February 23, 2006
And that is why as a Muslim American I am enraged by the publication of these cartoons. Not because they offend my prophet or my religion, but because they fly in the face of the tireless efforts of so many civic and religious leadersÂ—both Muslim and non-MuslimÂ—to promote unity and assimilation rather than hatred and discord; because they play into the hands of those who preach extremism; because they are fodder for the clash-of-civilizations mentality that pits East against West. For all of that I blame Jyllands-Posten. We in the West want Muslim leaders to condemn the racial and religious prejudices that are so widespread in the Muslim world. Let us lead by example.
I for one am getting a little tired of having to lead by example. Terrorists saw off any heads they can get their hands on, but Abu Ghraib is the worst thing that's happened in Iraq. Insurgents regularly hide behind civilians, but an American soldier shoots an insurgent under somewhat dubious conditions and he's raked over the coals. I'm sick and tired of being held to a higher standard.
But more than that, there's something so galling about the phrase "they fly in the face of the tireless efforts of so many civic and religious leadersÂ—both Muslim and non-MuslimÂ—to promote unity and assimilation rather than hatred and discord." Come again? Who's promoting unity? Who's trying to assimilate? The whole freaking Western world has bent over backwards apologizing for non-existant flushed Korans and splashed urine and stupid cartoons. Everyone's apologizing and getting fired and being suspended from school papers; can we point some freaking fingers at those who are burning down embassies, for pete's sake? Promoting unity, my foot. The Free Muslims Coalition held an anti-terrorism rally last May, and guess how many people showed up. Maybe fifty. Fifty. My god, it makes me want to cry. How can this writer actually think that Jyllands-Posten is the Muslim community's biggest problem?
Apparently the cartoons prevented Muslims from assimilating. Give me a break. There's a clash of civilizations going on allright, and I think Islam is winning. Schools are changing their art curriculum because drawing people is against Islam. A Muslim girls' basketball team wants to play other teams, which of course means that all men have to be barred from the arena. In Michigan they're blaring the call to prayer over loudspeakers. If this is a fight between East and West, I often feel like the West is losing. The internet has become a disheartening place for me, where I simply dread reading that half of Palestinians support suicide bombers. Or that Israel should be wiped off the map and the Holocaust never happened. And no one in the West stands up to this nonsense. No one says "We're drawing humans in art class because that's what happens in a flippin' art class and you just have to deal with it." No one holds Muslims to the standard that every other religious group is held to:
Some Christians believe they are required to wear particular sorts of clothing. Some Jews and Muslims don't eat pork. They don't claim that their religion requires other people to wear special clothing or avoid eating pork. Tolerance and ecumenism can only do so much. They have nothing to offer a Muslim in Afghanistan who is personally insulted and enraged about an image that appears in a newspaper in Denmark.
I'm sick and tired of the world tiptoeing around Islam. Hitchens is right: we should stand with Denmark and stand up for our values, instead of apologizing because some drawings made people go completely insane. What is wrong with the world?
I just can't take it anymore.
February 15, 2006
(This memory prompted by LaShawn Barber.)
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