By Tom Kando
As we just commemorated the 9/11 attack, there has been a worldwide flurry of Islam-related events:
(1) Florida pastor Terry Jones' threat to burn the Koran on September 11
(2) the protest by some New Yorkers against building a mosque near Ground Zero
(3) Dutch Islam critic (others prefer to call him an Islamophobe) Geert Wilders' growing popularity in the Netherlands
The camps are predictably divided: those who are in the same frame of mind as Wilders, and those who, on the contrary, find such a frame of mind racist and repugnant. In other words, the politically INcorrect, and the politically correct.
Let me begin with the obligatory disclaimer, and then take a politically incorrect position, even though I am not a Wilders sympathizer: OF COURSE, pastor Jones must NOT burn the Koran (or any other book). OF COURSE, I am happy that he relented on his threat.
However, I find the antics of the politically correct preposterous. Once again, Western liberals – from California to Holland -are engaged in an orgy of apologetics, trying to outdo each other in assuaging, appeasing and embracing Islam culture, Islam groups and Islam faith, desperate to prove how unbigotted they are.
In Sacramento, some nutty Christian churches commemorated 9/11 by offering flowers to the city's Muslim community and by laying bouquets on the Koran, as a gesture of peace. On September 11! Nicholas Kristof in the Herald Tribune (September 13) equates the protest against the Mosque near Ground Zero with the internment of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps during World War Two! In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders is under criminal prosecution for spreading hate speech, and he may do prison time, just as he is about to participate in that country's new coalition government. The Internet is replete with twitter and e-mails calling for his assasination. Pastor Jones ended up not burning the Koran, but just in case, preventively if you will, demonstrators in Pakistan and other Muslim countries did burn numerous American flags during the past few weeks. Amazing, the double standard! US flag burning has been one of the world's popular passtimes for over 50 years. But that's no big deal, right?
What I see in New York is not an anti-Mosque frenzy, but an anti-anti-Mosque frenzy. There are thousands of Mosques in the US, where millions of Muslims worship in peace, but Christian Churches are forbidden in Saudi Arabia.
I know the arguments: WE are not supposed to stoop to the same level as "they" do. We are about liberty and tolerance. But isn't this another way to say that we are better? "They" are so inferior that they cannot be held to the same standards.
Whether liberals like it or not, there IS a problem. When the problem manifests itself, often violently, Western liberals' first impulse is often pacifist. When Khomeni's thugs took 60 Americans hostage in 1979, there were mass demonstrations on American campuses denouncing American racism and Iranophobia. The days following September 11, 2001, Phil Donahue and hosts of editorialists preached non-violence and denounced American imperialism.
What is this? I suppose part of it may be a genuine desire to deflate an explosive situation, to avoid a "clash of civilizations," to de-escalate. I respect President Obama's admonishion that pastor Jones' Koran burning might have put our troops in danger.
At the same time, the recurring tendency of the Western intelligentsia to burry its head in the sand or, worse, to engage in self-flagellation, is based on pure and simple FEAR. It is called cowardice.
There IS a problem. Yes, the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists. But the vast majority of terrorists are Muslims. Nothing is for ever, but that's how it is now. In the 1980s, when I taught courses on Violence and Terrorism, most terrorists were Marxists. If only 1% of Muslims aspire to become terrorists, that's 10 million potential terrorists.
Also, just ask the 600 million female Muslims of the world if they enjoy their status.
This is not the time for Islamophobia, nor is it the time for peace flowers and Western Mea Culpa's.leave comment here
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
By Tom Kando