Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Leave Islam Safely--or Die Trying

Pam Geller's taxicab campaign has come to Chicago; read about it here:  (Leave Islam Safely)http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/08/anti-islamization-campaign-points-to-chicago-taxi-ads.html. Geller is advertising an option for people, mainly young women, who wish to leave the Religion in Which There is No Compulsion. Participating cabs carry rooftop-mounted signs that display a phone number for individuals seeking sanctuary. Good idea--a lot of these women are isolated from the non-Muslim community, and turning to another Muslim for help is risky.

Honor killings are on the rise in the U.S., Canada, and Western European countries with large Muslim immigrant populations. The murderers (sorry, alleged murderers) often cite religious reasons for being obligated to kill the offender. "Family" honor must be preserved, but closer reading reveals that the "family" is the "community," which means fellow Muslims who rarely, if ever, express disapproval for the crime.

Amazingly, NO "moderate" Muslim organizations, or even individuals, have spoken out about this.

John Esposito, however, weighs in.  He's the Georgetown U. prof who is trotted out every time an uncomfortable fact emerges about Islam, which he  instantly dismisses. This time, he explains to the "Islamoignorant" public that "honor killings" are cultural, not religious.

Dr. Esposito joins the thousands of apologists who downplay any catastrophic act of violence by Muslims and try to distance the act from the motive. Fort Hood massacre? Crazy guy. 9/11 ? Nineteen crazy guys, acting randomly. They happened to be Muslim--pretty much like the entire College of Cardinals happens to be Catholic.  Now, with honor killings,  it's "culture."

How arrogant, Dr. Esposito ! How dare you contradict what the murderers themselves cite as their reason for killing their sisters/daughters ? If they SAY it is religious, it is religious--who are you to read their innermost thoughts and then dismiss them as powerless pawns forced to do whatever their "culture" mandates? And which culture would that be anyway, Dr. E ? Honor killings occur among families from a LOT of different cultures...unless you mean Muslim culture ! Bringing us back to square one.....

The "moderate" Muslims mentioned in the story should be applauding Ms. Geller and sending her contributions so that she can outfit even more cabs. Yet we are to believe these "moderates" are offended.

I'm offended, too. I'm offended by the fact that, AGAIN, the Tribune has decided to silence anyone who dares point out the obvious, which is that honor killings should shame the environment that gives rise to them, not the people trying to raise awareness and stop them from happening.

I've tried to post comments, twice. I was blocked both times. It seems the new Tribune policy is to offer no forum to anyone who disagrees with their pro-radical Muslim spokesmen. If you agree with them, or if you disagree but then veer off-topic or get too emotional, and therefore look less credible, then your remarks will be posted.  But if you disagree AND have cogent, supportable reasons for your opinions, forget it. The "reporters" assigned to these stories can barely disguise their feelings on the issues. This is not reporting. This is propaganda.

Does the Tribune employ any editors who are educated on radical Islam and who are aware of what the paper has been doing?

I have had conversations with friends who were "moderate", Westernized Muslims. (I mentioned this in my blocked comment, too.) One of these men assured me he would kill his beloved younger sister if she ever married outside the Faith or otherwise disrespected Islam. There is no doubt in my mind that he would have done so--fortunately for her, she married a Muslim, and fortunately for the rest of us, he is no longer living in the US. 

In case the Trib archives the article about the cabs, here it is:

Opponent of mosque takes anti-Islam campaign to Chicago

August 23, 2010 5:50 AM ,UPDATED STORY

An outspoken opponent of the so-called ground zero mosque in Manhattan is taking on Islam in Chicago.

Pamela Geller, leader of a movement called Stop the Islamization of America, asserts that Muslims are increasingly taking over schools, financial institutions and the workplace. Her latest campaign against "Islamization" has appeared in ads this summer on top of 25 Chicago cabs.

Beside pictures of young women who were allegedly killed by their Muslim fathers for refusing an Islamic marriage, dating a non-Muslim or becoming "too Americanized" is the message: "Is your family threatening you?"

Though the placards appear to offer a haven for young women who want to leave Islam, critics contend the signs stoke fear among passengers and passers-by about the way an estimated half of the city's taxi drivers worship, and seek to suppress the religious liberty on which the nation was founded.

"We've tried to build a movement that respects others and to respect ourselves and work for our human rights," said Fayez Khozindar, chairman of the United Taxi Drivers Community Council, whose membership is mostly Muslim. "This isn't right."

The ads and the campaign against building the Park51 mosque near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York show that nearly nine years since radical Muslim hijackers flew airplanes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, a number of authors and activists have stepped up to tell Americans that they believe Muslims are waging a surreptitious offensive to supplant the U.S. Constitution with Islamic law.

"If you're devout, you believe in the Shariah," Geller said. "I don't believe in the institution of foreign law. I believe in the separation of church and state or mosque and state."

But many Muslim scholars and civil rights advocates say Geller and other self-proclaimed truth-tellers are malicious activists who have capitalized on the terrorist attacks to create a cottage industry bent on bashing people of goodwill and championing religious freedom for all Americans except Muslims.

John Esposito, a professor of international affairs and Islamic studies at Georgetown University, said religious defamation and Islam-bashing have become more acceptable in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks.

"People like Pam Geller have a horrendous record," he said. "It's a track record of not distinguishing between forms of religious terrorism and Islam itself."

The ads sponsored by Geller's group come during a tumultuous time for Muslim Americans. The proposed mosque has drawn support from President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg that has been loudly countered by criticism from much of the national Republican leadership and a few high-profile Democrats. Last week, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn came out against the location of the mosque.

Geller said the LeaveIslamsafely.com ads in Chicago are the first in a nationwide campaign to raise Americans' awareness that honor killings are happening in their own country. She said surveys show that 91 percent of honor killings around the world -- and 84 percent of them in the U.S.-- are carried out by Muslims.

Esposito said religion has nothing to do with it. Honor killings are a cultural phenomenon, not religious, and they are not endorsed anywhere in the Quran, Islam's holy book.

"This ongoing jihad watch distorts the primary drivers here," Esposito said. "Unless you understand where it's coming from, it will not be addressed correctly. ... This should be understood the way we address violence against women. ... We offer them as much protection as we can, but we don't jump to say this simply goes on among a particular religious group."

The Council on American Islamic Relations is considering legal action regarding the ads. Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR-Chicago, said organizations such as Geller's are not qualified to lead domestic violence initiatives.

But Rehab suspects that's not their primary goal. Instead, he said, they are intentionally creating an uncomfortable work environment for Chicago's cabdrivers.

Geller said the faith of the cabdrivers never crossed her mind.

"I thought about the mobility of the cab," she said. "The ad is not directed at Muslims. In this particular case, it's directed at Muslim girls in trouble, living in fear of their lives, struggling to find resources to help."

But Jeff Feldman, president of Taxi Medallion Management, the company that manages Yellow Cab in Chicago, said drivers have a right to request another cab or remove the sign.

"I can see where moderate Muslim men would be upset by that type of ad," he said. "It casts a terrible impression over all of Islam."

-- Manya A. Brachear

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