Thursday, September 20, 2012

Yelling "Fire" in a Crowded Theater....that's on fire

And all the brouhaha in the Middle East continues--supposedly over an anti-Mohammad film, and now some French satirical cartoons.

I haven't seen the movie clip yet, but everyone says it's pretty amateurish. Maybe all those rioting Muslims don't have a problem with the content, but are all film critics and just HATE substandard productions.

Not that I think for a second that the film really provoked all this violence. Too many factors intersected: it's  likely that the film was a pretext, and now it looks like the Current Administration is reluctantly beginning to admit as much. For one thing, the clip had been circulating for months prior to all this violence. For another, the riots were too well-organized to have arisen spontaneously. And on the anniversary of the greatest Islamic military victory of the 21st Century! If you believe in coincidence, which I don't, that's a pretty big one.

Our press is constantly urging us to "move past" the "events" of 9/11--as if 3,000+ people died in a natural disaster instead of being immolated by murderers--but I guess no one in the Muslim world got that memo. And really, how many among the rioting mobs actually saw the film clip? Not that it matters, because we've seen other riots over the past decade that were provoked by rumors at Friday prayers.

As for portraying Mohammad in an offensive manner, you don't have to do much.  Anyone who has had the misfortune of sitting through "The Messenger," a 1970's biopic starring Anthony Quinn, might recall that bloody riots ensued when word about that production leaked. The cast and crew had to move the entire operation to Turkey, and they were still under threat. (I wouldn't have even known about this film if not for some Muslim friends who insisted this would be a life-changing experience for me. Yeah: I lost a lot of respect for Anthony Quinn as a result.)

That movie was intended to portray Mohammad without actually portraying Mohammad, which saved them from having to pay at least one actor's salary. The directer wanted the film to be totally positive and inoffensive, so the point of view of the cameraman served as the Mohammad character: no face, no voice, just Anthony Quinn approaching in closeup to say things like, "What would you have us do, O Messenger of Allah?" and then Anthony Quinn would restate what was apparently Mohammad's advice. It was a weird movie, but about as controversial as an episode of The Waltons. 

It is pointless to worry about offending Muslims because Muslims will be offended anyway. In Spain, they're offended by female meter maids, and several Muslim-majority towns have become so dangerous for women to hand out parking tickets that they have been re-assigned out of fear for their own safety.

(This has caused kind of a dilemma for the political left wing in those areas, long advocates of broader immigration policies and more "tolerance"....because they have also stood for women's rights. Suddenly tolerating the intolerant has become an issue.)

But let's just say that the recent "provocative" film trailer was, instead, an accurate portrayal of what Muslim scholars agree are the facts of Mohammad's life. No one has come out and said this, but such a movie would be pretty damning, by our standards. He would come across as a homicidal monster with broad and uncontrolled sexual appetites, including a fondness for little girls. (No one who has studied Islam, from a strictly Muslim perspective, disputes the fact that he was in his 50's when he consummated his marriage to 9 year old Aisha, or that he put out  contract killings on his detractors. Among other things.)

I have lost patience with people who have--while condemning the Embassy attacks--insist on offering a lame apology for the trailer. These are the same people who got all bent out of shape when kooky Rev. Terry Jones wanted to burn all those Qur'ans. The response to the violence should be, "Knock it off!" Remember the saying, "Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? A lot of the rioters ought to be able to relate to the stoning part of that adage, and they should grow up and accept that insults lose their power when they are ignored.

The US has unfortunately gotten on board with anti-blasphemy initiatives that have been pushed through the UN by powerful Muslim interests and are now being enforced in places like Pakistan. Hillary Clinton is a big supporter of anti-blasphemy laws because she confuses blasphemy with discrimination. Blasphemy is entirely defined by the dominant religion of any given country, and as we've seen, there is a LOT that falls under the blasphemy umbrella in Islam.

The problem with blasphemy laws is that it merges state and religious concerns. Blasphemy should fall under rules by  which believers live, and no one has a problem with religious leaders deciding who should be forced out of a religious community for violating the precepts of that religion. But when believers AND non-believers are all held criminally responsible for religious offenses and subjected to legal prosecution, terrible things can happen. (Like, crucifixion! But I'm sure you can think of other examples.)

Recently, a retarded Pakistani girl was released from a Pakistani jail  because she had been charged with blasphemy for burning pages from the Qur'an along with the household trash.  Her family was Christian in a neighborhood that had recently decided to encourage non-Muslims to move. The girl was illiterate and developmentally delayed, with absolutely no understanding of why she was arrested and separated from her family. Eventually a neighbor came forward and reported the local imam to the police. The imam had in fact planted the burned papers, and he's now in jail. The girl and her family have since, wisely, moved.

The State Dept. was silent on this event because the Pakistani authorities had been given, indirectly, the US seal of approval to go after this kid.

The people who apologize for the offensiveness of crummy movies are the same people who want to protect the rights of Islamic states to persecute the innocent for the crime of not embracing shariah.

Victor David Hanson has an excellent analysis of the situation here, and he makes these recommendations for dealing with the Muslim world:

Start developing vast new oil and gas finds on public lands here at home. Get our financial house in order. Quietly cut back aid to hostile Middle East governments. Put travel off-limits. Restrict visas and call home ambassadors -- at least until Arab governments control their own street mobs.
Develop a consistent policy on the so-called Arab Spring that applies the same criticism of illiberal dictators to the theocrats who depose them. Keep quiet and keep our military strong. Don't apologize for a few Americans who have a right to be crude. Instead, condemn those premodern zealots who would murder anyone of whom they don't approve.

Detectives who solve homicides--like the deaths of our foreign service officers--always look for means, motive, and opportunity. The means, of course, were sheer numbers of angry people, many of them armed; the motive is a deep-seated hatred of functional non-Muslim societies, but particularly the imprisonment of the mastermind of the first WTC attack ("The Blind Sheikh") and the opportunity was 9/11. 

[It will be very interesting to see if the Blind Sheikh will be transferred to Egypt, as per the demands of The Arab Street and the Muslim Brotherhood (they're our friends now, remember?). I certainly hope this is out of the question. If he is given a humanitarian release, remember that only a fellow Muslim would extend such a favor, and he would have to have a very high position in our government to do so.] 

If the anti-American riots show us anything, it's that "offensive" movies are not the problem. The problem for the civilized world is that, contrary to what President Obama says, we ARE at war with Islam. Not every single Muslim was out there causing mayhem. But we have to admit that, by protecting freedom of religion and freedom of speech, as well as basic human rights, we are on a direct collision course with millions of people who all share an ideology and who would like to limit--or eliminate--those liberties. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Oh, Brother.

If anyone is the victim of so-called "McCarthy Era Smear Tactics," it's Michele Bachmann. She had the audacity to be part of a group asking questions about the Muslim Brotherhood's influence on the current administration, and now a number of highly visible politicians and pundits have come out and denounced her as an alarmist Islamophobe trying to ruin the reputation of the sweetly innocent Huma Abedin.

All these people are saying that Bachmann and her cohorts are being ridiculous, but is that true?

In fact, Ms. Abedin DOES have ties to the MoBro--very strong ties, as it turns out. Her parents were both hardcore Islamists, and it's not overstating the case to say that the MoBro DOES want to implement shariah in the US. Whether they will be successful or not remains to be seen, but given the inroads they've already made (such as establishing their incubator organization, the Muslim Students Association, on practically every American campus), anyone who says, "It can't happen here" had better go back and read a few history books.

If Abedin has distanced herself or rejected the philosophy she was raised with, she hasn't said so, nor has anyone in her circle of friends and relatives.

That Abedin was then tapped to become a top advisor to the US Secretary of State is not merely a theoretical conflict of interest, it has already shown some results. Andrew McCarthy--a different McCarthy--just published an article in the National Review that offers some interesting perspective. Part of the article lists a few issues that have the MoBro's fingerprints all over them.  Coincidence? I think not. Here's an excerpt from McCarthy's article (especially read the last segment, which I boldfaced):

  • The State Department has an emissary in Egypt who trains operatives of the Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations in democracy procedures.
  • The State Department announced that the Obama administration would be “satisfied” with the election of a Muslim Brotherhood–dominated government in Egypt.
  • Secretary Clinton personally intervened to reverse a Bush-administration ruling that barred Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the Brotherhood’s founder and son of one of its most influential early leaders, from entering the United States.

  • The State Department has collaborated with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of governments heavily influenced by the Brotherhood, in seeking to restrict American free-speech rights in deference to sharia proscriptions against negative criticism of Islam.
  • The State Department has excluded Israel, the world’s leading target of terrorism, from its “Global Counterterrorism Forum,” a group that brings the United Statestogether with several Islamist governments, prominently including its co-chair, Turkey — which now finances Hamas and avidly supports the flotillas that seek to break Israel’s blockade of Hamas. At the forum’s kickoff, Secretary Clinton decried various terrorist attacks and groups; but she did not mention Hamas or attacks against Israel — in transparent deference to the Islamist governments, which echo the Brotherhood’s position that Hamas is not a terrorist organization and that attacks against Israel are not terrorism.
  • The State Department and the Obama administration waived congressional restrictions in order to transfer $1.5 billion dollars in aid to Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood’s victory in the parliamentary elections.
  • The State Department and the Obama administration waived congressional restrictions in order to transfer millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian territories notwithstanding that Gaza is ruled by the terrorist organization Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch.
  • The State Department and the administration recently hosted a contingent from Egypt’s newly elected parliament that included not only Muslim Brotherhood members but a member of the Islamic Group (Gama’at al Islamia), which is formally designated as a foreign terrorist organization — so that providing it with material support is a serious federal crime. The State Department has refused to provide Americans with information about the process by which it issued a visa to a member of a designated terrorist organization, about how the members of the Egyptian delegation were selected, or about what security procedures were followed before the delegation was allowed to enter our country.
  • On a just-completed trip to Egypt, Secretary Clinton pressured General Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the military junta currently governing the country, to surrender power to the newly elected parliament, which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi, who is a top Brotherhood official. She also visited with Morsi; immediately after his victory, Morsi proclaimed that his top priorities included pressuring the United States to release the Blind Sheikh. Quite apart from the Brotherhood’s self-proclaimed “grand jihad” to destroy the United States, which the Justice Department proved in federal court during the 2007–8 Holy Land Foundation prosecution, the Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, publicly called for jihad against the United States in an October 2010 speech. After it became clear the Brotherhood would win the parliamentary election, Badie said the victory was a stepping stone to “the establishment of a just Islamic caliphate.”

The rest of the article is well worth reading, but the bottom line is something we all need to pay attention to: the MoBro has an ally in the current U.S. administration, and that's seriously bad news for anyone who values religious freedom and human rights.And before anyone cleverly accuses me of equating the MoBro with all so-called "moderate" Muslims who reject shariah: it's bad news for those Muslims, too. 

But even aside from all of this is the mentality that Abedin is untouchable because we have no direct proof that she, personally, has done any of the above, and that guilt by association is simply morally WRONG. 


The New York Times ran a huge piece about Obama's kill list, which describes how he frequently flips through a "deck of cards" featuring al-Qaeda operatives targeted for lethal drone attacks. 

In some cases, a number of people, particularly young men, are at risk as "collateral damage," but according to Obama, if you're hangin' with the bad guys, you're probably a bad guy too....and you deserve what's coming.

(This policy is so much better than the whole Guantanamo stick-them-in-prison-until-we-can-figure-out-how-to-try-them thing. Here, after what the admin likes to think of as whack-a-mole, the problem is solved. )

I guess guilt by association is only a problem if you're trying to protect people who are working at the highest levels of government to destroy our country, but it's no big deal if you're putting out hits on undesirable individuals who aren't worth the cost of a trial. 

Whatever. But obviously,  SOMEONE in the highest level of the US government is sympathetic to pro-shariah Islam. And maybe it's not Huma Adedin! 

Maybe it's her boss. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Murfreesboro vs. the Mosque, Part 2

More than a year ago, in March 2011, I wrote about a documentary addressing the proposed construction of a mosque in Tennessee. (Original post: I was outraged at the clear bias, and naivete about its subject, deonstrated by the producers of the film, which ham-handedly portrayed the non-Muslim residents of Murfreesboro as bigots while the Muslims were victims of systematic discrimination.

Now, Eric Allen Bell, the producer of "Unwelcome" has come out and admitted that he was duped by those promoting the mosque: the background of a lot of the Muslim community leaders was shady, the mosque leadership was tied up with radical organizations, and that the production crew was told lie after lie that misrepresented the Muslims' involvement in the issue.

One segment of the film addressed vandalism that was supposedly a warning to the Muslims to cease mosque construction. But the villainous Murfreesboro residents didn't do anything as retro as burning a cross on the site; they damaged construction equipment. Bell writes:
"News broke in late August that there had been an attempted arson, on some construction equipment, after breaking ground for the new mosque. Mrs. Ayash was very pregnant at the time and had not yet been exposed in the Tennessean newspaper for her past criminal record. She called a press conference, which was held right in front of a partially burned tractor and told the media that she was very troubled and surprised by this kind of reaction to an innocent mosque. Not long afterwards, news broke that police had finally caught the man who had vandalized another mosque, in a town not far away. And as it turned out, he was a Muslim and a member of the congregation."

Well, duh.

The article is worth reading in its entirety. ( It's instructive to see what happens to an earnest, well-meaning producer who thinks he's sticking up for the underdog and instead discovers that he was manipulated to further a false narrative. He says,

"The premise of “Not Welcome” was that, contained within this image of the defaced sign, was a story. And I felt that within the story of this defaced sign was the story of human civilization and our inability to peacefully coexist. I may have been a bit na├»ve, but I meant well. Coexistence seemed like a good idea. And Mufreesboro seemed like a microcosm of the world, and an excellent jumping off point to look more deeply and how and why we are divided as a people on this planet. Little did I know that I was going down a rabbit hole, for which there was no turning back. And so I did a lot of bad things, thinking they were good things. I helped a colleague at “The Daily Show” in their attempt to humiliate prominent members of the Mufreesboro Counter Jihad movement. I accepted the support of Michael Moore, to expose what I (wrongly) thought was a foaming at the mouth, bigoted Evangelical bullying of a minority group. I said and did things, in print, on the news, everywhere, which have consequences. And much of my work today is focused on correcting my mistakes and educating the world about what I now know to be the defining issue of our time: The grave threat of Political Islam."

Before the end of the ordeal, he is threatened with genital mutilation, his private medical records are leaked to the public (possibly by one of the young Muslims who "befriended" him and then offered to use her position as a pharmacy tech to smear an anti-mosque person, an offer Bell declined) and his personal contact information was made public, along with hints that he would be made to pay for his recent "Islamophobic" views.

As for me, the bullet points at the end of my original post were all right on the money. I hate to say "I told you so," but.....

I told you so!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Issues with Catholic Magazines

I just got the e-copy of my alumni magazine from Marquette University, and it includes a story about the post-9/11 nature of heroism. The author of  "The Hero Within", Pamela Hill Nettleton, refers to  "the events of 9/11" three times, yet never uses the word "attack", and never mentions the perpetrators.  In fact, she actually says "the enemy can't be identified."  Her story, to be sure, is not about the attacks themselves but about our perceptions of the "heroes" that emerged that day and in the weeks that followed. But her refusal to call 9/11 what it was--a jihadi attack on America--is symptomatic of the way Americans, Catholics in particular, are being trained to talk about our ongoing conflict with belligerent Islam.

One of my pet peeves is seeing or hearing the phrase, "the events of 9/11." Really? My parents where in high school in 1941, but I bet they didn't talk about "the events of December
 7th." I would bet a hundred bucks they actually discussed "the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor."

An "event" is more along the lines of a family reunion or the parade in Downtown Chicago for the Blackhawks when we won the Stanley Cup two years ago. A planned attack in a war that had already been declared, an attack which cost millions of dollars to organize and implement, and which resulted in thousands of actual casualities, is not an "event."

Reducing 9/11 to an "event" makes it sound like it was just something that happened, on a level with a natural disaster or something wholly accidental, like pilot error. The dead are murder victims. They had families and friends. They were deliberately targeted. And their fate was cheered by devout Muslims all over the world, including right here in the American Midwest...because 9/11 was a Muslim victory.

I know that's really awkward to say, but there it is.

Marquette Magazine is not alone in this effort to cleanse our collective memory of any negative information about the Religion of Peace. The tenth anniversary of 9/11 provoked a number of "reflections" on the Events, and the Catholic press was all about changing the narrative and reminding us that the only human being nearly as Christlike as Christ was Mohammad...even though Jesus didn't order hits on his enemies or have sex with children.

U.S. Catholic magazine spent part of the September 2011 issue "reflecting" on the attacks--and at least they do use the word "attacks"--and critically looking at whether our response was appropriate. One suggestion: we should acknowledge our "complicity." (!!!!????!!!) You get the gist.

Another case in point: St. Anthony Messenger devoted the entire Septemter 2011 issue to Catholic-Muslim relations. The hard copy has a bit more impact than the e-version. There's a story about St. Francis's experiences with Muslims during the Crusades, and how he learned so much from them and made such a favorable impression that his impact is still being felt today, etc etc etc etc. I don't know if this was intentionally ironic or not, but sandwiched within that story is a full-page ad  requesting donations for the Church's mission to Catholics in the Middle East who are "Outnumbered. Afraid. Alone." Outnumbered by whom? Afraid of what? This surely can't refer to the compassionate Muslims who are devoted to the well-being of the religious minorities in their midst.

Worse is SAM's "Ten Things to Know About Islam." Info spoiler: the person who consulted with the author is a CAIR member. Oh, so this story isn't biased! There are some relatively accurate generalizations among the "Ten Things," but there are also off-the-wall fundamentalist statements that are presented as facts pertaining to all Muslims (ie, hijab is required). The problem with promoting a narrow version of Islam to non-Muslims who may be curious and well-intentioned is that a huge segment of the Muslim population is ignored. Muslims who don't wear their religion on their sleeve--or their heads--and who have chosen to keep their religion private and non-political are marginalized. CAIR gets to call the tune and everyone marches along, and that undermines "secularized" Muslims who simply want to practice the Religion of Peace in peace. 

Mohammad's wife Kadijah is mentioned in "Ten Things", but not Aisha. This is so typical of CAIR it's sickening. Kadijah, for those of you who don't have the Mohammad's Wives score card, was his first wife. She was 15 years his senior and definitely wore the pants in THAT relationship--he didn't DARE take another wife until Kadijah had gone to her Reward. But after she was gone, he received a number of revelations from the Angel Gabriel that gave him permission to take a number of wives--some of whom were already married to other men, but no matter because the Angel Gabriel also allowed divorce in those cases--and the Angel was also okay with the idea of concubines. (Regular Muslims who do not have Gabriel on speed dial are only allowed four wives....but a lot of concubines.)

His favorite of these was a little six-year -old kid named Aisha. Mohammad was in his forties when he married her, but,  ever the gentleman, waited until she was nine before calling her in (from playing with her friends) to "consensually" consummate the marriage.

Aisha was not mentioned in the SAM article because Muslims HATE it when non-Muslims bring up Aisha. One Muslima told a friend of mine, "You people are not supposed to know about this!" (Well, boohoo, because we've all been studying Islam since The Events of 9/11, so that cat's out of the bag.) The most common Muslim response is, "So what? A lot of child marriages took place in the 7th Century!!"

EXCEPT that today, laws in Islamic countries, like Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iran, are based on the "exemplary" life of Mohammad, and so sanction child marriages to much older men. (This would be "shariah," which we are told repeatedly is no big deal because it only affects bank transactions.) Not only are official ages of consent mandated by the Qur'an, but unofficially, such marriages take place in "modern" Muslim countries with the blessing of so-called Islamic scholars.

St. Anthony Messenger probably didn't want to stir up bad feelings by mentioning Aisha, but in effect they gave a sly little wink to pedophiles everywhere by omitting her story. That seems counterintuitive for a Catholic magazine, given all the bad press with sexually predatory priests. I mean, you would think that SAM would go out of its way to point out that this sort of behavior is wrong, unless it's only wrong if you're caught. (And I bet a lot of bishops would love to say to outraged and disappointed Catholics, regarding the sex abuse scandal, "You people are not supposed to know about this!")

There are some brave exceptions to this trend in Catholic media, which I will address in my next blog entry, but it is important to recognize that this bias exists.

Leaving out inconvenient or negative information about Islam is politically correct. But deliberately not telling the truth is still a lie--even if "only" by omission.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Will Catholic University Submit?

The Catholic University of America has just been slapped with two lawsuits. A professor at George Washington University, John Banzhaf III, has formally accused CUA of discrimination against Muslims and women. That's kind of like suing to protect the rights of cats AND the rights of mice, but whatever. So far, it sounds like CUA President John H. Garvey is standing firm, but we'll see if legal muscle, and the threat of millions of dollars in fines, will change his mind.

The campus newspaper, The Tower, covers the issue here. Banzhaf's sex discrimination gripe rests on the University having same-sex dorms. Back in MY day, co-ed dorms were still sort of controversial at my Catholic college. Times change. Unfortunately, not always for the best, and a lot more partying goes on in co-ed dorms. I'm not saying kids in co-ed dorms are out-of-control binge drinkers who spend more time engaging in casual sex than studying Western Civ,  or that no one in a same-sex dorm smokes pot. But research supports the fact that the atomsphere in same-sex residence halls is more conducive to academic success, precisely because there's less socializing.

But Banzhaf's other lawsuit concerns Muslim students who enrolled at Catholic University and are now apparently surprised that it's a CATHOLIC university.

CUA does not have a designated Muslim prayer room, so Muslims have been allowed to use vacant classrooms for prayer. But: they're "uncomfortable" that each room has a crucifix on the wall.

Also, CUA does not have a university Muslim student club. They have an Arab club, but several members are non-Muslims. There's currently no charter for the Muslim Students Association.

The MSA is a presence on most campuses, except really small schools or places that have such a strong identity as being non-Muslim that there's reallly no one who would join. The MSA, though, has chapters at many Catholic campuses. Part of that is because they're mandated to form Muslim groups wherever possible, and part of that is because Catholic schools are loathe to appear intolerant.

MSA is, though, connected with the Muslim Brotherhood, which has never retracted or revised its stated objective: to impose Islam (and shariah law) on the entire world. That's not exactly tolerant, but Muslims can't be expected to behave in a way that they demand of everyone else. I don't know if CUA has declined to acknowledge the Muslim Students Association for this reason, or if there are other issues with the group, but MSA doesn't belong on ANY American campus, let alone at a university that does not espouse Islamist teachings.

(Going back to the same-sex dorm problem: if that lawsuit succeeds, what would Professor Banzhaf do if Muslim students then complained about the LACK of same sex dorms? That would put him between a rock and a hard place.)

As for the lack of comfortable prayer space, this tactic has been popping up everywhere. A few weeks ago, Hertz car rental company fired a couple dozen Muslim employees for failing to observe prayer-break times. Hertz actually accomodated the Muslims who wanted to pray, and they built prayer times into each shift, but employees refused to observe time limits and simply made themselves unavailable for work. Hertz did NOT fire Muslim employees who followed prayer-break rules, but the disgruntled fired employees are trying to create some bad press for Hertz's "islamophobia."

Last week, a teacher from the Chicago suburbs won several thousand dollars in a case she brought against her school district because they did not approve a two-week vacation--in the middle of the school year--so that she could go on the hajj. Well, it's true that teachers get barely any vacation time to begin with, but Muslims follow a lunar calendar, which means hajj month changes a little every year. In a few years, it would have fallen during the teacher's summer break. But she didn't want to wait, and she couldn't understand why the school balked at granting her request. Uh, maybe because the school is concerned about kids not meeting state standards and that having subs for two weeks might put those kids behind their peers?

And consider Benedictine University, in Lisle IL, which I believe now has a Muslim prayer room. It did not have one several years ago, so Muslim students were allowed--encouraged!--to use the Catholic school's chapel. The Chicago Tribune  carried a story called "Different faiths, same spirit," which described how Muslim students "draw curtains to cover the wooden altar, the pulpit and stained-glass images of St. Benedict and Jesus carrying the cross." One wonders what is done with the Eucharist if the Host is at all present in the chapel.

The fact the Muslim students dismiss, and disrespect, Catholic tradition and iconography is bad enough. It's even worse when they actually agitate to alter the school environment to accomodate a belief system which is in many ways antithetical to Catholic doctrine.

Neither Professor Banzhaf nor any Muslim student has spoken up to tell the truth about prayer: that is is permissable to say one's prayers silently, to oneself, if one is not in a position to enact the entire ritual. Moreover, it goes against "Muslim social custom" to cause discomfort or discord, which such demands have already done.

The reason no credible Muslim has come forward to put the matter to rest is because this is NOT about religion, spirituality, brotherhood, etc. It is about political domination.

Another element should be mentioned, which is that Catholics have bent over backwards to accomodate Muslims. Interreligious dialogue initiatives have become a staple of dioceses all over the world, and proponents are highly vocal here in the US. I have not come across any Catholic high school religion textbook in the past 40 years that has said anything remotely negative about Islam--nothing controversial is discussed, and the overall view of the religion is very touchy-feely, even though Catholicism often comes under scrutiny. (I am getting really sick of hearing about Galileo. Can we move on?)  Catholic media is overwhelmingly in the camp of fighting Islamophobia, even when it means defending a very narrow and radicalized version of Islam. If anyone tries to point out that the emperor has no clothes and that there are some serious concerns about political Islam, that person is silenced. 

CUA President Garvey certainly has my support and my prayers. He seems like a decent man who would not discriminate against any CUA student's religion or deliberately offend them.

But will Muslim students persist in discriminating against non-Muslims...particularly Catholics?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I HAPPEN to want CAIR illegalized

One of the most infuriating soundbites to emerge from 9/11 discussions has been when people justify the attacks by saying, "the hijackers HAPPENED to be Muslim."

This is nonsense.

They "happen" to be Muslim the same way Catholic priests "happen" to be men and people seeking abortions "happen" to be women. Or car accidents "happen" to involve automobiles, high school graduates "happen"  to have completed 12th grade, cats "happen" to be carnivores and China "happens" to be in Asia. You get my drift.

The way "happen" is being used regarding 9/11 is to mean "to occur by chance." There is nothing in any of the above examples that involves chance--they all involve defining the term.

The hijackers did not HAPPEN to be Muslims. That statement implies that other, non-Muslim members of al-Qaida were, by sheer luck, not given the assignment that day, and that only by coincidence were all 19 men followers of the Prophet on a mission to martyr themselves. 

But al Qaida is a Muslim organization and the attacks were part of a religious war prosecuted by a very devout element within Islam.

Ahmad "the flower of Islam" Rehab

CAIR's Ahmad Rehab is only the latest idiot to make this pronouncement, as if little old ladies from the Iowa Lutheran Children's Charities were vying for the opportunity to hijack those planes but they then drew the short straw.

And why do I say that this is part of the 9/11 attack's justification? Because by saying that the hijackers HAPPEN to be Muslim, the speaker is stating that the attacks were inevitable--they would have occurred anyway, sooner or later. And why? Let's remove the religiopolitical Islamic element from this argument: BECAUSE ALL THOSE PEOPLE DESERVED TO BE IMMOLATED.  They were in buildings that stood for Big Bad American power.

Hey, Reverend Jeremiah Wright explained it that way to his congregation (which at the time included Barack and Michelle Obama).

I don't know if people who buy into this statement are actually aware of how offensive it is, or if this is more on a subconscious level--maybe they're trying to project, and say that other non-Muslim individuals have carried out other, but also devastating, terrorist attacks.

Yes, and so what?

I notice that there aren't a whole lot of people out there rallying support for Tim McVeigh or Anders Breivik's ideology, the way CAIR has been regarding the 9/11 killers.

CAIR currently enjoys freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, but I think they edge very close to treason with a lot of their rhetoric.  This is actually a very tame example, but it highlights their creepy, hostile attitude.

Worse, they're courted unceasingly by the American media, which has allowed CAIR and similar entities to silence discussion of their ideology.

I happen to be really sick of it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11 + 10 = Elephant in the room

The State Department is commemorating the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 by encouraging Americans to participate in an "interfaith day of service." Unsurprisingly, Hillary Clinton (who views herself as a modern-day Gertrude Bell) has decided to continue her focus on the Muslim community, which has been brought front and center for this occasion.

It is true that most Muslims worldwide were horrified by the attacks, and it is also true that a number of Muslims died that day. Moreover, the overwhelming number of victims of the thousands of jihadi attacks SINCE 9/11 have been Muslims.

But it is also true that the 19 hijackers who successfully murdered more than 3,000 people in one day were carrying out only one phase of a religious mission, one that was celebrated in Muslims countries, cities and neighborhoods all over the world. And that mission continues.

Here in Chicago, the Southwest Side was the scene of euphoric demonstrations of solidarity by Muslims honoring the 19 martyrs, as Palestinian flags were unfurled from balconies and waved from the windows of cars driven by giddy youth. I was teaching at a community college at the time, and some of my Muslim students did take pains to express their sympathy to me, and my fellow Americans. But some also seized the opportunity to lecture me on why America deserved to be attacked and why the victims were considered the Enemy. (While bizarrely maintaining that, although the 19 Martyrs were being lionized, it was really Mossad and the Jewish banking industry that had carried out the attacks.)

War had clearly been declared against the US.

But by whom?

Our government has insisted, again and again, that this is not a war against Islam ("the religion of peace") but against a tiny fraction of Muslims who embrace a twisted and corrupt version of their faith. "Real" Muslims eschew violence and practice tolerance toward all, following the example of the Prophet Mohammad.

(Actually, Mohammad led his armies into vicious battles of conquest and allowed the vanquished to choose between conversion and death. So it could be argued that the "real" Muslims who reject this model are actually apostates. But that's another discussion.) 

But while our government has made this point over and over again, saying that a few rogue organizations are the ones fomenting violence all over the world, we have at the same time chosen to treat Islam as a sovereign that deserves to have the same diplomatic status as actual countries.

If it's true that our conflict is with al-Qaeda and all its offshoots and peer organizations, then why are we treating all of Islam as a separate entity? President Obama has repeatedly discussed the necessity of working with "the Muslim World" (Muslims like this because their word for it is "caliphate," which they believe will eventually govern everyone.)

If, on the other hand, the government on some level recognizes that al Qaeda et al REPRESENT  Islam, then it makes sense to talk about the Muslim World.

I think it is a huge mistake for the US, particularly under this administration, to imbue global Islam with all sorts of political privileges. Who cares what "the Muslim world" thinks? Why are we pandering to groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, who have a very anti-Western/anti-American charter which has never changed and which has historically supported known terrorist organizations? Why are we not telling Egypt, "Dismantle the MoBro or US money will dry up."? (And it's a lot of money. Everyone complains about all the foreign aid that goes to Israel, but Recipient Number Two is Egypt.) Why have we not held Pakistan's feet to the fire?

This foreign policy is empowering groups like the Muslim Brotherhood because we are allowing them to be one of the voices of "the Muslim World."

But what about our domestic policy toward Islam?

Here, we're treating the "Muslim community" as if it has a politcal and cultural identity completely separate from "the rest of America." We (the public and the media) are also giving a lot of credence to MoBro/Hamas brothers-in-arms like CAIR.

Of course, in the US, we currently have three main religions. (The Jews are marginalized in the public consciousness as a quasi-secular group because they aren't out hounding people to convert.) The Big Three are: beleagured, perpetually victimized Muslims; illiterate gun-toting evangelical Christians, and the Catholics, who mindlessly obey sexually perverted priests.

But the latter two groups don't merit their own government outreach programs. Of course, you could cite examples of islamophobia as forcing special mitigating treatment, but then what about the Jews? They have always been on the receiving end of much worse mistreatment, and at disproportionately high numbers.

The idea of an "interfaith" day of service never would have come up if the 9/11 attacks had been carried out by North Korean communists, or any other non-religious group.  This is just another opportunity for the government to indoctrinate us with their biased assessment of Islam.

And speaking of "interfaith," what about Americans who don't identify with a particular religion--those who consider themselves "spiritual," but don't have any affiliation to a formal faith community? What about atheists and agnostics? Are they not part of this volunteer/social outreach plan?

But okay: there's really nothing terrible about a "day of service," unless it involves letting blind people get into taxis with their seeing-eye dogs, which Minneapolis Muslim cabbies won't do because dogs are unclean. Making this "interfaith" is a little cloying. But even if the State Department wants to play it that way, why the emphasis on Muslims? Why not treat Islam as one of many religious expressions in the US?

An analogous situation would be if the government decided to address the issue of child sexual abuse, and they didn't merely include religious leaders from all different faiths, but gave special attention to the the Catholic clergy and let them set the tone for the entire effort....instead of deferring to the input of the victims or their families. Would the families of Catholic clergy's victims be upset?

Just like the "Islam and terrorism" issue, the vast majority of Catholic priests are not child molesters, and moreover, child molesters are also found in all walks of life (a la Loughner and McVeigh) but I am sure--again, like the Islam/terrorism connection--that a lot of non-molesting clergy knew about pedophiles within their ranks and did little or nothing about it. Some even moved to protect them, even while trying to neutralize their effects by assigning them to positions that were not child related.

The biggest mistake the Church made was trying to handle this internally, which crippled trust within the Church but which also destroyed its credibility among all people, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. I think this is what Muslims are trying to do now, and it's having the same effect. CAIR's media campaign to pressure Muslims NOT to cooperate with law enforcement is a perfect example. But they'll learn the hard way, just like a lot of bishops did all over the US and Europe: covering up for criminals, whether they're sex offenders or jihadists, makes you an accessory to whatever crime they commit....or plan to.

Still, I think most Americans would be uncomfortable with, if not openly hostile to, the State Department negotiating with the Catholic World or the Bahai World or the Neo-Pagan World. And whether or not a horrible tragedy like 9/11 inspires the government to "reach out" to any particular group, I think it's an unhealthy mistake to pretend a violent event with specific targets happened in a vacuum.

That is what we are doing with 9/11.

I don't necessarilly see the purpose in obsessing about it, beyond an appropriately sober memorial service, and incorporating the 9/11 narrative into our nation's history.

But I do think we should be honest enough to call it what it was: a Muslim attack on the United States.

Silencing that discussion and instead saying that Muslims had nothing to do with 9/11 and were, in fact, the real victims of American aggression is insulting.  Islam can exist, and even thrive, in our country if we treat it like any other religion. No special treatment (positive or negative), no special privileges. It is not a nation-within-a-nation and does not merit that consideration.

President Obama and his administration should be smart and honest enough to lead the way on this.