Skip to comments.Respect the respectable (Islamic double standard)
Posted on 03/29/2006 6:22:30 AM PST by saganite
Earlier this month, following widespread reporting of crowds howling in the street as embassies burned and corpses littered the ground, two guest columnists published an essay here complaining of a media-perpetrated anti-Muslim "stereotype" of unreason and violence. "Islam is a religion with a long tradition of tolerance and coexistence with other religions," they concluded, "and the Muslim community asks only for basic tolerance and respect."
That we should tolerate the tolerable and respect the respectable seems an unexceptionable if modest aspiration of civil society. The Myth of Islamic Tolerance itself, however, is unlikely long to survive the perusal of a recent book of that title (Prometheus, 2005, 593 pages) or, for that matter, the wider familiarity with the Koran and Hadith among non-Muslims. These columnists complain, with regard to the Danish cartoons, of "the double standard by which slurs against Islam are permitted in the West while attacks on other faiths are not."
That is one of the more fantastic things I have ever read in a newspaper, not excluding even my own columns. The Danish cartoons appeared in a provincial newspaper published in a language spoken by a world population well under half that of Cairo. In the meantime in English (1.9 billion speakers), appears a record-selling book called "The Da Vinci Code." Its thesis is that Jesus Christ got it on with Mary Magdalene and that institutional Christianity, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, will do whatever is necessary to cover up the truth threatening to expose centuries of knowing fraud. There were no howling mobs, burning churches or art historians dead in the street, only fabulous sales spurred by aggressive publicity and a big movie on the way. I suppose that does qualify as a double standard.
As for the standard of "basic tolerance and respect," we might consider the plight of Abdul Rahman, the most celebrated Afghan Christian and perhaps the only living one. His problem is not coexistence, just simple existence. As I write, he is in prison awaiting a capital trial for the crime of converting from Islam to Christianity. And yes, that is a capital crime, so interpreted from the lips of the Prophet himself in several scriptural passages. It is enshrined in the Shari'a and in the schizophrenic Afghan Constitution, one face of which is Shari'a Light. It is not an aberration or a "tribal" anomaly. We witness the operation of the "democratic constitution" of a land liberated from tyranny by American blood and treasure. This is not American Islam but neither is it a "stereotype" or a malignant invention of Edward Said's orientalists. It is absolutely mainstream Islam, and it accurately reflects the nature of Islam's "long tradition of tolerance" as it exists in history wherever Islam has wielded power over non-Muslims and as we can expect it to exist anywhere the Shari'a may be installed in the future. Only a parody of political correctness could have the brass to demand my tolerance for an intolerance so obscurantist or my respect for a disrespect so lethal.
Less than three years ago, Afghan President Karzai made a triumphant visit to our campus, where he was lionized by President Tilghman and other major officers of the University. An adoring audience hung on his every word.
"During his address, Karzai focused on the ideals of peace and democracy shared by Afghan and American citizens and emphasized that cultural differences, particularly religious ones, are not barriers to further cooperation between the two countries and with the rest of the world." So wrote my former boss, Alyson Zureick, in the pages of this paper on Monday, Sept. 29, 2003.
Fine. We won't call it a "clash of civilizations." We can call it a manifestation of "cultural differences, particularly religious ones." Whatever its name, it does, I fear, raise barriers for lovers of liberty. I seriously doubt that Rahman will be hanged. No decent respect for the opinions of mankind could save the Bamiyan statuary, but now that the "moderates" are in control, there is a good chance that Abdul can in effect be ransomed. The Afghan legal authorities are hinting at a solution of declaring him crazy and "hospitalizing" him. That was the technique perfected by the Soviets to deal with their apostates, after improved communications made it awkward for them simply to shoot them. My conjunction of these two totalitarian mindsets is not factitious. The courageous "Manifesto" recently signed by Irshad Manji, Salman Rushdie, Ali Ayaan Hirsi and several other writers and thinkers begins thus: "After having overcome fascism, Nazism and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism." If Islamophobia is the fear of Islam, these folks earn their place among charter Islamophobes. Each of them is a Muslim born and raised, now threatened with murder for what they have dared to think and say.
John V. Fleming is the Louis W. Fairchild '24 professor of English. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Mondays.
Muslim Spain was Christian Spain for nearly 600 years before being conquered by Islamic Armies in the 8th Century. That is the way the Islamic Religion has been historically spread, though military invasion and occupation. Treatment of conquered people has the same goal, the minimizing of other religions and conversion of the indigenous people. Among other rules for non Muslims in Muslim Spain; Christians and Jews could not bear arms -- Muslims could; Christians and Jews could not ride horses -- Muslims could; Christians and Jews had to get permission to build or fix places or worship -- Muslims did not; Christians and Jews had to pay certain taxes which Muslims did not; Christians could not proselytize -- Muslims could; Christians and Jews had to bow to their Muslim masters; Christians and Jews had to live under the laws set forth in the Koran, not under either their own religious or secular law; and Christian's and Jew's word in a court of law was not equal to a Muslim's Word. And the list goes on.
Today, 1300 years later, a Christian or Jew living in an Islamic country will still have to live nearly under these very same laws. I can see why the head of the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations would want us all to do "our part" to create such a world. Regards,
Worth repeating and highlighting.
I'm going to check out the book mentioned in this article, Prometheus, and see if it's worth reading.
Posters of your quality are what make FR so dynamic and well read.
The Myth of Islamic Tolerance by Robert Spencer
Yeah, I feel pretty dense. After searching for the title Prometheus and finding hundreds of books with that as part of their title it occurred to me to reread that part of the article and I realized Prometheus was the publishing house DUH! Anyway, here's a review of the book (with the correct title)
"Robert Spencer has here assembled a collection of documents devastating to PC myth and multiculturalist wishful thinking. Anyone concerned about the dangers of politically motivated distortions of Islamic theology and history should not miss this explosive and enlightening volume." JEFFREY RUBIN, Editor, Conservative Book Club
"A necessary corrective to the prevailing opinion fostered among academics by Karen Armstrong, Abou El Fadl, et al. that Islam is a religion of peace, justice, and tolerance. The work brings to light the total suppression of human rights in Islamic society, the true meaning of jihad (armed conflict against all nonbelievers), and the horrors of dhimmitude (life for Christians and Jews under Islamic law). It should be required reading for all those who seek a true understanding of the socioreligious basis for the rise of Osama bin Laden and his network of international Islamic terror." PAUL L. WILLIAMS, PhD, Author of OSAMA'S REVENGE: THE NEXT 9/11--WHAT THE MEDIA AND THE GOVERNMENT HAVEN'T TOLD YOU
THE MYTH OF ISLAMIC TOLERANCE brings to light the deeply ingrained historical, cultural, and religious elements of a profound modern crisis--the violence, fanaticism, and contempt for outsiders that characterizes much of the Islamic world today. This wide-ranging group of essays clearly explains how these poisonous attitudes are rooted in laws and cultural habits that are connected organically to the concept of jihad and its corollary institution, dhimmitude--which are in turn a primary impetus for global terrorism today. The scholars presented in this essential volume come up with many surprising and disturbing conclusions.
All of those who survived Muhammad took up the sword, as directed by the Koran, and devoted themselves to advancing Islam through military might. The resulting spread of the religion was phenomenal. Within a century, Islamic forces had conquered Saudi Arabia, the entire Middle East, Central Asia, and large parts of India. The armies raged through Egypt and across North Africa, destroying corrupt Byzantine Christianity in their path.
In 710 A.D.3 the Islamic armies crossed the Straits of Gibraltar and quickly conquered three-fourths of Spain and Portugal. They then invaded France and took one-third of the nation. They were 125 miles from Paris when they were miraculously defeated at the Battle of Poitiers (also known as the Battle of Tours) in 732 A.D. by a French army led by Charles Martel. Their influence in Spain lived on for a few more centuries before they were slowly driven back to North Africa.
A second powerful attempt to subjugate all of Europe was made 900 years later in the 17th Century when the Turks began to expand their Ottoman Empire. They took Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and parts of Romania and Hungary. By 1683 they had reached the gates of Vienna where once again the Western forces won a miraculous victory against overwhelming odds.
Following this second attempt to conquer Europe, Islam fell into a state of depression and stagnation until it was awakened in the 20th Century by oil wealth.
lol...welcome to the club! We have a rather large membership.
As Dark Skies posted, the book is "The Myth of Islamic Tolerance". Click on his link and then click the book graphic to get the synopsis from the front and back book flaps, the table of contents, and the author's introduction. The power of the book lays in the number of writers who have contributed with their essays. No doubt more than one has been threatened with death for his efforts.
...until they achieve numerical or military superiority".
There, I finished the sentence for him!