of a Western satirical cartoon.

Let's face it, with people in Europe and the USA in hiding or under armed guard for writing books, drawing pictures, expressing political opinions, while in countries from Indonesia to America Muslim extremists threaten and take life, this is a valid comment.

The present furore is financed and organised by the Saudis and the Syrians. The Danish Imams have been exposed as having whipped up a storm from an incident that passed off unremarked, or almost so, at the time. One Egyptian newspaper did reprint the cartoons, but Egypt doesn't seem to be under a boycott right now.

Why? Because this is an attempt, a quite deliberate and conscious attempt, to pick on a weak, small member of the EU and force it to its knees, in the hope that this will be the crack in the dam of freedom and democracy.

You say you are also set against the salafists and extremists? Then shame on you for taking the line you do over these cartoons. A young Muslim girl said on the BBCs website recently, This is a free and democratic country and if the extremists don't like it they should go elsewhere. She was better placed than I to make the second part of that remark. I do not call for deportations and I detest the nationalist and white nationalist right. But This IS a free country and you should be helping to keep it that way.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading that only boys and men, between the ages of 17 and 39 (inclusive) can be targets of jihad. That is, if and only if they are armed and clearly fighters. Females of any age and males outside this age range are imune to jihad. So, how can Muslims condone the killing of other Muslims and Jews and Christians who are not in the defined group of "proper jihad targets"?

Peter Risdon said...

Well, let's ask the Ayatollah Khomenei:

"We need a Khalifa who would chop hands, cut throat, stone people
In the same way that the messenger of God used to chop hands, cut throats, and stone people.
In the same way that he massacred the Jews of Bani Qurayza (men, women and children) because they were a bunch of discontent people."

"If the Prophet used to order to burn a house or exterminate a tribe (men, women and children) that was justice.
The lives of people must be secured through punishment.
Because, the protection of the masses lies beneath these very punitive executions.
With just a few years of imprisonment things don’t get fixed.
You must put aside these childish sentimentalism.
We believe that the accused essentially does not have to be tried. He or she must just be killed.
Only their identity is to be established and then they should be killed."

When I say men, women and children, of course I am excluding those that are enslaved.

Peter Risdon said...

Oh, for heaven's sake. The question was: how do Muslims justify...? and the answer was: this is how one Muslim did, in his own words...

And it's completely plain that these and other calls to violence are interpreted as justifying attacks on women and children by Al Quaeda, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas and others.

Of course there are violent bits in the Bible and other scriptures. But until you can bring yourself to stop trying the "it's unfair to charge me with robbery, because other people commit robberies" defense, there's not much hope for progress.

And when Christian Voice start getting state support in their attempt to theocratise Britain, I'll start blogging against them.

Right now, the problem is mainly an Islamic one.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,

You keep saying, that the cartoons in JyllandsPosten were not offensive, but as a Dane I can tell you that the objective of paper exactly was to offend Muslims. Along with the cartoons the paper wrote that Muslims needed to get used to scorn, taunt and ridicule. It's idiotic to think that it's a good thing to taunt and ridicule a religious minority. But apparently thats exactly the opinion of the right-wing pundits i Denmark and elsewere