Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Dangerous Hypocrisy: World Reactions

I couldn't help adding this to my blog.  I agree, completely.

                    ~ Steven

By Roberta Seid, PhD and Roz Rothstein

Westerners are agonizing about whether the twelve Danish cartoons of Mohammed showed unforgivable prejudice against Islam. Enraged Muslims in Europe, the Middle East and Asia are rampaging in protest against the cartoons, demanding apologies, boycotts, blood and even beheadings. But in all this, the real outrage is overlooked: the sheer hypocrisy of these reactions.

These angry Muslims demand that the world honor Islamic symbols and sensitivities, but adamantly refuse to grant the same to other religions. They don’t just draw satirical cartoons or limit their insults to words and discriminatory laws. They have intentionally and regularly desecrated and destroyed religious icons, holy sites and houses of worship sacred to other faiths. Yet the world, including progressive democracies whose core ideal is tolerance, has remained silent about these assaults on other religions.

Why was there no effective protest when the Taliban destroyed pre-Islamic masterpieces, including the almost 2000-year-old 165-foot statue of Buddha? Where was the outrage when Muslims destroyed churches in Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Iraq and Sudan, and 175 Nigerian churches in 2004?[1] Where was the indignation when armed Palestinian Muslim terrorists forced their way into the Church of the Nativity in 2002 for 38 days and shot bullet holes in the walls and used the pages of Christian holy books as toilet paper?[2] Why was there no outcry when Palestinian Muslims repeatedly attacked Jewish holy sites, such as Rachel’s Tomb, or when they destroyed Joseph’s Tomb, burned its prayer books, Bibles and religious articles and converted the age- old Jewish holy site into a mosque? Why was the world silent between 1948 and 1967 when Jordanian Muslims destroyed all 57 of Jerusalem’s ancient Jewish temples, libraries and yeshivas and used the sacred stones for urinals and sidewalks?

The world has been strangely silent, too, when Muslims have gone beyond attacking holy symbols and have persecuted and murdered men, women and children for the crime of not being Muslim. The Laskar Jihad movement of Indonesia has killed 5,000 Christians and made a half-million of them homeless. In Egypt, Copts are persecuted and dozens in el- Kusheh were killed in January 2000 alone. Muslim youth rampaged in Nigeria in 2002 and killed 100 Christians and injured 200 others.[3]

How can Muslims demand that their sensibilities be respected when they assault other religions and don’t even begin soul-searching to rethink their own intolerance and religious prejudices? Why aren’t Western democracies consistently denouncing this violent behavior? Is it because they have double standards and believe Islam must be treated differently than Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and other religions? Is it because they have become so secular that they see no reason to defend or protect the historic religions of the West? Or is it because they are intimidated by the threats of violence against them if they speak out? Do they fear they will share the fate of the brutally murdered Theodore Van Gogh or the fate of Salman Rushdie who was forced into hiding after a fatwa was issued that condemned his novel and called for his execution.

But something far more profound and ominous has been exposed by the cartoon incident.

The radical Muslim message is clear: We can insult your religions. We can desecrate and destroy your holy places and kill your co-religionists, but you cannot do something as trivial as publishing satirical drawings of our sacred symbols. Only our religion should be honored and respected. The world must defer to our rules and sensitivities. If you violate them, we will erupt in riots and violence and call for your deaths.

In short, the incident has laid bare radical Islam’s impassioned battle to dominate the West and impose Islamist values and a radical Islamist world order. They are trying to get us to respect Islam according to their rules not through persuasion but through intimidation and violence. Those who do not obey will be subject to a savagery and rage that radical Muslims will unapologetically justify in the name of Allah and Mohammed. Anti-Western governments like Iran and Syria and radical Islamists will cynically fan the flames.

We are face-to-face not just with hypocrisy, but also with radical Islamists' stark bid for religious dominance. Let us hope that democracies and moderate Muslims have the clarity, self-confidenceand strength to win this battle of the 21st century.

                   *     *     *

And then there's this, from Lee Ann Womack.  Nice counterpoint.

"I Hope You Dance"

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed

I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making

Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance.

                   *     *     *

Sources for the above article:

[1] html and l=en&art=4609

[2] “’Greedy Monsters’ Ruled Church,” <> Times, May 15 2002, p. 1


Roberta Seid, PhD is a historian.  Roz Rothsein is the National Director for StandWithUs.




paulajlambert said...

Dear Steven,
I was reading your new entry tonight and realized when I scrolled down to this that I'd completely forgotten that THIS entry was the one that started my link-after-link search the other night, the one I just talked about in my newest blog entry. I like and admire Roberta Seid. I don't know very much of her writing, but one of her essays was included in a chapter from a text book I used for several years (about the obesity epidemic) and I loved  teaching that essay in combination with several others on the topic. I followed the link to where this was originally posted, re-read it and several others, followed links, and links, and links, and links. I basically ended up believing the whole world was going to end in firey cinders before the night was over--I was terrified.

Don't know how to end this comment now! Ugh! Already deleted two sentences. I basically just wanted you to know that I'd read this, and if you're interested, there's a new post over at my place...

stevendenlinger said...

Yeah, scary.  

It's a new world.  A world of limited tolerance, of violence grounded in religion, rather than a secular ism like communism.

But writers still have a voice.  We're still powerful, especially when we believe we are not.  I have to keep telling myself that.


paulajlambert said...

"We're still powerful, especially when we believe we are not. "

We ALL have to keep telling ourselves that.