The real question [that]...should confront the nearly 40% of Americans who say they feel positively impressed by Islam and its influence.
What aspect of Muslim teaching and achievement most inspires such respondents? The daily reports of suicidal violence from every corner of the globe, with fellow-Muslims (invariably) as the primary victims? Or the well-known association of Islamic piety with open-hearted respect for the rights of women, homosexuals and infidels? Or is it the sterling record of economic progress, cutting age technology and social justice achieved by precisely those societies (like Saudi Arabia, Iran or Afghanistan) that take Shariah law most seriously? Or would Islam’s American admirers cite the record of Muslim charities in the U.S., the most prominent of which (remember the Holy Land Foundation?) have been shut down by the government for their lavish support of murderous terrorist groups like Hamas?
The spiritual leader of the proposed Islamic Cultural Center near Ground Zero insists that the true problem is extremism, not Islam itself. “The real battlefront today is not between Muslims and non-Muslims,” declared Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to the Council on Foreign Relations, “but between moderates of all faith traditions against the extremists of all faith traditions.”
This ignores the huge differences --both quantitative (Islamic radicals are vastly more numerous) and qualitative (Muslim fanatics endorse uniquely murderous rhetoric and deeds) – between extremists in one faith tradition and all others.
A Christian fundamentalist may talk about burning Korans; Muslim crazies regularly burn buildings- and people. Even after Pastor Terry Jones called off his idiotic barbeque of the Islamic holy book, Muslims reacted with deadly riots in Kashmir that killed 16 and wounded sixty, while burning several schools and other government buildings.
Some Americans may dislike the style of worship in Pentecostal or Catholic churches, but the faithful (no matter how tackily dressed) never surge out of their sanctuaries on Sundays with fury and blood-lust, looking for non-believers to stone and property to destroy. Every Friday, however, somewhere in the vast Muslim world, some congregations of the devout react to their uplifting prayer services by going directly from their mosques to rousing orgies of rage and violence.
This observation isn’t an expression of bigotry; it’s a factual product of reading the newspaper, and regularly monitoring international news. The lame-brained insistence that all faith traditions deserve equal respect (or equal condemnation) doesn’t demonstrate tolerance or broad-mindedness; it expresses, rather, a refusal to take any religion seriously enough for honest evaluation of its virtues and flaws.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Michael Medved on Islam and Muslims
Not much to add to this. Anything in bold reflects my emphasis.