February 23, 2006


I read something this morning that I can't really get out of my head. I don't really want to write about it, but I can't stop thinking about it. It's the last paragraph of this article in Slate:

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 leaders—both Muslim and non-Muslim—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 leaders—both Muslim and non-Muslim—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.

Posted by: Sarah at 06:14 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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1 Sarah, check out Glen Reinsford's "Age of Tolerance". A current events "Atlas Shrugged". And I hope you're feeling better about Charlie, dogs like kids get over it and love you no matter.

Posted by: Mary*Ann at February 23, 2006 08:59 AM (ssGwL)

2 'Grok, Wish I could offer words of encouragement but I'm afraid your totally correct. I hold on to the idea that the day will come when the "tipping point" is reached (think along the lines of the cartoon bulls*!t) and more and more people realize that the Muslim majority is our enemy not the minority. (I've come full circle on this myself). Thank you and your husband for his service to our great country.

Posted by: tim at February 23, 2006 10:25 AM (QsSL6)

3 (sigh) you're wrong. The quote that angers you refers to the tireless efforts of countless Islamic groups that are mainstream and moderate and try to tell the world this, over and over. But that doesn't make the news, and suckers just take the most extreme behaviour that is on the news and spoonfed to them daily and say "that represents all of Islam". The suckers say "spoonfeed me more!" and they are not disappointed. Try to grok all the Islamic organizations decry terrorism every chance they get. Posted by question at February

Posted by: question at February 23, 2006 12:53 PM (n17hK)

4 Oh I couldn't agree more! We're dammed if we do, and dammed if we don't (as Americans)...we're expected to help everyone all the time and then turn the other cheek...I'm sick of it, as well. What really makes me nautious are fellow Americans who criticize the actions of our military in some of the aforementioned situations...are they crazy?? Seriously...it's like we're on a school-house point system...+1 for every humanitarian thing you do and -25 for everything that is slightly questionable...the result: always in the negative. Argh.

Posted by: Nicole at February 23, 2006 01:16 PM (1ECnr)

5 If Muslims want to live in "the West" they have to get used to the fact that "freedom of speech" means freedom to criticise. They have to get used to the fact that people outside of their group are going to criticize their group, it's members, it's leaders, and yes, even it's prophets and icons. Newsday, a newspaper in Long Island, New York, many years ago printed a cartoon mocking the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, calling him, essentially, an idiot. I, and many other Catholics, were outraged, wrote letters to the editor, and cancelled our subscriptions to "that liberal rag". We didn't riot, we didn't murder, we didn't destroy. That is how dissent and outrage works in a free country, and any new arrivals must get used to it unconditionally. Or else get out.

Posted by: Sean at February 23, 2006 02:36 PM (BN/Fu)

6 Hey Nicole how many points should you get per dead civilian in Iraq?

Posted by: question at February 23, 2006 06:16 PM (n17hK)

7 Sarah -- Amen Sister! Well written.

Posted by: MaryIndiana at February 24, 2006 12:16 AM (YwdKL)

8 Isn't being held to a higher standard the inevitable result of our constantly telling everyone that this is the greatest country on the Earth? I for one hope that we always hold ourselves to a higher standard, that we are never satisfied with ourselves just because we're no worse than a Bin Laden or a Saddam Hussein. I'm a liberal, though; I believe in free speech. I have no tolerance for anyone who responds to a cartoon with violence. There may be a valid complaint about inconsistent application of hate speech laws in Europe, but the real problem are the laws themselves. This is one reason that Sarah was wrong to suggest that liberals might be equally comfortable in other countries recently. We liberals love the First Amendment, and as far as I know only the U.S. has that strong of free speech protection. Both people to the left of me and people to the right of me may want to limit free speech, but I say the more of it the better. The solution to problems caused by speech is more speech.

Posted by: Pericles at February 24, 2006 03:37 PM (eKf5G)

9 As a liberal, I too condemn anyone who would respond to speech with violence. I don't (personally) know of anyone who is holding the West responsible for the behavior of Muslim groups in Europe who are rioting in response to those cartoons. As far as I'm concerned, if you live in Europe or America, you play by the rules. And the rules say religious figures are open targets - that's why I'm allowed to say that Jesus and his diciples seem really gay. But how can you take the actions of America in Iraq and measure them up do those handful of examples of Muslim non-assimilation in the West and say that America is the victim? Civil war is breaking out. Iraq is falling apart and thousands and thousands are dead. And a school in St. Paul is offering the OPTION of Islamic-sensitive art classes to muslim kindergartners. I'm sorry, but how does that add up to America leading by example? How are you sick of something that doesn't even exist?

Posted by: Will Somerset at February 25, 2006 05:19 PM (eIQfa)

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