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LGF: Interview with an Apologist
Little Green Footballs ^ | 12.23.02 | Charles Johnson

Posted on 12/23/2002 4:26:03 PM PST by mhking

Interview with an Apologist

Obviously intended to accompany PBS's recent commercial for Islam, Legacy of a Prophet, here's an interview with one of radical Islam's chief deniers, Karen Armstrong (hat tip: LGF reader Susan) - who actually uses the often-mocked words "religion of peace." According to Armstrong, the 9/11 attacks were "totally unrepresentative of the Islamic tradition," even though:

Americans have found for the first time in their history, really, that they, too, like the rest of the world, are on the front line.

The front line of what? She doesn't say.

It's important to Armstrong to make sure we know that whatever Islam may or may not be guilty of, the West is just as guilty - if not more so.

We've got to carry on trying to understand. It's no good falling back on old patterns of bigotry, because we have enough to be worried about, goodness knows, without creating extra bogies to concern ourselves. It's very important that people see what Islam is, and what it is not, and see these acts of violence, especially the September 11 acts of violence, as totally unrepresentative of the Islamic tradition, and so the more education that goes on, the better -- education on all sides.

Muslims, too, have got to change some of their textbooks to give their children a better, more balanced view of Jews and Christians. Christians have got to change their textbooks. I'm still shocked by the way the Pharisees are presented in some school textbooks, giving children a very distorted notion of Judaism.

Oh yes, we've all heard about those notorious textbooks, with their racist representations of ...Pharisees? How strong is the gravity on Armstrong's world?

The only battle she thinks we need to fight is against our own bigotry:

All of us have got a struggle on our hands. This has been a terrible wake-up call. We can't afford bigotry. We live in one world, whether we like it or not, and we cannot afford to live in ignorance of one another any longer.

Luckily for us unwashed western Neanderthals, Islam is "profoundly in tune with the whole American and western ethos."

The heart of Islam beats with the heart of the American people. The passion that Islam has for equality -- Islam is one of the most egalitarian religions I know and has always lived out its egalitarianism. It's at its best historically when it has had egalitarian forms of government, and [it is] unhappy with authoritarian forms of government, as it has now. That's one of the reasons Islam is unhappy, because it has a lot of despots and bad government and tyrannical government, some of which are supported by the United States and the West generally.

Let's attempt to parse out her point. Islam is an egalitarian religion, profoundly in tune with American ideals of justice and freedom, but at the same time Islam is "unhappy" because America has been supporting bad governments. Wha? In any case, it's all our fault again, although it's not clear what we're at fault for, because Islam is egalitarian and peaceful albeit somewhat unhappy.

I'm getting a headache.

The most revealing statement in this air-headed, self-contradictory idiotarian wallow:

If we encourage the smallest degree of bigoted attitude towards Islam, we are creating further problems for ourselves, further acts of terror.

Does she even realize what she's saying? If we have even the slightest doubt that Islam is a tolerant, egalitarian, peaceful religion, we're asking for terrorism?

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events

1 posted on 12/23/2002 4:26:03 PM PST by mhking
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To: mhking
This makes me want to laugh, cry, and vomit all at once.
2 posted on 12/23/2002 4:34:38 PM PST by visualops
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To: mhking; monkeyshine; ipaq2000; Lent; veronica; Sabramerican; beowolf; Nachum; BenF; angelo; ...
I was just readiing this at LGF!
3 posted on 12/23/2002 4:42:59 PM PST by dennisw
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To: mhking

March 19, 2001

by Andrea Levin

Karen Armstrong’s Unscholarly Prejudices

Among the stable of extreme pro-Palestinian advocates, count a new media favorite. Karen Armstrong, author of articles and books, including a strikingly anti-Jewish volume entitled Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths, is a British ex-nun who defines herself as a “freelance monotheist.” Her Op-Eds are published widely, including in the New York Times, and she is a frequent guest on National Public Radio.

While her writings on Jerusalem reflect detailed knowledge of religious history, they also underscore the potent effects of personal bias on scholarship. Armstrong is both an unwavering advocate for the Arab view of the political contest underway in the Middle East and an effusive promoter of Islam and its peoples’ historical conduct.

Pervasive negative characterizations of Judaism – and Christianity to a lesser extent – also color much of her argument and narrative. For example, while she warmly describes what she calls the “inclusive notion of holiness” in Islam, the humane attitudes of the Qur’an and the benign expansion of the religion, she deplores the so-called “separations and exclusions” of Judaism, as exemplified by dietary laws, Shabbat and regulations regarding who could and could not enter the ancient Temple.

Armstrong routinely omits or obscures contradictory information, such as the total “exclusion” of all non-Muslims from Islam’s holiest city of Mecca.

Similarly, she omits or obscures information that points to unique Jewish attachment to Jerusalem. Thus the millennia-old daily expressions of devotion to Jerusalem by religious Jews, the holidays revering Jerusalem and the more than 600 references to the city in the Bible are unmentioned. Yet evidently seeking to rebut such unassailable measures of attachment she writes in an article in the Journal of Palestine Studies that, “The city is not mentioned explicitly in the Torah, the first five most sacred books of the Bible. The first time the city is specifically mentioned in the Bible, it appears as enemy territory. Jerusalem did not figure in Israelite religion until King David conquered it from the Jebusites some three thousand years ago.”

Armstrong is particularly popular with Arab-American groups promoting harshly anti-Israel agendas. The Muslim Public Affairs Council of Los Angeles gave her an award for “fairness.” Typical of the assertions that endear her to such groups is her criticism of Israel in the same Journal essay, in which she wrote:

A city cannot be holy if it is not ruled with justice. Expropriating land, torturing, destroying property, threatening other people’s holy places, ejecting people from their ancestral homes, and depriving them of essential human rights cannot be justified...

No, this is not a characterization of the Arab occupation of East Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, its dispossession of the Jews and destruction of their property and holy places. It is an Orwellian gloss on the Israeli presence in the city as a reign of inequity which “cannot be justified in Jewish tradition by the overriding sanctity of Jerusalem, because holiness is also and inescapably a moral imperative to justice.”

Armstrong’s Jerusalem book too is filled with such manipulative, biased and inaccurate claims, its chapters on the founding of modern Israel being especially strident. The early years of Zionism are described almost entirely from the vantage of the Arabs, with a constant defense of Arab actions and a minimizing of Arab violence against the Jews. Thus the Arab riots of 1929 include a cryptic line about Jewish casualties without any specifics about the slaughter of Jews in their homes and the widespread burning and looting of Jewish property in the city and suburbs. Armstrong omits entirely the Arab massacre of Hebron’s Jews.

In her account of the late 1930’s, the author is openly sympathetic to the Arabs wanting to keep Jews fleeing Hitler’s death camps out of Palestine. She writes: “[The Arabs] asked why they should suffer the loss of their country because of the anti-Semitic crimes of Europe. It was an entirely valid and unanswerable question.”

Errors litter the account. Armstrong writes that, “On 13 April the Arabs attacked a convoy carrying Irgun terrorists, who had been wounded at Deir Yassin, to the Mount Scopus Medical Center, killing forty innocent Jewish medical staff.” In fact, the convoy included just one man from the Irgun injured at Deir Yassin, and seventy-eight Jewish medical staff were killed.

Later she writes that “On 16 March 1949, Israel and Jordan signed a formal agreement accepting the armistice lines as the legitimate borders between their two states.” On the contrary, Jordan, like all the Arab states, refused to recognize any cease-fire lines with Israel as legitimate borders.

The author writes that UN Resolution 242 required Israel to “withdraw from the territories it had occupied during the Six Day War...But most of the Israelis and many Jews in the Diaspora had been caught up in their new passion for sacred space and could not recognize the validity of these resolutions.”

Resolution 242 does not, of course, require Israel to withdraw from “the” territories. The extent of withdrawal was undetermined, and to be settled in negotiation.

In contrast to Armstrong’s omitting entirely any sympathetic reference to the 1948 Arab siege of Jerusalem in which the Jews fought heroically, she writes that in 1967 the Jordanians – then occupying the eastern portion of the city – “did their best [against Israel] – two hundred died in defense of the Holy City...”

The author’s hostility toward Israel and Jews is unabashed in innumerable pejorative statements. She asserts that “Israel’s claim to [Jerusalem] is dubious.” She repeatedly refers to Jewish attachment to Jerusalem resting on “myths and legends” and “cult.” She reiterates throughout her writings the theme that the Jews, victims of European bigotry, had, “in their desperate quest for survival, fatally injured another people.”

Of Moshe Dayan’s extraordinary move after the Six Day War of 1967 in permitting Muslim control to continue on the Temple Mount, the Islamic Haram al-Sharif, Armstrong writes: “The Israeli government has never retreated from this policy, which shows that the Zionist conquerors were not entirely without respect for the sacred rights of their predecessors in Jerusalem.”

Needless to say, Armstrong does not contrast Israel’s action to Palestinian officials and clerics, who disparage entirely the sacred rights of the Jews in Jerusalem.

It is impossible to know whether Armstrong’s animus against Judaism led to her pro-Palestinian sympathies or her enthusiasm for Islam led to her anti-Jewish and anti-Israel biases. In any case, the virulence of her writing clearly demonstrates Martin Luther King’s equation of anti-Zionism and anti-Jewish bias. It is a sad commentary that her work is given a respect withheld from purveyors of other prejudices.

Home|On CAMERA Index

Andrea Levin is President of CAMERA - PO Box 428, Boston, MA, 02456-0428.

Copyright © 2001 by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. All rights reserved. This column may be reprinted without prior permission.


4 posted on 12/23/2002 4:45:19 PM PST by dennisw
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To: mhking
After reading her statements, I want to gather all my neighbors and friends for one big hug-fest. Let's sing together now...

We are the world, we are the la la la-la-la-la-la....

5 posted on 12/23/2002 4:56:04 PM PST by VRW Conspirator
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To: dennisw
I have a strong hunch that blogs are the next step in the information revolution that is sweeping the globe. The ones I drop in on are fascinating- it's like having a roundtable of really bright people chatting & brainstorming & passing books and notes around, but done electronically across the globe.
6 posted on 12/23/2002 5:08:21 PM PST by backhoe
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To: mhking
Armstrong wrote the syrupy History of God, in which she found, mirabile dictu, that God is a Liberal.
7 posted on 12/23/2002 5:36:55 PM PST by beckett
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To: backhoe
I'm out of step with the blog revolution.

Do you have a way I could start with a beginners guide for blog surfing?
8 posted on 12/23/2002 5:45:33 PM PST by BeAllYouCanBe
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To: dennisw
Headline:...Jilted Nun recieves award from Muslim

She should convert to Islam....
"Inclusive notion of holiness".

Great B....,grab your Burqa and get outta here!

9 posted on 12/23/2002 6:28:52 PM PST by Light Speed
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To: BeAllYouCanBe
10 posted on 12/23/2002 7:56:13 PM PST by redbaiter
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To: mhking
Makes me want to yack.
11 posted on 12/23/2002 8:20:58 PM PST by Excuse_My_Bellicosity
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To: Excuse_My_Bellicosity
Well, this nun obviousely didn't become an EX-nun after reading Engels' atheistic works... a never to be fotgotten encounter with a dark-eyed violent, but noble, savage could be the turning point in the lady's life.

Since then, a sight of every mustached head shrouded in kaffieh turns her knees into quivering jelly...

As to the brain, the experience in question converted it into a shitlike substance. Irreversibly.

12 posted on 12/23/2002 9:52:21 PM PST by Neophyte
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To: mhking
read later
13 posted on 12/23/2002 11:27:56 PM PST by LiteKeeper
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To: BeAllYouCanBe
"Do you have a way I could start with a beginners guide for blog surfing?"

Yes, I think I can... let me get some stuff together... try following this: sure to use all the links you see- it's a fascinating, kind of hyper, weird little world, but I really think it is the next step in the Info Wars we are waging against the Left.
14 posted on 12/24/2002 2:29:06 AM PST by backhoe
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To: backhoe
Political blogs are cool but the only one I go to daily is LGF. If the owner or a poster link to a good comment at a blog then I go to it. Otherwise I can't keep them all straight
15 posted on 12/24/2002 10:31:04 AM PST by dennisw
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To: Neophyte
You have a way with words..... At least in that post. You have her perfectly figured out.
16 posted on 12/24/2002 10:32:58 AM PST by dennisw
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To: backhoe
Some blogs to get you started

Little Green Footballs or LGF

The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler

USS Clueless

Have fun.

17 posted on 12/25/2002 4:57:48 AM PST by anapikoros
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To: anapikoros
Thanks for the links!
18 posted on 12/25/2002 5:14:48 AM PST by backhoe
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To: anapikoros
Here's a pile from the Blogs Of War:

Good Ones

Airstrip One
Alley Writer
Eric Alterman
Amish Tech Support
Andrew Jackson's W*blog
Another Say
A&L Daily
Balloon Juice
Ted Barlow
Bennett's Omphalos
The Beauty of Gray
Bitter Girl
Tim Blair
The Blog that Dare not Speak its Name
Moira Breen
Bucket o' Rants
Mark Byron
Chloe and Pete
Claremont Institute
Cold Fury
Coyote at the Dog Show
Country Store
Daddy Warblogs
Nick Denton
Doc Searls
Dr. Weevil
Charles Dodgson
A Dog's Life
Dreaded Purple Master
The Edge of England's Sword
Gary Farber
Fly Bottle
Freedom and Whisky
Geek Life
Jonah Goldberg
Happy Fun Pundit
Hawk Girl
John Hawkins
Jim Henley
Heretical Ideas
Hoy Story
Diana Hsieh
Iberian Notes
Illuminated Donkey
The Insolvent Republic of Blogistan
Joanne Jacobs
David Janes
Jeff Jarvis
Christopher Johnson
Junkyard Blog
Joe Katzman
Kaus Files
Kesher Talk
Kevin's Ideas
Kathy Kinsley
Kolkata Libertarian
Lake Effect
Laughing Hyena
Layman's Logic
Ken Layne
Letter from Gotham
Brink Lindsey
Brian Linse
little green footballs
Megan McArdle
Mary Madigan
Man Without Qualities
Mind Over What Matters
more than zero
Charles Murtaugh
Paul Musgrave
Fredrik Norman
No Watermelons
NZ Bear
Dawn "Up Yours" Olsen
Brendan O'Neill
Howard Owens
Damian Penny
Photo Dude
Tony Pierce
Daniel Pipes
Pizza Guy Tom
Plato's Cave
Stephen Pollard
Aziz Poonawalla
Virginia Postrel
Peter Pribik
Protein Logic
Public Interest UK
William Quick
Random Jottings
Eric Raymond
Relapsed Catholic
Glenn Reynolds
Scott Rubush
Craig Schamp
Angie Schultz
Sgt. Stryker
Rand Simberg
Sine qua Non Pundit
Sneaking Suspicions
Natalie Solent
Ginger Stampley
Bjorn Staerk
Mark Steyn
Andrew Sullivan
Tal G
Talking Points Memo
Tom Tomorrow
Travelling Shoes
Tres Producers
Josh Trevino
Turned up to 11
USS Clueless
Volokh Conspiracy
Will Warren
War Liberal
Matt Welch
Oliver Willis
Ye Olde Blogge
Matthew Yglesias
Meryl Yourish

19 posted on 12/25/2002 5:38:25 AM PST by backhoe
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