Sunday, February 19, 2006

Positive Hatred

Sheikh Abd Al-Aziz Fawzan Al-Fawzan isn't a known member of al-Qaeda. Nor is he a known member of the Taliban in hiding, or of Hamas, Hizbollah or any other radical Islamist organizations. He's professor of Islamic law at al-Imam University in Saudi Arabia. So, he's probably a reasonable, rational moderate Muslim, right?

Before you rush to judgment, consider the following quotes from Al-Fawzan on Saudi TV:

16 December, 2005:
"Someone who denies Allah, worships Christ, son of Mary, and claims that God is one third of a trinity - do you like these things he says and does? Don’t you hate the faith of such a polytheist who says God is one third of a trinity, or who worships Christ, son of Mary?

"Someone who permits and commits fornication - as is the case in Western countries, where fornication is permitted and not considered a problem - don't you hate this? Whoever says 'I don't hate him' is not a Muslim, my brother."

But don't worry. He goes on to say: "...this hatred must be positive hatred. It should make me feel compassion for him, and should make me guide and reform him."

Thanks, but no thanks.


"Incompatible with a secular Democracy"

This morning's Washington Post editorial pages ran a great article (may require login) by Flemming Rose. Rose is culture editor for Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper which originally ran the Mohammed cartoons heard 'round the world.

Mr. Rose goes to greath lengths, successfully I think, to justify his reasoning for publishing the cartoons. The article places the original publication in the context of ongoing events in Denmark and the rest of Europe in which the Muslim community, through acts of intimidation and outright violence, are attempting to impose their cultural and religious values on a non-Muslim society.

Mr. Rose gets to the heart of the matter with these remarks in the article:
"But what does respect mean? When I visit a mosque, I show my respect by taking off my shoes. I follow the customs, just as I do in a church, synagogue or other holy place. But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. [my emphasis] And that is incompatible with a secular democracy."
Submission. The very meaning of Islam, and the doctrine by which the religion was propagated from its inception. Islam's early adherents didn't adopt Islam or convert to it--they submitted to it, more often than not at the point of a sword.

The big question is, will Europe submit?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Islam vs. The Rest of the World

It's become nearly impossible to write about the Great Cartoon Jihad without saying something that hasn't already been said. It's become almost as difficult to write about the topic without adopting an "us vs. them" tone.

Despite our own President's statement suggesting that western newspapers, even with freedom of the press, should act responsibly when choosing what to publish, the US is viewed in the Muslim world as being equally to blame for the cartoons. In nearly every protest rally, US flags are seen being burned right alongside those of Denmark, and one can hear chants of "death to America" and "death to Israel" along with protests against Denmark.

Consider that:
  • Just yesterday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said "...the people of the U.S. and Europe should pay a heavy price for becoming hostages to Zionists.", apparently saying that America and Europe are engaging in a smear campaign of Islam at the behest of Israel.
  • The Muslim edict against depictions of Mohammed is not something written in the Koran but rather a later interpretation of Islamic teaching forbidding idolatry. How is it that non-Muslims drawing or publishing depictions of Mohammed constitute idolatry?
  • The media in Islamic countries such as Iran, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia have long been a source of the most vile content targeting Jews and Christians, with nary a peep out of the west in protest. Yet this almost comical swipe against Islam, intended or not, is met by Muslims with protests that amount to a statement of Islamic supremacy over all other religions and cultures.
It follows, then, that the frenzy being whipped up in the Muslim world is being caused less by any real offense taken to the cartoons than by an earnest desire among Islamic leaders to force a clash of wills between the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. Sadly, while some European nations are trying to show signs of backbone, Britain and the US are undermining their efforts by condemning displays of free speech and groveling in the face of a culture that sees us as worthy only of contempt.

While there may be political expediency in such diplomatic weaseling, the governments of both the US and Britain must decide if they belong to "us" or "them".

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Fake Pictures and the Danish Imam Traveling Road Show

In my previous post, I mentioned some fabricated pictures that were circulated with the actual Jyllands-Posten pictures of Mohammed. There's been a fair amount of coverage on this within the blogosphere (God, I hate that word!), but precious little in the traditional media. Notably, Little Green Footballs , Michelle Malkin and Brussels Journal have given the topic good coverage. But the topic needs more discussion, and the traditional media must start reporting on this.

Too many in the western world are of the belief that the Muslim outrage ignited by the cartoons is a spontaneous, heart-felt reaction to a perceived insult to their religion. The unfortunate truth is that a group of Muslim leaders from Denmark, apparently disappointed by the tepid reaction to the cartoons' publication, decided to travel through parts of the Muslim world and "enlighten" Muslims to the latest offense against their religion. It appears that some Muslims need to be told that they're offended.

But to make sure the unenlightened masses were sufficiently fired up, the Danish Imams added three completely fabricated images that were never published in any paper. It appears the original 12 drawings were not inflammatory enough. The fabricated images are shown here in this article.

The first is a crudely-reproduced photograph of a dog humping a Muslim at prayer. I'm not sure how this topic is supposed to fit with western stereotypes of Islam, but hey, maybe the Imams know something we don't know.

The second is a drawing depicting Mohammed as a pedophile, and while not many westerners are aware of it, there is a fair amount of evidence to indicate that he was, in fact, a pederast.

The final image is a real laugher. It's another badly reproduced photograph that's supposed to be a parody of Mohammed as a pig, but it's actually a picture of a contestant at a pig squealing contest in ... get this ... France. This according to Neander News.

This would all be terribly amusing, except for the motivation behind it, and the effect this has had in the Muslim world.

The effect everyone with a TV is well aware of. Tens (hundreds?) of thousands of Muslims violently rioting all over the world, and even more convinced that the western world is out to get them.

But the motivation is what I find most disturbing. What possible benefit have these Muslim leaders realized from the result of their campaign? None that I can see, except that maybe the result fits an agenda of theirs that's rather disturbing to consider.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Re-defining the word "Offensive"

Which of the above images is more offensive?

The publication of drawings of Mohammed in Jyllands-Posten of Denmark will turn out to be a watershed event. Muslims around the world are denouncing the imagery as "offensive" to Muslim sensibilities, and in response, have turned out in wave after wave of protests, and torched embassies in Syria and Lebanon.

The drawing above on the left was one of the pictures published--the picture on the right is a morgue photo of an Indonesian Christian schoolgirl beheaded by an Islamic paramilitary death squad. When this horrific act occurred last year, there were a handful of reports in the media about it, accompanied by some severe clucking of tongues. Completely absent was any real outrage, both from the western media and mainstream Islam.

Forget for a moment the fact that it took a handful of traveling Imams from Denmark five months and the addition of fabricated, inflammatory drawings that were never published to whip up the current frenzy. Forget also that images of the prophet have appeared here and there throughout history. What matters is that Muslims the world over are offended and must be appeased.

It's apparent that militant Islam has chosen this event and this moment to force a clash of wills with the west. I say this will be a watershed event because I see only two possible outcomes: One in which Muslims residing in the west choose to adopt western values and one in which the west caves and allows freedom of expression to become stifled by a fascistic minority.

The signs, so far, are not assuring.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Standing up to fear

The Telegraph ran a great editorial today by Charles Moore.

In it, he raises some interesting questions, such as the source of all those Danish flags that were suddenly available for burning in Gaza.

He also brings up Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi's call for a Muslim "day of anger" (as if Muslims needed a special day to be pissed off), and notes that London Mayor Ken Livingstone refers to al-Qaradawi as "the most progressive force for change".

Read the whole thing.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Ironic Muslim Protest Poster of the Day

I came across this image on LGF today, and I just had to post it.

Does this guy have a firm grasp on the English language? Does he realize how ridiculous the message is?

Maybe he asked some bi-lingual Brit to make him a poster that says "Death to Danish cartoonists" or something and the Brit pulled a fast one on him.

Even worse--maybe he's perfectly fluent in English, and really means what the sign says: If you say we're violent, we'll shut you up by lopping off your head.

UPDATE: 3 Feb 2006 17:08EST
I just saw that LGF poster The Dread Pirate Gryphon says this is, in fact, a Photoshop job. Here's the real picture:

Cartoon Controversy

Just when I thought the Muslim world couldn't get any weirder, they exceed my expectations. Everyone has heard by now about the seething over the cartoons printed in some European publications depicting the prophet Mohammed.

A bit of background to the current controversy: Last year in Denmark, a writer was complaining that he couldn't find anyone to illustrate a book he was writing about the life of Mohammed. Islam forbids artistic depictions of the prophet as a form of idolatry. Upon hearing of the story, the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten ran a story about the author, and invited those artists who dared to submit drawings of the prophet. In September of last year, Jyllands-Posten ran the twelve drawings they'd received. There was some uproar among Danish Muslims following the publication, which appeared to subside.

Eventually, however, word spread in the Middle East of the publication, fanning the flames of outrage. To make matters worse, pamphlets were distributed showing the cartoons, plus some more offensive ones which were never part of the original publication.

Soon, Muslims everywhere were boycotting Danish goods, calling for arrests and revenge killings and threatening terror attacks in Denmark.

The Muslim reaction is hypocritical in the extreme. Icons of other religions are routinely lampooned and parodied in the western media, with little response from the members of those religions. Sure, you'll sometimes hear cries of protest from religious groups over offensive displays, but I don't ever recall a group of evangelical Christians shooting guns in the air and threatening murder and kidnapping in response to such works of "art" as Piss Christ.

Yet the religion which, as a matter of doctrine, oppresses the expression of other religions in their lands, engages in acts of terror against adherents of other religions, and is all around the least tolerant of other cultures and religions demands respect and outright submission from the rest of the world. What, to you, is more offensive: the beheadings of Catholic schoolgirls by Islamic paramilitary death squads, or a handful of drawings of Mohammed?

Does the world need any further proof that Islam is fundamentally incompatible with a free society?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Much ado about nothing

I found it amusing that after all the histrionics from the left over Sam Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, he sides with the left on his very first case. ( story)

If one were to believe the liberal hysterics over Alito, his ascendance to the court would usher in a new dark age of dungeons and torture chambers and the Supreme Court would preside over an era of draconian rule.

In your face, Ted Kennedy.